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Archive for the ‘Scratchbuilding’ Category

 

After the almost-intellectual activity that took place last week, it was back to making things out of cardboard for a bit. After ignoring the advice not to bother priming cardboard, I decided to use a variation of the ‘hair spray‘ method, using silver as an undercoat instead of dark brown ‘rust’.  Normally I’d apply light coloured highlights by dry brushing, but the point of this model is to just try things without getting all precious about it.

In theory the top coat will come off on exposed corners showing slight variations in the silver, which will increase the illusion of a vehicle made of metal and slightly battered in use. We shall see…

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When I last wrote about the Big Diesel (aka ‘Moby Dick‘) I was dithering about how to make the ends, because as usual I was overthinking everything about the project, imagining a dozen different ways to make the curve on the nose and how they could all go horribly wrong.

Eventually I decided that it would be better to actually finish the model at some point and reverted to plan ‘A’.

The problem was that despite my early sketches of the loco I really wanted the distinctive chromed light clusters on the the Brohltalbahn’s D5 or its standard gauge cousin, the Deutsche Bahn type 218. It identifies the locomotive immediately and hopefully makes it clear that the model is in Germany as opposed to Austria or Switzerland. As this will be a somewhat unusual model I wanted to have as many of these visual cues as possible to set the scene quickly in viewers minds.

More to the point I really like the class 218.

For some reason I’d got stuck on the idea that if I didn’t make the nose curved I couldn’t have the 218 styled light bar because… um… Reasons. so I’d followed the idea down the rabbit hole and was looking at the headlight designs on the similar Bulgarian railways type 77 when I happened to come across a type 218 picture and noticed that it has flat ends. Of course it does. I’ve travelled behind class 218’s for hundreds of kilometres and every one of them had an absolute lack of curve on the ends. I’d just… missed it somehow.

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Remarkably, the project to shorten the Big Diesel seems to have worked out with minimal problems requiring the use of swearing. One of the window frames in the cab windows vanished mysteriously, and the sides are a little bendy, but overall they’re as square as anything else I’ve made and they’re the right shape to fit the chassis, so I’m calling that a positive result.

First lessons learned with the amazing shrinking loco (which will reappear at some point, rest assured) is that a locomotive with sloping sides needs tough bracing to keep it from warping and similar mischief, so I wasn’t sure the original chassis I’d built was going to be up to the job of holding the recently butchered sides straight, so the next job was making a fresh frame. This time I followed the Brick Privvy school of model making and built up the base and sides from laminated plastic card until they were several millimetres thick. In a rare flash of forward planning I even remembered to make the ends angled ready to hold the ends in place.

It may be too much to hope that I actually got the angle right, but allow me some smugness for actually managing to think slightly ahead anyway.

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After all, what can possibly go wrong?

More to come after exams have calmed down a bit…

(For the start of the story, go here)

 

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I’ve finally managed to get the big diesel project moving. again. Why I chose a complex locomotive with curved ends and sloping sides is open to question but it seemed a good idea at the time.

I was feeling pretty pleased with progress but when I held up the locomotive next to the chassis earlier this week, I realised I’d designed the model about 10mm longer than it needed to be.

I’d claim I was trying to make the locomotive sleek and purposeful, but I probably just got carried away and added a bit here and a bit there, and ended up with a loco that looks sleek and purposeful but will go around corners like a tram.

After thinking about this*, I worked out four places I could make the locomotive 10mm shorter:

1: Remove 10mm between the drivers door and the two lower grilles on the bodyside (Compare with the top image, there is a difference).

2: Remove one drivers door on each side. The locomotives supplied to the Bulgarian railways only have one door per side, so I can claim it’s prototypical, and it would mean less cutting to go wrong, although it would be good if I can make sure each cab has at least one door.

3: I could just make the window in the bodyside 10mm shorter, but that makes it rather a strange shape:

4: On the other hand, removing 5mm from the window and another 5mm between grilles and door, a combination of 1 and 3, would have the same effect with less of a visual change, and the fuel cap would still be central on the side of the loco.

The disadvantage of this is that I’d have to make four cuts into the bodyside, which knowing me is four cuts to get wrong and make a wonky locomotive…

Thoughts and ideas are welcome. I’ve even made a poll, tech savvy modeller that I am, although I don’t promise I’ll follow the result.

*During a sociology lecture. That’s what sociology lectures are for isn’t it?

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Once I found a way to stop trains wobbling about, I was much more motivated to build things. I could claim this was part of a grand plan to build a realistic operating system but if I’m honest it’s because I like watching the trains rattle round and round, and I wanted a few more wagons on mine.

When I’d nearly finished the second van, I noticed that neither van had a handle for the door. As both of the vans are full of card and fishing weights, this is a not going to make a great difference to their capabilities, but I’m trying to at least pretend that they are there to carry general merchandise this detail is somewhat significant,

I started looking through pictures of real narrow gauge vans. Of course one thing led to another and I ended up adding bits of wire all over the model in the hope it would then look all fine scale* and detailed.

The standard way to ventilate vans here seems to be a sliding panel which I assume is operated by staff unclipping and sliding the metal rods underneath. On the original van I made the panel from card, but on the new version this didn’t seem to work so I gave up and used the evil plastic.

The picture shows some of the problems that I’m causing myself with this model. The van in the background is a long way onto the other track, but still overhangs the main line** by some way. In fact the van in the foreground is probably on the one place on the loop that I can get another train past it.

This is one of several reasons why the Höfelbachbahn will now disappear at least until after exams, until I can make it a more sensible shape.

*I can dream…

**’Main line’ in the same way that my model making is ‘Fine scale’

 

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So here’s this week’s progress on interior decoration for the farmhouse which will take centre stage on Wörnritzhausen. This will be almost entirely hidden when the model is complete, which is why I’m making you look at a picture of it now.

I don’t mind the ‘models’ looking a bit crude because they are only there to give some kind of feature behind the dark windows if someone is daft enough to try and look through them. The ‘hallway’ in the middle is behind the front door, which will have tiny windows so it doesn’t need any detailing. The same goes for the rooms out the back.

I was pretty pleased with this already, when this morning my son came in, declared it was “cool” and went and got his brother to show him. Said brother agreed on the general ‘coolness’ and asked if I’d bought it.

There is no higher complement from a teenager.

I added a double bed to go in one of the attic rooms before realising there was no way it would be seen in the gloom. As the prototype house was used for student accommodation I figured an unmade bed was pretty realistic.

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