It’s not my fault I missed the last weeks blog entry: it’s due to the European political situation.

Lets face it, that beats “The dog ate my homework” as an excuse any day.

I seem to have managed to end up with several important official deadlines within a week or so of each other, the main one being getting the paperwork together for the boys naturalisation as German citizens, as the German government has decided that all applications made before the 29th of March by British nationals will be dealt with as applications by EU citizens and therefore eligible for dual nationality.

I also needed to hand in my final project for my Arbeitserzieher/Occupational therapist qualification, ready for my Colloquium next month. As with last year I’m not entirely sure if I wrote something sensible or complete and utter gibberish but my Mentor says it is okay and she wasn’t even laughing so I sent that off last week.

We managed to hand in almost all of the naturalisation paperwork last week as well, and bless them, they allowed us to send the missing items in as a scan two days later, so that’s hopefully sorted.

In theory this means more free time, except that it seems my system had been pushing to keep going while those were unfinished & now I’m done various parts are calling in their accounts. A cold that had been hanging about on the margins has come in with a vengeance, started a party with my asthma, and invited a few friends, so now I’m coughing and sniffing, and likely to be signed off for the week.

Mind you that’s just as well, because I’ve got to deal with the paperwork for the exams, and prepare my final presentation, so I wouldn’t have had time to go to work anyway…


Return of the Tank

As observed recently, I’m rather better at starting a project than finishing it, so you can imagine the excitement this week when the Steam Powered Tank was finally completed.

Part of the problem was that the generic blue/grey I’d used looked more ‘Teutonic’ than ‘generic’ as intended. I also forgot that with a dark topcoat the underlying ‘rust’ didn’t contrast very well. On the other hand I found the Hairspray method used with an old toothbrush is startlingly effective, rather too effective in fact.

So, once again, it was back to the primer, ‘rust’ layer, varnish, hairspray; and after completely overthinking things as usual, a sandy green topcoat. I rubbed this off with a paintbrush this time to avoid great slabs of rust, then completely failed to ‘ink’ the cracks with black ink, as usual.

The Boiler end would probably be filthy from clearing out the ash, so this got a scumbling of black, then a very light drybrushing of white and silver in an attempt to make the milk bottle cap look like it was made of metal. The worst mistakes made so far were covered by several shades of pastel powders for general road dirt, and as an experiment I rubbed a soft pencil on some of the exposed ‘metal’ surfaces.

I’m still wondering if I should add brass on some of the pipes: on the one hand it seems silly because that would ruin the ‘camouflage’ effect but I’ve never let logic stop me before…


Loose ends

Leaving a model for a while can be very helpful: I come back with fresh eyes and can see problems with proportions or decide some detail or other is missing, or indeed on this occasion, wonder what on earth I was thinking.


I seem to have decided to simply glue the ends of what are supposed to be air brake connections straight onto the frame of the wagon. I‘m not sure why.

The problem here is that on a flatbed wagon such as this you can‘t allow delicate things like brake pipes to come above the deck, because sooner or later an overworked crane driver will misjudge the distance and drop a twenty ton log on them. On the real thing the solution is to allow the pipes to hang down below the frame, but on a model this doesn‘t work because they will get walloped by the coupling every time you go around a corner.

Even so, this wasn’t going to work.

My solution thus far is to compromise: I‘ve ignored the length issue and simply focused on a vaguely convincing anchor point.


Of course it isn‘t ‘realistic’ because the pipe is far too short now but I suspect I‘ll get away with it, just as long as I don‘t tell anyone…

To be honest, not a lot of model making happened this year: I don’t think I even finished any projects which is a bit disappointing. In my defence I was finishing my theory exams, starting work at my internship, and working on all kinds of Brexit- related officialdom, but still…

Worse, 2019 looks just as busy with the final project due in a couple of months, then a presentation to an examination panel the month after, followed probably by a new job and possibly a house move after that.

Probably this isn’t a year for big ambitious goals, all things considered, so I’m going to finish off all the half built projects kicking about, & incidentally tidy up the small colony of boxes containing model making bits, tools, and general hoarded junk kicking about in the attic. This seemed all very feasible until I actually counted the unfinished projects:


Railcar: construction ten years and counting, I think…
Big Diesel: Waiting for me to get the courage together to try electronics, which I view as one step from sorcery.
Big Van: Supposed to be number 1 of 3, Ha, ha.
Wood Wagon: Ditto. Also meant to be a ‘quick project’ but I keep adding details…


Finish Two vans
Ditto Farmhouse
Dismantle ‘Wörnritzhausen’ Mk 1 and salvage everything I can.

General Silliness department:

Steam Powered Tank
Monowheel: Probably not a priority, but still.
(Re) paint remaining figures.
“Army Buildings”
Also Several vehicle kits that don’t seem to have reached these pages…

There’s plenty to keep me blogging there, methinks, and if I think creatively I’ll hardly have to spend any money for a while.

Just in case I (or more likely, you) get bored, I decided the cycling blog needs a few goals as well. You can find that here (and yes, I did use the same introduction: I’m not being paid for this…)

Worst case scenario

What is the one thing you don’t want to happen when, for example, you need to write a final project for a three year course (deadline: Soon) and incidentally send a stack of applications to possible employers?

Probably, the computer breaking down, on a week when there were no shops open so no possibility of getting it fixed or replaced in a hurry.

So guess what happened just after Christmas?

The all important project was already stored on a stick; external hard drive; my computer at work; and the work network, but I could have done without the extra complications*.

I can fix bikes and furniture but computers need more subtle approaches than whacking them with hammers, so after a technically minded friend declared death two weeks ago I started looking for a replacement. I now have a slightly newer ex-lease laptop, so I can at least write blogs again.

I mean, work on my project… I can work on my project again. That’s what I meant.

Normal service will be restored as soon as possible.

*Much more seriously, the proxy server at work has started blocking WordPress. I can’t think why.

Grey van

Slow progress at the moment due to because of a combination of general festivities, a final dissertation that I promised myself I’d try to get mostly finished by the end of the holidays, and applying for work after my current contract expires at the end of April 2019

Nonetheless, this is progress. Now I have to work out how to make plastic and acrylic paint look like aluminium. Any ideas?



Big wheel one…

Every now and again I decide I’m going to get more disciplined, which usually means I’m going to try and focus on making stuff for the Körschtalbahn. Occasionally I even manage to follow through on this for a few weeks.

Of course the thing about deciding to focus on a challenging project is that you don’t do it just before the start of the annual silly session at work, while simultaneously trying to finish a final dissertation and make an elderly mountain bike into a  ranndoneur/touring bicycle. last week I realised that I was getting into the usual vicious cycle of coming back from work tired, so not making anything, then feeling more tired because I hadn’t done something productive all evening.

This obviously couldn’t go on, so I decided that it was better to make something than nothing at all, even if it was a fairly random tangent.

A while back a seriously excellent model maker and semi professional mold builder on the Lead Adventure Forum said that you can make almost any kind of model out of card, at the same time as making a rather spiffy monowheel, out of whitemetal, so I decided to try the theory out.

I may have turned up the Bonkers Factor in my version.

To start with I made the circle of card seen above, started with one strip around an old aerosol can lid stuck down with a bit of masking tape, then added two more pieces to make it solid. This is what passes for technology on my workbench.

Next step was to make a rather rough tread, which I’m sure will look fine once it’s painted and weathered and viewed from a distance. Quite a considerable distance admittedly. It probably looks worse to Frederick.

Then I added an equally rough ‘gear’ or possibly ‘rack?’ on the inside of the wheel, which took a bit of fiddling about with superglue to stop the layers from separating. I need to find a better way to do this. I’m told Shellac is the stuff.

‘Colonel’ Oliver is taking an interest, which is Probably a bad sign. Frederick remains unimpressed.

The crowning loopiness so far is the drive unit, which is gradually taking shape. I have a sneaking suspicion that switched on it would rotate inside the outer wheel while producing absolutely no forward motion whatsoever, but we’ll ignore that.

More silliness will undoubtedly follow, but hopefully I’ve now broken the model making block and can get on with some more ‘serious’ models…