Posts Tagged ‘narrow gauge’

For various reasons that I’ll drone on about at a later date, I’d decided that the railcar needed to be a bit more ‘used’ than the model I built earlier in the year. Having managed, to my rather great surprise, to actually make some convincing looking rust in my experiments I got all motivated to try it on the real thing, as it were.

I wonder if I may have got a bit too enthusiastic.

I’m choosing to think the dystopian look is at least partly because of the blanked out windows, whose purpose is to make sure that even I can’t mess up the inside while painting the outside. Once it has things like passengers and see-through windows, it should look like a somewhat well used, careworn, but working railcar. Hopefully.

There is also the factor of the buzzbee stripes:

These will need some weathering as they should look like they’ve cleared the track of various unauthorised obstacles from snow to large domestic animals. This is purely to aid realism and make a complete uniform appearance and most certainly not because I painted them slightly off centre and need to hide this behind some muck.

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Just occasionally I manage to be moderately organised.

I’ve got a couple of projects coming along that mean I need to know how to make rust and weathering effects. Some concerted googling brought up a lot of sites and YouTube tutorials but most assume the use of airbrushes or quite smelly chemicals, neither of which are a good idea when making models in our living room.

Eventually I found some ideas how to get usable results that I could try without inadvertently redecorating the wall or causing an evacuation of the apartment, and these can be seen above. I’m not going to detail everything you can see on the basis that although I’m not paid to write it, neither are you paid to read it, so there are limits to even how boring I can be on here.

The main methods are pastels, drybrushing and the ‘Hairspray method’ which was a new one to me, but which I was astonished to find actually works even though I wasn’t using the ‘proper’ materials. I’m sure I’m the very last person in the model making world to hear about this one, but in case I’m not, the trick is to paint a rust coloured base coat, let it dry and spray hairspray over the top, return the hairspray to the bathroom before anyone misses it and leave the model to dry overnight. The next morning you paint over the hairspray with acrylics, and when that has dried, scrub away at the surface with a wet brush, and hey presto the top colour rubs off and leaves a realistic chipped rust finish. I got a bit overenthusiastic and ended up going down to the primer, but the principle works. There are expensive model makers sprays for this, but hairspray works just as well, costs a fraction of the price, and leaves you smelling better.

The other rust was made using a variation of this method I found on YouTube:

Don’t worry too much about the bits where he’s painting on black plasticard: I just watched where he is working on the railings themselves.

I also have no idea where to get hold of the paint he is using, but normal artists acrylics worked perfectly well for me.

You can also ignore the labels on my test sheet: it seems I’m still not organised enough to match the labels to the methods I was actually using in the squares.

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Well, here’s an ugly building, the sort of thing that makes you wonder why we bother having planning laws if something like this can get through.

The Post Office used to be part of a garage/filling station, and this was a workshop and TÜV (German motor vehicle exam) centre. Like most such buildings it was built quickly and with rather more concern for a quick return on investment than aesthetics. Its purpose on the model is help set the scene and make a minor eyesore at one end of the model to contrast with the other more attractive buildings, and prevent the rest of the layout descending into narrow gauge cuteness*. It would also hide the end of the siding and represent the Höfelbachbahn’s repair centre, the logic being that a car workshop should be fairly simple to convert to fixing trains.

Then I drew up a possible timetable for the Höfelbachbahn with a route diagram** it became obvious that the original story would require several more locomotives and railcars than is feasible, and I wasn’t sure they could all be maintained in a small maintenance shed. Unless I claim it is the entrance to a ten road roundhouse, and even I can’t say that with a straight face. It would be more sensible if I say the HHB is a short feeder line running into the hills, with Wörnritzhausen being the last large town, or at least the last town with more people than cows. Some trains would continue and some would stop here and turn around after being recharged or refueled.

On the other hand, if the garage is rented by the post office instead of the railway,  then it could be the local distribution centre and I could run extra vans on the back of the railcars or add them to freight trains. The siding in front could still be used for locomotives to layover or for recharging batteries on the railcar, so I could have the best of both worlds.

While I decide, I’ll work on adding more (ugly) details to the garage and try to find a way to hide the gap between the corrugated walls and the post office.

*Not that there is anything wrong with narrow gauge cuteness, just not here…

**Look, lunch breaks at college get pretty boring, okay?

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The Körschtalbahn’s railcar in the process of being primed, which is something of a milestone as the half finished body spent nearly five years lurking on my desk, gathering dust and generally making me feel guilty whenever I looked at it.

After several weeks months putting off the spray painting on the basis it made sense to have more than one model ready before bothering with all the faff of spraying, the actual job took about fifteen minutes to do everything, plus another thirty to tidy up the mess on the balcony. At least this time I remembered to cover the tiles on the floor: there’s still a faint line of overspray from last time, where I learned that our tiles are slightly porous and no matter how hard you try to scrub them, you can’t quite get rid of all the paint in there. fortunately this is only visible if you know what to look for and I’m not telling anyone.

As usual I discovered pretty quickly that spray painting is better done in thin layers rather than one great thick one, although this time I at least managed to remember this before doing too much damage.

I also learned the trying to take pictures of models in primer can be a right pain, hence the lack of them in this post, so you’ll have to trust me when I say that the Höfelbachbahn railcar is also primed and ready to be painted and thoroughly weathered.

Now all I have to do is decide what colours to use.



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The Höfelbachbahn railcar is complete and ready for the primer.

Come the weekend, if I manage to get everything in the same place at the same time, and don’t forget something vital, this will turn grey. Probably. Unless I think of another important detail that I just have to add…

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Suboptimization. That’s what is going on here. a “Situation where a process, procedure, or system yields less than the best possible outcome or output, caused by a lack of best possible coordination between different components, elements, parts, etc.

In this case the components called ‘stupidly tight curves’ and the snowploughs for the railcar have led to a lack of best possible coordination between the two. And I’m making it harder because I’m plain fussy.

The easiest way to fit a snowplough on a model train is to glue it nice and solid onto the coupling bar. This way it can waggle about with the coupling when the railcar goes around the track. Unfortunately in this case it would wave about more uselessly than a minor royal at a public occasion, and look almost as ridiculous.

Sensible people who know when to give up would have either ignored this: or left the snowploughs off entirely, but this would mean there was nowhere to paint the buzzbee stripes, so it wasn’t going to happen.

After ignoring the problem for a while, I decided that if I stuck the snowploughs on a pair of brass rods which went into the chassis at the exact point where they didn’t mess up the coupling bar, then they would stay nice and straight and the coupling could waggle about as much as it liked. Hooray.

I got there eventually and probably suboptimally, after the some bending of wire and a certain amount of ancient Anglo-Saxon.


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A combination of conveniently warm weather and the HBB railcar looking vaguely finished had me getting all motivated to spray primer on the backlog of projects. This is a pain to set up as I have to use the balcony, but I found the spray box, bought some fresh primer -I’ve been building one of these models for at least eight years so I don’t want to muck up the finish- and got everything together for the weekend.

On Saturday we had wind, heavy rain, and quite unnecessarily, snow.

Sometimes being badly organised is an advantage: I’d forgotten that the KÖB railcar needed a beefed up central block between bogies. Nothing drastic, just a bit more of a lump to suggest things like a fuel tank and other vital undergubbins that I don’t really know anything about. This is probably why I was ignoring its absence, but I figured that making something was better than sitting on my hands while the wind howled outside, so I measured the existing box on the original chassis and made another box to fit around it. Then made another one as I’d managed to measure it wrongly. And measured that one wrongly too.

It eventually took three attempts and a fair bit of bodging to make a box that fitted. I’m not sure why, but it was probably being distracted by conversations/train videos/shiny things. As usual.

Anyway. A couple of evenings and I had something presentable. I’m quite pleased with the steps although it would have been nice if they’d aligned better with the ‘step’ in the bodywork. I’m not sure that the ‘fuel tank’ is really big enough though. Perhaps it extends behind the steps and locker. Yes, that sounds good.

That, you’d think, was that, but then I decided I wanted sand boxes. Our local trams pour so much sand onto the track that by the time spring comes you could play beach volleyball on the steeper sections. The Körschtalbahn is higher than where I live so I imagine it would be very icy in winter.

Now that’s ready, I just have to add all the bits I forgot on the other railcar…

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