Sunday, December 30, 2007

Complete Mess

Meik was getting on my case about fixing the mess van so I finally got it together yesterday. When tested on the normal chassis the it showed a tendency to dive nose first into the track when moving which spilt Meik’s coffee. After Meik calmed down the chassis was duly lengthened, and a test run was accomplished without further damage.

The roof is made from the same deluxe materials as the walls, namely cereal packet card although it does have an overlay of recycled printer paper. I figured Meik wouldn’t want to mess about with an arched roof, so I made it pitched, and added shutters to protect the windows when the van is stored outdoors. These two measures make it look like a garden shed on wheels, but there we go.

Rear view of the van while Meik was shunting.

I’m wondering about having red and white warning signs on the corners like a lot of German work vehicles do, so I tried it out using the Gimp:

And then, as I was using the Gimp in any case, I couldn't resist one for the British ‘modern image’ enthusiasts…

Monday, December 24, 2007

Twilight at our local Christmas market, Esslingen.

Many thanks to the long-surffereing readers of this blog for your encouragement, suggestions, ideas and friendship over the last 12 months. Wishing you a happy and most blessed Christmas and new year...

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Making a Mess

The smaller island and Hallig railways all seem to have at least one stores/mess van in some form or another: when working away from the main depot it’s possibly the only form of shelter for a long way, and on Minsener Oog it's the only way from ship to shore.

Naturally the Westerooge line needed its own version, and true to prototype it is made up of scrounged materials, in this case low quality cardboard which started life as a cornflake packet, but which proved pretty strong when two sheets were glued firmly together. The main superstructure was built from this with ‘metal’ strapping from sketch paper.

The walls need painting so they look a bit more like real wood, and the windows will need shutters for protection against the elements. I thought I’d finished the outside but looking at the photo I’ve forgotten a couple of corner pieces.

The inside is complete though. Meik was insistent that there had to be a stove and a decent table inside.

The table cloth is a bit askew, possibly Jan left in a hurry. He seems to have left his coat hanging by the door as well. Hopefully he'll remember it before he goes home on the boat tonight

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Complete Loco

I've not posted for a while- mostly because I had some dental work done with a general anaesthetic, which put me off modelmaking for a bit. However, I was able to get the Westerooge diesel finished enough to be presentable...

Rear view showing rudimentary controls and Meik peering out of the window

Front view again, showing the other side. This view hides a couple of bodges, but it doesn't do the glazing any favours. At least the glazing itself is clean though.

I've also found that the self-removing paint problem I've been having is probably because of the primer I've used up to now, which is a brush-on Acrylic. Apparently I need a spray primer so I'll be looking for a car respray shop. There must be some in Germany, but as I don't own a car I've never looked before.

In the meantime I'll be working on building some some wagons for Jan and Meik to move materials and the generator around whilst repairing and maintaining the sea defences, and hopefully a small mess coach where they can retreat when caught on the wrong end of the causeway in a storm...

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Technicolor Cab

Slowly but surely the new cab takes shape on the Westerooge diesel. Last weekend I gave it some colour:

Remarkably I managed to mix a new batch of blue to roughly the same shade as the old.

Meik trying the cab out for size. He complained about the draught until I told him the alternative. I have since put some glazing in, and the sandwich seems to have been suiccesfull. The painting was less so. I have to touch up just from the handling required to put the windows in. I'm going to try spray-on primer in future I think.

I’m sure no-one will notice that there isn’t a door handle.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Ideal narrow gauge coaches?

The Zillertalbahn's new push-pull train.
Click on the picture for more details (in German)

Every now and again in this blog, I have a bit of a whinge about how narrow gauge railways are treated essentially as heritage lines, and often end up using dated stock with several steps at the entrances (and narrow doors to make them really wheelchair-proof), arcane operating methods and low speeds. So what would my idea of perfect narrow gauge passenger stock look like?

Well, ideally:

Modern, not just a replica of an old coach but built for modern needs in a modern style.
At least partially low-floor
Probably loco-hauled for flexibility and maximum stock usage
Push-pull with a driver’s cab in the coaching stock to minimize runarounds
Wide doors with push-button operation, which actually close without allowing a draught
At least partially low-floor
Cassette toilets
Comfortable seats (with cushions)
Corridor connections
Proper passenger information systems
Quiet and smooth when moving.
Did I mention that it should be low-floor?

Essentially what we are becoming accustomed to on a bus or standard gauge train. This sounds a bit of a pipe dream I know, but the 760mm (about 2’6”) gauge Zillertalbahn in Austria has ordere new carriages which look remarkably like my description. The English page is for the tourists so it doesn’t mention them, but you can see an artist’s impression of the inside and outside here. You can also click here for pictures of the first units being delivered.

(Yes, they are partially low-floor)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Interior Decoration

Meik is a big lad, and even with the 'extended' cab of the Westerooge diesel, the only way for him to fit inside would be drastic surgery to his lower leg. Omen figures are a bit expensive for that, so I'm modelling the cab door permanently open so his feet can stick out. Of course this meant some basic detail in the cab itself as it would have been odd for him to sit on the worm gear of the chassis...

I think it's getting closer to painting time. I was thinking of light grey for the cab interior, dark grey for the controls, and perhaps brown or green for the seat…

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Projects galore.

As 'Westerooge' is now the most likely short-term model, I worked a bit on the diesel yesterday and got the beginnings of the new cab together. As the main reason for the replacement was the flimsy old cab and the filthy windows this one is built like a brick bog with a sandwich of three layers of plasticard with a gap where I can slide the glazing in after painting. This way I get clean, see-through windows and a crisp edge on the colour. That's the theory anyway. I’m hoping to have the door open- Jan wants to stretch his feet out when he’s driving.

As a side point, I’m wondering how I managed to have so many half-finished projects on my shelf. Strictly speaking I’ve not really finished Growler one, which needs railings, and so does my big van. On top of that the wood wagon has been sitting on the shelf for so long I had to dust it off when I took this picture, and there is a further chassis I haven’t even touched yet that should eventually become yet another van. Where did all these come from?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Decisions, Decisions…

Our Middle Son thinks he is indestructible. He is also a very creative climber, and he’s fascinated with anything that daddy does. We thought the Sägewerk Pfeifle would be safe 140 cm from the floor, but yesterday we found him clinging to the shelves and making a spirited attempt to swipe the landrover off the baseboard. As the effects of a two-year old on a scale model would be similar to Godzilla in downtown New York, it seems the Sägewerk Pfeifle will have to wait a bit until we get Middle Son beyond using the shelves as a climbing frame.

This brachiating tendency doesn’t look like it will disappear soon, so I'm now looking at alternatives for the short term. I’ve several options: I mentioned the idea of a small “Works siding” on my desk some time ago: I just never got around to doing anything about it. Meanwhile the small collection of 09 stock I’ve been working on will allow me to make something small that I can store easily as well. On this subject I’ve found a lot of inspiration from some Japanese websites, like this one where the builder has clearly put a lot of thought into storage and presentation. I’m not sure I’d go for the same style –I think it is possible to have too much colour and detail on a model- but the idea of having the outside finished in a way that protects the layout so it can be stored does appeal, like Colin Peake’s boxfile layout (although he eventually compromised by making a full height backscene). That way I can play, test stuff out etc, and then pack it all away on a shelf when I need to get back to work.

There's another possibility I'm looking at as well. I'll get back to you on that one.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Feeding time

I know this is probably the last blog in the world to make this, but I've finally got around to steeing up the RSS email feed, which is just a fancy bit of computer gubbins that lets you read posts without having to log on to this blog all the time.

Some people already have readers and have been using that method for some time, but I've now put in another link (Which blogger has locked up above the profile for some reason, I'll move it soon) which lets you put in your email address. If you click on "Subscribe to my ramblings by email" a form will come up for your email address, and a confirmation will be sent to your email address. Click on this and the next time something is posted here it will be sent on to you by the wonders of the interweb thingy.

I've just done a test using a Gmail account and it seems to be working, so I'll keep it there. If you use it, please let me know what happens and how well it is working for you.

[Update: I've moved the feed at last, and changed the format of the signup so it is a bit easier to use...]

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Big Harz

1000mm gauge 'Combino Duo'
entering Nordhausen. Source: Wikipedia

Quedlinburg is the sort of name I could not come up with given a German dictionary, a thesaurus and three weeks to spare. Even if I could I doubt anyone would believe it. But last year Quedlinburg became the northernmost tip of an 8,5km extension of the Harzer Schmalspurbahn (HSB) in central Germany. Not only that, but this extension is along a standard gauge trackbed.

The narrow gauge used to meet the standard gauge at Gernrode, where the HSB have maintenance sheds and sidings, partly for their large fleet of steam locomotives that run all year round. After Gernrode the standard gauge skirted the northern side of the mountains, and eventually wound back to a junction in the town of Frose. In 2002 a bridge failed on the standard gauge line a short distance from Gernrode. Services from Quedlinburg ran as shuttles to Gernrode while the local government started a study to decide what to do about it. The study seems to have moved at the usual relaxed pace of government enquiries worldwide, and eventually decided that surprisingly, the narrow gauge should be extended to Quedlinburg.

Decision made, rebuilding began on18th April 2005. A metre gauge line was built which scythed through the standard gauge at Gernrode in a large ‘S’ to join the former standard gauge alignment, (you can find a track plan here
) and by the 26th of June 2006 regular services were running along the line.

At Quedlinburg the station was rebuilt with the narrow gauge replacing standard on one platform. (Track Schematic) The HSB has regular steam services so there needs to be a run-around, and a siding was added ‘just in case’, but that was all. One signal box controls the lot. I imagine a similar situation at Wildberg on the Körschtalbahn. I’ll bore you about that another time.

This is good news, in that the narrow gauge is being used for a public service, and economically providing a link people may actually want to use, but I can’t help feeling that the HSB is preserving what was, rather then developing further. I’m sure steam brings in the tourists, especially the amazing Br 99.23 & 24 2-10-2 tank engines the HSB has, but compared with the modern, low-floor, wide access units they are “replacing”, how attractive do the railcars or loco-hauled stock with a narrow door and steps look, say, for a mum with a pushchair shopping in Quedlinburg?

Fortunately, there are signs of further improvement in the town of Nordhausen, at the southern end of the system. The town has had a metre gauge tram system since 1900, but the long-desired connection to the HSB was not completed until 2004. For vehicles, Siemens shoehorned an 8hp BMW car engine into a combnio, and made the ‘duo’ which shares the low floor and wide doors of its conventional electric cousins, but which switch to diesel on the country section and run as far as Ilfeld-Neanderklinik. There is nothing ‘heritage’ about the three new units, so I doubt the tourists will go for them, but they are just what you need to go shopping or take your bike home in the rain.

Hopefully they will one day be joined by several more units running over the rest of the 140km system and into Quedlinburg.
They would also be ideal for the Körschtalbahn to run through trains to Spitzenwald. I wonder if I could make one in 7mm scale?

(For more general information in English, with a map of the Harz, Wikipedia has a page here)

Friday, November 09, 2007


There’s been a hiatus in model making this week, what with work and now having a cold, and also because I was waiting for the plasticard and other stuff from which finally came through yesterday, so I think I have enough plasticard to keep me going this winter, and on top of that I finally some fine styrene for making the handrails on Growler 1. If I have the courage to take a drill to the model to fit them is another matter.

I also have the H-section pieces and wood to make the sides and cross pieces on the "big" wood wagon so I can move forward with that too. You can see the cross pieces resting on the wagon in the picture above. Only problem is that when I ordered the track somewhere in the distant past, I forgot to order rail connectors of any kind, so that has to wait for the next trip to Esslingen and the model shop...

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Brave new world

The great expanse above, being investigated by the Sägewerk Pfeifle Landrover, is baseboard number two, finally glued and laminated over the week. (This is not a particularly exciting process so I spared you the pictures) Now that’s done I’m planning to move into uncharted territory and actually make the track rise above the board a bit. Previously I’ve been a member of the flat earth society, and the majority of my models had as many hills as the Norfolk Broads, which was fine except they were supposed to be of the Peak District. The Black Forest may have some flat areas but I haven’t found them, so I’m going to at least try and make it look like the track was built into the hillside and winding its way around a landscape that was there long before.

That’s the plan anyway. Now to stop procrastinating and get on with building it…

Sunday, October 28, 2007

9 999 to go?

Thomas Edison was heard to say “If I find 10 000 ways something won't work, I haven't failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is often a step forward...” I’m trying to see my first attempt at a baseboard in this er… light.

Not counting my attempt last year, It’s about 15 years since I last built a baseboard, and that was in the days when everyone knew chipboard and pine were the way to go. As a result the baseboards I made could double up as armour plate in the event of a national emergency. This time around I'm going for cardboard- lighter, easier to work with for a non-carpenter, and above all, free.

For the first attempt, I planned to start with three sheets of cardboard glued together to make a solid base, and then to build up from there with a track bed and landscape. Unfortunately things didn’t go exactly as planned, and what I got was a fairly bendy slab of cardboard that looked like it was just waiting for some track to be glued onto it before warping hideously.

Attempt one will soon be consigned to the recycling pile and I’ll set to making a more solid version, with masses of cross bracing to discourage warping. The problem is that there’s a fairly shallow space between the shelf the KÖB is to be built on and the one above, which doesn’t leave a lot of space for a deep frame, so I’ll have to make up for this with lots of cross bracing, and then more cross bracing in between… I’ll keep you posted on this. Hopefully the second version will work a bit better so I can start thinking about track and wiring soon. If it looks like I'll have to make 9 998 more before I get it right, I think I’ll go back to the armour plating.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Sägewerk Pfeifle

The change of plan I hinted at in the last post is now in full swing: I'm putting "Spitzenwald" on the back burner for a bit, a and I'm going to attempt a basic two-siding affair, which will give me some experience and allow me to test out some ideas and relearn how to make scenery. A couple of nights ago I cut out a basic shape from a sheet of cardboard and fiddled with a set of points to see what I could do with it. Now I've trimmed the cardboard back to the shape I'd like, which just fits onto the shelves I'm using, and sent a copy to a couple of friends to make sure I wasn't making a horrendous mistake. So far I've had positive feedback, so I'll carry on...

The subtitle of the model is 'One of those days': several storms over the night have made both the road and railway almost impassable to Spitzenwald. Clearance teams have been removing felled trees since the dawn, and by now (about 0800) they have managed to clear the line as far as Sägewerk Pfeifle, (Pfeifle's Sawmill) about 3 KM from Spitzenwald, just before the line makes the final curve to the terminus. Here, however, they've found a lot of trees down on this section, all mixed up together especially where the line crosses the valley, and it's taking a lot longer than anyone would like. Trains are currently terminating at the halt by the mill, which usually is only a request stop catering for walkers and mill employees. The sawmill is working at fill tilt: It's not the biggest mill in the Körschtal, but the only plant this close to the damaged area, and the railway is running wagons up from Dachsburg to take wood from the cutting area itself and from the mill, as well as dealing with the regular output- and wouldn't you know it but the sawdust and a load of finished product was scheduled to be shifted today…

Monday, October 22, 2007

Here Endeth the silence…


The “Big” project that I’ve been eating, breathing and sleeping for the last few weeks- “Baroness Isabella von Katzenberg’s evil and despicable plans for world domination” -finished last night with a pretty successful show. The team I work with dealt with all the last minute glitches and problems that beset these things with a level of patience and flexibility that would give some professional companies pause for thought and I’m really pleased with them, but I’m also rather glad it’s over and I have a bit of time to relax before the next one starts...

While I was working on that my shopkeeper friend has been stockpiling cardboard boxes. Lots and lots of them This means I can very probably make the baseboard for the model, so I expect this will take priority over the next week or so, although I hope I’ll be able to keep building stock. To give an idea of what can be done with a cardboard baseboard, here's an example built by Michael Mott in Canada, which he very kindly allowed me to reproduce here.

Having seen this I’m having second thoughts about starting with “Spitzenwald”, and wondering about a simple model with the railway running through a more undulating landscape: my thinking being that I’m trying out a lot of new methods, so having a simpler model is better if things really go poop. Possibly a bit pessimistic of me, but if it all goes swimmingly and works like a dream, I’ll have learnt a lot and have a nice model in the bargain. Either way I’ll be happy.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Corporate Blue

I'm still moving a the speed of a geriatric tortiose but this weekend I finally managed to fix the couplings and get some paint on the bonnet.

The cab will either be bauxite or grey. I don't know which...

The story is that Meik and Jan, who represent the islands entire railway staff, kept sending requests to head office for ply and metal for rebuilding the loco shed, which were repeatedly ignored. The flimsy structure finally blew down in a storm last year, knocking a big hole in the cab of the one remaining serviceable loco.

Jan and Meik were told off for not repairing the shed and instructed to make a temporary cab from whatever was to hand, and that an insurance assessor would come as soon as possible to approve funds for permanent repairs.

Three months later head office sent an assessor to check that the shed really needed repairing, but his instructions didn’t mention the loco, so he refused to authorise a payment for it. When Meik picked up the ply and steel for the roof, he “accidentally” took a tin of primer and they built a temporary cab out of the two locos and some bits of sheet steel.

Six months later another assessor came. He reported that the locomotive cab was undamaged and cancelled the request for parts to rebuild it.

After I finished painting last night I realised that there's more than a hint of Corporate Blue there... Maybe I sould accept the inevitable and make a 1980's era British rail Narrow gauge 'Might have been': Welsh highland 3' gauge perhaps, or a connon carrier to Ullapool which has to be kept under Brirish Rail because it's an 'essential service'?

I need to get back to the Körschtalbahn brfore I have any more ideas.

Friday, October 12, 2007

1:1 Modelmaking

There's been another long break between posts: modelmaking has been focused on making props for the next major production of our youth theatre company. I took a picture of the (almost) finished result in the workshops before I came home from work last night...

The whole story has a strong steampunk flavour, and this is the weapon for the heroine to use when she goes into the secret lair of the Evil Baroness Who Is Trying To Take Over The World. There's a short silent movie sequence where she blows up an evil machine with it too...

The whole thing is from recycled materials scrounged from local electricians and plumbers, and masses of laminated cardboard in the main box. It had to be obviously overdone and fake as it's an outdoor theatre piece so we don't want people panicking and calling the police- it has happened before. I also had to make it left handed, which is why the sights are on the other side and the "access" panel is visible in the picture. The heroine is very happy with it: since she got hold of the thing, she won't even let the props manager touch it...

Next week I'll be working on the "Self-reciprocating Salamanca four-way impenetrable death trap" with some of the team.

The show opens on Sunday the 21st...

Friday, October 05, 2007

Flying Bricks

East meets West. Former East German class 143 (L) and DB class 111 (R) together in Stuttgart main station, Sept 24th 2007

October the 3rd was German unification day, to commemorate the time when Germany was finally reunited in 1989-1990. This seemed a good time to make poignant comparisons between locomotive design in the two Germanys (and thereby cunningly mask my complete lack of model making progress).

During the years Germany was divided, the two nations’ locomotives developed in different ways: the west bought locos from the Likes of Siemens and Krupp, like the class 111 in the foreground, whereas the DDR (East Germany) was supplied by centralised locomotive works in Eastern Europe whose policy seemed to be that styling was for the Western Imperialists. In some cases it seems that locos able to start, stop, or pull the skin off a rice pudding were considered suspect as well, judging by some of the less successful clunkers that were built.

Some did work though. This class 143, previously East German Railways (DR) class 243, is one of several hundred capable units that were made more or less redundant after the DDR was brought into the Federal Republic, and freight on the former DR dropped faster than a barometer in a hurricane. The class was successful enough that the first locomotives built by after reunification were of this type, althought that was a was a political move: the locomotives became a symbol of reunification, but German railways would really have preferred a loco capable of 200kmh, not 120.

'Aerodynamic' cab?

Apparently the cab is supposed to be aerodynamic. I can’t say that’s how I'd describe it, but I do like these locos. I could see a model version running on the KÖB one day, under the scenario that they were subsidised to help production in an east German locomotive factory. In fact I could end up building a whole fleet of flying bricks if I'm not careful -partly because I like them, or more likely because I’m too much of a coward to try difficult-to-make compound curves like those on the front of the 111 class...

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The Works...

Time is very short in this season, but I’ve managed to build the cab on the little Westerooge diesel. I’m trying to use lots of different methods in this project to see what works, so I made the cab as a home-made riveted job to protect Jan and Meik from the elements. Jan is already complaining at the gaps around the door…

To supplement this I’ve been working on a background for taking pictures of locomotives and stock made by the “Maschinenfabrik Ostfildern”, partly to learn how to make printed backgrounds and buildings, but also so that I’m able to keep doing some model making. This is a (heavily scaled down) version:

I figure that I can make this into a back wall, with the end turned so the track goes in front of the wall, and through the blue door, and maybe even set the track into concrete. At the very least it’ll make a nice display for the shelf by my desk…

Friday, September 28, 2007

Stuttgarter 'Zacke'

Marienplatz: lower terminus of the Stuttgart funicular railway

Amongst its other charms, Stuttgart is the only city in Germany with a funicular railway. This line is metre gauge, and has connected Stuttgart centre and the town of Degerloch, 2,2km away and 205m up the hill, since 1884. It used to be steam operated, and follows the “Alte Weinsteige”, which was the only rail or road connection to the city for anyone living in the eastern suburbs until 1904, when a more direct, easier graded route -and tramline- replaced it. Now it is an isolated metre gauge railway in the standard gauge system and I happen to like it very much. It is slower than my usual route home, but it has a very nice laid-back independent feel, it runs along, or across the street with great views across Stuttgart; and it will always carry your bike (uphill) for free, every 20 minutes if you feel inclined.

I happened to be in the centre last week with a bit of time and a desire to travel above ground, so I went along to the Marienplatz and boosted the ridership figures. At no extra charge to you, I even took a few pictures before I got on to show what a modern narrow gauge system could look like.

1001 Approaches the platform (where I'm standing) over the Bridge.

Cyclists dream: Trolley for bikes to help get up the 17.5% Alte Weinsteige.

Quick shot of the catenary for a certain future project...

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Why I have dual gauge track.

Minimum gauge "Critter 01" with Jan trying the motor block out for size.

Alert readers may have noticed a reference to some kits from Black Dog Mining, well… ages ago. I’ve been adding to this over the weekend with a handful of scrap plasticard and a 9mm gauge Bachmann chassis I’ve had kicking about for ages. The main point of the loco is to try out a few ideas for making different doors and other small features that I can then make use of on Spitzenwald, but I’ve also got an idea of making a really small micro based on the narrow gauge lines in the extreme north of Germany, like the Halligbahnen at Dagebüll and at Lüttmoorsiel, or the costal protection line on the uninhabited Minsiner Oog. All are still working, so this can still be said to be a 'modern image' project

It’ll not be a scale model by any means: there are no 15 inch/381mm lines on the German islands, so it will be more of a sketch loosely based on some of the features of some of the lines.
It’ll also be a long term thing which I’ll work on as and when I can, as a change from work, which is heavy at this time of year, Spitzenwald, and another project that I’m keeping under wraps for the moment, but I’ll tell you about a bit later… Watch this space.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Lokalbahn Mixnitz-St. Erhardt

Another video, and some great evidence for the premise behind the Körschtalbahn, that narrow gauge railways can effectively transport goods and people. Longer suffering readers will know this is a regular theme for this blog, and the line looks a lot like the imaginary KÖB, even down to the track gauge and electrification. The commentary is in (Austrian) German, but it’s worth watching for the pictures, and I can give a rough idea of the history of the line and current status thanks to Wikipedia Germany .

The 760mm gauge 800v DC line is in the state of Steiermark in southeast Austria. There used to be passenger services but they were withdrawn on the 31st of July 1966. The Steiermark government railways, (You'll hear more about them sometime) and run the remaining section from the Austrian federal railways (ÖBB) system at Mixnitz-Bärenschützklamm to the magnesite works in Breitenau. It seems the line has a future: After major flooding in August 2005, it was rebuilt by mid-October, and the stations in the video are recently reinstated, mostly for charter trains.

All of which is good news, but what if the investment could be extended to high-capacity bogie wagons which could move at more than 20kmh, and modern, low floor coaching stock similar to the standard gauge ‘Desiro’ seen at the start of the video?

Is this a dream, or an eco-friendly rural transport solution for the future?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Recently, I was running an errand and I passed a factory that uses a lot of roll-on containers, and very obligingly stores them next to the cycle path. So I took some photos in preparation for the skip-building project. This one shows the variety in these ‘standard’ designs. I know I should start by making a square-cornered version like that on the right, but something tells me I’m going to have a go at chamfered corners at some point… By the way, the fabric covering seems to be unique to this company. Any ideas why it is used and how would be gratefully received…

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Getting Ambitious.

The Maschienenfabrik Ostfildern have been working on the third wood wagon. This is going to be slightly different from the first batch with deeper side frames and wider uprights to give the impression of an altogether heavier unit. This one will also be less flexible with an open frame designed to take wood or pipes but not the containers. I figure the KÖB will have a fairly heavy wood traffic so some more specialised wagons could be justified.

This marks a new first, because I’m basing the model on a standard gauge wagon, rather than a narrow gauge, and I’m modelling a prototype I’ve been able to photograph myself rather than one off the internet. Here’s a (battered) example of the original, awaiting departure from Breisach in behind a MaK B-B unit owned by the Südwest Eisenbahngesellschaft (SWEG) on a damp day in January this year.

I cut most of the pieces for the wagon on Saturday afternoon. I debated making the frame from sections, but eventually I went for making the whole lot from one piece, on the basis it would hopefully be a bit stronger, as it is fairly thin: 0.5mm plasticard. Because of this, I made the bracing pieces deliberately heavy-duty to compensate.

By the time we had to get ready to go out for the evening -there was a festival in the local town and the boys wanted to see fire-eaters and other mesmerising things- the wagon looked like this:

Then today, I took a deep breath and made the usually fatal step of trying to stick it together.
Remarkably, it worked, mostly.

I had a couple of “Did you spot the deliberate mistake?” moments, notably when I realised one of the cross-beams was right where the bogies (trucks) were supposed to go, but a bit of cutting made the beam high enough that it didn’t foul the wheels and all was well…

If things go on like this I may reach 8 wagons within the year…

I really have to build the layout now.

[Update: Tues 11th. I have now corrected most of the typos and put the correct code in for the pictures, so now whan you click on them you get a bigger version instead of the Photobucket front page. Sorry about that.]

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Wood (and other things) wagon

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

The Maschienenfabrik Ostfildern has managed to gear up production and is now finishing two wagons for wood and other items. They now promise that they will be working on the van soon, and the third wood wagon will be started as soon as the bits are delivered. The couplings are still a minor difficulty, but I’m looking for some softer wire to make loops with.

The wagons started out as a rough copy of these, but I quickly realised that my skill is at a level where I will have to content myself with a more generic design. I’m not too worried though: it’s likely the KÖB would have a variety of designs in its stock list, and the wagons can take a roll-on container like the RHB prototype, (although it's under scale length so it can only take one at a time). Besides, after the long saga of the first van, it came as rather a shock to find myself finishing so soon after I started. Now I’m already beginning to get dangerously ambitious: getting stuff together for the third wood wagon and sketching out the design for the second van. I’m also thinking of a set of roll-on containers for the and even having thoughts of an eventual well wagon for swap-bodies, or maybe a coach…

[Update: Finally got the link in... Sorry about that...]

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Killisberg Parkeisenbahn: now with Steam...

I did promise/threaten to return to the Killisberg Parkeisenbahn on a steam day and inflict more pictures on you. I've even got some videos as well, Just scroll down a bit for those...

Top: 'Classic' view: Train passing the fountains by the main entrance.
Above Springerle, one of two locomotives built by Kraus-Maffei of Munich and delivered on 30th of May 1950, in the sunshine at the station.

Low shot. The brolley is to keep the sun off the crew, but it makes a mess of photography.

Close up of the smokebox

Makers plate: Apparently three locomotives were built, one was sent as a gift to Delhi in India, and the other two are still in Stuttgart.

"Weight: 6,5t" "Weight in service: 8,6t" "Coal: 0,3t" "Water: 1,0m3" "Tested: 4.03" "Brakes: 4.03"

Out and about: on the downhill section approaching the station again

Motion close up, in B+W in an attempt to look artsy.

And a couple of videos of 'Springerle' powering up the hill at the top of the park. Notice the wheelslip in the second shot as she negotiates a sharp curve at the top of the hill...

Full speed ahead:
On the crossing: