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 www.architecturbedarf.de 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…