Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Small Steps

Current progress is slow, frustratingly so, but I’ve at least managed to paint the wagons so they look a bit more like the real thing. I’ve managed to get a bit of weathering and texture on a couple as well, but they are crying out for some rust to be added at some point.

As there is unlikely to be any progress on the box file this week the MFO staff say they'll try and get the couplings fitted and the Körschtalbahn wood wagon finished. Don’t hold your breath...

Storage Problems

With Westerooge falling behind schedule the test track at the Maschinenfabrik Ostfildern is getting severely cluttered at the moment, so the staff are having to adopt new storage methods to fit everything in.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The High Tech MFO spray shop

Newly installed painting equipment at MFO.
Heady stuff, especially before someone opened a window...

The Maschienenfabrik Ostfildern is proud to announce the opening of a new high-tech eco-friendly spray booth, made entirely of recycled materials found lying around the workbench. The wagon seen resting on the paint stand (found after a long search in the wood bin) is the high-capacity wood wagon being built for the Körschtalbahn. This has waited for about two months for the MFO staff to finally get organised, and had to be dusted before it was painted…

The stock for Westerooge is also primed and ready for painting up into their future work-worn state, so construction could finally commence.

Meik said it was the wrong shade of grey.

The wagons on Monday evening.
The MFO say they 'got a bit more done'
since then and promise to post pictures
as soon as possible...

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Island or Hallig?

Ockelützwarft, Hallig Hooge. The land in the foreground is flooded during spring tides. The houses are clustered on the small hill or Warft to keep them above sea level. Source: Wikipedia.

In my last post I was muttering about changing Westerooge from a deserted nature reserve to an inhabited island. I still like the idea of the nature reserve, but I’ve realised that for a whole host of reasons, one with people is probably easier to start with. I wasn’t going to make a plan until the track arrived, but I was getting distracted by ideas for the next project which I’ll inflict on you sometime, and I wanted to focus on the box file a bit. I sketched out an idea on the Gimp, which I'll inflict on you as well.

Here was my dilemma though: should it be an Island or a Hallig? A Hallig is a very low-lying patch of land, just barely above the sea, and left over from the days when the sea destroyed the coast in the Middle Ages. Instead of being ringed by dykes they are left open to flooding while any houses stand on a man-made hill, called a Warft, which keeps them just above the waves at spring tide. Thats a very rough definition anyway. For a more in-depth definition and history of these places, have a look here.

Luttmoorsiel-Nordstrandischmoor railway looking towards the Halligen in the distance.
Source: Wikipedia

In some ways the two Hallig railways are more interesting because they are the only connection to the mainland and the locals all have their own little railcars. They –the railways that is- are also flooded when there is a spring tide. And there was the problem: I wanted a building, and you don’t build those on flood plains. On the other hand, a building, however small, would dominate the model, so I’m going with Westerooge as a Hallig. No buildings but plenty of open space. Well… sort of.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


I’ve got no modelmaking done so far this weekend, nor am I likely to as I’m working most of today and tomorrow, I’m waiting for some bits like track that I’ve ordered, and I managed to forget the money I needed to buy spray primer on Thursday.

So I’m mostly planning and ‘imagineering’ right now, and trying to figure out how to make Westerooge fit into a boxfile. I’ve been playing a bit with different combinations, but none seems to have fitted as yet, partly because I’m finding it hard to combine my goal of having a spacious model, and an interesting one to operate. I’ve also been wondering how to make it clear that this is a modern railway. I’ve been looking through collected photographs and ideas, and realised that with the ‘uninhabited island’ there is nothing that can date the layout in the present day, and also that what really interests me is how the railway interacts with people and the landscape around it. This is making me wonder if I should relax a bit and allow the island to be inhabited or maybe even have a link to the mainland. This would give me the chance to have a road across one part of the station and perhaps some signs dotted about, so a viewer can get an idea of the scale of the trains. I’ll keep doodling.

I’ve not forgotten the Körschtalbahn either: I’m keeping Growler 1 on the shelf by my desk, and occasionally working on stock even though it is going to be a while before I can actually build a layout in 0-16,5. I had a bit of a clearout a while back, and rediscovered those two Hornby chassis I had lurking away so I’ve been doodling ideas for them too. I’d really like to get them wired together and running vaguely reliably, because I’m still dreaming of of having my own Krokodil…

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Layout inna box

Westerooge continues to develop and I'm confronted with the problem of how to get a feeling of wide open spaces in a box file. The best solution I can come up with is to make everything very simple, so my plan is to play about with one set of points and a couple of bits of track until I get a combination which seems to work, and then start building.

It also occured to me that don’t know what to use as an exit point. Westerooge is an uninhabited island, so it’s not like there’s a convenient café to hide the fiddle yard behind, nor are there any bridges, pipes or even large trees. I think the most likely solution is a dune or a dyke with a gap for the trains, and then a ramshackle workshop to serve for small repairs, a few more rolling dunes and if I'm feeling brave, just a hint of the North Sea on the backscene...

Maybe I'll just say it's foggy that morning and paint it grey...

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Train of thought…

The picture above shows the extent of this weekend’s progress: I've adapted 7 wagons from the Black Dog Mining Co. to take DG couplings and glued underframes to bodies. I’ll put the couplings on after I spray the wagons with primer, which will be after I get some primer, probably on Thursday as I’m teaching English near the hardware shop then.

I guess I should have some belated new year resolutions here, so I can check in December and be reminded of them, but with Middle Son still doing the ‘King Kong’ impressions up the shelf, I don’t know when I’ll be able to start on ‘Sägewerk Pfeifle’ –especially as his smaller brother is already claiming the high ground on the Sofa, so he’ll be climbing anything with a foothold in a couple of months, so I doubt the model will be safe in the near future. On the other hand ‘Westerooge’ is moving along if a bit slowly, and if I follow my plan to keep it in a box file it should be safe from small fingers (and teeth) so track permitting, this will probably be the main project for the year.

I’m also hoping to go and see a few other railways, especially local Narrow Gauge lines, as there is a lot of the local area that is accessible by rail, the most civilised transport form, and I’ve not had a good look at it, and as I have a railcard offering a 25% discount it’d be silly not to use it more, so I’ll aim to be taking lots of pictures and I’ll inflict my stories on you all as well.

But then, “The Körschtalbahn” is a bit redundant as a blog name if I’m going to be writing more about prototype railways, and the model I am building this year is based on the North Sea coast, so to reflect all these changes, I’m changing the title -for now at least- to the broader “Railway Misadventures”. I’ll see if I like it enough to keep it…

The Körschtalbahn still remains my first interest though, so I doubt I’ll be able to stop working on buildings and stock for Sägewerk Pfeifle, ready for the day when the smaller persons are less prone to try and eat it…