God is in the details

No dramatic progress on the modelling front, but I added air-hoses to my mineral wagons. Bought som nice castings for glad-hands from Andreas Schuster in Germany. They couple up using small magnets (1mm X 1mm). A nice touch!

bremseslanger_kisvogn

bremseslanger_kisvogn2

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Mystery Train

Mystery TrainAs far as I know, I am the only person modelling the Thamshavn Railway in 0-scale. But this interesting model is solid proof that I am not the first. This model of TB engine no. 7 was part of the estate after one of Norways most profilic modellers. But he is not the builder, he had himself inherited the model from an unknown modeller. So it is a complete mystery who built this model. It is probably built in the sixties or seventies. Even in the unfinished state the craftsmanship is very impressing. I am suspecting that the builder had a professional background in machining. The standard of the work is so high that I considered buying the model and completing it. But in the end I concluded that the model should be left as it is out of respect for our unknown collegue.

Time to launch another project

As the wooden mineral wagon is drawing to a conclusion, it is time to launch another project.
The subject this time is a steel mineral wagon from our favorite meter gauge railway. These steel wagons are sort of the signature wagons for this railway and I sometimes wonder why I did not tackle them first.

Many years ago (note the yelllowing styrene!) I tried to scratchbuild one, but this is as far as I got:

The hopper is not too shabby, but the underframe leaves something to be desired. And a competely scratchbuilt wagon is not the way to go as I (the superoptimist as always) want an entire train of them. At least 10 wagons.

So I am contemplating a resing casting for the hopper. The underframe will be etched parts as for the wooden wagon, but I will design a few brass castings to speed up construction.

If anyone have opinions on how to make a kit for this wagon, please feel free to comment!

Almost done!

My main project for the last two years has been a wooden mineral wagon to go with my Westinghouse engines. Two of  the wagons are now about 95% ready except painting, lettering and final weathering. Here is one of them:

The underframe is mainly built from etched parts, with some brass castings for the leaf springs and  journal boxes:

I really dread the painting of the underframe, but I just have to muster the courage…

Material vs. Virtual

To the great delight to the app. 2 readers of this blog, here comes the firs update of 2015. Fortunately, there is much more going on in the workshop than this blog reflects.

My modelling interest follow two main tangents, one is the Thamshavn railway in 0m and the other is NSB (Norwegian State Railway) in H0 scale at the local model railroad club.Lately, I am spending more and more time on the TB models. Thats just the way it is, and the reasons are proably not that interesting.

Just before christmas I received the etches for a chassis for a mineal wagon. A long time ago I ordered a batch of custom made wheels for these cars, so In time for the holiday season with the possibility of all nighters in the workshop I had a decent kit for this wagon. It might be a complicated kit with poor instructions, but it is very far from scratchbuilding. I think the difference between building a home made kit and scratchbuilding is quite big.

Underframe for mineral wagon. Etches by PPD ltd, custom made wheels by Erik Olsen

After spending countless evenings making the artwork for the etches is was nice to switch from the keyboard to the soldering iron. Suddenly all the theory is transfered into metallic reality. As on almost all etchings there are some errors, but on th whole the design have proven solid. It is extremly satisfying to erect a working chassis in a couple of evenings.

Underframe for Om wagon

I dont enjoy working on the computer that much, and the virtual models are totally uninteresting in themselves. It is only their potential for manifestating themselves in the material world that makes them interesting to me. I also like that even if the CAD drawings are essential for the etchings, there are very few traces of this digital heritage in the actual model. My modelling skills are sort of an analogue converter that adds quite a bit of “noise” to the finished result.

I dont want my models to be perfect. I want them to look like like they have been made by a craftsman (albeit maybe not a very good one).

But make no mistake, digital production techniques are essential to my modelling. I have already mentioned CAD artwork for etchings. 3D printing is another technique that are at the core of my models. But after a lot of testing I have focused much more on printing individual parts, and not entire models or even subassemblies. I also like to use the prints as masters for casting. Introducing extra stages in production and manually preparing and assemling castings removes the traces of the digital process. And I think it is interesting to use 21th century wax printing technology to make master for lost wax casting, a technique that is over 5000 years old.

Brass casting made from Solidcape wax masters.

Yes, you loose some prescision compared to printing resin parts directly, but in a way, thats the point. The prototypes for my rolling stock were built pre WWII when computers were still only a glimpse in Alan Turings eye. A high-tech feel to the models would not sit right with me.

In the same spirit, I want my models to reflect the materials of the prototype. Nickel-silver and brass to represent steel and cast iron. wood for wood when possible.

Wood & Metal: Test piece for wooden wagon body

As much as I admire the skills of plastic modellers, I still can not shake the feeling that even the best plastic model is 3D painting. Beauty is only skin deep. If the paint is chipped or scratched, the illusion is shattered.

My hope is that my models will not be ruined by a little wear and tear. Maybe you cold call it meta-weathering? Quasi-philosophy, I know. But what would a blog be without it?

First cuts

tb_skjaring_modell

In the last post I mentioned my first experiments in carving rocks for a TB diorama. Even if I am not entirely happy with the results, I thought it might be interesting to see the development of the scene. The rocks are first modelled in wet, but fairly firm plaster. When the plaster has set enough I change from spatulas to knives and chisels.

The rocks are not painted, I just mixed some black paint into plaster.

This work was done with rather little reference material, but I can not blame the results entirely on the lack of good pictures. But when you have the prototype within visiting distance, it is just stupid not to do some research.

Creating rocks this way is a rather subjective process with a certain artistic element. I think tou can compare it to drawing a landscape. You have to practise a lot, and trying to “paint by numbers” will just not cut it.

So I hope to share some better work with you in the not to distant future!

Field trip!

tb_landskap_w_16

Those that have read most of the posts on this blog have probably discovered that I divide my modelling time between the freelanced H0 layout of the TMJK, and my efforts to produce some bits and pieces of the Thamshavn Railway (Thamshavnbanen).

Recently I decided to try my hand at carving some plaster cuttings for a TB-diorama. You would think that after several trips to the TB I would have plenty of images showing rock faces along the right of way. So did I, but after a long search through my not very well organized collection of images I found very little. I plunged ahead anyway, but the results were not what I had hoped for.

Trying to imagine what cut rock really looks like is not easy, so I decided it was time for a field trip.

One of the attractions of the TB is that it is just under a hours drive from where I live. If the mood strikes I can just grab my camera, notebook, yardstick and head out.
So last sunday I just left the lawn uncut and headed for the Orkla valley.

I really enjoy hiking along the old right of way, even if the the TB is an operating museum there is almost no activity along the track. So I could explore some of the cuttings undisturbed, except for a few very curious salmon fishermen!

A couple of hours later I could head home with more than 200 reference photos and a nice tan.
So now I have no excuses for not getting those rocks right!