Faller did a good job with making the building walls look realistic with that dirty look, but I've always hated the white plastic windows so I re-painted them tan. This time, I used Tamiya's AS line of aircraft paint color schemes instead of their TS.
Two more post offices are on order and I'm hopeful that Faller re-releases their discontinued town houses in the near future to complete my city centre. Although the architectural style is different, I thought I could simulate a Parisian feel by showing the contrast between the oxidized copper on the larger structures with the slate roofs of the residential buildings. I managed to assemble this post office last night. Hopefully the other structures go as quick.
There were many nights I felt like Alice falling down a rabbit hole with no way of getting out. But I was committed and bound to see it through. However, instead of chasing a white rabbit, I was chasing a white elephant. Those unfamiliar with the term, a white elephant is something expensive to maintain or upkeep. The kings of Siam used to bestow upon obnoxious courtiers a white elephant with the intent of financially ruining the recipient through the animal's expensive upkeep. However, in my situation, it was self inflicted and the cost was the heavy toll on my health to build this monstrosity. There were many nights of inhaling fumes from solvent or dust from all the sanding. I underestimated the effort to build my bridge which is more or less based on the Hohenzollernbrücke (Hohenzollern Bridge) in Köln (Cologne).
While doing research on the bridge, I discovered that it was the Nazis who blew it up while retreating from the Allied assault on Köln in World War II. Looking at the old archive pictures, I had always assumed it was destroyed by Allied aerial bombs. You can see the destroyed bridge in the background. In fact, most of Köln was destroyed. The photograph posted here was taken from the public domain which originated from the military archives. For more photos, check out this link, at Dierk's page. It is hard to fathom that as a species, we are capable of creating something so beautiful and yet also be so destructive. In retrospect, it was appropriate to name my fictitious layout on the two Norse mythological places known as the Realm of Fire and the Abode of Mists. Muspelheim and Niflheim, respectively.
After the fiasco of my previous attempt at constructing a tubular arched bridge, I had to re-think my plans for the module. Naively I elected to pursue a more complicated bridge design. No wonder it's taking me forever to finish this layout. I started this structure just before Christmas. It took almost two months hunched over the workbench, measuring, cutting, sanding, gluing and lots of squinting to complete this bridge. All in all, I'm very happy with the results of my effort. But if you were to ask me to do it again, my response would be the same as Sigourney Weaver's character in Galaxy Quest when asked to walk through the chompers. Her reply was, "Well screw that!". Although if you look at her lips, that's not what she really said, which I had yelled out many times during this two month ordeal. The bridge was made possible by much cursing and the creation of a jig, which went through several iterations. The previous iterations of the jig were rejected for aesthetic reasons. My first arch design was too high and looked wrong from a scale perspective. I accidentally over-engineered the second iteration with thicker plastic pieces. I finally settled on the third iteration. It's not perfect, but my vision couldn't withstand another iteration. I'm starting to appreciate why modelers in my age category have switched over to HO scale. I'll likely paint the structure, but that will have to wait until spring when I can do that outside. I plan to match the green oxidized copper patina that I currently have on the roof of my station and cathedral. This will give the modules cohesion and a consistent look. Now I just need to correct my hunched-over posture and cross eyed vision before my friends start calling me Igor.
Here are some pictures taken during the construction.
I finally got to test my interchange module. Here's a video of the first run using my new power switch. I'm pretty happy with the results.
During setup, I discovered why Kato sells separate packages of rail joiners. As I was connecting and re-connecting track, the metal piece broke off a few of the rail joiners. You can see the missing metal piece in the track situated on the right side in the picture. Fortunately, I had purchased extra rail joiners and was able to replace them. The blue plastic is used to remove the joiner from the track.
The reason for connecting and re-connecting the unitrack was that I had finished my platform for the city overhead station. The construction of this platform went fairly quick. However, I made it too long and consequently both ends of the platform were too close to the S curves. I had forgotten about clearance so when I ran my train through the station for the first time, it was rubbing against the corners of the platform. Boy did I feel dumb! So I had to shorten the platform and moved the S curves further away from the platform. A mitre box and hacksaw certainly came in handy for this, but it wasn't pretty.
Unfortunately, not all of my modeling is as successful as my platform doh! I also worked on the bridge module. I wanted to construct a contemporary looking arch for the bridge. I decided to use styrene tubes that I thought I could bend. The Evergreen styrene tubes only came in lengths of 24" so I extended them by placing an insert inside to connect two 24" lengths together. I thought that if I had a long enough insert I could bend the tube without fear of breaking. I remembered my platform arches had become brittle after applying solvent to them, but I thought I could avoid this problem with more plastic to reinforce the structure. How wrong I was. I applied some weight at the centre of the tube and used a hair dryer to warm up the styrene. As soon as the styrene became warm, it broke exactly at the spot where the solvent was applied. So it's back to the drawing board for the bridge.
What with having to shorten the platform because I forgot about clearance and the shattered remnants of a bridge gone wrong, I was feeling pretty miserable. So I thought some retail therapy might cheer me up and picked up the Minitrix LINT train set. Despite some setbacks this month, I'm pretty happy with the progress I've made and I gained more knowledge about modeling. Hopefully this renewed interest in trains will continue through to December. Now if only I could figure out what to do about that damn bridge.