poking gravel

Well, it’s been a while, but here I am again! Custom plague-mask and all!

Lately work on the layout itself pretty much came to a halt as I was mostly busy working on the most important part of any steelworks layout fleet: the ballast tamper. Indeed, priorities-wise I have not learned a single thing after the electronics store.

A while ago I stumbled upon a picture of Cockerill-Sambre’s own ballast tamper, a plasser & theurer plassermatic 07-275 turnout tamper. It looked rather similar to an old Liliput model although that’s a mainline machine (the difference being mostly in the actual machinery, a mainline machine would work 2 sleepers at a time with somewhat simplified machinery to speed up progress while a turnout machine does 1 sleeper but with a lot more bells and whistles. Cockerill-sambre opted for the latter, which I think makes sense for industrial trackwork with lots of curves and turnouts)

Initially the idea was for a quick rebuild of one of those delicious bits of yellow liliput plastic. Anyone with some degree of modelling experience can already see where this is going.

The original delicious liliput plastic. Little did I know what was to come. Well, actually I did.

After a quick round of googling for plassermatics it became clear they were of course all different (who could have seen that coming) and after a bit more poking around I found some pictures of the actual Cockerill-Sambre machine, which was apparently still around and ended up at the chemin de fer du Bocq, a rather lovely museum railway in the south of belgium. http://www.cfbocq.be

I got in contact with some folks from this museum railway, got told it was possible to come and take some pictures of the machine, so after a roadtrip with Daniel (of Grube Carolus Magnus fame, do check out his stuff if you don’t know it already: https://www.facebook.com/carolusmagnus1911) we arrived in Spontin where the machine was put outside of the shed for me and I could take all the pictures I wanted. Thanks again to all involved!

So there it was, in all its glory! Click the pic for my flickr album.

Cleverly I didn’t take the opportunity for taking some measurements as I figured the dimensions of the liliput model would be mostly correct (of course this was not the case, the liliput model being about 9 mm too long) and it would just be a matter of changing the middle bit and adding loads of detail. Wellll, let’s say, after some cad-work trying to figure the thing out it was soon clear this would be one of “those” projects and the quick modification of some cheap old liliput would actually turn into scratchbuilding the whole thing, keeping cabs and bogies of the liliput model so I could later be a smartass at shows when people ask about this model “oh, uh, yeah, just a modified liliput, you probably got one sitting in a box somewhere as well” but actually it would have made more sense to just make these new anyway. Oh well.

Meanwhile CAD-work on everything in between the cabs continued… Blue parts 3D-prints, white parts cnc-milled styrene sheet

Oh, did I mention the model was just going to be a rolling model to be shifted around with one of the locomotives of which I have too many anyway and it would have only a few lights on it to spice it up a bit?

Oh no.

Well, now with some sketchy 1 powered axle drive mechanism whistled together (I couldn’t fit some proper power since on the cockerill machine most of the engine covers are missing, making it very much a see through thing with about zero space to hide anything) work could start in earnest. First I assembled the cnc-milled frame parts and got to enjoy hiding a ton of wiring for all the LEDs in this very open structure and then caused some diplomatic trouble with the southern neighbours by treating myself to a completely inappropriate combination of beer (in the wrong kind of glass) and snacks.

Now all of this seemed to be working fine it was just a matter of uh… adding stuff, basically. It’s pretty much impossible to figure out every single hydraulic pipe but I sure made an attempt at a lot of them. I drew up some etched steps, ladders and other stuff to finish it all off…

Then splashed some paint on…

Then after some weathering I pretty much considered it finished for now. Still needs some decals which will be added in the future, along with some additional tools and junk and maybe more figures (it does have a driver but that’s all)

And some videos of the thing having a little run around ougree

So… hopefully, with this project mostly out of the way, normal layout work will resume!

that’s it for now, hope you enjoyed it!


4 thoughts on “poking gravel

  1. Floris, you’ve outdone yourself again. I would probably need the rest of my life for such a masterpiece. And no, I’m not 90 years old yet. In truth, I would never do something like that. I bow reverently to the west 🙂 Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

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