Branchline Station Model Design & Building

This station model was basically influenced by the Dover cardboard structure kits. I purchased one for my daughter, and discovered that they look really well from a certain distance. I discovered that their nice appearance is achieved by the well visible outlines and the colors. Thus I decided to apply a similar technology. I made a CAD drawing about the building, and printed it using a laser printer on white and colored paper. In order to avoid plain-looking walls, I decided to make the doors separately and glue them behind the doorframe. The same was not neccessary with the windows as they are mounted on front of the window frame on the prototype too.

The Design

Unfortunately at the time of the design I had no original plan or layout available that had dimensions indicated. Being in wintertime I also had no courage to travel and look for a still existing station building to measure it. (anyway it would have been difficult to explain the railway people why I want to measure their station). I had however several old pictures about all classes of the branchline stations. As mentioned in the history section, all classes had the same basic sizes and appereance, just the additional wings were different.

I took the door height and window sizes and used them as basis for measuring the other dimensions. The other presumption was that the designers tried to round the basic sizes to 10cm resolution: it is not very likely in the metric world that a wall is 763.6cm long: it is rather 760cm. I made a large table about all important dimensions and filled in the results of the different picture measurements. Most of them were similar, some of them very different. I omitted these outstanding values considering them as measurement errors and took the average of the others, rounded to 10cm resolution.

This worked quite well. Long time later I had the opportunity to compare my data to the original ground plan, and most dimensions were correct. The only major difference is that I estimated the building's length to 10m, indeed it is 11m. This error was probably the result of the perspectivic distortion. I don't think it is a serious error, as this station building, that is a rather small prototype, seems to be quite large as model.

A particular problem was that according the pictures the window on the ground floor had different sizes than the other windows, it was some 8-10% narrower. Thus I designed a narrower window, but indeed ot is hard to believe to be correct: in these buildings everything was standardized. It is not very likely that the designers defined two standard windows having only slightly different dimensions.

The CAD drawing

Using the dimensions a CAD drawing was madeStation drawing minipic. The windows and doors are defined as blocks, and this way it was easy to place them on the walls. The roof is covered by tiles. This was made in full size, this was used for the laser printing. For the drawing it was shrunk in its vertical dimension. The chimneys and gutters were only added to the "presentation drawing", they aren't needed on the print. Also the roof was omitted from the laser print as it could cover wall parts behind.

The Colors

Most Hungarian station buildings were yellow, the hue that is called "Eszterházy-yellow", as the Eszterházy Lords painted all buildings on all their lands to this color. It was a popular color, and MÁV - although they had nothing to do with the Eszterházys - used this color everywhere. The cornerstones were white, if not originally, they were painted white. The door and window frames as well as the gutters were painted either dark green or dark brown. The chimneys were "natural" dirty bricks, with a concrete cover on the top. The roof tiles were usually grey.

The Printing

After searching in paper shops I found a colored paper with a similar shade of yellow as the building was. I also bought grey paper for the roof.

I printed the CAD drawings on yellow paper and on several white ones. The roof tile texture was printed on grey paper.

The assembly

Station model during assembly minipicAfter printing both the yellow wall prints and the roof print was glued on a cardboard, and cut out. The door openings were cut out as well, but the windows remained. The cardboard possessed overhanging parts that allowed to glue the structure together. Before this however the cardboard was braced inside in order to avoid warping. The horizontal fluting between the storeys - probably made from plaster on the prototype - was made from thick cardboard. This is not a nice solution indeed, but to make it from plaster or wood would have required much more efforts.

The cornerstones at the building edges and around the doors and windows were cut out from white paper. The door edges were glued on place immediately. The window cornerstones were cut out together with the windows. The window sills and frames and the doors were colored using a thin green pen. The windows were glued simply on the walls, for the doors frames were made from matches, and they were colored to white, and lined using a very thin pen, thus they look like the continuation of the cornerstones. After this the doors were glued from the back.

The walls were glued step-by-step. First the side walls on the front, and later the back to both sidewalls. The building cornerstone column was cut out from white paper. The stones of two connecting sidewalls are made from one piece of paper. After cutting out and glied to the corners this covers the wall joints. The white paper cornerstones were designed a bit larger than those on the building drawing in order they always cover the lines printed on the yellow paper of the walls.

Branchline station model minipicThe roof tile structure was printed on grey paper, but this looked pale and unnaturel. Thus I mixed two shadows of grey color, one lighter than the roof paper and one darker. I painted a few tiles randomly darker and lighter. The effect is quite impressive.


The Chimney

Some time before building the station I made experiments with Latex molds. I made a mold of a "brick wall", using a Faller plastic brick wall model. The mold itself is a good tool to make brick buildings, but the Latex mold is not really flat, thus these buildings' walls will be rather "bumpery", as they would be made by a drunken bricklayer.

They are however well suited to make a chimney. I made a cover structure from brass, that allowed to cast four chimney walls with 90 degree back cut, that make a quarter of a chimney. When the plaster castsings were ready, I glued them together with white glue and added the chimney cap to the top. One has to take care when glueing that the slots between the brick layers on the corners should be aligned. Of course this is only possible to do perfectly on three corners out of the four.

The chimney walls were painted to siena red using drybrushing technology. This way the brick grooves remain white, only the top of the bricks get the color. Some bricks were colored differently as it is usual in real buildings. The cover was painted grey, and after drying black inl wash was applied showing the "soot rests".

When the chimney was ready, I cut a square opening on the roof, and glued the chimney in position.

The Gutters

The gutters aren't easy to make. The vertical pipes are from copper wire, while the horizontal channels are still unmounted. Perhaps they will be made from plastic tube or brass tube, but this later has too thick walls for this purpose.

The Name

"Vértescsaba" is a phantasy name. "Vértes" is a mountain in Hungary. There are several villages around these mountains having "Vértes" in their names, like Vérteskozma, Vértesacsa and Vértesszöllös, this later with a small station on the Budapest-Vienna mainline.

"Csaba" is a Hungarian name, actually my son 's name is Csaba too. There are several Hungarian villages containing this name, like Piliscsaba in the Pilis mountains or the larger city Békéscsaba on the Hungarian Plain.

"Vértescsaba" does not exist, but it could - this would be a very typical combination. Just as the model: it has no prototype, but a typical Hungarian Branchline 3rd class station building.

Future Plans

Although the building is almost ready, it would be interesting to extend it to form a small station diorama. One could add a wooden gallery, as this was usual hundred years ago, and some of the "standard" add-ons of a station: a well, wooden outhouse, a small store and lamps. All these were standardized components, and well visible on old pictures. Perhaps a next Christmas vacation project.

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This page was updated last time on 9th June 1998
© János Erö