by: Frederick Boucher [ ]
Vollmer Därligen Bahnhof
Size: 345 mm (13.6") x 135mm (5.3") x 150 mm (5.9")
IntroductionModel railroaders love train stations, whether for freight or passengers. Judging from the different kits available, European model railroaders must really love them. While Americans had just a relatively few station and depot kits to choose from, European model companies seem to be trying to mold every station (Bahnhof) standing. Vollmer of Germany is one of the giants of European prototype model makers and this kit of the alpine station at Därligen, Switzerland, demonstrates why Vollmer models are so popular.
VollmerFounded by Wolfram Vollmer in 1946, Vollmer entered the model railway model arena in 1949 with a catenary. Vollmer is known for producing high quality exclusive and true scale models.
Därligen PrototypeThe original railway station is on the BLS route Bern-Lötchenberg-Simplon near Därligen. Därligen is a municipality in the Interlaken-Oberhasli administrative district in the canton of Bern in Switzerland. Därligen lies in the Bernese Oberland at the south shore of Lake Thun. The town is located at the lakeshore at the mouth of the Aare River canal, while the municipality reaches to the Därliggrat ridge. The city is served by electrified 15kV SBB (Swiss Federal Railways). Därligen bahnhof sets on a double track curve. Of a dual passenger and freight layout, two-story design typical of the era, it is an attractive station.
Därligen ModelVollmer pack their models in a heavyweight card two-piece boxes with sharp full color photographs of the model “in action” on a layout. The sturdy box is packed full of heavy sprues of parts. The 16 sprues and large individual pieces are molded in color, including a clear sprue. A printed paper sheet of light blocks, signs and markings are provided. Large newsprint instruction sheets in the exploded parts format guide you through the assembly process. It is “old school” in that it lists the parts but does not show diagrams of sprues, as has become fashionable over the years.
Vollmer molds their detail to a high quality. The parts are textured with fine grain on exposed wood, a rough texture on stucco, chiseled effect for the stone, etcetera. I forgot to look at the date molded on the parts so I don’t know when it was kitted. Overall molding quality is high although the parts suffer from seam lines, ejector marks, and some flash and sink marks. These are ignorable on the larger structure parts but they mar the smaller detail pieces, such as the window panes, water fountain, gutters, etc. The clear pieces have a slight haze or distortion to them. Modelers can easily fix this with acetate or, due to the many individual panes, a product like Micro Scale Krystal Klear.
The plastic is thick, neither brittle nor soft. That IS good because most of the attachment points between the sprue and parts are robust. You probably need not dull your sprue cutter on most of the building parts although I would snip off the window and guttering parts.
The hefty structure is mounted upon an equally stout base. It features molded detail such as tile, paving, dirt, gravel, and foundational items. One drawback to the design may be that no floor is molded. The base inside the building walls is open. While the building does not feature any interior detail except for some levers, the only real impediment to adding some are the window inserts, they are quite thick. However, unless you modify a window or door to display open, a very thick exterior wall will probably not be noticed.
Building the bahnhof is straightforward. All of those windows do afford some view inside the bahnhof and many modelers enjoy lighting their interior. Vollmer addresses the fact that most model bulbs shine through plastic kit walls: Vollmer includes a sheet of preprinted black light shields that are sized and shaped to conform to the interior walls. More on this in the decals section.
DetailsQuite a lot of detail is engineered into this model. Most is surface detail. The lumber has exaggerated (for HO) wood grain. It looks good to me. Doors and shutters are not smooth exteriors; they simulate the crossed board design common to doors of the style and era. Perhaps the interior frames of the window panes are too thick. It would be a bear to file these down. Some modelers cut them out and replace them with scale styrene or wood stock.
Individual separate detail parts are a two-piece water pump fountain, shovels, some cargo boxes and sacks, benches, and baggage cart. The cart parts are over scale. The only interior details are the several interlocking levers controlling signaling and track switches. They occupy the station master’s otherwise undetailed office.
Painting and Decals While Vollmer molded the parts in color and you do not need to paint it, some weathering and matte finish will improve the appearance. A few molded odds and ends could use some paint. Recent photographs show the shutters and trim to be more olive that the deep green of the kit.
The decals are not decals. Typical of European model railroad manufacturers the ‘decals’ are preprinted paper clocks, signs, window curtains, etc., without any film or adhesive backing. In the past these can be used convincingly. Just go easy with the adhesive or it bleeds through and affects the ink. The paper is neither gloss nor matte, and touching the printed items left a slight gritty feel on my fingers. Again, I did not notice when this model was kitted, and I have not seen a recent railroad structure model from a German model maker. Hopefully they are improving kit signs and markings.
ConclusionVollmer puts a good deal of effort into their models and Därligen bahnhof is an attractive model of an attractive train station. It features plenty of detail. The pieces are heavy and resist damage. While most of the surface and accessory detail is molded, a few separate parts are provided. You do not need to paint it. Most parts suffer seam lines and some molding marks, and small pieces are over scale. The “decals” are not decals in the common use of the term, rather printed images on a magazine quality paper. Thick window frames and clear panes will hamper any attempt at adding scale interior walls.
This can build into a pleasing model with little effort. Recommended!
Remember to tell vendors and manufacturers that you saw their product here – on ModelRailRoading!
Click here for additional images for this review.