Wednesday, November 24, 2010
De Hazelpoort 1927 - A Dutch masterpiece
Every so often a model railway layout comes along that is inspired. Such is the case with Loek Bronkhurst's model "De Hazelpoort 1927". All weekend at the NEC it was difficult to get a decent look such were the crowds around it.
Perseverance paid off though as the scene in front of you is fantastic.
The model doesn't sound that exciting. There is a viaduct under which runs a steam tramway. Trains process across the higher level and trams trundle along the lower one. At around 4 feet long it's not a huge model and this partly explains the crowds since you can't spread very far along it. The staging is great as the baseboard is very deep for its length and the scene is contained in a box so you have to look at the front.
Although the standard of model making is extremely high, what excited the crowds were the cyclists. Real, working, HO scale cyclists. They cycled along the road and rough the bend, little legs pumping the pedals for all they were worth. The pedals are driven by clear disks and the riders lower limbs are brilliantly jointed. The bike is dragged along by a belt under the road with a magnet attracting little bits of steel which keep it vertical. Loek had to remove a rider at one point as it had stopped and he kindly demo'd the tiny model on a bit of card.
All this was great but once I looked through the end of the model I spotted another clever feature. The trains don't work as normal model ones but are attached to an endless ribbon which drags them along the track. At the end they simply roll over a bit pulley at each end. The view is most odd as you can see from the video below. I was allowed inside the barrier to get a better look and it's amazing. The train travels upside down under the length of the layout until it returns to the start point. OK, the variety of rolling stock the visitor gets to see is limited, but then this is a "watching the scene" model and not a serious operational one.
And I want to build one.