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A Visit to Noch - Part 2

Julian Lilley

JULIAN LILLEY tells us about a visit to Noch last year.

Noch Visit

Following on from our history lesson last issue, we now look back at our visit last August.

We stayed in a delightful, typically German small hotel, within a kilometre of Noch's head office and factory complex. After the usual continental breakfast, we were greeted by Dr Rainer Noch and were chauffeured to his headquarters! On arrival we were introduced to all of the staff in the office.

We were then given a whistle-stop tour of the factory starting in the large preformed layout department.

There is a wide range, some of which can be supplied almost ready to go with your choice of track. The "landscape" is a plastic formed model, installed on a stable varnished wooden frame and covered with grass. The tunnel portals and the assembly openings are milled-out. Most can have additional extensions and an under-board fiddle yard if you want to go the "whole hog".

Noch Visit

A HO Scale layout board after fitting out.

Noch Visit

An N Scale layout board after fitting out

Noch Visit

For the ultimate space saving layout, a wooden baseboard designed to fit in an aluminium frame allowing you to create an under-board fiddle yard for locomotive storage.

Noch Visit

The various moulds for the extensive range of layouts.

Noch Visit

The team watch on as a layout is being formed.

Noch Visit

The operator adjusts the heat where dense moulding is needed.

Noch Visit

"Ground control to Major Tom..."

Noch Visit

Layout boards by type, complete with wooden frames.

Noch Visit

Layouts which have been primed awaiting paint detail and flock to be applied.

Noch Visit

Glue being applied where grass is needed, before being worked on by the flocking machine.

Noch Visit

How the board looks after the grass is applied.

Noch Visit

Well packed completed layout boards ready for shipping around the world.

In the same room the finishing of the layouts was taking place, the train sets for the person who has everything were being constructed.

If you go away somewhere you need not give up your beloved hobby, thanks to Noch's briefcase layouts. Packed in a strong metal travel briefcase in a miniature form that works anywhere, these small charming layouts can accompany you on every trip.

They include a high-quality electronic control consisting of a speed regulator a direction regulator and a plug-in power supply/battery pack.

Noch Visit

The electrics being installed to the Interlaken Z Scale briefcase set - yours for £ 2,600, locos and rolling stock extra.

Next, we were shown the hard foam production room where everything from HOe tunnel portals to Ziterdes wargaming accessories are made. To ensure the high definition in the finished product the moulds are used no more than 50 times before being replaced.

Noch Visit

Mould being prepared for the hard foam viaduct pictured here.

As we approached the grass flocking production area more staff in space style headgear (to prevent them breathing in the fine fibres) appeared. In every room in which flock is used there is apparatus in the ceiling producing a very fine spray of water.

On one side of the room there were three large mixing drums, where specific dyes are added to the uncoloured flock to produce the many different grass and foliage colours available in the Noch range.

On the other side were huge rolls of matting, it was like being in a carpet warehouse. I counted at least seven different shades of green to suit all requirements.

Noch Visit

Grass flock in production.

Noch Visit

Anyone need some grass matting and ballast for a large layout?

We then left the old part of the complex and went into the new block that housed all their new high-tech equipment. There were some very exciting projects they were developing, but they are too secret at this stage to film and report back on.

What I can say is that Noch are a massive innovator in bringing realistic laser cut buildings and accessories to our hobby.

Noch Visit

The designer takes details from pictures of the original building and produces scale plans, which in turn results in a parts list. Instructions are then sent to the laser printer to produce the kit which builds into the model seen here in Dr Rainer's hands.

At a touch of a button it can be changed to whatever scale is required.

Noch Visit

One of the laser cutting machines producing one of the hundreds of laser cut accessories.

As mentioned in the previous article, the Noch figure range has become one of the most popular in the industry, and covers HO, N, O, TT, and Z Scales.

Noch Visit

The new O Scale figure range, which were released at the end of 2019.

What, No Chocolate!

Noch Visit

Before the end of our tour we walked passed a stack of the largest Advent calendars I have ever seen. Each "day" on the calendar comprises of parts to make a complete Christmas Market scene in OO/HO. Even the plastic tray the parts were housed in would make a great bits box after the set had been made. At the time of going to press it may be too late to give one as a present (unfortunately so... -Ed), but with no sell-by-date it will keep until next year!

Noch Visit

Appropriately, we finished our tour in the warehouse and despatch distribution centre.

In 2015 Noch installed the latest state of the art automated warehouse. The new construction of Hall 3 and the installation of the automatic warehouse was the highest investment in their company's history.

Noch Visit

Part of the automated racking prior to being stocked.

Noch Visit

These pictures show the very clever and intuitive automated packing process and the only human visible in the whole area at that time (does that include the photographer? -Ed).

A light lunch was served from the local deli followed by a lengthy but stimulating Sales meeting covering many subjects, including Noch's first official attendance of the Warley Show at the NEC in Birmingham.

Noch Visit

In the evening we were taken to the island of Lindau to a delightful restaurant serving traditional German food and of course alcohol. Overlooking its most famous landmark of the harbour entrance with its Bavarian lion, lighthouse and spectacular backdrop of Lake Constance and mountains, where these pictures were taken.

Noch Visit

Lindau's old town is located on the 170-acre island itself. It is the second-largest island on Lake Constance after Reichenau. The town has centuries-old buildings, historic squares and is set in Bavaria's most south-easterly corner.

Noch Visit

Amongst the buildings is their Town Hall, unfortunately it was too dark, and I had probably to many of the local brew to appreciate its splendour! However, it can be seen in a beautiful HO/OO kit by Faller.

Day Two

The main purpose of our second day was product training. This was a very hands on and interesting day where we covered the benefits and how to use /make:

1. The Gras-Master 2.0 flocking machine.

2. Creating water effects using various Noch products.

3. Constructing laser card building kits.

4. General scenic accessorising.

5. Creating your own trees.

Noch Visit

Dr. Rainer introducing the product training session with Matt and Warren looking on.

The room was neatly laid out with all the equipment we would need including a Noch branded apron with waist ties that even managed to go around my girth, much to my surprise!

We then had the challenging task of replicating their chief modelmakers work. Having never used the Gras-Master before, and being ultra-competitive, I listened to every syllable he said in order to try and gain an edge over my colleagues.

Using a small preformed hard foam base, we first made a small pond. Noch's Artificial Water is a one-part liquid that can be easily applied using a hairdryer and sets quickly. If a mistake is made, it can be reworked by heating again.

After a coffee break, allowing the pond to harden, we were then shown how to use their flocking machine.

The pictures below shows how easy it is to use.

Noch Visit

Noch's chief modelmaker Karl-Heinz Echteler demonstrating how easy it is to use the Gras-Master 2.0.

I will go into more detail on this wonderful tool in a future issue but for now, being a salesman, I can't resist listing its key selling point

The advantages of the Gras-Master 2.0 for perfect model landscaping:

- Super strong: Perfect electrostatic grass covering with 20,000 Volt at a low current flow.

- Versatile: Ideal for the electrostatic application of extra-long grass fibres, which cannot be achieved by many similar products.

- Practical: Quick working and easy to use thanks to its ergonomic design.

- Independent: With the use of batteries you can work everywhere on your model landscape.

- Flexible: Thanks to 3 metal sieves, all popular grass fibres lengths can be used including 12mm which really gives your scene extra depth and realism.

Noch Visit
Noch Visit

My finished model made in just a few hours - as an inexperienced scenic modeller I was proud of it. No, I did not pinch the Karl-Heinz's one for the photos!

Noch Visit

Sonja Bernhard from Noch demonstrating the benefits of the new Gras Master at Warley in November 2018.

After giving our thanks for their excellent hospitality we returned to the UK the following day via Munich.

Noch Visit

Once back in the UK, our Southern Area Rep Kevin gave other Gaugemaster staff a training session on how to use Noch scenics.

Hopefully I have whetted your appetite to look in more detail of one of the world's leading model scenic accessory manufacturers. The new 2019/2020 Noch Catalogue, with lots of tips and ideas to make your layout or diorama special.

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