Man what an exciting episode this was, and what a twist at the end say. The result really came as a thunderbolt to everyone, because quite frankly; we were really convinced that we could go for the win this time. Unfortunately, things went a little differently in judging. I’ll be sure to elaborate on the judging and the effect it had for us later in the blog. But first we start at the beginning. Last time, we were allowed to advance to the next round by the heels.

And we learned quite a bit from that, too. We realized we underestimated the competition. With only two days to go before the filming of this episode, we referred the theme back to the drawing board. To be at the start with a model layout that would radiate Dutch Glory on all sides. When we think of Dutch Glory, we have asked ourselves the question of what we as Hollanders can now be so proud of. And then, of course, you end up with our export products like cheese. So this is where we wanted to focus, with the cheese market at the center. The story starts with a train transporting the farmer’s milk to the Dairy. After the cheese is produced, it will be delivered to the cheese market where the product will be traded.

But the Netherlands is not just cheese, our water management is also something we excel at in the Netherlands. Two striking items from which Dutch Glory, in our view, was to be beautifully portrayed. I asked Marcel to work out the landscape, given his work as an engineer for the province of North Holland.

But how do we make this all spectacular? We have since found that just making a model railroad, and a spectacular effect is not enough to win. We have since seen the answer worked out on 3×1.5 meter table.

The design is based on milk production in which we depicted the rancher, milk production and cheese trade. This is surrounded by water management. For example, the train disappears into an aqueduct at two points, we depict the polders with a pumping mill and drainage. A canal with a moving drawbridge were also present in the scene.

And yes that water……… much discussed. But fortunately not included in the final judging. After all, this was not our fault. We wanted to work with resin, however we were advised against it by one of the program’s consultants. Because this was going to take too long to cast. On their advice, we used pouring water and so that turned out completely wrong. Evan also realized this and therefore decided not to judge us on this, but of course had to say something about it.

But we went even further. The scene as we wanted to portray it:
As a start, we see ourselves portrayed as a team during a picnic in the meadow. From the radio sounds the “Dik voor mekaar Show” by Andre van Duin. While thinking about how we would take revenge after the previous round. (Unfortunately, this piece did not air)

The train, we received on loan from one of our customers, for which eternal gratitude. There was nothing available of what we wanted, and unfortunately, certainly no diesel. It became an electric locomotive, and catenary was also way over budget…. Compromising is also sometimes necessary.

The train with wagons loaded with milk cans emerged from the aqueduct and passed the pasture in the polders where the cows were allowed to go out to pasture for the first time. We had also installed a sound module for this with the sound of mooing cows. Unfortunately, it was not broadcast that the cows were also moving and jumping through the pasture. The farmer was busy trying to keep the cows inside the fence. Meanwhile, the mill rotated to pump water from the polder back into the canal.

The train continues its journey past an old Dutch village. For observant viewers, the houses have been completely repainted by hand to give them a Dutch look. At the supermarket, residents were surprised by a police check for speed. Those who neatly followed the rules were allowed to drive on to the village where the cheese market was located. The cheese market is made almost entirely by hand by Ellen. Who made all the cheeses from clay, the cheese carriers from balsa wood and have you noticed the costumes on figures? Only the stalls came from a kit. Along with the barrel organ. Ellen also recreated Vermeer’s “Milkmaid” in miniature. Which she conveniently incorporated as a sleeper at the entrance to the village.

In the village, of course, cyclists couldn’t be missing either. For this, we used a system in which the cyclists are pulled by a chain and magnets under the road surface. We were very relieved that it also worked during judging. Because very stable and reliable the system was not at all. The chain ran out quickly and the cyclists’ legs overstretched after a few minutes of cycling. So marcel’s relief was great when everything went well during the presentation.

And so there were many other little fun details and jokes incorporated into the village and landscape. As the train continues through the village past the cow trade and cheese market, the cheese train disappears again into an aqueduct to deliver milk to cheese factory “The Cheesehead.” The factory was located on a canal with a movable drawbridge. On this we had placed the Delft couple who kissed each other while descending from the bridge. For observant viewers, the sails of the pleasure boat and the position of the windmill were also correct to the wind direction!

The hit was Ellen’s big wish, after the train disappeared we had an identical train ready to come back as a Kaastrein. A Small caterer provided cheeses with a Dutch flag. Especially for judging and presentation. By the way, the locomotive did have a lot of trouble getting up the slope, which was at least 5%.

With this plan, we hoped to have ticked off all the Jury’s tips and advice from the previous installment, meet the criteria to portray Hollands Glorie and once again incorporate the train centrally.

Day 1: We are going to build

Here we go again, a bare frame and a cleverly devised plan. Marcel took the lead and Martin settled down once. Wonderful to let go of the reins. And this had certainly served Marcel well, too. A drawing to scale was laid down on a wooden board and the lanes for the rails were drawn out on the wood.While the wooden lanes were cut we began to transfer the outlines from the drawing onto rigid foam boards which were completely figured out in advance by Marcel. Building up the shell really went like a breeze and pretty soon we were able to test drive the train.The rigid foam landscape was smeared with modeling plaster to create a sloping surface. A polder landscape like we have in the Netherlands. The day went really nice and fast, the result was also exactly as we had imagined. After the chaos of the previous episode, this was truly a welcome turn of events, a fibe we managed to hold until the last minute of the final day.

Day 2: “cross” ligger, it becomes a habit
And then there lies a sleeper…. A flyswatter and a cassette tape. Ellen was put to work doing some creative work with this, Marcel went to work applying the basic greenery. Arnaud and Tijn took care of the technique under the runway, and Martin…… M had to do the water, therefore. Just we had agreed that Ellen was going to do that. They just knew.

We actually wanted to use cast resin as mentioned. This has to be heated in an oven and because there was only a small oven available we would only be able to make small bits each time. Therefore, we were advised against doing this by the production consultant. And to use the Wasser XL from Noch. He said this would be dry within 24 hours…. Little did we know, Martin hadn’t done this before either.

After martin poured the water, Evan came right over, asking why we had done this the way we did. After listening to the explanation, he provided us with tips to make sure it would not be a total disaster. And except for a small spill, which was magnified nice and wide on TV, it wasn’t too bad at the end either, thankfully. But that this was going to fail was soon very clear…. Fortunately, the judges did not factor this into the points. Otherwise, it would have been extra sour.

And yes, the background. It was really pure coincidence that we and Orange had the same background. On Evan’s advice, we lowered the background so we didn’t have to repaint. With Orange, unfortunately, this advice did not work out, they really had to find another background. After the water, though, that’s a nice windfall for us. Thanks to Evan for the great tips and advice!

The sleeper also succeeded entirely as planned, although we didn’t get the billboard lit before time ran out. Small flaw, but the rest was nicely handled by Ellen. Which began right after that with the detailing of greenery in the landscape.

Again, a day in which, despite a few setbacks, we were very motivated and confidently accomplished.

Day 3: A Dutch Glorious Downfall

The last day, 4 more hours to perfect all the details. Putting the scenes in place, testing the technology and finishing the cheese market. All the preparation paid off as all the puzzle pieces fell seamlessly into place. After 2.5 days of building, there stood a job that we were all very proud of. We watched a piece of model railroading on flavor. A beautiful landscape, even more beautiful than we had dreamed. And with that full of pride, what could go wrong? If we don’t score high on this, we don’t get it either. And with this feeling, we also presented our job to the Jury.

But then that jury report. When on a summer sunny day you are suddenly caught off guard by a huge thunderstorm unlike any other. We were awarded last place with a 6 for creativity and an 8 for build quality. That the winner was the Tilburg fair, we could agree with that, but a breakfast table…… We were bewildered, angry and frustrated. I can’t describe it any better than that we were truly “not amused.” The announcement that we were allowed to advance to the semifinals was, of course, great news. But the feeling of still losing despite your best performance ever stupidly prevailed the most. We normally agree with the Jury, but this felt so unjustified, the revelry was way off.

The Aftermatch, the knives are sharpened

Normally we also always stayed until late for the “beauty shots” but now Ellen wanted to go straight home. This shocked the production, and apparently the judges as well. The next day when the feelings had settled down, the jury and production also contacted us to talk it out. With text and explanation, we were also told what their rationale behind this was. And that it turned out differently than they intended.

They knew we would continue, they had long since decided that no one would go home. Our team had grown ironclad in construction technique and quality, and for that we were also rewarded with the highest grade, an 8. But she still lacked the creativity to think out-of-the-box a bit. In this, Blue in particular and also Orange were nevertheless the stronger parties in it. With a 6, they hoped to motivate us to really think out of the box in the semifinals.

As we drove home the day of the results, we wanted to throw in the towel. How on earth can we move forward when we obviously don’t understand the game. This is the second time we have narrowly advanced to the next round. Overwhelmingly, Orange and Blue are favorites for the final. After the conversation the next day and after we were able to vent our frustrations, we were reminded by the judges that we should not think so darkly. We have grown tremendously in their eyes and by no means been written off. But we could not recognize that the disappointment was still very strong.

As the Jury intended the grade creativity is not in your fingers….. But in the ideas you have. And that was the end of the matter for us, time for revenge.

In two days, the semifinals will be held and the theme is “The Sky is the Limit.” This is the theme of Martin and Ellen, who prepared this. But what is there now in terms of idea is not enough. Slowly, the fighting spirit began to return. Fueled by injustice and frustration for a six, we closed the store and opened the workshop. Two days, with the idea as the foundation, and revenge as the goal…… 32 hours of time and lots to do. Sleep can be later, when we go out we want to go out with a bang.

Will we succeed in getting revenge and baffling the jury?



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