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Built Review
Piles of Planks
Piles of Planks 'Bretterstapel', 8 Piles, Laser-Cut+Minis
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

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Piles of Planks Bretterstapel
Series: Laser-Cut Minis
Material: Wood

Laser-Cut Minis
NOCH uses laser technology to cut highly detailed models of plants, lumber, buildings, and other models. NOCH currently advertises 67 of these sets in three scales: HO, TT, and N.

Laser-Cut Minis Piles of Planks Bretterstapel
This kit is packed in a label-backed end-opening carton. Inside are 50 pieces on 5 "sprues" of laser-cut wood sheet. The wood is a fine grain and of scale thickness. The wood is a nice freshly milled yellow color with faint brown grain running through it. Happily, the lumber was laser-cut with the grain. Four sheets are identical "filler" courses (layers). The fifth sheet contains the top course planks, which are cut open between the planks Each sheet also holds thin long pieces used for stickers, the smaller pieces of wood set perpendicular across each course to allow air to flow through the pile. A well-illustrated instruction sheet with several languages guides the assembly process. PDF instructions are available from the NOCH website (and by clicking Click here for additional images for this review, below). No glue is included.

Eight stacks of HO lumber five-layers deep are built from this kit:

    11-foot planks, 5 boards wide
    11-foot planks, 3 boards wide
    7-foot planks, 5 boards wide
    7-foot planks, 3 boards wide
In 1/1 scale these are 0.98 x 0.3 in., 0.98 x 0.49 in., 2.05 x 0.3 in., 2.05 x 0.49 in. Each plank is approximately a 6-inches wide and 3-inches thick.

The components are laser-cut precisely. Surprisingly, not all edges are singed by the laser. Fine scores are burned into the parts along their edge with the "sprue." Note that the opposite ends are cut to different staggered lengths. The instructions show these all to be aligned. The inner layer boards have individual boards cut into the ends but are solid between the sticker boards. This gives the illusion of individual planks in all layers of the pile, whether you view them from above, the ends, or the sides.

Assembly is simple. Cut each part out of the sheet. I found that a rounded X-ACTO -type blade works better than a straight blade. The plank layers break cleanly from the sheet but you should cut them apart from each other. Small lengths of connecting wood also need to be trimmed away. Measure the width of the particular pile and cut the stickers. I cut them at slightly different lengths to simulate waste wood being put to good use. Glue these to each layer and then glue the layers to each other. I used Uhu glue left over from other NOCH kits.

The instructions show the piles assembled so that the bottom layer sets upon the ground. I built a few piles as such but the others I built with stickers below to keep the model lumber from the model damp of my model ground; not even model contractors want warped lumber!

The top plank layers have the boards cut open except for the stickers. The stickers are cut flush with the planks they are modeled to support. The stickers should go under these but to mix things up to avoid the "cookie-cutter" look I glued the stickers slightly off alignment. Remember that the opposite ends are cut to different lengths? I also staggered those inner layer course assemblies for effect.

After the assemblies were finished I still had a few of the long laser-cut spacer stickers. I also noticed a lot of nice wood left unused on the "sprues". With a metal hobby rule I marked and cut off several board widths of long boards to add to the lumberyard!

I finished all eight stacks in about an hour and a half, including distractions.

The piles look very convincing. That they are actual wood of fine wood grain make them highly authentic. I did not try to stain any to simulate lumber left to weather but the fine grain should take stains readily. Researching the stacking of boards revealed that more stickers should be added for maximum accuracy, and the plentiful extra wood allows you to add these if desired.

My only minor complaints are that some ends are not cut square, and the stickers "under" the top boards are not made lower than the top boards; no doubt NOCH engineered these for easy of assembly, and there is nothing from stopping you from cutting away the stickers and substituting them with leftover wood.

I think these make great looking piles of lumber that will look great inside a box car, on a freight platform, in a truck, or next to a saw mill. While they are advertised for HO (1/87), they can be convincing in other scales, too.

I happily recommend this model.

We thank NOCH for providing this sample; please tell sellers and vendors you saw this model here -- on Railroad Modeling!
Peter J. Stephano. WOOD Magazine.com. How to Succeed at Air-Drying Lumber. [Web.] 2012.

Click here for additional images for this review.

Highs: Lumber sharply lased from fine grain wood sheets of scale thickness.
Lows: Some ends are not cut square. Cross beams "under" the top boards are not made lower than the top boards.
Verdict: Whether used for HO layouts or other scenery dioramas, it is easy to create realistic lumber piles.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:87
  Mfg. ID: 14214
  Suggested Retail: $11 ( 8.99 )
  Related Link: Laser-Cut+Minis
  PUBLISHED: Dec 26, 2012

Our Thanks to NOCH!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...

Copyright 2020 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of ModelGeek. All rights reserved.


The only problem I have with this set is stacks aren't done like that unless they are air drying at the mill or from being painted. Maybe some one building out in nowhere would re-stack as such, but usually the planks are stacked side to side for storage and space saving restrictions. Having hauled lots of raw and finished lumber it looks weird to me.
DEC 26, 2012 - 02:05 PM
Hi Bob, Good to know. From the lumber sites I visited, I gathered that this kit represents drying lumber. There's a second set with longer boards forthcoming. It is also stacked with stickers.
DEC 30, 2012 - 06:48 AM

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