Monday, October 06, 2008


These models were built in Germany by Eugene Ziegler, who worked nightly on the machines in his kitchen, often with his wife's help, using technical drawings to create accurate 1:4.5 scale models, entirely from scratch. They are prominently housed in the Deutsches Zweirad Museum (Neckarsulm); the large glass case is the first display one sees on entering the museum.

I previously posted a story about a Velocette model, but I must say these little gems are truly something special. The wheels turn, the suspension works, the petrol tank caps come off, and when you squeeze the brake levers, the brakes function via tiny bowden cables. Amazing.

Many of the complicated parts like engines were cast using wooden patterns, and the tires were modified from 'o' rings, the tread being applied using hot knitting needles!

The top machine is a DKW 3-cylinder 500cc two-stroke racer, the 'Singing Saw', which was the pinnacle of DKW's racing development. The brakes and suspension components are mesmerizing in their complexity, in real life and on the model.

Ziegler also built these two BMW RS54 Rennsports; one with a sidecar, and one solo - the scale can be seen clearly in this photo. They weigh about 5-8lbs each, and have a nice solid heft - the only plastic used is on the tiny pvc pipe cable housing, the windscreens, ignition wires, and seat covers.

This Works DKW 350 looks like it should hold water in the radiator, and the engine just needs a bit of oil smear and the smell of Castrol R to complete the picture. No, they don't run!

The final photo shows the curator of the museum, Peter Kuhn, who clearly enjoys his job! He is holding a Standard 500cc racer, which is a little-known German marque outside the continent; note the Harley-Davidson/Brough 'Castle' forks; I confess guilt to having once owned a Standard with a lowly 350cc ioe MAG engine, purchased solely to rob it of it's Castle forks! (They are reunited now - a happy ending).

Peter, Wolfgang, and I had a great time manipulating these little bikes, and a few of the big ones too. More on this excellent museum later.


Anonymous said...

Paul, those Ziegler models are truly incredible. You go straight to my heart with the modeling posts, if I were to be forced to choose between motorcycling and modelling I'd dither for decades. I posted a link to vintagent on the ScaleMotorcars site, these guys are some fine large scale modelers of whatever rolls, floats, or flies, and just plain good people.
Posts like your may one day inspire me to build that scale roarer.

Anonymous said...

fooking works of art , i have a friend who makes model ships , he sent me ten pictures nice models but nothing great till i opened the tenth picture and he left his cross pen in front of the ship , man the ship was a half of a inch longer , wow , he sold one for a hundred quid , made a little xmas money , i saw it on a marine collectables web page at a mark up of 900% listed as a unknown artist barsteds , i soon put that right dave

JOSH said...

I was at Tony East's ARE museum at Kirk Michael last year and i saw these specimens. Tony's wife told us they were built by this bloke who make a motorcycle named the Argon which he was planning to race at the IOM and unfortunately passed away. These models were made by him and he was in the process of making them working replicas at the time of his death. Notice the little crank just by the motorcycle.

Anonymous said...

What is this builder working on at the moment? I love his work.
I to am building a 1/5th scale MV125 Augusta from scratch, it's a labor of love that I hope to see the project through.
Please can you post up anymore scratch built modeling projects like this or email me
Sean Morgan

Ray Battersby said...

There's a fantastic Japanese model-maker’s site which is all about a man who has hand built a scale model of the RK67 in his own workshop. This is not built from a Tamiya kit! This is completely hand made from raw materials. It is fantastic.

Turn Google Translate ON (you need the Google Toolbar for this to be there) and you’ll make a lot more sense of this Japanese model-maker’s site.

The model-making pics are towards the bottom with the top about the history of the full-size Suzuki RK67. The picture of the hand holding a crankshaft is actually the real crankshaft from the full-size machine.


Ray Battersby