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Diorama Brig

Diorama "Brig", a brief introduction

I am primarily a collector of steam locomotive models. I do not have the space nor time to build a copious layout. My modelling needs are more than satisfied by building my own locomotive models. Sometimes however this itches. That is when making a diorama can be a good compromise. The idea of building a diorama came when I was scanning my photo negatives and rediscovered this shot from 1974.

Bahnhofsplatz (Station Square) in Brig.

The square sports a narrow gauge station that formed the connection between the then Furka Oberalp Bahn and the Brig Visp Zermatt Bahn. The FO had a small electric locomotive type Te 2/2 no 4625 for shunting services. The persons on the photo are my parents with their dog. On the right end of the photo there is a Volkswagen 1600 Variant. It is not my father's car but is exactly in the same colour as the hatchback version my father had in 1972 and 1973. From 1974 to 1978 he had a very rare two door Volkswagen 411 LE in red. The more I saw this photo the more I felt the urge to model this scene and replace the two cars on the photo with the two my father had in that period.

The VW 1600 in exactly the colour and version my father owned in 1972 and 1973. To the best of my knowledge I do not possess any photo of my father's car. The VW 411 LE was produced in only very limited numbers (about 370,000 for all versions 411 and 412) but by far most were sold as four door saloons or as three door estates. Even the VW folder did not mention a word about the version my father owned: a two door saloon. I have seen another two door saloon 411 only once or twice. This is the only photo I could find on the internet.

1974, on the camping near Gampel, Switzerland. That young man in the sun is me!

1976, driving the car onto the car train in Brig on the way home.

On the same day in 1976 on a parking lot between Bern and Basel. Clearly visible is the long door, longer than the four door version, and the long rear window.

1978, our last holiday with this car, Zernez Switzerland.


The plan to make a diorama based on this photo came slowly to fruition. I was not in a hurry, there were far more important domestic things to attend to and what little time I had was usually spent on finishing three similtaneously running locomotive projects. I slowly collected the basic ingredients. The locomotive was a bargain on a trade fair in 2014. For a mere €60 I could take it home, including the original box. Not bad. That was the spark that got me looking for the two cars. The 1600 was relatively quickly found. Finding the 411 proved to be tough. After a long search and much consideration I concluded that a model of the 411 two door saloon did not exist. I would have to settle for the four door version. Modelling is all about compromises. Another compromise would the colour. I accepted that I would have to paint the models. That said I could start the diorama in March 2016. There is no hurry. Building the locomotive models will always have preference.