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Markus Tiedtke - FAST WIE ECHT

Markus Tiedtke

Josef Brandl's astounding model railroads
(May 2003) hardcover, 208 pages,
216 colour pictures, 7 black-and-white pictures

ISBN 3-980-8797-0-4
€ 39,80


information | author's portrait

information - 77 x 20

A voyage of discovery in photos. Josef Brandl spent over 30,000 hours working on seven model railroad layouts for some big boys and for a museum—they became splendid sights. Three of the installations were modeled on real sites, the others are “just” fantastically realistic. For many years now, Markus Tiedtke has been documenting Brandl's layouts with his camera before the delivery to their recipients. He spent many days and nights systematically searching for the best perspectives and the ideal light. The result is worth looking at.

Josef Brandl's style is naturalness—which is not surprising, as he was a gardener by profession. His mentor was Bernhard Stein. Two-page pictures, size 32 x 48 cm, are absolutely impressive. Texts and further pictures offer insights into the master’s workshop and offer advice for the reader’s own initiative. Fascinating ideas and sceneries inspire to build own layouts or dioramas. Josef Brandl shows what can be done with the materials nowadays available and a sense for the essential. His layouts guarantee fun and recreation right from the start. An Index of manufacturers can be helpful during the serach for suppliers. The English text is enclosed for free, which shall help to generate more natural model railroad layouts and this fascinating perfect world in miniature.

author's portrait - 112 x 20


It has been more than ten years since I first entered Josef Brandl’s workshop. I had been told that there was a man in Neustadt who allegedly built model railroad layouts that were as good as Bernhard Stein’s famous masterpieces, and that I should check him out and see whether there was anything worth photographing. And was there ever! Even at that early stage, I was fascinated by Brandl’s extraordinary “natural” talent.

That first project has ripened over the years into a passion. Every time I feel like a film director, rising to the challenge of casting one of Brandl’s layouts in the right light, to achieve the audience’s illusion of reality—at least at first glance. Only a closer inspection should reveal that this is a model—with a dawning realization of how much artistry and attention to detail went into the creation of this miniature world.

These photo sessions require herculean effort. Every scene has to be individually set up, adorned with an appropriate photo backdrop and the perfect lighting. It can take up to two weeks (12-hour days are the minimum) before a layout is “in the can”. None of this would be feasible without Josef Brandl’s good-natured involvement—our mutual respect has long since ripened into friendship. The days of the photo shoot are for him, too, the culmination of his work, as he rediscovers his miniature world in the glare of the spotlights.

And even though no rolling stock is moving—this is the customer’s prerogative—the sight of a train scene in the midst of the landscape he created is a very special moment for Josef Brandl—and for me. The moment when his layout comes to life.

Markus Tiedtke, Bochum, February 2003