Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Traction Avant with Gas Generator

I modelled occasionally on the dinner table over the Christmas holidays. The Citroën is now almost fully assembled and painting is under way.

The Blitz Models' gas generator is a nice little kit in itself. One has to be careful during assembly, though. A lot of dry fitting is advised to get the correct position of a all gas generator parts. If not the gas generator equipment will not fit the car properly. I had to insert a piece of plastic in the gas pipe leading to the engine to achieve a good fit. Beside the need for patience and test fitting the gas generator is very good. The parts are finely cast and very easy to separate from their mould gates.

The resin parts for the gas generator, scrubber and pipes. Appropriate for the Christmas season the parts were photographed on a red napkin (unused).

The modifications needed to fit the gas generator: Opening up rear panel and one small hatch in the bonnet. Cutting off the rear bumper and fitting gas generator mounting bracket. 
The gas generator kit is accompanied by replacement wheels for the car. They are not fitted with hubcaps and makes a nice difference to the kit's wheels. I chose to fit the Blitz Models' wheels to make my second Citroën even more different. The kit's axles were shortened a few millimetres to fit the resin wheels. The Tamiya kit of the Citroën is easy to assemble. See a full review of the kit here.

Interior painted and weathered. Not much of this will be visible when the model is finished, so I have kept my ambitions restrained. I will, however, make a sack or two with wood fuel to place on the rear seat. Beside that it's time for the air brush and gloss black paint.
I had bought a set of etched brass from Aber (set PE 35231) to refine the model, but I will use very little from the set. Not much on the fret will make the model look any better in my eyes. Should have been wise enough to have saved my money there.

Monday, 26 January 2015

A Fowler at Nystrup Gravel

Ever since I first heard about Nystrup Gravel there have been persistent rumours about an early British built diesel loco being owned by the company. I have been digging into the binder with old documents from the gravel company and found proof that Nystrup Gravel did buy a Fowler diesel in 1933. Much indicates that it was a loco Fowler failed to sell to the company that originally ordered it.
A preserved narrow gauge Fowler at the Campbelltown Steam and Machinery Museum in Australia. From plans in the Nystrup Gravel company archive it seems that Nystrup's loco looked very much like this loco. Photo: Chris Miller, 2009.
The Fowler at Nystrup was probably meant for a customer in the tropics using Imperial measurements. The gauge on the loco was in fact 2 feet (610 mm) while Nystrup Gravel used 600 mm gauge. The Fowler was consequently slightly 'over gauged'. I have attached a document from the Nystrup Gravel archive showing that the fact was discussed with a local engineering company. They predicted that the standard of Nystrup's tracks could well accommodate a loco with 610 mm. gauge, although they advised careful running through some of the better point work. There is no indication that the loco ever derailed more than any of the company's other locos. Unfortunately there is no images of the loco in the binder from Nystrup Gravel, although an old news paper clipping shows that the arrival of a diesel loco was noticed by the local press.

In Denmark only three other Fowlers are known. Despite a lot of marketing to open up a new market in Denmark, Fowler only succeeded in selling a six coupled 700 mm gauge loco to a sugar factory in 1948 and two standard gauge shunters in 1952 to a railway in northern Jutland.

One of many adverts sent to Nystrup Gravel from Fowler to promote their products. Read about the history of John Fowler & Co, Leeds here.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

New Work Table

Finally I have an operating work table again. Since moving into the new house I've been doing what little modelling I have had time for on the dining table. Suitably well covered with papers and cutting mat preventing any unintended damage.

My new work table is a bit bigger than my previous work table. The old one was small and placed halfway into an open shelf system while the new one is placed in front of a window to allow for lots of natural light. The work table is very simple: a purpose cut piece of plywood fitted to some recycled legs. The work surface is painted white and the rear part of the table is fitted with sides to diminish the number of objects finding their way to the floor. The floor is natural wood so no ‘carpet monster’ here (although parts occasionally do go missing even without a carpet!). The floor immediately under the work table is covered with a protective plastic mat to avoid damage to the floor - both from falling knives, paint spatter and wear from my chair.

Still some things to do before the work table is completely organized. Modelling is already in progress, though.
Despite having a relatively generous amount of light coming in through the window, I have fitted my work station with a number of different lamps. Living in Denmark with rather depressingly dark months in good supply there is no way I can model by natural light here! Generally I have started laying out the work table pretty much like the old one. No need to redo things that have proven their worth. On my left is mini drill, vice and airbrush while on my right steel ruler and calliper are ready for action. Also within easy reach is a collection of the most used profiles in both metal, plastic and wood as well as brushes and glue.

The work bench is still being fitted out as I write, but the first model has already been worked on. No doubt the work table will gradually evolve into a more mature piece of furniture as time passes (read: become messier and messier).
A snap shot of my old work table. Here seen in a messier than usual-mode. Compared to my new surroundings a lot more cave-like!

Monday, 12 January 2015

Lanz Tractor

I'm still without a real worktable for modelling due to my recent move. I still manage a little work on my gasgenerator Citroën now and then. Before I get a post done on that topic here is a few lines on a 10 year old model.

On several occasions I have used parts from Plus Model's comprehensive range of small diorama accessories in 1:35. The Czech company also does a few vehicles, including a pair of tractors. Plus Models supplied my first resin tractor kit - a Lanz Bulldog. Until then all my tractors had been white metal kits.

The Plus Model kit is a very fine kit of the legendary Lanz Bulldog HR 7 with 30 hp. engine. It is a kit that really has more in common with a normal plastic injected kit than with most peoples' idea of a resin kit. This model isn't hard to build. Other modellers besides me must have thought highly of the kit, as it was awarded the title 'Modell des Jahres' by the German modelling magazine Modell Fan in 1999. I finished my kit in 2004, but have recently fitted it with a license plate to make its appearance unmistakeably Danish.

My Plus Models Lanz tractor parked outside the loco shed. The tractor is from one of the farms surrounding Nystrup and the driver may have dropped in for a visit. According to the top digit on the green license plate the tractor is registered in police district 4 encompassing Roskilde and surroundings (Roskilde Købstad, Ramsø-Tune Herreder og Lejre Herred). Nystrup seems to be placed somewhere between Roskilde and Sorø if other license plate observations are to be believed.
The kit is still available as is a very interesting tracked version. At least one tracked Lanz worked on the Danish island of Lolland in the fifties. As the island is well known for its clay rich and heavy soil a tracked tractor would probably be useful there in wet conditions. According to my late grandfather a Lanz Bulldog was capable of running on any relatively flammable fluid thinner than porridge! More info on Lanz tractors on this German website.

An advert on the virtues of the Lanz Bulldog tractor. From a 1940's German farmer's magazine.

Monday, 29 December 2014

2014 in Review

The past year brought me much enjoyment with Nystrup Gravel. My little piece of 1950's rural Denmark received new road vehicles (amongst others a Fordson 7V, a Simca and a little scooter) built or rebuilt from kits of various quality. One of the more unusual was my Ford delivery van built from a Brazilian resin kit. A new loco also arrived: a Schöma gas generator loco from a 3D-print. I also spent time working on my modules and got them quite presentable with added grass, flowers and a few new trees. Doors were built and fitted to the loco shed (long overdue). The loco shed also had welding light installed and the point finally got its point lever - built from a very nice German brass kit.

I didn't manage to finish my two Hudson bogie flats started in 2013 nor did I finish my 1:35 interpretation of an ancient Danish one-cylinder internal combustion loco. I also hadn't time to dig deeper into the binder with parts of the Nystrup Gravel archive. I hope to be able to tackle both wagons and loco as well as a little research in the coming year.

As far as my model of an ancient Danish built one cylinder oil engine loco progressed during the year. A rudimentary engine and gear box fills the interior almost to capacity. More on this model in 2015!
Three things that stood out in 2014 were my new Dolberg skips, my work with a 3D-printed loco and the Gauge 1 exhibition.

New skips
I have written about skips a lot. Not really a surprise as I model a type of railway where skips were the predominant type of rolling stock. In 2014 I received new skips of the type most used in Denmark. Quite out of the ordinary I didn't build the skips myself, but ordered them built. Although unpainted I took them into service immediately and they performed well. Resorting to paying another modeller to do work for me was a rather large decision. Not least because I like to model myself. But realizing that we are all better or faster at something made it easier to 'out source' a bit of the work on Nystrup Gravel. It may not be the last time I choose to do so.

Not one of my new skips! Work on the 700 mm. heritage line 'Hedelands Veteranbane'. Me and a friend waiting for a large 785 mm. gauge skip being emptied of branches, old leaves and snow before fixing chains to enable it to be lifted out of the shrubbery. The skip is now resting in doors with four similar skips. Photo: Steffen Lyngesen.
Gauge 1 exhibition
Getting out and meeting other modellers, seeing their work and discussing methods is good. Even if scale and theme is different. This year I had again packed my modules up and moved them west to the Gauge 1 exhibition in Rolfsted. I had a lot of people visiting the gravel line and I really enjoyed talking to visitors and fellow modellers. Quite a few Germans turned up showing that what could be taken for a rather local exhibition actually attracted visitors from afar. Nystrup Gravel also featured in two articles in a German web magazine with very nice pictures - some shots from angles I hadn't even discovered!

I wasn't only showing Nystrup Gravel at the exhibition. Some of my tractors and my thresher were allowed to be placed on some of the standard gauge layouts. It is great to see one's models come to life in a nice setting.
I saw a few nice products, received good feedback and advice and contributed myself with advice to those asking. I really hope a new loco project will materialize based on discussions started at the exhibition. You'll be the first to know.

Trying out new methods and technologies is something many modellers do. I'm probably among the more conservative and only tried out 3D-printing this year, when I finished a Schöma gas generator loco printed by Shapeways. While the technology seems promising it is not a method (in my opinion, anyway) that can stand alone. You can't expect to buy a 3D-printed model, attach it to a drive unit, paint it and drive off. You will have to invest considerable time and effort in cleaning the print up, sanding and preparing the surface before painting. Attaching a homemade bottom plate with chassis fittings is also necessary before your model is ready to serve you. Adding details and personalizing the model is a must for me too, so 3D-printing isn't going to take the modelling out of 'model railways' or mean the death of scratch building. Not if you like a detailed model that hasn't 'furry' or 'striped' surfaces.
The real Schöma gas generator loco in service at Nystrup Gravel in 1944-1946. One of the few photos I managed to dig out of the archive this year. Because of legal discussions over the ownership of the loco after the liberation the gas generator wasn't removed until autumn 1946.
The blog is shortly entering its fourth year. The number of posts have been remarkably consistent through the last three years and will probably remain so in 2015. The number of pageviews have stabilized on 2-3.000 a month. I have no plans for big changes, but should you have anything you'd like to see on the blog, please let me know.

Happy New Year!

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Christmas Citroën

My move has progressed so far that our new house is now also a home. And a place to host both Christmas and new year's parties. Nystrup Gravel hasn't yet moved in, being still taken good care of by a friend. Most modelling tools and some unbuilt kits have been located, though. No workbench is erected, so this Christmas' modelling will have to take place on an other table - and cleared away when other needs are deemed more pressing.

The kit that will be the focus of my holiday modelling is the Tamiya Citroën. I already have a model of a Citroën in the shape of a French resin kit, but of such an iconic car two examples surely isn't one too many!

My second 'traction avant' will be fitted with a gas generator and driven by a Nemrod-figure.
Before starting the model I had the chance to play with skips on HVB again. We were salvaging large 785 mm gauge skips and placing them in one of the railway's sheds. Cool, fresh air in abundance!

Large steel skips (2,5-3 cubic metre) being placed on one of the multi-gauge tracks in the shed. Lovely winter weather!

Monday, 15 December 2014

Nystrup Gravel in German (Updated)

The appearance of Nystrup Gravel at the recent Gauge 1 exhibition meant that it was exposed to a visiting German language Gauge 1 web magazine. Now my little Danish gravel line has been published in two articles on the web magazine Spur 1 Info - with readers in 71 countries. See the first article and the images here and the second here. The Spur 1 Info is partly based on payment and you will have to be a paying reader to get the full coverage of Nystrup Gravel on the site.

Nystrup Gravel No. 6 pausing outside the shed. Photo: Friedhelm Weidelich.
While industrial narrow gauge modelling in 1:35 isn't where most readers on Spur 1 Info have their main interests, it is nevertheless fun to see one's modelling written up by a professional on a site visited by far more readers than my own little blog. What thrilled me the most, however, were the photos. I hadn't imagined my modules would look so different when photographed by someone with better skills than myself. Notice how, on the photographs, the skin of my MK35 cow even seems slightly 'furry' - nice!

A look into the little shed that served the gravel company well, despite the very narrow service pit. Always disliked by heavier members of the staff but nevertheless useful for the skinnier apprentice. Photo: Friedhelm Weidelich.