Thursday, 30 October 2014

New Skips

Skips are what makes the little railway at Nystrup Gravel earn its living. After having ordered a batch in the beginning of the year, the railway has now taken delivery of 9 new skips - one of them with brakes. The skips are built from the Hesketh and Snoodyk 1:35 scale etched brass kit launched last year and produced from drawings of a German Dolberg skip.

Nystrup Gravel's newest item - a 1:35 Dolberg skip from Hesketh & Snoodyk.
Yesterday I received a package from Australia with the skips. I was excited as I had not only bought kits of skips. Rather than build them myself I had ordered them in built condition. It is the first time I have paid someone to assemble kits for me and it will most likely not be a thing that will happen often. I love modelling myself, so why pay someone else for the fun? But the bending and soldering of nine skips occured to me as something I might find both somewhat difficult and perhaps a little boring. Consider me spoiled if you like.

I ordered my skips unpainted but they arrived chemically blackened to avoid oxidation. While they don't look too bad unpainted I will eventually paint my skips later. 
I have yet to examine the skips in more detail and test run them on my modules, but from my intial handling of them and pushing them over a test track everything seems to be in perfect order. On some of them I may adjust the fit of the skip bucket in its cradle just a little. Otherwise I can't think of what I could add to these skips except paint, weathering and a tiny drop of oil in the bearings.

The skip with bucket tipped.

Bucket pulled off the skip frame. Even on my hurried snapshots the fine detail can be seen.
I have previously sought different ways to make up realistic trains of skips. I bought my first skip kits in 1999 from Scale Link and added minor details myself to change them a bit. I continued buying Scale Link skips as they were what was available and looked most like the skips most used on Danish industrial railways. In addition to the Scale Link skips I acquired six Hudson skips from Slaters Plastikard. Quite satisfied with both the look and running of the Slaters skips, the type was however, never in widespread use in Denmark. Consequently I couldn't bring myself to buy more of them. Mark Hesketh and Bernard Snoodyk have now provided exactly the skips I wanted and I'm seriously contemplating if I should order more.

I will now have to consult the Nystrup Gravel archive for that missing half page of their inventory of skips. When numbering my new skips I would like them to carry correct numbers according to Nystrup Gravel practice. I have the top half of the document but I suspect the company's Dolberg type skips to be listed on the lower half of the document...



Sunday, 26 October 2014

Point Lever

Preparing my modules for the November exhibition I have fitted the only point with a point lever. I have been searching for an appropriate example for some time. Price, availability, type and size have been subject of my considerations. I finally decided for a point lever from the German producer Wenz-Modellbau. Not sure if the 1:32 scale point lever was too big, I also ordered the 0-scale item. While I decided to use the 1:32 scale lever I have saved the 0-scale one for future use on a point with steel sleepers.


A scan from the instructions showing an exploded view of the kit's contents. The parts are a mix of cast brass and etched nickle silver. Some changes in the kit have taken place since the instructions were made, as my example has a different parts make up - with cast brass making up the main parts rather than the mix of cast and etched brass in the instructions.
Assembly of the lever went fine after some minor sanding to make the parts operate smoothly. Instead of priming the parts I tried to chemically blacken them. Primarily to avoid too much paint hampering easy operation. I used a German product made by Klever and sold by Ballistol. The parts took on a nice dark brown/black colour after being repeatedly brushed with the liquid. After cleansing in water and drying, I brush painted the lever carefully with thinned acrylic paint. I used Vallejo 'Fire Red' and 'Pale Sand'. Much to my relief  the lever still worked flawlessly after painting.

Point and environments being readied for the lever to be fitted. I may have to rebuild the PC board connection later, but at the moment this solution will have to do. I'm getting ready for an exhibition and a few splashes of rust paint will hide my rather clumsy work.
The Wenz lever is of a typical German prototype, but I have seen it used in several locations in Denmark on both public and industrial railways.

Point lever in place. Although the Wenz instructions mention that the lever is a scale model, not a working lever for changing points it actually works well. Later I will fit a proper mechanism below the base board  to change the point, but for the time being finger prodding will have to suffice. I'm glad I used 'Pale Sand' for the lever head rather than pure white, as white would have been much too harsh a colour.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Fuglsø Moor Revisited


There are not many narrow gauge industrial railways in service in Denmark today. Many were dismantled in the 1960’s and 1970’s while most of those that remained were gone by 1990. A few has temporarily sprung up during building of metro lines in Copenhagen and minor tunnels here and there.
The most charming of those few remaining today surely must be the 600 mm. peat railway at Fuglsø Mose. Last week I had the chance to revisit the moor at Fuglsø and its little railway. I was glad to see, that the railway was still working and in better condition than when I last paid a visit. Three locos work the 4 km. line from the peat extraction areas in the moor to the lorry loading facility.

From left to right: Peat plough, '257' built by Danish Pedershaab in the 1940's, '305' Schöma 3405/1972 newly overhauled with new cab and last is '304' Schöma 3336/1971.
The moor has previously been supplying a peat briquette factory in Stenvad with peat and during the second world war the moor also held several smaller production sites for peat with a very motley collection of locos and wagons.

The old loco shed - now without track connection and out of use.  
The loco shed while it still housed locos. Here '305' is climbing up from the loco shed to much admiration from the surrounding enthusiasts. Photo from my first visit to the railway in 1985 with an excursion by the Danish Industrial Railway Society. 
You can see images from the 1990’s on the Industrial Narrow Gauge Railway-website and more from my latest visit to the moor on Flickr.

Much inspiration from visits like this one is useful on one's little model railway. I have always liked the loco shed built from a variety of materials on a slope with doors in both ends, each originally serving different gauges. Even the workers at Fulgsø Mose must have some interest in the building, since it has not yet been demolished. The shed doesn't seem to serve any purpose today and heavy machinery for a quick 'clean up' is in great supply at the lorry loading facility.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

The Ever Expanding Book Collection

This week saw the arrival of yet some railway books to take their place on my hard pressed shelves. It wasn't a planned acqusition (yes, I have a plan for my railway book shopping) but a friend from Holland was selling part of his collection as he is clearing out in advance of a move. Several good and rare titles were available and I was fortunate to be able to get some of them.

My latest book shopping. I'm particularly fond of the Argentinian book on the potato railways. 360 km of 600 mm gauge railways for transport of potatoes with stock and locos from both British, US and German military railways. Now why didn't I take Spanish in high school?
My modelling is quite focused on the industrial narrow gauge railway theme in a Danish 1950's timeframe. My book collection has a much wider focus, although I suspect some railway enthusiasts would find it quite narrow and uninteresting. I have few books on 'normal' railways (if a normal railway is a standard gauge one with passengers, tickets, timetables and transport of a variety of goods etc.). The majority of my railway books are about narrow gauge railways, most of which only ever carried one type of freight and seldom any passengers.

Having to choose between a book on a standard gauge railway and a book about excavators I would most likely choose the book on excavators. Or tractors. Or ropeways. Or steam ploughing, I could go on.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Welding in the Evening

The Nystrup Gravel loco shed was tasked with daily maintenance of the company's locos. Now and then a repair was so urgent that work continued into the evening. The next day's gravel transport had to be performed to schedule. In such a case the chief mechanic had to work late - sometimes helped by one of the loco drivers. On an old piece of Super 8 film from 1973 I found a short sequence showing welding one evening at the shed. The quality isn't the best, I'm afraid.


Interior light was installed when I built the loco shed years ago and now I have fitted a little welding light gadget. The trick is probably rather 'old hat' but fits my taste (not being completly convinced that animations, advanced light effects and sound will enhance anyone's experience of my modules). 


The welding light unit. While sold by Micromark it is actually made in the UK. Image from the Micromark website.
The welding light unit was bought from http://www.micromark.com/ as item 83648. It consists of a print board with the components and two LEDs. In addition to the usual blueish welding-effect it includes a red 'hot glowing metal effect' LED. You have to supply wire for the installation yourself.

As I wanted to install the LEDs hidden from view inside an object being welded I thought the LEDs rather on the large side. For that reason the object being worked on had to be a large one. I used a piece of plastic pipe, fitted plasticcard ends, drilled a few holes in it and fitted a bit of metal piping in one of the holes. I guess it could be part of a (very) large exhaust unit or a fuel tank. The LEDs are fitted inside the pipe and the flickering welding light comes rather nicely out the holes creating a discrete effect.

A view from above: The welder and the item being worked on. I still need to attach a wire to the welding object. Without a connection to the power source from the welding unit seen to the left no welding is possible.
From conversations with other railway modellers I know that there is a lot of work going on in advance of the Gauge 1 exhibition near Odense in November. I look forward to participate.

Monday, 29 September 2014

More Loco Shed Work

After the large front doors were fitted, I thought the rear door in the loco shed didn't quite match. I made a new from plastic card. The door is a tight push fit in the door opening. In that way I can remove the door if I need to take photos from that angle. I think some good shots could be made through the door and into the shed.
A rear view of the loco shed. The light indicates that the sun is setting over Nystrup  - and earlier and earlier now fall is approaching in Denmark. The door is new, as is the water tap to the right, I have been planting more grass and some Noch plants to the far left. The bike is from Scale Link.


The sides of the roof received a new layer of light green paint and a little weathering to match the new doors. The underside of the roof was painted black. While I worked on the shed, I drilled a hole for wires and LEDs for the welding light unit through the workbench (a resin part from a work shop set from Verlinden).

I added a bit of grass and plants around the shed. Being several years old now, some of the old grass was in for replacement (some tends to loosen and get lost during vacuum cleaning and general use of the module) and here and there a little more 'green' was needed. I used a few laser cut plants from Noch. Some of them are fine (the yellow and red/blue flowers) while others are not that good. I have placed them accordingly around the modules.
Laser cut paper flowers from Noch. A fast way to get some planting done, but not exactly cheap. At the current rate the amount on the price tag in Danish kroner corresponds to 10 €.

Friday, 26 September 2014

French Track Panels at Nystrup Gravel

Two weeks ago I received some of the Blitz Models French army track panels. I have now built a few of them. Building went smooth and while the resin rails in the kit are in the correct length for a standard 5 m. track panel I replaced the resin rails with standard code 100 rail, primarily to get more structural strength. I drilled holes in the rail ends and fitted the sleepers. They slided on quite easily, but two of the eight sleepers had to be worked a bit with a scalpel, to enable a PECO code 100 rail to slide between the rail clips.

To fit the sleepers in the correct position, I made a sketch from a Cenac-drawing of French army track and assembled my track panels on it. I used AC glue to fix the sleepers in place. I'm building some 2,5 m. panels later so both lengths are marked out on my scrap of paper.
From Blitz Models I also received a small wagon turntable. The casting is well done, but there is noticable shrinking of the resin in the middle of the turntable. I don't think it will be very visible after painting. All the work I did was some minor flash removal with file and sandpaper as well as drilling holes in the rail ends. 


The single turntable casting right out of the small zip lock bag. The centre shrinking does show on the image.
Both track panels and the turntable was primed and then given an air brushing of light brown. A layer of Vallejo light rust was applied with variation so the rust appear as full covering in places and lighter in other. The turntable received a light spray of blue grey on the turning plate. Turntable and track panels were then painted with burnt umber oil paint heavily diluted in turpentine. In places it was supplanted with a little black oil paint. I used a soft pencil to add the look of worn running surfaces on one track panel and on the turntable.

The track is used by Nystrup Gravel on occasions where a temporary track is necessary. Track from the western front in World War 1 did come to Denmark, as the track panels on Hedelands Veteranbane testifies.

Old French army track at Nystrup Gravel. It probably came from the German airfield at Mellemaaen where Nystrup Gravel acquired both locos and machines after the war. It looks like the turntable has been in use recently judging from the worn running surfaces. Notice the immaculate track standard on Nystrup Gravel's line on this spot.

For those who wonder how a turntable looks on the inside, here is a photo. With the turning plate lifted the steel balls that makes turning easy can be seen. Other types of turntables used rollers while the most primitive had neither. Photo from the closed and abandoned Holzwollefabrik und Sägewerk in Hammerunterwiesenthal, 2013. More images on this Flickr album.