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.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

New Skips in Service

I received new 1:35 skips shortly before packing for the Gauge 1 exhibition. That meant that very little testing could be done. I brought my new skips to the exhibition anyway, thinking I could perhaps get time to fiddle with them if necessary.
Loco 23 with a train of Hesketh & Snoodyk skips emerging from under the road viaduct. Despite the skips being unpainted and the coupler chains still bright metal, I think the little train makes a rather good impression. So thought many visitors at the Gauge 1 exhibition.
I can report that the skips ran very well without any need for major adjustments. I bent the cradles that takes the skip bucket a bit on a few of the wagons. That helped the body to stay upright during travelling over Nystrup Gravel's uneven track. Otherwise I didn't need to fix anything. The skips keep the track well and manages the gap between modules (where there is bound to be some distance between the rail ends) without problems. I had very few derailments - none of them due to the skips themselves.

Real skips rock and sway as they travel over uneven track. Here skips loose a little gravel as they pass through a point. Hedelands Veteranbane, March 2014
No one at the exhibition commented on the skips being unpainted (they are only blackened) and one visitor even commented that he thought I had been really good at weathering the skips. I had to tell him that they were in fact not even painted - which he found hard to believe even after taking a closer look.

In my opinion the skips passed the test. Not only do they run well they also look good. Some of the visitors (obviously as fascinated by skips as myself) had no trouble distingushing between the different types of skips in service and had very favourable opinions on my new ones. I like them too!

See info on the skips and assembly instructions here.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Nystrup Gravel is Moving

As if a trip to the Gauge 1-exhibition near Odense wasn't enough, the 1:35 version of Nystrup Gravel is now preparing for permanent relocation.  Having resided in its little corner of a two storey townhouse for 9 years, Nystrup Gravel will be housed in a slightly bigger wooden house in the years to come. Consequently modules, models, materials, tools and documents are being packed in boxes for transport. Not to mention my book collection and archive that seems awfully large whenever I have to move.

Some of my unbuilt kits packed for moving. The boxes with my 13'eme Dragon kits of Pechot wagons seems rather dusty...
I'm glad to have made foam lined wooden boxes for many of my scratch- and kit built models. It certainly makes it easier (not to mention safer) to make them ready for the move. Fortunately the move isn't a long one and the amount of damage that can happen to Nystrup Gravel stuff must be limited. The distance between my current house and the future one is a mere 1,5 km. It is still too early to predict if the move will allow an enlargement of the gravel company's activities. The move isn't made with the primary target of expanding Nystrup Gravel. But I do sense certain new possibilities...

All the modules and most of the models I brought to the Gauge 1 exhibition were unloaded at a friend's workshop. My stuff wil remain in store there until it's safe for them to return to their new surroundings. It is great to have friends ready to help out in situations like these - even without being asked! The conclusion must be that whenever you think you can help a fellow enthusist just ask. It helps keeping more people attached to the hobby.

Before the modules went into storage I managed to set a new record for the longest skip train on Nystrup Gravel. In the photo above loco 23 pulls 20 skips with no trouble. Pushing the same number of skips is only possible with some care from the driver. A case where 1:35 skip trains behaves pretty much like a real train of skips - especially with loaded skips coupled between unloaded ones. Now modules and skips are safely packed away.
A very long skip train at NSS at Valkenburgse Meer in the Netherlands. More than 50 skips made up this train at the Internationales Feldbahner Treffen in 2011 - a record I can't challenge! Notice the variety among the skips - not least in colour.
The railway being packed away will put a stop to most modelling activities for a while. And surely getting a new house up and running is far more important than gluing small objects together. The next few months will probably see this blog rather more quiet than usually.

Monday, 17 November 2014

A Nice Trip to Rolfsted

Nystrup Gravel and I spent three days at the Gauge 1 Exhibition in Rolfsted, near Odense. I got a lift from a friend and as he had just acquired a new van, space wasn't a problem. Being a rather small 'thing' Nystrup Gravel was quickly erected and connected electrically. Nystrup Gravel was connected to my friend's three modules with very little fuss. I did a few last minute adjustments, cleaned rails and did some tests. All worked well, except from my Zimo digital unit that seemed rather reluctant to accept new locos. Thus traffic had to be handled by my trusty Billard locos.

Nystrup Gravel ready to be erected.

The exhibition management's planning model laid out for traders and exhibitors to follow.
Despite the digital troubles I got trains running. With my new supply of skips from Hesketh & Snoodyk I could show a wide variety of skips. I actually had quite a few questions this year about model skips. Maybe fellow participants and visitors are planning their own industrial narrow gauge railways?

A train of Hudson skips on its way to the pits after gravel.

Despite digital troubles the gas generator Schöma managed to pull a train of surplus stones along the line.
Almost 1100 paying visitors attended the exhibition that also had the benefit of being in the evening news on the regional TV-station. Both exhibitors and traders thus had the chance to reach a wide audience for our modelling activities. Reporters from a German web magazine (Spur 1 Info) were also present during the entire exhibition. I was surprised that a large number of Germans turned up, many with a good knowledge of industrial narrow gauge modelling. I made several new contacts and refreshed old ones and I'm quite sure that some of the discussions we had during the exhibition will materialize into models. I would also like to thank those of you readers who turned up to say hello and gave me the impression that what I write isn't only enjoyable to myself.

To me the biggest change from last time I participated was the landscaping that had taken place on most layouts. Many layouts now sported basic green grass and shrubbery and provided a much better background for the detailed locos and rolling stock. Many layouts had also brought along brochures to enable the visitors to learn more about scale, theme and models. I too had made a small flyer to give info on Nystrup Gravel and it really worked in engaging the visitors in conversations about narrow gauge railways.

A small goods train pulled by a shunting tractor. On the TD-flat wagon I had the opportunity to show my model of a Marshall thresher. A rarely seen load on model railways.
I don't know when the next Gauge 1 Exhibition will take place, but I would be glad to participate if invited. See a few images from the exhibition on my Flickr-site.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Getting Ready for the Gauge 1 Exhibition

Having done many of the small tasks on my little railway that I have been neglecting for long, I'm now almost ready to take part in the premier exhibition for model railways in 1:32 scale in Denmark. In two weeks Nystrup Gravel will be located on the island of Fyn.

A snapshot from above showing the small stream where I hope to pour 'water' before the exhibition. While grass and plants have been spreading there is still a lot of room for progress. First of all the sharp borders between the different colours of grass needs fading.  
Some would say that exhibiting a little industrial narrow gauge line in 1:35 scale at a Gauge 1-exhibition where it's all standard gauge stuff running on modules devoid of any landscape is a little odd. I don't agree. I like to show what can be done in a comparatively small space, and have had quite favourable feedback from fellow exhibitors and visitors. And from what I know there will be several nicely landscaped Gauge 1-modules at the exhibition this year.

I couldn't resist putting a few of my new skips on the track. They aren't coupled though, something the observant reader will notice at once. Seen from this perspective there is no need to pour water into the stream...
At the exhibition in 2012 a friend of mine with narrow gauge interest supplied three modules to add to the operational interest of my modules. We'll be teaming up again this year. He and his wife have been landscaping the modules during the last few weeks - in addition to working on their primary standard gauge modules.

Ground cover almost complete on one of my friend's modules. Lots of stuff can still be added, but a huge progress from how the modules looked at the last exhibition where my friend called his modules 'The Barren Ground'. Photo: Arne Nielsen.
I'm looking forward to some interesting days. Should you happen to drop by Rolfhallen in Rolfsted south of Odense please visit me and Nystrup Gravel to say hello. I'm located in the hall opposite the restaurant.

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.