Loco no 6

Loco no 6

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Working on Solvang Construction's Commer

As I parked the MMK Bedford O on stand by I knew I had to find a substitute lorry to pull Solvang Construction's heavy load trailer. I chose the Commer Q 2 from Wespe Models, Romania. I have built models from Wespe before. They are not terribly detailed and benefit from some extra detailing with home made parts. But Wespe kits are simple and comparatively easy to assemble if you have a little experience with resin kits. And where else can I get a Commer in 1:35 scale? Nowhere.
A solid card board box protects the few parts during transport.

A low number of parts primarily caused by the fact that chassis, cab floor and seats are cast as one unit. It would not surprise me if the number of parts I add myself will be higher.
Assembly of the frames and wheels presented no particular challenges. I fitted only one fuel tank as I believe two tanks were a military feature. The resin tank missed a fuel filler cap so I made one from a few discs punched out with my punch and die set.

The lorry is on its wheels. It is always a satisfaction to see a resin kit rest solidly on all wheels.
How Solvang Construction came in posession of a Commer tractor is not known to me. But many British lorrys roamed the Danish roads in the early fifties. A major user of the Commer Q 2 was the British Royal Air Force, so it may be fair to assume that Solvang Construction's example had a military past.

A RAF Commer pulling an aircraft trailer carrying a stripped down Hurricane fighter. Sudan 1942.

My Commer mated to the MMK-trailer. The models' proportions fit each other reasonably well. Only a few more parts to add to the lorry's chassis and it is ready for primer.

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Draining of the Factory Yard

In smaller scales it is usually only very few modellers who take the trouble of fitting gully grates in streets and yards. In 1:35 it is a thing I think is important to remember. As model railways are still seen mostly from above, details on the ground are easily seen - or missed. Particularly in a large scale as 1:35.

In the factory yard of Banke's Bakelite I have fitted a single gully grate to help drain the area.. The grate is from a set in etched metal produced by Epokemodeller in 1:32 scale. I raised the ground around the grate slightly to achieve a little depth under the grate and a slight gradient of the yard towards the grate. Few will ever notice the space under the grate but I like to have the three dimensional effect. The hole under the grate was painted black and the grate itself dark grey after it had been blackened.
The Epokemodeller etch. The supply will probably be more than adequate for even the most unlikely expansion of my 1:35 model of Nystrup Gravel.

Ground being built up from scraps of plastic card and plaster. 
Most of the yard itself is covered with a layer of fine, dark grey sand picked up from a sandy trail near my in-laws' cottage.

The factory yard covered with gravel. Soon the brick wall can be glued in place.
I still have to add a little gravel around the grate and weather the grate itself. 
The yard of the bakelite factory. The wall is fitted and I have placed the power pole to test its position. 

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Track Painted and Ballasted

Having tested the track on the factory module for a while with a variety of locos, I turned to painting track and sleepers. Rail and steel sleepers were given a coat of Humbrol 113 'Rust'. When dry some sleepers were painted with Vallejo 71.129 'Light Rust' to create a little variety. The top of the rails were then wiped clean. After a few days I gave rails and steel sleepers a wash of heavily diluted burnt sienna oil paint. The top of the rails were wiped clean again.
A length of steel sleepered track painted and weathered.

The few wooden sleepers on the module were treated with an very thin mix of several oil paint; primarily black and burnt umber. After painting the track was left alone for a few days and then tested again. I wanted to make sure the track still worked flawlessly before starting ballasting.

It seems to me that modellers are divided as to when to ballast track: before landscaping or after. I like to have the track finished before gluing down grass, buildings and other scenic features, but after all the 'dirty work' with plaster and power tools. Ballasting on Nystrup Gravel is done with gravel. Surely no surprise there. The gravel company hadn't much money for track maintenance, but gravel was never in short supply. I am using sieved gravel from a bucket I acquired when the pavement was laid down around my old house. Before use the gravel is sieved through an old kitchen sieve.
Lumps of grass glued in the track. I use small pieces of grass mats from Heki.

Tufts of grass are glued in the track before ballast is applied. Most industrial railways never fought grass and weed in the track and consequently a generous amount of vegetation shot up between the rails and sleepers. I also placed litter and garbage before I ballasted. I figured that the short part of the line passing between the brick wall and wooden fence would be a place where litter accumulated. I placed some old bricks (Preiser), an empty oil can (Plus Models), some rags and card board (home made from copper foil) and some empty bottles (Plus Models).
Grass and litter in place before ballasting. I have never tried to add litter along the line so I am curious to see the result when the ballast is in place.

I sprinkle the sieved gravel over the track with a small spoon. The ballast invariably getting stuck in the grass is removed by working the grass tuft with a tooth pick (the glue used for the grass must be completely dry by this time). I adjust the sprinkled ballast with a soft brush, making sure rail and sleepers are free from ballast particles.
The dry ballast is now in place. The last pieces of ballast on sleeper tops and rail still needs to be removed with a soft brush.

I use standard white PVA glue thinned with tap water to glue the ballast in place. I add a few drops of washing up soap to remove the surface tension of the liquid. The glue is applied with a standard syringe. Many articles mention that the ballast is wetted with water and and a few drops of washing up liquid, but I have always skipped that part and gone directly to application of glue. I have never had problems with glue penetration in the ballast.
After the glue has been applied the track needs to dry thoroughly before being worked on again. I apply the thinned white glue with the syringe in the foreground.
Once the glue has fully dried I clean the track of loose gravel with a vacuum cleaner. Then it's time to clean the rail heads again. I use a soft cloth with acetone followed by a wipe with a Q-tip dipped in window cleaning fluid.

The glue has dried and all that remains is some minor adjustment and a little air brushing.

Ballasting done. The module progresses slowly. The end tipping skip is left on the track.

Saturday, 2 April 2016

The Wall

The long brick wall separating the bakelite factory yard and Nystrup Gravel's 600 mm. track is a an important back ground feature on the factory module. I was inspired to build the wall from the white painted brick wall in my back garden. The brick wall at Banke's Bakelit was probably erected in 1942 after one of the company's lorries toppled the old wooden fence.

I built the brick wall from elements cast in plaster using a mould from Diorama Debris. The elements were glued to a piece of foam board. I filled the transitions with plaster and a thin mix of plaster was also used to cover most of the wall to represent a plastered wall. A few spots were left without plastering to show the bricks. On the rear side of the wall I glued Tamiya brick paper as the wall will not be viewed by many from that side.

The plaster castings that makes up the main parts of the wall.
The wall assembled, plastered and painted.
I painted both sides of the wall with thinned white acrylic paint. After the paint had dried I covered the wall with matt acrylic varnish from a spray can. I sprayed the wall with varnish twice to make sure I got a good covering. The varnish provided a safe foundation for the final treatment with oil paint. A thin mix of turpentine and raw umber was washed over the wall. I made sure to get the treatment heaviest near the bottom of the wall. A little green paint was used to represent algea growth near the ground.

Applying oil paint to the wall.
Ground up chalk pastel was brushed on the bottom of the wall with a short and stiff brush. Although the pastels need a protective cover of flat varnish, the wall is now basically ready to be fitted to the module.

The wall seen from the bakelite factory yard. This is the side that will not be seen by many, as it is facing away from the module's front.
The wall's front side. Although inspired by my own garden wall, this one is much dirtier.

Monday, 14 March 2016

Rebuilding Bankes Bakelit

I'm currently rebuilding the factory building at Bankes Bakelit. Quite an accomplishment as I never managed to finish the first version of the building. The upgrade from card board mock up to foam board building was planned. Now the building has (due to the unforeseen intervention from good friends of Nystrup Gravel) progressed to laser cut 4 mm. MDF. In fact several friends came up with ideas for improving the building. I really like getting suggestions and advise. I consider it the main benefit of this little blog. Thanks a lot.

Per Møller Nielsen, the owner of Epokemodeller, a small Danish producer of all sorts of useful accessories in scales from H0 to Gauge 1, offered to laser cut both walls and windows. Sketches with the main measurements were mailed and the finished parts delivered only a week later. I paid Per a small sum for the service, but surely the result merits the investment.
The building from Larsen's Toy Factory I'm using as inspiration for my bakelite factory. Workers beside a pile of the wooden toys they were making inside for more than 60 years. Too bad I can only build one end and a single row of windows. I can see that H0-modellers have one advantage over my 1:35 scale...
I assembled the three main parts (front and sides) with white glue. The parts came chamfered and they fitted perfectly together. I added a small rear reinforcement of foam board. The major rear foam board wall of the building will be integrated with the internal structure and interior.

I filed the lower window edge to allow for the mounting of a window sill. On the prototype the sills are quite prominent and I didn't want to leave them out. The sills were fabricated from plastic card and painted a rusty red to match the window frames, although you from the old photo above can see that they originally were white.

The outer walls of the building were covered with a layer of white glue that was worked with a short and stiff haired brush while drying. This gives the wall a three dimensional structure which I think is necessary in 1:35 scale. After two layers of white paint I fitted decals with the company name. I had those made years ago by my usual supplier of decals 'Skilteskoven' in Odense.
Ready for paint. The covering of dried white glue is vaguely visible.
White paint added and decals fitted. Gloss varnish provided a smooth surface for the decals but it still took a considerable amount of decal solution to make the decals conform to the irregular surface.
Foam board interior during construction. Grain of wheat bulbs test fitted - one in the front room right and two in the office left.
Lights on in the front room. I plan to fit the lighting so I can turn on the light in each room individually.
The windows were also laser cut by Per in thin card board. I carefully assembled the windows with thinned white glue. After the glue had dried, I gave the windows a cover of Vallejo matt varnish on both sides to protect the surface and provide a little extra stiffness.
Each window is made up from five parts. Here they are in company with an assembled window. Clear plastic card will be glued on the frames' rear as glass.
The interior is currently being glued up from foam board in the form of a 'drawer' that can be pulled out of the building. Two rooms on the ground floor (office and front room with stove) and a single room with tanks and piping on the first floor.

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Land Rover Fire Tender

This week saw me standing in line at the local post office (well, actually a corner of a super market operating a post office service). The time waiting was truly worth it. My package contained a long sought after kit: the Roadcraft Land Rover Series 1 fire tender in 1:35 scale!
An understated package. 
The rugged Land Rover was popular in Danish fire and rescue services, particularly in rural areas. I remember seeing one in action from a first floor window in my grand parents' farm. While I was having my afternoon nap ( I must have been about 6 years old) the neighbour's pig stable caught fire. All the noise woke me op, and the first thing I saw when I looked through the curtains was a little red Land Rover fire tender laying out hoses to a small pond.
Whitemetal chassis and resin body parts. This vehicle is perfect for putting out fires around Nystrup.
The kit is made from white metal and resin with etched brass for small and delicate details. I have built a Roadcraft Bedford O lorry and being impressed with its quality, I knew I had to have a Land Rover. The problem is that Roadcraft kits are as rare as hens' teeth. I have only seen them advertised on the Scale Link website. Having left a mail some time ago I was contacted recently and told they had tracked down a few of the rare kits.
Page 1 of the assembly diagrams - and a lot of parts!
Usually a short run multi media-kit will be accompanied by some awfull instructions, sometimes leaving the builder with more questions than answers. This is not the case here! Not only do Roadcraft kits come with nice drawings showing where the parts go, they also have a written up assembly manual. No less than 16 A5 pages of helpful text comes with the fire tender. I'll have a hard time to keep my hands off this kit. But I have other projects to finish first.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

A Change of Track

No. Nystrup Gravel is not about to change scale or gauge - or even worse go standard gauge. Recent test running of locomotives on the steel sleepered track on the factory module showed that the track laid down was a little under gauge. While narrow gauge is great, you can actually have too much 'narrowness'. A track gauge of 16.0 - 16.2 mm. is obviously too narrow to safely operate several of my locos. I also noted that my Magic Train steam loco bumped the bolts on the sleepers. I have consequently lifted my Coldicott-track.

Having mentioned my troubles on the NGRM-forum a good friend from the Netherlands came to the rescue with track panels of his own design. Just at few days later I had a generous number of 3D printed steel sleepers on Code 83 rail to install.
The old track ripped up and new track panels being laid. The brick wall is still very far from finished and removable - which makes track laying easier.
I am using track spikes from KBscale. The small spirit level is perfect for checking if the track is level. The light yellow resin sleepers are Blitz French army sleepers. They fit Code 100 rail.

I laid the new track panels in the same way as I had laid the Coldicott panels. I inserted wooden sleepers under the rail ends and connected the rails by soldering them on brass plates. In real life the wooden sleepers would provide stability to the track. Current to the rails is supplied by wires soldered to the underside of the rails connecting to heavier wires under the base board.

I used up my remaining few Blitz resin French army sleepers in one end of the module. I hadn't many left and I thought it fun to include an other type of steel sleeper on the module.
Shims of plastic of differing thickness are used to 'tamp' the track. 1:35 scale track building isn't that far from putting together full size track panels! The dummy fish plates are from KBscale.

Testing the track with different vehicles help me determine if there are problematic spots in the track. Here the little speeder is being run back and forth on the module. The Q-tips are used for rail and wheel cleaning.
The Fowler also ventured out on the track panels. My foam board factory building has been exchanged with a laser cut MDF structure. More on that later.
I'll probably keep testing the track a little longer before I start to paint and weather rails and sleepers. New parts for the bakelite factory arrived last week and I have been planning how to equip it with lights and a partial interior.