Friday, 18 April 2014

Along the line in Nystrup

This blog has brought me in contact with the granddaughter of Torleif Petersen, the Nystrup Gravel shop manager for many years. She has most friendly scanned and sent me a few pictures her granddad took in the early 1980's when he apparently walked the old Nystrup line some years after the last piece of track was lifted. Below is one of them.

Tho photo shows where, after having passed Nystrup's small industrial district, the line is making its way between houses and cottages before reaching more open land again and arriving at the sorting facilities and lorry ramp.
There is not much room between the walls here for a railway. Nevertheless Nystrup Gravel's 600 mm. line ran here for more than70 years. Even today the passageway is used by pedestrians. The photo is probably shot with a Kodak 'Instamatic'. The colour balance is somewhat off, but unless kept well many colour photos will eventually degrade. The 'Instamatic' was well known in Denmark and the camera I shot my first railway photos with. I even remember my first motif: a Danish state railways MH shunting Coop's siding complex in Glostrup outside Copenhagen. Read more (if not everything) about the 'Instamatic' here.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Classic Scooter

A while ago I was charmed by a little resin kit of a classic American scooter. The Plus Models' kit of a Cushman Autoglide (I think it is a model 32) with sidecar. The kit is made up of rather fiddly resin parts with some flash to remove. Probably not a kit for the most ham fisted among modellers. A build review can be found on the military modelling site Armorama.

When assembling my kit I just follwed the instructions. I had to cut part of the rear wheel off to make it fit its mounting. I probably glued the little engine a fraction too far back on the frame, so not necessarily a fault of the kit.

The Cushman Autoglide before fitting of sidecar. The molested rear wheel can be seen. My new brand of CA-glue can be seen as well. After having tested several brands I have now found a good working glue that suits my needs.

A wide variety of Cushman models were available. During the world war the company even made an air droppable version for the US Army.
As an added benefit the building of the scooter also brought back the etched plates for my Schöma. How they ended in the box with the scooter I ought to know, but don't. Not surprisingly I found the old plates after having ordered and fixed new plates to the loco. If you have a 1:35 loco in need of etched plates I'm sure I can offer a nice price for the set of four plates. Leave a comment if you are interested. See the plates here and the new plates on my loco.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Gas Generator Loco in Service at Nystrup Gravel

As gravel was in high demand during the German occupation of Denmark for construction of German bunkers and airfields, Nystrup Gravel worked hard to supply the sought after gravel (too hard some thought). As very little diesel and hardly any gasoline was available several locomotives were fitted with gas generators. Interested in a reliable supply of gravel, the German authorities at the nearby airfield even stationed a gas generator locomotive on the line. The locomotive arrived during the summer of 1944 bearing the markings of a Wilhelmshafen based contractor, Wilhelm Müller. After the war a long quarrel over ownership ensued while the loco kept working on Nystrup Gravel's railway.
Loco no. 78 pushing skips to the pits. Not a bad model considering that it comes practically right out of printer. I only added surface treatment, minor details, paint, decals and the Beckert Modellbau-plates. I'm sure this is not my last printed model.
After fitting metal handles and a floor I gave the loco a thorough wash before it received a thin layer of new primer. The cab interior was painted light grey (I used Vallejo Model Air 71121 USAF light grey) and weathered with thinned oil paints (black and burnt umber). The windows were made from clear plastic card. I use Kristal Klear to glue windows as it dries completely clear and shiny and gives a good, strong bond. After the cab was painted and given a quick spray of matt varnish I glued the floor in place.

I fitted the ESU decoder on the gear box end of the BullAnt with double sided tape. In that way I have a self contained drive unit that simply bolts in place with two M2 bolts. (You may remember that I ran out of M2 nuts while building the bogie flats. After having ordered a new supply from Germany one of my friends from HVB presented me with a good selection of M2 nuts and bolts. It will last a long time before I run out of M2!).

BullAnt with ESU-decoder. After a test fit to the loco body I had to relocate the decoder on the gearbox end of the BullAnt. I buy decoders in my local hobby shop - Taastrup Togkælder. Other than decoders I don't shop a lot of 'main stream' model railway stuff, so I'm probably not a customer they'll ever miss. Behind the BullAnt is my old 25W Antex soldering iron given to me by my mom and dad in the early eighties when they made me switch from building far too many plastic tanks to running trains. And yes: The handle on the iron is bakelite! I only pull out the small 25V iron when I solder decoders.
I used Vallejo 'USAF Dark Grey' (number 71.123) to paint the loco. I had been looking at the loco with black primer so long, that I thought it a shame to go over board in an orgie of colours (well, red, green and black). So dark grey it is.

Loco body painted dark grey. Where the decals will go I have applied a layer of gloss varnish. To the right are my two 'masking sticks'. Tired of hard to remove Maskol and sticky masking tape I have simply cut two plastic sheet rectangles that push-fit in the window openings. Mounted on sticks from plastic kit sprue to ease handling, they have performed very well.
The name of the German contractor came custom made from 'Skilteskoven' while the numbering was adapted from an old Tamiya decal sheet. The lovely etched plates I had acquired from Germany was impossible to locate on my shelves, even if I pride myself of having complete control of where I keep what. I ordered new plates from Beckert Modellbau. Reluctantly, though, as I expect to find the lost plates any day now that I have received new ones...

Decals in place. The black lump is filling for the fuel box and the small plastic pieces will end up as fire wood.
The loco had a generous supply of fuel poured into the fuel box. I decided not to use real wood, as I suspected real wood to look unrealistic when chopped into the tiny blocks needed in the gas generator. I used small pieces of plastic profile painted in several light greys and faint yellows. According to a hand book on gas generator driving the wood blocks should be 2x2x3 mm in 1:35, so I chopped up a square strip from Evergreen.

Fuel box filled and the fire wood has been given a coat of paint. Weathering has begun.
The gas generator was weathered rather heavily as the heat generated had a strong effect on the paint. I used several tones of grey. I applied the greys with paints and powders.  I also tried to add some ash residue from the cleaning process, repeated at least once a week on a gas generator. Several colours of oil paints were used for weathering. I even tried using a very light green around some of the pipes from the gas cooler to resemble oxidation of copper packings.

An illustration of how a gas generator works. For non-German speakers you can follow the gas from the generator on the left through the different cleaning filters and cooler to the engine's piston on the far right.
The KML 5 type was basically a O&K MD2 with lengthened frames (to take gas generator and wood fuel). It was the only narrow gauge internal combustion loco allowed to be built according to the 'Bauverbot für Motorlokomotiven' implemented in 1942 by the German authorities. Here seen in Nystrup outside Bankes Bakelit.
A wartime image of the Schöma locomotive working on the Nystrup Gravel line. Even today it is shrouded in mystery if the loco was owned by the German contractor Müller and on loan to Nystrup Gravel or if the loco was in fact the property of the gravel company.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

To the Scrap Merchant

Usually I write at great lengths of all the building and investing I do for my little railway. Recently I did something rather unusual. I scrapped a flat wagon. I decided it didn't live up to the quality of my other models and that it needed to go. As I'm not one that usually throws away anything, the wagon was first stripped of what I thought could be useful in the future. The rest of the wagon went to the scrapper - well, the local municipality waste treatment facility. I trust the wagon has now been consumed in the high temperature oven and helped create hot water for heating homes - perhaps my own?

Wagon no 47 was built in 1994 to carry the Ransomes MG6 tractor. The wagon was my first experiment with narrow gauge in 1:35 along with a never finished conversion of a Lima diesel. The wagon was made by simply putting a new and wider floor on a cut down H0 wagon. Having served for many years, the wagon has now been written off. But consider the idea of taking a string of old, surplus or second hand H0 wagons and converting them if you want to find out if railway modellling in 1:35 is something for you. They may end up serving you for 20 years!

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Gravel Extraction Today

Nystrup Gravel closed many years ago. The company finally closed in the late 1970´s (although no gravel had been extracted for several years by then) from a number of reasons. The company was generally well led, but the fundamentals of gravel business had changed by the late sixties. The management of Nystrup Gravel never took modern machinery into consideration and investments had gone down. The major stock owner, director Holm, wanted to retire and was interested in pulling out his money for retirement in sunny Spain.

Other companies continue to supply gravel in Denmark and several new areas has been opened for extraction, even though for environmental reasons permits are much harder to get. On the outskirts of greater Copenhagen a large gravel deposit has been exploited since the 1890´s. Originally the centre of the extraction was Hedehusene, but today the areas exploited have moved west and south. This week I took a bike ride through the area to see what modern gravel extraction looks like. Here are a few images of what I saw.

I would like to see this Volvo excavator with its arm fully extended! 

A view into the active part of the gravel area. Roskilde is in the horizon.

Lorry with a load of gravel coming through the tunnel once used for a conveyor belt. 

Partly dismantled conveyor belt. Its role now taken over by lorries.
Another loaded lorry leaves for a construction site. Old gravel pits as far as you can see.

Traces of gravel workings not used for almost fifty years: Old and overgrown open topped gravel silos. 

785 mm. tracks ran under the silo through this tunnel. Sleepers with spikes can still be found inside the tunnel.

Inside the tunnel you can still see levers and the chutes used for loading skips.

Often seen in model on layouts and dioramas - the old, left behind oil drum. Seldom seen dumped in real life as they of course costs money and are thus usually not thrown away. Here is one, though. Notice the splash of colour provided by the blue cooler in the background. Spoil from an other age.

Not a part of the lifted Nystrup Gravel line, but the foundation for the expansion of a very living railway in the old gravel workings south of Hedehusene. In a few years Hedelands Veteranbane will be running steam trains here - the only place in Denmark where you'll have a view to vineyards from a train.

Friday, 14 March 2014

3D Schöma with motor!

In a few days I will add a fourth dimension to the 3D-printed gas generator Schöma KML-3 loco - movement. A BullAnt from Australia with 28 mm. wheelbase and 12 mm. dia. wheels arrived last week. Fitted with an ESU V4 micro decoder the running qualities are expected to be smooth and controllable.

During the week I have been making a floor for the 3D-printed loco shell from 1,5 mm. plasticard. The floor is fitted with two nuts to take the M2 bolts that keeps the BullAnt in place. The floor was glued to the loco with two component epoxy glue. Getting a mechanism to fit can be difficult. Height wise you'll want the best resemblance to the prototype while considering how to leave room for cab detail or the possibility to show an engine on the model. With a closed cab model the task is a little easier and the small size of the BullAnt contributes to a good result.

BullAnt as delivered from Hollywood Foundry and the plasticard floor with cut outs to fit in the loco body. I have not yet drilled holes for the two mounting bolts. In front of the plasticard floor is my cardboard test floor. I often make test pieces of cardboard as the material is cheap and easy to cut.
The BullAnt takes up just a little room inside the Schöma, so I was able to fit a very rudimentary interior to the cab.  I made a firewall to separate cab and engine compartment. It helps to hide the decoder and the colourful wiring from view. I fitted the firewall with a few gauges, but as the cab on the real loco is a rather 'naked' affair and not much can be seen through the windows, I didn't spent time on small details.

A little of the interior can be viewed through the cab window in this shot. I made the gauges by punching holes in a piece of plasticard with a punching tool. The loco body is only temporarily fitted to the BullAnt.
On the outside I fitted handles on the doors and a few brass sheet and pipe details. Not much is needed as the printed model has an amazingly high level of detail. I drilled out the exhaust pipe and the hole for the starting handle that goes through the gas cleaner on the loco's front.

The model is ready for painting. After a renewed washing I will give it yet another layer of primer before I airbrush it dark grey. Notice how the BullAnt provides an almost unobstructed view between the axles.

Before leaving you for giving my loco a wash in hot water and window cleaner I have to share an old advert for Imbert gas generators (the type fitted to the Schöma).

If you thought the idea of driving on wood fuel has disappeared this website will prove you wrong:

Friday, 7 March 2014

Bath Tub and Planting Flowers

I haven't done much work on my modules for a long time. One of the last days in 2013 I started planting grass on my bridge module around the small stream. I'm not quite finished yet and the work continues. While I was 'gardening' I dug out an old kit of flowers and assembled a few to plant here and there on the module. I have done that on the two other modules with a nice effect, I think. The flowers are from Busch and made for H0, where they must be way out of scale. I think they fit great in 1:35. I'm not putting small white flowers everywhere, but just a few clusters here and there to create a little variety.
The Busch 'Margeriten'. I have never seen daisies this size - perhaps the figure is very small or the flowers are of the type Chrysanthemum Maximum which grows to 50-100 cm?
Loco no. 23, one of Nystrup Gravel's two French diesel locomotives, passing the wooden bridge over the small stream before squeezing past the fence around Bankes Bakelit, the Bakelite factory in Nystrup. The slope to the left has been grassed and the layout is beginning to look little more exhibitable. Much work remain, though.

The MK35 cow that grazes on the small hill overlooking the bridge has been given an old bath tub to drink from. The bath tub is from Plus Models, that must have the best range of small details to enrich every layout in 1:35. The bathtub is painted with a mix of white and light sand from Vallejo and weathered lightly with oil paints. On H0 layouts I have seen scenes with whole herds of cows. I haven't room for that, nor the money for dozens of resin cows.

Cow and bath tub on one of those grey and over cast days that makes up most of the Danish summer. A few Busch daisies seems to have caught the cow's attention.
In November I'm bringing Nystrup Gravel to a Gauge 1 exhibition. I'll be bringing the same three modules as last time I exhibited, so I would like to finish them and add some new features. Not too much sense bringing the same unfinished stuff twice. A long list of things to be done is being scribbled down at the moment. Expect to see more...

Last time I exhibited Nystrup Gravel: The guests are beginning to show up. I'm now working to landscape the bridge module and add a lot of smaller things to finish all modules in advance of the next exhibition.