Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Wooden Rails at Nystrup Gravel

Some years ago I watched a German modeller experiment with a battery powered loco in 1:45 scale running on primitive track completely made from wood. I was rather taken by the concept and recently Rod Hutchinson from Australia built an exhibition layout named  'The Points' with battery powered RC-locos running on wooden rails. Near Nystrup the small company Ericsson's Masonry close to the Nystrup Gravel line used wooden track panels to connect its workshop to the Nystrup track when having stone delivered.

Wooden track made from scrap wood. The sharpest curve I could get the Lister 'round' without binding. The track is built on a scrap piece of foam board - this is really cheap large scale railway modelling!
Having a particular interest in track and rails I'm now experimenting with wooden rails for Nystrup Gravel. Not that I have any immediate plan for installing track with wooden rails on my future module. Still, it's nice to find out if I can manage building wooden track that works.

Below is a short sequence showing how the Lister performs on the wooden test track. With a gentler 'curve' and a little more widening of the gauge, the loco will need less speed to overcome the binding at the kink. The Lister is an excellent slow runner and will be a good match for a short length of wooden track. 

My next test track will involve a longer and less sharp 'curve' to allow me to test run the Lister coupled with a wagon. More on that later, as I have just received a package with track parts of a more conventional kind from Germany. Can't wait to unpack!

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Weathered Skips in Spring

A lovely spring weather prompted me to venture out in the garden to photograph 2 skips of the German DIN-type. The skips have received a tough hammer weathering, paint and a weathering with Vallejo chipping medium.
Nystrup Gravel's little Lister pulling two empty skips along in sunny spring weather.

Since I wielded the hammer over the hapless skips, two of them have been covered in rust coloured acrylic paint. I covered the wheel treads with masking tape cut to fit. Usually I have been adding rust after the main colour (on my skips a dirty dark grey). This time I took another approach adding the rust first. On top of that I air brushed a layer of Vallejo chipping medium. A fluid that reacts easily with water lifting acrylic paint added on top of the fluid. After the chipping medium had dried, I applied the covering dark grey. I painted numbers on the skips. On one of them I used an etched stencil, the other got a number painted free hand. After a few hours I took a flat brush, moistened with water and started working the surface. First with light strokes to add the water and a few seconds later with heavier strokes to lift and remove some of the grey paint and expose the rust underneath.
Skip 4 ready for weathering with water and flat brush to expose the rust paint.

A close up of the skip's frame showing how the chipping effect can be varied from comparatively large areas to tiny specks.

My first attempt of weathering using chipping medium.
Having never used chipping medium before I was not sure if I could continue the weathering proces before adding a protective layer of acrylic varnish. I took a chance and gave both skips a wash with heavily diluted oil paint. I used turpentine to thin the oil paint and the mix didn't affect the chipping medium. The inside of the skip body was 'massaged' with graphite powder. Only then did I seal the work with matt varnish.

 Still a lot of weathering remains to be done. Gravel dust and worn metal must be applied and I'm also contemplating to add some more texture to the weathering. In this scale rust really should have some texture and not be completely smooth. I better sink into my arm chair and do some thinking.
Skip 4 and 27 showing signs of hard and productive service for the gravel company. The effect of hammer weathering is particularly visible on the skip to the left. Both skips have rust showing through the covering dark grey paint.

A new and unweathered skip has been added to the train to show the difference in appearance.

Due to the corona virus I have been working from home for a week and a half now. The railway business is still working in full gear so I have actually been extremely busy as a lot of extra tasks have been generated by the virus. For me there is no sign of isolation modelling progress.

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Rail Order in Transit for Nystrup

Based on my own research and advise from knowledgeable modellers I have now sent for six lengths of Peco IL-7 FB Code 143 rail. I added a few extra items for track building as I had the credit card out of the card holder. A month ago I reflected over the Peco SM32 track I had acquired for test running and designing my 16 mm scale indoor layout.

Not least the comments and subsequent mail from blog reader Nick Curtis assured me that the Peco Code 143 would be a good rail size for my experiments scratch building track in 1:19 scale.
Nick Curtis had just received his Code 143 rails and posed a few skips on them to illustrate the quite nice relationship in size to the Peco rail. Photo: Nick Curtis.
Not only the rail's height fitted my needs for a realistic type of rail for Nystrup Gravel. The profile is also a much neater representation of a Vignoles profile than my current standard Peco SM32 Code 200 track.
A close up of the IL-7 FB profile. A pretty good match for a real Vignoles profile. Photo: Nick Curtis.

I'm now looking forward to the package arriving from Germany. I shopped at Wenz-Modellbau where I also shopped track items when modelling in 1:35 scale.

A big 'thank you' must go out to anyone responding to my blog helping me to discover new methods, products and suppliers. A particular thank goes out to Nick Curtis for sharing info and images.

Monday, 9 March 2020

Hammer Weathering Applied to Skips

Some of the six skips of German DIN type I aquired last year have been on the workbench to receive some punishing before painting and weathering. Most skips lived a hard and productive life leaving traces like bulges, bends, dirt and corrosion.
A line of skips showing some of the irregular buckling and wear resulting from many years of hard service.
I'm currently drilling three holes in the skips' body's bottom centre line. On the prototypes the holes helped to drain water from the skip bucket. I marked out the position of the holes with a simple jig to ensure equal spacing. Each hole were then started with a hand drill and drilled through with a Dremel.

With the body off the frame I first used flat nosed pliers to lightly bend parts of the metal work. I predominantly added bends to corners and exposed edges, where the skip body would most likely suffer contact with excavator shovel, structures or hit the ground during unloading or derailments.

I also tested if I could replicate the damage inflicted when trying to empty the skips from dried or frozen gravel sticking to the skips' sides. Workers used sledge hammers or iron bars to work the outside of the skip body to release sticky loads. At Nystrup particularly the clay rich overburden could be hard to release from the skips. After years of treatment like that many skips had a pronounced inward bulging.

I went about the process quite simply. I went to my shed where I keep tools etc. On the workbench there I used a piece of wood to position the skip body. With a hammer I made a series of quick blows (well directed, of course) to the skip body. The result was dents of different shapes depending on angle of attack and strength of force. I kept testing if the body still moved freely on the skip frame.
At the workbench in the shed. Ready for hammer weathering!

Bang! Hitting with a corner of the hammer's sharp end produces a small diameter depression in the metal. The skip's frame is standing by for testing if the body looses its overall shape.

The skip body with traces from my rather harsh hammer weathering treatment. This body still needs 3 holes drilled.
With 5-8 blows by the hammer I decided to take a break and examine the results. While the damage done by the hammer can be repaired to a certain degree with the same tool, it's better to stop and assess the result.
Two skips with hammer weathering. The rusty skip has been prepared with two different rust colours in preparation for air brushing with chipping medium and a covering paint. Its wheel treads protected by masking tape. The grey skip has only had the hammer treatment.
While it may not be too obvious in this image, both skips have a random pattern of hammer damage added.

Saturday, 7 March 2020

Ferguson for Nystrup Farmer

Recently I have been working on my diecast model of a Ferguson TE-20 from Schuco. I aquired the model in october 2018 and examined the model in this blog post.
With open bonnet this is how the Ferguson looked when just arrived.

The finished Ferguson photographed on the road plank in my garden.

However much I like the Ferguson tractor my model couldn't stay shiny and factory fresh. Most Fergusons came to Denmark in used condition. While they were of course given a thorough cleaning and mechanical check up before sale and taken care of by their new owners, they were work horses. I wanted my model to look like a well used Ferguson.
The first layers of paint have been applied. The tractor has been readied for a full coverage of matt varnish with a tiny amount of sand colour added for at dusty look. Areas not destined to be matt or dusty are covered with masking tape or glue paste.

I began the proces with minor painting of details and all the linkages' black pins were covered with grey. The exhaust pipe was given a mixing of different dark brown and rust colours. Details like spark plugs and petrol filter were given contrasting colours having consulted several colour images onine. I added green putty to represent dried mud on the tractor's lower parts and wheels. I worked the putty with an old stiff brush while drying to add texture. The puttied areas and surroundings were covered with light earth colours throug the air brush. I also air brushed a thin layer of dark grey on the engine block and radiator. The license plate is a piece of plasticcard fitted with a decal from Skilteskoven.
Weathering progressing. The challenging task of weathering the wheels has begun and the first stages done.

Switching from acrylics to oil paints I gave all areas around linkage points and bushings a thinned lick of black. With the same thinned black oil paint I gave engine, radiator, petrol tank and areas around the bolts on the wheels a wash to bring out the detail and to illustrate oily dirt. I finished this phase off with an air brushed layer of matt acrylic varnish with a tiny drop of light sand added.

With the varnish dried I started adding some small scratches around the tractor. I consulted prototype pictures to see where they usually occured. I kept the scratches to a minimum as I'm modelling a tractor in the early to mid fifties and not a 1980's wreck. I also added petrol spillings on the tank under the bonnet. With those minor tasks done I started weathering the tires. A do or die task on most tractors, where the large tires are very noticeable. I used a thin mix of water and acrylic paint to add the dust between the tire treads. When dry the paint was scratched with a steel wire brush. I rubbed ground up pastel chalk on top and sides of tires and finished off with a covering of matt varnish. I then sanded off any paint on top of the tires treads to expose the original rubber. With a burnishing with graphite powder on seat and foot rests and some gloss varnish on freshly oiled spots, the model is now ready to serve a farmer on the outskirts of Nystrup.
Front view showing the familiar profile of a TE-20 Ferguson.

The Ferguson wasn't a large tractor.

Friday, 28 February 2020

First Pedershaab Run

I have run my 16 mm scale Pedershaab loco for the first time. The model is still in a very early stage, but the running test worked out alright.

This is the test configuration for the first run of my 1/19 Pedershaab on 32 mm gauge. With wires attached the motor is running and the Lister is acting as a brake to keep the one day to be finished-model in the same spot to be photographed.
Rather than using a double installation of 2 3.7V 650 mAh batteries as I had planned, I used a single 3.7V 2800 mAh Li-ion battery. Even with generous space under the bonnet for battery and motor, the double battery plan took up too much space. A single battery simplyfies the circuitry and with a much higher mAh-value the single battery will probably outlast the double battery solution in endurance anyway.

I had planned to fit the battery in a fancy battery holder bolted to a plasticcard bracket, but in the end I exchanged it for a simple construction of five pieces of plasticcard and a cable tie. I soldered tabs to each pole on the battery and attached cables to them.
Plastic bracket and battery holder before I chose a much more primitive solution. No need to complicate things.
Running is nice and slow even with no RC-gear fitted. The delrin chain transfers drive to the second axle and adds a realistic sound of chain clutter. I will definately fit RC-equipment to the model, but perhaps a simple on/off switch and directional change switch would be enough to get realistic running?

With my own interest in locomotives from Pedershaab I was thrilled to see a Danish loco builder having 2 series of standard gauge Pedershaab locos in 1:32 scale in progress. On standard gauge the Pedershaab locos were used for light shunting duties - one loco being immortalized for starring in a 'Olsenbanden' movie. More info on the models can be found here - in Danish.
Parts for 1:32 scale standard gauge Pedershaab shunting tractors on a Danish modeller's work bench.
Parts for several 1:32 scale Pedershaab shunting tractors await final assembly.

Wednesday, 19 February 2020

New Historic Image from Nystrup Gravel

Always on the lookout for historic facts about the railway and company that I try to recreate in model, I am happy to have found proof that Nystrup Gravel had not one, byt two very early Danish built internal combustion locomotives. The newly found 'dinosaur' is a Kramper & Jørgensen single cylinder loco probably built in 1910.
'Nystrup May 1912' says the pencilled text on the back of the picture. We see a full train of skips pulled by two horses, a Kramper & Jørgensen loco and some empty skips. Part of the work force posing in front of the equipment. A young girl  has managed to get herself immortalized with her puppy.
The image above comes as no surprise, as rumours have long had that Nystrup Gravel owned two early oil engine locos from two different manufacturers. A brief post on what I currently know about the Nystrup Gravel history can be found here.

Since years it has been documented that Nystrup Gravel experimented with an early internal combustion locomotive from the Frederikshavn Iron Foundry. I finished a 1:35 scale model of that particular loco in 2017. Now I'm thinking of making a model of the Kramper & Jørgensen in 16 mm scale. It will no doubt make an impressive model in the large scale.

More research is needed before any work can be done, and several other projects have higher priority. I look forward to the design and build process of this unique piece of Danish railway history.