Friday, 16 October 2020

Point Lever Assembled

In short breaks in a period of some hectic work schedules I have been able to assemble one of the point levers from Feld-, Garten- und Grossbahn. The white metal castings were well cast and only sporadic mould lines were present. They were removed with sanding sticks and the holes cleaned up with a round file. The casting representing the lever's handle looked a bit odd, and I will be replacing it with a piece of heavy wire.

Almost finished point lever with home made direction indicator.

Prototype point lever of the same type photographed on the Hedeland Vintage Railway. The upper bracket for holding the direction indicator has broken off.

Assembly of the cleaned up parts wasn't too difficult. Just remember to test fit now and then to make sure you don't get the holes opnened up too much, which will make the lever wobbly in service. The only real test provided was the drilling of a 0,8 mm hole for a piece of wire to be superglued into the axle holding the weighted arm of the lever. With plenty of light and a pair of steady hands it worked out in the end, producing a working lever.

To indicate which way the point is set, the lever kit is supplied with a lantern that can be fitted with lights. That is a bit too fancy for a simple industrial railway like mine. I chose to fit the lever with a home made direction indicator from a brass pipe and a piece of brass cut to shape with a pair of scissors. Assembled with solder, the job was done in no time.

A large peg allows the lever assembly to be firmly attached to a sleeper.

The pin and arms that operate the direction indicator can be seen fitted to the right hand end of the lever's central axle.

With only a handle missing, the lever will soon be put in a box waiting for track laying at Nystrup Gravel to begin. I'm currenty in the process of cutting ties for my first track. 

Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Coach In Service

It has been almost a full month since I last posted here. Not much have happened modelling wise and I have been working and helping out keeping the 1:1 scale narrow gauge vintage railway running. Having an unfinished project on the shelf for too long, isn't the best recipe for my appetite for new progress, so I settled for a quick process for finishing the four wheel coach.

The Nystrup Gravel coach no. 3 pushed by loco no. 3. With a vigilant lookout on the front platform, the short train has travelled the light track safely and is now ready for a photo session before moving on.

Not much work remained when I last left the coach and the buffers had arrived. While figured out how to mount the buffers I prepared the large platform ends. The wooden end pieces were left soaking in water for 1½ hour to make them workable. I fitted them in a homemade jig and held them down with clamps for a day. While they didn't come out fitting precisely, they certainly are acceptable for a well used coach on a small industrial railway. The end plates were fitted with hand rails, primed and the plates painted black and the hand rails red. With the buffers painted black, all that missed was a number on the coach's sides. I found an etched metal stencil and positioned  it roughly central on the coach's side and stippeled red paint over the stencil. I removed it before the paint dried (which would have 'glued' the stencil to the coach).

The lookout has gone (he remembered to close the sliding door) and the Lister is ready to pull away to allow the coach to be photographed on its own.

The polished windows are a marked contrast to the otherwise rather worn coach. This section of the Nystrup Gravel line used very light rail.

As usual for all my models the coach was weathered with a mix of oil and acrylic paint, pastel chalk and physical effects with wire brush and knife blade. While the coach is now labelled as finished and ready for service, I am planning to replace the couplings. Readers of the blog have already been advising me on alternatives that may work, even if not in 1:19 scale.

End view showing some of the interior which is kept more tidy than the outside.

Monday, 31 August 2020

Coach Couplings

During construction of the coach I have been looking for suitable buffers/couplings for it. It was my intention to find items that were reminiscent of tramway couplings. The search turned out to be rather difficult and in the end I decided to fit standard Roundhouse scale couplings. Despite them being rather large the design wasn't too far from what I was looking for. I could see them work with my other types of couplings and they could be mounted under the coach without too much fuss.

The couplings are bought separately and delivered with two different types of coupling attactments. I will be using a home made chain for coupling.

I bought the couplings on the Swift Sixteen-website in the section for 'builders parts'.  Once received, I could separate the coupler castings from the casting tree and test fit the couplings on the coach. They are rather big for the small coach, so I suspect I will have to keep looking for an appropriately sized pair of couplings. Until that happens the coach will be fitted with the Roundhouse couplings.

I fitted the supplied 3 mm bolts on the coach's underside and added an assortment of washers to adjust the couplers' height. A nut keeps everything in place. The coupler can swing and the amount of deflection is regulated by a brass bracket glued to the coach's bottom. 

Testing the Roundhouse couplings on the Line Side Hut Corris coach.


The almost finished coach with couplings fitted. They will probably be less prominent once painted and weathered.

I'm currently fixing home made end frame pieces (strangely absent in the kit) and looking for markings in my collection of left over transfers. Last thing to be fitted will be the platform end boards and grab rails.

Wednesday, 12 August 2020

Loading Ramp #1

With the basic landscape formations on my layout planned and in progress, I'm now planning how to construct and integrate the loading ramp for lorries om module 2. 

With the limited space available, I have been carefully selecting a prototype and worked on how best to preserve its characteristics in the setting I could offer it. I chose a prototype loading ramp from a clay pit located in a idyllic wooded area close to Dæmpegaard north of Copenhagen. The railway carried clay from the pit to a loading ramp for lorries, taking the clay to the brickworks in Bloustrød a few kilometers away. 
Bloustrød loco no 4 (a 1930's Pedershaab ) with skips at the loading ramp for lorries 1958. Photo: Erik V. Pedersen.

The loading ramp at Dæmpegaard was short and held only 3 skips. The ramp seems to have been built from a heap of readily available materials with not too many dimensions in common. It looks charmingly hapharzardly thrown together and it would probably not be welcomed today by authorities or by anyone having to work on or near it. Good that we have progressed and even better that I have a chance to recreate the mess in model. My model will be a mirrored representation and not a scale model of the real thing. But I hope to encompas most of its characteristics.

The image above is one of many very interesting industrial narrow gauge images captured by Erik V Pedersen, an early pioneering Danish railway enthusiast. Enjoy more images from the Bloustrød brick works here at Erik's elaborate and informative website (in Danish).

Friday, 31 July 2020

Almost Finished 4 Wheeled Coach

During July I have made steady progress on the small 4 wheeled coach. There is still no information as to where Nystrup Gravel bought the coach, but it must have happened sometime before 1938 when the company director Holm mentioned the coach in a post card.

Last time I wrote about progress on the coach I had just been able to test fit ends and sides. After adding the final inner layer to the sides, trapping the eight large window panes, sides and ends were ready to be glued around the floor. First though, the floor of the coach was mistreated with coarse sandpaper, files and a knife to produce a floor well worn by workers' boots and clogs. I sprayed the floor with primer, gave it several layers of diluted oil paint and some coloured chalk powders.
Both end pieces finished and ready to be joined with the sides.

Floor painted, weathered and test fitted with seats.

Lined up on a flat table I could then begin assembly of the coach body, carefully keeping the sides straight and the floor flat. Once everything was at right angles, I clamped the body and weighted it down with a length of 1:1 scale rail while the glue dried. The last parts to be glued on the coach body were four corner boards that were sanded quarter round and smooth to make a nice transition from sides to ends and make the body appear as an integrated whole.
Finally the coach body is glued and ready for the next stages in construction.

The working sliding doors gives the coach an extra dimension I'm looking forward to exploiting when photographing the finished model. The corners are still to be fitted in this image.

The two seat segments were assembled as per instructions. Once dry I sanded the upper surfaces of the seat assemblies and applied three coats of gloss varnish. The seats were then glued to the floor inside the coach. Before I added the roof supports, I considered if I should add some items left by the workers, but decided that they probably wouldn't leave stuff in the wagon.

As I was about to glue the body to the frames it occured to me that the frames were devoid of any detailing. The body is narrow and doesn't block the view to the frames so I decided to add a little detail to the frames. From 1 mm copper wire I made springs and fitted them above the axle boxes, and a number of steel brackets from plastic card and profiles. Hexagonal plastic rod in several dimensions was cut in appropriate slices and fitted as bolts. In total I fitted 56 small parts to the frames' sides making them look a bit more busy than before.
Test fitting body on the frames. Here I realised that the frame were missing details that would be too obvious not to represent. Fortunately I was able to do something about it.

The frames with added plastic details. I have made no attempt to represent prototype Corris coach detail, but to follow reasonable technical practice. My coach is after all just a freelance coach in service with an imaginary Danish gravel company.  

I'm now ready to fit the roof and balcony ends. With regards to buffers and couplings I'm currently trying to find items that are reminiscent of tramway couplings. That may draw out the process of finishing the coach a bit. I have other projects in the pipeline, so there is no chance I'm going to sit idle at the modelling table. In addition, my vacation is also drawing to a close, which means I will again be working full time with interesting railway projects in 1:1 scale.

Tuesday, 28 July 2020

Point Levers in White Metal

A stream of packages for Nystrup Gravel continues to arrive. The most recent arrival was a package from Feld-, Garten- und Grossbahn Düsseldorf, Germany. The package held two point levers - one right and one left. Just what I need for this autumn's track work.
The point levers each comes with a long plastic sleeper. My levers will be fitted on a wooden or steel sleeper. In the package was also some advertising material for the narrow gauge railways in Saxony.

I had been looking for point levers of a design fitting a poor industrial narrow gauge line and this German pattern point lever fits in quite well. In 1920 the area that today is southern Denmark was voted back to Denmark. The area, along with even further land farther south were lost in a war with Germany in 1864. In some of the areas the German administration had built metre gauge local railways. Many of their points were set with levers like the ones from from Feld, Garten und Grossbahn. Most of the metre gauge railways were quickly closed and their track sold to e.g. industrial railways. One lever of the same type is even preserved at the Hedeland heritage railway.

I used a similar type of point lever on my old 1/35 scale modular layout. Each of the point levers is supplied with a working signal showing how the point is set. While no Danish industrial railway used signals exactly like the type included in the kits, I have plans for a rebuild that will create a more believable model for a small industral line. 
Image of finished and painted pointlever equipped with signal. Notice how the lever fits on one sleeper. Photo: Feld- Garten- und Grossbahn.

The point lever is in 1/22.5 scale but the slightly smaller size is actually an advantage for the use on my 1/19 narrow gauge line. Once I get the levers assmbled they will be blackened and painted the colours usually applied to point levers in Denmark - red and white.

Sunday, 19 July 2020

Progress on 4 Wheeled Coach

Summer, sun and cottage also means occasional modelling activities. I have made it a tradition to bring a kit with me to the cottage for some relaxing summer modelling.

Fortunately the Line Side Hut-kit of a small 4-wheeled coach arrived well timed for packing and once proper settled in at the cottage, I pulled the kit out and started building. I had studied the instructions in advance, but I kept a close eye on them, as attention is needed to avoid mistakes. The instructions are a description of the assembly process and sometimes you have to read several stages forward to get a clear understanding of how to assemble parts. I would underline the instructions' advice of dry test fitting all parts without glue to get aquainted with the part's fit and handing, as no clear assembly sequence drawings are provided. The instructions are otherwise quite clear and adequate for a good assembly process and good fun.
Inside and outside ends painted and ready for assembly. The sliding doors can be seen to the left. 

The plywood parts are very well laser cut and only on a few parts I noticed slight imperfections in the cuttings that needed sanding. The majority of parts could be used directly from their zip lock bags.

I first assembled the frame and fitted brass bearings and wheel sets. Not a daunting task, as all parts fitted together well and assembly was clearly spelled out in the instructions. After the glue had dried, I was left with a working 4-wheeled framework to carry the coach's body.

Ends as well as sides of the coach are made up from several layered parts trapping window inserts from clear acetate sheet and acrylic blocks as well as working sliding doors. The parts are handed and almost identical and this is where a minimum of concentration is needed to avoid mixing up parts. As mentioned the parts fit well and the plywood glues easily. On surfaces to be painted I sprayed several thin coats of primer to give the covering paint a good surface to adhere onto. I used Games Workshop 'Corax White' (actually a very light grey colour) for priming.

Due to the way the kit is designed, assembly and painting has to be carried out in several stages to give the best result. First I assembled the basic sides and ends. The sliding doors were primed and painted on their outsides and then glued together around a piece of acetate. While they dried sides and ends were primed and painted. Once dry the doors were sanded to fit and slide well in their openings and fitted with a brass wire handle. Inside and outside end parts were then sandwiched around the doors with a moderate amount of glue.

Coach sides assembled from three layers of laser cut plywood during painting. A final fourth layer glued from the inside will trap four acrylic blocks in the window openings.

To avoid a flashy look to the coach in Nystrup Gravel use and still bring out the panelled design, I picked matt colours of light brown and ivory. The paints are acrylic Vallejo 70.983 'Flat Earth' and 70.918 'Ivory'. The paint was applied by old fashioned brushes as I never bring my air brush to the cottage. I think it is good to model using only rather basic tools now and then. Due to nice warm weather my painting would have benefitted use of the Vallejo 'Retarder' to slow the drying time, but the bottle was home in the cupboard...  

As much progress as I managed in my first week of vacation. Next week will be spent touring Denmark without modelling projects.

With major parts of the body's ends and sides assembled I could test fit the four parts together and begin to see my first coach in 16 mm scale materialize. I think it will fit in well on my small narrow gauge industrial railway.