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.

Sunday, 12 July 2020

Nystrup Gravel Mystery Coach

Having found credible indications for the existence of a small 4 wheeled coach at Nystrup Gravel I couldn't resist the chance to create a model in 1/19 of it. How the wagon actually looked has to be based on the post card sent by Director Holm from Rømø of a small 4 wheeled coach and his remarks that it "reminds me of our own little coach".

Besides the fact that the coach at Rømø was 750 mm gauge and Nystrup Gravel was 600 mm, I had to find a way of creating something plausible that looked a bit like the Rømø coach. A kit would be nice as I could then bring it and some simple tools with me to the cottage on my vacation.
A simple open coach with crosswise placed benches. The curved ends gives the coach a tramway appearance. Curved ends and hand brake handles would be nice features on a Nystrup Gravel coach as well as a closed passenger compartement due to the Danish weather.

A search online brought me to the website of 'The Line Side Hut' where I found a nice looking 4 wheeled coach of light construction modelled on a prototype from the Corris Railway in the UK. The coach looks almost tramway like and it's easy to speculate that Nystrup Gravel aquired it from the Rømø railway, one of the large estates along the Danish beet railways or perhaps even from south of the border, where some German agricultural lines had special coaches for their owners from the nobility.
A finished Line Side Hut coach in a very smart paint scheme. The Nystrup Gravel coach will be finished in less fancy colours. Photo: The Line Side Hut.


Most of the parts for the coach laid out on my work table.

Even if The Line Site Hut website warned of drawn out delivery schedules due to corona related matters, the package was on my doorstep within 14 days. Half a week before I needed it to arrive to match my first day of vacation. With study of the instructions I'm now ready to start building.

Saturday, 4 July 2020

Classic Volvo

During July I expect a steady stream of packages arriving with supplies for the continued development of my small layout in 1/19 scale. The first to arrive was yet another characterful car from the fifties, this time from Sweden, the Volvo PV445 Duett
A studio shot of a grey/white Duett with a sporty female leaning on the hood. It doesn't get much more 1950's than this!
Some of you readers may think Nystrup Gravel is degenerating into an old cars' collection. You'd be forgiven for that, as I'm also noticing the build up of cars on my shelves. One day I will explain why I continue to aquire car models fitting the Nystrup Gravel theme. Scandinavian readers can assure themselves that I'm not the only Danish railway modeller with a car syndrome by visiting the Sundborg blog. You will even find that Sundborg is also home to several Volvos. A brief description of the PV445 can also be found on the Volvo company heritage homepage.
Side view of the BoS Volvo PV445 Duett in red and creme colours. The white rims of the tires makes an almost American impression. The mudguard mounted rear view mirrors came in a small ziplock bag and has to be fitted after purchase. I glued on mine with a drop of AC-glue.

I purchased the car on ebay from a German seller, but contrary to some of my other ebay finds, this one came with a box. Surpringsly it also came with a broken front bumper. Easily repairable, though.

The car is a diecast Best of Show (BoS) 1956 Volvo PV445 Duett in 1/18 scale. Different from many other diecast car models nothing on this model moves or opens. Consequently panel lines around doors and bonnet are less pronounced. It does make the model look more in scale. There is no detail on the car's underside beside the exhaust pipe. While detail is nice, it's of limited value where it can't be seen, so the omission seems quite sensible to me. Otherwise there isn't many differences between the BoS model and finer manufacturers of diecast cars like French Norev.


Front view shows some signs of inspiration from US-cars of the period. Nevertheless a classic Volvo!
As my other cars for Nystrup Gravel the PV445 will be fitted with period Danish license plates and a light weathering.

Monday, 29 June 2020

Post Cards From Director Holm

"I wish each of you a happy summer!" Director Holm from Nystrup Gravel writes on the back of a post card posted in July 1938 from the Danish island of Rømø. Holm accompanied by his wife seemingly took 14 days of vacation on the island and posted post cards to his employees twice. The two post cards have surfaced during a recent visit to the archives on a quest for something quite different. The two postcards reveal interesting information about the railway at Nystrup Gravel.

On the front of both post cards sent by Holm are motives from the hotel's own narrow gauge railway. The hotel probably carried a selection of post cards with motives from the beaches and scenic surrounding as well as its little railway. Having a business dependant on a railway himself, the post cards must have caught Director Holm's attention.
Posted Wedensday 13 July 1938 this post card has a traditional holiday greeting written on the back. "I hope you are all truely well and enjoying your holiday. I wish each of you a happy summer! All the best summer greetings from Director Holm and Mrs Holm". The photo shows the 'train man' and his horse on the hotel 'Vesterhavsbad Rømø' own 750 mm railway across the sparsely populated island of Rømø.

The island of Rømø has excellent beaches, but suffered very bad communications in the early 20th century. Particularly challenged was a hotel on the island's western shore as no road connected it with the ferry landing 4 km away on the island's other side. The hotel opened in 1898 and built a 750 mm gauge railway to supply transportation for guests, staff and supplies. While equipped with rather fancy coaches, traction was provided by horses all through the railway's existence. The railway was closed in 1941.
Holm's second post card from Rømø (posted Friday 15 July 1938) is this old card from the island's German period (Rømø was part of Germany from 1864 to 1920). The wagon has prompted Holm to ask one of his employees to check a Nystrup wagon for markings as he thinks it bears resemblance to the one on the post card: "The coach on this post cards reminds me of our own little coach. Could somone please check if there is lettering saying 'Nordseebad Lakolk' or 'Vesterhavsbad Rømø' under the heavy layers of paint on our wagon?"

While the two old post cards are interesting in their own right, they also indicate that Nystrup Gravel had not only two bogie coaches for transport of workers, but also a smaller four wheeled coach. I have yet to find a picture of the little coach. From Holm's post card it is fair to assume that the Nystrup Gravel coach looked quite like the coach from Nordseebad Lakolk seen above. I'll be on the lookout for more info on the coach as I have obviously developed ambitions of building a model of it for my 16 mm scale version of Nystrup Gravel's little railway.

Wednesday, 24 June 2020

Module 2 in Progress

When the weather is hot it's good to be able to retire below a roof giving some protection from the sunlight. Friday afternoon was such an afternoon and I set up the wood working tools in the shade for making module 2 for my small indoor 16 mm scale layout.
Basic frame for module 2 ready for fitting with foam blocks.
Module 2 attaches at a 90 degree angle to left side of module 1. While module 1 is 2.3 m long, module 2 is only 1 m long. As on module 1 I drilled holes in the cross bracings to allow for installation of wires. Although I use battery power I may have to draw wires for working lights etc. on the layout.

Whereas module 1 is largely flat, module 2 will feature a heavy gradient up to the loading ramp for lorries. With the frame assembled I began gluing foam pieces to the framework. I built up several layers to form the basis of the ramp. With the track centre line marked out on the foam I carved a rough representation of the earth works. The small height differences between the foam sheets and the slight unevenness from the knife cuts will be smoothed out with plaster and rags soaked in white glue.
Module 2 fitted with foam blocks and plywood surface. The track is coming in from the right runs up the earth ramp ending on a wooden ramp left for tipping gravel into lorries parked on the plywood area. Still some work remain cutting foam into the right shapes.

The ramp's gradient is quite serious and on a curve. Light locos will not be able to push many skips up for unloading. On the other hand the ramp is short, holding only 3 skips.

The two modules connects with bolts and wing nuts through holes drilled with the aid of a template for precise location. The modules fit into one corner in my combined modelling room/library, but are designed to be removable. Building modules that are transportable (actually segments is a more fitting description) allows me to work on them outside. In addition they can be moved to another room for integration into a larger layout (who knows what will happen in a few year's time? The modular design also allows them to be transported and set up for exhibition purposes.
The layout is progressing. Module 1 fitted with fascia and the ramp on module 2 already showing it's height to the left. By all means a very small layout in 16 mm scale.
I'm studying several prototype loading ramps from Danish industrial railways to find out which is best suited to be modified for my layout. My vacation is two weeks away, a holiday modelling project has been ordered and a holiday in Denmark planned. If all go as planned I will visit several heritage railways.