Thursday, 15 April 2021

Basic Ground Cover

Despite rather cold weather in Denmark for the season the colour of the landscape is changing. At least on my small 1/19 scale layout. I have begun to cover the white foam surface with a layer of disposable kitchen rags soaked in white glue. 

The right end of the layout dressed in kitchen rags and paint. I think it will help make the layout look a little less unfinished.

I have picked up the method of using kitchen rags from a Danish model railway club working on a large H0 layout with a Danish theme. They have a nice blog in Danish, where they share the daily life of building, maintaning and running a large layout. Soaked in glue the kitchen rags are flexible and easily follow the contours of the foam landscape (hardly a surprise, as most of my layout is basically flat).

Two pieces of kitchen rag being cut to fit. The material takes pencil lines fine and cuts easily with scissors. Being absorbant the rags consumes considerable amounts of glue.

Before I cover the foam foundation with rags I roughly smooth out the worst edges of cork underlay and foam board, used to raise the track, with a knife. Where needed I apply a little filler. I then place a dry rag over the area and marks out the boundaries with a pencil. I cut the rag with a pair of sicssors and check for fit on the area to be covered. The area is then covered with diluted white glue and the rag placed on top. More glue is spread over the rag with a brush making sure the rag is flooded with thinned glue. The area is left to dry.

Once the glue is set, the kitchen rags turns into a rather hard surface that I hope will make a good foundation for my work on the next stage of scenic work. As my kitchen rags had several rather harsh colours a coat of paint was definately needed before proceeding. I used an acrylic paint with a colour named 'Warm Clay' that I think gives a nice even colour to work on. And until I get to do further scenic work, the colour will help the layout looking a little less unfinished. 

Rags in white and light blue glued down and in the process of drying. The hole edged by scrap pieces of foam board is the permanent location for the brick shed. The hole enables me to connect wires for lighting with ease,

Thursday, 8 April 2021

Turnout and Curve

With the first track and turnout already in limited operation (due to a lack of fishplates) I have continued track laying and now the first curve I've ever hand laid in 16 mm scale and second turnout are available for traffic at reduced speeds. 

A close up view of the track at Nystrup Gravel facilities outside Nystrup. It does look rather fancy and has perhaps turned out a bit too perfect. On close inspection I think the track team will have to go over some of the spikes again as they are not holding the rail's foot properly.

The curve is built with a slight enlargement of the gauge, but otherwise I have tried to make a faithful representation of a real narrow gauge industrial railway curve. There is of course no superelevation and the rails are shaped roughly by hand to suit the location. Bending the rails by hand isn't recommendable in the smaller scales as it may lead to pronounced kinks in the rails, but this is actually a benefit on a large scale model of a narrow gauge industrial railway. Often rails were reused from other locations and as the locos and rolling stock was designed with tolerances for bad track, a track out of gauge by a few centimetres wasn't a problem. In 16 mm scale it's basically the same, although we are talking milimetres.

To produce a nice curved rail with a rail bender takes a lot of bending and hard work. A very good result can be achieved. It takes care and a lot of bends. Most industrial railways didn't aim for high quality track and were happy if trains didn't derail too often.

From the curve the track connects to the turnout, that takes the track to either lorry loading ramp (left) or to the sorting facility (straight ahead). The turnout is again a Peco Code 200 rebuilt with brass slide plates and wooden sleepers.

Rebuilt Peco turnout partly fitted with new wooden sleepers. A sharp curve will lead to the lorry loading ramp out of the picture to the right.

Further track building in progress. Here I'm aiming for a serious kink in the track.

As the track building is slowly progressing I'm beginning to prepare the basic groundwork and final positioning of brick shed, petrol pump and a recently finished wooden fence.

I'll finish this post with a look at a real 700 mm gauge clay line belonging to the Danish brick works at Lysbro. The Nystrup Gravel track was almost TGV-standard in comparison with this! The standard gauge train is an enthusiasts' special on the Silkeborg-Kjellerup-Rødkjærsbro Railway. Photo: Finn Sørensen, 1968.

Tuesday, 6 April 2021

Installing Point Lever

With track works progressing in a steady pace, I took the time to finish, paint and install the first point lever on my little layout. The lever has been tested and 'greased' with a little graphite powder to provide a faultless service. The lever's direction marker is working and gives a clear indication to loco drivers which way the point is set. 

The point lever mounted on its lengthened sleeper with direction marker.

The point lever is assembled from a Feld-, Garten- und Grossbahn whitemetal kit in 1/22,5 scale. The lever was assembled back in October and has been resting in a box until I couldn't resist painting and installing it any longer.

The lever was painted Humbrol enamel 153 'Insignia Red', while the white parts were painted with Vallejo 70837 'Pale Sand'. During painting I took care not to clog up the moving parts to allow a trouble free operation. The 4 bolts fixing the lever to the sleeper were painted rust and the point lever given a wash of heavily diluted rawt umber oil paint. The moving parts were given a dose of graphite powder. Mainly to 'grease' the parts, but it works as weathering too - looking like oil residue.

The assembled point lever being painted. The parts of another lever are being painted as the brush was out and the lid was off the paint tinlet.

The lever is mounted on a lengthened sleeper with an added piece of timber to provide a safe foundation and connected to the turnout with a bent nickle silver wire. The wire was blackened with Ballistol and is only fitted temporarily as a more prototypically solution is called for. I used thick AC-glue to fix the lever firmly to its sleeper.

Almost the only fixed item on the layout beside the track, the point lever will hopefully be followed by other items in the coming months.

Nystrup Gravel's second turnout has recently been fixed in place and connected to the track layout, so the next lever is needed. Track building is continuing, but will soon have to pause until a new supply of rails arrive.

Tuesday, 23 March 2021

Charming Train Of Skips

It probably comes as no surprise that I find the image below extremely charming and inspirational. A short train of 5 skips, a rugged 600 mm gauge industrial locomotive, rolling hills and a quiet fjord in the background. The image is a lovely view of a small enterprise extracting fine grade sand for metal casting purposes placed in a tranquil landscape.

A Pedershaab-locomotive, 5 skips and two workers on their way from pit to the sand treatment facilities at Ørbyhage. There doesn't seem to be any crops on the fields, though most of the trees have leaves. Perhaps it's spring - early May? Photo: Crop from Royal Danish Library image OD00406_003 from 1951. 

Here you get the full picture. A classic aerial shot of a Danish farm. A dog barking in the front yard and the farmer's wife standing in the doorway gazing at the low flying plane. The sand treating facility can be seen to the far right. Photo: Royal Danish Library OD00406_003 from 1951. 

The image is a good illustration of the Danish economy before industry took over the leading role. The farmers' fields points to agriculture's major role in Denmark's economy until the 1960's and the water to my country's long time history of shipping and trading. In fact even today Denmark is the world’s fifth largest maritime shipping nation – Danish shipping companies around the world controlling approximately 2,100 merchant ships

Almost the same view as above only 2 years later looking more or less directly south. The sand works' pier for loading the sand in barges and small ships is visible in the fjord. Photo: Royal Danish Library AAL_00113_024 from 1953.

Many years after the aerial photos were taken, I visited the location with a friend. At the end of the narrow road the sand works were still standing, although they were completly derelict and overgrown. Beneath shrubbery and caved in buildings we found track, skips and a locomotive. The pier for loading barges and small ships had long since been removed or destroyed by ice and a turnout was hanging precariously over the water's edge. Current sattelite images of the site show ruins still in place with a single new barn having been erected by a neighbouring farmer in addition.

A look into the wooden loco shed that hasn't stood up well to 30-40 years without maintenance. The loco inside wasn't made by any major producer of industrial locomotives and seems to have been built by a local black smith or garage. In 1990 I was a young, poor student and using 35 mm film, I have only a few pictures from the site. Today I would probably have shot 70 digital images - minimum. 

Friday, 12 March 2021

Pedershaab Axle Boxes and Maker's Plate

In my last post on the Pedershaab-loco I mentioned the drawing and design work being performed for me by a professional railway modelling supplier. Now I have taken delivery of 4 complete axle box units each consisting of 4 separate parts printed in a clear semi-translucent plastic. The results are no less than impressing - to my eyes at least.

Close up of a complete axle box assembly made up from parts directly out of the printer. The items have had no clean up or sanding whatsoever. 

View of the complete order as delivered right out of the bubble wrap. The material is a semi-translucent plastic with a certain flexibility providing vulnerable parts a good chance of surviving the rigours of distribution.

The axle box assemblies are without a doubt the most complex parts on a model of a Pedershaab locomotive, and it is a joy to receive parts in such a high quality literally ready for use. My investment has been modest in relation to the quality of the prints. No matter how long and intensely I worked at the worktable I couldn't hope to produce parts of the same quality. The images should speak for the quality and make it clear that, although having known designer and draughtsman Per Møller Nielsen from Epokemodeller for many years, I'm not giving unsubstantiated praise to his service. 

A distinct advantage of design in the digital age is the ease with which drawings and designs can be shared and commented. Particularly when living in a country where 94 percent of homes are connected to broadband with download speeds of at least 100 Mbit/s.

In my last post I also mentioned a possible Pedershaab-surprise and I have added an image of it below: A brand new works plate for a Pedershaab locomotive. The plate was developed due to a friend of mine celebrating his 50. birthday. He is in the process of restoring a Pedershaab locomotive to running condition. The perfect gift for a man having pretty much everything is of course two new works plates for his locomotive. The loco was found without plates and once the right digits and letters have been stamped into the metal, the plates will make a perfect 'icing on the cake' for a well restored Danish-built locomotive. I wouldn't be surprised to see an equally detailed 1/19 version in the future.
Etched works plate from Pedershaab made on the basis of a scan of an original plate. An exclusive, limited series was produced and serious enquiries for obtaining a set of plates can be e-mailed to

Sunday, 7 March 2021

Pedershaab Progress

As I mentioned in December, I finally got time for further work on my Pedershaab-locomotive project. I found full scale size axle boxes, springs and other parts from a Pedershaab-locomotive and measured them. Measurements and photographs were e-mailed to a friend of mine with his own part time modelling business Epokemodeller. He was willing to help me transforming notes and images to actual scale objects. I have tried to illustrate the process from measuring, over drawings to ready-to-print file with four images.

Taking measurements of a spare Pedershaab axle box at the Hedeland vintage railway.

The first drawing of a complete axle box assembly from a Pedershaab D-type from the 1940's. Drawing: Epokemodeller, Per Møller Nielsen.

3D-illustration of the parts' relation in the completed axle box assembly. Drawing: Epokemodeller, Per Møller Nielsen.

Four axle box assemblies set up for 3D-printing ready to be sent to the printer. Drawing: Epokemodeller, Per Møller Nielsen. 

Why not just build the axle boxes in an old fashioned way from plasticcard and brass strip? Well, I didn't really fancy making four exactly identical objects, and as I have previously built 8 Pedershaab axle box assemblies in 1:35 scale I felt like having exhausted my motivation for the task. With the external help I am even able to have further copies made should I decide to build another Pedershaab in 1/19 - or in any other scale for that matter.

Talking of the external help: While I did pay a sum of money for design and prints, I'm quite sure I wasn't charged the amount that would be required to cover my friend's full outlay of time, effort and talent. Something a lot of good hearted and enthusiastic semi-professional suppliers to the model railway trade are guilty of - making their trade a dangerous undertaking. Remember that no one's time and talent are free when they work as professionals. If you want their services available tomorrow, you have to pay for it today.  

I'm now looking forward to receive the printed parts and get on with building my Pedershaab locomotive. Perhaps a little Pedershaab surprise could be unveiled at the same time?

Thursday, 4 March 2021

New Locomotive

Recently a new locomotive arrived at my doorstep. An Accucraft Baguley-Drewry with 32mm gauge fit for service on the little railway of Nystrup Gravel. The loco came to Denmark due to a relatively good bargain on eBay. My shopping was highly motivated by my recent discovery of a 1949 Baguley-Drewry delivered to the 700 mm gauge sugar beet lines around the sugar factory in Saxkøbing. Later a full story will run through the indicative evidence for Sakskøbing loco E 2 (the same designation later to be used for a Danish built dieselelectric loco from Frichs).

My new Baguley-Drewry on the photo plank. There are several issues to be handled: loose and badly fitting glazing and couplings quite unfit for small skips. Most importantly is a conversion to battery and remote control.

A very large loco in comparison with a standard skip. The loco is a perfect machine for a future garden line, though, particularly in Sakskøbing's attractive livery of off-white body, light blue frames and handrails with the added attraction of red warning lights arranged in a triangle on the cab sides.

Extra details and parts for the loco are already arriving to go into storage, waiting for the Baguley-Drewry loco to appear on the worktable. Several projects have a higher priority so don't hold your breath!