Sunday 26 May 2013

Sala Repair and Update (1/35)

Time flies and suddenly locos need maintenance - even without having seen much use! That was the case with my Swedish Sala loco. I built the loco in 2008 (see images from the building here) but its O-rings fell apart shortly after. Having had less than 1 hour of running time it was hardly a case of wear! With lots of other projects going on the Sala was set aside. In 2010 I went digital. The model was dismantled back in september for O-ring replacement and fitting of decoder. Since I have been working on the Sala now and then.

New O-rings in place and wires during fitting. O-rings to the right are from my bag of spares - kindly provided by Otto Schouwstra several years ago. The mini connecters are from Micro Mark.
The design of the loco makes it necessary to remove the motor to detatch the upper body from the frame. In the future this will be made somewhat easier, as I fitted mini connectors to the wires from the current collectors to the motor. That way I can easily disconnect decoder plus wires and remove the motor. No need to pull out the soldering iron.

With the new O-rings in place I tested the loco before I installed the ESU-decoder. If things didn't work I wanted to be able to spot where something had gone wrong. While the micro decoder is small all the associated wires take up a lot more space. I'm usually reluctant to cut the unneeded wires, but this time I chose to loose them.

ESU Micro-decoder and mini connectors fitted.
Before I assembled the loco again I fitted a few dials on the engine housing. I used dry transfers from Archer Transfers. I found the smallest dials on the set AR35209 to match the size of the kit's relief etched dials. I finished the dials by adding a drop of Kristal Kleer to represent glass.

With a decoder mounted the loco had to have an address, and that demands a number painted on the loco (or I will never be able to remember the loco's address).  Most locos on Danish industrial railways didn't have a number. In most cases they were the only loco a railway had. In case of more locos they could be identified by their colour, maker or by calling them names. Numbering was mostly used as a last resort. So with some reluctance I numbered the loco. Now the Sala has the number '3'. The numbers came from an old Italeri sheet, while the Nystrup Gravel-decals are costum made by 'Skilteskoven'.
No. 3 at Nystrup Gravel. Although built in Sweden in the 1930's the loco is still looking good in this 1953 photo. Nystrup employees obviously took good care of their machines.

Saturday 18 May 2013

A Working Ruston-Bucyrus RB10

I seem to be blessed with excavator related expiriences these days. Last week I stumbled over a tinplate excavator, today I could see an RB-10 in original condition work at the Graested Veteran Show. The show is a great gathering of all things mechanical more than 30-35 years old. Trains, tractors, steam engines, cars, military vehicles, threshers - you name it. Check the show's web site for info.

My favourite this year was a drag line excavator working in an 'contractor's corner' on the show grounds. The RB10 excavator will be known in some parts of the world from the TV programme 'Salvage Squad'.

The excavator took working sessions with regular intervals and it was great to see the little machine work. Nystrup Gravel had a Ruston-Bucyrus of an older and larger type (RB17). A special feature on the RB10 at Graested was that it was in almost original condition. There was even traces of the original shipping address that made sure the machine arrived on the quay side in Copenhagen habour! 

Working the handles! Today a relaxing past time occupation, once a hard job - especially when it wasn't sunny and the folding doors could be opened.

The Ruston-Bucyrus excavator even came from the same region as my little gravel company. The contractors Carlsen & Nilou were from Soroe, only a few miles from Nystrup. Carlsen & Nilou also owned narrow gauge equipment that was used when larger earth works were handled.
The programme 'Salvage Squad' RB-10 programme can be seen in four parts on youtube:
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.

At my work table I'm still working with wires and ESU-decoder for my Sala-loco. That could be the topic of next blog post rather than yet another of topic excavator diversion!

Friday 17 May 2013

Toy Tinplate Excavator

Any reader of my blog who has read more than a few posts will know that I’m fond of excavators and old machinery. The other day I was charmed by a tinplate excavator at a flea market. The asking price was low and although I’m usually very hard to tempt I couldn’t resist bringing the toy home. The sheer simplicity of the toy, the bright colours, its size and the fact that it had Cyrillic letters impressed in its plate work was too much for me. (Having studied Russian I find machinery with relation to Russia particularly interesting.)
The excavator posing in the grass. The cyrillic letters 'AZLK' on the front of the frame.
Rear view of the excavator with bucket raised. What is supposedly the year of manufacture is cleverly positioned as to mimic the usual position of the painted on Soviet license number.

The excavator certainly isn’t one of those antique British or German tinplate toys that fetch huge prices at collectors’ auctions. With Cyrillic letters I wasn't in doubt that it was of Eastern European or Russian origin. A search on the internet showed the letters to be an acrynom for 'Avtomobilny Zavod imeni Leninskogo Komsomola' (no wonder they needed the acrynom!). Apart from the famous passenger car 'Moskvitch' AZLK apparently also produced toys. Their toys were well made and heavy. AZKL stamped the year of manufacture into their toys. My example was made in 1972. From my knowledge the toy is not attempting to look like any known type of Soviet excavator.

As a toy the excavator must have been taken rather well care of. Its condition can be described as only less than pristine. The two wheel axles are a little bent, it seems the original wire has been replaced and there is minor scratching of paint here and there. Judging from a single image found on the internet my excavator is missing all the windows that were originally fitted. But there is no sign of rough handling and I found no deposits of sand or dirt in the excavator’s nooks and crannies. The excavator even came with an extra clam shell bucket (made from 2 mm steel) to complement its face shovel rigging.

Now only two things are needed. Figure out where to display the big excavator and perhaps give the machine a minor overhaul. Should you, dear reader, know more about the excavator’s origin or history, please leave a comment.

Sunday 12 May 2013

Track with Steel Sleepers (1/35)

One of the great advantages of narrow gauge industrial railways were their ease of construction. The steel sleepered track panel was a major contributing factor. The steel sleeper came in several designs, but all of them rather difficult to model in 1:35. Several modellers have been working on scratchbuilding the sleepers from different materials, some using plastic profiles others experimenting with 3D-printing.
Different steel sleeper profiles. Scan from an Orenstein & Koppel catalogue from 1922.
Recently James Coldicott released a range of steel sleepered track panels in resin. It is now possibly to order lengths of track, both straight and curved, just like a company in 1922 would have ordered track panels from Orenstein & Koppel, Dolberg or Decauville. I couldn't resist the temptation to do as any sensible industrial railway operator did in the past, so sent off for 5 straight and 5 curved panels. As I use 16,5 mm gauge I ordered the sets 20S18 and 20T1 - as below.

New supplies for the track builders at Nystrup. The track came well protected in a solid cardboard box lined with bubble wrap. No damage from the trip over the North Sea!
One straight panel and a short and long curved panel.
Find the track panels on the website of James Coldicott complete with link to ordering and payment. On the website you will also find a most useful PDF document with prototype information and advise on how best to lay the track segments. No excuse for not trying! The design of the panels has rendered the thin profile of the steel sleeper ends very well. Without compromising structural strength of the panel. The resin bar beneath the rail profile can be removed with care if you should want to recreate a sparsely ballasted track. See two close ups of a straight track panel below.

I plan to install a stretch of steel sleepered track on a future module, perhaps with the odd wooden sleeper added for stability. On Nystrup Gravel's lines most of the orignal 10 kg/m track on steel sleepers didn't last long into the 1930's but on some straight parts it wasn't replaced until much later. Straight track isn't influenced by the same forces as curved track, so the gravel company spared heavier rail and better sleepers where they were most needed.

Monday 6 May 2013

Nystrup Gravel's Jung ZL 114 (1/35)

The Jung ZL 114 is now ready to serve my 1:35 scale model of Nystrup Gravel. After painting, weathering and fitting of decoder the loco is merrily trundling back and forth with skips making sure the company's good quality gravel is made available for the costumers. See more images of the finished loco and building proces.
Nystrup loco no. 6 resting near the loco shed.
As I fitted oil can and bucket under the driver's seat I broke the resin gear lever (why do I always seem to break off details while finishing a model?). I replaced it with a cut down steel pin - supplied with my latest shirt's packaging. The oil can is from Accurate Armour (with decals from Plus Models) and the bucket is from Tamiya. While I was working on the weathering I noticed that the model was lacking an exhaust pipe. I fitted a small length of aluminium pipe in front of the right front axle. Most will probably not notice the pipe, but now I know it is there. The cab roof is still unglued as I have yet to find, build and fit a driver.
Ready for fitting of ESU-decoder. The Black Beetle leaves plenty of room under the bonnet for decoder and wires.

A snap shot while the Jung was in just basic paint ready for numbers and weathering. 
While building the Jung-loco I also managed to finish a Scale Link-skip and do some work on refurbishing my Sala-loco. Sometimes it is possible to do the same type of tasks on several models at a time and that speeds up construction. When the soldering iron is hot and the air brush loaded with paint, why not get some work done?
I was quite sure that the Nystrup Gravel Jung came from one of the dumps of equipment from German construction sites that were auctioned off after the liberation of Denmark in May 1945. This image was found in the archives of the gravel company. It is clearly from a 1930's catalogue and could indicate that the loco was acquired new from Jung.
Earlier posts on the Jung:
Assembly finished
Assembly started
Kit received

Wednesday 1 May 2013

Archive Material from Nystrup Gravel

Recently I located an old binder with documents from Nystrup Gravel. In it were correspondance between the gravel company and several loco manufacturers. The material is too comprehensive to be shown in its entirety on this blog, but I have included a few scans of some documents below.

The first two documents are from the Danish loco manufacturer Pedershaab. Nystrup Gravel had at least one loco from Pedershaab, a green loco numbered 14 with a home built wooden cab. From the correspondance it seems the loco arrived at Nystrup no later than 1955 when Pedershaab supplied the gravel company with info on how to keep the transmission chains tight and well greased. The second document is a page from earlier sales material found in the binder, indicating that no. 14 was perhaps originally delivered with a Danish built BurWain engine.

Pedershaab letter to Nystrup Gravel. The writing in pencil is a note that part of the transmission was renewed in 1964.
Page from Pedershaab sales material. The Pedershaab locos were classified according the the mark of diesel engine fitted, FD for Ford or BWD for BurWain.
Also in the binder was an offer from the other large Danish manufacturer of industrial railway locomotives, Nagboel. In 1951 they made an offer to Nystrup Gravel on several types of locos. Their listing of models and prices is a rather rare find. There is no indication that Nystrup ever bought a Nagboel loco.

I can't help being amazed by the line under the header saying that Nagboel manufactures 'motor locomotives, steel plate wheels for farming equipment and wheelbarrow wheels'. Shows a lot of variety from the Nagboel work shop!