Monday 29 December 2014

2014 in Review (1/35)

The past year brought me much enjoyment with Nystrup Gravel. My little piece of 1950's rural Denmark received new road vehicles (amongst others a Fordson 7V, a Simca and a little scooter) built or rebuilt from kits of various quality. One of the more unusual was my Ford delivery van built from a Brazilian resin kit. A new loco also arrived: a Schöma gas generator loco from a 3D-print. I also spent time working on my modules and got them quite presentable with added grass, flowers and a few new trees. Doors were built and fitted to the loco shed (long overdue). The loco shed also had welding light installed and the point finally got its point lever - built from a very nice German brass kit.

I didn't manage to finish my two Hudson bogie flats started in 2013 nor did I finish my 1:35 interpretation of an ancient Danish one-cylinder internal combustion loco. I also hadn't time to dig deeper into the binder with parts of the Nystrup Gravel archive. I hope to be able to tackle both wagons and loco as well as a little research in the coming year.

As far as my model of an ancient Danish built one cylinder oil engine loco progressed during the year. A rudimentary engine and gear box fills the interior almost to capacity. More on this model in 2015!
Three things that stood out in 2014 were my new Dolberg skips, my work with a 3D-printed loco and the Gauge 1 exhibition.

New skips
I have written about skips a lot. Not really a surprise as I model a type of railway where skips were the predominant type of rolling stock. In 2014 I received new skips of the type most used in Denmark. Quite out of the ordinary I didn't build the skips myself, but ordered them built. Although unpainted I took them into service immediately and they performed well. Resorting to paying another modeller to do work for me was a rather large decision. Not least because I like to model myself. But realizing that we are all better or faster at something made it easier to 'out source' a bit of the work on Nystrup Gravel. It may not be the last time I choose to do so.

Not one of my new skips! Work on the 700 mm. heritage line 'Hedelands Veteranbane'. Me and a friend waiting for a large 785 mm. gauge skip being emptied of branches, old leaves and snow before fixing chains to enable it to be lifted out of the shrubbery. The skip is now resting in doors with four similar skips. Photo: Steffen Lyngesen.
Gauge 1 exhibition
Getting out and meeting other modellers, seeing their work and discussing methods is good. Even if scale and theme is different. This year I had again packed my modules up and moved them west to the Gauge 1 exhibition in Rolfsted. I had a lot of people visiting the gravel line and I really enjoyed talking to visitors and fellow modellers. Quite a few Germans turned up showing that what could be taken for a rather local exhibition actually attracted visitors from afar. Nystrup Gravel also featured in two articles in a German web magazine with very nice pictures - some shots from angles I hadn't even discovered!

I wasn't only showing Nystrup Gravel at the exhibition. Some of my tractors and my thresher were allowed to be placed on some of the standard gauge layouts. It is great to see one's models come to life in a nice setting.
I saw a few nice products, received good feedback and advice and contributed myself with advice to those asking. I really hope a new loco project will materialize based on discussions started at the exhibition. You'll be the first to know.

Trying out new methods and technologies is something many modellers do. I'm probably among the more conservative and only tried out 3D-printing this year, when I finished a Schöma gas generator loco printed by Shapeways. While the technology seems promising it is not a method (in my opinion, anyway) that can stand alone. You can't expect to buy a 3D-printed model, attach it to a drive unit, paint it and drive off. You will have to invest considerable time and effort in cleaning the print up, sanding and preparing the surface before painting. Attaching a homemade bottom plate with chassis fittings is also necessary before your model is ready to serve you. Adding details and personalizing the model is a must for me too, so 3D-printing isn't going to take the modelling out of 'model railways' or mean the death of scratch building. Not if you like a detailed model that hasn't 'furry' or 'striped' surfaces.
The real Schöma gas generator loco in service at Nystrup Gravel in 1944-1946. One of the few photos I managed to dig out of the archive this year. Because of legal discussions over the ownership of the loco after the liberation the gas generator wasn't removed until autumn 1946.
The blog is shortly entering its fourth year. The number of posts have been remarkably consistent through the last three years and will probably remain so in 2015. The number of pageviews have stabilized on 2-3.000 a month. I have no plans for big changes, but should you have anything you'd like to see on the blog, please let me know.

Happy New Year!

Sunday 28 December 2014

Christmas Citroën (1/35)

My move has progressed so far that our new house is now also a home. And a place to host both Christmas and new year's parties. Nystrup Gravel hasn't yet moved in, being still taken good care of by a friend. Most modelling tools and some unbuilt kits have been located, though. No workbench is erected, so this Christmas' modelling will have to take place on an other table - and cleared away when other needs are deemed more pressing.

The kit that will be the focus of my holiday modelling is the Tamiya Citroën. I already have a model of a Citroën in the shape of a French resin kit, but of such an iconic car two examples surely isn't one too many!

My second 'traction avant' will be fitted with a gas generator and driven by a Nemrod-figure.
Before starting the model I had the chance to play with skips on HVB again. We were salvaging large 785 mm gauge skips and placing them in one of the railway's sheds. Cool, fresh air in abundance!

Large steel skips (2,5-3 cubic metre) being placed on one of the multi-gauge tracks in the shed. Lovely winter weather!

Monday 15 December 2014

Nystrup Gravel in German (Updated) (1/35)

The appearance of Nystrup Gravel at the recent Gauge 1 exhibition meant that it was exposed to a visiting German language Gauge 1 web magazine. Now my little Danish gravel line has been published in two articles on the web magazine Spur 1 Info - with readers in 71 countries. See the first article and the images here and the second here. The Spur 1 Info is partly based on payment and you will have to be a paying reader to get the full coverage of Nystrup Gravel on the site.

Nystrup Gravel No. 6 pausing outside the shed. Photo: Friedhelm Weidelich.
While industrial narrow gauge modelling in 1:35 isn't where most readers on Spur 1 Info have their main interests, it is nevertheless fun to see one's modelling written up by a professional on a site visited by far more readers than my own little blog. What thrilled me the most, however, were the photos. I hadn't imagined my modules would look so different when photographed by someone with better skills than myself. Notice how, on the photographs, the skin of my MK35 cow even seems slightly 'furry' - nice!

A look into the little shed that served the gravel company well, despite the very narrow service pit. Always disliked by heavier members of the staff but nevertheless useful for the skinnier apprentice. Photo: Friedhelm Weidelich.

Wednesday 3 December 2014

New Skips in Service (1/35)

I received new 1:35 skips shortly before packing for the Gauge 1 exhibition. That meant that very little testing could be done. I brought my new skips to the exhibition anyway, thinking I could perhaps get time to fiddle with them if necessary.
Loco 23 with a train of Hesketh & Snoodyk skips emerging from under the road viaduct. Despite the skips being unpainted and the coupler chains still bright metal, I think the little train makes a rather good impression. So thought many visitors at the Gauge 1 exhibition.
I can report that the skips ran very well without any need for major adjustments. I bent the cradles that takes the skip bucket a bit on a few of the wagons. That helped the body to stay upright during travelling over Nystrup Gravel's uneven track. Otherwise I didn't need to fix anything. The skips keep the track well and manages the gap between modules (where there is bound to be some distance between the rail ends) without problems. I had very few derailments - none of them due to the skips themselves.

Real skips rock and sway as they travel over uneven track. Here skips loose a little gravel as they pass through a point. Hedelands Veteranbane, March 2014
No one at the exhibition commented on the skips being unpainted (they are only blackened) and one visitor even commented that he thought I had been really good at weathering the skips. I had to tell him that they were in fact not even painted - which he found hard to believe even after taking a closer look.

In my opinion the skips passed the test. Not only do they run well they also look good. Some of the visitors (obviously as fascinated by skips as myself) had no trouble distingushing between the different types of skips in service and had very favourable opinions on my new ones. I like them too!

See info on the skips and assembly instructions here.