Saturday 30 December 2017

A Review of 2017 (1/35)

2017 has been a year of much varying activity modelling wise. I was off to a great start with several finished models and a module being completed. May was spent entirely on the 700 mm gauge heritage railway I volunteer on. I picked up modelling again during summer and started some new projects. I had great running sessions on my modules during September and October. Since then I have only managed to finish one project. The number of blog posts reflects that quite clearly: My blog is leaving 2017 with a count of 35 posts. Compared to the past four years where the blog has very consistently been reaching into middle or late 40's it's considerable less. Fortunately you readers have been faithfully following the blog as the visitor statistics aren't showing any decline. Probably the blog's many old posts are still found interesting enough to be read.
I had the chance to play trains for quite some time this year. The Fowler was given some intensive running on the 3.2 m railway I'm the proud owner of. Here the Fowler is operating outside in the garden on a temporary module set up. A huge advantage with modules: you can bring them everywhere!

I finished my fourth module representing the bakelite factory in Nystrup. The idea was to represent the section of the gravel railway winding itself through Nystrup's small industrial district. With the room I have available for modelling and storing models and modules a model of that section in 1:35 scale can of course only be of a very short length. I like the contrast to my more rural modules and I have now begun to wonder how my next module is going to look.
The Land Rover from Nystrup's volunteer fire brigade parked in front of Banke's Bakelite.

I had for a long time searched for the elusive Roadcraft Land Rover fire tender kit. I found it and finished building it in 2017. A great kit with a great potential for extra detailing. I built it mostly out of the box, though, only adding a fire man's helmet and other small parts. One week later I had the locomotive jacks from Blitz finished and delivered by heavy load trailer to the loco shed in Nystrup.

In the beginning of the year my model of an old Danish Alpha E 10 loco rolled off the worktable. A peculiar loco and not remotely connected to 'Danish design' so famous for its "simple, elegant and pure characteristics". Although in the case of the E 10 'simple' seems to fit! With a huge '1' on all four sides it clearly shows itself as Nystrup Gravel's first loco.

This year I had the great fortune to help celebrate two anniversaries at the heritage railway where I work as a volunteer. One was the 40. anniversary of the railway itself in May and the 50. anniversary of the closure of the last Danish sugar beet railway in December. On HVB we are fortunate to have a small selection of locos and rolling stock from the sugar beet railways and could form a small train of open beet wagons. Two trains followed the beet train, allowing visiting enthusiasts to take part in several photo sessions along the line.
The sugar beet train is on its way home after the 50. anniversary running. The sun is setting and the train is fitted with petroleum lamps and the small red rear end signal.
Mentioning railway enthusiasts I created my own two enthusiasts visiting Nystrup Gravel in 2017. I thought it appropriate to honour the first enthusiasts that have documented so many things gone today. Whether you are a surviving pioneer or a complete newcomer to the railway hobby I wish you a Happy New Year and all the best in 2018!
"Wasn't it around three o'clock the train was due here at the loco shed?" Well, you never quite knows with industrial railways. Surely the two enthusiasts will see something interesting if they wait long enough.

Friday 8 December 2017

Nystrup's East German 'Twin' (1/35)

I've been somewhat quiet modelling wise for a few weeks. Some of the time has been spent on going through the papers and photographs of Nystrup Gravel's cheif mechanic Thorleif Petersen. Some of the information made me want to build a model from an East German company - the VEB Klinker- und Ziegelwerke "Ernst Wollweber". Thorleif had a special affiliation with that company and visited it many times during his trips to DDR.

Box top illustration of Balaton Modell kit no BM3545. The Wollweber company had a Soviet built tractor with dozer blade of the DT 74-type.

The resin kit is well designed and cast. A look at the one-piece casting of the tractor's engine should confirm that. 
The parts of the tractor are well cast: no air bubbles and very limited mould lines. The majority of them separate well from their casting sprues. What I find amazing is the fit of the parts. It takes very little work to make the parts ready for assembly. The suspension assemblies fit together with no preparation straight from their sprues - just like a high quality plastic injection kit. Currently I'm ready to fit wheels and suspension units. 

Frames and final drives assembled and ready for suspension units and wheels. Two suspension units to the left.

Individual track links during assembly into track runs. The fit of the links are next to perfect. 

Judging from some of the papers Thorleif's travelling to and from DDR had to do with his memebership of the Danish Communist Party. As a young man Thorleif went to fight in the Spanish civil war as a volunteer. He kept his socialist preferences and was part of a communist resistance group fighting the Germans around Nystrup. He attended several party schools in DDR and took some engineering courses in Karl Marx Stadt as well.  

Among Thorleif's stuff I found this small badge from the 1959 May 1 celebrations in DDR - the communist German Democratic Republic. Inside the same envelope was a letter from the top management of the Baustoffe und Klinker Kombinat wishing him a 'socialist May 1'.

Sunday 5 November 2017

Trainspotters Spotted Near Loco Shed (1/35)

Trainspotting was in its infancy in Denmark in the early 1950's. No railway society existed and people (well, men) interested in railways met in model railway clubs. Most railway enthusiasts didn't care much about industrial narrow gauge railways. Some of those early pioneers must have had a particular interest in narrow gauge, though. Below are images of two gentlemen engaged in some intense exploration at the Nystrup Gravel loco shed.
This must be a particular well off enthusiast. Equipped with a 16 mm. film camera (probably a 1940's Maurer) he must have had considerable means to spend on his hobby. Being dressed in sporty plus fours and gloriously striped yellow socks he is well equipped for cross country trainspotting.

Dressed in a rather less dandy-like fashion, the other visiting trainspotter is bringing a classic Rolleiflex and a sturdy bag for notebook, maps and pencils.

Waiting for Nystrup Gravel's steam loco to pass the loco shed? Hopefully the two spotters will get good shots of what they see.

Wednesday 25 October 2017

Railway Enthusiasts Visiting Nystrup Gravel (1/35)

With all the images from my little gravel railway you'd sure expect it to have been visited by photographing railway enthusiasts. Although the workshop manager Thorleif Petersen was a very active photographer, many images and film sequenses from Nystrup Gravel were shot by some of the first Danish railway enthusiasts. I wanted to have a few of the pioneer trainspotters on my 1:35 railway.

Before painting. I still need to go over both figures with sand paper and file once more before I prime them.
My two trainspotters began as a US military cameraman from Plus Models and a MK35 man in long jacket (figure F176). The cameraman had his trousers carved into a pair of plus fours Tintin style and fitted with a head from a MK35 figure. I removed all military insignias and made some subtle changes on the beret. The figure's arms were positioned to operate the camera. As the camera tripod is quite a flimsy construction in 1:35 scale I placed it on a piece on thin brass sheet together with the figure. After painting camera and figure I will cover the brass sheet with ground cover and a few grass tufts.

A Plus Model's image of a painted cameraman assembled straight from the box.

I'm looking forward to see these guys chase the trains on Nystrup Gravel.
The enthusiast in the long coat took much less work. All I did was to build a simple model of a 1950's Rolleiflex 2.8A. I used a piece of plastic stock and detailed it with a few slices of plastic tube and some spare etched metal. The camera's sling was cut from copper foil.

Before I sat down at the worktable, I cleared the shed from my layouts. It takes only 10 minutes to dismantle the layouts. So while I'm certainly not anywhere near being a good woodworker, I have nevertheless made something that actually works.
The intermediate backdrop (a roll of heavy paper) has been removed and the modules ready for dismantling.
Last module standing. A moment later all four parts of the Nystrup universe were moved out of the garden shed and back on the shelves in my study.

Thursday 19 October 2017

Railway Exhibition and Back Home to Nystrup Gravel (1/35)

Last week saw me attend a railway exhibition in the Swedish town of Jönköbing. Not a model railway exhibition, but Nordic Rail, the largest railway exhibition in Scandinavia. As part of my responsibilities in the Danish railway contracting company where I work, I took part in the exhibition to present all the good things the company is capable of doing.

New equipment on Hydrema's stand at Nordic Rail.

On my way back home to Copenhagen and a looming deadline I managed to visit the little town of Ohs, where a 600 mm. heritage railway is situated. The railway is a long time favourite of mine and I have visited it several times. This Wedensday morning two volunteers were busy working and I had time to help them a little, chat and watch them do some shunting. Visit the Ohs Bruk railway here.
With a heritage worthy Volvo BM front loader two volunteers from OBJ are getting ready to place a frame on a pair of bogies.

It's half past nine and the Deutz locomotive idles quietly among the tank wagons in Ohs.

OBJ loco 30 (Deutz 57095/1961) shunting in Ohs. The loco worked at the Halmstad steel works before being retired to OBJ.

Back home I have now started dismantling my module set up in the shed and getting the modules back on their shelves in my little study. A major cleaning of my cluttered work table is needed before I can get back to modelling.

Ferguson parked next to the tractor repair shop in Nystrup. Judged the nice condition this tractor is probably waiting to be picked up by its owner after an overhaul. I built the tractor from a White metal kit from The Model Tractor Company.

Wednesday 4 October 2017

Autumn Is Here (1/35)

In Nystrup autumn has arrived. The weather is getting colder and before long the trees will loose their leaves. Some of the last trains with steam traction are now running. Soon loco no. 2 is once again put back into storage as the demand for gravel is back to normal.
Steam loco no. 2 pulling a train of empty skips. On the road in the background you can see a Danish army Scammel recovery vehicle pausing while a soldier watches Nystrup Gravel's little train pass under the viaduct.

A sure sign that autumn is coming are the military manouvers taking place around Nystrup and Skovby. When the farmers had their crops safely harvested from their fields, the army took the opportunity of roaming the Danish countryside at will during an annual exercise. Around Nystrup that meant large numbers of army vehicles on the narrow roads, lorries parked everywhere, squaddies in barns and foxholes and officers checking maps and battle plans.
The recovery lorry have found a place to park. It is one of a few Scammel Pioneer SV/2S lorries that the Danish army acquired from the British after the 2. World War. They served the army into the fifties. My model is built from a 1:35 Accurate Armour resin kit.

Friday 22 September 2017

O&K Steamed Up For Hard Work (1/35)

In the early 1950's Nystrup Gravel's steam locos were not used regularly. The locos were stored in a long shed at the lorry loading ramp area. The daily traffic was handled by the company's IC locos. But when demand for gravel was at its peak during summer at least one steam loco was usually steamed up.
Steam loco no. 2 pulling a train of empty skips past Banke's Bakelite on its way to the pits

The extra loco provided an added ressource and enabled a more intense traffic to be kept up. Just a few years later the steam locos were sold as scrap. My model of Nystrup Gravel's steam loco no. 2 was built in 2002 on the basis of a Fleischmann 'Magic Train' steam loco in 1:45 scale. Too bad that the 'Magic Train' range is now out of production. I would love to rebuild one more to accompany no. 2.

Nystrup Gravel's first two locomotives on the same photograph. As the old Alpha E 10 is standing in front of the loco shed, several of the newer locos must have been out of service. Otherwise the one cylinder locomotive would have remained in its shed. It was used only when all other options had failed!

Monday 18 September 2017

Fowler Pulling A Workers' Transport (1/35)

Demand for gravel for a wide range of publicly funded construction works meant that Nystrup Gravel in the beginning of the 1930's had to find more effective ways of getting gravel to the customers. One result of the intiatives taken by director Holm was the acquisition of the large Fowler diesel. Another was the sudden appearance of two bogie passenger wagons for the transport of workers to and from the gravel pits.
The comfortable coach being enjoyed by workers on their way to work. Nystrup Gravel's two bogie coaches were unique to Danish industrial railways. No other industrial railway had such luxurious coaches. The state organisation for costal protection had a single bogie coach and a prison railway had a primitive homebuilt coach. Nystrup Gravel certainly was a company with a special railway - no wonder I chose to model it!

I built the two passenger wagons in 2010 from kits made by fellow modeller Daniel Caso fitted with homebuilt frames and bogies from Scale Link. Daniel is one of those modellers that take the extraordinary step to help others fabricating kits or useful pieces.
A coach during construction. The kit body is placed on a test frame made of three pieces of strip wood and half-built bogies.
Apart from the image at the top, I managed to catch the train made up from Fowler-loco and green coach on film as it passed the bridge and the loco shed.

Wednesday 13 September 2017

Ancient Internal Combustion Locomotives on 600 mm Gauge (1/35)

Some railway enthusiasts prefer steam engines and many railway modellers share the passion for steam locomotives. I have a soft spot for the earliest internal combustion engine locos. Some of the pioneers of IC-loco manufacture weren't particularly focused on design, leading to some wonderfully alternative visual expressions. My model of a Danish built Alpha E 10 should prove that.

Not many of the earliest IC locos have survived. They were built in limited numbers, probably too fragile to serve for long and with a technology that still had to mature fully. Very few of these locos exists today and fewer are in operation. Fortunately we can now add one to the list, as the Frankfurter Feldbahnmuseum in Germany is currently test running Oberursel 6095 from 1913. The loco has a Danish connection as it came to Denmark after World War 1 to a peat company. From there the loco was passed on to a contractor that later donated it to a childrens' play ground. It is doubtful if the loco ever worked much in Denmark, but If the loco had seen limited use until then, it certainly changed as children from Copenhagen could now play the poor thing to pieces (not mentioning the Danish weather's hard treatment). The loco was rescued by the Danish Industrial Railway Society in 1982, moved to safe in door storage in the 1990's and lent to the Frankfurter Feldbahnmuseum in 2003 becoming their property in 2007. I don't think I ever dared to dream to see the loco in running condition. I think I will be visiting Frankfurt soon!

Monday 11 September 2017

Nystrup Gravel Running Session (1/35)

Due to work, other obligations and a few teenage 'occupations' of our shed, the usual summer running sessions have been somewhat delayed. But now my small modules are set up and the first trains have been making their way across the crooked rails (that may still need some additional cleaning).
So far I have been running the gravel company's oldest locomotive and with some more running in, it will probably be a far more useful loco in1:35 scale than it ever was in reality.
  I haven't been modelling much during the summer. Rather I have been doing work on a real narrow gauge railway in company of a great bunch of men and women.
A great team of volunteers photographed on a sunny afternoon at the 40 years celebration at the Hedeland heritage railway.

As autumn is looming on the horizon I will be getting the workbench dusted off and made ready for new projects. But first I'll be enjoying some days of running trains on Nystrup Gravel's short line. Expect a few images here showing some of the trains travelling over the 600 mm track.

Monday 28 August 2017

Modelling Inspiration

Ideas aren't coming from nothing. My inspiration comes from a wide range af sources. I have previously written about one particular book that has inspired me. In this post I will take you through a few other sources of inspiration.
A small narrow gauge peat railway in Klosterlund, Denmark. It's summer, the air is hot and I can almost hear the larch singing in the sky. The flowers are in full bloom and from the moor in the distance a little locomotive is pulling three simple wagons with peat over light and crooked rails. Behind the train you can just about see a few cows resting and enjoying the good weather. Just the kind of railway I love!

Obviously reality is a primary inspiration for me. Who wouldn't be inspired by the above photo? There are more great prototype locos and scenes than I can ever manage to model even if I lived to be 100 years.

Other modellers' work surely inspires too. I pick up that inspiration from several sources. The work of many talented modellers appears in Narrow Gauge and Industrial Railway Modelling Review and I honestly don't know where I would be modelling wise if that magazine wasn't available. A huge 'thank you' to editors, helping staff and authors. If you are not a subscriber, consider becoming one. Find out how to order a subscription here.
From my 'Review' collection. I'm still looking for issue 1. The open magazine is issue 47 with a briliantly written story of a small 0-16.5 slate quarry. Shows that inspiration doesn't have to come from one's own scale or theme.

However great a real paper magazine is, online inspiration can be found as well. A myriad of sites offer images, films and descriptions of real industrial railways (usually long gone, unfortunately) and advise on how to model them. The best I know is the NRGM-forum. You have to acquire a login, but that tiny trouble will repay endlessly. The forum is frequented by friendly expert modellers from all over our planet - some of them known from the 'Review'.

On my work bench I'm learning new things. Last evening I practised my weaving techniques as I was making revetments for my French artillery position. I used tooth picks and cheap wire from a hobby shop.
A short section of weaved revetment in 1:35 scale. My test worked out rather well. More sections are on their way.

Tuesday 15 August 2017

Gun Emplacement Progress (1/35)

I have continued working on the French gun for my World War 1 diorama. The gun is now completely assembled, primed and painted. The kit went together well although there was a casting seam along the barrel that I didn't succeeded getting completely rid off. I left the wheel assemblies unglued as I wanted to be able to finetune the wheels' positions when fitting the gun into its emplacement.
The gun and recoil ramps ready for primer.

Gun primed with 'Chaos Black'.

The cover paint was mixed from several Vallejo greys and blues with a little white added. The shoes on the wheels were air brushed a light earth colour.
The gun painted.
With the gun well in progress I turned my attention to the diorama. I pulled out a picture frame the size of an old fashioned (or retro if you like) vinyl 33 rpm. LP record. With the glass removed it is a good starting point for small diorama in 1:35 scale - and a handy size for storage.

I played around with the gun and length of track to decide how to position them best. With everything settled I started building up trench walls and cutting timber for the gun pit.
Building up trench sides and test fitting floor timbers. The track will cut across the open ground in a gentle curve.
In my research on French trench design I stumbled over a modeller - Andrew Belsey - who does the most beautiful trench dioramas.
One of Andrew Belsey's trench cross section dioramas in 1:32 scale.
See his work on this blog. There is a lot of good tricks on how to do detailed groundwork and small details. My dioaram will not be as finely detailed as Andrew's!

Thursday 10 August 2017

Refitting switch panel (1/35)

After having finished the switch panel on the factory module, I thought the panel on the loco shed module could do with a little refurbishment. I had removed half the switches when Nystrup Gravel turned to digital command and control.
The old panel removed, the cut out cleaned up and ready for a new panel with no surplus holes in it.
The new panel in place, although I will have to correct its crooked angle. The panel is kept in place with double sided tape so it's no big thing to fix.

While I had the module out in the garden I took the opportunity to take a few snapshots as darkness settled over the loco shed.

Friday 28 July 2017

Module Finished (1/35)

The bakelite factory module is now finished (well as finished as a model railway ever gets). This afternoon I took advantage of one of the last days of my vacation to install wires and switches for the lights in the buildings. The switches and 12 V socket were arranged on the front of the module.

While the module gradually evolved towards finishing last summer, a few 'bald' spots still remained. These were taken care of this nice summer evening while I enjoyed the working lights in the buildings.
As the sun sets there is apparently still activity inside the buildings.

One guy went home after turning out the lights.

Finally the last guy at Banke's Bakelite closed up as well.

A driver and his Bedford O having a little break in front of one Nystrup's small industries.The little 600 mm. gravel line running between factory and parking area is almost invisible.

In the yard of Pedersen's Machine Shop a lot of work must have gone into a thorough clean up. No trace of all the metal parts usually strewn everywhere. Shortly after this photo was made, stuff began to build up again.
Being a slow modeller I seem to take forever to get the smallest of tasks done. I'm glad I only build a small module at the time. A whole layout would probably feel quite overwhelming.