Friday 27 December 2019

2019 in Review

2019 is drawing to a close. Nystrup Gravel employees have been enjoying the Christmas and a few days of vacation. They are now back working as the warm weather this winter allows gravel extraction. Usually frost puts a stop to the production of gravel at this time of year.
A brief pause while unloading overburden along a road. The relatively warm weather is reflected in the light clothing worn by the men.
2019 was characterized by being my first full year as a modeller in 16 mm scale (or 1/19.05). I'm slowly getting used to the scale and learning to handle the larger objects now on my work table. 2019 has been a relatively productive modelling year and I like to think I have built a solid base of experience for Nystrup Gravel's coming expansion.

In 2019 I managed to add no less than 8 skips to my collection and triple the skip fleet of Nystrup Gravel. I can now run trains of skips with a decent length and combined the skips will make up a train a full meter in length. During the summer I added two Hudson Rugga skips complete with weathering and prototypical coupling chains to the two already in service. The Hudson skips are made from kits brought out many years ago by Binnie Engineering.
4 Hudson skips parked on the Nystrup Gravel main line. All the skips have had minor alternations and extra detail built into them. Decals supplied by one of the small businesses (in this case Skilteskoven) that cares for modellers with special needs.

As skips are what makes the little railway at Nystrup Gravel earn its living, I knew I had to have more than 4 Hudsons. Quite satisfied with both the look and running of the Binnie Engineering Hudson skips, the type was however, never in widespread use in Denmark. Consequently I couldn't bring myself to buy more of them. Fortunately I was able to aquire 6 skips of a standard German type in the autumn bringing my skip fleet to a total of 10. The 6 new skips will have to be painted, numbered and weathered. A task for 2020.

2019 also saw me finish the first Nystrup Gravel locomotive in 16 mm scale. A somewhat rebuilt I. P. Engineering Lister R was taken into service during the late summer and has turned out a very reliable machine. Just what scale the kit is actually made to is an open question though, as the proportions doesn't fit any of the drawings I have had access to. I tried to improve a few things here and there and cut off no less than 7 mm in width to almost match my scale drawings. No matter what it's a great little locomotive.
Lister close up from above. The oil can seems to have leaked a bit.

I have been testing if my library and workshop room could house a small 16 mm scale indoor module. After some reorganizing it turned out that it is possible to cram in a few meters of track and structures on some shelves. It will not be a large layout, but I think I might just squeeze in two points, a small engine shed and perhaps even the legendary flimsy lorry loading ramp over which surprisingly huge amounts of gravel slided down into waiting lorries. At the moment I'm playing around with Peco points and track panels. While it's convenient to be able to aquire track from a quality manufacturer the look of the track isn't particularly to my taste. In 2020 I will have to decide if I will use the Peco track, rebuild it or make my own track from scratch.

In addition to modelling 600 mm gauge industrial railway equipment I enjoy building and modifying road vehicles that fit my modelling theme and period. In 2019 I finished several road vehicles. I managed no less than 4 cars and one steam tractor. In contrast to my old scale 1/35, road vehicles in 16 mm scale are almost exclusively available as diecast models. I have only seen a few 3D-printed vehicles available for 16 mm scale. Consequently I have been modifying, detailing and weathering die cast cars rather than building full kits as before.
A Tempo Hanseat lorry showed up near Nystrup during 2019. Banke's Bakelite was a small company employing several lorries for transporting raw materials and finished products.

As usual I visited several narrow gauge railways and museums with industrial heritage content. Visits like those are an important inspiration. In 2019 I joined friends from my heritage railway for a trip to the Internationaler Feldbahnertreffen in Ilmenau, Germany.
An O&K Montania loco passing the remains of an ore loading facility near the 'Voller Rose' flour spar mine at Ilmenau.

2019 wasn't the most active year in the Nystrup Gravel blog's existence with two full months without any postings at all mainly due to work obligations. I must have been making up for the missing modelling in other months and followed up with posts as the year's 'production' of blog posts managed to reach a respectable 40. The statistics says the visits are again averaging 2.500-3.000 page views pr month after having taken a dip in the beginning of the year. As me, the readers might have taken some time for adjusting to the new scale.
A new scale takes some time to get adjusted to. Here's a photo to show the size of two 16 mm scale models in comparison with a well known and standardized object to the right.
I hope you enjoyed the stories from Nystrup Gravel in 2019. I wish you a happy New Year and hope to see you again in 2020 for more modelling, fictional history and prototype information.

Tuesday 24 December 2019

Brick Shed Finished

Back in october I finished  the main assembly of the brick shed destined to become my first 16 mm scale building. I had covered the brick walls with a thin layer of polyfilla to represent a rendered surface. Even before I added doors and roof I began to wonder what colour to paint the building. My initial thoughts centered on light off-white or sand tones, but in the end I decided to experiment with a red building with green doors and fascias. 
Prototype shed with charmingly odd angles painted dark red. One of several buildings convincing me that the Nystrup Gravel building complex had to be red. The shed is located in Albertslund close to my home.

I used the original wooden doors from the kit. I fitted home made hinges and handles with AC glue after having distressed the door planks with a sharp knife and steel wire brush. The doors themselves were tacked in place with AC glue but permanently fixed in place with standard DIY silicone. Moving up in scale to 16 mm has enabled me to use many of the tools I usually use for house maintenance in model building.
Rendering finished, paint testing in progress and the first home made lamp works. 
The roof is cut from 6 mm foam board and covered with surgical tape and painted dark grey. The tape was my favourite material for making tarpaper in 1:35 scale. In my new scale the tape really ought to be much wider and I'm now looking for a wider variant.
Red paint on the wall, roof from foamboard in place and door painting in progress. Minor variations in red to create different tones of colour. Further weathering will tone down the almost pink appearance.
Lights over the two doors were constructed from left over parts from 1:35 kits, brass tube and small 12 V bulbs. Wires from the bulbs were routed into the shed and from there extended with longer wires to be positioned under the future layout's surface.

Plasticcard was used to fabricate fascia boards along the roof's edge. I distressed the boards with knife and steel wire brush before painting them in a light green colour matching the doors. With both red walls and green doors and fascias dry, I began to pick out a few bricks in brick red. Not too many, just a few ones here and there particularly around the doors where oil and fuel cans would hit and knock off rendering and paint. The mortar courses were picked out in grey-brown paint.

The doors and fascia boards were given a wash with heavily diluted brown oil paint. The same mix was applied to the lower parts of the building. When dry the exposed parts of the bricks were treated with brick red powdered chalk. Small amounts of rust were added with oil paint around hinges and metal parts on doors and lamps. A covering of matt varnish finished the work on the shed for the time being. When I place it permanently on my future layout I will add further weathering with earth and dust tones to help it blend into the surroundings.
Front and right side of the brick shed with lights on. For safety reason I will probably add signs on the doors warning about the contents of fuel and lubricants.

Left and rear side of the brick shed. My favourite Vespa posters added to the side. The rear side may be fitted later with brackets to carry a ladder.
The shed will now await construction of my small indoor layout. I'm still planning and testing track plan and how tightly I can bend my track and still expect safe running.

Saturday 21 December 2019

Seasons' Greetings

As we are getting closer to Christmas and preparations are intensifying it is time for wishing every reader of the blog a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. All my best wishes go out to every reader even if you don't happen to be culturally or religiously inclined to celebrate Christmas.

At this time of year I always take time to appreciate how fortunate I am to be able to have spare time and money to play with model railways. My thoughts go out to all those around the planet struggling to make ends meet, provide for children and basically just survive another day.
My first attempt at a season's greetings image. And a miserable one.

Thursday 12 December 2019

Nystrup Gravel in Print

Nystrup Gravel is mostly living a quiet existence in my study and online, being mostly shared in a language foreign to me, English. Just recently my modelling adventure has been mentioned in a small Danish modelling magazine being distributed to members of one of the oldest railway modelling societies in the kingdom of Denmark. Established in October 1945 the society is still active modelling in 0 gauge.
Front page of the magazine 'Train 60'. The model of Aarhus Central Station is an impressing model in 1:45 scale. 
A brief history of Nystrup Gravel and several very nicely reproduced photos are included in the 3 page article. The article also deals with my change of modelling scale and there is even a small portrait of me and my railway career combining modelling, heritage railway activity and my real job for a railway contractor.
Two pages spread out on the floor. The large photographs are nicely printed.

Factually there isn't much in the article that hasn't already been treated in detail here on the blog. The difference is the nice style that the article's author has managed to add both in and between the lines. And the fact that the information about Nystrup Gravel is delivered directly to some very talented modellers, of course. The author is Nils Bloch, a Danish writer with several books on his CV, a range of university degrees as well as years of active service for railway preservation.
Nils Bloch's latest book about a small Danish standard gauge light railway line. A book packed with facts and countless stories from the line's everyday life until closure in 1968.