Friday 29 May 2020

Planning and Preparing

May has been filled with a lot of non-modelling activities. Work and the full scale heritage railway has demanded most of my time. While I may not have been actively modelling I have been actively planning and preparing for some major investments in the 16 mm scale Nystrup Gravel.
Final preparations underway for the small L-shaped shunting layout (2.3 x 1.5 m) on top of some of my bookshelves. The excavator is in 1:35 scale.
I have cleared the shelves that will provide foundation for the small layout showing a little of the gravel company's facilities in Nystrup. The layout will feature the loading ramp for lorries, a small loco shed, low relief buildings and partly homemade track.

Materials for construction have been sourced and stored. Design and building sequence decided. Time is now the only ingredient lacking.

Back when I modelled in 1:35 scale Nystrup Gravel was proud to have a Fowler diesel loco for pulling the heaviest trains from the pits. Having sold the loco I have been missing having a Fowler in the house. Now I have placed an order for a 16 mm Fowler at a locomotive shop in Wales. The delivery date is still a bit uncertain, but I expect a handover taking place sometime in the first half of 2021.
Nystrup Gravel's Fowler in 1:35 scale pushing a string of empty skips to the pit. Now a similar sight in 1:19 is not too far away due to bold investment from the owners of the gravel company.

Tuesday 12 May 2020

Track Research

My preliminary test of wooden track has led me to further investigations into wooden track and early metal track designs and usage. It has been very interesting and provided me with a fuller understanding of the development of the railway track to the current design. I have also been surprised by how the vocabulary and track part designations dates back to the very earliest railways and plateways. Two books have been particular helpful.
A snapshot of the two books providing a wealth of info on track history and development. As a coincident the most recent newsletter of the Danish Industrial Railway Society had an article on wooden track.

Much info is packed into the above books. "Early Wooden Railways" by M. Lewis deals with the railways' ancient ancestors; wooden railways in primarily mining service. In "The Railway - British Track Since 1804" Andrew Dow takes over as mechanical traction on the tracks was introduced.The books really are a winning combination. As companions they describe tracked transport systems from the middle ages to modern high-speed lines today. I recommend both titles to any enthusiast with a serious interest in railway track.

Friday 1 May 2020

Citroen Traction Avant

One of the most iconic cars ever produced has arrived at Nystrup. The Citroen Traction Avant. To be true there has always been a Traction Avant at Nystrup. Two actually. They were 1:35 scale models, one a Tamiya TA with gas generator, the other an older resin kit from DES-kits built around 2008. Both models were pre-war BL-11 cars.

When I decided to change scale, it was clear from the beginning, that I had to have a Traction Avant on the 16 mm scale version of Nystrup Gravel. Now it has arrived in the form of a 1:18 Maisto model of a TA 15-Six from 1952.
The overall impression looks very much like the real Traction Avant. The car received progressively more chrome as the years went by. A lot of chrome is present on my 1952 model.
The first Traction Avants left the assembly line prematurely in 1934 with the design not yet quite finished resulting in a lot of mechanical troubles. Citroen was declared bankrupt and was taken over by tire producing Michelin, the problems with the Traction Avant solved and the car became a design icon, a well selling car and continued in production until 1957.
An illustrative overview of models and production numbers. 

The Traction Avant is famous for being designed with a hydraulic brakes, unibody construction and traction through the front wheels and a strikingly aerodynamic body. In Denmark the Traction Avant was popular and used by many different users, from directors as an imposing company car, the national police to car owners with a desire for a comfortable car. For small business owners it was even available as a small van.
In post-war Denmark the TA was available as a van. With high taxes and import restrictions on cars, the vans were produced the avoid government restrictions. After service as a van for a required number of years, the concept was to rebuild the van into a family car again. 
My Maisto model came from ebay and is another boxless model available rather cheaply. As a practical modeller I'm amazed that it isn't the quality of model itself that constitutes its value, and that without a box the same model can be had for sometimes a quarter of the price compared to a model with a box.

With a second hand model you usually have to accept a few scratches and a missing part or two. I have found three small scratches on my TA and no missing parts. The wind shield is a bit dusty, but that and the scratches will be taken care of.
The TA is a long vehicle. The 1:18 model is 26 cm long from bumper to bumper.

All doors open on the Maisto model. The interior seems a bit too light in comparison with most original photos of TA interiors. I will check if I need to change colours on floor and seats.

For a large scale model the wind screen wipers are not particularly well detailed. Another area where I will have to do some research. A small damage in the paint above the wind screen will have to be repaired as well.

Both sides of the bonnet opens to reveal the six cylinder engine. It's not as detailed as e.g. an engine in a Norev-produced car. A repaint of the engine will help a long way, but I will probably replace and add detail as well.

The spare wheel on the TA 1952 model moved to an inside mounting in front of the boot. It must have been quite unpractical having to remove the spare wheel to place a suitcase in the boot? The image also shows a mould seam on the petrol filler lid that have to be removed and a very rudimentary rear light that may have to detailed a bit.
The Citroen is now going on a shelf to wait for its number to be drawn for repair, detailing and outfitting like a Danish car. I will enjoy its sleek lines from my favourite reading corner in the study. From afar I can't see the model's small faults.