Wednesday 26 May 2021

Loading Ramp #2

With the track building fast approaching the loading ramp area, I set out to build the wooden retaining walls keeping the earth fill in place under the ramp itself. In the process I also tested the dimensions and design of the trestle like structure of the wooden ramp itself.

Ramshackled ramp erected for testing. The real ramp will be flimsy, but definately more substantial than this!

I built the wooden walls on pieces of foam board cut to roughly match the contours of the earth fill. The foam board was painted black and then clad with lengths of wood in a variety of dimensions. The wood was treated with wood staining fluid to produce several tones of grey. With the different dimensions of wood used, the work was quite like a little jig saw puzzle.

Retaining walls in progress. The Nystrup Gravel workshop manager seems a little sceptical (as always when he wasn't in control of a project).

I will be installing the retaining walls with only basic weathering. Once the complete ramp and surrounding landscape is finished I will be adding the full package of weathering. Having never built a layout in 16 mm scale before I'm still unsure about many elements in the construction process. Can I weather a structure this large to meet my desired level of quality when it is solidly attached to the module? Time will tell.

While I have already chosen a prototype loading ramp I nevertheless keep checking old photographs to better understand how loading ramps were designed (some thought must have gone into at least some of them), built and used. The digitalization of Danish archives is of a tremendous benefit to this study.

Loading ramp for lorries at a clay pit near Nostrup, Kalundborg. The photo is reported to be part of a series taken in 1939-1940. Notice how low the ramp is. Photo: Ø85, Kalundborg Lokalarkiv.

Sunday 23 May 2021

Loading Ramp Preparations

The wooden loading ramp at Nystrup Gravel has been under preparation for a long time. Now construction has begun. Before the ramp itself could be constructed I needed to contour the surrounding landscape and cover the foam surface with kitchen rags soaked in white glue. I also glued down cork to act as an underlay for track. Sleepers were then glued in place and the two pre-bent lengths of rail positioned.

Every fourth or fifth sleeper spiked and it's time for test running. As I have only one loco in running order it's easy to guess which one had the priviledge. The Lister only has single axle drive and is struggling bringing more than three skips up the ramp. Fortunately the loading ramp is dimensioned for unloading exactly three skips.

As the small layout splits into 2 segments, I have the possibility of taking a module outside to work on. One afternoon after work I managed to partially cover the loading ramp module with white glue and kitchen rags. I like to model outside, and while we have had a rather cold spring in Denmark it's great to listen to the birds singing while working on a module.

The loading ramp module placed on a galvanized barrel usually used as a small bar. Perfect for sipping a G&T while chatting with family or friends.

With the kitchen rags dry and painted, I spiked the track with the two lengths of rail uncut, despite them crossing from one module to another. Where the rails cross the separation between the modules I have soldered them to brass screws to make sure the track ends will be properly fixed and aligned. Once the track is thoroughly tested, I will cut the rails to enable the modules to be separated again. While the first track I built in both 1:35 and now in 1:19 scale never looked exactly as bad as I wanted, I have succeeded on the ramp. Here the track really diverts from the optimal alignment in every direction. Lovely!

The track fixed down and soldered to brass screws. My locating of the sleepers close to the module ends aren't quite up to standards - even though Nystrup Gravel never had written standards on track.

In between spiking sessions (which can be a little tedious) I have selected wooden profiles for the construction of the loading ramp. After sanding and weathering with knife and wire brush I stained the wood to give it a basic greyish colour.

The 600 mm track on the earth ramp is finished. On the side of the ramp 3 track gauges has been left by the track worker. The pile of bent spikes is a result of gripping them with the flat nosed pliers too close to the top while pressing them through the sleeper.

A view up the ramp. The faults in the track curiously doesn't look too bad in the image. Seeing the Lister crawl over the track with a pair of skips brings out the uneveness of track much better.

If all goes well I should be back quite soon with more boring news of building track and gluing pieces of wood together for a layout so small it hardly deserves to be categorized as a model railway.

Monday 17 May 2021

Wood Gas Generator

On my old 1/35 scale version of Nystrup Gravel I had several vehicles with wood burning gas generators including a locomotive. As the technology is fascinating I decided to have at least one vehicle with wood gas propulsion on my 1/19 scale Nystrup Gravel. I was fortunate enough to find a kit on eBay of what looks like an Imbert gas generator. The manufacturer was Dioramaparts, a German company selling detail parts and kits through eBay in 2019. The company unfortunately seems to have stopped trading since.

The zip lock plastic bag emptied: here are the kit parts for a gas generator in 1/19 scale. Light sand parts are resin, plastic parts are in small bags and the 6 parts in the middle are white metal.

So far I haven't found any other kits of gas generators in 1/18-1/19 scale and I'm glad I made the purchase, despite the kit being quite rudimentary. All the main parts are there, though. With good images and drawings of a prototype gas generator and some basic modelling skills I'm sure I can enhance the kit parts to a decent level.

I have not yet decided what to place the gasgenerator on. As the gas generator is a fairly large model usually mounted on lorries with 50 hp engines the obvious chioce would be a lorry. In the back of my mind I am considering a loco, though, as there aren't many lorries available in 1/19 scale. 

A Danish built JWE-locomotive with a rear mounted gas generator. Photo: Kolding Stadsarkiv B41387.

Here is an image I've shown before: My grandad driving a JWE-loco with rear mounted Vulcan-generator. Photo: B1650 Lokalhistorisk Arkiv og Forening i Allerød Kommune.

Yet another JWE-loco fitted with gas generator, only front mounted. This mounting enabled coupling to wagons both front and rear without the awkward frame extension on my granddad's loco. Photo: Vejle Stadsarkiv B73442.