Friday 30 July 2021

Loading Ramp #3

In between painting rails I took the opportunity of doing something else on the small Nystrup Gravel indoor layout. The two segments for the wooden retaining walls at the loading ramp were glued in place and when dry I began fitting the wooden uprights for the ramp itself. Current status is that the ramp is bedded in and ready for fitting the longitudal baulks and track building. Sleepers have been prepared. Everything is ready!

Sleepers being stained. The sleepers are a different type than those used elsewhere on the layout, as the sleepers on the ramp isn't embedded in ballast.

After fitting the 3 sets of wooden upright supports I had already made, I fabricated two more sets to be positioned between them. That seems to follow the practice used by some of the prototype loading ramps I have seen images of from other Danish industrial railways. 

Testing loading ramp clearances and supports. Previously made parts already stained, new parts still in untreated wood. Track panel is only fitted for test purposes. The permanent track on the loading ramp will be built on wooden sleepers.

The most basic of basic ground cover between the uprights was added before the wooden cross beams were fitted to the ramp. In this way it was possible to embed the uprights properly into the ground and at the same avoid to much splattering on the wooden parts. Plants and shrubbery can be fitted later.

First stage in basic ground cover. Wall filler creating the main contours of the ground under and around the loading ramp. To the left the first kitchen rags are already glued in place.

The basic ground cover added under the ramp. Still some edges to clean up which will only be done once the finer groundcover and vegetation is added.

While I worked on the sleepers for the ramp I stained a few pieces of unwound sisal rope. In advance of the work with vegetation I wanted to try out working with homemade sisal grass. I will be adding sand and light green coloured staining fluid to my grey tones to work with more colours. I do think the sisal can be used to represent coarse grass with good effect.

Unwound sisal rope with a touch of grey wood staining fluid. The beginning of experiments with long, rough grass in 1/19 scale.

Tuesday 20 July 2021

Painting Rails

Is there something more tedious than hand spiking model railway track? Yes, painting rails! Despite the trouble, the work is well rewarded with track that looks much more like the real thing. Most railway modellers take every precaution to make their trains look realistic despite having them move in and out of view, sometimes only presenting them for less than a minute at a time. The track is there all the time, and still most railway modellers simply buy a length of track and pour ballast randomly around it. Remember it's called railway modelling.

First layer of rust paint is drying on the Peco rails. The track already looks much better.

For painting the rails I decided to use Humbrol enamel paint. My experience from the 1/35 Nystrup Gravel is that acrylic paint over time looses grip on the metal's surface and consequently chose to use enamels for this project. I used Humbrol 133 sometimes mixed with 62 for tonal variety. The rails were painted by brush taking care to cover the rail completely. Around the spikes' heads it takes a lot of care getting paint around spike head and the rail's foot - and at the same time avoiding getting too much rust paint on the sleeper. I considered using my airbrush for the task, but an experiment showed that I had difficulty in controlling the amount of overspray on the sleepers. Not wanting a lot of corrective work on the sleepers I chose to work with the brush.

The two turnouts were given an initial layer of paint with airbrush. The Peco turnouts are partially rebuilt with wooden sleepers and as the remaining black plastic sleepers need grey paint to blend in with the rest of the sleepers the overspray caused by airbrushing isn't a problem.

I airbrushed the point as the black plastic sleepers have to be painted grey anyway. A little rust overspray is easily fixed in that process.

I'm now going over the painted rails checking for faults and spots missing paint. Then I will be adding irregular spots with lighter and darker rust paint here and there. Once ballasted I will be adding a layer of dust to the completed track with a combination of airbrushed paint and weathering powders..

And just when you think the job is done, it turns out that the other side of the rails needs painting too!

While my small layout is usually viewed from one side only, both sides of the rails have to be painted. On a quiet day in my vacation the two modules are in for an outdoor painting session in the shade. Until then there is work to be done on both loading ramp and a vehicle.

Thursday 15 July 2021

Ford A Lorries

From a dealer in France I have recently acquired two 1/18 Ford A lorries for a modest sum. For a long time I have been wanting to be able to pose a Ford AA lorry next to the loading ramp on my small Nystrup Gravel layout. Now I have a basis to work from.

Both Ford A models posed in the garden on my road photo plank. It's obvious that the left model has suffered some damage to its rear axle and suspension.

Unfortunately the package must have had a rough trip up north from France as it arrived in a rather battered state. The Ford A pick-up was only slightly damaged with a broken off front bumper. The Ford A salvage vehicle was worse off. One rear wheel destoyed, rear axle and crane assembly bent and it too had the front bumper damaged. As I will be rebuilding them both to some degree the damage isn't particularly annying and I never considered contacting the shipping provider. I need another Ford A model to source parts for a future locomotive project and will consequently have parts to substitute. The rest of the damage will be relatively easy to repair.

The Ford pick-up that I intend to rebuild into a Ford AA lorry. A nice model with the main proportions of bonnet and cab well captured.

The Ford A-models are produced by Motor City Classic in China made in the usual heavy die-cast metal. Some of the details are a little clumsy due to the production method and the fact that cab doors are designed to open and close.

Clearly this little recovery vehicle has taken a beating on its way through Europe. I will no doubt be able to put everything straight again, probably before the pick-up truck is rebuilt into a Ford AA lorry.

As usual my plan involves some scratchbuilding as no manufacturer produces the Ford AA lorry that I want for my layout. With parts from one of the 1/18 Fords I now have the basic parts to work from. I will need to lengthen the chassis, reposition rear mudguards, shorten footboards under the cab and build a new load bed. I also have to exchange the wheels with metal stamped wheels as the usual spoked wheels were too weak for lorry use. The wheels will probably be the difficult part of the project, but I suppose 3D-printing may be a solution.

The recovery vehicle will probably be built as a well used Ford from the local garage or tractor repair shop. Perhaps a project for the upcoming vacation's summer cottage modelling?

Saturday 10 July 2021

Fish Plates Fitted

Like the first railways managed just fine without fish plates so have Nystrup Gravel for some time now. As the real gravel line at Nystrup used fish plates to make a firm connection between individual rail lengths, it has only been temporary. Now the fish plates have been made and fitted.

Fish plates in 3 stages: in bands, separated and bent once top left) and finished (top right) except for sanding the tabs off.
The fish plates from Wenz Modellbau are made from etched brass. The fish plates are designed for Peco Code 143 vignole rail and on the Wenz Modellbau website they are marketed as being patterned on the W├╝rttemberg State Railway z-fish plate. The fish plates are etched in 0.5 mm brass and delivered in two bands with 55 fish plates each. One band is with rectangular bolt heads and the other band has 4 hexagonal nuts. 

My Mission Models 'etch mate' folding tool. A fish plate clamped in place for bending.

To bend the fish plates in shape I first had to locate my folding tool. Once found, it turned out that the z-shape was quite challenging to obtain with the folding tool. I made the first 90 degree fold in the tool and used a pair of flat nosed pliers for the second 90 degree bend. The resulting fold isn't as nice as with a folding tool, but as the real fish plates are from rather rough, stamped steel plate, a little rough bend isn't a huge disadvantage.

Wenz Modellbau fish plate soldered into the web of the Code 143 rail. The workers at Nystrup Gravel really messed this pair of joints up, even having to install a sleeper at an angle to make room for the fish plates.

The fish plates are soldered to both rail ends in the rail joint. As the track length is limited I don't expect much expansion to occur and I hope the soldered fish plates will hold up to the forces of traffic and physics.

Tuesday 6 July 2021

Clearing Shelves

When I changed scale to 1/19 I sold most of my 1/35 scale models to fellow modellers around Europe. I kept some as they were simply too nice to let go, while others were planned for exhibition purposes. The chance of getting models exhibited seems pretty slim within the nearest future and recently I was wondering how best to dispose of a few models. My 1/19 scale models take up a lot of room and let's face it: I'm not going to find use for my remaining 1:35 models any time soon.

My 1:35 Italeri BMW motor cycle parked in front of a small garage. Once the MC served Nystrup Gravel, now it earns its living on roads in a 1:35 version of Luxembourg. One of the models disposed off in late 2018.

A fellow modeller in Denmark has begun to show interest i 1:32 scale and as I know him to be a dedicated modeller showing great appreciation for old things (he's even working as a museum's curator), I decided to turn over a few models for him to take care of for the future.

I had a range of models that fitted exactly in the era that he models in. Some of them were equipped with wood gas generators only in use during his 1940's period of modelling, so I guessed my donation would be appreciated. I wasn't wrong and quickly a short meeting was set up and the models changed owners. I even got a bottle of Tranquebar Royal Danish Navy Gin in exchange and I must admit that the gin tastes far better than any railway model I have tried so far!

My 1:35 Citroen Traction Avant registration number E 2651 photographed by its new owner on his modular system of photo planks and backgrounds. 

See more images and a short description of the Citroen on my friend's modelling blog in Danish. It wouldn't surprise me if other models with a past on Nystrup Gravel should show up in the coming months.

The morale of the story is, that if you want your models to live on after you have finished with them, just ask if anyone wants them. If they aren't instant sellers and can't bring in cash for new projects, then pass them on to other modellers which may have use for them. Definately a better solution than throwing them away.