Sunday 21 November 2021

Layout Developing

During the summer a lot of small tasks on my little layout has brought it to a stage, where I can actually begin to image how it may look once finished and fitted with a photographic backdrop and relief building. 5-10 minutes of work a few evenings a week sums up over time.

June 2020: with intermediate Peco SM32 Code 200 track, woodwork in progress and brick shed test fitted.

November 2021: handbuilt Code 143 track finished, fascia painted and the most basic of basic ground cover in place. Loading ramp still in progress.

With 1/19 scale being considerably larger than 1/35 I have found that my old methods (particularly when it comes to landscaping) aren't always working in the larger scale. Most grass mats haven't the height for other than well kept lawns, my carefully sieved ballast is too fine and almost any modelled item has to have texture to appear realistic. There is constantly something I have to do differently or a need to explore a new product. It naturally tends to slow down progress, but the need for designing new solutions is good fun and what I looked for when I decided to move up in scale. Despite the need for some investments, the scale change hasn't worked out expensive. Probably because I do a lot af things myself and aren't looking to aquire expensive live steam locos or large amounts of rolling stock.

Here in Denmark its is as unprofitable as ever running a 16 mm scale industrial line. Fortunately the domestic supporting structure for the little line is doing well. The future for Nystrup Gravel is looking bright and prosperous despite the line's utter lack of any reasonable income.

Monday 15 November 2021

Baguley Testing

After having done some work on the modules' track and experimenting with deteriorating sleepers I have dusted off the Baguley-Drewry diesel locomotive I aquired in the beginning of 2021. As the loco needs a complete strip down for rebuilding into battery and RC-control and the upper body needs some rebuilding and detailing, I had to begin by taking the locomotive apart.

To my surprise a test run on the layout showed that the Baguley-Drewry could negotiate the sharp curve to the loading ramp. Not that such a large locomotive's use on track with a radius/gradient like this would be particularly realistic.

Once I had taken a good look on the model and examined it for damages or missing parts, I began to find out how to take the locomotive apart. With two quite hard to reach screws undscrewed, I could remove the locomotive's body. The body was set aside and I unscrewed the 6 power pick-up units. A quick job and after unsoldering the feed wires to the motor, all track power parts could be carefully removed.

With the frames clear of unwanted parts I tested the motor and transmission. My loco is 32 mm gauge and a few of the raised grub screws holding the wheel discs solidly in place on the axles, would regularly hit parts of the metal frame. With a small file I took off just enough af the metal frame to avoid conflict with the wheel parts. I also tightened the screws holding the lid to the gear box on the central axle. That almost completly removed the growling sound from the gears. With a tiny drop of oil in each of the eight main axle bearings the mechanism worked effortlessly after running-in. I avoided extra oil in the rods' bearings as the complete chassis assembly is going to be degreased and repainted.

First thing I did after taking off the body was to remove the electrical pick-ups. I will run the loco with battery power and RC.

Testing the Baguley-Drewry with a simple 9 V battery. With a few adjustments with a small file and tightening of screws as well as some running in, the loco began to behave nicely on my rudimentary test bed.

I haven't yet quite figured out what type and size of battery will be needed to power the loco. With a tiny layout the Baguley-Drewry will not be asked to perform challenging tasks and a tiny battery will probably be sufficient. Currently there is a global shortage of RC receivers and consequently controlling the locomotive will probably be handled with a LocoRemote Wifi unit and mobile phone.

On the body I'm getting ready to tackle the loose and detached windows in the cab as well as preparing the many other tasks planned to transform the loco to the loco Nystrup Gravel apparently bought from the Danish sugar beet railways.

Sunday 14 November 2021

Track, Weeds and Ballast

Some months ago I posted a few images of my track building on a Danish railway modelling Facebook group. One comment I got was that I should try make a few really bad sleepers with missing spikes. A good idea that I began working on almost immediately. Now I have tested a few methods to show track damage. So far only on a very small section of track.

Track with split sleeper, flowers and coarse grass in the ballast. Static grass will be added later.

With a lot of prototype inspiration and interest in track deterioration I made a list of faults that would be obvious to an interested spectator. The list included:

  • Missing spikes
  • Split sleeper
  • Plants growing through (or in) the sleeper
  • Empty spike holes
  • Vegetation in ballast

I first made a couple of sleepers with heavy structural weathering. A handfull of sleepers were mistreated thoroughly with knife, file and steel wire brush. I made sure to split a few of them halfway lengthwise before staining. When gluing the sleepers to the cork underlay, I used toothpicks to keep the splits open while the glue dried.  

Sleepers glued in place for another length of track. The halved toothpicks are holding splits open while the glue dries.

While I was spiking the track, I deliberately left out a few spikes here and there. Where they were left out I drilled a hole to illustrate where a spike had worked loose and dissappeared. At one spot I pushed a spike half way down (don't do this on the inside of the rail, as you will most likely foul the clearance for the wheel flange).

Rail painting was done with different enamel and acrylic rust and brown paints. I tried to mix colours and to use slightly different colours randomly along the track. When reasonably satisfied I added a thin wash (made from rust coloured oil paint and turpentine).

As I used to when I modelled in 1:35 scale I planted some of the vegetation before adding ballast. For me it's easier to represent coarse vegetation growing up from below when my artificial grass and plants are actually placed under the ballast layer. For thinner grass I plan to use static grass applied with a electrically powered dispenser. A first for me as I previously used grass mats and tufts on the old 1/35 scale version of Nystrup Gravel.

First flowers added near a split sleeper. I used marguerites from Busch (item no. 1207) made for H0 scale.

Being a gravel producing company Nystrup Gravel's ballast is naturally gravel. Not the best quality as that went to customers, but gravel with too much dirt and clay content was judged fine enough for ballasting the company tracks. 

The very small test area with ballast and grass made from sisal rope. More vegetation and weathering is planned and I will gradually let it spread over the Nystrup Gravel track.

Sunday 7 November 2021

Land Rover Series 1

Nystrup Gravel wouldn't be complete without a Series 1 Land Rover. On the 1/35 layout I had a Land Rover belonging to the local fire brigade. For my new 1/19 scale layout I have been looking for a Landy model, but have been put off by horrendously high prices for a Series 1 from the producer Minichamps. There are other manufacturers of Land Rover models in the scale, but with less detail than the Minichamps one. Now I have purchased a Minichamps Land Rover Series 1 1948 model for a relatively modest sum (approximately half of the usual price).

My newly aquired Land Rover Series 1. As every other car model in my collection it will be fitted with additional detail and weathering.

While I'm certainly not an expert on early Land Rover models and different production batches, it did occur to me at the time of buying, that the Minichamps labeling as a 1948 Model couldn't be right. The grill didn't cover the headlights as it did on the first 1948 model and when I checked some references the external doorhandles dates the model to be built after June 1951. As my modelling period is vaguely identified as 'the beginning of the 1950's' I'm not worried about those small differences and question about model year. It's a great little model and as the car can be posed open topped it will look good with a driver figure and some tools in the back.

Front view of the front with nicely etched metal grill including Land Rover logo.

The Land Rover Series 1 wasn't a large car with a wheelbase of only 80 inches.

'World dominance' type of advertisement for the classic British 'go anywhere' vehicle.

The first 1948 model Land Rover cost £450. Remarkably passenger seats, a spare tyre, a starting handle and even doors were optional extras at first to be bought separately. Despite the Land Rover's utilitarian status these elements were soon included as standard. Only six years after the delivery of the first Land Rover the factory in made its 100,000th Land Rover and by the time the Series I was replaced in 1958, nearly 200,000 had been produced. Actually the Series I was not named as such until the release of the next model - exactly as World War 1 wasn't known as such until the time of WW 2.

The Minichamps model includes detachable bonnet with a view to a detailed engine.

With a softtop plastic casting being easily removable, there is an excellent view into the Land Rover's interior. Windshield can be folded forwards over the bonnet and the doors' upper parts can be detached to enable til car to presented in a very basic form.

I haven't quite decided what role the Land Rover will have in my Nystrup Gravel universe. Perhaps a vehicle belonging to a farmer or a foresty official from the estate running the large woods near Nystrup. No matter what it feels good to have a Land Rover in my collection.

"It looks very sturdy and usefull" says workshop manager Thorleif Petersen (to the left). "Maybe, but slow and unglamourously" replies Kjeld Hansen. The two men didn't share taste regarding vehicles.