Wednesday 17 May 2023

Coupling Tweezers

Getting fiddly coupling chains attached to coupling horns on skips can be a challenge. Just making up a train of 4 skips can be a project in itself. It was so in my old scale of 1/35 and it still is in 1/19 scale. Recently I have been greatly assisted by a commercial product, however. 

Tools and materials bought at the DMJU national exhibition in April.

When I visited the Danish Modelling Railway Union's exhibition in April, I bought a selection of tools and materials as well as some books. Building a small Danish industrial narrow gauge layout in a large scale leaves me with very little off the shelf to choose from, but now and then something very useful shows up. 

A first time acquisition for me at the exhibition was a set of coupling tweezers. Until now I have used a wooden toothpick, a piece of wire or a set of ordinary tweezers. Not always with the best results,, but good enough not to annoy me sufficiently enough to do something about it. With the light Hudson underground skips recently coming into service something a little more advanced was required to allow relatively safe coupling and uncoupling. A set of specially adapted tweezers from Forhmann Werkzeuge now serves me when coupling chain link coupled rolling stock. The tweezers are about 150 mm in length and made from stainless steel. Their bent shape allows then to reach between skips standing almost buffer to buffer. The shape also means thire movement to open and close the tweezers is up and down, limiting the risk of separating the stock one tries to couple.

Fohrmann image of the coupling tweezer in action. One of the rare images of a standard gauge model on my blog. 

I shopped at the stand of Epokemodeller that has a good selection of what the demanding enthusiast need for the workshop - and if you model in smaller scales than me, a lot of other usefull things are available.

At the DMJU exhibition I also found some railway books that I missed in my collection. Most of them on light standard gauge railways. Some will note them being in three different languages. I have railway litterature in a multitude of languages from English, Dutch and German over Russian and Czech to Spanish and Estonian. Having knowledge of the main Scandinavian languages (except Finnish), German, English and Russian most of the books makes some kind of sense to me. The Estonian ones are still Greek to me, though.

Books in Danish, Swedish and German. 

Monday 15 May 2023

Finished Underground Skips

Another three skips are now finally ready for service on Nystrup Gravel. There is always room for more skips on the gravel line! The recent work on the skips has mainly been painting and weathering. As mentioned earlier on the blog I wanted the Hudson U-tub skips to be heavily weathered. As the finishing of the skips has been rather long drawn out I'm recapitulating it here. Last post with the first preparatory painting and weathering of the skips can be found here.

Afternoon shunting with the three Hudson skips with narrow profile and U-tubs on the layout.

 After the heavy texture weathering was applied with plastic putty the three skips were primed with my favourite primer Games Workshop 'Chaos Black'. Actually I left the primer without a layer of covering black paint, as I have found the primer a good foundation for weathering. For rust I used Humbrol acrylic 113 Matt Rust and Green Stuff 2287 Light Rust as well as the same manufacturer's 2778 Medium Oxide Rust for larger areas. 2778 is basically a prethinned wash and flows easily. Some of the  areas 'wetted' with Green Stuff 2778 were treated with real pulverised rust from a full size skip, giving further texture to the model skips. The cakes of ash were then painted with Vallejo 70.837 Pale Sand that was also applied haphazardly over the skips. The painted skips were then given a wash with heavily diluted rust coloured oil paint and once dry treated with a randomly applied pattern of Vallejo pigments 73.117 Rust. I have mentioned the paint numbers and names, but any rust coloured paints will do. Just make sure the paint isn't applied in regular patterns. Previously I have used beer and loud music to make sure I'm appropriately distracted while painting.

Having confirmed that the coupling system with prototype coupling hooks suspended below the wagons' frames worked fine in 16 mm scale, I found no appropriately sized hooks from manufacturers online. Fortunately it wasn't too difficult to bend up my own from metal wire. The hooks were painted and the skips were ready for the next stage of weathering.

Before final weathering the couplings were tested. Home made (left) and a single spare hook from model car (right) in view. 

After having worked only with a rattle can (the primer) and brushes, the next stage of weathering would use airbrushing. I airbrushed a thin mist of Vallejo 70.837 Pale Sand mixed with matt varnish and a lot of water (I simply use ordinary tap water) to represent a thin layer of whiteish dust covering the upper parts of the wagons. wheels and frame got a few spots with a thin mix of water and Vallejo 71.142 Sinai Sand representing dust from the track.

All ready to go for applying pigments. Pigments are dry and dusty products so I try to keep well hydrated during work!

Once the dust had settled and dried on the skips I finished the weathering with a layer of rust coloured powdered pigment from Vallejo (73.117 Rust). The powder was applied with a cut-down brush with stiff brushes, primaily around the large painted rust areas. I used powdered graphite inside the tubs to represent wear from the loads sliding out of the skips as well as on the wheel treads and buffers.

A train with the Hudson underground skips on their way back from one of the emptied gravel pits that was used for dumping ash and general garbage from the production.

Once back in Nystrup the skips are pushed into the gravel company's complex of buildings.

The top of the insides of the tubs were weathered as well to allow the skips to run empty until I manage to fix a load in them. The load will be ash, floor sweepings and garbage.

Three finished skips numbered 30, 32 and 37 on my little photo plank outside in the garden.

Skip No. 37 with dirt, rust and ash deposits on tub and frames. Not much to reveal that the skips are cheap 3D prints. It remains to be seen if the printed wheels will provide sufficiently good running. Final weight for a skip turned out to be 44 g including a strip of lead in the bottom of the tub. Before adding weight the freshly printed skip weighed only 24 g (including axles and bearings).

I have another three skips in boxes, but I suspect that it will take some time before they turn up on my modelling table. No matter what I now have a nice little train of skips looking a bit more different than my ordinary Hudson 'Ruggas' and DIN-types.