Thursday, 8 March 2018

Crew Van for Steam Roller

This is a story of how the search for some parts in my spares box derailed my planned building schedule. In the spares box I noticed several sets of wheels from horse drawn wagons and guns and it ocurred to me that they wouldn't look out of place under a living van for a steam roller driver. My Aveling & Porter steam roller has been missing such a van for  many years. Now the building is in progress.
A preserved living van restored by members of the Danish Steam Roller Society. Here seen at the Hedelands Veteranbane 40 years anniversary 2017. 

Being a steam roller driver could be a lonely job. You were away from home, sometimes for weeks, while working on roadmaking. The steam roller needed attention also when not working, preparing it for the next day's work. Consequently many steam roller drivers had a little van on tow for sleeping and cooking a humble meal, as well as for storing lubricants, coal and tools.
My model of an Aveling & Porter 10 t roller built from a White metal kit from South Eastern Finecast. The model was built in 2005.
Apart from the four wheels from the spares box the rest of the van will be made from scratch. As I often do I made a quick prototype in cheap cardboard to test size and appearance.
Ultra fast prototyping solution made from cardboard. Tough 1/35 guy for size comparison.

The first plastic card have been cut and glued. The sketch can hardly be described as advanced.

Monday, 5 March 2018

Gmeinder Locomotive for Arne Nielsen

My good friend Arne Nielsen is running his 1:32 scale 16,5 mm gauge industrial railway to supply his standard gauge railway on the Danish Island of Langeland with firewood and oil. Occasional transports of building materials and machine parts are also known to be carried out on the little railway. Presumably the traffic is increasing as a new locomotive have arrived. I have told stories from Langeland before.
Arne Nielsen's new Gmeinder in curry yellow and dirt. Photo: Arne Nielsen.

Arne has invested in the Feld Grossbahn 1:32 scale Gmeinder 10/12. The prototype was the smallest type in a standardised range of locos from the German manufacturer Gmeinder from the city of Mosbach. A few Gmeinders came to Denmark during the German occupation, as many German contractors arrived to build air fields and fortifications. See a range of preserved Gmeinder locos here.

The model is made from metal and comparatively heavy for such a small model. Power pick up is from all four wheels and good pick up should be helped by the loco's three-point suspension. The motor is a Faulhaber and all bearings for wheels and driveline are fitted with ball bearings. The model is available as a ready to run-model, with or without decoder. When equipped for DCC sound and stay alive powerpack is included. Despite the small size of the model, Arne Nielsen notices that the sound produced is very convincing. Arne has described his first impression of the model with his own words in Danish here.
Gmeinder with a short train of rebuilt Bachmann-skips. Sacks with Nystrup Gravel 'Multisand' are visible on the flat wagon. Photo: Arne Nielsen.

The Feld Grossbahn model seen from the underside. The chain drive is clearly visible. Photo: Arne Nielsen.

The body of the loco is made from metal and makes a very sturdy impression. The level of detail is good, several of the parts being made from etched metal. The model can be ordered finished in several livery options and can be bought weathered directly from the manufacturer.
The Gmeinder meets the narrow gauge railway's old locomotive, the ASOA Henschel DG26. A standard gauge train is making a brief stop at Broløkke halt in the background. Photo: Arne Nielsen.

Monday, 26 February 2018

East German Tractor Finished

My kit of a Soviet built DT-74 tractor belonging to the East German company 'Baustoffe und Klinker Kombinat VEB Klinker- und Ziegelwerke "Ernst Wollweber" Betrieb Grobzka' is finished. In the last post on the tractor I had more or less finished construction and had begun painting. I kept the tractor in 5-6 main parts to make painting and weathering easier. Had I assembled the model completly before painting it would have been close to impossible for me to achieve a believable weathering.
Cab test fitted. Engine painted and weathered. Tracks and chassis have weathering in progress.

Rear view with the cab removed. The dials are Archer Transfers with a layer of gloss varnish
Dozer blade glued in place. Cab and sliding doors ready for installing.

The DT-74 isn't a large tractor. Here seen with a 1:35 figure for size comparison.Weathering is a multi-layer thing consisting of a base of acrylic colours, oil and acrylic paint washes, mud made from plastic putty, several passes with thin acrylic paint through the air brush for dust. Worn metal is made with a soft pencil rubbed against the selected surface.

A rather battered workhorse from the brick works' clay depot.

Decals are custom designed by my usual supplier 'Skilteskoven'. They supply decals in any language!

Perhaps some day my little foray into DDR-modelling will result in another model from the other side of the iron curtain. But for now it's back to Denmark in the early 1950's. Two new projects are on their way. One on four wheels of two different sizes and the other with four flanged steel wheels of equal size.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

DT-74 Painting Begun

Despite my somewhat disappointing mixing up of suspension parts, I have carried on working on the DT-74 tractor.

The usually tedious work of cleaning up individual track links were over faster than anticipated due to good moulding and very little flash. Fitting tracks made from individual links can be a little tricky. The bottom run is the easy part, whereas the upper run, particularly with the track sagging, is more difficult. I kept the upper track run in one piece with a length of masking tape. The masking tape allowed me to position the track links more or less as I wanted them, without them falling apart. The tracks were glued with CA glue. 
Track fitted. Engine and dozer blade test fitted to check fit and clearances to other parts.
Engine and drive train consists of only a few parts. Assembly is easy, but make sure everything lines up correctly. As only one side of the engine will be visible I didn't attatch details to the hidden side of the engine. I don't bother spending time and energy with detail that can't be viewed on a model. I feed the unused parts to my spares box.

Assembly of the dozer blade and its mounting didn't present any challenges except for the repair of a broken beam on the bracket holding the hydraulic cylinder controlling the blade height. In order to assemble the cab in a sequence allowing easy painting and weathering, I decided to finish the cab floor assembly first and paint it. I will then glue the pre-painted cab front to the floor. The rest of the cab is only fitted when finishing the kit.
As I separated the seat from its moulding block I damaged the front. I had to repair the damage with plasticcard and filler. I added a little wear to the seat now I was working on the part anyway. For the pedals I exhanged some of the etched parts with brass wire.

Current status is that I have primed chassis and tracks, cab floor, and engine parts. Several of the parts are also now covered with their main colour. Next up is detail painting and weathering. I'm painting the model in 5-6 sub assemblies to make it easier to fit and paint interior detail and to apply a prototypical weathering of all the 'hard to get to places' there is on the model. I expect some touch ups of both paint and weathering after I have brought all assemblies together.
First paint on the tractor. All of it put on with air brush.

Basic weathering applied to the inside of the chassis and on the cab's and engine's underside. The three parts are now ready to be glued together.
Engine, cab floor and radiator fitted to the chassis. The dark grey piece of solder wire is the hydraulic hose supplying oil to the dozer blade lifting mechanism. As this side of the engine will be hidden there is no detail fitted.

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Soldiers Painted

During some quiet evenings I have been painting my two sitting conscripts. They are now ready to take their place among the army personel stationed at the barracks near Nystrup.
Three soldiers enjoying a relaxing chat in front of their CMP. The CMP is the old and cheap Italeri kit rebuilt with a generator unit. Newer and more detailed 1:35 CMP-kits have been released since I built my model.
The figures are painted in my usual fashion which I consider a sensible compromise between the ultra realistic (and time consuming) and a simple swipe with the brush. I have neither the talent nor the patience for ultra realism and I have never considered just slapping paint on figures costing a small fortune. I'm investing a few hours per figure and although it's limited what results that brings, I'm happy to live with that. Basically I start with putting all the main colours on the figure after I have primed it - usually in black primer. I use Vallejo acrylics. Once the major colours are on (the main pieces of clothing and skin), I paint shadows and highlights with darkened/lightened versions of the main colours. A fold in a pair of trousers gets the dark mix in the recess and the light mix on the top of the fold. I try to keep the tonal difference limited, but it's easy to overdo. On hands I highlight knuckles and on the face nose, forehead, cheeks and chin. Usually I don't paint eyes. Instead I flow thinned brown oil paint into recesses in the face - eg around the eyes. When all is dry I wash skin areas in a very thin mix of rust oil paint and terpentine. That blends the skin colours together. I paint details when all other things are done - shoes, hats, ties atc. Sometimes I add a little weathering on shoes and on work clothing.

Their mate gone, the two sitting soldiers continue debating if the regiment's cooks can serve a decent hot meal in the evening. They will continue for as long as allowed.

Friday, 26 January 2018

Fiddle Yard Planning

As half my fiddle yard for Nystrup Gravel has been swallowed up by progress (being used to build Banke's Bakelite) I'm currently without anywhere to store trains with my modules set up in exhibition mode. Consequently I have been wondering how to design a new yard.
A full fiddle yard showing the very limited facilities. A new one doesn't need to be larger, but I consider adding a bit more protection in the form of a clear vinyl screen towards the viewing side.

My old fiddle yard was two naked 80 cm modules with four tracks fanning out from a set of points - a very primitive affair with trains stored in full view. At exhibitions I have observed that many visitors spent almost as long time at my fiddle yard as at my landscaped modules. While that could be due to my old fashioned landscaping abilities, I choose to think it's because they like to see the stored trains. As I wouldn't dream of hiding trains from viewers I have been playing with the idea of keeping my fiddle yard open for viewing. I have even thought of ballasting the yard to avoid my stock being photographed in the 'bare wastes of plywood'. As I like to have a firm connection to prototype practise, my problem was that I hadn't been able to find a Danish industrial narrow gauge railway with four long parallel tracks arranged like a fiddle yard. Until today.
Aerial photograph of 700 mm gauge holding tracks north of Saxkøbing sugar factory in May 1954.The tracks have an estimated capacity of over 200 bogie wagons, each track having a length of approximately 275 m. The tracks are nearly full as not many wagons were in use outside the beet harvesting season from September to January. This real life fiddle yard was accessed by a triangular track layout allowing easy pick up of wagons from two directions. The sugar factory was located south of the road in the bottom of the image.
With the four track fiddle yard from Saxkøbing in mind I will carry on planning my new semi-landscaped fiddle yard. I consider adding a vinyl screen to provide a mimimum of protection.

The aerial photo above is one of a total of 42.700 taken in May 1954 covering all of Denmark.  The images were captured with the best equipment available to the British RAF from a height of 4500 ft. The complete collection is easily browsable on the internet. Get your own view of Saxkøbing sugar factory here and notice how you can compare with a current air (sattelite) view of the same area.

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Roller Bearings

Well, not really modelling stuff. But on second thoughts no respectable modeller tries to model an item without knowing how it works? Well I do sometimes, but mostly I try to get the basic facts clear. The research I invest in most of my projects is great fun and sometimes a challenge as big as the actual modelling.

Of course the internet and the nearest public library is of great help, but my own collection of books on old technology is also a valuable source of information. For those not obsessed with building up one's own library, many public archives are in the proces of uploading books and images online for free browsing. If in doubt you can always consult an online modelling forum for help. 

A book on SKF ball and roller bearings. A nice introduction to the multitude of products from the Swedish Company. My example is from 1958.

An advertisement for SKF ball bearings from a Danish engineering magazine, 1945.
Another SKF item. A black leather box...

...lined with blue velvet containing five examples of what SKF was capable of producing. I imagine the box has been presented to a particularly good customer by the SKF salesman. Not as useful as the book, but it makes me think of how much times have changed since the fifties.