Repainting 8135 coaches for the SJ: Part 3

This is the 3rd and final post on the repainting and lettering of the Marklin Dompfeil train set (8135) for the SJ.

Before (Marklin 8135):

After (SJ coaches using FR decal set):

At the start of this project I had never repainted a train car before or operated an airbrush thus much was learned.

SJ coaches in z scale have been extremely limited, FR released a type litt AB8k 1st and 2nd class in a single release of 30 only, FR 46.299.00 was based on a German built coach that was used on a ferry service. In order to accurately represent this coach FR modified a Marklin coach that was shortened by one window.

photo: FR 46.299.00 (edition: 30 total) – SJ type litt AB8k 1st and 2nd class coach

For those interested in SJ modeling in z there are numerous locos and freight cars by FR, but scant few passenger coaches until FR released a decal set several years ago intended for the Marklin 8135 coaches, these German built coaches for the Dompfeil train set were likewise used on the SJ.

The process of producing a set of 4 coaches started with disassembly of the coaches followed by stripping, in this post the final stages are documented including masking, painting, and lettering.

Identifying the sections to paint include the undercarriage, sides, and roof. The roof is a clip on part, it does not require masking unlike the shells. Painting two colors of the same part requires masking, I decided to start with the undercarriage and vestibules color, I sprayed the entire shells with this color with no masking.

Before applying the brown paint I masked off the vestibules and undercarriage. The masking material is similar to common masking tape, but it is markedly thinner with a slick surface, it also comes in a variety of widths. I chose masking tape of 6mm width manufactured by Tamiya.

After paint is dried the masking tape is removed, for areas not protected by masking retouching maybe required, I chose to paint the buffers with a brush as the final stage of painting, masking these seemed an impossible task and fine brush work produced great results.

The FR decals in the set are applied by rubbing onto the cars, they differ from other decals that are applied with water. The decals provided had alignment marks to make positioning easy, my burnishing tool was an artists’ burnishing bone, but a soft tipped lead pencil should work fine.

After decals are applied a final coat of clear lacquer is sprayed on to protect the finish and decals. And reassembly follows as the last step.

Notes on airbrushing: I purchased an Iwata Neo airbrush with an Iwata braided hose for just over $100. Several airbrush air compressors were available from the store I purchased the airbrush from with prices ranging in the $220-$300 range, I chose to use a Porter Cable pancake compressor I use for air tools. A fitting is available to connect the braided airbrush hose to this type of compressor for a few bucks. The only difference between an air tool compressor and a specialty airbrush compressor is one of noise, the airbrush compressor is very quiet while hearing protection is required with the pancake compressor. PSI (pressure per square inch) is a determined by testing on a piece of paper, I set the compressor gauge to 20 PSI which worked perfectly, others I researched recommend 15-20 PSI. Air brushes require cleaning after painting, cleaners are available or water can be used for acrylic paints. When the spray is clear the nozzle is clean, other parts should be cleaned as well. A cleaner between paint colors is also required.

Notes on paint: the consistency of paint should be the same as skim milk, most paints may require thinning with water to gain this consistency. I used Testors acrylic paints that I mixed to customize the color, they are railroad based colors that did not require any thinning. The clear coat I used is made by Iwata, it was the consistency of white glue and required thinning to spray. Acrylic paints dry quickly and can be layered on layer without skinning as can be the case with enamels or the combination of the two. The very best results will be achieved with 100% acrylic paints. Careful attention should be applied in mixing paints for airbrushing, straining maybe required to avoid clogs and poor paint results. For safety use a mask and gloves.

Notes on applying decals: as with much detail work careful consideration applies to attaching decals, they are transferred from a sheet to the model with burnishing tools. Best results are achieved with a level flat object, I use a specialty artists’ burnishing bone. Pointy tools will not work! Acrylic paints should be allowed to dry overnight to provide a hard surface for decal work. And very delicate handling until final spray coat of lacquer. I used clear lacquer with a satin finish which is consistent with Marklin’s coach finishes.

For close to two years I had the decal set and a second Marklin 8135 for this project, but I was reluctant to start due to lack of expertise. Plus I was apprehensive to strip the paint of mint Marklin coaches: after stripping there was no going back. I discovered that air brushing is easier than I thought producing a superior paint finish. Now I feel the airbrush is as important to the railroader as the soldering iron. Future uses for this new tool include weathering track, cars and locos.

Good luck and have fun!

Siding: FR’s Ra 987 electric locomotive is a compatible loco for this coach set, it is based on the prototype from the mid 1950’s:  FR 46.132.01 was produced in a limited series of 32 total, it is still available from quality-toys-trains on Ebay.

 

Marklin 88893: BR 10 with experimental paint scheme

The rarest of the BR 10’s in ‘Z’ is the 88893, it was only available from the mini-club Center upon release. This One Time Series from 2004 features the experimental paint scheme proposed by Krauss-Maffei, they also proposed a unique angled smoke deflector with large proportions. This was another paint scheme that was not adapted for the new DB BR 10 instead black was the chosen color. The 88893 was released in an attractive wood box, it features a 5 pole motor.

Siding: one of Marklin’s Era III DB coach sets will complement this loco and look great to boot!

Rewiring Marklin 8871 and 88711: ICE trains go fast!

Marklin’s 1990’s releases of the TEE 8873 and ICE trains 8871 and 88711 suffer from a design flaw: poor electrical connections caused by the couplers and a train set wired in parallel. Similar to those old Christmas lights when one bulb went they all did, these Marklin train sets suffered a similar fate that was corrected with the further releases of the TEE variations. The ICE train sets changed in another way instead of having two powered units as did the 8871 and 88711 the 88712 and 88714 included one powered unit located in the middle of the train this being a coach.

A simple solution to to correct the poor performance of the three TEE and ICE trains is to bypass two diodes located on each circuit board of the powered units. There are four diodes located on each circuit board, two affect the lights (LED’s) and two are near the motor. Bypassing the diodes near the motor with a soldered wire is all that is needed to allow the locomotive to move forward and reverse thus allowing each powered unit to work without the former wiring constraints.

Note: no need to bypass the diodes on any other TEE train version released after 8873.

Note: 30 gauge wire is recommended for wiring circuit board, tinning the ends of wires is recommended before making the soldered connections.

The early ICE trains use an interesting light bulb with a red and a clear bulb soldered to a circuit board similar to the traditional mini-club bulb. The red bulb is hooded to direct the light better, but unlike the LED’s the light is rather dim unless the loco is cranking! Note: very fragile bulb and no longer available, but if you are good at soldering you can make your own.

The couplers as mentioned are faulty for electrical connectivity, but work great when both powered units are rewired: coach lights no longer flicker. The couplers for the two ICE trains are susceptible to damage due to the untethered ends of the copper strips, great care should be taken to prevent bending. A good recommendation is to stock up on parts as they become available on Ebay. The original couplers for the 8873 are infinitely more resilient than the couplers used on the first two ICE trains.

Note: save old loco light bulbs that don’t work, new ones can be easily made by using the original circuit board for soldering news bulbs to them, generic bulbs are available at train shops in the correct size.

Siding: the 5 pole motor replacement for the 8871 + 88711 is 211907 which is one of the more expensive motors for upgrade, and you will need two. I have not made the upgrade to 5 pole with my sets, the original 3 pole motors work exceptionally well at low speed and throughout the range, but the 5 pole motors would be much quieter.

Siding: removing the tight fitting shells from 8871 and 88711 is more easily accomplished with synthetic guitar picks of .70 mm thickness or thinner.

Soldering Irons: 2 choices for small works

Honing one’s skill with soldering is gained over time and the right tools help.

The most important tool is the soldering iron, many good ones are on the market so deciding which one feels good in your hand trumps every recommendation I will hence forth make. Working with mini-club due to small scale and plastics require delicate operation so one cannot stress the importance of an iron that is comfortable, but two irons that I want to share have been newly introduced to me that are very good and both made by Weller.

The first iron is part of a kit, it is sold with a base station that includes a holder and sponge, but it also regulates the output if the iron is plugged into it. It comes with a standard flat tip, but numerous tips are available including pencil tips which I like for circuit board soldering. This kit sells without solder for $45 on Ebay with free shipping. Features solid construction and multiple heat settings: Weller SPG 40.

The second iron is battery operated, it works with 4 batteries and reaches full output in 30 seconds. Weller claims it will do hundreds of soldered joints with one set of batteries, when it stops melting solder it is time for a new change of batteries. It is a really nice iron for easy cordless operation and lightweight handling plus includes a work light. The standard tip is a pencil tip, the kit also includes a clip to hold it between solders, solder, and batteries. This is $20 at Sears Hardware. One difficulty with this iron is the rather tenacious grip of the battery holder clips, it is required to press the sides of the battery holder to slide the compartment out which is not easy. The solder also includes a plastic cap to keep the tip clean during storage, I recommend removing the batteries between uses in case the switch is turned on thereby possibly creating a fire hazard! Two settings on the power button include low and high temp, I found low temp worked perfectly for soldering fine solder and 30 gauge wire: Weller Light Duty 6-8 watts cordless battery operated iron.

Siding: flux core solder is the recommended due to its ease of use, it does not require a separate flux.

New Release Build Kit: Marklin 89807 Freight Depot

Marklin new release of a freight depot in laser cut cardstock is the “Bee’s Knees”! This was a fun kit to put together and aside from taking extra time on window glazing went together surprisingly quick. Marklin labeled this kit as “Maintenance Facility Set-up Part 3”, it includes loco maintenance equipment as a bonus but the building can be used as a stand alone freight depot. Marklin 89805 with loco shed, coal loading crane and bins is considered the first in this series and 89806 is considered the second in the series which includes loco shed with two tracks, water tower, and cast metal power shovel.

Measuring in inches 4 1/2 (length) x 1 15/16 (width) x 1 9/16 (height) the new freight depot kit is loaded with detail with a very pleasing color scheme.

The 2 chimney building allows workers warmth at both ends with the expected heavy draft coming from the 6 large freight doors complemented by iron framework ornamentation. The framework construction typical in parts of Germany sits atop a cut stone foundation with windows around the perimeter.

A crane is permanently installed on the dock and when properly installed swivels. Heavy beams support the docks with sets of wooden steps allowing access from the ground. It is possible to light the building with pre-cut holes for installation and one partition wall to create lighting effects.

Construction tips: kit designed for the modeler with a little experience with laser cut cardstock buildings. This kit features all the challenges you may ever see in laser cut including filigree framework that installs over brick panels. The chimneys are always deserving of care, attention and time because they involve the inner forms for construction followed by 4 side panels that need correct alignment with a chimney cap installed on top. Results are always better with properly installed window glazing which is the first step in all laser building kits with windows. A time consuming exercise relying on cutting precise squares and rectangles out of the provided mylar sheet. Don’t proceed building this kit without the window glazing, they give depth to the building especially when lit from within or side lit. A characteristic of laser cut cardstock buildings are the sometimes flimsy papers used to complement 1:220 scale and intricate detailing, overly thick paper stocks would diminish the overall look of fine detailed z buildings. Gaining experience with these kits will surely reward the z modeler with correctly scaled and interesting architectural models. Weathering is certainly a consideration to add depth and character to a building of this type, the docks would receive heavy wear from dollies and hand trucks representing the dirty paths embedded in the dock’s planks, soot from the chimneys and age patina of steel sheathing on the roof. Air brush and dry brush techniques for both areas of the building.

Accessories in the kit: the building could have been enough for this very successful kit, but as an added bonus loco maintenance equipment was also included: rail bicycle, track scale with building, steam loco tools and stand, oil standpipe, and smokestack.

This kit is highly recommended.

Good luck and have fun!

 

Marklin 88892: BR 10 Experimental Paint Scheme

A special cast gold BR 10 was released as the 3rd of this loco class in 1997 as item number 88891, in 3 years the 4th BR 10 would be released as 88892. The Era III 88892 was a One Time Series for the MHI Program in an experimental paint scheme, various designs were floated before indecision landed on the black paint scheme represented as 8889. The attractive blue with white pinstripe would have been a stunner in the late 1950’s representing a new loco with “forward progress” suggested by the innovative design, but this and other paint schemes were shelved when a consensus of opinion could not be reached. Model originally delivered in an attractive wood box.

Siding: all BR 10’s are Era III, it was a short lived locomotive type with just two prototypes, Marklin released 5 models of this loco but only one was based on the prototype, the others included a special Marklin cast gold model and 3 experimental paint schemes that were proposals only.

Marklin 8889: BR 10 Steam Locomotive

Following the release of the 8888 for the MHI program a second BR 10 (8889) with the same operating number was delivered in the same year: 1994. But unlike the one time release of the 8888 the 8889 would remain in production for 14 years ending its run in 2008. During the long tenure of the 8889 in the mini-club line-up a significant upgrade occurred with all Z locos, in 1999 the 5 pole motor was introduced which has since become standard equipment in all ‘Z’ locos. For collectors of Z here is an example with two variations: one with original 3 pole motor and another with 5 pole motor. Color scheme for 8889 is black with white pinstripe lettered for DB with operating number 10 001.

Siding: for collectors buying BR 10’s today it will be rare to find one directly from a Marklin dealer in new condition, the secondary market is the more viable place to find these locos. Buying tip: be sure the loco includes cap that hides screw on top of shell, this is a very hard part to replace and downgrades the value and appearance.

Marklin 8888: BR 10 Steam Locomotive

The first BR 10 loco was released in 1994 as a One Time Series for the MHI Program: product number 8888. Sporting a very attractive paint scheme the 8888 was delivered in blue and gray with bright red wheel spokes and matching tender trucks. A heavy cast metal shell with operating number 10 001 for the DB. Design and styling seems to scream Era III in the age of streamlining as a emblem of progress and modern aesthetics. The model produced by Marklin is a very good runner with plenty of weight to maximize the pulling potential of 4-5 coaches easily.

photos: 8888

Repainting Marklin 8135 coaches for the SJ: Part 2

Part 2 is completed: stripping the old and prepping for the new. Marklin’s 8135 Dompfeil set is the subject of the repaint and older SJ coaches will be the end result.

I am using the FR label kit for the repaint which includes dry transfer lettering, lettering will take place in Part 4.

Following Part 1 which was disassembly this post concerns stripping paint from plastic train shells. The stripper is 91% isopropyl alcohol available from any drugstore, its cost for this project $4.00.

I first placed all parts to be stripped (4 coach shells and 1 roof panel) in a small plastic dish and submerged them in the alcohol. In about 1 hour the paint appeared to be softening on the shells. Using a toothbrush I applied little pressure to remove the paint and decals, it would take numerous attempts with time in between to remove the finish, but it eventually started coming off with the toothbrush. The roof which was yellow in the original set was much more difficult to strip, it required an overnight soak in the alcohol. The silver painted roof panels I did not strip these I will simply spray over, I stripped the warm white panel due to the thickness of the paint which was heavier than the silver paint.

Note: use of eyewear and gloves is highly recommended. The fumes from the alcohol is very strong thus a well ventilated work area is best, take frequent breaks to avoid breathing in too many fumes, the plastic parts are not affected by the alcohol, they will not melt.

For paint that was in small crevices or around roof details I made use of a toothpick, soaked in alcohol, it worked well to dislodge hard to get at paint.

Following the stripping I washed each part in mild Dawn dish washing liquid and rinsed well.

After inspecting each dry part I repeated the stripping to remove paint on some of the window frames.

photo: before

photo: after

The next step is painting which will include constructing a spray booth out of cardboard box, matching paint chip FR included in kit, and constructing armature to hold the parts for painting.

Siding: the Dompfeil coaches are the same ones made in Germany for the SJ, they featured aluminum roof panels: early ones were painted gray and the late ones were shiny silver. For these coaches I am modeling the earlier ones to be pulled by an Ra 987 Express locomotive.

photo: FR – 46.132.01 – Statens Jarnvagar SJ (Swedish State Railways) Serie Ra 987 Express locomotive. Limited Release of 32 locos total.

Tinning: the soldering practice briefly explained

Tinning is simply the soldering of stranded wire to make solid wire, but many railroaders are not aware of this practice and its benefits.

Why tin? Soldering the ends of stranded wire eliminates the fraying of stranded wire which can become a nuisance over time when the wires leading from the feeder track have to be stripped for the transformer posts. Also this type of wire is easier to cut to length for intricate repair work. It is not recommended for Marklin plugs because it can be brittle and break when screwed into these connections, Marklin wire makes a better connection with these plugs.

Before soldering a connection it is recommended practice to tin the ends of stranded wire to make soldering easier.

Siding: mini-club wiring of circuit boards can be a touchy exercise, tinning the ends of wires to be used and cut to just enough length will shorten the time the circuit board is subjected to soldering.