Z Club 92: MWB trainset

In 1992 a very interesting collectors group was formed in Italy to promote ‘Z’ gauge railroading: Z Club 92, it later expanded to worldwide membership and featured an annual car for members. These annual offerings included some interesting freight cars that are available on the secondary market, produced in limited numbers these cars have become true collectors’ items.

To mark Z Club 92’s 10th anniversary a club train was announced in 2002, and the first annual car was released and lettered for the firm MWB Mittelweserbahn GmbH which was founded in 1998 as a rail transport company (Bruchhausen-Vilsen) and later (2013) merged with Elbe-Weser (EVB). The first car released was a low sided flat car with yellow and blue paint scheme which would be the basis for future releases.

In 2004 the release of a former V60 diesel locomotive included shell only, it was delivered in the standard printed Marklin Z carton.

Nine cars and a loco comprise the complete Z Club 92 club train lettered for MWB with the final release in 2008 of a passenger coach.

FR New Release: Prototypical SBB Pantographs!

Marklin Z electric locomotive pantographs are of two types: older scissor style and single arm. Variations include silver, black and blackened. Plus a third prototypical pantograph made just for the GG1’s. Marklin’s Swiss and German electric locomotives have been installed with these two styles of pantographs even though they vary with the respective prototypes. Marklin’s pantographs are an excellent standard style universally supplied on all electric locos with more recent single arm examples in black or blackened finish.

An exciting new release by FR is an upgrade for Marklin Z Swiss class Re 4/4II and Ae 6/6 locomotives with a newly designed pantograph accurate to the prototype. Here is a part described by FR that is an exact copy of the original pantographs for these locos that is easy to install. I want to share this information as it has just been announced, how long they will be available is unknown. I have already ordered 10, when they arrive I will add another post describing the installation with photos, but it looks like a unique opportunity to upgrade these Swiss locomotive types.

Re 4/4II

 

Ae6/6

Check out other FR Swiss freight cars each equipped with standard mini-club couplers, this company has been the first to release a number of interesting freight cars including K3 boxcars. Marklin’s foray into freight cars for Swiss modeling in Z is very good but limited to few examples, FR offers freight cars that have not been offered by Marklin in Z.

OBB Class 1043.010 “Valousek”: FR 43.131.01

OBB’s class 1043 entered service in Austria in 1971, it looks a lot like the SJ series of Rc locos because it is. Following very successful test runs 10 units were eventually ordered. Based on the Rc’s thyristor technology this locomotive type has proven itself for many years as a reliable design, it is even included as a locomotive type in the United States.

The proposal to build this loco by FR was made by Z-Friends International thus it was released on a limited basis for their members and those who placed pre-orders, its second release will be made this Fall.

Variations of the SJ Rc series locomotive have included changes to roof equipment, color scheme and general appearance, and it is represented by FR for SJ and OBB railways only at this time. Exceptional detailing: even the mirrors are silvered and reflective.

As part of the classification it is called a “Valousek” locomotive as it is named after the designer of the logo and color scheme Wolfgang Valousek.

FR 46.809.12 SJ Hydraulic Side Dump Cars

 

As freight cars go “maintenance of way” wagens are everywhere along the railroad right of way, they are on sidings awaiting deployment to tunnels, tracks, signals, catenary, crossings or accident clearing. Maintenance is the name of the game for every railroad due to the daily impact heavy trains bear down on track and equipment plus weather is a harsh foe of the same. In Sweden weather is a factor on railroad right of way electrical equipment and track beds thus cars with the intended purpose of aiding in daily maintenance is required. FR’s side dump cars with a load of gravel or ballast is one such example, it is based on the prototype Eo hydraulic side dump car and used on the Swedish State Railways (SJ).

Although this car type can be used for various types of loads it can be included in MOW service if it were carrying ballast as a load. Full metal construction this set includes two cars with brakeman’s platform in prototypical red/brown paint scheme.

Marklin 88687 BR 101 Electric Loco: Simple Repair

A quick note concerning Marklin’s line of BR 101’s. I just received the older 88687 which is a member of the Bayer series of class 101’s, it arrived with one buffer off.  Sooner or later you might come across this and maybe the first inclination is to glue it back on, but please don’t! The original and brilliant design included a clip system without any glue entering the mix. The black part that holds the buffers works also as a clip to hold the LED’s in place, two prongs on the black buffer part engage with tiny holes in shell and wow its back together again. It is of course part of the natural occurrence with Z to have something come loose, but rarely if ever is this due to broken or defective parts so stay away from the glue unless the loco dropped to the concrete floor and cracked, in this case 5 minute epoxy is the way to go.

FR 41.332.02: SBB low side gondolas for MOW service

Rolling stock representing MOW service cars can be found for Swiss Federal Railways manufactured by FR. The FR 2 car set with item number 41.332.02 includes 2-type Xs71 low side gondolas used in this example for hauling away old wood sleepers.

Featuring authentic weathering and aging the sleepers in these loads look like perfect examples to be removed and replaced with new ones. Maintenance of way operations are as important in Switzerland as with any other railroad in the world, but their exemplary track maintenance practices excel far and above other countries including the United States.

As with all FR rolling stock the chassis is constructed of metal, and body is constructed of injection molded plastic (*some FR freight cars are constructed entirely of metal, the rule for FR seems to be utilizing the correct materials for the design build). FR insignia is incorporated on the underside of chassis.

This set combined with FR’s and Marklin’s Sersa sets round out a track maintenance trainset used in Switzerland.

Marklin 88692

Marklin 82517

FR 41.331.12

Siding: Sersa is a privately owned company for the repair and maintenance of railway right of way in Switzerland.

Hot New Release: FR’s Autotransportwagen Hccrrs 47.819.01 + …02

FR continues to offer unique items for ‘Z’ including the new forthcoming release of a two car “auto-transport” set for the Norwegian State Railway (NSB). The 2 draw-bar coupled cars are full metal construction representing fully enclosed auto-transport cars to protect from harsh weather and vandalism as described on the FR website. A bellows enclosure unites the two cars that conceal their contents without openings except for unloading gates on car ends. Privately owned by MOTORTRANSPORT A.S. Drammen this car type is classified as Hccrrs and registered with the NSB. Could these be one of the more unique railway cars, they certainly are designed for their country of origin! Lively colors make Scandinavian trains a real eye catcher to assemble and run in the countryside!

FR is accepting pre-orders for this carset with proposed release of May 26, 2017. And as with all FR releases this will be produced in small batches thus selling out fast. For buyers in the United States simply register on the site and price will be reduced automatically to reflect the deduction for Germany’s 19% VAT tax.

This carset is also available in two pairs with different reporting numbers under item number 47.819.02.

Harald Freudenreich is in a class of his own. Without FR Scandinavian railroads would only be represented by a few freight sets and NOHAB locos all of which are great pieces but small in number compared with Marklin’s production of Swiss and German.

Siding: FR locos brandish a unique coupling hook that engages seamlessly with standard Marklin couplers thus allowing for the much needed snowplows at each end. Freight cars are equipped with standard Marklin couplers thereby allowing remote uncoupling on Marklin’s specialized track section for this purpose.

Siding: Can motors of current design practice are installed in FR locos, combined with mostly metal construction FR locos have the ability for pulling very long train consists.

Railex: 19th Century Wurttemberg Coach Set

German railway history began in 1835, but Z-scale modeling includes few examples from manufacturers before 1910 leading up to WWI with the exception of Railex Modelleisenbahn GmbH. The obvious reason would seem to be further complexities of manufacturing even smaller steam locos than those proposed and manufactured by Marklin since 1972. Current can motors of small sizes could offer the future possibility of 19th century locos with their own propulsion, but time will tell if such things are in the ether!

Railex is widely known and unknown too! I have been collecting Railex primarily from the secondary market, I started collecting it late, but if I had collected early I am not sure any would have been available in the United States; I have spoken with many dealers here who never sold Railex maybe due to poor availability and small market for this avenue of Z railroading. Railex has its limited audience who have an audacity for things unique and exemplary. And pricey! Mechanically sound but without a motor is a hard justification for many a railroader’s budget, but leaving practicality aside eccentrics like myself pour over the fine detailing, mechanical perfection and splendor of these tiny trains. And yet there are methods for enabling these motor-less locos the respectability they deserve for each can be equipped with a “ghost loco” or modern diesel to bring them to life. Such justification for propping a Railex with modern equipment can be argued if you include a museum railway on your layout or you feel the “railway record” includes all trains and it is just a matter of appreciation versus historical/prototypical fact?

I have gone way off my topic here even before starting, such is the case with me and Railex. There are several gaps in ‘Z’ for coaches, we all wish Marklin would make coaches for our beloved Commodore Vanderbilt or EWII coaches for SBB as an addition to the really good coach sets made available over the years. As for the 19th century Railex is the only answer with their Wurttemberg Set.

The release date for this coach set is unknown to me, it was released as a set of three in a clear plastic box with paper label with the following inscription: “Kassette NUR LIEGEND offnen! ———-OBEN———— “Wurttemberger Zug” Set 1 (Z) -Railex Modelleisenbahn GmbH.

Included in the set are three coaches for the Wurttemberg Railway K.W.St.E.: 1-3rd class (brown), 1-2nd class (yellow with roof venting) , and 1-1st class (green with window details including curtains). It is easy to deduce classification for these coaches simply by exterior coach appearance.

Manufactured entirely of brass with filigree wheel spokes, fine detailing and precision painted surfaces the coaches also carry the Railex insignia on underside. There is the obvious heft to these cars that is quite noticeable in comparison to plastic but to be expected from all metal construction. The trucks alone are works of art with filigree wheels closely paired within the finely detailed truck housing.

Rail travel in the 19th century was a new delight with its own challenges including safety and comfort. One could imagine wooden bench seats in these coaches, no steam or electric heating perhaps blankets over laps, and maybe pinch gas lighting if night travel occurred.

Siding: European railroad antiques can be found here and there even in the United States due in large part to a long time interest for European trains. A ‘Z’ collection can be supplanted with railway badges, lanterns and loco plaques to name just a few. This Wurttemberg railway badge was found in late 2016 on Ebay:

Weathering Laser-cut Buildings: MBZ Project

MBZ fills a particular niche for model railroaders in Z, they offer buildings age old building types along railroad yards, farms and countryside scenes along small streams and rivers. MBZ’s style are buildings with the patina of age through deep cut detail work this quality becomes apparent.

MBZ sells a whole host of paints and supplies particularly suited to finishing these buildings through a technique of sponging on water base paint after applying a base coat of primary to retard too much soaking in of the finishing touches. How to videos show these paints to be easy in applying and relatively opaque although dilution of paints and light touch with sponge applicator is well suited to vary the transparency of the paint. I am new to MBZ kits and although I have not tried their paints myself I have seen finished examples at Reynauld’s in Elburn, IL, they are really quite good and the paints give the impression of realism that is almost required if you intend to build these kits, they are of course delivered in similarly pigmented parts thus monochromatic and unrealistic.

I am well versed in a technique that many modelers employ: dry brushing. For those unfamiliar it is a painting technique that is unlike any other in bringing out surface detail. The technique itself is suggested in the name ‘dry brush.’ After saturating a brush with paint continuously run it back and forth over a paper towel until traces of paint can be seen. With a light touch and testing in a small area first use the brush to selectively add color either soot staining on roof tiles around a chimney or soot above a locomotive shed door thereby playing on the impression of accumulated soot from steam locos over time.

There is a little bit of artistry and technique combined with personal preference during the dry brushing application, but it is fun to see details become three dimensional and the life of a building carefully constructed come into being.

I often times mix paints for dry brushing and/or apply layers of different colors. The paints I choose are railroad colors available at my local dealer, and they are all water based. Water base paints dry matte whereas oil paints will dry with a gloss that can be cut back with thinners but why bother since water based paints work so well,  and they are easy to work with, and clean up is a cinch.

For this MBZ building I used a combination of four paints by Polly Scale and Modelmaster separately applied: Grimy Flat Black first to bring up details throughout the building, Roof Red to generally add a hint of color to foundation and ever so light touches to shutters and shadow areas under eaves and dormer, Vermont Green mixed with Pullman Green to give a subtle impression of moss on shake roof tiles, Pullman Green lightly applied throughout building for another color to add depth plus added to shadow areas and chimneys, lastly Grimy Flat Black to give uneven streaks to roof and chimney caps plus dirty up the window frames.

Before dry brushing:

After dry brushing:

Siding: Weathering is an individual thing and the amount is often times based on preference, two techniques for MBZ weathering are this companies painting kits and technique as well as traditional dry brush, but other techniques can be used included rubbing dry pigments into the paper and sealing with a light spritz of matte lacquer, literally blowing a puff in the air and walking the building into the mist, do not directly spray the building! Explore explore explore and remember to have fun!

Siding: If you have invested a small fortune in the premium railroad paints made by Polly Scale, Railroad Colors, Modelmaster Testors with the small glass bottle and metal cap here is something of value to mention. Eventually your water based paint will spill over the sides and cement the cap on, run the whole bottle under hot water for several minutes and the cap will free up!

Sankei for Z / Sankei for Laser-Cut Building Kits

 

Sankei is a Japanese manufacturer of laser-cut buildings in Z so far only available through Japanese dealers on Ebay. Rather simple build kits with a combination of laser-cut and printed paper panels Sankei is devoted to Japanese buildings only including residential and commercial.

Simple kits with simple instructions bordering on just okay materials. For meticulous modelers who take their time these buildings turn out okay, but there is no room for sloppy as mistakes will be obvious and distracting. Printed roof tiling may not be for everyone but you can probably change this out with leftover materials from another kit (?) which will greatly improve things.

This post concerns a highly rated tunnel portal sold in pairs of red and natural. Made of quality heavy card-stock this is one of the better tunnel entrances that I have seen. It seems to only come in one size for a single track. Put a reverse loop in your layout and use both portals. There is flexibility with establishing the angle of the wings projecting either slightly or a lot, they are simply glued in place.