Author Archives: garygraves

Side Rods: Correct alignment to make steam locos go!

Sometimes the repair of a steam loco is necessary thus taking one apart can be cruel and unusual punishment for the uninitiated, but quickly it is realized that repairing a mini-club steam loco is achievable with a few general rules.

When I first got into collecting mini-club I remember a dealer offering repair services for all locos except for steam locos, they are too difficult was this much awarded USA Marklin dealer response. Through the course of my collecting the repair and maintenance of steam locos is part of the fun! When I use the word fun I really mean it, what better way than to quietly sit at the workbench on a Saturday afternoon taking apart a loco that does not work and bringing it back to life. The problem solving with a positive resolution is key to excitement of returning a loco to service such is the case with correct assembly of steam locos.

All of us will have a turn removing hardened oil from around the pilot wheel pivot point or wheel set gearing and even the worm gear all requiring a disassembly of the oil pan below the engine. Removing hardened oil is simply achieved but reassembling the steam loco can be the hard part for some locos including ‘mallet’ type or others with more than two pairs of driving wheels. All reassembly of bogies follows the same advice and that is to start at the front drive wheel followed by the intermediate gear followed by the next drive wheel and so forth. The pick-ups that make contact with the drive wheels can be a little tricky but keeping pressure (not too much) to each assembled wheel set in the chain works best otherwise with no pressure the pick-ups would spring outside the wheels. Add side rods to the mix and the assembly gets a little more tricky. Some side rods simply sit in a groove in the cylinder block while other designs allow them to be inserted in slots. The BR 10’s (8888, 8889, 88892, and 88893) side rods are of the latter type, the side rod sits in a groove and the shell holds it in place. Applying pressure to the side rods until the shell is in place adds a layer of complexity to this locomotive type.

Correct orientation of the wheel sets follows that all weighted sides of the wheels are aligned at the same spot to achieve this end one must turn a pair of wheel sets until it aligns. If the wheels are not lined up correctly the loco does not run properly if at all. Inexplicably in the case of the BR 10’s the wheel sets can be out of alignment and still work well on an operating loco, go figure!

photo: incorrect wheel alignment on 8889

photo: correct wheel alignment on 8889

Once the loco is taken apart it is a straight forward matter of putting it back together, it will always go back together because Marklin makes them that way. As soon as patience has left the room perhaps one should leave the project to come back to later. Always start from the front of a bogie and leave the pilot and trailing truck for last, they can be slide under the loose oil pan before screwing it together.

Note: before making any such repair organize the work bench with good light and a surface to work on, I use a foam bench made for z by www.z-hightech.de featuring a tool holder, flat area for holding parts, wedge shape section to hold a loco upside down and on angle, and a channel for securely holding the loco in place. This is the very best accessory I have found for train maintenance. I got mine on Ebay from gps_97 under the heading “GPS-5000 maintenance pad”.

VT 11.5 TEE Railcar: Improving Performance

Improving performance can be a bit of a misnomer when the talk circles around modifying a Marklin Z loco or other article in the mini-club line-up. Upgrading 3 pole motors to 5 pole motors is a significant boost to performance, but other improvements may deserve further research and discussion with other railroaders and their experiences.

One improvement I have heard about for many years is actually one I heartily suggest, Glenn and Sandy Stiska of Florida rewired several sets for me in the late 1990’s with this same repair. The modification I am talking about is the addition of two wires to each powered end unit of the VT 11.5 (8873) and the 2 ICE trains including the special release “Amtrak.” For many years this modification has been used with multi-train sets with more than one powered unit. Wired in parallel these early sets were poor runners because they relied on something close to perfection, if the electrical chain was broken between head loco, coaches and end unit the train would not go.

The 8873 used an early conductive coupling which connected the coaches to the powered end units that has since been redesigned: all railcars now use a new flat conductive coupling versus the early spring copper one.

photo: 8873 powered end unit with first generation coupler on left and 88731 Max Liebermann with next generation coupler on right

The original wiring included a pair of diodes for each circuit board which dropped the voltage to each powered car and only allowed each powered unit to go in one direction a contributing factor for stalling the train and/or flickering coach lights if power was interrupted which it readily did. The solution is to bypass the diodes by soldering a wire around each diode thus making it possible for each powered end unit to go in both directions.

A fine point soldering iron is recommended for the repair and just enough wire because too much would interfere with installing the shell.

Try this repair if you have a set of this type that does not run well, the results will blow you away!

Six versions have thus far been released with the last being the “Blue Star Train” with its very striking paint scheme.

Siding: removing the shell of the 8873 is accomplished by removing coupler if it is present and carefully inserting a small screwdriver in the coupler box, if the shell does not easily pop up it maybe stuck to chassis due to hardened oil which will require finessing to unseat it from the chassis, removing the shell from all other VT 11.5’s will require lifting the front of the shell and wriggling it around the permanent coupler. Caution: do not pull on a permanent coupler, it is not removable unless circuit board is removed first.

 

 

Customizing and Repairing: Rotary Snowplow Train Set

I recently purchased a customized 81361 Rotary Snowplow trainset, this being the first customized Marklin Z in my collection. I would not have bought it if I knew it was a used set, it was described as new. My impulse to buy outweighed good judgment, but it turned out well. The silver lining was how nice the customizing was, it was carried out by someone with knowledge and love of trains. And the former owner applied a great deal of precision in the work they did.

Precision is the word best applied to working in the “Z Scale World”, much of what we do in this small scale requires planning, patience and skill sets unique to the hobby. My best tools for working on the railroad are tweezers and magnifying goggles which I am wearing right now!

Another silver lining aside from the excellent look and operation of this train set is learning something new, in this case wiring and weathering a rotary snowplow train set.

Modification: in order to improve power pick-up to the motor the tender’s wheels are used in combination with the loco’s driving wheels to receive electricity from the tracks. This is accomplished by soldering two wires to the leads and running those wires to pick-ups that connect to the tender’s wheels. Word of caution with this modification: tender pick-ups have to make good contact with the wheels without preventing them from turning. This modification also requires exposing two wires from the loco cab to the tender, for some this maybe distracting. And this modification may not even be deemed necessary by most otherwise Marklin would have built it into the original design.

Weathering: not so much weathering but bringing out the texture of the cutting wheel. Carbide cutting blades are used to cut through large snow drifts in the prototype, in this model a dry brush with silver paint was used to highlight this part of the cutting wheel. Great care is required accomplishing this feat, but the result is interesting. If you are new to dry brush practice first on something inconsequential before taking on this project. And don’t forget magnifying lenses either in goggles or desk top magnifier.

Repair: the materials Marklin uses for the trains is the best available and correctly chosen, in this model the plastic hinges and couplers can over time require adjustment. To tighten a hinge on the snowplow doors simply remove the door and with careful handing of tweezers gently pull the hinge sides closer together, they get loosened up over time, but the plastic is flexible enough to allow very gentle pressure to tighten. The unique coupler that attaches snowplow tender to steam loco is another example of the aforementioned, apply gentle pressure with your fingers to reduce the size of the coupler end thereby making a tight connection with the loco. Without a tight connection between snowplow tender and loco the train will uncouple.

Maintaining your collection is part of the fun of owning it, and we all become better in time. And it is a good time to better understand the workings of our trains.

 

Under the Hood: Marklin Z Rotary Snowplow

A brief look under the hood of Marklin’s “Rotary Snowplow” in z scale reveals engineering that is both functional and well conceived.

Two worm gears meet up at 90 degrees to turn the cutting wheel that is powered by the 5 pole motor. A heavy metal frame is the foundation for the motor which receives its power directly from the rails without the need of a circuit board, the motor leads are soldered to wires leading to trucks: one wire to each truck soldered to a power pick-ups in the form of spring copper. A unique solution that I haven’t seen in any other mini-club train except for the 3 Rotary Snowplow sets. The overall weight of the snowplow is equal to a locomotive thereby giving it good traction.

To access the interior of the snowplow simply lift off shell, it slides on snugly without clips, I recommend working front and back gently until it lifts off thus allowing the brushes to be replaced: part number 89891.

More than 8 1/2 inches in length the mini-club Rotary Snowplow is an impressive machine.

Take a look at part two of the post featuring customization of the loco and repair notes.

Good Luck and Have Fun!

Marklin Rotary Snowplows: 3 Versions in 1 decade

photo: Denver North West & Pacific Railroad rotary snowplow

The Rotary Snowplow was introduced to the mini-club audience in 2001 with the MHI/Insider release of 81360. An Era III BR 50 steam locomotive and rotary snowplow each included their own tenders thus making the 81360 a German Federal Railroad (DB) maintenance of way train set.

Marklin 81360 snowplow train set

Features of the Rotary Snowplow and loco set includes a separate motor to power the snowplow, it too features hinged tender hatches and a pair of hinged doors for the rotary cutting wheel. Both the loco and snowplow were also installed with the newly designed 5 pole motor which was the standard motor at this time and still is today, but new coreless motors are making their way into new tooled and designed locos more on this at a later time. Coupling the plows tender to the loco is a unique coupler that allows easy uncoupling for storage thus not a permanent coupling. Care needs to be taken to ensure this part does not break, but gentle pressure is all that is needed for this task and the part will live on for many many years.

Rotary snowplows for rail maintenance differ little through history either here in the USA or Europe. A Canadian dentist (J.W.Elliot- 1869) in the 19th century is credited with the idea for the rotary snowplow, up to that time locos pushed wedge shaped plows to clear snow which required multiple locos who’s combined power were needed for heavy snowfalls and drifts. The rotary snowplow cuts through the snow leaving walls on both sides of the track thus limiting the use of wedge shaped plows as an alternative during a winter season. In late 19th century Germany snow removal was performed by wedge shaped plows mounted to heavily ballasted tenders which have been modeled proficiently by Railex in brass.

Railex: K.BAY.STS.B. ballasted tender snowplow

Snow processed by a steam powered rotary snowplow was directed to a vertical chute directly behind the cutting blades which has been successfully modeled by Marklin in their snowplows.

I grew up with a train set in HO, one car I owned was a rotary snow plow that fascinated me, but it was seldom run due to poor performance. The body of the car was satisfactory to a 10 year old but the movement of the cutting wheel was generated by a rubber band linking the cutting wheel to the wheel sets on the car, needless to say it did not work well. Marklin powered their rotary snowplows with their own motors giving this interesting train set authentic appeal. And of course the detailing! Another precision model from Marklin in Z.

So far Marklin has released three Z snowplow and loco sets with variations in railroads and eras, but also tender types, loco types and paint and lettering schemes.

photos: 81360- Bauart Henschel Rotary Snowplow with BR 50 steam locomotive lettered for German Federal Railroad (DB) Era III. One Time Series for MHI/Insider Club 2001.

photos: 81361- Bauart Henschel Rotary Snowplow with BR 41 steam locomotive lettered for Deutsche Reichsbahn-Gesellschaft (DRG – German Imperial Railway Company) Era II. Released 2004.

photos: 81362- Bauart Henschel Rotary Snowplow with BR 39 steam locomotive lettered for German Federal Railroad (DB) Era III. Released 2012 for MHI Program.

For those interested in an extended look at snow removal in Z check out a past post on FR’s two releases for the SJ. In the meantime have a look at these beauties in metal with coreless motors.

FR: 46.135.11

FR: 46.135.21

Repainting Marklin 8135 for the SJ!!!!!!!!!!!!!: Part 1

photo: FR 46.130.31 – RC-2 locomotive for SJ

Marklin has paid little attention to Scandinavian Railroads in z gauge. There have been releases such as the 4 MY locos (brilliant series!!!!) and a few interesting freight cars, but never has there been attention paid to Sweden, this country’s railroads are left up to the never ending achievements of Harald Freudenreich at FR.

photo: FR 46.816.01 – Kis 950 sliding roof car for steel slab transport on SJ

Marklin has covered the SJ railway in HO only while FR has devoted much of their time in recent memory to SJ and other Scandinavian railroads. FR offers some Swiss, German and Austrian items currently, but Harald’s devoted fans come to him for Scandinavian trains.

photo: FR 46.132.01 – Ra 987 Express Locomotive of the SJ

Some of the most interesting railroads in the World are located in some of the most interesting natural wonders in the World. Light, geography, and climate combine to create the beautiful Scandinavian landscape, but for trains it is challenging, cargo has to be protected from a rather brutal climate with some box cars lined with heavy insulation to protect from permafrost and autos transported in closed boxes. More on this topic at a later date.

photo: FR 47.812.00 – insulated box car for the NSB

The topic today is a project I have been interested in starting for awhile now, it is the repaint of Marklin 8135 coaches for the SJ Railway. Although FR has paid much attention to freight rolling stock, they have not released coaches for the SJ as of this date with one exception. An announcement was made earlier in the year that coach sets are coming to market later this year, but in the meantime I am making my own custom set using dry stencils provided by FR a couple of years ago. The exception was a proposed project of many years that was finally released last year, it was a Marklin coach modified for SJ. The prototype was based on German built coaches used in ferry service in Sweden.  In order to model the prototype FR repainted and stenciled the coach after cutting the shell to remove a window thus shortening the coach. I own this coach and the craftsmanship is flawless.

photo: FR 46.299.00 – type litt AB8k 1st and 2nd class coach for ferry service to Germany. The top coach is the modified Marklin for SJ by FR, and the bottom coach is the original standard coach by Marklin.

Why refinish the 8135 coaches and not another set of coaches? Good question! Set 8135 was released in 1991 and included coaches built in Germany that were also used on the SJ. The historical perspective was provided by FR who also provided the stencil kit for relettering the coaches and a paint chip for the correct shade of reddish brown used by SJ. Painting and other details will be discussed in Part 2 and 3 respectively.

photo: deluxe box train set “Dompfeil” of the DB

The first installment of this project is disassembly of the coaches. It is okay to be a little nervous disassembling Marklin coaches, but all things Marklin are built to take apart, each part is snapped or clipped together without glue. Repainting projects in Marklin Z are not necessarily recommended by this railroader, they potentially will diminish the collectible value, but in my case I own two 8135 sets which I like very much, turning the second set into SJ coaches is a bit necessary since I collect SJ locos built for express service.

On with the project! First step is identifying the set for repaint, in this case the historical background was already researched by FR. The set for repaint is Marklin 8135 released with a BR 03 express loco in a deep blue paint scheme. The set was released in 1991 with three 2nd class coaches and one DRG dining car. This was a deluxe boxed set presented in a high gloss illustrated carton. The running performance of this loco is superb, and it looks great to boot!

photo: 8135 locomotive and tender – BR 03

photo: 3 coaches disassembled with their respective parts including shell, trucks, weight, roof, and window glazing.

Step 2 includes the removal of the roof which is easily accomplished by very carefully pulling it off, the roof is clipped on and starting from one end seems to be the way to do this successfully.

Step 3 involves the removal of each car’s pair of trucks, carefully swivel each truck to the side for leverage and using a small screwdriver gently pry the truck off by moving back and forth around the pivot point, it will snap off. Note: torquing as seen in the photo is necessary for removal of trucks, but please use care.

Step 4 using a small pair of tweezers and starting at one end gently loosen the window glazing held in place with prongs in the base of the coach. Take note of the indents that line up with the roof clips for reassembly later.

Step 5 is removal of the weights. Using a small screwdriver remove the plastic heat points holding the weights down, weights will lift off easily from the posts in the bottom of shell.

This is one of those projects that allows a railroader to tinker with their hobby.

Good Luck and Have Fun!

Siding: this set contains parts that are snapped or clipped in place, but older coaches used glue to cement the window glazing, in the case of older coaches window glazing will more than likely pop out with gently wriggling. Reassembly of early windows is accomplished with 5 minute epoxy only, other glues use solvents that might melt plastic. NEVER use a soldering iron in and around enclosed plastic parts, micro soldering irons should only be used on heat points to attach shell to frame and coupler housings with caution!

German BR 10 Express Locomotive: 5 variations in Z!

A rather short lived and limited steam locomotive is none other than Germany’s BR 10 express locomotive of the DB, only 2 were made in 1957. They were seen as the replacement for the Class 01, but lack of locally sourced parts sidelined the elegant steam locomotive to the car shops thereby cementing a wrongly held belief that they were unreliable.

Nicknamed “Black Swans” because of their elegant appearance the BR 10’s were in service for just 11 years. Streamlining was practiced for many years in designs of steam locos, but the BR 10’s seemed to be a further refinement of this technology, instead of reducing wind resistance by sheathing a steam locomotive as was the tradition, the BR 10’s were shaped to direct the airflow in and around the locomotive while at the same time giving easy access to the running gear for daily maintenance. Cylinders could be accessed by hinged door in streamlining.

Two 4-6-2 BR 10’s were manufactured by Krupp with oil fired tenders that would replace traditional firing thereby reducing the fireman’s work by 30%.

The top speed of this locomotive class was nearly 100 miles/hour which was enough speed for express service and their time schedules, but their 22 ton axle weight limited their use to certain mainlines only.

The class 10 001 is a preserved locomotive at the railway museum Deustche Dampflokmuseum in Neuenmarkt-Wirsberg.

Marklin produced 5 variations of the BR 10 for Z including two in experimental colors and one 18 carat gold special version (88891). All locomotives with the exception of 88891 were given operating number BR 10 001.

In 1955 various color scheme proposals were submitted to highlight the new German Federal Railroad’s flagship locomotive, but it appears black with white pinstripe was the chosen color scheme.

8888 (photo) One Time Series 1994 for MHI program with blue and gray color scheme.

8889 (photo) BR 10 with black and white pinstripe was produced 1994-2008. Early examples will include the original 3 pole motors and later models have the new 5 pole. Operating number 10 001.

88891 (no photo) BR 10 commemorative model to celebrate “25 Jahre mini-club”. Loco and tender were produced in 25 carat gold. This One Time Series from 1997 included white gloves and a signed certificate.

88892 (photo) BR 10 produced in celebration of 10th anniversary of MHI program. Stunning experimental paint scheme in blue with pinstripe. Produced as a One Time Series in 2000. Originally available from MHI dealers only. Delivered in wood box.

88893 (photo) BR 10 in experimental paint scheme by Krauss-Maffei, they proposed this design August 4, 1955 and referenced the study as TLO 54801. The smoke deflectors were unique to this design, tear drop shape was to accentuate the forward thrust of the locomotive. The resolution meeting at the end of 1955 was unable to approve this design. Limited Release 2004 available at mini-club Center only. A stunning example of a locomotive that if produced would have broken new ground in steam locomotive design. Delivered in wood box.

Beyond color variations no differences appear in the four pictured locomotives with the exception of specialized smoke deflectors in the 88893. Under the hood late production 8889, 88892 and 88893 included the updated 5 pole motor.

Adding streamlined locomotives to a layout will portray the transitional period of the late 1950’s in Germany with all types of locos sharing the rails including traditional steam class 01’s, diesel and electric.

Good Luck and Have Fun!

Siding: this robust locomotive type is a strong runner with excellent pulling power due to its heavy weight. Even distribution of weight makes this an unlikely candidate to poop out in a turn-out at low speed. Derailments are equally unheard of with this fine mini-club locomotive.

Siding: Marklin 5 pole motor upgrade is possible for the 8888 and 8889 with part number E211911. Basic soldering techniques are required for this repair.

 

 

German P8 and BR 38 Steam Locomotives

Photo: Former Prussian P8 given as war reparation to SNCF following WWI.

Marklin reached back into German railroading history and realized the legendary P8 and BR 38 in ‘Z’. Note: before unification it was the P8 and after unification it was BR 38. In the Marklin line-up there are plenty of variations of the P8 and 38 steam locomotives but the tooling remained the same until the side rods and brake equipment were upgraded with the 2013 release of 88998.

So what about the history of this 4-6-0 locomotive? Nearly 4000 examples were manufactured for 18 years starting in 1908. Retirement came in 1974 after a 50 year career with 627 having been given to other countries as war reparations following WWI. Its top speed of 110km/hr was suitable for passenger trains, but it was a reliable goods train also. In my research the top speed of 110km/hr was never fully achieved in the Prussian examples due to poor running performance of the Prussian ‘box’ style tenders instead it would seem that 100km/hr was the top speed in the early years. It is noted that larger tenders were not used by KPEV due to the burdens of turning a longer loco and tender on turntables of the time. Eventually the DB fitted war time ‘tub’ style tenders to this locomotive class after WWII.

8899 is the first BR 38 produced in mini-club, 1982 to be exact. This Era III BR 38 for the DB featured the original Prussian ‘box’ style tender and 3 pole motor, it was produced until 1995. The large smoke deflectors would eventually be replaced with smaller ‘Witte’ deflectors.

88991 (photo) is virtually identical to 8899 with two notable exceptions: 5 pole motor and post-war ‘tub’ style tender. This locomotive was produced from 1998 until 2003.

The P8 painted and lettered for KPEV (Royal Prussian Railroad Administration) as a One Time Series was 88994 (photo). Released in 2006 as part of the MHI program the 88994 represents an Era I P8 with original Prussian ‘box’ style tender. KPEV locos in the Marklin line-up are heavily detailed with distinctive paint scheme, they can go with passenger or freight cars, or both.

Jumping ahead to the new era at Marklin is the 88998 (photo) BR 38 for DB. An Era III steam locomotive featuring Marklin new design concept that includes lively side rod action and detailing including well conceived brake equipment details. The movement of the side rods on this loco are elegant! Note the correct style tender for Era III and ‘Witte’ smoke deflectors. First retooling since 1982!

Rolling back the clock to 2009 is the 88999 (photo) P8 for Gr.Bad.Sts.E. (Grand Ducal Baden State Railways). This Era I locomotive was in the Marklin mini-club line-up from 2009-2014. Original Prussian box style tender and 5 pole motor. Paint and lettering in Prussian Blue with boiler straps painted to highlight the prototypes original brass ones. Note: no smoke deflector was incorporated in the early design of the P8, other design changes would happen over time including two types of smoke deflectors and tub style WWII welded tender.

Marklin’s first release of a P8 in a train set was 8130 from 1989 – 1992, the 8128 (photo) included an Era I KPEV loco and tender paired with four freight cars.

The Marklin 81420 (photo) Grand Ducal Baden State Railways train set from 2000 – 2002 included a Gr.Bad.Sts.E P8 in striking Prussian Blue paint scheme detailed with brass boiler straps, it was boxed with a 2nd class and a 3rd class coach as well as a privately owned Swiss tank car and beer car with brakeman’s cabin. Locomotive is equipped with Marklin 5 pole motor.

The 2002 One Time Release of “Sylt Auto Travel Train” 81428 (photo) was another example of a train set with mixed rolling stock, freight and passenger coaches comprising the consist. This train set from Era III included a DB BR 38 with ‘tub’ style tender, 2- coaches lettered for “Hamburg – Altona, Husum – Niebull, Westerland plus 4 low side cars with autos, camping trailers and vans as loads. An interesting train set for vacationers traveling to camping destinations, this train removed the inconvenience of driving a camping rig to the vacation spot thereby delivering rested passengers at the start of their leisure vacations. Note: first time Witte smoke deflectors used on this ‘Z’ loco type.

The Era II “Ruhr-Schnellverkehr” (Ruhr Express Service) train set 81437 (photo) was released in 2005, it was produced until 2008, but it is unlikely many were produced through this period owing to the rarity of this set. The BR 38 locomotive was joined in the set with three coaches of Prussian design: 2- 3rd class coaches with and without brakeman’s cab, and 1- 2nd/3rd class coach with brakeman’s cab (notice the colorful paint scheme on center compartments denoting 2nd class). Please take note of the Prussian design compartments each accessed by exterior doors, in express coaches of this design passengers had little time to find their compartment and climb in, less than a minute is all you were given! The Marklin coaches in this set are stunning, they are full of detail including full length running boards and decorated brass hardware. The locomotive (photo 2) also featured destination boards: Ruhr – Schnellverkehr.

Siding: to describe the brilliant running performance of this loco type in ‘Z’ as anything less than superlative would be a mistake. If you are new to collecting Marklin Z steam this loco type in any example is highly recommended: perfection on the rails!

 

Marklin 81001: “Leig-Einheit” Train Set

If you happen to own the Z Collection Book from 2015 you may notice this train set cataloged as DB, it is actually an Era II DRG train set. I have poured over this book which is a useful aid in researching Marklin Z and this is the first typo I have noticed.

Produced in 2011 – 2013 this train set included two pairs of GII “Leig-Einhart” Dresden box cars permanently coupled together. Coupled to a class 86 tank locomotive this lightweight train as it is referred formed a goods train in Era II, its development followed the need to procure lightweight trains for fast freight service with speed approved to 100 km/hour. This trainset would last until 1978.

The locomotive at the head of this train is the BR 86 tank locomotive as can be seen in the photos the tanks run either side of the boiler, this design cleverly allowed for some preheating of the water tank at the same time adding stability to the locomotive operation, its limitation was only the amount of coal it could carry.

Fifteen years of production starting in 1928 yielded 775 total units for regional and branch line service. One of Germany’s longest serving steam locos the class 86 served variously throughout Germany for 60 years.

Marklin’s 81001 BR 86 locomotive is painted and lettered for Deutsche Reichsbahn-Gesellschaft (DRG), it features a 5 pole motor with 4 pairs of driving wheels and cast metal body with many detail features.

The 81001 train set is sold out at the factory but a recent search shows these to be available through various dealers.

Good luck and have fun!

Siding: an excellent resource for regular production Marklin Z is the 800 page catalog Collection Marklin Z, published by modellplan GbR, 2015. Its author Thomas Zeeb has provided the “go to guide” for collectors of Marklin Z. This number one source was included with the release of the 2015 Toy Fair loco: BR 111 with experimental paint scheme. The book and the loco were delivered in an attractive black box illustrated with its contents. Marklin item number for the set is 88422.

Weathering Laser Cut with Noch and Railroad Colors

Yesterday I put together the fine new building kit from Marklin: 89759 Girder Bridge. Railroaders know from experience that these rather common bridges get a lot of abuse and neglect from weather, wear and tear from daily heavy train traffic and delayed upkeep. To explore the idea of realism as it goes with these bridges I decided to add weathering to the one I just made.

One new product from Noch is a 2 part rust kit (61162) which incorporates an iron medium that is oxidized by the application of a second solution. The Noch product plus Railroad Colors “Tarnished Black” water based paint will be used in this weathering example.

Noch recommends prepping the surface to be rusted with a spray fixative. In the case of paper it is recommended by this modeler, without spray fixative the Noch Rust kit soaks into paper leaving little on the surface to later oxidize. Wet application of paints also leave little flexibility or control as they too will be soaked up in a laser cut building kit, layering of color will thus be difficult. What to do? I recommend a spray fixative which is applied by passing the building through a spray mist of Artists’ fixative rather than spraying the model directly. Too much spray fixative will darken the color of the model, it is also unnecessary. Your health will benefit from this small application and don’t forget a mask. As for applying paint I recommend the dry brush method which entails saturating a brush with paint and running both sides of the brush over a paper towel until little paint is seen on the paper towel thus allowing a very controlled randomized application. I use dry brush for all weathering techniques, it works to bring out surface engravings in laser cut better than the dab and smear approach with cotton balls recommended by one manufacturer or traditional painting. I also sometimes use paint directly with a small brush to push dirt into hard to reach crevices such as with this bridge.

Railroad bridges lack ornamentation, they are designed to be strong and functional. What a railroad bridge wears on its surface is dirty sticky grime, oil sprays, abrasions from ballast getting kicked up, soot and rust. For a well maintained bridge the rivet heads and plates will have some rust coating eventually while the rest of the bridge will be covered in years of weather and train wear and tear. How far you go with weathering is your choice but keep in mind a fresh painted bridge is rare in the real world. Plants sometimes find their way onto this bridge type along with birds nest and the like.

Photo: before weathering:

Photos: after weathering:

Note: Railroad Colors make oil and water base paints, I recommend the water base paints due to their dull flat appearance when dry.

Applying Noch Rust is easy, after prepping the surface the first step is applying iron from the large bottle. The manufacturer recommends 2 hours of dry time before the second step applying oxidation from the small bottle. Noch recommends a second application of spray fixative to stop the oxidizing process.

Try the dry brush method of applying paint after the rusting steps are completed. And that’s all you need to do.

Note: an assortment of brushes from small to big and flat to round is recommended. I also customize brushes including a cheap natural fiber house painting brush, I like these brushes because their fibers are of all lengths and rough thereby randomizing the application of paint with dry brush. I also cut these brushes to the width I want to work in this case the brush width corresponds to the width of the sides and base.

The number one dealer for innovative Noch products is zscalehobo.com.

Products used in this posting: Noch 61162, Railroad Colors “Tarnished Black” and Marklin 89759 Girder Bridge.

Good luck and have fun!

Siding: if boats travel under your bridge perhaps consider adding a warning light, warning stripes, or signage.