Author Archives: garygraves

Marklin Insider 88507: cab forward BR 05 DRG

One of the more interesting Z items released in the past few years was the 2014 Marklin Insider “Fine Art” edition 88507. The release of the BR 05 Era II cab forward steam locomotive marked the first and hopefully not the last special “Fine Art” releases, it was produced in brass with numerous add-on parts and filigree spoke wheels. Motive power is provided by new coreless motor with bell shaped armature. Available to Insider Members, the release was presented in special packaging including wooden box and certificate. Possibly due to the high price of this locomotive some were not delivered and a few are still available from dealers including Reynauld’s in IL.

Built in 1937 the BR 05 003 was the only cab forward design produced of the class 05, it resumed post war service in 1950 after restoration work was performed by Krauss-Maffei, it was retired in 1958. Cab forward steam locomotives are a technical marvel which allow better visibility but require larger crews.

The Marklin model is 5 inches in length over buffers, due to brass casting it is heavy featuring a robust motor thus mechanically sound and smooth running. If the locomotive is displayed it can be fitted with full skirting provided with the model or skirting can be removed for running on track with maximum radius of 195mm, with full skirting the locomotive can only go straight. Spacing adjustable between locomotive and tender. As with past historical releases Marklin has included a cast metal builder’s plate for Borsig.

BR 05 003 was scrapped in 1960, photographs and technical models provide the historical record of this interesting locomotive.

Siding: joining the Marklin Insider Club is less than a $100 a year, member benefits include the annual Club Car in the scale of choice, Marklin Insider Magazin, Insider Model reservation certificate, Insider Club News, annual catalog, laminated club card with member’s name, and “Year of Marklin” DVD.

 

 

 

SJ L5 Locomotive: FR’s new release build kit

An important new release for SJ railroading in Z is FR’s L5 steam locomotive, it comes in the form of a build kit with etched metal parts, cast boiler, and SJ decals. Note: I ordered mine and in a follow-up post I will review the kit and step-by-step photos. If you are new to soldering and assembling nickel silver/brass etched kits either buildings or trains the right tools make all the difference for this fun and rewarding extension of Z railroading: stay tuned!

FR L5 locomotive item #46.140.91 is available directly from FR for a little more than $100 USD including shipping. Ordering from FR is easy and shipping to the United States is fast. Visit FR’s homepage http://fr-model.homepage.t-online.de/ and set-up an account. Note: 19% VAT is reduced from posted Euro pricing for United States buyers.

The finished model includes loco shell only and tender without wheels, to complete the project Marklin class 24 or 74 locos provide the motive power. At this time I am not sure the recent release class 74’s are appropriate for this kit due to their new side rod design, perhaps the class 24’s with tenders are better choices due to the inclusion of the tenders and its wheelsets(?). I will follow-up next week after receiving my kit!

As is always the case with FR postings, I wish to announce new releases by this small high precision manufacturer because their offerings quickly sell out.

Prototype: class L5 locomotive built by NOHAB in the 1930’s was designated as a branchline passenger and freight locomotive of which 5 were built in Trollhattan.

 

 

Railex versus Z-Modellbau: Kof II showdown

Until Z-Modellbau took the challenge to manufacturer a Z Kof II with a Motor (!!!!) our choice was limited to mechanical rolling non-motorized Kof’s by Schmidt and Railex.

The Railex example here is cast brass (red paint scheme lettered for DB with open cab and black running boards) with fine detailing inside the cab, it was a very good example of a Kof II that Railex produced along with variations of this type.

Headlamps are non-working in both locomotives but Z-Modellbau rendered them white in perfect circles versus Railex which are hand-painted silver.

What to do with a non-working model train: use it of course! Before brushless motors manufacturers of Z gauge had certain limitations placed on their ambitions. Z gauge is already small in size so therefore modeling the smallest prototypes yield problem after problem including where to put a motor and gears. The solution with their larger steam locos and tenders was locating the drive mechanism within a passenger or freight car hence they were called “ghost cars” because they became hidden locomotives, but they allowed the locomotive to pull cars so to speak figuratively not literally. I collect Railex, they are beautiful and fun to behold. As for ghost cars I have never owned one, I understand they can be temperamental and many I see for sale are offered “not working”. Ghost cars can be built by industrious engineers with a clever creative side which describes most of us Z-scalers, if you choose the to take the challenge the rewards are big and stalled trains from 19th century Germany may come to life on your railway line.

Photo: no couplers on Railex, Z-Modellbau uses Marklin compatible couplers of their own design that unobtrusive in this small loco

Now the time is ripe for ambitious manufacturers to create smaller locos in Z that function, today brushless motors from Switzerland are available in a variety of small sizes so releasing new locos with this motor should be easy? Wrong. From idea to final market ready model is a design and manufacturing “Matterhorn” so to speak. Having the idea is the first step followed by researching the prototype’s blueprints, putting into scale, designing the parts and assembly. Every step is time consuming and difficult with a fair share of creative thinking, ingenuous problem solving and sheer expertise in tooling and production. The latter always flabbergasts me, how can anyone be gifted with such abilities that tiny tiny tiny details appear in such small locos at the same time concealing their build.

With the Railex Kof which is cast with add-on parts in cast brass the model is beautiful with a securing plate screwed to the undercarriage that simply holds the wheel-sets on: simple and beautifully designed. This example does not have couplers thus making it a stand alone model train.

Photo: Railex Koff hauling livestock boxcar both lettered for DB

The Z-Modellbau Kof II for NSB has an enclosed cab with glazed windows and their own unique design for a Marklin compatible coupler. A 10 volt coreless motor runs the show including gearing that allow smooth acceleration and deceleration but without working headlamps. Headlamps are beautifully modeled as if lit. Locomotive is weighted and balanced due to its metal nature throughout so pulling power is very good.

Photo: Railex Kof II is true to prototypical scale giving the boxcars the impression of great size

Small locomotives serve very important functions including shunting and branchline while others not covered here serve MOW (Maintenance of Way) service, they (speeders) are still smaller than the kofs  with one purpose: track inspection.

Siding: seen here are the two livestock boxcars comprising the Marklin 2 car freight set: 86602. For the first time this car type features interior detailing in the form of gates, it also includes laser cut build kit for loading ramp and movable fence sections.

Z-Modellbau builds the legendary ML 2/2 in Z!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Maffei built the ML 2/2 steam locomotive in 1906-1908, Z-Modellbau built it first as a Z scale model. The observation has been made many times equating the appearance of early German steam locos with toy trains, but the ML 2/2 was a hardy locomotive that proved it’s worth.

 

Built for the Bavarian State Railways the ML 2/2 was equal measure to the PtL 2/2 built by Krauss. Service duties included all such description on branchlines, and it could be operated by a single driver due to its semi-automatic gravity fed firebox. 24 locos were produced until it was retired in 1924.

Z-Modellbau has done it again with one of the finest Z scale locos ever available, the fine detailing of this loco has no rivals. And it is very small and true to scale with the prototype’s external cylinders modeled with smooth moving side rods of an ingenious design. This little gem is all metal construction featuring brushless motor and window glazing in the cab.

The ML 2/2’s place in history has been preserved in Z by Z-Modellbau, every inch of this is a masterpiece even though it’s total length is less than inch.

Running performance is superb at slow idle through full throttle.

Marklin’s 82391 (2005) high capacity coal hopper lettered for K.Bay.Sts.B is a perfect choice for this loco as well as Marklin small loco repair shed 89805.

Photo: here the ML 2/2 details are seen with coal bin in cabin roof and Marklin compatible coupler.

The scaling of Z-Modellbau locos creates a dramatic appeal on the layout due to their small size. Juxtaposed next to larger more powerful stream loco the ML 2/2 will stand out next to those towering express locos. Train sheds and buildings will also offer interesting juxtapositions and already there are buildings by Archistories and Marklin that fill in this time-frame for authentic prototypical railway scenes.

Photo: on a siding or near a loco shed the idling ML 2/2 will have great appeal on rural railway lines hauling passenger and/or freight.

New Insights: Faller 282711 “Klingenberg Station”

A couple of years has passed since Faller released the card-stock kit for Klingenberg Station, it is remarkably similar to the plastic kit “Guglingen Station” with exceptions. The exceptions include new use of laser cut card-stock with a combination of laser cut wood parts and plastic.

Laser cut card-stock has evolved at Faller and currently there have been a number of them released over the years of entirely new designs even for urban settings. The neat innovation with Faller is the use of masking, it was originally useful/essential for lighting plastic buildings to avoid glowing of the whole building, but the original masks served double duty and introduced another innovation with window details: drapes and curtains. Card-stock is opaque so no glowing naturally occurs when lit, but Faller continues to include masking simply to add interest to the windows of their kits.

Note: LED’s are recommended to for lighting Faller buildings due to their brightness and dimming controls. LED’s are also cool versus conventional hobby lighting which give off a lot of heat. Lastly LED’s will last far longer than traditional lighting.

This first kit included plastic roof sheathing which I painted to lessen the look of plastic and the wooden parts are a beautiful texture and color hard to simulate in paper. A good design based on the original plastic kit available for many years this transitional kit to finer detailed laser cut cardstock was a very good attempt to keep pace with the growing trend toward professional cardstock construction. Faller continues to combine laser cut wood parts into these kits, and they continue to innovate with new kits each year.

Siding: this building could be a very good contender for modeling a Scandinavian themed layout?

Marklin’s New Brushless Motor: Good News Follow-up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The other day I submitted a post for your review which posed questions about the new brushless motors making their appearance in Marklin Z locos. And one example of a new release steam loco that had an operating issue that I included in that review.

The steam loco is the Bavarian 88923 with the very detailed running gear and side rods, out of the box it inexplicably stopped in the forward direction but ran well in reverse. Today I decided to problem solve the running performance and discovered some interesting things about the new motor.

Note: roller stands are great on those occasions a loco needs testing, they keep it in place so inspecting what is wrong is easy. Many companies make roller stands, this one is by Marklin (89932).

The new motor for the 88923 is a solid case brushless type that attaches to the end of the loco chassis in much the same way as the former 3 and 5 pole mini-club brush motors: a permanent gear mounted to the motor engages with the transmission gear whose other end is the worm gear which engages with the gears that move the wheels. The motor is secured to the chassis with a single screw like before, but the new motor has two alignment pins that engage in the end of the chassis which place the motor and chassis in precise alignment. Out of the box this loco ran rough in forward and stopped, but it ran well in reverse. I took the loco apart and removed the motor and transmission gear, I carefully reinstalled the transmission gear after applying a drop of oil on the worm gear and opposing gear, I was careful to align the two pins on motor with chassis applying a little pressure. It took 4-5 tries after moving the gears a little bit to properly seat the chassis and motor, but the tolerances seem to me to be more stringent with this new motor. The old motor assembly of the brush motors seem to have a little wriggle of the shaft and transmission gear alignment which suited that design well, but I believe the new motor assembly is a tighter system at this connecting point between motor/transmission gear/chassis. The glitch I experienced I believe was a very slight misalignment during assembly. I am happy to report that the loco runs like a dream, it is quiet and runs at very low speeds.

Photos: under the hood of the 88923 shows wire leads from motor soldered to chassis pick-ups which are taped down to facilitate removal and installation of shell. Note: solid motor case with no access points for oiling, this is a maintenance free system. Normal sparse oiling of wheel-sets still applies. Hiding wires will be part of this new world of mini-club, but this example has deep channels on each side to hold the wires flush and out of sight.

The new loco for Kay.Bay.Sts.B is not only a great runner, it is a wonder to watch the lively action of the side rods. The shell detailing and paint scheme complete this work of art, it is spectacular!!!!

Note: instructions that were packed with my loco show it with the old 5 pole E251 202. The installation of the new motor in this loco may not have been originally planned, but you will know which motor you have in this loco by looking at it: solid case is that of the new brushless motor original 3 and 5 pole motors had a center bushing that required a very lite drip of oil periodically.

Link: original instructions for the 88923 showing 5 pole brush motor thus incorrect oiling instructions are outlined

https://static.maerklin.de/damcontent/8e/b3/8eb3f2fa2c6e805cc71c54ea3801462c1489755052.pdf

Photo: view of two Bavarian class S 3/6’s with new brushless motor (bottom: 88923) and former brush motor type (top: 8108)

Siding: motor upgrades have been available for all the mini-club locos since the 5 pole was introduced on the BR 143 in 1998 with some requiring soldering, I don’t think future upgrades with the brushless motor will be available to convert this locomotive class in former releases due to the machining of the frame with the 2 motor alignment holes.

Group Effort: introducing E 69 electric Z-Modellbau

Faller and Marklin will help me introduce the superb Z-Modellbau E 69 02 “Pauline”  electric locomotive for DB (article #2101).

The prototype was built in variations starting in 1905 culminating in 1930. A beautiful model of the prototype never offered in Z except by Z-Modellbau.

I will be posting some interesting research on electric locos coming in the future but for now many photos and not many words.

 

Handrails and add-on parts bring great detail to this loco that is not surpassed by any manufacturer.

Metal construction with brass gearing and brushless motor are standard features of Z-Modellbau.

Z-Modellbau locomotives are delivered in a small blue box lined with foam and small instruction sheet noting this locomotive is maintenance free and should not be taken apart.

FR Week: NetRail coaches 46.220.52

The recent release of FR’s NetRail coach set was released on a very limited quantity of 25 sets total. Once a week look at FR’s website because some items like this are fleeting and sell out fast.

Continuing with another coach set of FR’s design and manufacturing is this third one for the firm NetRail. Paint scheme is very dark blue and cool white with silver roof. No class designation.

NetRail founded in the mid 1990’s sells and leases railway equipment that they maintain and refurbish.

Prototype: 1960-talsvagn

Siding: FR has proposed future releases of this car type with various paint schemes.

FR Week: Interregio coaches 46.220.42 + 46.221.42

Several firsts with the recent release of FR’s SJ coach sets, they are the first coaches designed and manufactured by FR, and they are the first SJ coaches modeled for Z gauge. Plus these sets include interior detailing first introduced by Z-Bahn a number of years ago, now it is a feature of new releases by Marklin and FR this being an example.

The two coaches set follow the attractive paint scheme blue with red stripe. Any paint scheme for the RC2 and 3 locos can prototypically pull these cars, it is up to preference. The coaches feature fine detailing and prototypically depicted metal window frames.

46.220.42 includes 1- each 1st class and 2nd class type 1960- talsvagn Interregio A+B

46.221.42 includes 1 2nd class and 1- 1st/2nd class type 1960- talsvagn Interregio A/B + B

Note: yellow stripe indicates 1st class and turquoise represents 2nd class.

The model has a unique solution for the car weights, it is seated on the undercarriage and features fine detailing in cast metal. Car sets are delivered without interior lighting, but lighting can be added and FR has provided pre-drilled holes in the trucks to allow for wiring.

Siding: several paint schemes have been proposed for later releases, they will represent various time-frames in SJ passenger travel.

FR Week: SJ Container Transport Set 46.818.04

A very interesting freight transport type are container cars lettered for international shipping companies. All over the United States and abroad shipping containers arrive in port then carried by truck or train to various destinations, Marklin and FR have released a number of interesting European individual cars, sets and trainsets.

FR’s recent release of a 4 car container set (FR 46.818.04) is lettered for Safmarine, HYUNDAI, HAMBURG SUD, and MAERSK SEALAND on cars lettered for Swedish MidCargo AB. Collectors can opt to run these cars on any Scandinavian railway and choose to realistically weather them as mentioned by Harald Freudenreich.

The prototype is a rebuilt class Os low side gondola modified for container service redesignated class Lgns 443. This car type is seen in Sweden heavily rusted which can be achieved by weathering. The model includes 4 cars with permanently mounted containers. A beautiful set with weathered wheel sets to use in mixed freight or unit trains!

As always FR packs there cars in custom foam lined acrylic boxes: very high production quality!