Category Archives: Era II

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!

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.

Archistories: Interlocking Towers Kallental and Dorpede

Sitting along side this 1915 “Achilles”  Marklin 1 Gauge live steam engine are two new releases by Archistories: Kallental and Dorpede “Interlocking Towers.”

Both buildings follow the same architectural design but vary in material construction, one is brick and the other is open timber. A throwback to a time in railroad history when signals and switch turnouts were controlled mechanically by an operator. Today these structures have largely disappeared with the advent of electric controls: push buttons replacing throw levers.

Which one you choose is a matter of personal preference, but each reflects distinct styles of German industrial architecture. Cut-outs are incorporated into the buildings for accessory lighting along with partition walls to control light flow. Additional features that are new to Archistories kits that I have assembled are scored boards for continuously folded frameworks walls, open timber and even ornamental brickwork. Working with long parts that fold is assisted by very light scoring along those lines that have already been etched by the laser. Archistories kits are nothing like all the other ones on the market by other manufacturers, Archistories can be described as kits combining the highest quality materials, precision and design. Here you will find beautiful roof sheathing that is attached to solid underlayment, parts that actually fit together perfectly, and highly detailed window frames. Crisp detailing throughout inspire one to sit and marvel at the finished projects.

If you are new to building laser cut with numerous small parts and parts with filigree I would suggest a couple of practice runs applying glue to thin strands of scrap material before jumping in and gluing the open timber framework on the Kallental Signal Tower. The simple rule to follow is to place drops of glue instead of streams of glue in modest amounts and in discreet places. Not much glue is needed after all, parts in these kits are warp free allowing much less glue than other manufacturer’s buildings. Warp free high grade materials characterize Architories kits.

For those on the fence about laser cut I have a simple experiment: 1. Buy one of these kits and assemble it 2. take the finished building along with an assembled plastic building to a real life industrial complex preferably from the turn of the century and abundant in the United States 3. hold both kits alongside real life industrial brick architecture 4. ask yourself which looks closer to real life? I am confident the answer will be Archistories buildings every time.

Building a scene which incorporates these buildings are perfectly illustrated by Archistories company photographs. These dioramas incorporate cast rock formations, static grass of varying lengths and color, shrubs and trees placed as one would see along a railroad siding, track ballasting representing the region modeled and of course the painted or photographically illustrated background. Viewing the scene at eye level brings it all together and the backdrop brings it all together.

Photo used by permission (copyright: Archistories)

Siding: weathering can be added to Archistories buildings, I recommend the dry brush technique. Care should be taken to ensure good results, please keep in mind the high absorbent nature of these materials, it is better to start with a very dry brush and build up layers, too much paint and the building will be ruined. Or don’t weather at all!

SBB CFF FFS class Ce 6/8 III: Marklin’s new release 88563!

The iconic articulated Swiss loco “Krokodil” has long been associated with Marklin in all their scale models, but the new 88563 is a further development of this Era II loco in technological terms for ‘Z’ collectors following numerous releases of this loco in special editions and other variants since the first 8856 (green paint scheme) serie Be 6/8 in 1979 and the 8852 (brown paint scheme) serie Ce 6/8 in 1983.

For the first time changeover headlamps/trailing lamp in LED. Plus partially new tooling including the incorporation of catenary switch below the hood as it were and the removal of the roof top screw formally used to switch power on the circuit board from track to catenary. Removing the catenary screw from electric locos has been a continuing design function of the new locos just as improved running gear and side rods on the steam engines, it is a good time to get into the Marklin mini-club hobby!

Photo: 88563 (top chassis and bottom hood) and 8856.4 (green loco chassis and its hood showing hole through roof to support catenary screw)

A brief look under the hood between the new release and an older 8856 variant is a new circuit board supporting wires for the LED changeover lights thereby obscuring the motor, as can be seen in the photo the circuit board is solid and does not support engagement with brushes, this new motor is identified on the parts sheet as E279 138. Is this a new generation motor? A quick google search revealed nothing!?! When I have more time I will be taking this one apart and reporting what I find! Note: runs great out of the box!

Photo: Marklin 88563 (top) and 8856.4 (version 4: 2009-2010)

Note: switching to catenary power is achieved by carefully pushing the slider switch on the circuit board, in earlier versions this switch was a slotted head that extended through the roof of electric locos.

Follow-up: The new 88563 reveals a new generation motor! I couldn’t wait to find the time to conveniently take apart 88563 to reveal its workings so first thing this morning I opened it up. On first inspection of the circuit board I missed noticing the black and tan leads soldered to the circuit board which descend through holes in the board to the motor, which sits in a newly designed chassis. As with all 8856 variants the articulated locomotive design is comprised of three parts including mid section containing motor with two worm drives and front and rear driving wheel sets, in this new locomotive the mid section chassis is newly designed and dispenses with circuit board clips as well as any visual access to the motor. The circuit board is further redesigned in function but also appearance with two retaining screws and a much thinner board.

Future repair: Any future repairs to this locomotive will be difficult for any but the more advanced modeler. Due to its thin construction the circuit board will be prone to cracking and replacing the motor will be a skilled operation requiring un-soldering of points on the circuit board. How often are future repairs expected on Marklin Z in general? ZERO in my experience except for the cleaning of gears and motor upgrades of the traditional 3 pole/ 5 pole variety.

Closing: Thru advancements in technology and detailing closer to the prototype Marklin is producing some truly outstanding trains, but more intricate parts and complex wiring schemes could be seen as challenges to overcome on the workbench.

Siding: If you have an SBB Krokodil that runs rough perhaps after cleaning and reassembling it maybe due to the front and back side rods being out of alignment. If the loco runs well in one direction but rough in the other reassemble side rods so they are high on one end and low on the other.

 

Repair Notes: Marklin 88992 Swiss class A3/5 express locomotive

Marklin 88992

Marklin 81035

Note: photo 1 depicts the 88992 loco and tender in Marklin’s original marketing literature, photos 2 and 3 depict the train set 81035. The original Marklin photograph varies greatly from the actual loco: paint finish not as glossy, side rods not as dark and wheel/spoke design more typical of other steam locos produced by Marklin in ‘Z’.

 

A ‘One Time Series’ locomotive from 2005 is the Swiss Federal Railways A 3/5 express locomotive based on the 4 cylinder compound prototype from Era II. Marklin released the locomotive with tender as item number 88992, they also released the train set 81035 in 2007 with this loco and tender plus 3 coaches called by Marklin “The Old Timer Train” in celebration of 125 years of the Gotthard Line. Both items are very hard to find for sale, but if you model Swiss trains and find one it might be of interest for your railroad. Having the luck to find one might come with some disappointment with running performance ‘out of the box’ which is the topic of this post. I own both the train set and the loco, each was purchased new, but the loco is a recent acquisition, it arrived with working headlamps and ‘HOS’ (hardened oil syndrome). The locomotive was dead on arrival which also indicated it was never run and the original Marklin oil was dried up. Marklin oil over time dries out, it acts like glue in this condition. Does it always happen? No! Marklin may have varied the oil used during assembly so sometimes there is HOS and sometimes no evidence of HOS with older locomotives.

More than likely 88992 will have HOS, one dealer I have seen is selling the locomotive with replaced wheel sets leading me to believe the original was traded out because it was mucked up, thus making it easier to trade out the chassis than making this rather tricky repair.

Removing HOS from this loco presents a few problems that are easily overcome with those with experience. First the loco has to be fully taken apart including un-soldering the leads to remove motor. The leads will spring away from motor which is easy at this stage but more difficult when re-soldering later in the repair. The problem which is relatively unique for this loco design are two gears that are attached directly to the frame, they are not easy to remove, but they don’t need to be removed. The gears in my loco were solidly stuck in place, I used ‘Original Windex’ (blue) and applied it with a dropper to both gears. Eventually the mild solvent loosened the gears that I worked back and forth with a toothpick until they were freely moving. At this point I dropped a few more drips of Windex and let the frame sit. When the Windex appeared to be dry I reattached the motor and ran it with a fresh oiling with synthetic plastic compatible ‘Z’ gauge lite oil. At this point the loco can be reassembled and tested on the track.

In summary: 2 frame mounted gears frozen in place by old dried oil will more than likely be the cause of this loco not working, removing the hardened oil will bring success!

Siding: If your headlamp works but the motor is silent chances are you have HOS, overly testing the loco in this condition will do no good for the motor.

Gottard Tunnel: 1872 + Marklin’s Swiss Steam Loco 88992 + 81035

The Gottard Tunnel opened to freight trains January 1, 1882 after 10 years of construction and deaths of 200 workers. It was the longest tunnel ever built when it opened with a total length of 9.322 miles. Used by steam trains until 1920 when it was electrified the private railway Gotthardbahn operated the tunnel until it was incorporated with the Swiss Federal Railways in 1909. The proposal for such a tunnel as part of the project to link North Italy and South Germany was first proposed in 1848, but the Gottard was a difficult tunnel to build with construction starting in 1872, workers used the recently invented dynamite (1867), pickax and shovel. The pace was slow at just under 5 meters a day for a proposed budget of 2830 Swiss  Francs per meter but that cost would increase by 11%. The lives it cost included the Swiss engineer Louis Favre who overseeing the project died of a heart attack inside the tunnel.

The Gotthard Tunnel one year before completion:

The Gottard Tunnel in 1890 as recorded by the Italian photographer Giorgio Sommer (Napoli) who was well known for his photographs of Switzerland’s geological formations:

Postcard view from 1900:

Postcard view from 1900:

Today with view from Goschenen station platform:

Siding: Marklin produced two Swiss early steam locomotives who’s prototypes would have run through the Gotthard at the beginning of the last century: 88992 + 81035.

88992 – Serie A 3/5 Era II loco with builder number 613 and paired with type T 20 tender. One Time Series 2005.

81035 – “Swiss Old Timer Train” Era I loco with builder’s number 605 paired with type T 21.5 tender with three coaches. One Time Series 2007.

 

 

Repair Notes: mallet locos 88290-88294

A very interesting Marklin Z loco of the ‘mallet’ type was introduced in 2004 as Insider Model 88290.

The class 96 loco has been released in 5 versions to this point in time, but Marklin did not limit the release of a ‘mallet’ type loco to this class, they also introduced the class 53 in 2007 as Insider Model 88053.

What characterizes a mallet locomotive is first an articulated frame along with two independent wheel sets. Invented by the Swiss engineer Anatole Mallet this type of locomotive was highly successful in mountain railways, and in the United States this loco type was used in coal trains. The articulated frame allowed for negotiating sharp turns while high and low pressure steam powered two sets of driving wheels. The front set of driving wheels form the ‘Bissell’ truck which received low pressure steam through a receiver after high pressure steam powered the second set of driving wheels first. Variations between European and American ‘mallet’ locos follow the basic design principle, but each varies by other factors including length and power. Marklin’s two mallet designs represent very large and powerful locos one of which never existed beyond blueprints as is the case with versions of the class 53: 88053, 88054, and 88055 (pictured).

To repair the mallet locos of class 96 some patience and practical experience in the repair of mini-club steam locos is required. Marklin Z steam locos have one set of driving wheels, the mallets have two sets and therefore one must treat each as independent by repairing one at a time. These are complicated locos, but they are so well designed that taking one apart and reassembling is relatively easy for those with some experience repairing locos with side rods. Note: wheels must be correctly orientated to allow free movement of side rods, side rods bow out when wheel sets are improperly installed in all locos with side rods.

This post came about rather by accident, I recently purchased an 88291 thereby completing my collection of this type loco, but it arrived with hardened oil syndrome which can be expected with dealer old stock. Tell tale signs of hardened oil syndrome are lights that work without a hum of motor or movement of wheels. The oil Marklin uses will harden over time which is compounded by improper storage. Hardened oil gums up the gears not allowing them to move, it looks like a crust, but it can also be sticky to the touch.

Note: white gunk near center of photo

To remove hardened oil a mild solvent is required, toothpicks work to loosen up crustiness and soaking NON PAINTED surfaces in “Original Windex” (blue). Improperly storing locos includes side down, they should always be stored wheels down. The one I just received was one such example of a loco stored long term on its side: hardened oil pooled on one side throughout gears and truck housings.

One can see the appearance of hardened oil as white crust, it can otherwise be fluid or congealed as a sticky substance all in the same loco: weird!

One gear is sometimes the culprit at least with this example. Part #226 646 is an interesting gear that sits mounted on a post cast into each truck frame of this loco, thus two are included in this design.

Note: gear can be seen mounted inside truck frame in two photos with yellow background

I have come across this gear on more than one occasion, Marklin’s class E 94 and 194 locos including all versions have this same gear in their design so repairing this loco is a good primer for repairing those. Time and time again it has been proven to me that if the German “krocodil” isn’t moving this gear is completely stuck due to hardened oil. Very careful attention needs to be applied to wriggle off this gear from its post, I use a toothpick over a dish to catch the part.

The transmission in this loco is very long with two worm gears, it comprises two extensions attached to the the tip of the motor (226 631).

So many parts that are required to move in the smallest space comprise a flawless design that includes a sensible tear-down and reassembly design.

Reassembly includes close adherents to correct order of things: no matter loco type small connecting gears always go in truck frame first followed by driving wheels.

Photo shows one truck’s correct assembly without oil pan attached. Note the two connecting gears which are standard with all locos in Marklin ‘Z’, and because they are small it is a good part to have spares of (part #226 645). Coupler and spring are not illustrated in photo, but they would be located on the right side. Side rods slide into black housing and only work one way: side rods of the third pair of wheels are orientated correctly in photo to allow correct distances in the truck mount for all gears. After coupler and spring are placed into their mount the oil pan slides over coupler end, and it is attached by a single screw.

It is always a good idea to keep an inventory of spare parts even though you may never need them because we are talking about the brilliant engineering and manufacturing by Marklin. That being said the motor for this series of locos is part #226 631, it is soldered directly to the pick-ups and solidly held in place to operate the very long transmission.

After each truck is cleaned, oiled and reassembled test it to make sure all gears move freely with the retaining pin and nylon gear installed too! Note: the nylon gear comprises two sets of teeth, one set engages with the worm gears on the transmission and the second is small running on one side of the nylon gear and engages with the post mounted gear previously mentioned. Recommendation: the nylon gear is another part to keep spares of, it is part #223 493.

Last note: if you know the loco is new and never run. And you have the loco taken apart, this maybe a good time to break in the motor and brushes independent of the motor’s engagement with the gears. Break-in: slow speed followed by medium speed, followed by high speed, and then reverse order. About 5 minutes of varying speeds will do.

Good luck and have fun!

Siding: required tools for repairing Marklin Z locos: pliers with micro tips, magnifying goggles, set of jewelers screwdrivers, foam work cradle, dish for holding parts, and guitar picks can be used to help remove plastic shells or shells without retaining screws.

4th Quarter 2016 release of the new “Krokodil” – 88563

The Swiss ‘Krokodil’ in scale model railroading is identified more than any other as a ‘Marklin’ model, Marklin produces it in all scales, it appears in their marketing as much as the German equivalent class E94, and its continuous appearance in the Marklin Z catalog since 1979 further reinforces Marklin’s dedication to this prototype.

The articulated Swiss loco type is a fascination for all railroaders: train spotting or model collecting. As a model in ‘Z’ it faithfully reproduces the action of the dual set of side rod wheel sets found in the prototype.

As for its history in ‘Z’ we begin in 1979 with the 8856: green paint scheme presented in the original mini-club wood-grain box. Four versions of the 8856 were produced ending in 2010 with a 5 pole motor version.

The 8852 version in brown paint scheme was produced 1983 – 1990. One other individual release was the totally lovely 2013 Nuremberg Toy Fair 88561 in black paint scheme.

In various intervening years the Krokodil was sold in train sets starting with 8115 “125 Jahre Rotes Kreuz” set that commemorated the 125 year anniversary of the Red Cross in Switzerland. Other sets included the 81423 “Schweizer Guterverkehr” Swiss goods transport set and 81433 “KNIE” circus train set. Along came the unique set 88888 “150 Jahre Marklin”: deluxe illustrated carton with two Krokodil’s including one New York Central ‘fantasy’ loco in white with copper patinated color scheme on roof.

For the first time Marklin is offering some new features in this newly updated version with item number 88563. Updated features include LED’s, hidden catenary screw, new road number, and correct Swiss headlamp/marker light changeover. This Era II class Ce 6/8 III electric locomotive is scheduled for release at the end of 2016, it will be one of the big highlights in mini-club history for this loco type in 37 years.

Marklin has this listed as a “limited run.”

Siding: early ‘Krokodil’s” with 3 pole motors can be upgraded with 5 pole motor part #211904.