Category Archives: Laser Cut Buildings in Z

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?

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.

Perfect Partners: Archistories, FR, Z-Modellbau

Three manufacturers from Germany are probably the best small manufacturers in Z gauge today, each complementing one another with prototypical accuracy, precision engineering and design plus high quality material build. Each has their niche filling in where Marklin has not including early Prussian building kits, Scandanavian locos and rolling stock plus small locomotive classes untouched by any other manufacturer of Z.

The smallest operating locomotive in Z is represented in the offerings of Z-Modellbau, here is a Kof II painted and lettered for the NSB Railway coupled to FR Freudenreich’s container car for the SJ.

Far smaller in length than a single container car this locomotive features a brushless motor and brass gearing with metal shell.

In another photo a Prussian car-shop is juxtaposed alongside the tiny Kof II locomotive classified Skd211 for the NSB.

Siding: Kof style locomotives are essential for shunting and regional service with simplified operating procedures, a no nonsense locomotive with many useful duties. I plan to operate this one along a pier for shunting harbor freight.

quality-toys-trains on Ebay is the only USA dealer for FR and Z-Modellbau, Andreas is a trusted seller of rare Z!!!

Archistories: Farmstead “Dorpeder”

The other day I announced on this blog the new releases of Archistories, and there are many! Now the world of Z has some excellent buildings for urban and rural by this manufacturer and others, but modern suburban buildings are not covered as yet in laser cut. The Prussian style of architecture is a primary concern for Archistories with many very interesting building types represented with some equipped with motors that turn water wheels and windmills. All Archistories buildings making lighting a joy with predrilled holes in the base and partition walls, but the material nature of laser cut is opaque and won’t glow as does plastic when it is lit.

This farmhouse represents framework construction of the Westphalia region of Germany. Brick is used to fill in between the timbers sometimes the bricks are white washed with the prototype or simply stuccoed, they come in many variations and framework designs in Germany are rather unique seemingly organic constructions with personalities of their own. The wild variety of timber placement in this type of construction sometimes appears planned following some measure of symmetry and other times asymmetrical owing to unique and non duplicated forms. Framework construction with exposed timbers is seen alone and other times combined with sheathing along the roof trusses, brick and stone also make appearances not exclusive to foundation walls. The durable construction technique is also facilitated with strong foundations and steep pitched roofs of slate, terracotta or thatch.

The build of this kit is fun and enjoyable, the finished result is the best thus far in Z for a farmhouse. Some aging maybe desired depending on the era being modeled. The prototype for this example I would guess is mid 19th century to early 20th century when steam ruled and before German reclassification.

ZScaleMonster.com and ZScaleHobo.com are the dealers for Archistories in the United States, both are excellent and reliable sources for this and many more Z scale products.

Looking at Old Photographs for Modeling Ideas Part 5: Farmsteads

Tilled earth, tractors, cows, horses, wagons, people, crops and fruit trees are just a few of the many items a modeler can include with the rural landscape. But missing no more are really good barns and farmhouses in laser cut kits by Faller and Archistories. The recent release of two versions of a farmhouse and barn come from Archistories and include framework construction as does the earlier release by Faller. But Marklin too released a barn (slaughterhouse) with suggested stucco construction. So thus far there are many farm buildings with Archistories receiving the big award for Best in Show!

Archistories “Kallental” (ARC-405171) and “Dorpeder” (ARC-406171)

Faller Bauernhaus (282785)

Marklin 89791 (slaughterhouse including accessories not pictured)

Photo 1: Hartum (village near Hille, Germany)

Photo 2: Hille. Uphoff (note steam tractor)

Photo 3: Horstmeyer. Hille

Photo 4: Hille. Meyers (seed company? note: large barrels, crates and merchants)

Photo 5: Hille. Burmester (note: white wash chipping off stucco suggesting age)

Photo 6: Hille. Wilhelmy (note: farmhouse with stucco and barn with brick in fill framework construction)

Photo 7: Hille. Horstmeyer (note: muddied path with puddle)

Photo 8: Hille. Bormeyer (note: barn with whitewashed brick in fill and fruit trees planted alongside barn)

Siding: MBZ building kits are available from Reynauld’s in IL, they feature numerous rural buildings and farmsteads but purchasing can be delayed for many months due to small production never the less they maybe of interest to certain themed layouts.

Good luck and have fun!

 

Looking at Old Photographs for Modeling Ideas Part 4: Rural Houses

Three lovely photographs of homes in the country include scenes with lush vegetation, walking paths, young and old trees. How to model such a dynamic landscape will require keen observing and patience. Plus the right materials and tools.

The Frye House by Archistories

is a good building to start with, add various colors and lengths of Noch Static Grass, trees and hedges but don’t forget to shape the topography. Unless you live in Iowa  rarely is the land flat. Lighting a scene to replicate noon day sun is yet to be discovered when i have a solution I will surely post it. With the right light shadows will be soft and colors will be bright. Tissue paper could solve window treatments in the Frye House which features partition walls as a standard feature thereby allowing selective interior lighting. Walking paths, cemetery and fences are part and parcel of a well lived country side. Today it is possible to model all aspects of these three photographs but first comes planning and careful execution. One such tool that is expensive but worth owning is the Noch Staticmaster, it charges static grass thereby making it stand on end realistically. I got mine from ZScaleHobo.com. A Z scale steam engine taking a journey through such landscapes is the layout experience everyone will enjoy.

Photo1: Cantorhaus. Hille (choir leaders home next to cemetery and Christian marker)

Photo 2: Hille. Sasse

Photo 3: Hille. Bexhof

Good News! New Releases from Archistories 2017

Archistories “Dorpeder Hof” (photo: courtesy Archistories)

As many of you know who read this blog I am big fan of Archistories building kits for Z gauge. Archistories can be credited perhaps with igniting the trend of fine laser cut buildings in Z, they are fun to build and real architectural models: one step closer to reality! And they look great!

Archistories “Kallentaler Hof” (photo: courtesy Archistories)

The good news is Archistories has been been releasing numerous items recently with more to come including scratch build accessories and fencing solutions!

Today I received kits of two versions for farmhouse and barn: “Dorpeder Hof” and “Kallentaler Hof”. Both feature framework construction, but one is stucco and the other features brick fill with timber framework. The brick detail in the “Dorpeder Hof” kit is superb, it is also the kit I chose to build first. Each kit includes two buildings: farmhouse and barn with terracotta tile roofs. Overall an easy build which should take the experienced modeler 3-4 hours to complete. The only real difficulty with the buildings is lining up the filigree framework which is glued over the brick panels. Note: it is impossible to realign paper after pressure is applied.

I usually include a few notes based on my experience building laser cut that I hope are helpful. The instructions are always without error with Archistories, but I would point out a rather unique construction outlined in the instructions: farmhouse ends are built layer upon layer in more than 10 steps which require patience and precision, maybe 1/2 hour should be allowed for each. It is easy to overlook a step or part with complex constructions, probably rehearsing the assembly of all parts without glue is helpful. The other remark I would make is with the barn, part A10 is a delicate part that I recommend gluing to the base, but gluing it to the top panel only after it is assembled without glue. And great care should be exercised to avoid bending or breaking part A10.

Note: unlike plastic kits, some laser cut parts need to be aligned by the modeler such as decorative embellishments and moldings thus the parts that suggest joists should be aligned precisely with the framework timbers as is the case with the sides of the farmhouse.

Two dealers in the United States are reliable sources for Archistories:

  1. zscalemonster.com
  2. zscalehobo.com

Siding: the right glue for laser cut is Noch 61104 available at zscalehobo.com.

Siding: for realistic treatment of layout scenery stay tuned for historic photos recently discovered that might be helpful. Find under category “Scenery: Historical Guide.”

Marklin Maintenance Facilities: 1 + 2 + 3

Marklin has thus far released three maintenance facility laser cut kits with related accessories starting with 89805 (2015): “Small Railroad Maintenance Facility, 89806 (2016): “Small Maintenance Facility” and 89807 (2017): “Maintenance Facility Setup”. All kits are available.

89805 includes a small loco shed with an attached workshop, small water tower, standpipe, coal loading bin with crane and buckets, plus two cast metal speeders for rail inspections (*includes track compatible rollers).

89806 includes a two stall loco shed, Prussian water tower, cast metal power shovel, sanding tower, 2-inspection pits and blasting rack.

89807 includes Sulzdorf freight shed, track scale structure, tool rack with tools, oil standpipe, smokestack, and handcar.

Build all three: Accessories in each kit complete the tools and equipment for maintaining steam locomotives thus building all three affords a realistic representation of steam maintenance facilities. The only redundancy in the three kits are the first two loco sheds but each can be used in various parts of a layout including the first loco shed alongside a small rural station for rail bus storage. Two water towers are included in these kits: one paired with a standpipe and the other representing Prussian design.

Notes on construction: Several challenges exist completing the various kits including filigree cutouts that layer over building sidings, small parts to assembly and the intricate nature of working small. Careful preparation will go along way including precise cutting of parts, alignment and gluing. Magnifying goggles, tweezers and small drops of wood glue are all that is needed. I recommend Noch glue for laser cut available from ZScaleHobo.com, this is an easy to apply strong glue and superb to apply right from the tube due to the small applicator.

Special challenges with these kits: Window glazing requires manual cutting and measuring unlike some kits which diecut the glazing. Loco doors on the second kit’s shed do not have glazing frames so the glazing is glued directly onto door panels, perhaps consider some customizing to add a subtle frame around the windows(?). Some filigree parts are lightweight paper so great care needs to be taken to avoid rippling of the paper thus achieved with very little glue applied. *A glue stick is ideally suited to avoid applying moisture to paper constructions but in the case of laser cut buildings in Z it is unsuitable for a variety of reasons.

Marklin 89807

Rating: All three kits are perfectly tuned to Z scaling and rich in details. The freight shed in 89807 is superb as are the water towers which isn’t to say any of the other constructions in these kits are anything less. I would highly recommend all three kits, they were super easy to build with noted special challenges the finished buildings look great.