Category Archives: Layouts

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

Looking at Old Photographs for Modeling Ideas Part 3: Railway Scenes

What is placed near a railway crossing and station requires planning and expertise. The two photos I am including here are a station and a grade crossing. Hedges and trees line the platforms with numerous kiosks located near the glass roofed portico. Old fashion iron lanterns once offered by Marklin can be seen in the railyard. The grade crossing with arms raised include several people giving a strong impression of scale, grade crossing arms are comprised of tapered poles heavily weighted on end.

Photo 1: Deynhausen. Salzsaline

Photo 2: Minden, Bahnhof

1848 Minden Bahnhof today

Siding: figures by Preiser add interesting scale features and points of interest, consider placing figures near view of trains as MOW (maintenance of way workers), passengers waiting for a train, or simply walking figures along the tracks or frolicking on a day off.

Interesting note: Minden Bahnhof is located just blocks from Archistories headquarters in Hannover, Germany.

Looking at Old Photographs for Modeling Ideas Part 2: Roads

One of the great challenges for me is modeling realistic roads in Z scale. Before asphalt and cement roads were dirt, gravel, cobblestone pavers or brick. The likely road surface around 1900 in the country was dirt which varied greatly in color, width and smoothness.

The attached photographs give a glimpse of what a country road in a farming community would have looked like including cattle and horse dropping and the texture of wagon wheels in mud plus the occasional appearance of leaves blown against a wall.

Photo 1: Hille. Strasse

Photo 2: Hille. Strasse

Photo 3: Strasse. Apotheke (pharmacy presumably to the left)

Siding: Noch offers numerous choices for roadway construction including, gravel, cobblestone, and asphalt. Check out ZScaleHobo.com for these and other offerings from Noch.

Looking at Old Photographs for Modeling Ideas Part 1: Public Buildings

Photographs offer a vast array of ideas and insights into the past, and those touchstones may be a resource for modelers in Z. I recently purchased a collection of albumen photographs produced between 1890-1900 of various German subjects including railway scenes, town architecture and rural scenes that include farmsteads. If you model German railroading before reclassification these photographs maybe useful for ideas on scenery construction and scratch built buildings.

I will be featuring 22 photographs from this collection that appear to be made by the same photographer who used a 5×7 view camera with glass plates thereby insuring crisp detail. The precision of these photographs will be helpful in viewing fence types, tree types, road construction, topography, placement of buildings and the like. Each photograph is identified in the lower right corner, I will be researching these locations as much as possible, but consider for a moment that all appear to be taken in roughly the same region of Germany and most cases Hille, Germany which is situated west of Minden in Westphalia. Note: landscaping tends to look more overgrown than contemporary landscapes, in order to model this effect layers of landscaping materials need to layered in size and color.

Photo #1: Porta. Wittekindsburg built in 1896 (restaurant with people congregated along a sandstone fence)

Photo 2: Hille. Schule Witloge (school with excercise bars)

Photo 3: Molkerei (milk processing plant)

Photo 4: Hille. Pfarrhaus (parsonage)

Photo 5: Hille. Hartmann (goods store owned by Wilhelm Hartmann)

Photo 6: Minden. Kriegerdenkmal (1870- 1871 monument Minden)

Siding: Archistories has released numerous wood and metal fences depicted in fine laser cut plus industrial smokestacks to further accessorize Z layouts.

 

 

 

Super Elevated Track and Centrifugal Force

Whether in scale or in prototype super elevation works for both. Modelers in Z and other scales sometimes seek out realism that results from much knowledge and expertise, “super elevated track” is one such practice that has been incorporated into layouts by modelers for years.

Speed, mass and tightness of curve produce centrifugal force that is countered by superelevation of track. Several interesting positives of super elevated track that occur with the prototype include less wear and tear to locomotive wheels and track, but higher speeds through curves and passenger comfort are primary reasons railway track incorporates this technology.

The degree of elevation varies by usage and country, in Europe the maximum elevation allowed is 7 degrees. It should be noted that maximum elevation occurs gradually through curves thus allowing a smooth transition for a train and its passengers. The wheel flange of slower freight trains using the same track as high speed express trains will come in contact with the inner rail whereas the express train’s wheel flanges will contact the outer rail through a super elevated curve.

Superelevation for railways sounds like new technology, but it was proposed when railroads were newly introduced in the 19th century. Higher speeds and more curves propelled the idea into reality, such was the case during the second half if the 19th century in the United States . Modern technology is also incorporated into train suspension thus allowing cars to tilt through curves.

Note: roll angle of rail (cant) is not the same as superelevation, cant refers to rail tilt whereas superelevation refers to height of outer rail relative to inner rail of a track section.

Modeling superelevation in z requires a calculation and method for applying. In the United States the maximum elevation allowed is 6 inches on the outer rail thus at 1:220 that calculation is .0272 inches. Applying the technology to Z scale track is a matter of preference but keep in mind the maximum elevation with the prototype is gradual through a curve. Several ideas to propose include the use of styrene of the required thickness placed under the rail sleepers or placed under cork roadbed, wire can also be fashioned to lay under cork and outer rail thus providing an easy installation after the cork roadbed and track are laid but before they are fastened.

Superelevation is clearly one of the technologies that can be incorporated into a layout to more closely align with the prototype, adding this feature to a layout is not often done but the realism achieved maybe essential to some.

If customizing track for superelevation is not your thing than you are in luck, Rokuhan has introduced superelevated track into their program which of course incorporates roadbed for snap together track sections.

Learn more about Rokuhan superelevated track: http://www.rokuhan.com/english/news/2016/04/post-31.html

Select Rokuhan dealers in the United States include zscalehobo.com, zscalemonster.com and ztrackcenter.com.

Good luck and have fun!

Siding: refer back to the prototype often when modeling a layout, even at the reduced scale of 1:220 much can be learned and shared with the prototype.

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.

New Release Build Kit: Marklin 89807 Freight Depot

Marklin new release of a freight depot in laser cut cardstock is the “Bee’s Knees”! This was a fun kit to put together and aside from taking extra time on window glazing went together surprisingly quick. Marklin labeled this kit as “Maintenance Facility Set-up Part 3”, it includes loco maintenance equipment as a bonus but the building can be used as a stand alone freight depot. Marklin 89805 with loco shed, coal loading crane and bins is considered the first in this series and 89806 is considered the second in the series which includes loco shed with two tracks, water tower, and cast metal power shovel.

Measuring in inches 4 1/2 (length) x 1 15/16 (width) x 1 9/16 (height) the new freight depot kit is loaded with detail with a very pleasing color scheme.

The 2 chimney building allows workers warmth at both ends with the expected heavy draft coming from the 6 large freight doors complemented by iron framework ornamentation. The framework construction typical in parts of Germany sits atop a cut stone foundation with windows around the perimeter.

A crane is permanently installed on the dock and when properly installed swivels. Heavy beams support the docks with sets of wooden steps allowing access from the ground. It is possible to light the building with pre-cut holes for installation and one partition wall to create lighting effects.

Construction tips: kit designed for the modeler with a little experience with laser cut cardstock buildings. This kit features all the challenges you may ever see in laser cut including filigree framework that installs over brick panels. The chimneys are always deserving of care, attention and time because they involve the inner forms for construction followed by 4 side panels that need correct alignment with a chimney cap installed on top. Results are always better with properly installed window glazing which is the first step in all laser building kits with windows. A time consuming exercise relying on cutting precise squares and rectangles out of the provided mylar sheet. Don’t proceed building this kit without the window glazing, they give depth to the building especially when lit from within or side lit. A characteristic of laser cut cardstock buildings are the sometimes flimsy papers used to complement 1:220 scale and intricate detailing, overly thick paper stocks would diminish the overall look of fine detailed z buildings. Gaining experience with these kits will surely reward the z modeler with correctly scaled and interesting architectural models. Weathering is certainly a consideration to add depth and character to a building of this type, the docks would receive heavy wear from dollies and hand trucks representing the dirty paths embedded in the dock’s planks, soot from the chimneys and age patina of steel sheathing on the roof. Air brush and dry brush techniques for both areas of the building.

Accessories in the kit: the building could have been enough for this very successful kit, but as an added bonus loco maintenance equipment was also included: rail bicycle, track scale with building, steam loco tools and stand, oil standpipe, and smokestack.

This kit is highly recommended.

Good luck and have fun!