Category Archives: Marklin Z

Repainting 8135 coaches for the SJ: Part 3

This is the 3rd and final post on the repainting and lettering of the Marklin Dompfeil train set (8135) for the SJ.

Before (Marklin 8135):

After (SJ coaches using FR decal set):

At the start of this project I had never repainted a train car before or operated an airbrush thus much was learned.

SJ coaches in z scale have been extremely limited, FR released a type litt AB8k 1st and 2nd class in a single release of 30 only, FR 46.299.00 was based on a German built coach that was used on a ferry service. In order to accurately represent this coach FR modified a Marklin coach that was shortened by one window.

photo: FR 46.299.00 (edition: 30 total) – SJ type litt AB8k 1st and 2nd class coach

For those interested in SJ modeling in z there are numerous locos and freight cars by FR, but scant few passenger coaches until FR released a decal set several years ago intended for the Marklin 8135 coaches, these German built coaches for the Dompfeil train set were likewise used on the SJ.

The process of producing a set of 4 coaches started with disassembly of the coaches followed by stripping, in this post the final stages are documented including masking, painting, and lettering.

Identifying the sections to paint include the undercarriage, sides, and roof. The roof is a clip on part, it does not require masking unlike the shells. Painting two colors of the same part requires masking, I decided to start with the undercarriage and vestibules color, I sprayed the entire shells with this color with no masking.

Before applying the brown paint I masked off the vestibules and undercarriage. The masking material is similar to common masking tape, but it is markedly thinner with a slick surface, it also comes in a variety of widths. I chose masking tape of 6mm width manufactured by Tamiya.

After paint is dried the masking tape is removed, for areas not protected by masking retouching maybe required, I chose to paint the buffers with a brush as the final stage of painting, masking these seemed an impossible task and fine brush work produced great results.

The FR decals in the set are applied by rubbing onto the cars, they differ from other decals that are applied with water. The decals provided had alignment marks to make positioning easy, my burnishing tool was an artists’ burnishing bone, but a soft tipped lead pencil should work fine.

After decals are applied a final coat of clear lacquer is sprayed on to protect the finish and decals. And reassembly follows as the last step.

Notes on airbrushing: I purchased an Iwata Neo airbrush with an Iwata braided hose for just over $100. Several airbrush air compressors were available from the store I purchased the airbrush from with prices ranging in the $220-$300 range, I chose to use a Porter Cable pancake compressor I use for air tools. A fitting is available to connect the braided airbrush hose to this type of compressor for a few bucks. The only difference between an air tool compressor and a specialty airbrush compressor is one of noise, the airbrush compressor is very quiet while hearing protection is required with the pancake compressor. PSI (pressure per square inch) is a determined by testing on a piece of paper, I set the compressor gauge to 20 PSI which worked perfectly, others I researched recommend 15-20 PSI. Air brushes require cleaning after painting, cleaners are available or water can be used for acrylic paints. When the spray is clear the nozzle is clean, other parts should be cleaned as well. A cleaner between paint colors is also required.

Notes on paint: the consistency of paint should be the same as skim milk, most paints may require thinning with water to gain this consistency. I used Testors acrylic paints that I mixed to customize the color, they are railroad based colors that did not require any thinning. The clear coat I used is made by Iwata, it was the consistency of white glue and required thinning to spray. Acrylic paints dry quickly and can be layered on layer without skinning as can be the case with enamels or the combination of the two. The very best results will be achieved with 100% acrylic paints. Careful attention should be applied in mixing paints for airbrushing, straining maybe required to avoid clogs and poor paint results. For safety use a mask and gloves.

Notes on applying decals: as with much detail work careful consideration applies to attaching decals, they are transferred from a sheet to the model with burnishing tools. Best results are achieved with a level flat object, I use a specialty artists’ burnishing bone. Pointy tools will not work! Acrylic paints should be allowed to dry overnight to provide a hard surface for decal work. And very delicate handling until final spray coat of lacquer. I used clear lacquer with a satin finish which is consistent with Marklin’s coach finishes.

For close to two years I had the decal set and a second Marklin 8135 for this project, but I was reluctant to start due to lack of expertise. Plus I was apprehensive to strip the paint of mint Marklin coaches: after stripping there was no going back. I discovered that air brushing is easier than I thought producing a superior paint finish. Now I feel the airbrush is as important to the railroader as the soldering iron. Future uses for this new tool include weathering track, cars and locos.

Good luck and have fun!

Siding: FR’s Ra 987 electric locomotive is a compatible loco for this coach set, it is based on the prototype from the mid 1950’s:  FR 46.132.01 was produced in a limited series of 32 total, it is still available from quality-toys-trains on Ebay.

 

Marklin 88893: BR 10 with experimental paint scheme

The rarest of the BR 10’s in ‘Z’ is the 88893, it was only available from the mini-club Center upon release. This One Time Series from 2004 features the experimental paint scheme proposed by Krauss-Maffei, they also proposed a unique angled smoke deflector with large proportions. This was another paint scheme that was not adapted for the new DB BR 10 instead black was the chosen color. The 88893 was released in an attractive wood box, it features a 5 pole motor.

Siding: one of Marklin’s Era III DB coach sets will complement this loco and look great to boot!

Rewiring Marklin 8871 and 88711: ICE trains go fast!

Marklin’s 1990’s releases of the TEE 8873 and ICE trains 8871 and 88711 suffer from a design flaw: poor electrical connections caused by the couplers and a train set wired in parallel. Similar to those old Christmas lights when one bulb went they all did, these Marklin train sets suffered a similar fate that was corrected with the further releases of the TEE variations. The ICE train sets changed in another way instead of having two powered units as did the 8871 and 88711 the 88712 and 88714 included one powered unit located in the middle of the train this being a coach.

A simple solution to to correct the poor performance of the three TEE and ICE trains is to bypass two diodes located on each circuit board of the powered units. There are four diodes located on each circuit board, two affect the lights (LED’s) and two are near the motor. Bypassing the diodes near the motor with a soldered wire is all that is needed to allow the locomotive to move forward and reverse thus allowing each powered unit to work without the former wiring constraints.

Note: no need to bypass the diodes on any other TEE train version released after 8873.

Note: 30 gauge wire is recommended for wiring circuit board, tinning the ends of wires is recommended before making the soldered connections.

The early ICE trains use an interesting light bulb with a red and a clear bulb soldered to a circuit board similar to the traditional mini-club bulb. The red bulb is hooded to direct the light better, but unlike the LED’s the light is rather dim unless the loco is cranking! Note: very fragile bulb and no longer available, but if you are good at soldering you can make your own.

The couplers as mentioned are faulty for electrical connectivity, but work great when both powered units are rewired: coach lights no longer flicker. The couplers for the two ICE trains are susceptible to damage due to the untethered ends of the copper strips, great care should be taken to prevent bending. A good recommendation is to stock up on parts as they become available on Ebay. The original couplers for the 8873 are infinitely more resilient than the couplers used on the first two ICE trains.

Note: save old loco light bulbs that don’t work, new ones can be easily made by using the original circuit board for soldering news bulbs to them, generic bulbs are available at train shops in the correct size.

Siding: the 5 pole motor replacement for the 8871 + 88711 is 211907 which is one of the more expensive motors for upgrade, and you will need two. I have not made the upgrade to 5 pole with my sets, the original 3 pole motors work exceptionally well at low speed and throughout the range, but the 5 pole motors would be much quieter.

Siding: removing the tight fitting shells from 8871 and 88711 is more easily accomplished with synthetic guitar picks of .70 mm thickness or thinner.

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!

 

Marklin 88892: BR 10 Experimental Paint Scheme

A special cast gold BR 10 was released as the 3rd of this loco class in 1997 as item number 88891, in 3 years the 4th BR 10 would be released as 88892. The Era III 88892 was a One Time Series for the MHI Program in an experimental paint scheme, various designs were floated before indecision landed on the black paint scheme represented as 8889. The attractive blue with white pinstripe would have been a stunner in the late 1950’s representing a new loco with “forward progress” suggested by the innovative design, but this and other paint schemes were shelved when a consensus of opinion could not be reached. Model originally delivered in an attractive wood box.

Siding: all BR 10’s are Era III, it was a short lived locomotive type with just two prototypes, Marklin released 5 models of this loco but only one was based on the prototype, the others included a special Marklin cast gold model and 3 experimental paint schemes that were proposals only.

Marklin 8889: BR 10 Steam Locomotive

Following the release of the 8888 for the MHI program a second BR 10 (8889) with the same operating number was delivered in the same year: 1994. But unlike the one time release of the 8888 the 8889 would remain in production for 14 years ending its run in 2008. During the long tenure of the 8889 in the mini-club line-up a significant upgrade occurred with all Z locos, in 1999 the 5 pole motor was introduced which has since become standard equipment in all ‘Z’ locos. For collectors of Z here is an example with two variations: one with original 3 pole motor and another with 5 pole motor. Color scheme for 8889 is black with white pinstripe lettered for DB with operating number 10 001.

Siding: for collectors buying BR 10’s today it will be rare to find one directly from a Marklin dealer in new condition, the secondary market is the more viable place to find these locos. Buying tip: be sure the loco includes cap that hides screw on top of shell, this is a very hard part to replace and downgrades the value and appearance.

Marklin 8888: BR 10 Steam Locomotive

The first BR 10 loco was released in 1994 as a One Time Series for the MHI Program: product number 8888. Sporting a very attractive paint scheme the 8888 was delivered in blue and gray with bright red wheel spokes and matching tender trucks. A heavy cast metal shell with operating number 10 001 for the DB. Design and styling seems to scream Era III in the age of streamlining as a emblem of progress and modern aesthetics. The model produced by Marklin is a very good runner with plenty of weight to maximize the pulling potential of 4-5 coaches easily.

photos: 8888

Repainting Marklin 8135 coaches for the SJ: Part 2

Part 2 is completed: stripping the old and prepping for the new. Marklin’s 8135 Dompfeil set is the subject of the repaint and older SJ coaches will be the end result.

I am using the FR label kit for the repaint which includes dry transfer lettering, lettering will take place in Part 4.

Following Part 1 which was disassembly this post concerns stripping paint from plastic train shells. The stripper is 91% isopropyl alcohol available from any drugstore, its cost for this project $4.00.

I first placed all parts to be stripped (4 coach shells and 1 roof panel) in a small plastic dish and submerged them in the alcohol. In about 1 hour the paint appeared to be softening on the shells. Using a toothbrush I applied little pressure to remove the paint and decals, it would take numerous attempts with time in between to remove the finish, but it eventually started coming off with the toothbrush. The roof which was yellow in the original set was much more difficult to strip, it required an overnight soak in the alcohol. The silver painted roof panels I did not strip these I will simply spray over, I stripped the warm white panel due to the thickness of the paint which was heavier than the silver paint.

Note: use of eyewear and gloves is highly recommended. The fumes from the alcohol is very strong thus a well ventilated work area is best, take frequent breaks to avoid breathing in too many fumes, the plastic parts are not affected by the alcohol, they will not melt.

For paint that was in small crevices or around roof details I made use of a toothpick, soaked in alcohol, it worked well to dislodge hard to get at paint.

Following the stripping I washed each part in mild Dawn dish washing liquid and rinsed well.

After inspecting each dry part I repeated the stripping to remove paint on some of the window frames.

photo: before

photo: after

The next step is painting which will include constructing a spray booth out of cardboard box, matching paint chip FR included in kit, and constructing armature to hold the parts for painting.

Siding: the Dompfeil coaches are the same ones made in Germany for the SJ, they featured aluminum roof panels: early ones were painted gray and the late ones were shiny silver. For these coaches I am modeling the earlier ones to be pulled by an Ra 987 Express locomotive.

photo: FR – 46.132.01 – Statens Jarnvagar SJ (Swedish State Railways) Serie Ra 987 Express locomotive. Limited Release of 32 locos total.

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.