Category Archives: New Releases

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!

 

New Release: Marklin 89759 Steel Girder Bridge

With the new release of a steel girder bridge Marklin has further committed to finely detailed and textured laser cut kits in Z. For those who have been fortunate to discover Archistories kits this one is similarly packaged, but it is not an Archistories kit, the manufacturer of this kit is Modellbau Laffont who have produced other kits recently in the Marklin Z line-up.

For an easy introductory laser cut kit this is a good place to start, it will take about 1 – 2 hours to complete for those with a little experience perhaps longer if this is the first time completing such a kit. A fine OLFA razor knife is perfect, a pair of fine tweezers and common white glue although I prefer NOCH 61104 glue designed for this purpose.

The steel girder railroad bridge is common to all parts of the globe in one form or another because of its high strength and low cost. Usually older bridges are spotted with rust and the general rule is follow a maintenance schedule including repainting this type of bridge periodically to extend the life many years in the future. For a railroad layout a choice can be made to add weathering such as dirt, grime and rust which I will be following up with in a future post.

The bridge kit is loaded with detail including the heavy riveted plates joining angled beams, it also features a wood plank walkway with attached railing. The completed project is a well thought out heavy duty steel bridge that is rigid as a model too.

The cost of the bridge is reasonable, I bought mine for $16.00. Overall length is 4 1/4 inches and multiple bridges will be an eye catcher on a layout. Bridge supports will need to be fashioned with some type of masonry either brick or stone, these veneers are easily available, they are glued over cardboard or styrofoam. With its filigree base the light from your locos or coaches will reflect in the river below to spectacular effect.

Good luck and have fun!

New Releases: Archistories “Signal Towers” + Marklin tank loco 88957

The perfect companion for Archistories buildings along the rails is Marklin and vice versa. Three new releases by these two companies plus one more Archistories will be the gist of this post.

Both companies of German origin go hand in hand, Archistories reaching back in time with their early Prussian design brick industrial buildings which service the railway and Marklin’s wide range of Era 2-6 locos and rolling stock. A new release by one of these companies builds on the tradition of what has been released thus far.

For Archistories two new signal towers one of brick and the other framework construction complement another interlocking tower with exposed timber released a few years back.

Variations in their kits include thus far have included framework versus brick as was the case with the mill building which can be seen here along side the new release signal tower of exposed timber/framework construction. Framework construction can be seen in Germany in a variety of uses including residential. Adding several different building types in exposed timber versus brick makes for a very interesting landscape.

Notice the mill propped by tweezers to level it out for the photo, the wheel extends below grade and it is serviced by a small motor provided in the kit. Simply soldering is required to attach two diodes in-line to the positive pole, wires thus descend below the structure and will thus be hidden from view after the building is planted in your layout’s landscape. The first step to making the mill is the wheel which is the more involved than the rest of the kit, but it is fun to start here knowing that by the end of the day that wheel will be turning wheat berry into flour for your town’s sustenance. The motor provided in the kit is shaped to perfectly conform to the buildings framework, but before proceeding you will want to confirm the motor is functioning properly just to be sure, it is highly unlikely to have a motor defect in an Archistories kit. The manufacturer suggested to me that a couple of more diodes can be installed to reduce the sound of the motor, I am a okay with the movement and sound, I don’t feel additional modification is warranted. Special Note: diodes should never be covered by electrical tape due to the potential of overheating, leave them naked so to speak!

Finding a home on the layout will require a mill race with partially dammed water to create pressure, one door is provided to the bridge that could provide access to a parking area for a truck or wagon. A Preiser figure or two will sure add scale and built into each Archistories kit are partition walls to carefully control light flow inside the mill.

If you have ever wondered what a signal tower looked like way back in the day Archistories has provided us with three examples including the two mentioned in this post. When signal towers had a purpose they housed throw levers made of brass that skilled operators would throw and pull to control semaphores and track switches. In the United States switch towers can be seen variously within large switch yards but the throw switches have been replaced with electronic push buttons. And for that matter modern control can be carried out miles away. Signal towers in the United States were so well built as was other rail infrastructure that many abandoned years ago still stand today.

Archistories has modeled their signal towers/interlocking towers with many throw levers, and they have provided large windows for good visibility, the name of the game is coordination and visibility, railways could not sustain frequent accidents or misaligned trains thus the operator of signals and switches provided a very important contribution to safe and efficient rail service.

Marklin’s new tank loco is a member of the elite new and improved steam loco design for Mini-club that includes partially new tooling including the active side rods whose movement is a lively and graceful dance, new tooling includes detailed running gear and brakes. To not mention the extensive and crisp painting and printing would be an oversight since the level of detail probably extends further than we can see, but it is reassuring that Marklin still goes further than we might require to bring the model closer to the prototype. This one being the KPEV class T12 tank locomotive with “Berlin” destination board and used in suburban traffic. Marklin 88957 is an MHI Exclusive, collectors will need to contact an MHI dealer to order this one. The Marklin Handlers Initiative constitutes those dealers who order everything Marklin produces thus guaranteeing availability of certain releases other dealers may not have access to. Having a relationship with an MHI dealer who also handles your Insider subscription will guarantee your collection grows with some of the rarer releases.

Recommended: Noch 61104 laser-cut adhesive features pin point accuracy when applying glue in small drops for laser-cut cardstock building construction: faster than applying glue with a pin or toothpick!

Good luck and happy railroading!

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!

Your wish has been granted: 2 new releases from Archistories!!!!

It has been too long since I have put together an Archistories building kit, and just the other day I was hoping for a new release; my wish was granted two-fold with the release of a signal tower in two versions: 1. 101161- Dorpeder/Moosbach brick construction variant one and 2. 102161- Kallental/Biberbach open timber variant two.

Archistories 101161

Archistories 102161

*Photos courtesy of Archistories.

If you have not assembled an Archistories kit let me tell you to get on board and put one of these kits together. Realism with fine detailing and historical accuracy are built into each kit. Plus the best build instructions of any building kit out there for ‘Z’. The novice who takes their time and enjoys the journey will produce a building so fine family and friends will take note that this hobby of your’s is serious business.

Archistories granted permission to use two of their company photographs in this post. The photographs illustrate how nicely these buildings can look in a railroad diorama whose design and construction is equivalent fun to running trains. And very satisfactory investment of time!

Laser cut fiber buildings are the next generation, this and other developments in ‘Z’ are getting scale model railroading closer and closer to the prototype.

I ordered both kits the other day from Z Scale Hobo, they should arrive any minute although my postman is on holiday so hopefully these minutes will not pass into hours. Can you tell I am anxious to start building these signal towers????

In the meantime as I continue to wait let me mention a few words about ZScaleHobo.com. Simply posting a link to this store would not be enough, in this day and age there are internet stores popping up all the time, but ZScaleHobo.com is not your typical online retailer of trains.

Here are some of the unique (not overstated) reasons to shop here: 1. enthusiastic specialist dealer/owner Frank      2. accurate inventory posted on the website      3. prompt shipping      4. variety of hard to find parts in stock     5. well rounded products by respected manufacturers including this one     6. best prices

You won’t find a better dealer of Z scale!

Here is a link to peruse the Archistories offerings at ZScaleHobo.com:

http://zscalehobo.com/archistories/archistories.html#Z-Scale

Time to go, I hear the postman. Question: which building should I start with?

Good luck and have fun!

 

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.

 

2nd Report on the new SBB pantograph: FR 41.490.00

I just received the new FR pantograph for Swiss locomotive types: Ae 6/6 and Re 4/4II, and I immediately installed it on the Marklin 8849 Serie Ae 6/6 electric locomotive; it is even better than I could have expected!

Installation of this part on one of the appropriate Marklin Z locos is a restoration project so to speak, for the first time the correct pantograph can be installed on Swiss locos which originally but incorrectly included the same style pantograph used on German locos. Until now Marklin has offered three styles of pantograph design with variations for a total of 6 different pantographs; they are all installed with a single center screw and furnished with electrical roof equipment of various cast plastic parts.

The FR pantograph is installed with a single center screw of the same diameter as the Marklin one, but simple modifications must be performed including the removal of plastic parts on each side of the original pantograph. If you want to preserve the plastic removal parts simple cut the melt points on the inside of shell: DO NOT USE A SOLDERING IRON TO REMELT THESE POINTS, USE OF AN SOLDERING IRON IN THIS MANNER WILL MORE THAN LIKELY RESULT IN PERMANENTLY DAMAGING THE SHELL BY MELTING IT. I simply pulled these parts off because I had no intention of saving them, each broke into many small pieces.

The pantograph is delivered in a nice plastic box with the screw installed in the pantograph, and a part sheet is included that contains the 4 post caps that are used in the installation. To upgrade one loco you need to buy a pair (2) of these pantographs (FR part #41.490.00). Cost to replace one pair of loco pantographs with the new FR ones is $56 including shipping for USA buyers. No directions are needed or included, but I will provide a few notes:

-First: remove shell from loco and unscrew the pantograph from inside shell

-Second: remove plastic parts from each side of original pantograph mounting on shell

-Third: working over a workbench preferably foam use tweezers to break apart 4 small post caps (part is located below foam insert in plastic box

Fourth: very small post caps are installed over the holes on shell that plastic parts (now removed) were originally engaged with, pantograph legs are inserted through the openings in the post caps, these small parts are precision made but due to their size they are somewhat difficult to work with, I installed the post caps over each of the four holes in alignment with the legs some wriggling of parts occurred before all four legs met up with the post cap holes, place pressure on pantograph top, tip upside down line-up screw in hole and tighten *you will find your own way during installation, use care to not lose parts and perhaps work over a parts collection tray working with one pantograph at a time

Several important advances have been made in Z-scaling including the advent of the 5 pole motor, side rod detailing, can motors and now a new pantograph for two Swiss class locos!

The following Marklin locos can be upgraded to the prototype with this new part: 8829 (Ae 6/6 released 1994-1996), 8849 (Ae 6/6 released 1987-1993), 8850 (Ae 6/6 released 1984-1987), 88501 (Ae 6/6 released 2003-2008), 88591 (Re 4/4II released 2012), 81410 (Ae 610 released 2010), and 81413 (Ae 6/6 released 1998-1999).

 

FR New Release: Prototypical SBB Pantographs!

Marklin Z electric locomotive pantographs are of two types: older scissor style and single arm. Variations include silver, black and blackened. Plus a third prototypical pantograph made just for the GG1’s. Marklin’s Swiss and German electric locomotives have been installed with these two styles of pantographs even though they vary with the respective prototypes. Marklin’s pantographs are an excellent standard style universally supplied on all electric locos with more recent single arm examples in black or blackened finish.

An exciting new release by FR is an upgrade for Marklin Z Swiss class Re 4/4II and Ae 6/6 locomotives with a newly designed pantograph accurate to the prototype. Here is a part described by FR that is an exact copy of the original pantographs for these locos that is easy to install. I want to share this information as it has just been announced, how long they will be available is unknown. I have already ordered 10, when they arrive I will add another post describing the installation with photos, but it looks like a unique opportunity to upgrade these Swiss locomotive types.

Re 4/4II

 

Ae6/6

Check out other FR Swiss freight cars each equipped with standard mini-club couplers, this company has been the first to release a number of interesting freight cars including K3 boxcars. Marklin’s foray into freight cars for Swiss modeling in Z is very good but limited to few examples, FR offers freight cars that have not been offered by Marklin in Z.

Hot New Release: FR’s Autotransportwagen Hccrrs 47.819.01 + …02

FR continues to offer unique items for ‘Z’ including the new forthcoming release of a two car “auto-transport” set for the Norwegian State Railway (NSB). The 2 draw-bar coupled cars are full metal construction representing fully enclosed auto-transport cars to protect from harsh weather and vandalism as described on the FR website. A bellows enclosure unites the two cars that conceal their contents without openings except for unloading gates on car ends. Privately owned by MOTORTRANSPORT A.S. Drammen this car type is classified as Hccrrs and registered with the NSB. Could these be one of the more unique railway cars, they certainly are designed for their country of origin! Lively colors make Scandinavian trains a real eye catcher to assemble and run in the countryside!

FR is accepting pre-orders for this carset with proposed release of May 26, 2017. And as with all FR releases this will be produced in small batches thus selling out fast. For buyers in the United States simply register on the site and price will be reduced automatically to reflect the deduction for Germany’s 19% VAT tax.

This carset is also available in two pairs with different reporting numbers under item number 47.819.02.

Harald Freudenreich is in a class of his own. Without FR Scandinavian railroads would only be represented by a few freight sets and NOHAB locos all of which are great pieces but small in number compared with Marklin’s production of Swiss and German.

Siding: FR locos brandish a unique coupling hook that engages seamlessly with standard Marklin couplers thus allowing for the much needed snowplows at each end. Freight cars are equipped with standard Marklin couplers thereby allowing remote uncoupling on Marklin’s specialized track section for this purpose.

Siding: Can motors of current design practice are installed in FR locos, combined with mostly metal construction FR locos have the ability for pulling very long train consists.