Category Archives: Railroading History

Streamlined Tank Locomotive BR 61 001: “Henschel-Wegmann”

The legacy of Marklin Z collecting is the historical heritage charted with unusual locomotives such as those we can no longer see in person. Germany’s BR 61 001 was one of two locomotives used for express train service for the Henschel-Wegmann trainset: Dresden-Berlin Route. Two versions of the BR 61 001 have been produced by Marklin for Z gauge: original prototype version (81436 trainset) and post-war version (88610).

photos: Marklin 81436 – Henschel-Wegmann BR 61 001 (DRG)

Built in 1935 the BR 61 001 (DRG) was a carefully designed locomotive for speed and efficiency, its lightweight and streamlining including coaches allowed increased speed, plus hauling just enough coal and water for one-way travel allowed further weight limits thus replenishing supplies in Berlin or Dresden was an efficiency standard implemented by its design.

photos: Marklin Z BR 61 001 (DRG) *originally released by Marklin as the “Henschel-Wegmann” trainset 81436 included 4 streamlined coaches with matching paint scheme not pictured.

Note: Marklin 81436 was the 2005 One Time Release for Insider Members.

Speed was everything in the mid 30’s with the BR 61 001 competing with the speed record set by the 1932 “Flying Hamburger” of 99mph seen here as Marklin 88870: 

 

The BR 61 001 was no slouch setting a record 109mph which would remain unbroken for the Dresden-Berlin route through the next century.

photos: Marklin 81436 – BR 61 001 (DRG) original prototype

Post War the BR 61 001 was repainted and lettered for the German Federal Railroad and allocated to Bw Hannover. Its use was limited to 6 months in the late 40’s followed by 1 year of service logging thousands of miles between November 1950 and November 1951 whereupon it suffered serious accident damage, a year later (1952) it was retired and finally scrapped in 1957.

photos: Marklin 88610 – BR 61 001 German Federal Railroad (DB) post-war version

Streamlining of early German steam locos was perfected with the class 61 incorporating the tank locomotive concept with bold body contouring which allowed fast express train service, it was state of the art in the mid 30’s whose life was cut short in the early 50’s. Another example of preserved railway history in Marklin Z.

photos: Marklin 88610

Note: fine detailing and large brass steam whistle

Will there be a BR 61 002 released in mini-club? The more powerful locomotive built in 1939 featured larger water tanks, smoke deflectors and 3 axle bogie, such a release would complete the historical record of this locomotive class.

Marklin Insider 88507: cab forward BR 05 DRG

One of the more interesting Z items released in the past few years was the 2014 Marklin Insider “Fine Art” edition 88507. The release of the BR 05 Era II cab forward steam locomotive marked the first and hopefully not the last special “Fine Art” releases, it was produced in brass with numerous add-on parts and filigree spoke wheels. Motive power is provided by new coreless motor with bell shaped armature. Available to Insider Members, the release was presented in special packaging including wooden box and certificate. Possibly due to the high price of this locomotive some were not delivered and a few are still available from dealers including Reynauld’s in IL.

Built in 1937 the BR 05 003 was the only cab forward design produced of the class 05, it resumed post war service in 1950 after restoration work was performed by Krauss-Maffei, it was retired in 1958. Cab forward steam locomotives are a technical marvel which allow better visibility but require larger crews.

The Marklin model is 5 inches in length over buffers, due to brass casting it is heavy featuring a robust motor thus mechanically sound and smooth running. If the locomotive is displayed it can be fitted with full skirting provided with the model or skirting can be removed for running on track with maximum radius of 195mm, with full skirting the locomotive can only go straight. Spacing adjustable between locomotive and tender. As with past historical releases Marklin has included a cast metal builder’s plate for Borsig.

BR 05 003 was scrapped in 1960, photographs and technical models provide the historical record of this interesting locomotive.

Siding: joining the Marklin Insider Club is less than a $100 a year, member benefits include the annual Club Car in the scale of choice, Marklin Insider Magazin, Insider Model reservation certificate, Insider Club News, annual catalog, laminated club card with member’s name, and “Year of Marklin” DVD.

 

 

 

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.

Eisenbahn Journal: Literature for European Train Enthusiasts

Two plugs here for a fine publication and the dealer who sells it. For collectors interested in studying the technical details of European trains modeled by Marklin the Eisenbahn Journal with its large format and beautiful photographs will inspire such research. Unfortunately the Journal is only available in German text but the numerous photographs alongside google searches will enable some good armchair journeys into the history of Swiss, German and Austrian trains. Plus layout and scale modeling articles not unlike railroading magazines in the United States.

A special edition of the Journal is called “Extra” and features a yellow tab on the cover. Extra’s are special editions each with a particular theme either a railroading era or specific locomotives. This edition also includes a DVD playable on computer but not compatible with USA DVD’s. The cost in the United States is $30 per issue which may seem like a lot until you have one to examine in person.

Only one dealer in the United States seems to sell these fine magazines and they are Reynauld’s of Elburn, IL. Reynauld’s has a big presence on the internet featuring the best website for model trains, it does not feature inventory levels which is a bit of a drawback but contacting them before ordering is the best way if there is an item that you fear is no longer available.

The “Ludmilla” issue is a particular favorite of mine along with the V200 Extra issue which includes a couple of photos of the mighty V300.

Located in the very small town of Elburn, IL Reynauld’s is located in a defunct bank on Main Street near a mainline servicing Chicago. My Wife and I visit the shop a couple of times a year, it is fun to look at fine very limited production HO models displayed in cases as well as the Eisenbahn Journal room with hundreds of back issues for sale. Plus there are the numerous Z accessories, new and old Marklin items. You never know what you might find so give yourself plenty of time. Operated by brothers Rey and Roman who are real European train guys Reynaulds is a great resource for collectors. Here you will not only find great prices but the shop also features a buyers club, every purchase adds money to your Reynauld’s Rewards account, but you have to sign up for it.

Siding: the link for the Eisenbahn Journal can be found on the left margin of Reynauld’s website: https://www.reynaulds.com/eisenbahn.aspx

Siding: Reynauld’s is the exclusive USA dealer for MBZ building kits.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

Customizing and Repairing: Rotary Snowplow Train Set

I recently purchased a customized 81361 Rotary Snowplow trainset, this being the first customized Marklin Z in my collection. I would not have bought it if I knew it was a used set, it was described as new. My impulse to buy outweighed good judgment, but it turned out well. The silver lining was how nice the customizing was, it was carried out by someone with knowledge and love of trains. And the former owner applied a great deal of precision in the work they did.

Precision is the word best applied to working in the “Z Scale World”, much of what we do in this small scale requires planning, patience and skill sets unique to the hobby. My best tools for working on the railroad are tweezers and magnifying goggles which I am wearing right now!

Another silver lining aside from the excellent look and operation of this train set is learning something new, in this case wiring and weathering a rotary snowplow train set.

Modification: in order to improve power pick-up to the motor the tender’s wheels are used in combination with the loco’s driving wheels to receive electricity from the tracks. This is accomplished by soldering two wires to the leads and running those wires to pick-ups that connect to the tender’s wheels. Word of caution with this modification: tender pick-ups have to make good contact with the wheels without preventing them from turning. This modification also requires exposing two wires from the loco cab to the tender, for some this maybe distracting. And this modification may not even be deemed necessary by most otherwise Marklin would have built it into the original design.

Weathering: not so much weathering but bringing out the texture of the cutting wheel. Carbide cutting blades are used to cut through large snow drifts in the prototype, in this model a dry brush with silver paint was used to highlight this part of the cutting wheel. Great care is required accomplishing this feat, but the result is interesting. If you are new to dry brush practice first on something inconsequential before taking on this project. And don’t forget magnifying lenses either in goggles or desk top magnifier.

Repair: the materials Marklin uses for the trains is the best available and correctly chosen, in this model the plastic hinges and couplers can over time require adjustment. To tighten a hinge on the snowplow doors simply remove the door and with careful handing of tweezers gently pull the hinge sides closer together, they get loosened up over time, but the plastic is flexible enough to allow very gentle pressure to tighten. The unique coupler that attaches snowplow tender to steam loco is another example of the aforementioned, apply gentle pressure with your fingers to reduce the size of the coupler end thereby making a tight connection with the loco. Without a tight connection between snowplow tender and loco the train will uncouple.

Maintaining your collection is part of the fun of owning it, and we all become better in time. And it is a good time to better understand the workings of our trains.