Category Archives: Siding

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.”

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!

Soldering Irons: 2 choices for small works

Honing one’s skill with soldering is gained over time and the right tools help.

The most important tool is the soldering iron, many good ones are on the market so deciding which one feels good in your hand trumps every recommendation I will hence forth make. Working with mini-club due to small scale and plastics require delicate operation so one cannot stress the importance of an iron that is comfortable, but two irons that I want to share have been newly introduced to me that are very good and both made by Weller.

The first iron is part of a kit, it is sold with a base station that includes a holder and sponge, but it also regulates the output if the iron is plugged into it. It comes with a standard flat tip, but numerous tips are available including pencil tips which I like for circuit board soldering. This kit sells without solder for $45 on Ebay with free shipping. Features solid construction and multiple heat settings: Weller SPG 40.

The second iron is battery operated, it works with 4 batteries and reaches full output in 30 seconds. Weller claims it will do hundreds of soldered joints with one set of batteries, when it stops melting solder it is time for a new change of batteries. It is a really nice iron for easy cordless operation and lightweight handling plus includes a work light. The standard tip is a pencil tip, the kit also includes a clip to hold it between solders, solder, and batteries. This is $20 at Sears Hardware. One difficulty with this iron is the rather tenacious grip of the battery holder clips, it is required to press the sides of the battery holder to slide the compartment out which is not easy. The solder also includes a plastic cap to keep the tip clean during storage, I recommend removing the batteries between uses in case the switch is turned on thereby possibly creating a fire hazard! Two settings on the power button include low and high temp, I found low temp worked perfectly for soldering fine solder and 30 gauge wire: Weller Light Duty 6-8 watts cordless battery operated iron.

Siding: flux core solder is the recommended due to its ease of use, it does not require a separate flux.

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.

Tinning: the soldering practice briefly explained

Tinning is simply the soldering of stranded wire to make solid wire, but many railroaders are not aware of this practice and its benefits.

Why tin? Soldering the ends of stranded wire eliminates the fraying of stranded wire which can become a nuisance over time when the wires leading from the feeder track have to be stripped for the transformer posts. Also this type of wire is easier to cut to length for intricate repair work. It is not recommended for Marklin plugs because it can be brittle and break when screwed into these connections, Marklin wire makes a better connection with these plugs.

Before soldering a connection it is recommended practice to tin the ends of stranded wire to make soldering easier.

Siding: mini-club wiring of circuit boards can be a touchy exercise, tinning the ends of wires to be used and cut to just enough length will shorten the time the circuit board is subjected to soldering.