Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Saxon VI K update

The LGB Saxon VI K locomotive has received a slight upgrade, with new etched nickel silver number, operator, class and shed plates in place of the tampo printed ones. Along the way, it's also had a slight change of identity, from 99 653, to 99 654. Both were "original" or first series VI K locomotives built by Henschel at the end of the first world war for service on the Eastern Front which they never saw. Sold to the DR in 1919, these two also survived the second world war, unlike six that were sent to the Soviet Union as war reparations. Both were rebuilt in 1964/5, and both were scrapped in 1975. 

The loco has also acquired a crew; the LGB model scales out at between 1:20.3 and 1:19, and the LGB crew, along with some alternatives in the bits box, all looked much too small. The crew I've installed are Bachmann 16mm figures; ironically, the driver figure on arrival was a bit too tall... but he isn't now.

Tuesday, September 01, 2020

Evening on the H&DLR

Relocated from a site immediately adjacent to the siding at Birkenhof, the pole mounted lamp now illuminates the new stop board.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

399.03 Overhauled and returned to service

Freshly overhauled - now with an LGB mechanism in the tender - the Regner 399 returns to service.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Access to the "platform"...

Another item to arrive from Bertram Heyn was a short section of R3 "paving" in milled Komatex.

Most trains call at the outer track at Dottendorf, so passengers really need a logical path across the tracks. This, along with an area of hard standing as opposed to ballast, has now been provided. The dry run with the paving loose laid didn't quite convince, whereas the second two views show how it - now - links to the main station platform, which I think looks more plausible.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Work continues at Dottendorf

Some while ago, I was given a couple of LGB van bodies, both minus various key parts, with the suggestion that they might be suitable as grounded wagon bodies. Having replaced the missing parts, one joined the operational fleet when it was united with a new chassis, while the other awaited its future.

That second van has now found a home at Dottendorf station. Photos of various DR stations show grounded box vans in use as stores or even as adjuncts to passenger facilities, and plenty of examples can still be found in Saxony today. Indeed, the station at Löthain, on which the station building at Dottendorf is based, had a series of similar structures along the goods yard.

Not perhaps the best example, but this grounded coach body is at Unterneudorf on the Fichtelbergbahn.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Summer running...

Despite all the building work, trains have been running as well...

Building the Bertram Heyn Löthain station kit

As mentioned in the last post, I recently bought a couple of Bertram Heyn kit buildings, the second of which is a model of the station building at Löthain in Saxony. It is one of a number of identical station buildings on the Wilsdruff network, in this case specifically on the Garsebach to Lommatzsch section. The Wilsdruff network was home to many of the VI K locomotives recently modelled by LGB and was connected to the Mügeln network.

The basic shell consists, as usual for Bertram Heyn’s buildings, of Komatex walls and a base. The overlays are plasticard and stick straight onto the walls. Photographs probably don't give an idea of scale or overall size, except that it's plainly "quite big" compared to many model buildings.

As with the Schönbach kit, it is up to the builder how much you decide to paint. The walls of these buildings were generally green - seemingly "Reseda Green", RAL 6011 - and a can of suitable paint was sourced.

The wooden overlays and door were painted brown in RAL 8012 in order to protect the plasticard. As with the Schönbach kit, I decided that the brickwork also needed to be picked out with yellow cement between red bricks; fiddly, but I think worthwhile and actually easier than it first seemed.

The roof is supplied in five interlocking sections. In addition, it is for the builder to cut out tile overlays to fit. There are little supports for the eaves, and although the holes in the walls are quite large enough, the ones in the façade overlay were not. A sharp blade resolved that easily enough.

I also fitted a couple of lamps; the real station may only have had one, but two give a spread of light where it's needed on my platform.

The former Dottendorf station on the H&DLR lost some of its magic for me when the new curved platform went in and the existing building could no longer sit on its base plate. I do like the building, which I've owned for over 30 years now, and it won't be discarded. But the Bertram Heyn kit sits well, and the weather (and the blackbirds) will soon ensure it gets grubby. Both the café/bar and the signal box are quite large models, so the proportions seem reasonable to my eye.

The model building has an imitation felt roof, as photos from the late 1960s/early 1970s show a rather dilapidated building with the roof in particular not in good condition and really no evidence of the diamond felt tiles many of the buildings have today. Moreover, the plastic sheet supplied with the kit as a roofing overlay didn't really convince. Anyway, it'll have to do - I've no more black masonry paint!

I think we're there. Nameboards and signs all fixed to the walls, lighting wired up, fence line amended.

Building the Bertram Heyn Schönbach block post kit

A couple of months ago, I bought the Bertram Heyn kit buildings of the Schönbach block post and the Saxon station, Löthain. Both follow a similar constructional design, with the core wall and roof parts made from Komatex onto which you overlay plasticard detailing. The kits come complete with some glue, Ruderer L530, which so far I've been very impressed with – sticky with good "grab" and works well with other plastic models. Not delicate, but this is garden scale!

Schönbach was the first kit to be constructed. The parts are milled Komatex and plasticard, and very crisply done, although on closer inspection they need a bit of cleaning up as there is some "swarf" in the milled channels. The half timbering on Schönbach is a tight fit into milled channels of the wall sections, and the Komatex underlay needs a little work to get it to fit. Some painting is also needed, although how much is up to the builder. The cement between the bricks really needs painting, and I used some dilute yellow in the traditional railway modellers’ approach; apply a yellow wash and then rub it off the bricks with a paper tissue. The milled channels are very absorbent, whereas the unmilled outside surface is slightly glossy and less absorbent, so this approach worked really well.

With the cement lines painted, the wooden overlays were applied, swarf from the milled channels was cleaned out and they were then painted brown to protect the plasticard. Window frames and the door were also painted and installed.

The next – major – stage was to build a four square building around the baseplate. To aid keeping things as square as possible, I made and glued some 90 degree angle pieces into the corners of the walls before sticking everything together, but I have to say that everything is very accurately cut and it fits together well.

The roof, as supplied, is two pieces of thick black Komatex, with the underside milled to the size of the building so that the thicker part fits inside the four walls and the thinner part overlaps. There's a brick built chimney to sit on top. The instructions suggest that the roof can be painted with "Dispersions- oder Steineffectfarbe", which sounds a bit like tartan paint to me. However, the outer surface could do with something more textured than the shiny smooth Komatex. If it was an indoors model, I'd stick very fine grade emery paper over it, but that wouldn't last outside. I opted for paint and sand, using black exterior masonry paint, with sand on top, then a second coat of masonry paint. I left an area clear so that I could stick the chimney onto a plain surface, and then it was on to the details.

The exterior light is an addition by the H&DLR management, and is a Beli-Beco lamp similar to those in use elsewhere along the line; otherwise everything needed is contained in the kit including telephone bell, door handle casting, the "F" telephone signs and cabin number signs. The design is spot on – everything fits exactly as it should.

The final decision was exactly where and how to install it. Being both small and plastic, it is quite light; I first placed it temporarily on the ground to assess the (fairly sheltered) location, but when I came back to it a few minutes later it had already blown over. I have put a ground spike to hold it in place, and it hasn’t moved since. Running in a cable for the lights was almost as big a job as building the kit, but that’s another story.

Café/bar update

At Dottendorf, a few changes have been underway. The café/bar, which is a beautifully detailed Pola kit, includes an outdoor seating area. There were a couple of problems with the previous arrangement; the Pola chairs and tables were somewhat delicate (although they'd survived a decade outside) and cleaning around them was awkward (because they were stuck down to stop the blackbirds destroying them). Consequently the area tended to fill up with garden detritus that was difficult to remove and resulted in breakages to the "furniture".

But it looked too bleak with no furniture at all. I toyed with getting some more substantial furniture from Bertram Heyn, or with posing the little diorama that I already have there. The diorama, seen also in the post below, looked good, but is way too delicate to leave out all the time.

So a new diorama has come into being, one that should be able to stay outside all the time, but can be removed for detritus removal as and when necessary.

Using the Pola furniture - which after all has survived this long - and some strips of cobblestones, it's an insert that fits under the gazebo. We'll see how it goes and whether any additional detailing is worthwhile, but it certainly looks more café like with some seating, and as the lockdown in Germany and Austria is easing, we'll need somewhere to sit, won't we?

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Lockdown tidy up

In common with many people, I'm sure, I've taken advantage of the weather and being locked down due to the coronavirus to undertake some maintenance around the place... including on the H&DLR.

Monday, April 06, 2020

Spring time running

It's been a long time between posts, and if I'm honest I've no idea whether anyone even looks by these days. But for the record, here's an update, so if you have enjoyed this blog, please let me know. The H&DLR has just ended what is probably the longest ever period without running a train; the line was severed last October to facilitate some tree work in the garden. It was only restored in March this year, just in time for the coronavirus restrictions to kick in. Some photos of running in the spring sunshine.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Latest projects...

A little track simplification, alluded to in the previous post. The siding at Hozapfel was really only decorative and with the points that gave access to it a constant source of unreliable running, they have been replaced by plain line.

A second project has been the creation of the Steyrtalbahn beer barrel car - familiar to many in its current incarnation on the Zillertalbahn. It was originally created by the OBB for the Steyrtalbahn before that line closed in 1982.

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Summer trains

Trains have been running on the H&DLR, but trackworks have also been taking place. There's an annual drive to maintain or improve reliability! We've also had visitors, in the form of an RhB steamer.

Saturday, February 02, 2019

Winter snow

With the ice giving way to softer snow, it was time to plough the tracks and runs some trains!