It is gold in them thar hills!

This weekend it was time for another out of town experince. Some friends have a cabin in the mountains very close to the mainline between Oslo and Trondheim.

A bonus in addition to the great food, wine, company and general scenery is that that the area is very interesting from a modellers point of view. It might in fact be one of the most spectacular stretches on the Norwegian railway network. A lot of classic images like this have been taken in this mountain pass:


The locations around the actual railroad are very familier to me, but I have never drifted very far from the railroad tracks.

So I was totally taken by suprise when we came by this old roadbridge when we went for a little hike today:

Bridge over troubled water
Sort of looks like a Colorado narrow gauge railroad bridge!

You can´t carve this, individual stones is the only route to go, me thinks.

Concrete abutement
The other abutement is cast concrete for variety, the builders knew how to please a modeller!

Nice bridge, but would we like it even better with a set of rusty, narrow gauge tracks? Oh, yes we would.

It´s time to check the drawers for Grandt Line NBWs!

This bridge of course cries out to be modelled. Fortunately, the local Model Railroad club has a large scene that is based on this area. Maybe I will pass this one on to a fellow clubmember, but then maybe I will not…

Another project started

I have the attention span of a gnat, so I launch new projects at an alarming rate. Of course, few of them are ever finished.
One of my future projects is a saloon coach in 0m gauge:

The Royal Coach

Since the main focus will be on the fantastic interior of the coach, the mechanism must be strictly under the floor.

I found some inspiration for how to approach the problem of building powered trucks on the website of the excellent british modelling collective, Clag.
I have a bit more space to play with than these 4mm scale (1/76 ) modellers, so I began toying with the idea of using a somewhat larger Faulhaber precision motor with an integrated gearhead.

I purchased an 15mm X 12mm motor (Including the gear!) from an german company named Lemo Solar to test the concept . The plan is to use up to 4 traction motors just like the prototype.

The size of the motor looks just right besides the wheelset it is supposed to power:


But what about sound? For some reason I suspected that such small gearheads could be real whiners, and I did not want to invest in 4 of the little buggers just to find out that they screamed like a choir of banshees.

So I recorded the sound of the engine and compared it to the engine I used for the mechansm of my Westinghouse engine. That engine is whisper quiet and a really smooth runner.

Here are the results:
Sound recording of 1512 motor (.waw)
Sound rcording of 2224 motor (.waw)

The sound of the geared motor is not that bad, remember that the mtor was placed almost on the top of the microphone. The second recording sounds quite noisy, but in reality, that engine as mentioned above is really quiet.

This might seem a strange subject to make such a fuzz about, but I am planning to run my models “al fresco” with no artificial sound added, so I want the model motors to sound nice on their own. No sound decoder in other words.

But if these tiny babie really work in practice remains to be seen. I will get another 1512 motor, and make a working dummy. Not a lot of parts involved to make a working boggie, really. Four pulley wheels, four teflon bearings and two sideframes.

Sounds like something even I should be able to finish!

Myth debunked? (Boy, that was fast…)

Researching my last post, some very alarming material came to my attention. I found a very fine online scratchbuilding tutorial that among other things also shows pictures of wood siding treated with the Greenberg/Nash method. I hate to admit this, but it looks great. I have a sneaky feeling I did not read the NG&SL articles thoroughly enough, since it has escaped me that an over-stain with Flo-stain natural pine is central to the concept.
Hmm… Maybe the biggest myth really is the claim that Driftwood is an overrated product?
The professor is still out on that one, and he will hopefully be back with some research that can settle the dispute.
Check out the tutorial yourself. Even if you are not remotely interested in these Driftwood matters, the tutorial offer some very good building and painting tips. Among them –surprise, surprise, an alternative to the techniques involving flo-stains. The results look every bit as good.

A very bleak start on the year

No, this post is not a comment on the current financial crisis, it ia an followup to the post weathering wood .
One of the challenges when you use real wood and want that silvery, almost boney look is that untreated wood has a base color that is more yellow than white.
In a very rare inspired moment it struck met that maybe the thing is to bleach the wood before you stain it?
Continue reading

Pantograph progress

In the video of my electric prototype engine a very prominent detail is missing:
The pantograph.

An electric engine without a pantograph is like a bald Hippie, Hagar the Horrible without a horned helmet or Dolly Parton without a… wig (didn´t you know?). Well, you get the point.

Problem as usual: Have never built one, dont know how it works, lack of prototype info etc.

All excuses aside, some progress has been made:

Model pantograph

This is what it should look like:

Proto pantograph

I really don´t understand why I have pushed back on the building of the pant so long, it is after all *the* single most important detail on the engine.
It is the only detail that no other type of engine can boast of.

Actually, I do understand why I have avoided the challenge. It is a delicate contraption, has to work flawlessy, and involves a lot of tricky joints that need to be really solid.

Should be ready for the centennial jubilee in 2008! (as all my products should be, of course.)