It is now almost nine years since I officially declared my first scratchbuilt engine done (See the post “Mission accomplished”). But that second engine is still only a dream. Last year the only progress was this “Proof of concept” for a wheel based on a brass center made by Shapeways and threads made by yours truly. Not much, but enough to keep the dream alive!
God is in the details
No dramatic progress on the modelling front, but I added air-hoses to my mineral wagons. Bought som nice castings for glad-hands from Andreas Schuster in Germany. They couple up using small magnets (1mm X 1mm). A nice touch!
A magazine for all model builders
I have an affection for paper based magazines, and The Narrow Gauge & Industrial Railway Modelling Review is an absolute favorite. The latest issue, 111 is a Locomotive Building Special, and it is an adrenaline shot of inspiration for this modeller. The pages are packed with scratch built models. Most of them in 0-scale and larger. All of them in metal. The editorial praises a book on scratchbuilding published in 1948. An article on a manual pantograph milling machine rounds of the issue. Wonderfully archaic, much like scratch building railway models in itself.
The magazine is strongly devoted to building models, and focuses on modeling techniques and fine craftsmanship.
But do not take my word for it. Order your copy today, or even better, sign up for a subscription!
The Narrow Gauge & Industrial Railway Modelling Review
As far as I know, I am the only person modelling the Thamshavn Railway in 0-scale. But this interesting model is solid proof that I am not the first. This model of TB engine no. 7 was part of the estate after one of Norways most profilic modellers. But he is not the builder, he had himself inherited the model from an unknown modeller. So it is a complete mystery who built this model. It is probably built in the sixties or seventies. Even in the unfinished state the craftsmanship is very impressing. I am suspecting that the builder had a professional background in machining. The standard of the work is so high that I considered buying the model and completing it. But in the end I concluded that the model should be left as it is out of respect for our unknown collegue.
Time to launch another project
As the wooden mineral wagon is drawing to a conclusion, it is time to launch another project.
The subject this time is a steel mineral wagon from our favorite meter gauge railway. These steel wagons are sort of the signature wagons for this railway and I sometimes wonder why I did not tackle them first.
Many years ago (note the yelllowing styrene!) I tried to scratchbuild one, but this is as far as I got:
The hopper is not too shabby, but the underframe leaves something to be desired. And a competely scratchbuilt wagon is not the way to go as I (the superoptimist as always) want an entire train of them. At least 10 wagons.
So I am contemplating a resing casting for the hopper. The underframe will be etched parts as for the wooden wagon, but I will design a few brass castings to speed up construction.
If anyone have opinions on how to make a kit for this wagon, please feel free to comment!
My main project for the last two years has been a wooden mineral wagon to go with my Westinghouse engines. Two of the wagons are now about 95% ready except painting, lettering and final weathering. Here is one of them:
The underframe is mainly built from etched parts, with some brass castings for the leaf springs and journal boxes:
I really dread the painting of the underframe, but I just have to muster the courage…
Bumping the blog
With no posts in nearly two years and seven views the last week, it might seem a bit pointless to try and relaunch the blog, but here we go anyway!
The lack of postings doesn’t mean I have given up on modelling, far from it. But my time has been been divided between working on my 0m models and publishing the members magazine for the Norwegian society of model railroaders, MJ-Bladet. I have also spent more time on forum postings instead of the blog. You just can’t beat the instant feedback of the forums, and I can really reccommend the RMweb forums and the Narrow Gauge Modelling Online forums.
when it comes to Modelling I have divided my time between my meter-gauge models in 1/45 scale, and standard gauge models in H0. But it is more and more clear to me that it is the 0-scale models that are closests to my heart, and if it had not been for the camaraderie of the local model railway club, I would have dropped H0 scale entirely.
So be warned, what you are likely to encounter on this blog is scratchbuilt models of a rather obscure character. With the occasional digressions, of course!
Distant cousins (3)
In this instalment of our little series we can present a very fine 7mm scale model of one of the Metropolitan Railway´s Bo-Bo electric engines. It was built by Ken de Groome from a kit that he designed himself. It is available from his company, Ken´s Profiles. The kit consists of etched brass, resin and brass castings.
The prototype was put into service in 1907, and operated in regular service until 1961. A preserved engine of this class can be seen at the London Transport Museum. A museum that is well worth a visit, by the way.
Photo: Barry Norman
Distant cousins, part 2
I was happily banging rocks together, but then I heard the sound of the symphony orchestra… If Attilio Maris work is not the gold standard of scratch building, it is most certainly the nickel-silver standard. But seriously, if anyone can point me to better work in any scale, I would love to see it.
His models of Italian vintage electric engines are built to 1:32 scale and, and they are built in series of around 20. So you could perhaps argue that this is small-scale manufacturing by a professional and not scratch building by a hobbyist. Not that it matters in any way, the models speak for themselves.
The techniques and materials are quite conventional. Etchings, lost wax castings and machined parts. No CNC tools are used, but the etching artwork is CAD.
Mari is one of those modellers whose work is flawless, and even if I will never achieve this quality myself, his work is a great inspiration. My dream is to be able to build pantographs as detailed as these! In fact, after I discovered Maris models I began toying with the idea of moving up to 1/32 or 1/35 scale for my own modelling
I recommend anyone interested in high-octane modelling to watch the videos Mari has made available on YouTube.
I feel that there is a kind of common denominator between all vintage railroad equipment running under overhead wire, regardless if the equipment operated in downtown Chicago or the middle of Norway.
I love all sorts of modeling, regardless of scale and prototype, but there is something special about 0-scale equipment with trolley poles or pantographs!
A very fine example is this scratchbuilt 4-truck articulated trolley freight locomotive. The model was built by William J. Clouser in the sixties. Clouser was a fine-scale pioneer, and the model is built to Proto:48 standards. It stands up to the best of today’s models, and it is a good reminder that even with all our high-tech tools, there is really no substitute for good craftsmanship.
(William J. Clouser photo, Eric Bronsky Collection.)