Saturday, May 31, 2008

A weathering challenge...

"The -best- weathering is subtle. But then again it's not only how you weather (materials/tools/techniques) but what you are weathering. Here are a few examples: A BR44 at the end of epoch 3, DB, a work horse, is a lok I weathered heavy, not last legs, but not run thru the 'lok-wash' :-) BR10, very little, it was still a flagship at that time for the DB and well taken care of. The running gear of a dampflok was dirty, so that is were most of the weathering applied. One can also consider the era, where as 1-2 epoch loks were will taken care of, still, coal, grease, water, oil, and the weather had some effect. Even an e-lok is going to have dirty boogies and carbon on the roofs. If modeling epoch 4 dampfloks,... well you can go to town!" Sent to the Märklin Bar and Grill by Dr. Dirt, aka Kevin Brady, May 27, 2008.

Inspired by Dr. Dirt, went to work on my BR 44, epoch 3 markings, but at the end of that or early epoch 4, not yet with the DB signet, missing smoke deflectors and perhaps close to retirement... In looking at the picture I see some spots I want to touch up, mainly the wheels. For some images of steamers during that period go here.

Also my BR 10 001, at then end of epoch 3 or very early 4, perhaps sensing that it would soon be replaced by an 110 electric or 220 diesel in 1968... Images of the BR10 002 in 1967 , and in 1968 and 1972, the year of it's demise... This was years before the engine they were supposed to replace, the BR 01.

There were only two of these "black swans" built. 10 001 survived and can now be viewed at the Deutsches Dampflok Museum, DDM in Neuenmarkt-Wirsberg, Germany.

Monday, May 26, 2008

More weathering

Kept going by weathering the Roco BR114 DR (Ost) and immediately ran into trouble that I may yet be able to get out of unscathed... While the Dullcote I had diluted caused no problems with the Brawa engine, it did cause the paint on the Roco to run, including in the area of the markings on the side of the cab... Once dry, a hair dryer helped stabilize things fast, I continued weathering, the alcohol wash being ok. Overall, the engine looks good, and while I had not intended to use the brass etched plates, they will get applied now in place of the smudged markings... Pictures of that when I have them on. In the meantime I learned a high-stakes lesson about testing in an inconspicuous spot (like the inside) first...

Not one to be deterred, I immediately grabbed another engine off the layout, this one a Märklin BR38 DB and proceeded to weather. First the Dullcote, then only very selective alcohol washes with a fine brush, then the powdered pigments. The wheels and undercarriage got a diluted wash of india ink. Goal here was not to overdo it.



Finished it off by adding real coal to the tender.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Clean up and filth...

After having the HVAC ductwork cleaned in the house (and not having done any maintenance in 6 months or so) the layout was a complete mess with dust and dirt everywhere. It was so bad the trains wouldn't run, and that's with the supposedly utterly reliable "3-rail" AC Märklin... As usually happens, the true extent of the mess was discovered when company wanted to see trains run... So, got to spend a whole weekend blowing and vacuuming dirt up and cleaning track. Then cleaning all the stock on the layout as well... Next time the ducts get cleaned, the layout gets covered, despite the contractors assurances. This was not the kind of weathering I had in mind!

To preserve my librarian's pallor I left the sunshine of this Memorial Day weekend and headed into the basement to get back into developing my weathering skills and trying something new. To raise the stakes I selected my nice and shiny Brawa BR 132 of the DR (Ost), a beast of a Russian built diesel-electric. The plan was to create a faded dirty appearance like that below taken in the early 1990s after DB and DR had merged into the DBAG. The DR had plenty of engines in that state though too. Notice how clean the windows are, even on the sides.

Here's a view of the canvas... I do not want as intense a fading as in the prototype image above, but do want to show that this is an engine in heavy use with less than exemplary maintenance.

First I removed the shell and all windows. Then I brushed on dilute Dullcote (1:3) and when that was dry gave it a wash of 90% isopropyl alcohol to create the faded effect. When the shell was dry I began working on the sides first with some soot weathering powder, then in some areas a little darker gray. The roof received the same treatment. The bogies received a wash of the dilute Dullcote and when dry a wash of black india ink with a touch of burnt umber ink in alcohol. Finally some dark rust was lightly applied. Finally, everything was put back together. My windows are clean too, just like the prototype.

Next up, a way too shiny Roco BR 114 of the DR (Ost).

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Want to show a major industry but don't have the space?

Want to show a major industry but don't have the space? Coal mining is one of the favorite industries to model on a railroad by providing plenty of excuses for long unit trains pulled by BR44s, 221s, 120s, and 132s (the latter two being DR-East). To accurately model a major active coal mine like those that existed all over the industrial Ruhr, the Saar, the area around Aachen, or in the Braunkohlenrevier of the DDR would require huge amounts of space. However, what about modeling a coal mine that has closed either because it was no longer profitable or simply because it was time to follow the coal seams in another direction.

Roland Keller posted a great series of images from the Alsdorf region around Aachen in far western Germany. In response to a question regarding time frame and suitability for modeling, he responded saying that the mines in this region started migrating north even before WW II leaving behind the mine heads and various outbuildings required for ventilation and pumping out the groundwater after closing. The first major zechensterben (mine deaths) in Germany occurred in 1958, then again around 1962. The imagery would remain similar, with few abandoned structures remaining, and nature reclaiming the rest very quickly. The process would repeat itself again and again into the current time. The series of images continued here, and here. Another amazing series of the mine operations in this region by Martin Welzel can be seen here.

This would be fairly easy to compress into a smaller area or the background with trains rushing by in the foreground... Finally an prototypical use for the small Faller mine head... Maybe I wasn't "that far" off base when I placed mine... ;-) (These mines were very often in urban areas).

The first photo above is from Roland Keller's series in the Historische Bahn forum of Drehscheibe Online. The series can be viewed at:

Sunday, May 4, 2008

My First Entry: Introduction based on activities of the past few years

Over the past 18 or so months, the N-scale module project based on a variation of Bend Track has utterly dominated my/our modeling time at the expense of the H0 layout. Cleaning the dirt from a recent HVAC duct-cleaning off the layout revealed just how much it has been languishing despite being fired up once a week or so... The N-scale project was something we got into as a ETE CNY Chapter project. I had initially thought "one module, and that's it." Well, then my wife (and end module at that) and daughter both decided that they wanted to build one, too. Well, guess that meant I needed to build another end module so that we could run the trains we had mysteriously acquired in the interim. Amazing how that happens... You can read all about our module project here. Anyway, the modules will likely be the dominant feature at shows for the foreseeable future, but my efforts will go back to the H0 layout. Still lots to (re)do there. Otherwise it'd be boring. Below is a Google Earth (TM) view of our family modules.

View of my end module with Sofia's ghost (rather long exposure with no flash)

Links to images of my/our main layouts and information about the Central New York Chapter of European Train Enthusiasts can be found at left. Participating at train shows in the Central New York region is a big part of what we do as a family, as well as being something we enjoy. In the recent past that has been with our n-scale modules, the last show having been the Finger Lakes Railfair in Ithaca, a show we fear will close for good. We've also brought an H0 scale switching puzzle and small z-scale layout to past shows, both being very popular with the younger set. Below some pictures of those.