N 1304 continued to be built during February, and after a couple of days fitting the electrical contacts for the wheels, we turned our attention to the handrails and everything else that used the fine brass rod. We had received from SMJ two handrail bending jigs (“Bockningsmall” on their website, if you want to get some), and these proved to be extremely useful. Nevertheless, we decided to work on this part of the project only a few bits per day so that we could allow the glues time to dry, and to not get too frustrated with this very fiddly phase! Some of the stanchions needed drilling out because they hadn’t been made properly, but other than that, it all went in very well.
During February, we also worked on the livery; satin black top-coat for the body, dark grey for the chassis (so that it can be seen), red buffer beams, wood coloured window frames on the cab sides, but brass window frames at the front and back. Touching up with more satin black made the model look very smart, a great boost to the morale.
With the painting done, it was time to glaze the windows. We used a so-called ‘canopy glue’ which dries clear. Being of a fairly thick consistency, we were able to draw this across the (window) openings to seal them (thus a white window), and waited for it to dry. During the drying process, the loco was turned upside down for a while to prevent the tops becoming too thin.
The electrical installation was quite a challenge. It would have been quite straight forward if we had not added working lights, and these of course, gave us a problem. They are mounted on the body; the rest of the electrics are mounted on the chassis. The solution was to glue a contact board onto the back of the cab for the wiring from the lamps (via resistors, of course), and to have an extension wire for each pole of the motor soldered to it. This means that if/when we need to take the loco apart, we will have to de-solder it, but we’re used to this with our Heljan loco! Of course, the loco was not designed to have working lights; and running the wires, and connecting it all up was a very challenging job; not helped by not having the ideal tools — they are in storage in England, still!
Putting the loco together was challenging; some wiring needed pushing to one side, part of the floor-plate needed filing away to make room for the extra pickups, and one component was fitted differently to the suggested way and subsequently added strength to where the chassis is screwed to the body at the front. At this stage, brake pipes, steps and other fittings were attached, but the number and makers plates were the last, after some further paintwork had been touched up.
We used Roco close couplings in the pockets intended for their Rc-loco. So there is no outward movement, but they are NEM-362 pockets, and they turn. To fit them, the pins were removed and replaced by holes, and M2 screws were used with the M2 tap making an opening in a cross-brace made from off-cut at the front, and using the rear securing hole at the back because it just happened to be in the right place!
With the attachment of the number plates, the locomotive was technically finished in terms of construction, but some elementary testing would be required before the loco could be submitted for running in and dedication to traffic. Thus, its completion date is likely to be in March!
“Snagging” started in the last week of February, and found a ‘dead short’ across the wheels. This was traced to the metal brake shoes which are mounted on metal rods. As a temporary measure, insulating tape was used to make an extra layer of shoe, but longer term, the rods may have to be replaced with plastic, awkward given that they’re 0,5mmØ and the strength would be questionable. We also found poor pick-up where the chassis is relied upon, so providing the extra copper contacts where possible was clearly a good idea.
SJ Kbps 21 74 370 4 388-7 arrived in February, and this completes the set of three wagons of this revised version of the Kbps. Curiously, and not uncommon for NMJ, the wagon and the packaging do not match, but the wagon number was shewn, not the catalogue number, so although a similar number to one of the others, this is not the same. The ‘370 4’ part of the number suggests that it was rebuilt from a type Os! Unfortunately, the check-digit is also wrong (also common among NMJ wagons); it should be –8.
Dekas has advertised some “Ugkkpp” grain wagons (type Kö, pre-UIC) which will be an important addition to any Swedish layout.
Jeco has advertised some new models recently; all out of our epoch, but interesting all the same. The X2000 appears in two five-car sets; one in the special livery for the Linx train that worked between Stockholm and Oslo [X2-A310], and the other as the solitary unit that went to China (but is now back in Sweden) [X2-A330]. Also, the Y6 is available in IBAB livery as MT 1086, with some suitable authentic modifications [Y6-A150]. The catalogue numbers shewn here are for the standard DC analogue versions.
Roco is advertising the HectorRail 241 Electric loco (Ep-VI) again , and two wagons; Ep-V Car carrier wagon , and Ep-VI Sliding wall wagon, grey with GC markings . All are suggested as new items, but only the Ep.VI wagon has not been seen before (we already have the other wagon at the FLMJ, from 2019).
Vagnverkstaden (http://www.vagnverkstaden.eu/) is winding down their stocks and will cease trading as well. In March last year, Göran Nilsson said, “I have started sketching a model of SJ RB4. The design will be like my cast carriages, and the price is calculated at SEK 1295.” Then, in November, the closure was announced. The closure is for personal reasons, but the RB4 will be the last cast carriage for normal gauge. On the narrow gauge comes the announced VGJ wagons Gssl, Hml, F and C1. We do not know if somebody else will take on the range.