We’re reaching the stage where there is not much more that can be done to the D-loco! It will be dedicated to service before receiving the replacement pantographs or proper number plates, but the remaining jobs to do before then are fewer in number. Handrails have been made and fitted to all of the doors. Presently, they are silver in colour, but a later job is to repaint them black. The handrails around the cab ends will finish this model. There is a technical job that requires further investigation, that of the faulty lighting. The likely cause is one of two possibilities, faulty diodes or feedback; but we need a proper workshop in which to fully investigate.
Work resumed on the SMJ carriages at the beginning of June with the painting of etched parts and then the fitting of the handbrake columns, fall plates and awning brackets to the two ex-OKB models. Unfortunately, after all this time in storage, one of the handbrake columns was damaged, but not beyond repair. The brackets were secured to the walls, but not the rooves; this is a later job for after when the rooves have been painted. (Rather than wait indefinitely, we have now ordered the paints!) A more technical job was the work on the couplings—all of them drooped to varying degrees. The solution was to remove them, insert the NEM extensions into very hot water, bend them slightly, and cool them in cold water. Problem solved. (We needed to do the same to the D-loco couplings (as indeed we did on our standard Jeco models).) In mid-June, the handrails were fitted to the carriage ends, a rather tricky process as they needed to be bent to shape, and the best fitting ones ended up on the CF3 where they poked into a locating hole at the bottom, but were glued to the body at the upper end. As the month drew to a close, the decals were applied to the C3d; a job that took over three hours! Bizarrely, we found number 1984 in small digits on the decal sheet, and this number did apply to a steel body C3d, so we’ve gone back to that originally proposed number for this model.
Our two CM Laser models of the B6G carriages arrived out of storage, following failure in service in the last days of the old FLMJ. It seems that the carriages, which we purchased second-hand, each have the same two faults:
- It had been found that the bogies had been modified to make room for the NEM coupling mechanisms, and in so doing, their frames had been weakened so that the wheels drop out;
- Having fitted the steps to the underframes, the bogies don’t turn freely enough to negotiate even ‘generous’ model railway curves.
There seemed to be one solution to solve both issues, in that the steps could be mounted on the bogies (as seems to be the case with the På Spøret models of the same carriage type) allowing them to turn with the bogies, and their cross members being used to provide the extra strength that the bogies need! Well, that is in essence what we have now done, but it was not as straight forward as that. The NEM coupling mechanisms were still in the way! However, because the steps are made of thin etched brass, we have been able to slide that between the mechanism and the chassis, allowing the bogie to sit beneath the mechanism. This means that if we need to remove the bogies, we first need to remove the wheel-sets and the coupling heads, and having released the bogie from the pivotal screw, to slide the bogie over the end of the NEM mechanism, gently prising the brass away from the plastic! The intention to do the two carriages at the same time was withdrawn so that one could serve as a test model; and it also needed a buffer gluing back on. Gluing the buffer was also quite a challenge because the main material used in these carriages is not plastic, but resin, so the regular poly glue was not as successful as we would have liked! Furthermore, one of the screw-holes for a bogie pivot had worn away, so the screw needed to be glued back in. We also found that one of the carriages was missing part of its NEM mechanism, but with the bogie in place, its absence is unlikely to cause any problems. But, job done, and these carriages can be returned to service—whenever we have a railway to run them on!
The newly arrived Märklin RBo2 ‘byffé’ carriage has seen some work also, with the removal of the Fleischmann couplings, and fitting some Roco couplings, glued to extension arms from the bogies (thus not NEM-compliant, but compatible with our other models)! We also ought to fit later-style gangways and extended buffers, and find some glazing for the windows in the gangway doors. It’s number has been modified to 4833. We also tried in vain to find a reference number for the interior fitting for the almost identical carriage, Märklin 4378, so that we could obtain one and adapt it to fit! Finally (for now), we’ve made a new box for it; it did not arrive in an original box.
A few new models are creeping out, despite the global mess, and among them are a few cars, including a few that we didn’t know about until we happened to stumble across them whilst browsing!
- The Saab 99 by Brekina/PCX has been produced in two colours, white or black; we understand that more are to follow.
- The Volvo 66 by Brekina has been produced in three colours, then two more very soon after. The ‘66’ is of course the development of the Daf 66.
- A Volvo Sport (P1900) has been produced by BoS (Best of Show) in two colours so one has arrived – there were only 67 of these made, so one is enough for us!
- A Volvo 264TE (stretched limousine) has also been produced by BoS, in at least two colours, a plain dark blue, and a black one with diplomat flags – these were very popular in the former DDR as government cars!
- A Volvo 7900 electric-hybrid bus has been produced by MotorArt, none that we could find in Swedish service liveries, but as a technological development, we have turned a blind-eye to the fact that it really is too modern for the FLMJ’s epoch!
HNoll has advertised the A7 and B7 models, along with a few S1/S4 versions, all due for release in probably November. The R4R and derivatives have been further delayed due to a tooling issue, but HNoll is confident that they will still arrive before the A7/B7 etc.