March got off to a slow start. We were preoccupied with house viewings, a new (second-hand) car (from a dodgy dealer, with some technical issues), and a ‘name-day’ celebration.
Rolling Stock Updates
N 1304 is so near, yet so far from completion! For testing, we purchased a GaugeMaster Combi (a very basic controller with plug-in transformer) from a UK supplier, but we weren’t ready to use it immediately.
The brake rigging was removed in March and cleaned up. Then the metal rods were replaced by plastic rods and the risk of short-circuits across that means was eliminated. 0,5mm plastic rod is a very difficult product to work with and replacing the four rods took over three hours. It is also very soft, so they are easily bent out of shape!
We took a fresh look at the handrails that support the front steps. The design really does suggest a trip-hazard, so by changing the height, and modifying the fixing point, we have been able to fit these without upsetting more of the loco. They have been painted dark grey, so that they are slightly visible against the black background. This has worked so well that most of the other handrails have been repainted in this way.
Fitting the front coupling was also a struggle. We needed a spare offcut of metal that was wider than 5mm and longer than 14mm, into which we could tap a thread for a fixing screw, and turn up each end so that it would fit inside the frames. We had nothing of this sort, so we used a more narrow piece which was quite weak having been tapped. Then, we ‘butchered’ a ‘cap’ for the UK 3-pin plug, and made a suitable brace to fit into the frames, to carry the coupling. The coupling pocket has been damaged, however, and this will be replaced at a later date.
Returning to the Controller; this arrived mid-March and we were able to properly test the loco’s performance, not just the motor, but also (and especially) the valve gear. As expected, the first run was virtually stationary, so several modifications were made. In the process, the driver side motion virtually fell off! The cause was the still faulty top glide on the crosshead, and this had damaged the slide bars. We also found a faux-pas on our part in that on the fireman side, the eccentric rod had been fitted closer to the wheel than the return crank, so the wheels could not go round! The fireman side valve gear was adjusted and corrected and with none of the other side attached, the loco ran under power quite satisfactorily.
The driver side was to prove a little more problematic, however. During the short run under power, the coupling rod fell off, which was not a problem, just amusing. It meant that we could start from scratch, and having learned a few lessons, we were able to do this with more professionalism. Unfortunately, the now-damaged slide bars were really beyond repair (we had several attempts), but after a couple of hours, we had to resign to the fact that they needed to be replaced. Thankfully, MJ-Hobby had a twin-pack of etched parts in stock (giving us a total of four pairs of slide bars and loads of other spare parts). This was of course, very frustrating, but it led to something much better; see our next item!
The new etched sheets arrived quite quickly, and one of the slide-bar assemblies was extracted, shaped, and filed so that it would be an easier fit. Once fitted, a little glue will stop it rattling, but this seems unlikely, anyway! Everything was fitted in one day, but not to the pivot for the connecting rod big end or the return crank. This was because we needed to allow time for the glue to dry where we had used a washer instead of the now-lost nut on the expansion die block. As work continued, more irritations became apparent. The pivotal pin for one of the connecting rods’ big ends unscrewed as the wheels went round and that had to be glued back in. This, in turn had damaged other parts of the valve gear, and a whole day was spent on remedial work. To be safe, we made this modification to the other side, also.
We have lost count of the number of times that we have had to clamp and re-glue the fitting for the expansion die block, or the front of the radius rods to the cylinders (not required on genuine steam locos, of course), or even the slide bars to the cylinders, and these corrections are ongoing as March drew to a close.
Dm3 1221+1240+1222 is one of the later versions (Marshall lights, revised position of driver side door, extended roof ventilation openings, etc) and the Roco model in plain brown has been desired for some time. At the time that we needed to order the spare part for the N-loco, we had a casual look at the second-hand models also available, and there it was, the Dm3 loco that we wanted! For us, this is the perfect Epoch-IV version of this loco, others have either older lighting and door layouts, or have more modern LKAB/MTAB logos on (or even more modern (blue) liveries)!
The prototype for this loco, sadly came to an abrupt end on March 19th, 1993, when iced-over points threw it off the track and down the side of a mountain near Katterat. The driver and has passenger (his young daughter) suffered only minor injuries because the snow came through the broken windows and cushioned them from any serious harm! The loco had to be scrapped on site; on the side of the mountain! (We wonder if Roco was aware of this fate when they produced the model?)
SCENIC MODELS are also in the news this month, with the arrival of some new cars and a lorry. Two PCX87 Volvo 240 models have arrived (see Manufacturer News, below), and a Scania lorry in Swedish postal livery. (Our only current Swedish postal lorries are Iveco; not very Swedish!) Ironically, this model arrived in a package covered in no fewer than 31 postage stamps…! We also took delivery of a Wiking Chervolet Malibu, which is the nearest imitation we can find (in H0-scale) of the Chevrolet Impala; the car used by the Jönsson Gang in the classic Swedish films, “Jönssonligan…”! We will alter the appearance of the model to match the film car!
NMJ has released the second wave of Y1 railbuses, SJ blue with the air-intake boxes on the sides. We’re a little disappointed that the orange version has not been produced with these intakes; that is the condition that applied in 1990 when Sweden was first identified as the country to model.
BoS has released a Volvo 265 ambulance (stretched chassis), but the livery is not especially Swedish.
Minichamps has added to their range of proposed Volvo cars, the 480 coupé in four colours (1987 year model) and the 850 sedan in four colours (1994 year model). If the latter is produced, it will be probably the most modern Swedish car in H0-scale!
PCX87 has released limited models of the Volvo 240 sedan and estate (1989 year model) ahead of the 1986 ones proposed by Minichamps. One of each has arrived, and close inspection reveals some disappointing details discrepancies. One of the most classic features of the 145/245 estate is the top of the rear passenger door which drops away from the roof-line; this is not recreated on the PCX87 model! Our photos compare this with a Brekina 145 model (which has other faults)! Other discrepancies are less obvious. (Compare the differences, below!)
And finally, if you want to decorate the scenic area of your Swedish diorama with moose, then Preiser produces a set; but they’re males only (with the antlers, of course). For females, the Canadian supplier miniprints.ca has some convincing models (and more males, of course).