HO Steph's DDR and Czech workbench

Discussion in 'Area 51' started by Steph Dale, 13 October 2020.

  1. Threadmark: Introduction - CSD and DR
    Steph Dale

    Steph Dale Western Thunderer

    Just Czech-ing HO ho ho...

    Sorry, couldn't resist it; time for a silly pun. Or two. Also time for me to have a look at a couple of HO-scale projects. This time CSD (Czechoslovakia) rather than DR (East Germany), so it's an opportunity for me to gauge interest as to whether to post this stuff here, or just do the much-needed update to the www.euram-online.co.uk website...

    So here's the thing. A small self-congratulatory moment of warmth is the prize for anybody who works out what I'm going to do with this lot. @Yorkshire Dave may not apply; when I told him what I was doing his reaction was along the lines of 'what *** is that?', bless him.


    For those not familiar with my HO modelling, and recognising it's been a while since I posted anything on the topic, we're normally aiming for the area around Zittau; yes, that's the far right hand bottom corner of East Germany (Saxony), in the 1970s. Normal behaviours include CSD corridor trains, the odd PKP (Poland) train, lots of Rekoloks and the excuse for international trains as a diversionary route for trains between (Berlin) Dresden and Prague. In practise I can't find any evidence that the Zittau (DR) to Liberec (CSD) line was actually used as such. Standards are towards the finer end of the HO spectrum, RP25/110 as a minimum (where I have to modify stock wheels), RP25/88 being preferred where replacement wheels are available, which is rarely. DCC is de-rigour, but in my HO models that doesn't include sound as the rebuilding of some of the models would be too risky/painful.

    This post was triggered by recent and timely awareness that the Czech Republic actually has an in-country supplier of r-t-r in the form of MTB-model.com; I bought one of their 'Vindobona' M296.1 DMU sets as I realised I was never likely to make a good job of the resin shells I had. They've already gone for recycling and the Sachsenmodell coaches earmarked for conversion to the trailer cars have been returned to stock. It's a lovely model, being on a par with Roco of about 10 years ago; a little detailing (and probably re-wheeling) will be required for me to be get from 99% to 100% happy with it. As a manufacturer they're worth supporting; the fact their CSD diesels look better than the equivalent Roco models and that they're slightly cheaper is wonderful.

    Anyway, here's a quick shot of that DMU. There may be more later:

    I'll be posting some of the East German stuff in its own thread soon, I hope. It might be a surprise to realise that means kits and even scratchbuilding; not all German models just drop out of boxes.

    Last edited: 17 October 2020
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  2. Overseer

    Overseer Western Thunderer

    It may be poles apart but I would be interested in seeing what you get up to.
    PKP 94a.jpg
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  3. Yorkshire Dave

    Yorkshire Dave Western Thunderer

    ....and I still have the ML(DJH) S160 kit for a 456.1 complete with a set of Kadee Andrews trucks (with RP25/88 wheels), Precision Scale, Cal-Scale and Weinert detail parts....:).

  4. Steph Dale

    Steph Dale Western Thunderer

    Groan, Fraser that's terrible. Made me laugh though. More soon I hope.

    Have you worked out whether there are other twiddly bits you need to CSD-ise it?

    Last edited: 16 October 2020
  5. simond

    simond Western Thunderer

    My erstwhile employers had a factory in Liberec, I went there a few times in ‘95 or ‘96. I don’t recall visiting anything even vaguely railway related, though I do recall the “English bar”, in a cellar on the town square. Suffice it to say that it bore an uncanny resemblance to some kind of house of ill repute, and we did not tarry. I did take some photos of the Town Hall which was very impressive. Memories of smoke from domestic fires, I don’t think “clean air” had got that far at that time.

  6. Threadmark: CSD S699 part 1
    Steph Dale

    Steph Dale Western Thunderer

    Time to tentatively push off, I think. I'll start here with the DB electric although in practise the two Atlas Editions models were first to the start line. It didn't go well, which I'll report on in a future posting. So, back to that Roco 103:

    The more astute of you will no doubt have realised that the DB 103 is a six axle loco and that the Czech electric locos are 4-axle and that there's two of them; I'm doing the obvious thing and attempting to make a six axle version of the Czech electric locos. Actually it's the 6-axle version; there was only one and it was a high speed test loco. Coincidentally, it's now preserved in the old Skoda works after a complex restoration and looks much like this:
    Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons: By Сергей Фролов - Gallery Photoarchive copy, CC BY-SA 4.0, File:S 699.001, Чехия, Пльзеньский край, Технический научный центр «Техмания» (Trainpix 193248).jpg - Wikimedia Commons

    Now, whether you like it's appearance or not; you have to admit it's striking. I'm still debating whether to finish it in this as delivered/as preserved livery or to go for the livery she had in the 70s as a test loco...

    Anyway (finally), when the Roco 103 is broken down a little it looks like this:
    Nothing remarkable there until you realise this model was produced in the mid-1980s. The red main frame and the gearboxes, by the way, are die-cast. Remember what British r-t-r was like then? So do I <shudder>...

    Inevitably, the bogies were disassembled further and have been through the ultrasonic cleaner to remove 30+ years of grease and crud. Scalpels were wielded and the first surgery made, removing the cab steps and Indusi brake shoe. This is in accordance with the overall philosophy of the model which is to be sensible about what I'm going to attempt, but to (hopefully) resolve any glaring errors. The bogies are surprisingly close in design between the 103 and the S699; I think most people won't know enough to say whether they're right or wrong, but I also think most people will notice if the cab steps don't line up with the doors and any German railway modeller will know an Indusi shoe when they see one. The modified side frame is the one at the bottom and the removed shoe can be seen cluttering up the foreground. I have actually got them slightly better than shown here by swapping to new scalpel blades and carefully shaving and shaping the surfaces of the brake cylinder and frame:

    Next job is to sort the wheels, which will get me on to a set of correctly spoked wheels which can be assembled within the RP25 specifications. They too went through the ultrasonic cleaner and have been blackened, polished and dried. Thanks to the 2mm axles of the Roco base model it should be very straightforward; I've done similar jobs on Roco mechanisms a number of times.

    I'll post a bit more when the wheel sets are installed and if people want more info on the prototype I'll be happy to post some links. I've also got to spec the replacement main frame and order the material. I'm thinking of a fabrication in something like 1mm thick brass...

    Actually, having just thought of it; Col @eastsidepilot, could you pantograph mill me some parts if I send you some sketches? Or could some other kind soul perhaps machine the existing chassis down for me?

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  7. NHY 581

    NHY 581 Western Thunderer

    Good to see some CSD on here Steph.

    A long term project is a modest ( small) Czech layout set in South Bohemia around the late '80s, just before the Velvet Revolution.

    The products of MTB are very nice and I have one of their Bardotkas. Their recent railcars really look the part and I'm looking forward to my next trip over to visit the family.

    And a bit of contemporary music....

    Good stuff.

    Rob. 20190512_100633-01-01-01.jpeg
  8. Steph Dale

    Steph Dale Western Thunderer


    Hmm, strong Doors/Eagles flavour in that. Not bad. Not bad at all. I shall investigate further! :thumbs:

    Oh, and the trains are good too. Thanks for your encouragement! :)

  9. eastsidepilot

    eastsidepilot Western Thunderer

    If you make a pattern from something like 2mm plastic I can mill the parts. Needs to be say 2:1 ideally.

  10. Steph Dale

    Steph Dale Western Thunderer

    Thanks Col, I'll start sketching something out once I've got the wheels in the bogies and know what my heights are. :thumbs:


  11. Overseer

    Overseer Western Thunderer


    U Rzepin along with the loco.:)
    Rzepin DB.jpg
    Totally irrelevant to Zittau, that is the German loco waiting to take over the train to Berlin seen in the previous photo. And this is the train arriving in Rzepin -
    PKP electric Rzepin.jpg
    All taken Easter 1994.

    While using Google to find where I had taken the photos I was surprised to see a EWS shed at Rzepin (in September 2013).
    Rzepin sv.jpg
    Interesting that the platforms have been raised. Not sure the blue paint on the steelwork is an improvement.

    Before getting steamed up about the thread drift
    PKP steam1.jpg
    Was there still steam in Zittau during the 1970s? Or will you need to go narrow gauge for steam?
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  12. mickoo

    mickoo Western Thunderer

    Down turn in traffic in the UK enabled EWS to send some to Europe, initially to France but then wide spread. They needed some revisions to cabs, lighting and signalling systems. Some (French ones) did return to the UK when EWS had some RHTT schedules but I think they've lost that now as well. Can't recall exact numbers but 50 or 80 rings a bell. Freightliner did the same as well, transferred several engines to Poland, they are on permanent displacement.

    I've only ever seen one Euro returnee, not sure where it is now, word back (10yrs +) then was that they were coming home, suspect they got cast far and wide into Europe.

    [​IMG]66 191 by Mickoo737, on Flickr

    Back on track, never seen or heard of the CZD 699, new one for me :thumbs:
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  13. AJC

    AJC Western Thunderer

    Those Euro '66' get everywhere - I remember seeing one at Reading and others at Westbury before now and every time I've been through Modane on the way to Turin there's been one or two parked EWS-liveried examples up in the yards there. I don't think they cross the border into Italy but who knows? (Actually, I'm sure *someone* will, but it's a question of being bothered to look...). All this reminds me of my Italian collection which I must get back to.

    Last edited: 16 October 2020
  14. Steph Dale

    Steph Dale Western Thunderer

    Yep, I saw a couple of EWS 66s in the Midi in France when I was last over there about ten years ago. And, of course, the odd one or two since then in the UK.

    You're now out-punning me; I shall get my own back. :)

    Thanks for posting the photos, I'm always interested to see more of central European railways. To answer your last question, Zittau was one of the sheds that retained steam until the early 90s. By that time the allocation seems to have been mostly (failed) BR119 diesels and Reko 52.80s. The 52s and 52.80s had gradually taken over as the last ex-Sachsen types were withdrawn in the early 70s, and then stayed to the end. It explains why many of the surviving locos were once Zittau locomotives.

    The narrow gauge remains in use and principally steam, but that's not been my interest, I'm looking at the western end of town (Pethau)...

    Should be a bit more on Sachsen steam over the weekend; photos have been taken.

    Last edited: 16 October 2020
  15. Threadmark: Sachsen steam locos
    Steph Dale

    Steph Dale Western Thunderer

    As threatened/promised, here's a quick 'primer' on some of my HO stuff; this time it's locos of the Saxon State Railway; I model the 1970s, so think of these in terms of the survivors at that point. By this date most were heading into preservation, thankfully...

    Let's start with the star of the show, known to enthusiasts as the Sachsenstolz or, literally, 'Saxon Star', this was built from a DJH/Model Loco kit and must now be heading in the direction of 20 years old. This is one of those rare things; a four-cylinder, compound, superheated, express-passenger 2-8-2. It's pretty hilly in Saxony!:

    As you'd expect, it's not quite built as the kit is designed. The gearbox has been adjusted to higher-ratio to make the loco more controllable, the chassis is compensated and has jointed rods (so it goes round corners) and the inside valve gear rockers and arms are in there. At the time, making up the crank axle was a step too far. It has a great deal of additional detail, some scratchbuilt, some from Weinert and other suppliers, Gassner decals, VS Modellbau plates. There was a great deal of work on the chassis to get daylight where it should be and to make sure it didn't show through areas that should be solid. I'll have to check my records, but I think there's a Zimo decoder hiding in the firebox. It's modelled as 19 017 in preservation; there is a second BR19 here (on the right in the photo below), this time a Gutzold model (which was bought damaged/dropped) which will be used to make a model of 19 017 just before she was withdrawn, complete with French tender (and late-run Jouef tender drive) and the hybrid cab:

    Working down the scale, there's a BR18.0 pacific, also from the Model Loco stable. This kit has been much more problematic than the BR19 and so isn't shown as it's not made much progress. In terms of the prototype, 18 010 was the last survivor and was nearly preserved but in the end the Dresden Transport Museum decided to use it as a christmas tree to allow the restoration and preservation of 19 017. That would have been a tough choice and there's no doubt the BR19 would have been the greater loss.

    The last Saxon steam tender locos in service were the BR38.2 class, the last of which went in '72. I started with 38 205 though; this loco was preserved returning to steam in 1979 and this is the condition she's modelled in. There is quite a lot of scratchbuilding here, with just the cab, boiler and tender mouldings surviving from a Piko model. It runs on Sharman wheels, valvegear is modified from a Comet models fret and the gearbox is from DJH, with a Mashima 14xx-series motor. Like 19 017 it's compensated, has a Zimo decoder and is finished with products from Gassner and VS Modellbau. In the back of the photo is an unmodified Piko BR38.2 for comparison; this one will be 38 308, the last to run. An interesting comparison which gives an idea of the scale of work that was done to arrive at '205:

    I've been umming and aahing about these two BR94.20 for a long time. These, too, are around 20 years old and have been a frustrating build from the outset. I think I can now see a way forward that will involve etching new motion for them. It's a shame as they're a rare kit, but not long after their introduction Piko bought out a model of the class which was actually pretty good and I doubt DJH ever made any money from these; they departed the German HO market shortly afterwards. The bunker mods, by the way, represent different batches of the locos and with different levels of repairs you'll note there are no consistent rivet runs!:

    The BR75.5 was going to be a pain to model without Gutzold coming to the rescue. Even then, one of these locos will end up with squared-off tanks of a DR welded pattern which might be tricky as they're die-cast! The other details are about right for many of the class, but unfortunately not for the two I'm doing, which had received a lot of Ex-Prussian fittings; another order to Weinert will be required:

    That brings us to the BR89.2 from Piko. This is shown as an example of a starting point I'd typically use. Piko did some great body mouldings back in the 70s and 80s and they weren't badly painted either, although it could sometimes be a bit heavy and some locos have plainly been oversprayed and re-finished, which doesn't help. And with those famously self-disassembling chassis; most had plastic coupling rods and valvegear which used to last about five minutes. As an aside I'll mention that the last series of these BR 89.2 locos were similar in outline to the BR94.20 above, with modern cabs and sloping tanks, but that means either scratchbuilding or trying to find one of the Beckert limited-run models. I doubt I'll do either as none made it into the 70s:

    To finish off, here's a photo of the BR38.2 with the BR19; for any current or future work these are the benchmark:

    I should have some more tomorrow, hopefully with an update on the S699.

    Last edited: 17 October 2020
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  16. Threadmark: CSD S699 part 2
    Steph Dale

    Steph Dale Western Thunderer

    Back to the S699, briefly...

    Here we are with a set of Gibson 14mm 12spoke wheels installed. A conservative choice and one which I had in stock. I've had to lengthen the contacts as you can see, but other than that fairly straightforward. The axles have their centres knurled with the edge of a file so the gear presses on and spacing washers are required; these are also from Alan Gibson and amount to 1.5mm each side (1 thick and 1 medium washer each side):

    Nothing is lubricated and the other gears aren't even in the gearboxes yet, I'm going to have to paint these either black or dark grey and I don't want any oil in there until the paint is good and hard. The use of wheels I had in stock has allowed me to start establishing the ride heights. With these wheels there'll be something like a mm clearance between the bottom of the skirt and the top of the visible bit of the bogie frame, so I have the option of fitting larger wheels, which is good apart from not having them in stock. The wheels shown here won't go to waste; it's how I came to have them in stock.

    So I'll email an order through to Alan Gibson this evening. I'm hoping they can tell me how I might pay them when I don't even own a cheque book, but we'll see...!

    So there's a bit of a pause on this at the moment. After the disaster with stripping the loco bodyshells, I'm now waiting on the wheels and a new set of shells to be able to move on with this. I think I'll spend the rest of the afternoon with either the BR94.20s or perhaps have another look at my BR03, which is now close to finishing.

    Last edited: 18 October 2020
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  17. allegheny1600

    allegheny1600 Western Thunderer

    Hello Steph,
    It is fascinating to see you back into German outline as it were. I had read your website many times and find it a great source of inspiration.
    Although I'm much more of an RTR man, I do like to change models out and modify them somewhat, well done on your kit building work as that's something which is still on my bucket list, I'm afraid.
  18. Steph Dale

    Steph Dale Western Thunderer

    Thanks for that, John, you're very kind.

    In truth it's never been that far away, just somewhat obscured by larger things a bit closer to home. ;)

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  19. michl080

    michl080 Western Thunderer

    just saw this one:

    Model Loko ML265 Complete Kit BR 94 2024 the Dr Scale HO BNIB!!! | eBay

    You want to add another one to your collection?

  20. Steph Dale

    Steph Dale Western Thunderer

    Michael, Thank you, I think: I'm watching it. :))
    Of course, it may be that I'm feeling generous and just don't want any other poor sap to have to struggle with it. :headbang:

    I had another look at the BR03 in the end. Then I remembered why it hadn't been finished and quietly put it back in its box. These days a solution to its problems may be easier to sort out, thanks to access to etching, casting and 3D printing technologies, but I think I'll leave it for the mo. I'm mentally coin flipping on whether to have another bash at the Model Loco BR18 (scratchbuilding a new crank axle and firebox) or try and get something else moving on. Hmm; where did I get to with that Weinert BR44...?