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Moving on with Vrolic

June 2019. The story of Buitenlust came to an end, for a moment. But a model layout is never really finished. The two modules with the Vrolic lemonade factory did not fit in perfectly with the rest. They were the first ones I built back in the day and things have moved on. For all the following modules I have, among other things, adjusted the sleepers' distance and used a different kind of ballast. The buildings were also not properly to scale and looked smaller than the rest. In short ... reason enough to sell both modules and to do the whole factory again. The track plan remained unchanged; the rails have been laid nail by nail again. The buildings were copied from the monumental Prodent factory in Amersfoort.

The coal storage of the factory is not yet complete. Nature is already booming. When the factory is completely finished and in its final place, I will finish this part of the scenery.

Looking to the left part of the factory with the expedition. This part is already completely finished. The large tank is for storing citric acid or something. That seems fitting for a lemonade factory.

The coal storage under construction. From the storage it is only a short distance to the boiler house.

The pasture on the other side of the track is populated by a herd of cows. The bustle in the factory will be completely ignored by the ladies.

On the new modules I have kept the visual trick with the canal. The bridge has been completely redesigned and is a lot better than the old one. The canal is an even better match with the background and the green stuff looks more convincing.

The factory runs all the way to water. Tall grass and rugged bushes fill the piece of no man's land between wharehouse and waterfront.

The expedition warehouse has a wide concrete loading dock where they work diligently. The shed itself is only a few centimeters deep on the left, but that goes by unnoticed.

The tank nicely fills the gap between the wharehouse and the main building. Both halves of the factory are connected by a corridor. In the green box are supposedly the tools and hoses for connecting a tank wagon.

Gerrit is breaking his back while Jaap plays with the warehouse cat. This could just happen on the work floor of many Dutch companies for real.

The fence on the dike would in reality prevent cattle from getting on the tracks. The aged real wood and the wild bushes behind it make the fence a nice, striking thing.

At the end of the loading platform, chaos reigns. Old barrels and fallen pallets are partly overgrown by grass and bushes.

Vrolic is making good progress. But finished... no, not there yet. The right-hand part still needs an interior and that will be a big job. Only when that is finished, I can place this part of the building and really finish the landscape around it.

A first test of the lighting in the factory. The dozens of LEDs are controlled via two Z1-16+/ZA1-16+ decoders from Qdecoder.

A small renovation

Oktober 2019. Charlie is in Soest. Charlie is a somewhat lost English diesel shunter from Dapol that I bought secondhand in England. The Class 08 looks like the Dutch Bakkies (NS 500/600), but if you look closely you will see lots of little differences. Maybe someday I will convert Charlie into a NS 600 or a NS 450. We'll see ...

During the summer holidays I had been thinking about an extension of the staging yard. I managed to add three extra tracks. The long tracks at the far right are new and accommodate two longer trains that loop through Soest. The new track at the front is intended for material that runs occasionally. View the track plan to see who this fits in.

Along with the expansion of the staging yard, I have redone the power cables. Thicker Speakon cables now run from the central power supply to each of the module groups. This meant that I also had to build a whole new central power supply. The cables are connected via a new set of module connectors.

Everything is back in its place again. The expansion of the staging yard was a great moment to thoroughly clean everything. After a few years there is a nice layer of dust everywhere.

Renovation number two. I didn't really like the right side of Soest yet. Although the situation is exactly in line with reality, there was always this gaping hole that leads to the underworld. What do you do about that? Hide it behind a few trees.

The extra green bits make all the difference. The vanishing point of the railway line to Den Dolder is hidden from view. Automatically, your eyes are now drawn to the small road that continues into the backdrop. The backdrop has also been replaced by a copy without a blue sky.

I have added all kinds of extra details to the scenery. The control of the lighting has been extended from a single Qdecoder ZA1-16 to a decoder per module. This added extra connections for more street lights, interior lights at the coal depot and some special effects.

The little corner next to the coal depot has been augmented with countless details. On a model railroad, there is always something to do...

New stuff

June 2020. No, this is not a filter or a Photoshop effect. This photo of Soest is really shot on black and white negative. The entire scene seems to be an even more accurate representation of the sixties. But ... more has happened than just taking pictures over the last few months.

One day you find yourself picking up an etch that has been sitting on the shelf for years. I once bought it from Edwin Poppelaars with the intention to make an Oersik (a small shunter) out of it. The official name for these locomotives is: Locomotor series 103-152. The project started with just the etch. You have to make up the chassis with drive yourself. All the brass castings (including the buffers) are also not included.

A few weeks of sawing, filing, soldering and growling further there is a locomotor on the track. The little loco is far from finished, but you can clearly recognize an Oersik. And... it moves!

This drive is hiding underneatch the brass body. It is the first time I developed a drive from idea to drawing to working contraption.

The motor and gearbox fit exactly under the motor cover. The rear axle can pivot around the drive shaft to create a compensated chassis. The locomotive always has all wheels on the rails and gives a much better power pick-up. In the middle there was just enough room for an ESU LokPilot, a powerpackv and a PCB with resistors for the lights.

I am waiting for a few parts before I can finish the locomotive. Then it's just a matter of blasting, spraying, lettering and final assembly. Buitenlust will gain a unique and well running locomotive before the end of the year.

In the meantime I have pulled another etch off the shelf: a CHE box car from the late Willem Damhaar (Tagh0Train). Unfortunately Willem wasn't ablee to provide a manual or photos with the etch before his passing. So... the construction of the CHE became quite a puzzle with the few rare photos from the Utrecht Archives next to the soldering torch. The box car may not fully match how Willem had conceived it, but it does match with the real box car.

I have reasonably detailed the undercarriage. Of course you can always go above and beyond, but nobidy will see it. I didn't have any photos or plans from the bottom of a real CHE. So what you see here is a big educated guess based on other freight cars from the same period.

After four years of waiting, the NS 600 from Philotrain arrived in Buitenlust. I almost forgot I had the machine on order. The model was be approved by the management.

A real'Bakkie', as the series' nickname goes. The model came without a decoder, but I like to fit it myself. Setting up the decoder is sort of a fun job and now it is completely to my liking.

And Charlie? He is still here. At first glance the locomotives look identical. Take a closer look and you will see a number of differences. Charlie is a Class 08, while the NS 600 is directly derived from the lesser known Class 11 . Still, you could make a pretty nice NS 600 from the Dapol model.

The shutner isn't running as smooth as I would like, but that should improve after a couple of weeks of running-in.

In June my friend Myron van Ruijven came over to shoot a film of Buitenlust. And he did a pretty good job. Have a look...

2019, 2020

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