Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Mystery of the Yogurt Containers...Solved!

Alrighty, the title sounds a bit more interesting than, 'Here's more photos of Geoff's Neverending Trackwork to bore you out of your minds'.
The yogurt containers actually contain my store of ballast and scenic earth collection. I do use them as weights when gluing down turnouts as they easily stack on top of each other allowing me to add weight without the whole thing toppling over. So mystery solved! Yep, should I stop now?
Now to the boring bit. I've layed the trackwork for the livestock siding to the end of the module. The track moves to the front of the module to go around a rocky outcrop that is behind it, so there is a reason for the bend in the track. I am now moving from left to right across the layout laying track and points as I go. Actually theres only one point to glue down, after the on in the photo, so I'm fairly happy with my progress. The mainline is still to be completed and it lies at the rear of the layout, the timberwork indicates where it will go. Once the last point is laid I'll put down the rails for the mainline.
Once the trackwork is complete then I'll be upending the module to fit the micro swiches that change the polarity of the frog when they are moved and also fine tune the distance that the lever frame moves the point so that no stress is put on the rails. The modratec clutch system works very well for hand laid trackwork.
Really not that long till its first run I suppose, however this is Geoff time remember and it seems to work a little slower than normal,

A Box of Bits Arrives from Rusty Rails USA

A while ago I was having a bit of a surf and came across this site, Rusty Rails. I immediately saved it to the favourites for further investigation when I had the chance. The site is well set out and it did appear to have quite a few detail bits I thought I could use. They deal in HO and O detail parts for the corner of a workshop, or outside a loco shed. If you're after a bit of a junk heap then this site is for you.
Then the unimaginable happened! The dollar rose...and it was time to test them out with a small order. The prices seemed OK but I didn't know anyone who'd purchased from them before. So with trepidation a $60 order was placed.
Less than two weeks later it arrived. When I got into the box to say that I was pleasantly surprised is indeed an understatement. Every one of the mouldings looked as they had in the photos on the site, minus paint and a little flash to remove.
The guys at our Tuesday Niters were even impressed, so they must be good!
Here's a couple of pix and remember there is a link from my blog in the suppliers list. I'm very impressed and thought a few of you may find them worth a look also,

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Little Things take all your time!

The first of the rails are now glued down, no turning back now! The first turnout as you enter the yard has been fixed down to the baseboard. This simple job has been hampered by some indepth procrastinating by yours truly. The turnouts are operated by a sliding piece of styrene that is mounted on the underside of the pc board sleepers. This method works well, no binding, but does create a void that won't let you ballast in this area.

The simple solution was to make a strip of contact that could be stuck to the underside of the turnout before the styrene spacer for the point blades is set in place. This enables a small hole just where the point blades goes through and around that the rest of the area can be ballasted. The pictures show the point in place with a couple of 'C' shaped cork bits to seal either side of the moving bits. The contact is a bit hard to see as the only stuff I had was clear, if you click on the photo it is more clear in the larger view.

A simple idea, that is easy to do, but did add a great deal of time to the job. The layout of the turnouts is easily seen in the last photo. It probably doesn't look much different to previous photos I've posted, but to me it represents quite a bit of time spent,

that's it for now, Geoff.

Friday, November 20, 2009

13 Class Sound

Well I arrived home yesterday to a little package on the bench. Yessirree! The Tsunami sound decoder had arrived. Helen was very enthusiastic with a " that's great!" It was 10pm so a visit to the train room was a little late.

Tomorrow has arrived and with a 11am start time I had a chance to see how the decoder would fit. I'd checked and re-checked the measurements and also made up a cardboard mock up of the decoder to make sure there were no mistakes. I didin't count on the decoder not matching to the stated size the manufacturer gives. The issue was the width, and only because the decoder seems to have two pieces that fold back on themselves and are then heat shrinked. The problem is that the two halves are not squarely over the top of each other. This then makes the measurements exactly the same as the widest point of the cylindrical boiler that I wanted to fit it into.

I pulled out the whitemetal files to see what could be done. In a couple of minutes the decoder snuggly fits into the boiler. There is no chance of it shifting, and the contact with the sides should aid in better heat dispersion.

Here's a photo to see how it all fits together, off to work now!

Monday, November 16, 2009

SSC-construction update 4

This past week has been a little slow in the modelling world. I have however managed to just about finish laying the timberwork on the first module. The process of staining and weathering the ties is one I enjoy. The trick is making the wood all seem a little bit different, whether the colour of the wood or the aging/weathering of it. I use sample pots of stain that I purchased from bunnings. I tend to favour the teak stain and mix it up with isocol so that it takes a couple of applications to get the colour right. I didn't mention that the one sample pot is all that I've reqired so far, so the $7 outlay for the pot is money well spent.

Also this week I had a an e-mail from Warren at GVM letting me know that the Micro Tsunami decoder i'd been quizzing him about at the Ipswich Show had arrived. I took the plunge and bought one, the price was a great deal, thanks Warren. I really hope the Aussie $$$ keeps going, it would be great to see it at $1.20 or so then EVERYTHING would have a sound decoder in it! Well at least the 32 would be purchased, you don't know when the pesky yanks will have an end to their recession!

I've been adjusting the modratec gear to fit each individual point as they're all a little different in how they're located. Today if I can stay focussed (worked 6pm till 4:30 am today, yep 3hrs sleep!) I will be organising the wiring of the points to the colour code that I've set up the module to.

That's about it, have a good one, Geoff.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

SSC-construction update 3

A quick post tonight with a couple of pix of where I'm at. I've put down the points to see how they all line up, and it all seems to be ok. I marked the sleeper spacing for between the turnouts and all going well I may get some glued down tonight if I get off here quickly enough.

A little bit more searching through my track detail information and I discovered a couple of important things. I had said that the trackwork pre 1900 had been the only time that 3' spacing was used on branchlines when in fact it has been used extensively well into the 1960's. I also plan to try to emulate the real thing as far as trackwork at rail joins. The theory was to lay an extra sleeper to support the two ends of the rail at the fishplate, the practice was a different setup altogether. A simple cost effective solution was just to lay one sleeper at an angle so that two ends were closer together to support the joint.

The back drop is not my winged keel, it's just faster to get to the layout if I leave it covered with the sheet. Yep the dust cover is warranted, remember the dust storm?

OK I was able to get some sleepers down tonight, the goods siding is layed and in not much time at all. A half hour here and there can really add up over a week or so, hopefully I'll get back out there some other night this week. Have a good one, Geoff.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

SSC-construction update 2

The last couple of days has seen me able to spend some time working on the first module of SSC. Next on my list of jobs was to link the lever frame to where the points will be located. I wanted to use the flexi cable to link from one point to another. The cafe' curtain spring wire stuff that you buy from spotlight is spot on for the job, and best of all it's cheap! I bought one pack thinking it would be enough and of course it wasn't, so back I went into the place that no man should venture voluntarily. I mounted the lever frame in a simple box to allow me to scenic around the frame. I painted the interior matt black which will be the colour of the facias also.
I already had the Modratec bits for the linkages, and a couple of lengths of piano wire for the linkages. I had a discussion with Craig regarding the galvanised wire he uses and I did buy some so that I could try both types of wire. For the amount of travel and the distance covered I found that the piano wire worked better for me. It seemed that the galvanised wire moved around too much inside the curtain wire. I think that because of the small diameter of some of the curves that the galvanised wire became bound up because of its lack of strength.

The Modratec products work exactly as they are planned. The clutch system is simple but effective. It allows a greater amount of travel than required and you're able to adjust it easily by the location of the wir in tube.
Along with the wire in tube I also attached the front contoured terrain board which previously was just sitting in place.
The backdrop board is in place also and is drilled to hold the lighting pelmet, although I haven't put that in place yet. I was thinking that I'd give myself a bit of space to work on the scenery without the pelmet getting in the way.

During this week I have also glued down the cork base for the trackwork. I enjoy this simple job as it really shows how close you are to actually having some track to run on. I use just one half of the split cork that you can buy for HO, as I want the ends of the sleepers a little exposed as they were on 'Pioneer' lines.

The SSC layout is following the simple 'Pioneer' lines and I would like to make it seem different to other layouts, with its hand layed trackwork and uncommonly represented pre 1900 trackwork. The trackwork of the pre 1900 period had significantly different spacing with centres closer to 3' rather than 2' that is commonly seen both in the real world and the modelled equivalent. The length of the rail used was about half as long as that used later, therefore track joins will be an obvious addition. I got hold of some really nice fishplates from Detail Associates that I'll use for the joins.

I put a couple of points in place on the layout and started working out the manual connections and also the wiring. I will be using micro switches as done by Modratec to change the polarity of the frog also. A simple thing to set up and should work really well.

So that's about it, hopefully soon the backdrop will be painted. A couple of bits to get at the Ipswich Show this weekend, but that's a whole other post! Geoff.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

13 Class sound? Part 2

Well I've just had to come in due to a bit of rain beginning to fall outside. Damn shame really I was really enjoying the garden work. Oh well... maybe some modelling time now.
Just quickly I found a site that sells DCC sound decoders that has a heap of info regarding the tsunami decoders. The great part is that there is a link to the manufacturers site which has sound samples. Great stuff, and it really got my enthusiasm going for the 'possibility' of installing sound. I will use an Aussie shop to buy from, and just use the other sites for reference. I like being able to deal 'locally' if I can especially because I like to be able to easily contact the dealer if there are any problems, and because I already know them and vici versi. For those of you who may be interested here's the site http://www.soundtraxx.com/
The one that I was looking at was the Tsunami light steam setup. This model would suit the wheel configuration of the '13' being a 4-4-2 arrangement.I still need to convert the measurements to metric so that I can understand a little more easily how it will all work in the space that I have. The decoder measures 1.0"lx.5"wx.22"h. A quick look at the loco body and I should be able to locate the decoder in the boiler. The speaker will probably be in the bunker as Gary suggested. The site actually suggested two ways to locate the speaker, either locating the speaker twards the rails or inverting it (drilling holes in the 'coal') and having the sound come up through the coal. Not sure about that yet. Oh yeah then there's the speaker itself, Whoa Baby! sooo many choices! I think I'll need some advice from the experts for that choice.
I'll be contacting Warren (GVM) tomorrow as he has the full range of the Tsunami decoders and probably the speakers as well. Not that I've made a decision yet, just making sure I have all the info, Geoff

Thursday, October 8, 2009

13 class Sound?

Well I was at our usual bi-weekly Tuesday Niters this week. Thanks for a great nite Craig, the layout is coming on really well. It's amazing how much a bit of scenic work can change the whole feeling of a layout.

As is usual during the course of the evening we have fairly wide ranging discussions regarding anything about our hobby. This week somehow we got onto the subject of sound decoders and the possibility of me installing one in the 13 class. What a great idea I thought, just for a moment, as the realisation struck me that I know nothing of what the requirements would be.

Austral, our local hobby store does order in pre-programmed decoders which would certainly make it easy for me. Then there's the decision of what brand decoder, and what speaker.

The idea of having the 13 ciculating around on the layout with a gentle steam chuff certainly does have me thinking that this really is the way to go. I did have a quick look on you-tube for any 13 class locos, but the closest was a NSWGR 10 class. Here's the link if you'd like to view it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNXtZlVxdBw

So when I'm actually off work at a time that would enable me to get to my local hobby store I suppose I'll just have to keep searching the web for possibilities,


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Gentle Reminder

I think that every now and again we all experience a 'jolt' in our modelling. This post I suppose is one of frustration due to the atmospheric conditions this last week or so in Brisbane. The space I have to model in is in one corner of a double garage, except that the only solid wall is the one dividing the carport from the house.

The dust storms have forced me to really seriously look at the closing in of the garage. This idea is not a new one , for those who know me they'd realise the planning and pontificating that this sort of project presents for me. When I say me I really mean us as in myself and Helen.

The layer of dust is everywhere, to do the simplest thing requires a hell of a lot of work, something I am very definitely allergic to, dust that is!

So now the plan is to enclose and really finish off the area that I use for modelling in. I need to get the brick walls lined and the two outsides of the carport enclosed and lined instead of the open latticework that is currently there. There is an opening that I'll install a glass sliding door into so that there is some light and ventilation into the 'train room'. It will be interesting how long this actually takes, I hope it won't be too long of a distraction from actual modelling. I've known how I want to do it for a while, now it's crunch time as they say.

The BRC is still on the workbench, along with a couple of other projects. So the challenge is to maintain the workbench plan, and allow the 'jolt' to force me to make a concise and focused start on the job. Wish me luck!

Friday, September 11, 2009

SSC- module construction update

An interesting feeling came over me this week, one of a calm almost pleasant feeling about construction of the current module. This is the second time for the basic construction, with 70x19mm pine used instead of the twisting and flexing 19x42mm. Now with a 400mm distance betweeen uprights for the track supports. So why this strange feeling? Well I think it's brought about because things are working 'right'.

I mentioned in a previous post that I'd bought a Modratec non interlocked frame for the operation of the points and signals. I put it together on the weekend and the kit is a good one and goes together without any drama. Well almost, I did have an issue with the ball bearings being inserted into the levers. Not that it was an issue with the kit, really it was a combination of eagerness, poor choice of tools and a forty-one year olds eyesight! Yep almost every time the ball of steel decided that the sping was there to launch itself into the air... I waited with frustrated anger for the 'Tink' as it hit the floor. I really can't post the actual words spoken, but you get the idea. If I take out the ball bearing part of the constuction, it was probably about an easy hour to put it together.

The lever frame is now mounted on the module and the links to the points are currently being installed. The next step this weekend should see the backdrop go into place and all going well the holes put in for the light pelmet. That part I plan to put in place permanently when the trackwork and base scenic structure is in place. That should give me a bit more working space, and I won't need the lights untill the 'colouring' of the module.
So let's hope that my time planning works this weekend, have a good one, Geoff.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

SSC- Updated Trackplan

I'm uploading a copy of the 'revised' trackplan to this Blog. I owe Gary Laker a huge 'thank you' for the assistance he's been in helping me 'signal' my layout. The background knowledge he has shared really helped the plan come together well. The plan has had a couple of changes due to space restrictions and wanting to have a more prototypical basis behind the design.

SSC is located in a ficticious location in country NSW, a through station on a short branchline. The facilities are few and the standard of tracklaying and infrastructure can best be described as 'Pioneer'.

The signalling is basic, with two home signals controlling the access to the yard area. These being controlled from the station platform, at the mercy of the elements. The two associated points are operated from ground frames be side the signals. The other two points are operated from two lever frames on the loop side of the layout.

The changes to the layout were the relocation of the cattle/sheep siding to the opposite end of the yard, thus allowing a longer siding to accomodate a longer string of wagons. The goods facilities are now the other end of the yard which works quite ok. The biggest change was the complete removal of loco facilities. Firstly this is a through station, so really there was no prototypical reason to have one here, and two I think I was just trying to squeeze too much into a yard that was not 'big' enough, whether in train workings or actual space on the layout.

As always I welcome your responses to this post, and I can now move forward in some preplanning of materials for the pointwork, groundframes and such.

Oh ! One last thing I had a few hours free the other day and was able to construct a revised baseboard for the layout. The others had just too much flexibility, this one is much stronger. The risers are attached as is the base for the trackwork, finally it seems to be moving forward, Good-o!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Another Branch on the Modellers Tree

Ok it's late and cold, too cold to venture out to the train room, so it's time to write a few lines on the blog. As the title suggests, we railway modellers have so many subjects to cover we can really spend alot of our free time spinning from one subject to another. Loco construction, kit building, scratchbuilding, research, baseboard construction, planning, you know how the list grows constantly.

Today I was able to spend some time at the Strathpine show. I had plenty of time and room to get around to the layouts and visit the model stores. As always I did pick up a couple of things. I spent a fair while at the Modratech stand, and after some informative info exchanges I emerged with one of Harolds' starter frames.

So here's the point of this post, now I have the frame which will be used in one of the yards of 'Splitters Swamp Creek'. I now have to formalise the signalling of this yard. I've spoken to some friends about how I could go about it, and have received some great input. Now my head is going down the road of 'what do I have to learn/research to achieve a realistic result on the layout?'

I will be constructing my own signals and associated point rodding, so the plan needs to be'right' so that I do things only once.

I'm going to reload the plan with this article, and I really would like some feedback. The yard with the station is the first part of the layout to be under signal control. What and how would you signal this plan, and how do I know when I have it right?

So here's the plan, thanks to all who drop in a reply, Geoff.

Friday, August 7, 2009

1895 BRC Wagon

On the workbench at the moment, apart from all the clutter, is the makings of a 1895 BRC wagon. I started this one the other day whilst waiting for a part to arrive for the Z13 I'm working on. So rather than wait patiently, or work on another previously started project, I began this new one.

The basis for this model is a very nice Greg Edwards drawing, just beaut! The bogies are Steam Era with rp25/88 wheelsets. I decided to go with styrene for this model because of the work involved with the underframe.

I built a basic jig for the underframe so that I could build more than one easily. The jig itself took longer to construct than did using it for the first underframe. The underframe does have timber queenposts and I've still got all the rodding and wire torson bars to add.

The sides of the wagon are planked, so off I went to find some scribbed siding close enough for the job. It's not far from being an exact match, and really I don't think many will check. So far it's been ok to construct, doors and roof to go, also the hatches as well.

Even though it's well from finished I thought it worth posting an update, any suggestions as always are welcomed!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Home Again!

Well it's been two weeks away with the family for the holidays, and what a great break it was. During my time away I managed to fit in a couple of Train Store visits. The most memorable was when I went to Casula hobbies. A Sydney drive from Hornsby to Liverpool for those of you who know which way to go should be a fairly straight forward thing. However me with a street directory and Sydney traffic does not really add up to a smooth running trip. After a breif stop over in Church Street Parramatta, three screeaming police sirens and a short trip on the Great Western something or other... I was there.

The store was brilliant, everywhere you turn there is something else to drool over. The range of Ozzy detailing parts was huge. The number of steam era type products was fantastic, really worth a look. I had a coffee and a chat to Joe, sharing some modelling tips and ideas. I spent up a bit by my standards, plenty of bits to help me finish a few ongoing projects.
so now I'm home with another weeks holiday, let's hope some of that time is for modelling, not just mowing the lawns, I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

From Here to Toowoomba!

For anyone that doesn't know me I suppose your left wondering just what all this fuss over the Toowoomba Model Railway Exhibition is all about. I've been a member of a local railway club for about five years now. Since the day I joined I've never thought it was 'a waste of time' or that 'I could have done it all myself anyway'. There are such a wide variety of modellers in the group that there's always another point of view that I hadn't imagined being expressed.
So four years ago I lept into the abyss of being a part of the clubs 'Show Layout' group. I really had no idea of what to expect. Daz gave me a lift in his van, with the club layout packed into the back.
I never expected the level of interest, genuine inquiring questioning, from the general public. The knowledge that people share truly amazes me, I've learnt so much from conversations with like minds of the railway type. The other bonus were the friendships that were sparked that weekend, that continue on today. The show is a great opportunity to catch up with people that you only see once a year, and to see what they've been up to with the hobby over the last twelve months.
Of course for those who've had the opportunity to stay at the show, it's another place overnight. The mere fact that all the panels of the 'shed' aren't blown off by the level of snoring, or the experiences of the two person shower in the amenities block, with cold water to shave in if you chose to maintain the Brad Pitt image. I myself realise that Brad really looks to me for inspiration! Certainly Helen is well pleased that I haven't extended the invitation to include her for this weekend.
Now every year about this time I try to start and finish a couple of modelling projects to take along. This year has seen a couple of my Ian Lindsay kit purchases pulled out of the kits box, to be completed. I'm in the middle of constructing a NSW SHG gaurds van, along with some flat wagons and maybe a couple of BDS open wagons.
So with about four weeks or so to go it's time to dust off the stretcher bed, grab a skivvy(ask me bout that some other time!), a notebook, camera, and plenty of those heat and eat meals in a can. Looking forward to another great weekend, well worth a visit if you are up this way, come over and say Gidday, I'll be the one that looks like Brad!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Black mountain NSW, part 2

It's been about twelve months since Darren and I headed south on tour through NSW. Darren had been invited to display his layout 'MORE' at Inverell, as part of the model railway exhibition hosted by the New England Model Railway Club. We'd spent at least the previous twelve months nutting out just where we'd like to venture off to, and the list just kept getting larger. Our aim was to visit areas that had rail infrastructure still intact even thought the line may have been disused for some time.
We were and still are acutely aware that the rail system is quickly being erased from the communities collective memory. Many lines are closed, most are not anything like what they were when at their peak, and more concerningly the people who worked on them directly are becoming few and far between. So the need to record what is there still is really becoming a 'last chance' effort.
Both Darren and I have the most understanding of wives, for them to even consider us going on a week long jaunt and leaving all the family stuff for them to deal with. Actually I think that Helen said that I was the one giving her the 'break', I'm not really sure what she means with that comment. Anyway after the Inverell show, we left the trailer at a friends place in Glen Innes before heading further south.
Darren and I both had suggestions of places we'd like to visit that included, Guyra, Werris Creek, Binnaway, Merrygoen, Molong, Canowindra, Bathurst, Merriwa, and many more along the way. Now with our list of stops, our plan was basically to take as long as we needed at each location to record with cameras and comments to each other or chats with some locals if the opportunity arose before moving on.
Heading south from Glen Innes our first place to stop was Glencoe, then Ben Lomond, Llangothlin, then Guyra. Guyra had a fair bit to see with Goods shed with goods crane, station, and some extensive fettler sheds. South of Guyra our next stop was to be Black Mountain, just off the main highway on Black Mountain Road, we came upon a strange sight a NSW guards van on blocks in a backyard. Of course we had to take a photo so up on top of the 'troopy' and a couple of photos later we thought we were done, till the owner came out, with movie camera in hand. Yep one of the pre digital cameras using probably Beta tape by the look of it. He was 'renting' the house and I use the term house and renting very loosely. The van had been placed there by the owner, and the current resident had converted one end to a guitar making workshop. An interesting fellow, very keen to show us his planting of food trees and vegetables, we thanked him for the welcome and his hospitality and moved on to Black Mountain.
We drove down the road over a hill top and down the back to be met by the rail line. On our left before the crossing was the station masters residence, then over the line to our left was the station building, lamp room and signal. To our right was the goods area with two loading banks and a well in between the sidings. we found what appeared to be the footings of a goods shed and rail rack. The line was cut into the hillside and followed a gentle curve, so that if you were at the station the goods area could not be seen. The loading banks were different to any we'd seen so far. The long loading bank on the high side of the line was constructed in two completely different methods. The far end was faced with 12"x12" timber posts and 12' timber behind. The end of the bank closer to the station was of the cement type. The top of the whole bank had the standard rail front with cement then a rail on the back as the edge to stop vehicles from going over the top. South of the loading bank was the well, then the rail rack and goods shed area. Opposite the goods area was the second loading bank, a simple timber structure.
What struck me at this stop was the simplicity of the structures, a real 'bare bones' feeling about it. This was reinforced by the ash ballast that was used in this whole area. This feeling was in complete contrast to the ballasted deck trestles, and the brick faced culverts and built up earthworks seen on the line to the north.
From here we headed further south to Dumaresq, but that will have to wait to another time.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Brisbane RNA Show

Every year I like many other modellers get a 'shot in the arm' with a good dose of enthusiasm driven by a visit to the Brisbane Show. This year, unfortunately I was only able to attend on the one day (Monday) due to work commitments (Saturday) and a ticket to Chicago's last Brisbane performance (Sunday) with Helen.

I was working with Craig (Craig's Shed) for the day on a construction table associated with his club. I've done this before and it's usually a great day. This year was no exception. Craig surrounded himself with his efforts, everything from deck chairs to outhouses with lids left up. I on the other hand brought along a couple of points a soldering iron, and a piece of plastic to bash a bit later at the retailers.

The modelling competition entries stand is always one of my first visits, I am always amazed at what people can achieve, and the 19 class loco that one best built kit loco was a real winner, I do apologise to the winner as I didn't have my notebook to record their name.

Craig and I arrived about 8:00 so plenty of time to fill the coffee cup and have a look around the retailers. Plenty to see here, people to catch up with, oh and a couple of purchases to kick off the day. A quick look at the layouts, then over to the workbench. I'd brought the soldering iron, and a couple of points to finish off. It's amazing really the number of people who had questions that required some indepth responses, a real pleasure to share information to maybe inspire others to try something new. I don't do anything that anyone couldn't do, it seems that some just need that extra push to get into it. Craig had a sea of people around him during the course of the day, the poor cousin next door actually was able to finsh the point he was working on. Not bad I thought considering how busy the day was.

Since Monday, I caught up with Craig and Peter, at a modelling group we're all in. When I say 'all' I think there'd be about twelve of us involved, guess the others were a bit 'trained' out. Anyway we had a fair amount of time to chat about the show, and it was then I realised what I'd missed. I thought that I'd caught sight of all that was there, but it seemed that Geoffrey had his blinkers on that day. It very definitely means that next year I'll be on holidays for the weekend, so I can be there for at least two of the three days.

This time of the year passes like a flash, with the Brisbane show, quickly followed by Queenies Birthday long weekend, then off to Toowoomba for the weekend. I usually hear the alarm bells some time during the RNA and this year was no different, only this year it was 9:15 when I first heard them. So now a few weeks of intense modelling to (hopefully) have some new rollingstock for Toowoomba.

So Craig, thanks for a great day, it was a hoot, as usual, evn forgot to pull out the camera!

Monday, April 6, 2009

A Layout Tale- Splitters Swamp Creek pt2

I don't know about you but, I have a terrible time sticking to my own modelling deadlines. My plan last year was to complete the layout to display quality by this March. That original plan has been massaged a bit to accomodate all the family/work commitments that seem to so easily cut into my modelling time. Not that I mind, no really I don't, however I do enjoy the great feeling you get when you complete something as planned.
I mentioned before the idea behind the design of the modules. In that each module should overlap the end of the last. The main reason for this is to keep the layout as compact as possible, so that the area used is at the very least. I suppose too I've seen alot of layouts that are large, but with little in the way of 'shrubbery' (stealing a Monty Python term!) over the layout, so the smaller the layout is the lesser the number of trees will need to be constructed, maybe trees in the tens of thousands not 100 000's!. You know the idea of being at the 'tree building' stage feels so very far away fom where I'm at now.
So where am I at now? Well the wood for the modules has been cut up ready to go, the main framing anyway. Plywood for the backscenes has been purchased redicut from Bunnings. It's just around the corner and open till 9pm weeknights, perfect for me to duck down after dinner and get the wood cut to size with no waiting. Yep in my experience going to bunnings after 6pm is brilliant, plenty of staff to go around for one on one service! I have been procrastinating a bit over the actual construction of the modules being as they are a one piece construction with the pelmet over the top holding the lighting also. This weekend should see some free time to get the first module together, so that some of the landscaping can commence.
Apart from the construction of the modules I've also been constructing the turnouts for the layout, all no6's to NSWGR specs. The method of turnout activation is through a wire in tube method using Modratec products, and activated mechanically by my own switching unit that also contains the electrical activation of the points. At Craigs place last Tuesday he was using the spring curtain hanging material with galvanised wire as the inner for point activation. I was really impressed with the tightness of the diameter he was able to use and still have a very easily moved inner wire. I 'd say the diameter was a loop of about no more than 100-120mm. The gal wire also will not bind up over time, in fact the surface of the wire tends to be a bit powderlike over time which helps the 'lubrication' of the system.
The track design also means that there is a minimum number of track lines running across the joins. How often when you are around the setting up of show layouts do you hear or see the frustration others have in lining up all the joins? Well this little black duck says 'No More!' I suppose that the idea of a simple branchlike plan has always appealed to me as well which helps the track work over joins issue also.
From the layouts design one issue is created, in that the light pelmet is unsupported at one end of each module. The solution is for some 'dowel' trees to be planted that will support the layout ends. The pelmet itself is not heavy so this shouldn't present much of an issue. None of these ideas are new, many others have come up with them, and I thank them for sharing their ideas with all of us. When I was at Bunnings this week I grabbed some dowell and threaded rod that I will use to create the support of the pelmet. I actually was just going to go with the dowel, and have a 'clumping' of tree supports, but when I saw the rod I thought that the smaller diameter might be worth a try, (maybe I'll combine both ideas, not sure yet).
Today saw me with a bit of free time, so out to the garage I headed with the intent to make a start at the layout. It actually went along ok. I am really no carpenter so the mere fact that it's stayed together for the whole afternoon is a miracle in itself. I put in the dowel trees although I haven't trimmed them up yet so there's nothing 'treelike' about them . My whole concept has been to keep the module as simple as possible (for carpentry reasons) so I used one piece of timber as spacers for lifting the layout off the baseboard. I attached a couple of pieces of ply to each side of the spacer, they then fit over the top of the base framing and attach ply for the trackwork on the top.
The first module is fairly complete, I just need to wire it up, for lighting and track power. Then there's the painting to do, undercoat everything then a top coat ,oops forgot the top, I need another sheet of 3mm ply for the top of the module.
The next job is the cork and then a start on the trackwork. I always say that the Super Freighter moves along slowly, no exception here today!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

A Scratchbuilt 1895 BSV

As time moves on the time period that I model seems to keep moving backwards. I've always liked the 'idea' of modelling steam era, but for me the cost was too restrictive. My modelling dollar has meant that my purchases have been few, with scratchbuilding providing an opportunity to have something a bit different. I do enjoy the challenge that modelling something that's not seen too often offers. Helen thinks it's 'a male ego thing' ,she may be right (she normally is). I like to think that it's the challenge of the research and effort that goes into the subject that I find quite enjoyable.

The 1895 BSV is a wagon immediately different to what is seen circling round other layouts, and it allows me to run right up to the 50's when the last of these wagons disappeared from the rails. I tracked down some line drawings and began the de-construction mentally. So far I've worked out how to build the wagon sides, using at least two kilometres of brass wire. as you can see the sides are styrene, and the wire is a mix of brass and piano. The bogies are a steam era product, and they are a great match of the diamond frames that were actually used.
As soon as I get this one finished I'll post a couple of photos. If any of you have some comments I would welcome them. Oh one other thing I came up with a way to make these out of brass etches, so any ideas of how, and who to contact would be great! My progress is always slow, so here's a couple of photos of where I'm up to, Geoff.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

My Home Layout Trackwork Plan

Tom asked for a plan of my home layout, and I thought I knew exactly where it was... well almost! After a great deal of frustration and a little bit of cursing my poor memory (that's why you'll always see me with a pen/notebook in hand!) I found it. Now it's a little hard to see so one thing to note is that between the two yards there is a single line linking them. Also as with all things the reality of the layout has meant that the silo complex on the island has been relocated slightly. I plan to build a grain shed first, along with the other buildings associated with that yard before moving on to the other yard against the wall. The Silos will be located in the area where the base board has been cut into leaving an oddly shaped oval to show just where I mean. As you can see from the photos the yard has been extended round the curve with the last point actually at the end of the curve on the rhs of the layout. Also the whole layout is located against the wall now, however this is only temporary whilst I work on my show layout. I really needed the floor space, so for those of you who thought the backscene didn't quite work with the station platform in front of it, you are completely correct. The painted backscene actually goes where the yard finishes, exactly where the blank board is in the other photo.
The pointwork I'm still working on, the next two points are completed, just need some time to lay them.
Here's the scan and a couple of photos to show you what I mean, Geoff.