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.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Black Mountain, NSW.

Last year I went on a tour with a great mate Darren, through country NSW. We had a week to cover as much of the territory as we could. We started at Brisbane and headed south towards Tenterfield. We had a list of spots to visit, for me Black mountain was one of the highlights. Here's a couple of photos to give you a look see of what's there. The whole of the location is cut into the hill and the yard curves around the cutting following the shape of the land. It's off the main highway but worth a look!
Later on I'll give you a bit of a rundown of where we went, and especially what was there to have a look at. Enjoy!

Monday, January 19, 2009

NSWGR Handlaid Trackwork- pt3 construction

I think that I should expand on just how I activate my points. It's really cheap and simple, and easy. It all revolves around a DPDT switch. I only use three contacts on the switch, the others I leave 'just in case' I need to use some switching down the track.

I put a hole in a piece of timber that is big enough for the switch to go through, then I put a hole in a second piece of timber large enough so that it doesn't bind on the nut of the switch. The two pieces of timber need to fit flush against each other. This is one side of the box, the other three should be made to go around a single piece of timber that will activate the switch. I built all of this with some scrap 3mm ply and some pine about 25x7mm, using three pieces of the pine and three pieces of the ply. The pine is solid enough to drill a hole into the short side , so that the end of the switch fits snuggly into it. The switch itself performs two roles, to change the polarity of the frog, and to mechanically move the point blades. The piece of timber that fits in the centre of the box i sand a bit on the corners so that it doesn't bind, before putting it together. As you can see from the photo I install the box on its side so that its easy to solder on the wires (easier still to do it before you put it in place). Talking about the wiring I make the centre pole for the power to the frog, the LHS pole goes to the right hand track, and the RHS pole goes to the left hand track. Really what I'm saying is that the polarity is reversed so that everything works when you 'switch' the point. If this doesn't make sense let me know and I'll try to explain it more

Sunday, January 18, 2009

A layout tale- Splitters Swamp Creek

Yesterday I began telling you about SSC and how it came about. For me it's been a steep learning curve, with some new ideas for module design and construction. For those who've noticed the ends of the modules overlap. This doesn't really cause any problem until you add a backdrop and a pelmet. It basically means that one end of each module is needing to be attached to the next for support. A bit of extra thought for how they go together has seen me employ t-nuts for holding the modules together at the base and the top.

I've put in another sketch to show a bit more of what I imagine it will look like. I'm no artist but here goes!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

It Started at Toowoomba-a tale

For the last four or five years I've been lucky enough to attend the Toowoomba Model Railway Show. The show has been a source of great inspiration and friendship. I tend to use some of my time re-assessing what my modelling goals are. At most times of the year 'life' gets in the way of modelling plans, so I find it a positive to take the time and get some plans in writing.
In 2006 I used some of my time doodling an idea of my own show layout. Of course there were plenty of others to bounce ideas off, so it made the job all the more enjoyable. The plan about here is the first version, the main idea being a layout with simple trackplan, and small size. I love the look of many of the On30 layouts, for me it's the landscaping that is the strongest focus of these layouts. So with this in mind I made the plan with a focus on landscape and trackwork. Lots of trees and cuttings and green stuff.
I have mentioned elsewhere that I hand lay my trackwork, and so this layout would be the same. This plan does have it's drawbacks as I need to build the trackwork to be as reliable as possible and of course robust to enable it to be transported around. The track will also be DCC, so that the simple trackwork benifits by moving more than one loco in an area at a time, without alot of blocks and switches.
The rollingstock will be steam era, witha bit of pre 1950 stuff about. I think that the time period is probably still broad at this stage say 1940-1970, this may change as I move forward, we'll see. This means that early diesels may also make an appearance.
I went over the layout plan, more formally this time and realised that the track plan would not work in the space I've allowed. The decision then changed the size of the modules, and adjust the plan. It is now more definitely designed to be operated from two sides, enabling variation for the operators as well as being something a bit different. The actual trackwork is very close to this design, and the wheat sheds are gone, replaced bya larger livestock loading area. Each module is now 600mm deep not 400, it works better giving larger radius curves.
This'll be enough for today, unfortunately my typing is still rubbish!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

NSWGR Handlaid Trackwork-pt 2 Construction

Over a period of a couple of years I've had a go at point construction. I follow the trackwork of NSWGR and all that that encompasses. The materials and jigs and bits are few. Canite to hold the turnout plan, and mapping pins and T-pins to hold all in place. Here's a photo to show you what I mean.

I've squeezed a RH & LH plan onto the piece of canite so that I've just got one piece of wood to find on the 'tidy' workspace, when I need to build a turnout. The mapping pins are sold everywhere, even at Woolies, and the T-pins are from a hobby shop, and are used in model aeroplane construction. I use a combination of both, with T-pins in the spots that will get a bit warm with the soldering iron.

I use a Tricky Dicky Temp controlled iron, as I've got a brass kit to construct. I should probably state here and now, that kit and scratchbuilding is my preference, and I am biased that way. So don't expect a balanced opinion from me in relation to RTR. I think the RTR products are great, but they will be a small part of my rollingstock, as I enjoy the construction of a MODEL railway.

OK, that's all clear now. So I use a great solder flux too, for use with electrical wiring, in that it is non corrosive and does not need rinsing. Available from Gwydir Valley models, (hope that's how you spell it) Warren has a great mail order business, that sells alot of the scratchbuilding stuff I use. It's great for layout wiring., how many of you have seen corroded solder joins on your layout?

The sleepers are clover house from GVM also. I use alot around the frog area as I'm a bit wary of this area being prone to being out of gauge. As you'll see too the quantity of pc sleeper enable a stable isolation cut to be put in beside the frog (more on that bit later)

I don't do anything startling in my method, however I do think that once you've built a few you do develop your own steps that you follow each time. I do file back the foot of the railstock where the point blades come in contact with, but not the head of the rail.

I do start at the frog and work out from there, if that helps. When you look at the NSW Trackwork Manual it lists two different guard rail lengths for where the turnout is positioned, whether in mainline or a siding. Ialso solder from the outside of the turnout and apply flux to the inside so that the solder is drawn through between the rail and the sleeper. Looking at the photo here, I put an isolating cut on the LH side of the frog (DCC friendly points) on the RH side I put two isolating rail joiners on the two middle pieces of rail. No cut necessary, as most of us don't run out locos right up to a point before selecting the road. All who operate on my layout know this is how it works so all is good! By far the longest part of the job here is the filing of the point blades. This has been covered in many AMRA articles that I read and re-read every now and again.

Once the basic point is finished, with the isolation cut ( OOPS!! forgot to let you know,I cut my rail from the reverse side. Starting with a 'V' cut with a triangular file through the base of the cut, and finshed with my razor saw, giving a very fine join) I then get out the hobby drill with a small 'ball' shaped sanding stone in it. This I use for all the isolation cuts in the sleepers. It leaves a slight dished cut, that once painted looks like weathered rotten timber, much less noticeable than a straight cut into the sleeper with a saw. Then I spray the whole thing with the grey primer from an auto store, once dry I hit it with a 'rusty rail' coloured paint, and drybrush the sleepers. Aphoto about here shows what I mean.

Then it's time to wire it up and 'activate ' those point blades. Another two photos here wil give you an idea of what I do. The result I'm pleased with, it looks pretty good, and only costs about $5 for materials.

NSWGR Handlaid Trackwork- pt 1, Research

Over a period of time since taking up modelling again, I have become more involved with the trackwork used in NSW ,being a part of the overall modelling scene I'm trying to create.

I have had alot of value in being a member of the 'NSW Railway Historical Society' both through their magazine, and for research purposes. I enjoy the research involved in this hobby (if you choose to be specific to an era, place, etc...) as I feel it makes us better modellers. The how, and why something was done is more often than not the difference between a great result and an average one. There has been articles on NSW trackwork in the 'Railway History' magazine, that has extended what I'd already known.

Another fantastic (excited now!) research resource where all the hard work has been done for you is the Trackwork Manual available through Data Sheets, by Greg Edwards. This book has really been a great help in my planning and construction of pointwork.

The next thing to have is, photos, photos, photos. If you can't get to where you model then use some of the various photo spots on the net. Can I say here and now, that a visit or hands on approach would make all the difference! Digital cameras are great for taking as many detail shots as you like, then edit them when you get home.

So, know what you want to achieve is first, and stick to it, remember the result you get is what you live with after finishing something, and taking shortcuts during construction, to save time or get it done quickly, will only disappoint you later. Remember the saying 'Slow and Steady Wins the Race' and that certainly applies to modelling railways.
All these photos are taken at Murwullumbah in northern NSW

Monday, January 12, 2009

the Beginner Begins

The entry into the modelling comp really was a good way to start again with modelling. It forced me to work within a time limit, and especially to complete my subject. As I'd only been a member of the LDMRC for a short while, I only had a few techniques to work with.

The building is a NSW station building, constructed mostly from balsa wood. Balsa was easy to use and to find, at just about any store (even bunnings) . It also glues well and cuts up easily. The plans I got from an edition of 'Australian Journal of Railway Modelling' a fantastic read, and full of info for modelling.

I tried to create a scene with all of the bits I thought would be present at a disused station. Unkept building with poor plumbing, and a pile of rubbsh left where it was dropped. The station front is balsa too with lots of paint to bring out the 'grain' of the wood that I'd created with a screw dragged across the front of wood.

The trackwork is shop bought, something I shy away from these days, but more on that a bit later.

All the grass is mostly hemp twine that I've unravelled and glued in clumps with white glue. It takes quite a bit to have an effect, but is worth it once you've 'planted' into the model. The name 'Wontreah hill' is one I came up with myself, as I'd only had time to construct one tree.

The water tank is a piece of tube would with styrene strip to complete, the first rinse tank is a kilometrico pen with a few bits of styrene attached. All in all a great bit of fun was had constructing the model.

This year there will be another entry, probably in scratchbuilt rollingstock, oh boy now I've done it! Set my own deadline! Geoff.

To start this Blog I thought a bit of a background might be in order. I started in railway modelling at the age of eight, and then stopped till the age of thirty-five, about six years ago.

As with many modellers the seed to model was planted along time ago, germination only happened a short time ago whilst visiting the Brisbane Model Railway Show. I met a couple of people, and joined a local club, to learn a bit more.
I did get a bit of a headspin by the terms and codes that were shared around the first time I visited the club. There were 3 letter codes, and four letter codes, that applied to the same wagons. All a bit much really, but, I was intrigued, and wanted to learn as much as I could.
Twelve months later and I was back at the Brisbane Show and entered the modelling comp. This was purely an excercise in completing a project, rather than an attempt to win. There's a photo here of my entry. A real hoot to enter, haven't done it since though...modelling seems to get in the way.