Sunday, December 5, 2010

Perfect weather for ducks...and for modelling!

The yard at SSC, shame the photo isn't a little clearer, but you get the idea I'm sure.

There really can't be much rain left in the skies after the last couple of days. The weathermen are saying that Thursday will bring some more, so we'll see. The rain has meant a little more time out in the train room, just what I needed.

The last couple of weeks have been hectic for many reasons. The main one modelling speaking is that after having the boys around for a Toosdy Niters evening I discovered that I've been using some rather out of gauge gauges.

Some time ago I purchased some gauges that were not NMRA approved, and it seems that I've been 'ripped off'. I don't think that it's much to ask for gauges to be accurate, after all that's what we buy them for!

I would have preferred to have discovered this fact before I laid the trackwork on the first module. It could have been worse I could have finished the trackwork. What all this does is point out how the rp2/ 110 and 88 are to a very lowest common denominator. This for me has me dreaming of Proto 87 ( well down the line somewhere I expect.) As all the wheelsets ran through the points quite ok. In fact I've been shunting on the first module and running through the points without issue. I daresay the loco i've been using is in need of re-gauge.

Here I am with all this rain, and plenty of trackwork to rework. I've started with the points that are not yet laid. So far so good, lots of checking and minor adjustments, but they are coming along ok.

I really would like to get the trackwork finished as I'm busting to get into the scenery. I know busting really? Maybe some of the moisture in the air has had an effect on me...well at least whilst writing this post. Enjoy the rain, and the modelling opportunities it provides, Oorroo!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Once upon a time, there was an Eternal Beginner...

A Truck 11965, at Dorrigo,the underframe of these wagons were all timber, square nuts were before all the hex head stuff you see everywhere these days. Keith was telling me about their plans to replace all the 'hex' stuff with the original gear that they have boxes and boxes of ready to go. Keith put up with all my stupid questions and endless stops for photos. I really don't know who was more patient Keith or the other guys I came with?

This is one of the many shots I took of 'Bowen Creek' over the weekend, I daresay one of thousands taken since its first display. I love looking through the scene for a shot, that sense of depth really draws you into the scene.

At Dorrigo bogie wagon BLV 15593 awaits an overhaul. This wagon pre dates 1900 and is probably the last of its kind. It has original 'everything' including the bogies with timber central beams, not for high speeds at all. Certainly worthy of some restoration, wish I lived closer to be more actively involved.

In the story so far we find our heros setting off on another adventure. There was Peter , Darren, Scooter and Geoff. The four set off on a trip of modelling parallel there would be none to find equal to. The stories of the trip would be passed on to many others over time, and eventually end up as things of legend. We find our heros returned and invigorated, refreshed and a little tired...

The weekend of the convention was truly inspiring. The number of really active modellers was huge. The best part was that there were many that I'd met for the first time, but they felt like old friends in a short amount of time. To everyone that I met, thanks for making the weekend a real hoot! Also if I didn't get a chance to say Ooroo, then Ooroo! till next time.

The sharing of information, and techniques was continuous over the weekend. I've written down many notes that will certainly be referred to in the future. My thanks and praise to all that presented, or manned demonstrations for the weekend they certainly did a fantastic job.

To see the two layouts in the flesh being presented for the weekend was fantastic. I have been following 'Bowen Creek's blog for a while now, so I had a fair idea of what to expect, well I was wrong. The effort and skill that Ian and Andrew have put into this layout is staggering. They both are to be congratulated for their efforts. The two guys are doing what many only talk about in their Proto 87 efforts. Ian I'd met at the previous Ebor convention some five years ago, why he's hooked up with someone like Andrew is dumbfounding! Sorry, had to give you a little poke Andrew! A top bloke, obvious that Ian is the brains of the pairing, oops did it again, sorry, Andrew I think I brought home your comb though oops! Damn it, well you can see we got on ok.

On our way home I took a few photos at Dorrigo, well over 300 actually. A return trip in the future is definitely on the cards. It was great to be joined by a couple of enthusiastic photographers in Dean and Brendan.

I don't want to go on about the weekend for too long so, a big thank you to the New England Club for a professional, informative, friendly, fun weekend. Thanks to the suppliers that came along, I think they did ok from what I saw, and to everyone who attended, thanks again for wanting to share your works, skills and good humour with 'Beginners' like myself. I can't wait for the next one. Notice I didn't mention the antics of the T'ba blokes at all? Or the guy that was in the last session I attended for the weekend, trying to tell the presenter he'd gone over time, when there was nothing after, funny I didn't see a rope tying him to his seat...

That'll do for now, Ooroo!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Carpooling, Motels, and Models

The Bookings were made months ago, plans for models even longer, holiday forms put in, discussions, e-mails ,Blog posts, etc. Yep well it's finally here, this Friday four of us head south to Armidale for the New England Convention. I have been waiting for this one since the end of the last convention at Ebor, about three years ago I think.

So when we first heard about the chance of a convention, then confirmation of the dates I think we scared Warren a little bit with our enthusiasm for attending. the Motel was booked pretty quickly also, with staff there trying to convince me that we'd booked on the wrong weekend!??? I know! Golf was their reasoning, and we'd booked on the weekend of the women's competition. That of course mattered nought to us, but they were rather confused when i did set them straight about our real reason for coming to town, the pause was a little long ( all modellers have experienced the pause at some point, I'm sure).

The car pool made perfect sense, and Peter kindly offered to provide the transport. The discussions very recently revolved around the route of the trip, inland via Warwick then south, or towards the coast through Grafton. Inland first making the trip shorter, and remembering the loss of the hour due to daylight saving. Then there is the discussion about breakfast, beds and of course pyjamas... nothing more be said on that one I think.

That leaves us with the actual weekend and deciding what sessions to attend, and the worst bit, what sessions we were prepared to miss! Not happy Jan! Numbers that I've heard seem to be rather high, great for the organising club, and even better for the hobby as a whole. For me if I could be a bit philosophical for the moment. I think that our hobby is well and truly alive and well, not at all in trouble. It will cycle over time, highs and lows, but it will always be a real opportunity to create our own version of history, just a little bit and this convention proves how active we are as modellers.

Those that know me, know my job, and it's transfers, and the fact that yesterday I had to lodge another holiday form for friday and Monday, damn and blast! Yet another store to work at, and another group of people to experience their ...PAUSE when I tell them what my hobby is. A strange sort of inquiring normally follows, especially when I tell them that this weekend I'm going to a convention. The best question that I've been asked so far is...'What do you wear?'

That cracks me up! See you there if you're going, Geoff.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Finally some track laying!

Four bolt fishplates are very common through the branchlines of NSW, six hole fishplates were also used with only four bolts used in the centre holes.
The colour of the sleepers is very bleached out, I may still be modelling my sleepers a little dark. I think we tend to model what we think we've seen, I know my memory does escape me sometimes, that's where photos come in handy. I also note that these sleepers are of a line that had closed over ten years ago and this would definitely effect the maintenance of the line. Taken near Guyra in northern NSW.
Darren shows the timber spacing the heel of his rear foot is in the centre of the sleeper, about two and a half foot centres.

The timber sleepers that I need to complete the track work number at about 320. The process of staining continues in batches of about 40 or so. I have a fair number done so it's on to the laying.

I've marked out the spacing of the sleepers, and also indicated the location of the frogs so that it is easier to position the turnouts. I have marked the spacing as 3ft centres. The branchlines were from two and a half feet to three foot centres. A couple of weeks ago I'd marked and drilled the holes for the activation of the turnouts so that made today faster to get into.

The job of gluing the sleepers down is fairly straight forward. I put in a PC board sleeper one in seven sleepers. I am not obsessed with the alignment of the sleepers, only that they follow the general arrangement or radius of a curve. I imagine I could spend alot more time doing this more precisely however there is result vs time spent evaluation that we as modellers must all grapple with. So the sleepers with a space for the PC sleeper have been laid across the front of the module of the other side of SSC. A weight applied, and a wait for drying.

That's about it for today, see ya! Geoff.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Let the Staining Begin!

This week I thought that I should increase my stockpile of sleepers so that laying them can begin next week. I had a new addition to the staining 'kit' in a white pencil that I spotted at Riot art supplies last weekend. I thought it could be used to really make the weathering of the sleepers a little faster and easier. I've always had trouble with the dry brushing of white onto the sleepers so I thought this might make the task easier. I found that the paint went on in little dry lumps, maybe it was too dry? Not sure really.
The two photos above and below are the final products after using the white pencil after staining them with the timber stain, and also some india ink, it too was from riot as it was on a good special. I like that the white pencil just 'grabbed' on the highest part of the sleeper, and left the low bits rather darker.

The last two photos are before using the white, and the india ink was left till after as well. I still have a bit of trouble with the upload of photos, as these were in the opposite order when I uploaded them, a little frustrating, but you get the idea.
The two photos here have the initial wood stain applied, then a thinned down wash of the grey tamiya paint applied over the top. I have found that applying both pretty well straight after the other makes no real difference to the end result, and it is certainly faster. The white seems to work ok, and I'm quite happy with the result. Any hints would be welcomed!
My photo taking is as usual a bit ordinary, actually I think that they look better in the real. This week I'll have to repeat this task several times so that I've plenty to work with.

Off to Craig's place this week for the Toosdy Niters, with some discussion of the trip to Armidale sure to take up some time. We are intending to leave Friday morning and do a bit of 'railway' spotting on the way down. The convention requests that you bring something along to share, not sure what it will be yet. I think I might have to start something soon, after all it's only a couple of weeks to go!

Oorroo! Geoff.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

2010 New England Convention, Who's Going?

OK, I got a little excited last night, when I opened the mail to find the programme for the convention in Armidale next month. I also felt a little stressed, as there were choices to be made about which session I wanted to attend!

I attended the last convention in Ebor, and found it an excellent experience. The concept of going to a different location, and staying with fellow modellers was fantastic. Many of the ideas and thoughts that I use now, or hope to were started at the previous convention. Ideas on layout module construction with Chuck ( from ballasting fame), Hand layed track and signalling components and eventually Proto 87, thanks to Ian Millard, DCC Control, greater detailing of models, I could rant all day, but you get the idea.

The best part for me was the positive environment, it's not too often that we have an opportunity to get together with a large group of people all wanting to do the same thing. Sharing of modelling efforts through the sessions, and especially through the models that were brought along was very satisfying.

So, this event looks to be even more inviting with the variety of sessions available. Four of us from the Toosdy Niters will be heading south to attend, and a few members from my railway club also. So the big question is will you be there also?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

So, Where is Splitters Swamp Creek?

The last post had a rather strong message for me, 'no posting until there is something to photograph'. Yessirree it has been quite a while between drinks... Ah, photos I mean. I importantly have been keeping to this plan, for sure I've nearly given in and posted a bit to fill in a bit about what I've been doing. So here's to a milestone reached...clink! Clink! (toasting oneself)
What plan? I hear you say, well the one that had all the trackwork completed on SSC by the end of October. The time line I've been trying to keep to is this:
1. Complete the laying of trackwork by the end of October.
This milestone also includes all the associated wiring for the trackwork, the lighting system, and the power supply for the DCC system.
2. Complete the basic scenery work by December(ish).
3. Work on Locomotive and Wagon construction till the end of March, and also the beginning of building construction. I don't want to rush them, and those who know me would agree I'm definitely a slow modeller.
During this time also continue adding to the scenery, as I can guarantee I won't be happy with how it looks.
4. Weathering of layout and rollingstock, I really like things not to have that 'just polished' look about them. Complete by the end of April.
The idea is to have things done in plenty of time for a couple of shows that Darren and I might be heading off to in 2011.
So the above is the timeline for completion. Where am I at right now?
Miles behind truthfully, however I still think that if the scenery and trackwork is done by December then all should be OK.
The wiring had me thinking that I should make each module able to be supplied power on their own, so that scenery work could be finished in other places other than the garage. After all H has commented that the scenery part is her favourite, so I've read her comments as 'modelling the scenery in the loungeroom is OK with me', we'll see. So powering the module really only means turning the lights on, and for the two longer modules, also plugging in the NCE control unit. The power enters the non scenery module and it's then daisy-chained around the other modules. You can see the 'black' input socket , double point in the centre, and round socket for daisy-chaining between modules, in one of the photos.
A quick bit about the lighting for a sec. All the photos of the layout are with the lights on and no camera flash to give a better idea of how the brightness is. I mounted 2xtwo foot lights and one fluoro bulb in the end of the module Looks OK I think, seems to be plenty of lighting.
I popped down to Austral on Saturday morning and picked up one of the NCE plug in thingy's that I needed on the other long module. I had a great chat, and it did extend the visit time a bit, but isn't a bit of a chat half the reason we go to a hobby shop? It's mounted on the module now and the power is completed to all four modules. The lighting is well on the way to being completed. I should get it done by the weekend.
Tonight I had a bit of time out in the train room after getting home late from work. How does that work? I hear you say. Well Tuesday nights are 'Trainclub' nights, whether at the clubhouse or at a 'toosdy niters' home. So with a late finish it became easier to stay home and head outside for a bit. I'd mounted the workings for the wiring under the track board on the weekend and permanently mounted the board on the module, so no turning back now! Tonight I began fixing down the cork roadbase and working out the placement of the turnouts for laying. I am feeling a bit better about my deadline, but you know how life gets in the way of modelling, Oorroo!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Down at Tenterfield the other day

The last two weeks have been a welcomed break from the retail frenzy I work in. We began the holidays with just on a weeks camping at Girraween National Park, just south of Stanthorpe in Qld. I'd been watching the long range weather forecasts for about a week before, with mixed feelings about what was going to be our weather outlook. As it turned out it wasn't too bad at all, with only one really wet day. A perfect opportunity to head south to Tenterfield.

The railway museum is well worth a visit, with various different displays to keep you interested. Z & H both seemed to enjoy themselves, especially as alot of what is there is as it was when in use.

I'd seen a few photos on their website and was keen to look at some of their pre WWII exibits. They have an early S wagon, 4whl Sheepvan, and 4whl meatvan.
The sheepvan is well restored from the chassis up anyway, the underframe is still in need of some work. I enjoyed seeing the differences between this van and the many that came after it. It did seem alot more open than the models of the bogie stock we see running around on layouts. The use of the doors in the end would have been a hoot with a string of these wagons all linked together, imagine loading and unloading!

I think that I may need to get onto greg edwards for some more line drawings of the Early years wagons that he has. This wagon would be a great addition to my rollingstock.
The meatvan has been completely restored, Z was very interested in the use of all the hooks hanging from the ceiling. However I don't know how impressed with the 'picture' I painted for him in their correct use.

Sorry no photos of the Meat van today, getting late. I did however think that a quick update would be worth it after such along time. More on SSC another day, Oorroo!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Toosdy Niters

It's been coming down cats and dogs for the last two days, and last night the heaviest came down whilst the guys were over. Our numbers fluctuate, but tend to be around the eight to ten number. Though a combination of rain and winter flu kept the numbers to just four.

The progress on SSC has been a bit stifled by a backyard makeover that will probably be finished in the next month or so. Anyway I'd requested some input from the guys about lighting on the layout, and they of course obliged. I had been planning to use globes however the lighting level was just to poor. So 2ft single tubes have been put in. Two for each long side and maybe one on the end.

The lighting seemed to get the nod, although I may lower the fitting slightly as Daz thought it would throw a better light over the module. Yep easy done.

By the end of September all the track work needs to be down, so that I'm on track with the time goals I set myself. The deadline also means all the back scene painting needs to be completed also, as well as the electrics.

Now although our numbers were few, we still never shut up all night, lots of modelling banter being thrown about, and Craig with his latest modelling efforts! He does keep himself busy that bloke! A good night, and a good bit of rain fell as well.

That's it really, seems I've gotten a bit slack with the photos, so no more posts till there's something to photograph,

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Yep, still here, just busy

It's getting a bit late, but I must confess it's taken a while to read through all the blog updates that have come through today! I'm not complaining it really is great to have contact with such a great group of active modellers.

For me this week it has been bit all over the place. I spent some time fitting some fluorescent globes that I'd thought suitable for the lighting. The globes even at a 20watt power rating were really very poor at lighting the scene area. I will be able to use a couple of these globes to light up a couple of corners but the majority of the modules will need tube fluorescent lighting.

A trip to the local Bunnings had a couple of the short fittings in the car. A quick put up and wire up had me feeling a bit more confident with the lighting of the layout. The weight of the module is always on my mind, and keeping things simple has always been the idea.

This week the Boys are over for Tuesday Nighters, so some feedback on the lighting would be welcomed.

This Friday Daz and I are off to Murwillumbah for their Bi-Annual Show raising money for the schools P & C. The show is very well organised and the layouts are not the same each year keeping the show fresh and inspiring. The last time Darren and I were invited to present Darren's layout 'More' it was four years ago. This weekend will be the last time outing for 'More'. It really has been a hoot helping Darren present his layout.

So that's about it, busy, Birthday, Soccer, Gardening, Retaining wall construction, the list goes on. Anyway next weekend will be a break from the normal routine, but welcomed, Oorroo! Geoff.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Quick Update

The weekend has come and gone so very quickly. How many times will I start a post with these words! I know someone is keeping a tally.

Anyway, after four days off work, hacking away at the back yard, filling a five cubic metre skip, I still managed a bit of time out in the train room. Yep most definitely the yard was the major focus, and probably will be next weekend as well.

So I had some time and began fitting the pelmets and backboards to the last modules of SSC.
There is still a fair bit to go, but it is fairly basic in design, so not much can go wrong. The light board is set back 100mm from the front edge of the layout. There are many points of view to displaying a layout as far as the lighting is concerned. I personally like the idea of variation in light levels, with a focus on open areas of the layout, as opposed to areas that will be heavily greened and wooded on SSC. I am using the screw in bulb version of Fluoro bulb. this gives me the ability to vary the wattage of the globe, and light colour also. I've started 'testing' the colour variations in, cool white, warm white, daylight. It seems that every manufacturer has their own name for the colour of their lights. I used bulbs as I wanted to keep the weight down in the top of the layout.

The 'beginner' in me is very present in the construction of this layout, it is in fact my first, nothing has been built before. I say that to remind myself. I must admit to being hard on myself when it comes to modelling, as is evidenced by some of the unfinished projects in the 'unfinished draw'.

Now this weekend, there is yard, H, and Trains, what will be the focus?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Sunday Tradition?

Well it's nearly 9pm and so far there's no update to Craig's Blog.
What can this mean?
Where is Craig?
How will I sleep?
Will tomorrow ever come?
What are the numbers for lotto next week?

C...R...A...I...G WHERE ARE YOU??????

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Toowoomba 2010

This will be the last post about T'ba till around June next year, promise!

Daz and I arrived at the shed at around 1pm on Friday, and there were already quite a few others already set up. Firstly we ate the burgers bought just down the road, and set to work. The layout has had a few outings with just the two of us to setup and quite honestly it probably works out better that way. In what seemed no time the layout was up and we had some locos circulating. This year is the layouts tenth year and will be its last at T'ba.

The shed this year was certainly a lot fuller than last year with tighter isles and tighter spots for us to work ourselves into. I do enjoy the positive feeling you get at the start of a show, and I do think that others there were feeling much the same. When the dinner was out of the way we spent a while looking about and then got set up at the modelling bench. We planned to do a bit of modelling in the evenings on the Friday and Saturaday. Last year and many other times we'd been at the dinner put on by the DDMRC and the dinner and quiz afterwards is certainly good value, just not our thing.

I had a bit of staining of timber loads to complete, and had brought along a couple of other things to have a go at. The timber work took longer than I thought, or was it the T'ba coffee? Not sure really, but Friday evening was a good start for the weekend.

Saturday morning after the cooked breakfast, showers, etc it was time to get the locos running, and they did that reliably all weekend. The morning didn't seem to get busy till about 11am, and I thought at the time that the new layout seemed to spread out the general public better than other years. There were qite a few modellers out that day and I did have many a chat with quite a few different people, always for me the best part! Lunchtime snuck up on us in no time, in fact Saturday went by in a flash.

I did make a couple of purchases from AR as after setting up on Friday I'd spied a couple of kits that haven't been in production for a while. Al had HCX,HG,CHG wagons, the HG and CHG guards vans in whitemetal. I purchased a HG, HCX, and also a W/M parachute water tank kit (very nice) and a KKG also. I grabbed some of Al's lining kits for the 32 I have in the cupboard.
The rest of the passenger kits are due to be re released in the near future too, so good news there.

I purchased a very nice Data Sheet of a timber water tank stand. I had been looking for this one for a while. It will be used for the yard on SSC. Modratec was there and a couple of bits were purchased there also.

This year there were many people selling second hand gear and I did come across a few book bargains. I managed to find, 'remember when' the first one, byways of steam number 1, and 'away with steam' all of these for ten or twenty dollars each, bewdy!

I only had time for a couple of photos this year, but certainly the variety of layouts had all of us entertained for the weekend.

Saturday evening had us venture back to the BBQ for another culinary delight that truly was made for 'Master Chef'. Let's just say it was a fine combination of braised steak and vegetables, toast, and sausages, no more be said, just amazing... Then it was back to the modelling bench, and a bit of a chat ensued whilst some modelling occurred also. We did get off to bed about 1130 as the temps fell rather quickly that night, down to about 3 we heard the next morning.

Sunday was similar to Sat as far as the layout was concerned, it ran really well. The public became all about kids , with families everywhere. Darren and I had a good chat with Bill from DDMRC and he is an avid NSW modeller also. Bill brought along photos of his layout 'Tenterfield'. The bare bones are there and it's obvious Bill has thought long over just how the layout should be set out, can't wait to see how it progresses along, good stuff! Bill is a great bloke I feel like I've known him for years, he's that sort of guy.

I do enjoy catching up with the people involved with the T'ba club, they are enthusiastic, and positive. They make you feel most welcome, and nothing is too much trouble. They provide all the basic requirements for a fun weekend, along with a big dose of enthusiasm. A big thankyou to all that are involved in putting their show together must be put out there. If there were any problems over the weekend it wasn't evident to those who displayed, from our point of view all went well, a sign of their professional manner. I hope it was a successful weekend, it certainly seemed to be, well except for the two blokes just over from us, they spent most of the weekend fighting, bickering, and generally just unhappy, maybe that's how they like it. It kept us amused that's for sure!

Darren, thanks for a hoot of a weekend again mate, till next year! Johnno, and Tess, I had a ball Saturday night, sometimes we need nights like that to let us know we're alive, and it's all worth it.

So see you at the next T'ba show, SSC's very first outing!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

T'ba rollingstock

Today is Wednesday and Mr Last Minute is still at it. Only one more day of work before Darren and I head on up to the 'Big Shed'. As I've learnt nothing about planning and goalsetting I'm still working on the rollingstock for this weekend.

I had a little bit of time this weekend gone, out in the trainroom. Last week I dragged out the airbrush and had a go at painting without bristles. A couple of years ago I purchased one of the basic runway 13 airbrushes, it is internal mix dual action, and easy on the pocket. I did enjoy the experience, especially the ability to turn the paint on and off as you go.The plan this weekend was to weather up the rollingstock that I'd painted a darkish shade of grey earlier. I use for the most part acrylic paints that I dilute with isocol to aid in the reduction of paint I add with each application.

I should mention the rollingstock, it is fairly basic, for running around a show layout, not for winning any 'detail' awards. Working with this in mind there is an absence of detail on these wagons, especially the WSC four wheelers. The idea for me is to create the atmosphere at a show, make them look the part without too much to be broken. There is a BSV of the converted camco 4-wheel variety, you may have seen a photo of this before however it now sports a more realistic colour on the bars. Yep! the bogies are unpainted, a pair is drying outside as I write this. There are a couple of trainorama S wagons also, with a bit of extra paint on them also.

That will probably be it for this years show as far as rollingstock is concerned. This year is a big one for Daz as it's the tenth anniversary for the showing of his layout 'More'. The layout is NSW based with long gentle curves perfect for snaking a superfreighter through! A real credit to him, Darren is one of those quiet, humble modellers, he understates his abilities and freely gives of his experience to those who would gain from it. I look forward to another great weekend shared with a great mate,

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Two weeks To woomba!

Had a bit of time out in the train room today. I dragged out the rollingstock box for a dust off and assessment of its contents. The usual musings of time now too short set upon me again or maybe it was the cold that drifted through the latticework on the side of the garage.

I have progressed with a couple of long not finished projects in 4 wheel sleeper wagons. I installed couplers and a couple of styrene bits that were required to finish the wagons off. I also completed the timber loads for these wagons with some lead weights contained in them. Next weekend the airbrush will give them there final coat of paint. There's a couple of S wagons that will be painted up also and that will probably be it for a couple of weeks anyway.

When the airbrush is out I'll probably dirty up a few things also, ready for the trip to the hills. Not sure what exactly, I don't like to set myself up for failure by planning too well then not getting it done.

Got the sleeping bag out as well, can't be long now! I'll have photos next week of the painting efforts.

Oh yeah almost finished the bits to put together the first BSV. Sent off an E mail to ARHS for some more info too, wagon numbers and the like.
That's it for now, Oorroo! Geoff.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Baby steps towards a BSV 1895 style!

The saga of the BSV continues. I've charged the batteries in the camera, then the modem went and died! You can't imagine the stress this caused in the Burns hosehold, with four active internet users.
I mentioned the jigs I built in the previous post and I have to say that they make it so much easier to get a half decent result. I have two main ones for the construction of the wagon sides. The first one has a copy of a line diagram glued down then quite a few pieces of basswood to aid in holding everything still glued on top of this. This jig is used to construct the 'outer' of each side in styrene, then the same jig is used to construct a brass 'inner' that will have the bars added later. The idea being that the sides will match each other once glued together.
A second jig was built around a brass 'inner' side to hold it steady whilst soldering on the bars. This is a fiddly job, but I think the result is worth it. I've been using 15x40 thou brass bar and 15 thou brass wire to construct the sides. 40x40 thou styrene is used as spacers between the wire bars, and the spacing matches the scaled drawings exactly, that I can see anyway.
I've built other styrene jigs for the wagon ends, but still have to come up with one for the chassis.
More to model and less time to do it in!
Ooroo! Geoff.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Heading towards Toowoomba 2010

The AMRA May show is for me a key milestone each year. It's not the show itself, it's the fact that Toowoomba is only the next month, and a funny kind of modelling panic sets in. I'm not one for setting and meeting deadlines, setting modelling goals, well maybe. I like the idea of goalsetting, but not the planning and sticking to it that must follow.

The weekend after the Queens' Birthday long weekend is when the Darling Downs club hold their annual railway exhibition. When I first became interested in modelling as an adult, I took a trip with the family to T'ba for the day. We had a great time, I was impressed with the laid back atmosphere of the show, where presenters were only too happy to discuss anything with you, for as long as you wanted. I'd met a few blokes from a local club that I eventually went on to join.

The next year I went along to be part of the group of members that attend T'ba without fail. What could be so attractive about going to a show, sleeping in a close to zero oversized shed, having communal showers, then spending the day running trains? Well the answer is without hesitation, and trying not to sound too over the top (as I'm normally prone to be), the friendship and comradery. I do not plan to miss a t'ba show any time soon.

Now each year I like the idea of running something new, for me I suppose as I doubt that someone would notice what i ran from one year to another. I have several projects on the go at the moment, but really not enough time to finish them all before the show. This is where I have trouble deciding what to do first. I also think that I wrote about this last year, boy I've been doing this for twelve months already, time flies... anyway what will I finish in time? Your guess is as good as mine really, I'll post what I complete before the show.

This year the pressure is building for a completely different reason, as this year is the last time Daz will be presenting 'More'. Now I find myself with less than twelve months to get SSC to a presentable standard. The points are nearly there, timber for sleepers are ready to go, kits and RTR for the rollingstock are almost all purchased (not constructed yet), second modratec lever frame I purchased at the May show, lighting pelmets are well on the way. I want to make sure that bare minimum, one side of the layout was 100% finished with the other well on the way there. The fellows at T'ba are quite happy with a work in progress, as long as it runs, and you're willing to share where you're at and how you did it. I do think back to what I liked to see as a beginner, and still do actually, as I've said before I do still think of myself as a beginner in so many ways.

So the line is in the sand now. Not long to go, the last of my hair is bound to decide to part company also. Bugger! I'd better buy a better beany for this years show, I'll keep you posted on how the deadline looms for me, Ooroo!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Friday Modellers' Guild

The title for this post seems a bit over the top I suppose, however sometimes I think you need to mark a great event with a great title. 'H' probably thinks it's me lost again with some sort of 'railway madness', she may be right. For me it could be the start of a great modelling tradition, one that surprises all of us in what may come from its humble beginnings.

What happened I hear you ask, well it was not much actually. I asked a couple of friends over for a modelling night, and a couple of drinks, and yeah that was it. I think the four of us would say that we had a great time, and actually got some modelling done. I'd just set up a table four chairs, lights, beers, and coffee. Everyone brought something simple to work on, as you don't want anything too complex when you may just end up socialising.

Darren had a uneek home signal, Craig and Peter were staining timber, and I was messing around with the BSV that's on the workbench. We were listening to the chatter on the suburban rail network on a scanner Darren brought along. That turned into a quite interesting part of the night with a power line down and very restricted rail service being the result, with the football crowd ready to make all QR staffs night a living hell, if in fact the Broncos had lost!

I always thought, and 'H' agrees, that when you get a few railway fans together that not much happens. This night was different, I got to see how the others worked on a project, their methods and techniques. I think if we were to continue this meeting on a fairly adhoc basis, that some regular progress could be the result, and the swapping of ideas would help all of us in our individual modelling projects. That was it for me really, learning more about our hobby, seeing how others attack a project, and of course having some social contact also. So to Peter, Craig, and Darren, thanks for a great night we will definitely have to do it again!

the 'Friday Modellers Guild' got a great ring to it, way over the top! But what else could you expect from someone who calls their blog 'Splitters Swamp Creek', Oorroo!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Scratchbuilding at the show

At the May show this year I actually planned to get something done. The last few years whilst on the stand I've spent most of my time chatting to new modellers, or catching up with ones I've met before. This year the plan was to begin work on the 'new' version of the 1895 BSV that I've been wanting to do for ages. So armed with jigs and copious quantities of styrene I set myself up on the workbench.

My first thought was that Craig had brought 'everything' the previous day. I shouldn't complain I did have a square foot or so, plenty of room for a cutting mat, glue, jig, and styrene! I set about starting on the wagon ends they are fairly straight forward and I'd scribed styrene with the board spacing I required before hand. I built them with the outer and inner boards so that the air gap for ventilation can be clearly seen. I have thought since that I should have painted the inside of the wall before construction. The two ends built up in no time, the jigs, though simple really did aid the construction time.

Somewhere about now an announcement came over the P.A. system saying 'good afternoon...' Afternoon? Yep 12:30 actually, the day was flying along. I had a short break about now and went for a little shop browsing, and bought some lunch.

Getting back to it I started work on the side of the wagon. In a post along time ago I'd built the first version of this wagon. Since doing that I've had a few ideas of how differently I'd do it next time. Firstly I wasn't happy with the thickness of the side, and how overscale it therefore appeared to be. It also was not as strong as I'd like for longevity of the wagon's life. My solution is to build a styrene outer with a brass inner side. The outer is thinner than last time and the inner holds the bars for the wagon sides and makes it more rigid. When I get to this part I might even be able to solder some of the inner swing doors that divided the wagon to the brass part of the wagon. I have certainly wondered whether an all brass version may be the way to go down the line. However the time to cut and file all the individual pieces would be alot longer that doing it in styrene.

The jig for the sides has made using the thinner styrene alot more user friendly. The sides are the mirror image of each other, so I'm able to turn the side over in the jig and work on the back of it also. I was able to about half finish the wagon side. Not bad for a day at the show.

The day went very quickly, we had a great time meeting Brendan and Greg from a couple of other blogs, you'd know Brendan's work on the 19 class loco he entered at last years May Show, winning first prize. I made a couple of purchases, 4910 from Trainorama (actually if anyone has one, do they come with instructions or warranty cards? as mine had none, just an exploded view of the loco and parts list) 6-lever frame from modratec, for the other side of the layout, and a couple of other bits that I just couldn't live without. One of them was from hanger 13, or whatever the airbrush name is. Several 'bottlebrush' type brushes in various sizes attached on a split ring for all those hard to get at places on your airbrush, a great idea and $5, perfect!

I should stop now as I've the day off and the modelling bench is calling!

Friday, April 30, 2010

The art of jig construction

As stated in the previous post, I'm off to the Brisbane Model Railway Show this weekend. As usual I'm not sure what to take, but I have learnt that the thing you leave behind is the thing you'll need desperately on the day. So I've packed everything, well that's what Craig will think when I get to his place.

I've been spending plenty of time at the workbench this week with a number of jigs as a result. I do have a box full of jigs from previous projects, but not so many as for this one project. It could well have been more except for the fact that the timberwork is the same on each end of the wagon, so that I can flip the wagon side over to work on the inside. Even so there are four jigs put together now, and they really don't look to be in any way able to make something remotely like a sheep van. I'm not the prettiest carpenter, but it all seems to work as it should.

So the test is this Sunday, at the workbench. I'll post the results with some photos at the end of this Labor Day long weekend. Ooroo, Geoff.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The next long weekend

The first long weekend in May marks the annual Brisbane model railway show. Over the last few years I've shared a stand with Craig from 'Craig's Shed' fame. This year is no different and Craig and I will be on the stand on the Sunday.

Every year Craig has an absolute abundance of rollingstock and buildings on show...and I don't.
This year will not be any different for sure! I do try to do something a bit different and this year I plan to do a bit of rollingstock construction. So I will probably be modelling something a bit different that I have had on the drawing board for a l o n g time, BSV and other early bogie vans of some kind. Ages ago I posted a photo of the BSV and how I was progressing, unfortunately the drawings I'd been using were not accurate, so project shelved. Till now as I've got some great line drawings to work from.

This week has seen some concerted effort at jig construction ready for this weekend. I've sorted through the styrene collection and discovered I actually have all that I need. I'll be packing all the gear up this week, and probably more than I need for the time at the show, well that's what always ends up happening anyway.

I do enjoy the show, catching up with old friends, and being amazed at what so many people accomplish in this hobby. I normally end up being fairly motivated after the show, or is it that Toowoomba is just around the corner? If you're at the show then come on over to the stand, and have a chat, after all I think that's why we're really there, Geoff

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A couple of extra trainroom photos

These photos don't have all the rubbish bits left around so you can see the room that I now have after this weeks work. I'll be moving on to the backboards next, with the lh end as you look at the photos being the enclosed end creating the U shaped backing boards, if you were to view it from above. This creates two definite yards to operate from, or one with a run around if by yourself, Geoff

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Ready...get B-sgetti...GO!

The RDO was a little productive this week. The plan was to complete the last two baseboards and finally bolt them all together. I had a little added motivation with the guys coming over on Tuesday night for our fortnightly get togethers.
Previously I'd cut most of the timber for the framing, and had already drilled and t-nutted the joining timber pieces. The space for the layout is limited and does need to allow space for the kids bikes and my motorbike also. The other side of the garage is home to Helen's car. I had to make sure everything fitted easily, so it was practical as a garage and a train room.
All seemed to be working swimmingly, the layout went together ok, joins matched, it all seems to be working! I had previously built a simple cupboard, that also supported a couple of timber beams that bolted to the wall to support a module of the layout. The long modules are 2.4m long and this 'benchwork' was to support it. The modules bolted together would not have fitted in the space if the 'benchwork' was left in its current location. So off the wall it came and back to its original location. This move meant an additional freestanding unit would be required to hold up the other end of the layout. i had some timber and ply there perfect for the job.
I need to make it quite clear that any type of carpentry is completely alien to me, and the idea of a join being square is something I still aim for. However on saying that, so far so good.
Everything seems to have worked, it fits together, fits in the space, everything is user freindly, I can actually enjoy the space I've created. The workbench is a good space, tools have room to be used, what else is there, it worked!
Tuesday night saw the guys over, and I was interested in their feedback. They all have some very well organised layout spaces, amny with outstanding results in their layout construction, and many well into organising a large layout, with a real 'feel' about it. They seemed to like (as do I) seeing the layout all together, with it at a viewable height, and seeing firsthand what it will be like to operate, rather than just some chicken scratchings that I've managed to draw out for them. We had a great night actually, plenty of modelling discussion and problem solving, and generally enjoying each others company. A great night, and a great way to finish off a few days of work for me, most enjoyable. Here's some photos, the top one is actually the last photo, they were loaded in the right order but came up in the reverse! so start at the bottom and work your way up to see what I've ended up with, Geoff.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

BANG...BANG False Start!

It would seem that I set myself up for some ribbing, that never happens! This mornings post was a little adventurous, to say the least. As things happen it was actually 4:30 before I got to the train room. The list could be given of the distractions of the day, but welcomed they were. J and Z were home, H was out for a while.

So the modules wait for tomorrow, and yes I actually will have some time to myself then as it's an RDO after a particularly ugly Saturday at the 'office'. The Tuesday Nighters are here this week, and that is a great motivator to get a bit done, PK there just may be some scenic work, Z scale square metre maybe!

The wood is all cut and a few holes drilled, bit late now for the woodwork stuff. A quick post listening to 'the Cure' out in the trainroom, then off for the evening coffee. Till tomorrow, I'll have to practise my starts in future! Geoff.

Sunday morning challenge!

Today I thought that I'd try something different, for me anyway, working with a goal in mind. I've been messing about with the way the backboards come together, trying to make it as tidy as this definitely unhandyman can.

My challenge if I should chose to accept it is, To complete the construction of the last two baseboards before the end of the day. I'll let you know how I've gone tonight!

Take your marks!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Trials of a non walled train room,the Discovery Bay saga

This afternoon I had a brief stint out in the train room. The aim was to organise the baseboard for the next module. The framework I finished last week, and also had put in the uprights for the backboard. When I'd done the initial planning of the track design I had laid out the baseboards on the garage floor and drawn the trackplan straight on it. So I'd thought I had done all I could to ensure it went ok when I bolted the boards to the framework. So far it seems to have worked ( but only one has been bolted together so far!)

Today marks the second baseboard having the actual trackplan board bolted to it. To my amazement it seems to be ok. I'm not getting excited just yet as all four boards are not finished yet. So I'll reserve my judgement for a little while yet.

Last week I started to paint the backdrop, and I really want to get a bit more done to the next module so that more of the painting can be completed. Discovery Bay is a british paint sample pot colour that I started to paint the backdrop with. So off I went to Bunnings to get another pot of samples! Well what is it they say about the 'best laid plans of mice and men'? Of course the paint samples are not stocked anymore, typical! So here I am with a litre pot sample now, spose I'll use it eventually. The sample pots were a couple of dollars, and of course the cheapest ceiling flat paint can't be tinted in the colour I want, only the $27 tin of flat paint can...yep, happy 'bout that one!

This was going to be a quick post, so I'd better go, I'll finish with a photo of a building to go onto SSC in modelled form of course!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Backdrops...Somebody pinch me and wake me from the nightmare!

OK I really struggle with the painting of backdrops. The need to have something half decent causes me a huge amount of stress. The clouds are the issue, sky as well. When I get to the foreground I try and have as much detail to distract the casual observer from the 'mash' that lies behind. Yes there are photos, two for the sake of a record for this blog. I can say with all honesty, the bacdrops are a sure fire way to get me to do more scenic work, if only to cover what lies behind.
Whoa! I feel better now, onto what happens next. The foreground will be where most of the work will be as I attempt to show the surroundings as being fairly close. The idea to feel like you are more 'in' the layout rather than floating somewhere in the distance. Hope it works that way, time will tell. Then some landscaping will happen, can't wait as this is my favourite part!
Catchya, Geoff.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

This week out in the dog house..sorry, modelling room.

This week has been rather hectic, working in retail as I do, things are crazy pre Easter. Lucky for me I actually have two days off this week end, a bit of time might be available tomorrow night after a day at Mt Tambourine.
The K and LV are still on the workbench. The K wagon is having the addition of brake gear and associated cabling put on. I plan to add the tarp bar that these wagons had also, and did manage to find a couple of photos I took down at Cowra that should help with this. The plan is to use some rings from grandt line that I bought a 'few' years ago, to tie down the tarp.

The LV is being a bit painful, well, maybe it's me. I didn't check the distance apart that the side sills were before gluing them in. Must be my 'Eternal Beginner' not thinking before gluing, you know how you all do that first, it doesn't come naturally for me yet. Helen would call it common sense, I believe it's something that can be learned, or improved on if you so choose. Now I could leave it as it is, but I think I'd be better off butchering it and taking a few more weeks to complete a simple job. Been there?

Now that will have to do for now, photos of progress (butchering?) will be in next weeks blog. Have good week, Geoff.

A couple of sites worth checking out

The other day I found a link to a site from another blog. It is very American, but the results are amazing. On the site there is a link to a you tube posting, the wagon at the 1 min mark is amazing.
The techniques are all very hush hush on this site, and Mike does allude to having a 'how to' DVD one day. So then the search was on in earnest to find some useful info. The technique that was used was to replicate a rusted surface. My friend Mr Google found a couple of sites worth visiting. It has turned out that the rusted technique is one where they use salt as a way of stopping a top coat of paint from adhering to the undercoat of rust coloured paint. Most of these sites are for armed forces modelling, however the techniques are very useful in our hobby.

The challenge now is to find the time to give some of these ideas a go. The photos above show some of the surface rusting that wagons do acquire after many years of service. These photos were taken just south of Werris Creek a few years ago by yours truly. There are also some excellent photos taken by Ian Millard on the ARDP disc one. Ian has taken some excellent shots well worth a look at. Have a great week, Geoff.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Will something worth looking at emerge from this?

This is it, organisation at it's best! Through the mess something beautiful will, that was a song lyric I think, and certainly wouldn't apply to this lot. Although I feel a certain sense of order in my modelling even though the workspace is so much of the opposite. Now amongst this is a Berg's LV kit, the mech from one of my 48's, being tinkered with, a Casula K wagon kit, Steam era wheelsets, AR pourable wagon weight, the list goes on.

The LV is not a bad kit, and certainly will run around at Toowoomba this year quite happily. I picked up some brass cast wagon buffers that I'm usung instead of the moulded on effort. All four sides are together and I've been tidying up the side sills ready to add them soon. I'll be adding some basic brake gear next, and I've got some Ian Lindsay brake blocks somewhere that I'll be using. As far as anything else with the brake gear it will probably be star wheels and some brass wire to imitate the brake gear under the wagon. I take a dreadful photo, and it actually is better than it looks.

I weakened this last week and ordered some of the shorter axles for the K wagon, enough for ten wagons. I plan to use them in the timber sleeper wagons that I've had on the drawing board for the last four years. I cetainly don't rush things you know! A photo of these shows you where I'm up to with them. They don't look too bad, and will only be viewed from a distance. Over the last couple of years I've developed two sets of rollingstock, the first for at home and the second for Toowoomba. That being the plan anyway. The idea being to only take the less detailed gear to T'ba, and leave the finer stuff at home. Well a combination of slow progress and wanting to show the guys at T'ba what I've been working on means that everything tends to be taken along.

So there you go, the best laid plans of mice and men, as they say...

The 48 mech has been a bit of a bummer, I'd been fooling around with decoder settings and had taken the mech apart to ensure all was well. Then all back together,and it was ready to show the guys one Tuesday night and it ran like a pig! Today had a bit of time to model so out it came, apart, and discovered that I'd not put it back together correctly, too much pressure on the axles from a sideframe. Now I've adjusted the motor dogbones so they seem to run better. I'll let it all cure then take ti to the club on Tuesday for a run around, we'll see how it goes.

It's been great to get out to the shed today, refreshing, no doubt that next weekend may have a little bit of time free, fingers crossed. Happy Easter!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A Simple Kit... or so I thought.

I've enjoyed that time honoured tradition of kit construction this week. For those of you who've not seen my hobby area I have had to store all the railway bits and pieces away in sealable styrene boxes. These same boxes have an assortment of labels, ranging from, 'kits & decals', to 'if you can't find it look here first' and it's mate, 'if you can't find it look here second'.

The boxes are stored around the end of the garage wall up high over the top of the layout area. A thought struck me this week, ' those kit boxes are not getting any emptier'. So there it was, that moment of realisation, it was time to model.

After re-aquainting myself with the contents of the kit boxes I chose a simple one to get started, a Casula K Wagon. It looks a really simple kit, and would be finished with a high tarped load so no interior detail would be required. The sides and base went in with a few adjustments, sole bars adjusted to fit and check the W irons for fitting the wheelsets.

As time has gone on and I've become pickier with my modelling, the wheelsets of a plastic of some type just didn't seem to be ideal. I have purchased previously rp 25/88 8-spoke axles from Steam Era models, and they are great, but these are a different axle length than the kit supplied. The axles are shorter so the W irons all move in towards the centre. A simple change to the model that does have a large difference on how it will look on the rails.

Now an order to Steam Era will need to be put together, but how many packs? Do I now order a few more K wagons and get really excited, or finish a few other 'simple' kits that I've got stashed away? If this hobby does one thing to us all it is this,
that there is always room for a few more wagons!

Have a great week, Geoff.
This photo is unrelated, but thought there should be something to look at as well as read. It will be re created on SSC as the local butcher store. It is actually from Koorawatha in western NSW. Not a bad spot, would have been a great place to see about Fifty years ago.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Screw Link Couplers

The other day I posted a comment to Mr Picton's Blog about the AR passenger links in brass that Al sells. I really like the fact that they are well detailed and fairly clear of any flash. Mr Picton had asked for a photo, and quite honestly I thought that I'd posted some here, apparently not. So here they are for all to see.

They are a bit fiddly to put together, but certainly anything but difficult, and the result I think is really worth the effort. They are really another small step towards having a Steam Era coupler that looks the part.

For those of you with goods wagons and chasing a three link coupler then you really can't go past the 'Equip' local Jewellery stores. There's one down the road from me with various styles of cheap chains. Three links are exactly that , three links of chain, as the wagons did not need to be pulled in tight like the passenger wagons, giving the guests on board a more gentler ride. The wagons with the three link couplers would have spread and banged together constantly, not pleasant!

The problem is finding the right size link whilst being hassled by all the young storekeepers, most of them about the same age as my daughter! It is a bit sus to have an HO scale ruler with you, and very difficult to find a plausible reason for the ruler, let alone for the scale marking. So can I suggest a small picture of what you're after so that you can simply place the chain over the top. It's worth the effort and I have enough chain now to last me for years.