Sunday, November 25, 2012

Winners are grinners!

OK, seriously I am not gloating - I wasn't even there to see the quality of the competition.  We had storms in Brisbane on the day of the comp and I was on a light aircraft and so didn't actually make it to the venue until mid afternoon by which stage the only models left were mine!!!  However, I did manage to win two trophies - one for the fourth time which was special as it was the one I was most wanting to win - and one for the first time,  which is equally special as I hadn't entered that category before (mind you, I was amazed that my Fleetline Garratt was judged the best in the category for Kit or Scratch built locos against some 7mm models.)
The model which got me the modified RTR trophy for the 4th time (under the rules of the competition this is the most times I could have won it in the last 9 years) was one of my Peco Jubilees.  The blurb I included with the model is below:
Category B – Modified Ready To Run Locomotives
Scale:               British N Scale (1:148)
Prototype:       BR (Ex LMS) Jubilee 45565 “Victoria”
The model:      Peco by Riverrossi. The model started life in post war LMS Black livery and was un-numbered and not named.  It has received a complete repaint into BR Express Locomotive Green.  The lining transfers are by Model Master with an etched brass nameplate produced by a modeller in the UK as a bespoke job have been applied.  Extra details include: lamp irons, head lamps (Class C for fully fitted freight/parcels/milk traffic), screw link coupling on the front, brake pipes front and rear, glazing on the cab forward and side windows (Krystal Klear), real coal in the tender and a crew.  The tender has had turned brass vents to replace missing plastic ones (the model was purchased second hand in 1996, some 20 years after production had ceased) and the rivets taken off to represent a welded tender, one of which was fitted to the locomotive from 1936, although this one, in Green with the Crest, would be numbered 10152 – assuming you could read the plate on the rear of the tender! – and fitted in 1961 (or it could be 9696 fitted in 1946 and presumably painted lined green with the Crest at some stage prior to 1961).
My wife kindly took some pictures today while I was refereeing the kids.  She did manage to a) drop it and b) remove one of the crew in her attempts but fortunately nothing terminal.

I'll get around to photoing the Garratt in due course.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

BRMA (Q) AMMC 2012 - my entries.

Next weekend (17 November) is the BRMA(Q) Annual Model Making Competition (AMMC).  Now in its 9th year, there are 7 categories for competition from which an overall champion model is selected.  I have been a keen entrant pretty well every year (there was at least one where I didn't have time to finish models in the categories I was eligible in - you can't defend your trophy as winning makes you ineligible for the following year's competition) usually in the modified RTR categories (both locomotives and rolling stock) and in the kit built rolling stock section.  Last year I managed to win the scratch built line side structure and diorama sections.  To date I haven't entered the kit or scratch built locomotives nor modified line side kit sections.  My plan was to do both, along with the three other categories I was eligible to enter.
Well time and what not have conspired against me getting the modified line side kit model done - I had planned on modifying the Kestrel semi-detached house kit, having been inspired to have a go at it by an article in 'Nspirations 3.
The rest are sorted.  I have two entries in Category A for the first time ever - a Skytrex/Fleetline LMS Garratt as BR 47975 and the Knightwing kit for LMS 10000.  For Category B - the modified RTR locos - I have finished off detailing a Peco Jubilee which was repainted into BR Green some years ago.  Category C (the kit or scratch built rolling stock) sees a NGS Sealion paired with a Shark from the same supplier (you have to have two wagons or one coach) as one entry and a pair of HBA hoppers as barrier wagons for a FNA Flask wagon - all from TPM.  As the rules of the competition state there needs to be at least two modellers in the competition, I have decided to put my ERG conversion of a GNER TGS MkIII into the Prince of Wales Saloon from the Royal Train.  I don't expect it to rate highly to be honest, but hopefully someone else who has made a significant effort with their models will be recognised as a result.
10000 was finished today - one week early - along with 45565 (the Jubilee).  47975 has been finished for a while - I had planned on entering it last year but realised on the day it only had numbers on one side so felt it would be a bit of a con to put an manifestly unfinished model into the competition. The wagons have similarly been ready to go for a while - I was ineligible for Cats C and D last year.  So one week to go - results next week.  In the meantime - a picture of 10000.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Something Different - Object A, Part I

I received an email from a mate of my father's a couple of weeks back seeking help on a railway matter.  My dad, bless him, had decided I was a suitably qualified person to approach for said help which turned out to be a question regarding painting and lining a locomotive.  Would I be willing to have a go at it? 
The model in question is photographed below:
This is a C38 class Pacific of the New South Wales Government Railways.  The first 5 of the class were semi streamlined - see elsewhere for my model (which hasn't progressed I'm embarrassed to say) and the last 25 looked like this, albeit in various shades of green with varieties of lining and smoke box colour; a real engine pickers nightmare.  Further queries established it was HO (which I expected since John doesn't model N!) and is a Samhongsa Model from Korea.  I was willing to give it a go and, having spent a weekend in Sydney visiting Phil Badger (BadgerBits Generalissimo) and getting the low down on colours (pretty well every shade of Green seems to be OK!) I invited John and his wife over for a BBQ to inspect the model and see what could be done.
The result of a couple of afternoons with the spray can and then a few evenings with the paint brush is below:
I am very pleased with it generally - although the silver roof needs to be redone as the brush marks show up too much for my liking.  Now there is the matter of lining it out in red and yellow and putting 3830 on it.  The general idea is to match this:
(I have searched via Google for the original as I would expect this to be on the net.  I couldn't find it hence posting the picture rather than the link.  If someone knows the copyright holder (who most assuredly isn't me!) could you pass on his or my details in whichever direction so I can seek permission - or alternatively, point me at the web address for the photo and I'll take down the photo and put the link up in its place.  Thanks)

Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday Night Update - 28 September 2012

Trying to get back into the Friday night update habit and, by extension, getting some modelling done so there is something to update with!

So this week, I have two things - my WD8 which I got for Father's Day (the test haulage video is further down the blog) was the subject of weathering practice at this months Area Group meeting (which was back a couple of weeks!) but I have done some more with paints on it since.  There is still a bit more to do I feel to match the various published photos I had a look at - my preferred one being a shot of 90012 approaching Ais Gill Summit on the Settle and Carlilse.  I did think of renumbering my loco to match, but I suspect there will be a second one coming at some point, so I will do that then.  This one is for hauling mineral wagons, and the photo is of a mixed goods.
Initially I used some of my Tamiya weathering powders which work really well for putting the brown grime on the tender axle boxes and dulling down the numbers and crest.  The black provides a sooty feel but the various lighter shades didn't work well at all in producing the streaking effects which seem to be so common on these locos.  So out with the paint.  This isn't my preferred medium for weathering as it is a bit no-reversible once it has dried.  This is especially so with my preferred Humbrol Enamels.  The streaking from the safety valves was achieved with a dry brush and a little of the palest grey in the Humbrol range - can't remember the number at the moment but if you are interested get in touch.  A bit of matt black was dry brushed on behind the chimney which gave a much better sooty effect than the powders did.  As a result I think I will do a bit more with the paint and see what else I can manage.
The second item is actually an FOed UFO.  Long time readers will know I built an example of the NGS Kit 4 - the brass etch Sealion.  It has been languishing around waiting for transfers - being one of the older kits in the NGS range, it doesn't come with included transfers.  However, the hardworking transfers officer of the NGS has managed to get a set done which provide transfers both for Kit 4 and Kit 11 (which is a plastic kit for the later Seacow - really should be called a Dugong says the Australian in me!).  Unfortunately it doesn't actually say what is on the transfer or where on your model you should apply it.  So the Internet and Google (mostly to Paul Barlett's excellent website of photos) showed that there doesn't seem to be a universal location for the details, other than the data panel with the number goes on the LH end.  Comparing with my Farish RTR examples shows the NGS one is significantly different - being shorter to start with.  In the end, I decided I would please myself and stuck what looked like the right sort of thing in the right sort of place.  As this wagon will be joined by a couple of others - and something will be done about the coupling gap - I was pleased to see there is enough numbers to transfer 4 wagons.  Now if only the NGS would hurry up and produce some transfers for the Cartic 4 - I know Cambridge Custom Transfers do a set but that is for the prototype and they only do the one, and I drive a Holden, not a Ford.

Friday, September 21, 2012

2012 Diorama Project

I've mentioned this from time to time but have never really gotten around to properly addressing it.  Just to recap: Back in February I formed a group of modellers who were members of either the NGS, the 2mmSA or BRMA or a combination thereof.  One of the ideas we had to improve our modelling throughout the year was a diorama which had to have the footprint of an A4 piece of paper.  There was no deadline for these to be completed but the general thought was by Christmas at least. 
Mine is based on a segment of my 3rd rail BR TOPS era layout "Swallow Street" which is awaiting a complete rebuild.
There was a brief entry with one photo back in July.  Progress has occurred since then and it goes like this:
The basic structure.  The track bed is the bit of Masonite at the bottom here between the two pine platforms.  All dimensions were scaled off the 2mm SA print of the loading gauge in the Yearbook.  Turns out that I got some of it wrong.
First lot of progress.  Track laid - Easitrack.  Lid for the roadway and houses above and extra bits added to the platforms to make the trackbed the correct width - it was too wide the first time.
Closeup of the track bed.  The third rail has been soldered to Peco trackpins and these have been inserted every fourth sleeper as per the details here.

And this is where it currently stops.  The platform surface has been done on the closest platform but unfortunately I ran out of the white edging papers (all papers are Scalescenes) so the back platform hasn't been completed.  Will have to wait for me to buy the colour laser printer I have had my eye on - which may have to happen sooner rather than later now!  The road is in place and a concrete footpath is against the wall (which is manila folder).   Next step will be to put the wall in properly and then consider if I will put arches on it for decoration purposes.
Bit of a detail shot of the excellent 4CEP which is part of the reason why I am getting more interested in 3rd rail.
So that's progress thus far.  With two weeks of school holidays, I am hopeful of getting more done prior to the next LAG meeting in October.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Masterclass Models LNER Quad Art - Part II

As promised (albeit late owing to the camera going to a fifth birthday party yesterday!) here are some photos of the updates to the Quad Art.  The captions explain best I think:

The brake on the set - the last of the four done and therefore the best of the lot.  Handily since either the loco or the last vehicle get looked at the most at shows.  I put the plating over the doors as it was on the etch (and I didn't look carefully at the photos on-line nor read the blurb with them when building - turns out they are probably a BR addition so I will take them off since I am wanting more 1924 than 1954).

Shorty third - second from the end (well, depending on which end but it is the one next to the brake).  Another pleasing result - the roof needs a little bit more work to get it to fit neatly.  The gaps between the coach bodies are very small - I am not even convinced about 36 inch curves for these coaches but will have to see.  I am planning on a second set which I was going to put N gauge wheels into but I am doubtful it would run on my layout.

The first of the two longer coaches - no work done on the roof of this one at all.  It is just sitting on for the photo but needs a tiny bit of flash removed from the end which is sticking up - which is why it is sticking up!

The far end (from the brake).  This roof is a little bit banana shaped but doesn't require much to hold it flat so I am hopeful when it comes to gluing it will be sorted out.  You can just make out the thread holding the body on inside the coach here - and clearly can see the 10BA one providing the pivot for the two coach bodies resting on the common bogie to the left.  The gap is barely enough for the brass thread to get in there and the two center coaches are prone to listing like a ship in a heavy sea.

I am planning on finishing the set in all over teak similar to that on set 74 at the North Norfolk Railway - the black ends are a later change apparently.  Then there is the small (!) matter of a 3 on every door...  All this by November hopefully for the BRMA(Q) AMMC.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Friday Night Update - 17 August

It seems an age since I did one of these - but then it has been an age since I have done anything to make posting an entry worthwhile.

Much has happened in the past week modelling wise.  A parcel turned up from the Central Shop with bits to sort out my Class 24 (I had mucked up the order previously and gotten axles of two different sizes!) and to do some more work on the Quad Art - handily the roofs for same turned up on the same day.  There was also a pile of cattle wagon etches for a mate who has since decided that they are safer with me (he is moving back to SE Qld at the end of the year) and I have offered to make a start on them - an article in the offing for the 2mm Ed perhaps as I have thought about writing one early enough to take the appropriate photos along the way.  There was also some work done on my diorama along with a test of static grass which went sufficiently well to make me consider refreshing the entire grass area of St Alban's Priory.

No photos - flat battery for the DSLR got in the way but hopefully a fine day tomorrow (and no chores for a change!!!) will remedy that.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Bachmann WD8 on test (videos)

My Father's Day present this year is one of the new Bachmann WD8s.  It arrived from Hatton's via my parents Post Office box today - a bit early for Father's Day which is the 2nd of September but I wanted to make sure it was a) here and b) worked prior to the day.  Now that I have tested it, I have handed it over to the Shop 1 Groupie to wrap for the kids (who haven't seen it!) to give me on the day.

As there has been quite a bit of discussion on the N Gauge Yahoo Group about the haulage capabilities of these models, I thought I would do similar to the A3 I received recently and load test it.  The videos (I took two this time) are below.  Suffice to say I either have a great one or some people need to check their track and rolling stock a bit more carefully as this is the second one I have seen - the first having been present at the August LAG meeting where it hauled 14 Gresleys (but no more owing to fiddle yard congestion.) 

There is a mix of Peco and Farish wagons in the train and it is my complete tray of BR coal wagons minus one which currently has no wheels (nor paint as it happens!) but this was subbed with the brake van.  None of the wagons have been recently serviced so the free running and clean wheels are a bit of a mixed bag. 

The train is running in the opposite direction to the A3 - which means it comes off an S bend straight onto the grade up towards the camera in the long shot.  Given that the loco was purchased primarily to haul the collection of PoWs that the kids have given me (currently numbering 36) I am well pleased.  Incidentally, the length of the train is longer than the 24 Gresleys the A3 was hauling the other day. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Dapol A3 on test (video)

Thought I would post a short (36 second) video of my Dapol A3 running past with 24 coaches in tow.  The point on the layout where the camera is has the train heading down a slight incline - the up being at the opposite end of the layout on a curve in a tunnel.  Quite impressed with the haulage of the loco and, for a Dapol steam engine, the control over the speed of it.  It looks quite fast in the video but it wasn't really going that fast to the naked eye and was over half way round the dial on the controller.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Stock trays

Storage of stock can become a problem as your collection develops - especially if you purchase from eBay or second hand stalls where there is no box.  The other problem is that a lot of the rolling stock these days, comes in a substantial box in itself, which takes up room.  Then there is the unpacking and repacking in said boxes - very time consuming.

As I am not a collector of model railways, I am not worried about keeping things in their original boxes to maximise the resell value.  When (if) I get rid of something, it is usually because there is something better which has come along and I am happy to get what I can for what I am getting rid of (ideally enough to make inroads into the new items bill!).

So what to do with your stock?  Well, if you are like me, and have quite a bit, then a stock box or tray system makes sense.  I have made mine to fit the drawers which they live in so their dimensions are specific to that.  I can get 8 rows of stock in each tray and the lenght allows for 10 Peco 10' wagons (or the Farish/Dapol equivalent) in each.  After that, as far as fitting coaching stock or longer wagons it, it becomes a bit of a jigsaw puzzle to get maximum stock in minimum space.  I have also colour coded each tray as it has been built - merely to help me keep track of what is where.

The photo shows one of the trays for the BR Blue era - painted grey.  (The blue painted stock trays have BR(E) coaches in them.)  Pretty self explanatory.  The sides are made out of 11mm pine (cause I had some spare offcuts from another project), backing from 4mm bracing ply (again, spare) and dividers from 3mm MDF (not spare but cheap from the local Bunnings and my saw blade is 3.2mm so the slates fitted in the slots I had cut on the sides to aid location).  The gap in the tray is for the Dapol Mk3 Buffet when it finally gets here.  Middle column is the Blue Ribband Mk1s from Bachmann, the RH column some previous China production Bacfar Mk1s with GUVs and BGs making up the lot at the bottom (with a couple of Dapol SR CCTs, a Blue Spot Fishvan, the NGS Stove R and an NGS Gresley D113 BG).

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Diorama - 2012

Last year, as long time readers will know, I built a cattle dock in 2mm Finescale and then built a diorama to display it on.  This model (well both actually) won at the BRMA (Q) modelling competition (the cattle dock for Line Side Structure and the diorama for the Diorama section).

As part of the mission to learn new skills and practice old ones, the N Gauge group which meets here at my shed once a month (members of the NGS, 2mmSA and BRMA are all welcome to come along and join us - please get in touch if you are interested or visiting Brisbane at any time) we decided to build A4 sized dioramas this year.  There isn't a prize involved and there isn't a time limit, although there is a tentative deadline of our Christmas meeting in December so that action takes place.  Rather it is about having a go and do something to as high a standard as an individual is presently capable of.  Assuming someone does something which the rest find to be of a very high standard, then that person has to share what he or she did.

Various ideas bounced around my head, mostly of a county setting.  A level crossing on a single line branch was considered as was a culvert running under an embankment.  Discussions with my wife had her suggest an urban theme along the lines of "Swallow Street" - my 2010 3rd rail layout which was on RM Web.  I had decided to scrap this and rebuild it when we got home from Longreach as I wasn't particularly happy with it - mostly because I had made it out of scrap bits and pieces from the woodworking classroom at LSHS and I had not had access to my complete range of tools and bits and pieces.

So going with this idea, and armed with the various diagrams of track and building clearances in the 2mmSA Yearbook, I commenced.  Progress has been slow but I have got the board done, a set of platforms (correct width) in and sorted out the track height.  Next is to do something about the street level (train in a drain being a good description of it) and then I can start decorating.  Just need a good name for it now.

Photo of progress below:

Monday, July 9, 2012

Where has the time gone???

Long time no blog post. Where has the time gone? Well, work for one was pretty busy after the last post as I gained a new class (and lost one of my originals) so I spent a bit of time working out where they were at and getting them up to speed with my other Year 11 Class (shout out to James here as he tells me from time to time that I haven't updated the blog - wonder when he will notice this??)and then it was exam prep, then exam block, marking and reporting. Long days (which in part is why we get so many holidays - we actually do end up working better than 40 hours a week on average as teachers!).

So what if any railway stuff has been happening?  Well quite a bit, but not too much which is photogenic (and certainly isn't at 9.14 at night - hopefully some photos at the weekend).  I stripped all the wiring out of St Alban's Priory a couple of weeks ago as this had been a rushed job in the first place, back in 2000.  I had accepted an invitation to an exhibition and had 4 months to finish the wiring (scenery was substantially complete at the time although there have been subsequent modifications and changes) when good old EQ decided to send me north to Sarina State High School for 8 weeks...  This meant I was busy doing the wiring until 3am a couple of morning prior to my departure and the job was more a case of "it works" rather than "it is neat, organised and tidy, and it works".  Fast forward to 2007, and having gained my train shed, I made a start on fixing it all.  I got the new control panel done for the yard (which enabled hands off shunting to be performed from the front of the layout where you could see it all happening, rather than from the back where it was difficult to line the droppers up with the magnets owing to sighting issues) done and then good old EQ posted me to Longreach for 4 years...  So now, with no chance they will post me anywhere which will require a house move, I can finally get in and sort it all out.  As it happens, the next LAG meeting is on Saturday and there will be a bit of a rush to get the two mainlines wired and running but I can get something up for the gathering and then progress from there.

I have also been making new stock trays for the storage system I have in the shed.  These are 33% bigger than the previous ones meaning that I can fit 80 Peco 10' wagons or 24 Mk 1 coaches in each tray. 

Finally, I have made a start on a diorama for the LAG Clayton's Competition (the competition you have when you aren't having a competition!).  We decided as a group challenge that we should strive to build a diorama with a footprint of an A4 piece of paper back in May with the finished (or almost finished) examples being on display at our last meeting of the year.  I had a number of ideas for mine but following discussion with the 2mm Shop 1 Groupie (aka SWMBO etc etc) I changed the idea at the last minute and moved away from the rural scene I first envisaged to a urban one instead.  I'll get around to taking some progress shots of this and up loading it in the next day or so.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Masterclass Models LNER Quad Art - Part I

I obtained the kit for this last year following the return from Longreach - in fact it was the first parcel of train goodies to be delivered to home.  The kit had been advertised in a flyer (I think) in the 2mm Association Magazine - I can't find it now going through the mags.   In anycase, being as it was something different and potentially useful for St Alban's (Abbey or Priory or even both) I obtained one.  It has sat in the gloat box for some months, fished out from time to time and then put back.  At the Brisbane Model Train Show I decided to fish it out again and get the bogies sorted - naturally I had left the couple of pages of instructions Chris had supplied at home! 

The bogies were straight forward, following the same method of assembly which I had put together some GWR and LNWR bogies.  Construction of the 5 bogies took 5 hours - although I am pretty certain I would have done it quicker had I been at home, even with the attendant distractions of wife, children and football!

On the Monday, I figured I should plug on with the kit - and having found the notes, discovered that, like pretty well all the etched kits, it is simply a matter of taking your time, being methodical and using as little solder and flux as possible.  The note suggest photos (which is excellent advice for all kits to be honest) and all I had at the show was my iPhone which isn't the best at a) searching (yes it has Internet access and yes, I tried more than Google!) and b) then displaying what it has found in comparison to a PC, which proved by the second weekend of the build to have been a nuisance!  More anon when I work out what I am going to do!


The four body shells - all thirds

Four chassis - no buffers as I don't have any! (Nor do I have any 10BA bolts so not joined either!)

Two of the five bogies - not finished owing to the no bolts issue mentioned above.

All in all, a very satisfying build to date.  The kit goes together well and I particularly liked the provision of a piece to solder in at the top of the sides to give extra strength and rigidity.  Very much looking forward to getting the remaining bits and pieces and putting it all together.  Then there will be the matter of painting (LNER Teak) and transfers - it will be an awful lot of 3s to put on doors!!!  Hopefully roofs will have sorted themselves out by then too - I am hoping to have it finished in time for the BRMA(Q) Annual Model Making Competition which is being held in November (I think) and entering it in the Kit or Scratch Built Rolling Stock category.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Brisbane Model Train Show 2012

For the first time in 4 years I got to my local show, which is held on the May Day long weekend.  This was the 35th year it has been held and, sadly in some ways, the last at the Brisbane RNA Grounds at Bowen Hills.  Next year it is moving to on of the racecourses owing to redevelopment of the RNA.  I was glad to make it to the last one as I have fond memories of going as a child and then participating as an exhibitor, firstly with a fellow club members layout, then our club layout and finally my own (which managed to win a prize in 2007 for Signalling fidelity - very excited about that.)  49 layouts (according to the advertising - I didn't count as I walked around on the three days) and a fair whack of traders (again, I didn't count and I can't find the flyer now which had the numbers) but I felt a little bit disappointed both with the general standard of layouts and the offerings of the traders.  Suffice to say, I didn't spend much money - bought the kids a wagon each and ended up with a Hold N Fold but that was it.  Cheap weekend!

The layouts, as I think I implied, weren't up to much.  I discussed this with my fellow BRMA members on our display stand and we weren't able to reach a conclusion about it.  I think quite possibly as my modelling has developed, so have my personal standards and what was once something to aspire to 20 years ago as a teenager, is not something which floats my boat now.  I do know, first hand, how much effort goes into a layout and realise that what excites one, won't necessarily enthrall another and all the operators seemed to be enjoying themselves and 10,000 people came so hats off the the AMRA boys for a successful show, regardless of personal opinions.

I took some photos of what did inspire me - but stupidly without taking photos of the layout number to aid in identifying them all.  If I have included your layout without appropriate acknowledgement, please get in touch so I can edit the post!

As an N gauge modeller, and a British prototype modeller, there wasn't anything which ticked both boxes - although there was a British N layout.  I did have a look - and my kids told me about it (Thomas and Percy being mentioned in the report from DD1 and DD3!) but I was a little underwhelmed by the Lima 4F on the turntable when I had a chance to look for myself.

The highlight was Queen's Wharf - O Gauge Australian with my personal favourite Australian diesel - the NSWGR Class 44 Alco unit.  This was in out of the shops Tuscan with sound and all the current fun stuff.
Quiet scene on "Queen's Wharf"

Disturbed by the arrival of 4411!

Ground level view of 4411 - definitely has a "presence" about it!

Well modelled country hall on "Roseville" (I think!)

Station footbridge on "Roseville"

The centre piece of "Two Up, Two Down" - British OO four track mainline

Girder bridge on the Coffs Harbour MRC layout

Another bridge from the CHMRC

Industrial visitor on Queen's Wharf late on Monday
It would be nice if this was N (or something like it) don't you think?

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Back in the saddle

Well, the footy season is now at Round 6 and despite what I thought when I posted last (back in Round 1), the mojo hasn't really returned.  I have done some stuff - pictures to follow - but until today, I haven't really been that inspired to do much modelling although I have done things for my hobby in general such as cutting up the bits and pieces to make some new stock boxes a couple of weekends ago. (There was also a comment from one of the students at my new school about the lack of updates so I thought I better - now to see if he actually reads the blog!)

Today was a little bit different.  It was the first day of the major model railway show in Queensland - the Brisbane Model Train Show (here) and the first train show I have been to since taking "St Alban's Priory" to the 2008 show.  I spent the morning building a 2mmSA replacement chassis for a Peco 15' wagon - not for a Peco wagon, but for an Etched Pixels LBSCR Stroudley Coach.  It was nice to get back in the saddle as such and so I thought I would share some of the bits and pieces I have done over the last 6 weeks:

 I've had this version of the Farish Std 4 2-6-0 since it came out and I was very disappointed with the "short" connector between the loco and tender - so much so, I had to double check that it was the short one, since the gap didn't seem that smaller once I had fitted it.  I have since made a new connector using some PCB (frame spacer actually from the 2mmSA) which has closed it up nicely but still allows the loco to travel around my curves - smallest radius on St Alban's Priory is 14.5".

Long time readers will know I was not happy with the first attempt at scenicing Swallow's End, my first attempt at a 2mm Finescale layout.  So much so I ripped up all the track and the board came back from Longreach bare.  I have since repainted it brown on the basis that I wouldn't need quite so heavy a layer of scatter material over a brown base, but I still wasn't convinced so I have cut the track formation out of 4mm ply.  This I am going to paint grey to provide a base colour for my ballasting attempts.  I am not sure that a scale 2 feet of permanent way would be correct for such a sleepy terminus so I plan on building the surrounding countryside up using 2 or 3mm board (Masonite probably) and fitting the pieces together (such as the cattle dock, coal merchant etc) like a jigsaw as I go.  I will be able to do the bits separately - so if I don't like the result I just bin the offending section rather than having to attack the layout - and then put it all together later.

Last but not least, I have built these 4 etches from a Langley etch - garden shed, dove cote, green house and a conservatory extension.  Not sure where they will be used yet, but they were in my to do box so I did them!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Friday Night Update - 23 March

Footy comes back tomorrow night (that is Australian Rules - the Rugby League has been going for a while but I don't follow the code) and with Amity (aka the Shop 1 Groupie and purchaser of great Christmas Presents) out playing scrapbooking I took the opportunity to get back into Friday night work sessions.

This isn't to say stuff hasn't been happening - stuff has, just not something which is photogenic!

Tonight's effort for example was to get out of the track I took off Swallow's End when I decided it needed to be lifted and re-done as I wasn't satisfied.  Now this was some months ago - August last year I think from memory (known to be faulty) but with the last term of my Year 12s last year, followed by the move from Longreach to Brisbane and setting up the Train Shed and other priorities (unpacking and doing jobs for SWMBO!) I haven't gotten around to it.  Tonight I did.  Essentially it involved making sure all pieces of track had the appropriate amount of sleepers and all sleepers were soldered properly - some hadn't been done as well as I thought when I pulled it all up.  Now this is a necessary, but time consuming job when making hand made track.  I think I am about half way though.  To be honest, I think making new pieces may have been a bit quicker but I am learning quite a lot so not a total loss!  No photos - nothing worth photographing. 

Another session tomorrow - and being a bit sick of track, I think I may do some stuff for the back yards I am wanting to put in behind my Kestral (Kestrel?) semi-detached houses.  The inspiration for what I am going to do with these can be found in Nspirations 3 for those with a copy.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

South East Queensland Area Group

I am very pleased to announce that, having had two successful meetings, a combined N Gauge Society, 2mm Scale Association and British Railway Modellers of Australia group has been established, meeting on the second Saturday of the month in my train shed.

The initial meeting was held in February and attracted 7 modellers (with 2 apologies from the invitations sent out) with a plan being made for a soldering demonstration for March.  Only 6 gathered for March (again with apologies so not too worried!) and the demonstration was judged a success with some confidence being gained and light being shone on the dark art.

The April meeting is going to investigate the thorny issue of couplings and, more specifically, hands off shunting.  My layout is equipped with electromagnets for use with the Peco system which I have used to good effect for over 10 years, but this does tend to mean all wagons need to have a Peco chassis (or the coupling replaced with a Peco one).  I have some MicroTrains fitted US stock but haven't explored this option.  The discussion will most likely centre around the fitting and operation of DG couplings as one member uses these, one has built these and two expressed an interest in learning more.

Naturally, members of the aforementioned Associations are very welcome to get in touch if they happen to be in South East Queensland for dates and times, along with contact phone and address info.  Public transport is handy too.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Royal Train

I mentioned in my blog from February (the one and only - work and family seem to have slowed progress more than I anticipated!) that I was building the present day Royal Train using the ERG vinyls.  Pictures have now been taken following the painting of the corridor connectors black (they having been caught up in the spraying of the ends grey).  I have not gotten around to changing the couplings over to close couple the set.  While it is headed by 67005, this is the dummy Royal Locomotive Dapol produced.  I am hoping to get 60163 later this year and this train was obtained for Tornado to haul.

Typically from the photo session this afternoon, only a few are worth putting up.  I will hopefully get a decent shot of one of the Mk 3s tomorrow and add it then.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Back to Modelling

After quite a long break - some of it because of moving, some of it because of sorting out my train shed - I finally managed to spend some time last night and this evening doing some modelling.  The project at hand was the "shiny train" aka The Grove or Royal Train.

For the project I had obtained from the excellent service of Electra Railway Graphics the full set of Royal Train coaches and from the equally excellent service of those purveyors of parcels wrapped in brown paper (and sometimes tied with string) Hatton's for Liverpool 7 of their cheapest Mk 3s (which happened to be GNER TGSs) and a brace of their cheapest Mk 2s (which were something in Blue and Grey - can't remember).

Adam recommends Brasso - I found this a) tedious and b) time consuming and c) not working as well as I had hoped.  Perhaps the Australian formulation of Brasso is different to the UK one - although the tin says they are appointed to HM for stuff.  In any case I made up a solution of Caustic Acid (caustic soda mixed into some water) which I poured into a handily spare Dapol box and, at two at a time, the rest of the coaches were done quite quickly - soak for about an hour and rinse off with the aid of a toothbrush (old) and make sure you wear a pair of those latex disposable gloves, just in case.

During this afternoon I then painted the roofs, under gear and bogies with a tin of grey primer - this is slightly darker than my usual choice and looked pretty good compared with the photos of the train so that was that. 

This evenings work consisted of painting the springs on the Mk3 coaches bogies yellow and some leaver things on the Mk 2 coaches bogies blue - matching the pictures I have of these coaches in BR Coaching Stock in Colour since 1960. 

I have put the sides on the Mk2s and the Prince of Wales' saloon and very nice they look with my dummy Class 67.  I still have to paint the corridor connectors black and find some door boards.  I also plan on fitting Scale Scenes curtains on the insides of the coaches for the more authentic look - particularly as I can't be fussed making interiors and in any case, all of the pictures I have found both in books and on line have the curtains drawn.

Photos tomorrow when a) the camera battery is charged and b) I can do it out doors with natural light!

It is good to have something OMWB again!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

"St Alban's Priory" - some more pictures

A couple more:
The view along the street over the tunnel at the Stage Right end.  This is a row of Kestral terrace houses to the right of the photo and a single shop unit to the left with Langley post box and telephone box.  This area needs a bit more - I am thinking of a a sign on the shop and maybe a for sale/for lease sign on one of the houses.  A car or maybe two parked along the street but as the layout is nominally set in the late 1950s the amount of cars around would be small.

Stage Left exit - the branch line at St Alban's Abbey goes left, towards the ECML (since it was an ex-GNR branch) but mine climbs and goes right, over the main line.  The main line (ex-LNWR line to Watford Junction and thence Euston) should be single track but part of the modifications to make life a bit easier for exhibitions had it doubled.  The Autotrain, being Western Region is on test!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

"St Alban's Priory" - some pictures

As promised some photos of StAP now that it is installed.  I am very pleased to report that having connected all the bits which needed connecting (it comes in 3 parts so needs to be bolted together and then the connection plugs coupled up along with some track put in place over one of the joins) and the track was cleaned (and it was not too bad considering 2008 was the last time a wheel turned) everything I have tried to do so far has worked.  I haven't plugged in the 16vAC power pack for the points yet so....

Anyway, the photos:
I had posted previously a picture of the outside of my shed.  This is an average sized shed by Australian standards (or at least it is amongst those I know who have backyard sheds) at 6m wide by 7.5m long.  Basically you can put two cars in, with room for a trailer and a bit of a work shop.  I don't.  I put a layout in!  StAP fits across the back with room at the RH end (as you look at the photo) to walk around the back.  Layout is over 5.5m long so I better not put on too much more weight!

First of the detail shots. This is a row of Kestral Semi-detached houses (KD32) which overlooks the head shunt and the London end of the layout.  The triple bracket signal in view is the Down Home with the left bracket taking trains into the yard and the right bracket into the bay platform on the up side of the station.  These houses have been individualised to a point, but having read the article in N'spirations 3 on detailing these, more will be done in due course.  I believe N'spirations 3 is out of print so I will take some photos of mine as I do it and up load them in due course.

The current goods shed - a painted Peco kit.  I do have a card model of the actual goods shed at St Alban's Abbey (on which StAP is based) and in the fullness of time I will replace this with that.  As I am hoping to build a model of StAA in 2mmFS, this model will be built with the dual purpose in mind - hopefully I won't have to fudge it too much to fit on both layouts.  The yard crane is a white metal one - Langley I think but maybe PD Marsh.  It needs some TLC as the hook is missing.

Wildly out of place Ratio Cattle dock.  It is important to remember the bulk of this was done in 1999/2000, well before my modelling skills were at the level of thinking about scratch building, let alone giving it a go.  This model was a bit of a leap for me at the time as it had the etch brass fence.  The middle lamp is a casualty of a gecko or something as the lamp is off the post in the four foot.  I am thinking about replacing the lamps with working examples but the dock will stay - far too firmly glued down with liquid nails to attempt to remove it I fear.  The signs along the platform fence are my own - I took photos of metal signs at preserved railways on one of my infrequent trips to the UK and these are the results.  Unfortunately, they too are casualties as the ink jet printer I used has resulted in colour loss - possibly from washing the platform!   Easy to fix.

Last one for today - this is the more serious casualty ward.  The loading gauge (white metal) is an easy fix as are the 6 telegraph poles.  The Up Starter bracket (left for the bay, tall middle for the main line and right to take trains over the Down and into the head shunt - the crossing is just in front of the Farish LNWR signalbox - handy since StAP is based on an LNWR location and better than the assortment of 'boxes which have stood in this position over the years) is almost certainly destined for replacement - not sure if it will be colour light with some feathers or what yet.

More tomorrow possibly - as it is, I am enjoying the sound of trains running rather than worrying about taking photos or faffing about but I shall have to get stuck in, as there is a group coming on Saturday!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

"St Alban's Priory" comes home

8 weeks ago my family and I did the long drive from Longreach for the last time and moved back to our family home in SE Queensland.  Since then, Christmas and New Year have come and gone, our fourth daughter has had her first birthday and we have been to Melbourne and celebrated Amity's birthday.  While this has been going on, I have found time to work in my train shed, building book cases to house my collection of reference books and magazine and prepare it for the home coming of my layout, which has been in storage suspended from my parents garage roof since 2008.

Well today was the day.  Weather not the greatest (although wetter I think than 2011 it has been slower and more widespread and there hasn't been the flooding that there was this time last year) but we managed to jag it for the space, both at my parents house and here at home.

The layout has survived rather well.  There are no signs of damage due to insect infestation and while a few telegraph poles need straightening and some signals need a bit of TLC, on the whole it is in pretty good shape.  Mind you, I look and parts and shudder to think I thought they were pretty good!  They probably were at the time (the layout celebrated it 12 birthday over the New Year period!) given my skill and abilities when I did it.  Now I am not sure I would have done what I did had I known what I do.

Pictures tomorrow - even the ugly bits - once I finish bolting it together this evening.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

To do in 2012

I haven't done any modelling this year - been too busy sorting out the modelling space to actually do any real modelling. But since I am going back to work this week following the Summer Holiday I thought it would be a good idea to put a list of what I hope to complete this year out there as a means to keeping me on track.

To work it out I decided I would only look at the UFO box rather than the gloat box (which recently had some etches from Masterclass Models added to it - LNER Quad Art and BR 4-TC).  There is plenty to do in the UFO pile but these are the top 10:

Finish the:
VR K class
ERG Royal Train
LNWR signal box
Farish Class 33 repaint
the gardens on St Alban's Priory
rewiring job (started in 2007!) on StAP
points on Swallow's End (after fixing up the trackwork!)
Mk3 fodder store to go with the 2mm cattle dock.

So there is 10 things on the list - some should be fairly straight forward (the repaint for example) while others will take a bit (the rewiring job wins this one!).  There will certainly be other projects which crop up along the way but hopefully at the end of the year I can look back and tick these 10 off the list.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year - New Goals

2011 done and dusted and 2012 shaping up to a very busy one train wise. 

I have been thinking about what I should set my sights on for 2012 now that I am back in civilisation with a couple of hobby shops for bits and pieces (like fishplates, track pins, brass etc) and DIY shops for things like baseboard supplies and so forth.  The major improvement in my lot since starting this blog (and the previous threads on RM Web) is I now have access to my train shed - work on which is progressing to get it to the state I envisaged when it was erected in 2007!

So goals - the first one is to take a 2mm Finescale layout to the Darling Downs Model Railroad Club exhibition in June.  This is assuming they still hold it!  Must email them and ask.  Now before anyone says this is overly ambitious (particularly since Swallow's End hasn't progressed since I decided the track needed attention and I hadn't managed to get a working point on it!) it won't be as Amity reckons I should get around to building the rest of my W&U stock and building Elm Road to run it on.  So the challenge will in fact be to get a working J70 or Y6 tram (or two) done and dusted.  Of course, if worse comes to worse, there is the pair of Class 04s which can sub.  As this layout is merely an oval with no points (and either a cassette or traverser system for a fiddle yard) there is nothing complicated track wise to cause issues.

Second, get at least 12 UFOs done - one a month.  The list, in no particular order, is the Cartic4, my Royal Train (vinyl overlays from ERG), a Class 33 which needs repainting, DCC chipping my Blue Diesel fleet, my NSW C38 and VR K steam locos (so that gets me to May or June!   Must look at the box but will publish the list and then tick them off - lists help get things done I find).

Third - Swallow Street.  Long time readers will know this was the BR(S) third rail layout I build and chronicled on RM Web 3 in 2009.  They will also know I wasn't particularly happy with some aspects of it and it is now 2/3rds of the way to being scrapped.  I have plans to redo it - same track plan and scenic aspects but 1 1800mm board instead of 3x600mm boards thereby making it run much smoother.  I am tweaking the track plan in as much as I am putting in a single slip which will move some points closer to the station and hopefully mean one of the signals is easier to see by viewers rather than just the driver!

Fourth - well this is a surprise which will be revealed in the fullness of time!  A third layout (what I hear you say!) is a distinct possibility (well the Australian stuff will need somewhere to run won't it?) but I don't want to over reach (or fill up the shed too fast!)

Fifth - go over my layout which has been in storage for the last 4 years (last run in May 2008) and hopefully have some trains running by February.

Sixth - form a NGS/2mm/BRMA Area Group.

There - that, along with family and work should keep me busy!  Stay tuned and see how I go.