Wednesday, October 28, 2015


Sorry for the tardiness of recent months.  The long running renovation of my house finally came to an end about 6 weeks ago – officially just after the September LAG meeting (which we had here anyway) and just before the postponed 2nd Australasian Gathering (which I thought was very successful – most participants went home with an almost built model).  Since then we have been moving back in and getting things like the kitchen and bedrooms sorted.  Computers and IT devices, haven’t been high on the list but eventually got to the top.
So what has been happening?  Quite a bit.  As alluded to above, the 2nd Australasian Gathering of the 2mm Scale Association was held, albeit in September rather than August as originally planned.  This meant some of those who originally were hoping to come couldn’t but we did manage to get a UK based member here to quite pleased.  We focused our efforts on soldering this year – something a bit more practical than the meet and greet from last year – and started (or in one case almost finished) a D1817 LMS Beer van.  More on both of these will appear in the Magazine in due course and here on the blog.  We even had the opportunity to operate locos – and not just on David H’s Toshalt which had previously been lauded for breaking the drought of many years.
As far as the LAG has gone, we are back meeting at my place following 8 moths of visiting.  Amity has very kindly allowed us to use her 36sq mtr craft room in lieu of the shed – still stuff to come out of the shed and there is better light and insulation in her “Girl Cave” compared to my “Man Cave”.   Hopefully by December we will see a couple of the started “Diorama in an Archive Box” challenge entries finished – must get stuck into mine.
Sorry no pictures – hopefully the camera will be sorted shortly and there will be further updates of happenings then.

Monday, August 10, 2015

South East Queensland Area Group Meeting – 8 August 2015

Back to David’s this month (and hopefully back at my place next month with the building finished although possibly in the inside Craft Room rather than the outside Train Shed depending on how much has been removed from said shed!) to find that a) he has a new kitchen and b) his 2mm plank has grown quite a bit – it has doubled!
Toshalt (at least it has a name to go with its growth spurt) has managed to go from being two 900mm boards to being close on 4000 when set up.  David assures me he is going to do something about his own blog but the aforementioned kitchen and painting the dining room and some four letter word (work!!) were mentioned for the delay.
In any case Toshalt can now have a train arrive and depart having had the locomotive run around. This means David has four working turnouts – none of which are the same as the others!  However the key is they work so it doesn’t matter about their providence. 
Other adventures on the day consisted of the continuation of the GWR Milk Brake from Etched Pixels and some N Gauge Society kits along with me finding out that once again having taken DCC equipped beasties to run on a DCC layout, they didn’t.  So time spent trouble shooting those.  We also found out about LNER Coaches No 1951 and 1952 – they are in Wisconsin with Number 60008 it turns out.  The things which an idle flick through a magazine which is near on 70 years old will prompt. 


Three pictures of Toshalt.  Whilst it is only basic – straight through from traverser to traverser with a platform, run around area which allows a goods shed and dairy to be served along with a narrow gauge exchange siding – it is shaping up to be a nice little model.  Must stop painting my house and do something about mine!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

South East Queensland Area Group Meeting – 11 July 2015

Once again – a couple of days late!  Must do better.

This month we went back to Graeme’s and had another look at Thornbury.  Only 5 of us this time so a bit more room to spread out and get on with various projects. 
I didn’t take pictures of what we were generally doing but Ben was making lamps for Sturminister – I assume pictures will be on his blog in due course.  Greg was building some kits, I was putting transfers on Tar Wagons – more of which in a forthcoming 2mm Magazine once I finish writing it up and get Amity to take some decent photos.
David brought along his second operating layout in almost as many months…  In actual fact it is a bit of a group effort and is merely a running in circle of 2mm soldered track – every 4th sleeper appears with the rest missed out.  It hasn’t a name because it isn’t really a layout but we are considering calling it Down Under MSW in homage to the well known circle Over There although ours is a pair of rectangular boards 1200x600.
Lastly we rounded up the new Jinties everyone seems to be buying here – 8 in attendance chiefly owing to word getting out that the LMS ones were around 20 quid cheaper than the pre-order on BR ones.  Cue much purchasing with 4 members getting LMS ones in the next fortnight from the news.  Mine are destined to be come BR with the remaining 7524’s getting renumbered in LMS condition – possibly all in the 752x range!
With 8 there we had to take a photo – sorry for the far end one being out of focus!  From Left to Right – SDJR 23, LMS, LMS, Beginning BR, BR, LMS, LMS and LMS.
Finally – some more photos of Thornbury, simply because it is such a nice layout:

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Soldering Track – or what I did on my school holidays.

I have been trying, over the past week and a half, to get enthused about Swallow’s End, my embryonic 2mm shunting plank.  The biggest hurdle has been finding time – and the second has been dealing with the procrastination streak I have running during daylight hours, owing to it being school holidays (hence having time – sort of) and the kids all being home too.  Couple this with not being at “home” as such (renovations going ok but I’d be happier if they were going better) and you can see why I get bogged down.  Evenings are different – more of which later – but I need the space and that means outdoors and daylight hours.

Today was a bit different.  I had help.  And whilst “help” when you have five kids, the eldest being 9, can be a very subjective term I was pleased that Hollie (who rated a mention in the Toowoomba Train Show post)  was interested in building soldered track and was quite good at it.  She even (shock horror) listened to instructions and didn’t argue!!! 

Anyway, as my students at school are wont of saying, pictures or it didn’t happen so:

HJ soldering 2

HJ Soldering

HJ soldering 3

Hollie's track

All in all, two 60’ lengths in a couple of hours, all on chair plates (Versaline for those playing at home).  No burnt fingers and no frayed tempers either.  Apparently she is now allowed her own soldering iron…

Hopefully more track down on Friday.  Not going to make it to the LAG meeting with a working plank on Saturday however.  Still issues with getting the points to work – and time.  Maybe tomorrow afternoon.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

A(nother) House in My Hand

Last year I wrote about the Kickstarter project by Andy Vaughan here.  This was followed up with my progress with the sheds here in February.  Since then, other UFO projects have managed to get in the way but I started on the Semi-detached House kits (see here for the picture on Andy’s website) a few weeks ago.  Progress has been slow but today I managed to get to this:

Terrace Houses

Now the quick and astute will notice that it looks more like a Terrace than the picture on Andy’s website.  This is because on looking at the dimensions, I felt that the two houses were a bit small to be as described but I also felt that with a few of them, they would make a pretty good terrace of two up, two down workers houses.  And so it has proven. 

As one of the Kickstarters, I was able to get a few of them at the time – so I got 8 of these.  The fifth is at the back of the four, and a sixth has made it to a similar stage to the fifth.  I fitted the roofs to the four today (this is the front by the way) and will get onto putting the extra detail which wasn’t included in the kit – guttering, down pipes and so forth over the next few days.  As I presently don’t have access to the layout to see how they are going for length, I won’t be adding to it at this stage but I expect 7 or the whole 8 will probably be needed.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Eppur si muove (after Galileo)

As David says right at the end - it does indeed work.  Warms the cockles it does.  Now to get Swallow's End to a similar state of activity...

South East Queensland Area Group Meeting –13 June 2015

Same day report – don’t get used to it!  (And yes – apologies for not having one last month at all!)

6 of us gathered at a new venue (well new in the sense we haven’t been there as the LAG before but only one of us had never been at all) today where the highlight was the presence of David’s 2mm layout of which video was shot – more of which anon.


Some discussion was had around the 2mm scale layout Greg has out the back of his place having obtained it from estate of the bloke who introduced him and I to 2mm Finescale in the first place.  I suspect that 2016 could see it finally getting done, some 13 years or so after Andy’s unfortunately early departure from this life.

Once modelling got underway, all of us worked on our various projects.


Ben and Greg did something about replicating the lamp posts pictured at Sturminister Newton for his layout.  You guess the height of the fence, do some drawing and some scaling, bit of maths then get a paper clip, some bits of plastic tube of various outside diameters, a sequin and bead and voilĂ  – lamp post.  The assembly judge it pretty good but felt the lamp was too close to the bend so some tweaking needs to be done for the production run.  Still, not bad for half an hour!


Barbara continued on with her N Gauge Society GWR wagon project, this time doing the opens which come as part of Kit 48.


Don kept on going with his pair of GWR Milk Brakes from Etched Pixels – I think this is the second of the pair under construction but I forgot to ask.

David, flushed with the success of the running session, got the servomotor for the fourth point mounted and wired.  It now just needs the blades installed and the programing done and he’ll have the ability to run around a train.  Next month…


I carried on with building the Severn Models Semi-detached Houses (N7 in their catalogue) of which I obtained 8 examples as part of their Kickstarter Campaign last year.  I decided early on based on their published dimensions that they were more suited to terraces than semi-detached and so I am building them as a terrace of 2 up 2 down houses. 

So a very productive get together.  Next meeting is the 11th of July.  Hopefully I will have Swallow’s End running for that one so we will have two 2mm planks operational.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Toowoomba Model Train Exhibition 2015

Last weekend was the annual Toowoomba Model Train Exhibition.  We have been going up for a number of years now and always have a great time.  This year was no exception but it was notable for a couple of reasons.
Firstly we debuted Ben Lawson’s Sturminister Newton.  His blog is linked on the side bar to the right so you can have a look at what he has been doing. 
We also had two new members of the operating team join us.  David has been part of the LAG since its inception back in 2012 but was unable to join us last year when we returned to the circuit.  My eldest daughter, Hollie, came too.  She showed an interest in shunting which surprised us all although there were some rather heavy shunts from time to time and the occasional out of control locomotive (although this was ultimately traced to a loop in the controls which had the loco responding to two controllers rather than one).  Considering she hasn’t turned 9 yet, to last a day and a half with two very late nights before losing interest and playing with some of the other kids in attendance was very good.  Hollie was invited back next year – hopefully she will have her own loco to wear out rather than using one of mine!
Hollie hard at work
Exhibitions are an interesting thing.  Before we went, I had read Julia “Missy” Adams blog (also linked to the right) where she had asked if exhibitions are worth it.  I know there are a lot of differences between the Australian exhibition experience (well at least mine here in SE Queensland) and the reported experience in the UK.  Over here, you don’t get paid to attend a show as an exhibitor.  In fact, the Toowoomba one is one of the rare ones where, provided you are willing to accept the hospitality on offer, you can be out for as little as the petrol getting to and from.
Normally exhibitions will have unlimited supplies of tea and coffee (for given qualities of same – catering packs rather than freshly ground and made) and provide lunch and that is it.  Toowoomba does have accommodation (you get to stay in the hall – showers etc. are available) as well as a hot meal on set up night, continental breakfast (I think there was 5 different cereal boxes for those inclined with a BBQ plate provided for those wanting to cook their own hot brekkie), morning and afternoon teas along with lunch.  Dinner Saturday night was a three course meal for a tenner.  Obviously if this isn’t to your taste, then you are on your own. 
In contrast, my understanding of the UK scene is that petrol and hire of vehicles and accommodation are all reimbursed – I would imagine that presenting Ritz receipts may not get you invited back – and meals are supplied.  As such, a weekend playing trains, results in those playing not being out of pocket at all, or possibly less than the average Aussie enthusiast.
And then there are the punters.  Missy reportedly had a less than delightful experience at the hands of some paying customers who felt her efforts weren’t up to what they were expecting (dunno exactly what they were expecting – the photos of her modelling are inspiring enough.  Assuming it works as well as it looks…). 
In this respect we share something in common.  The punters here will also express disappointment that the layouts are not what they are hoping to see for a variety of reasons.  For example our layouts (mine, Ben’s and our third partner in crime, Greg’s) are all set at a height of 1200mm from the floor – plus levelling materials.  Sometimes this will put the layout much higher as some of the floors are less than ideal and the layout is over 10m in length.  Additionally, with a layout that long, and two 4m scenic sections broken by a 20 road traverser not to mention the run along the back of it all, there are times when there isn’t a moving train in sight.  Given that all three of our locations are based on real ones with tweaking (the chief tweak in all three cases being the introduction of duplication to the line – all were single line originally but are modelled as two track mainlines) it is a bit hard to give them the endless snake trains which many of the other N scale modellers seem to want to do.  However, we are still more than happy to go.
The main driving reason for going to a show is the opportunity to play trains.  All three of us are able to have our layouts set up at home – Ben and I have ours permanently up in garage and shed respectively.  Greg usually has his up under his house.  However, the opportunity to run them as designed with a lot more trains available to run through the seen is rare and tends to only happen at an exhibition.  We understand that some people don’t like what we are showing – it can be a variety of reasons such as wrong country (UK), wrong scale (N), wrong motive power (steam normally!) or lack of anything “interesting” running.  (We try to run typical British trains – as Stur is SDJR based, things like the Pines Express and Standard 5s were in evidence along with 4Fs and so forth.  We also try to run them at scale type speeds so it can take 2 mins for a lap – and that’s a 60mph express!)  So we get our fair share of sniffs, snorts and asides.  However, we also get a lot more people saying how good it looks, and, because we have pictures of the real place, lots of people are interested in how we have modelled something which, in all three cases, doesn’t exist anymore (well St Alban’s Abbey station does, but not like mine!).  All in all, we feel that it is worth going – and especially worth going up the hill to Toowoomba.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

South East Queensland Area Group Meeting – 11 April 2015

First up an apology – I managed to leave my camera at home so no photos for this month.  At least I am getting the report in on the day of the meeting so that’s a plus.
We returned to Ben’s this month to see progress on Sturminister Newton.  He has gone back to work in the last week but managed to get quite a bit done on the scenery  and what not since January and the first visit, as recorded in his blog (link to the right of screen).  A couple of the group members hadn’t seen Stur for a few years so were very impressed with how it has developed.
There was 6 of us present today – Anthony had made it up from Sydney for the week so joined us but we had a couple of telegraphed absences to New Zealand and the Sunshine Coast.
I was working firstly on finishing the two tar wagons I was building for two of the group members (fitting couplers and spoked wheels).  Once this was done, I got stuck into the LMS Gannets Ben and I kick-started for County Rolling Stock in 2013 – they’ll be the subject of their own post in due course so I won’t say too much.
Ben was working on his signal box for Stur – again, I won’t say too much as he is likely to be putting a post up of his own in due course.  He wasn’t alone in the signal box game with Barbara building the Ratio Midland one – much to the bemusement of the gathered as she and Don model GWR.  They do, however, have a junction station and decided to make it at Midland/GWR junction so the Midland box was justified.  The interest in signal boxes prompted Anthony and Ken to have a discussion about leavers and box diagrams particularly as Anthony is trying to work out how many leavers Conwy Signal Box had – if anyone knows, can you please get in touch with either me or Anthony on his RM Web blog.
Don was working solidly away at the Etched Pixels GWR Milk Brake – which reminded me I have two somewhere in the UFO drawer which need attending to as well.
All in all, a very productive meeting for those who attended.  The catering was to a high standard – whilst the baked goodies on offer were welcome, it is setting the bar a bit high and SWMBO reckons on resumption back here later in the year, the standard will revert!
Not sure where we will have our next as by that stage the long planned house renovation here will have started (fingers crossed – due for 28/4 but…) and there are a few who already know they will be interstate. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

New Farish Duchess

I have been impressed with the various versions of the new Duchess Bachmann have released under their Farish brand for the N Gaugers for a while.  I have seen a number of them, belonging to fellow members of the SEQ Area Group but have only recently obtained one myself via eBay. 

I picked up 46229 “Duchess of Hamilton” in maroon for a good price – more so when I consider that the local Australian price if one does support the Local Hobby Shop is $420.  Given Hatton’s and other sell for half that (and I got mine less than that again) you can see why we generally don’t buy our locos out here.

The latest NGS Journal arrived today (10 April) and it had a letter from a bloke “over the ditch” in New Zealand enthusing about two examples which have made it to the Land of the Long White Cloud.  According to the letter, they haul 15 and 19 coaches.  This is pretty good and allows for prototypical haulage.  We put mine to the test on Sturminister Newton last week and it didn’t have any trouble with 25.  The train was made up of 13 Farish LMS coaches and 12 Farish Mk1s as shown in the accompanying video.  All in all, very happy with the purchase.

I have since renamed and numbered it 46245 “City of London” and retired my old Poole version of the same name/number.  I know London is available but not at the eBay price Hamilton was.  Now all I need is to get my hands on a green one (46253 “City of St Alban’s) and a blue one (46237 “City of Bristol”) and all my old ones will head out onto the Bay of E and to new homes.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

South East Queensland Area Group Meeting – 14 March 2015

As one of my former Heads of Department was wont of saying when time got away from her, day late, dollar short.  So it is with this report on our Monthly Meeting.
Once again we were on the road for this months get together with the hoard descending on Graeme’s house.  As it happened, we had almost a complete attendance with only Anthony (stuck in Sydney – at least his digs have great views) missing in action.
Ken brought along his wharf again – this time with the controller.  He has fitted his stock with DGs so a healthy discussion ensured about how well they travel (not as well as we thought it turns out!) as there is some debate about moving over to this style from a number of us.  As Graeme uses DGs on his layout, there was plenty of experience to put ideas forward for the enlightenment of those interested.
Wharf shunting puzzle.  Get the 16t minerals to be in the same order as the cards.  Takes a lot more thought than you’d think at first glance, as the head shunts aren’t that long!
Ben kept working on his Victorian Railways coaches – up to transfers.  A kit with transfers available.  Can’t be.  The coaches are coming along nicely and he may have to consider a layout for them in due course.
I built a chassis for a Tar Wagon – which I was supposed to have done on Thursday night (spent it doing stuff for uncoupling on Sturminister Newton – hence the discussion of DGs) and I was also supposed to take progress photos for an article and advice page for the lads in the UK.  Managed to take zero photos but have 6 more to do – and Ben offered to let me build his pair if I needed to do more for the photos!  Nice of him.
IMG_2251[1]One I did earlier.  The transfer looks straight when viewed side on in real life.  Honest.  This one is getting Rapidos as it isn’t mine!
David speculated about the use of a Dukedog on his embryonic GWR 2mm layout.  This speculation was moved along by the news that he could get one, with 2mm wheels in it, painted etc. from eBay.  Apparently we could have a new toy at our May meeting.  Ben had opted for an N wheeled Midland 0-4-4t.  I am watching with interest.
Graeme had his layout “Thornbury” up and running and has even started on his Archive Box Diorama.  Not only has he picked a spot, he has built boards.  Currently heads the leader board as I think everyone else has only really thought about it, although Ben has started assembling models to place on his.
Photos of “Thornbury” below:
Full length of the layout.  I forgot to ask Graeme how long it is, but the Royal Scot and three in the platform is about as long a train as will fit on the sliding traverser at the far end.  If it is longer than 8 feet I’d be surprised.

Thornbury has similar buildings to the S&C – same designer apparently.  This means the Metcalf offerings are perfect position holders until the more accurate ones are built.
The Engine Shed won Graeme a couple of trophies in modelling competitions in years past.  You can’t see it, but it has the full interior treatment, including all the roof trussing.  I know it’s there, as I have seen it so take my word for it.
Despite the narrow board Graeme has managed to get the “train in the landscape” feel.  He did comment that he felt it was too sleepy but given the branch was a 7 mile “one engine in steam” (yet we had 4 at the terminus on Saturday!!) affair I reckon sleepy is spot on – and he has got it so, so right.
Whilst built to N gauge (i.e. 9mm) all the track is hand made in 60’ lengths using components from the 2mm Scale Association.  The only real give away is the flange ways on the points (which I noticed I didn’t photograph) and the lack of replacement wheels on the stock.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

LNWR D6 3D Print from Shapeways

At the end of 2013, I was asked if I would be willing to teach a Technical Drawing class in 2014.  Now as someone who did it to Senior, I wasn’t especially fazed and agreed to teach 8 Graphics to help out.  The biggest issue I faced was time had moved on and more of the course was now done with a CAD program than it was back in the late 80s/early 90s of my school days.

Nevertheless, I sallied forth and had AutoDesk Inventor 2013 (which was what we had at the time at work – we’ve since upgraded to 2015 for the students, but not me!) put on my computer.  I attempted some bits and pieces on my own, using a couple of YouTube video tutorials but it wasn’t really until I sat down with Phil Badger of Gopher and Ixion (along with BadgerBits) at the Toowoomba Model Train Exhibition last year that it all started to click.

By June, I had developed enough skills and insights to have a go at drawing a wagon.  I settled on the LNWR D6 2 plank open as my first attempt as it wasn’t too big, I had a decent set of drawings in LNWR Wagons Vol 1 and, importantly, some pictures as well.

After a few nights work, it looked like this:


I designed it in a similar way to putting together a plastic kit – one end, one side and a floor then assembled it all – two sides, two ends and a floor.  The assembly was the easiest part as it happens.

I was pretty pleased with it and uploaded it to Shapeways and got a print sent out (along with a bunch of other stuff – so the postage was defrayed).   I wasn’t disappointed with the initial print, but I was not surprised that there were a couple of areas which needed tweaking – principally the buffer hole spacing.  Since then I have received two more prints (which have gone slightly banana shaped since arriving but flex back under pressure.  I presume once I build the chassis and fit, this won’t be a problem.  Not sure if it is climatic or something else) and had a few people buy the model.

I know that the cost of the model is far greater than the price of the materials for scratch building or even the time involved (by the time you allow for the time drawing).  However, the time drawing was useful as it was learning and any new skill takes time.  Further, if I want more than 3 of them, I can get more which will be identical – something I doubt my scratch building skills will allow for at this time!

D6 was chosen as it had the right brakes for me to model it.  Only 60 odd D6 wagons were built but they were upgraded D2s – of which 14000 were built to a 15’6” length before another 4700 were built to 16’ length.  At least 400 D2s passed to the LMS in 1923.  I must work out how to model the brake rigging for a D2 at which point, this body becomes much more useful.


The picture shows the post Beta print.  I hope to have it on a chassis and painted (Humbrol 79 apparently is a reasonable match for LNWR grey – prior to weathering!).  Transfers – well, typically this is yet another kit where there isn’t any!  However, I am learning how to fix that problem as well.

I have started on another LNWR wagon – the D15 Beer Van.  As it happens, I can tweak that drawing to become the Grain conversion without too much hassle.  Those of you with LNWR Wagons Vol 2 can check it out.  The ends were the work of an hour – which I doubt I could scratch build in that time to be honest.

I am considering putting it up as a 3 or 5 body option which should bring the price down – if you are interested in getting more than 1, please get in touch and I’ll see what I can do.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Friday Night Update –20 February 2015

I thought I’d bring back the FNU owing to the fact that most Thursdays I get together with a couple of mates and we try to “get stuff done”.  This get together was initially organised by my wife along with the Thursday night host’s – they felt we were more bearable if we did modelling more regularly than our Second Saturdays and since Ben lives a mere 20 mins away (less if the lights are kind) it has worked out quite well.  Ben has a blog too but it is only fairly recent – you can find it here.

My initial thought on going over to Ben’s was it would be an opportunity to work through projects as against what tends to happen here at home – I start on something, get side-tracked and next thing I know, the UFO pile is growing and I am beginning to feel I am achieving nothing.  With the Thursday night working bee, I could have a box with whatever I was working on, with the tools for it and leave it in the car from week to week.  This has worked quite well.

So what have I been doing?  Well I obtained a set of the Etched Pixels Thompson suburbans – you got 4 in a set but Allan sent out a fifth coach as it was a loner and he was moving into 3D printing with these models.  I can’t remember how long I’ve had them but I suspect I was living in Longreach when I got them!

With a project in mind – get them built – I have been working away over the last few weeks since Christmas.  I have tended to get about 75-80% of the body done each night which now means all 5 were done a couple of weeks ago.  Last work evening I started looking at the door grab handles but got a little side tracked on my VR K and the latest purchase from Atso-Cad – a C12.

I am planning on putting these on some of the Atso-Cad Gresley bogies from Shapeways.  I recognise that the Dapol ones may be better, but I purchased a set of Steve’s previously and having fitted one at the end of the Dapol Gresley Brake following a melting incident due to a short circuit (stopping a train with the last axle in the non-isolated section – light bar ready bogie)  I thought they would do.  Besides, I figure if I buy Steve’s models (such as the N2) he might do some more!

The coaches are as follows: 2x D339 Thirds, 2x D340 4 Compartment Brakes and 1x D338 Lav Composite.  The copy I have of the LNER Coaches by Campling seems to be a bit over the shop when it comes to these coaches so I’m not sure if the extra goes in the rake or outside it as a strengthener – I’ll run it as shown below unless someone tells me otherwise!


Not the all time greatest shot but the weather has been rotten for the last couple of days – we’ve had over a foot of rain fall in under 48 hours and the overcast conditions haven’t suited photos at all.  I will take better ones once I have done something about door handles (lots!) door grab rails (also lots – I think more than the handles from the pics, especially on the Brakes) and do something about initial painting.  I also have to find the roofs!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

South East Queensland Area Group Meeting - 14 February 2015

This months meeting was again a visit, this time to the local outpost of the SDJR - see Neb's blog to the side for more details.

We were well down on numbers this month owing to illness and work claiming a few of the regulars but some progress on UFOs was made by those who were there.

I got the transfers on my VR K class mentioned in previous posts and had it running hauling one of Ben's VR W cars from Spirit Design.  I also took the opportunity to run in my 128 as I knew Ben had cleaned his track for the meeting - mine hasn't been touched since New Year!

Graeme brought the Class 3 Std Tank he'd fixed for Anthony along and gave it a run too.  Ben had his recently purchased 4F circulating which prompted comments on how good RTR is v Kits and v Old time models (a significant number of members can claim to have owned a Lima 4F although "operated" was something different!).  Graeme was also working on an O gauge wagon...

Discussion was also had about transfer options - particularly the lack of LMS coaching stock transfers.  Hopefully a solution is near at hand.

Usual lunch enjoyed supplemented by Mrs Neb's Brownies and Muffins.  Owing to the late start on my renovations safe to say we'll be back!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Class 128 Parcels Railcar

In March last year I made my first purchase from Shapeways.  Regular readers will have seen my post about the Atso-Cad N2 which I obtained along with the Patriot kit from the same stable.  I also purchased the kit for the Class 128.  I mentioned at the time that it would go in the queue until such time as a chassis was obtained.
The initial idea of getting a cheap 121 or 122 from Hatton’s never came off – there wasn’t one cheap enough for me to be willing to chuck the body.  I am not a big fan of having bodies lying around with no wheels.  So I was stuck in a bit of a quandary.

A period trawl around the web thinking of useful search terms resulted in me finding that DCC Supplies had spare chassis.  I guess that is one of the things spending time on the likes of RM Web or the N Gauge Forum will get you – but it doesn’t get a lot of modelling done!  Still, I purchased a chassis and it turned up about a month ago.

Since then, I have been working on the model on and off with an eye to entering it in this years BRMA (Q) Modelling competition.
128 1
Initially the model got a good scrub in some warm water with a bit of kitchen sink cleaner.  This got rid of the wax former which had stuck in the various corners.  Then a coat of primer was sprayed on.  Turns out primers aren’t primers and a plastic primer works better than my normal cheapie rattle can stuff.  Still, job done eventually.
Then the annoying bit.  I prefer to airbrush enamels.  Problem is I have run out of my preferred Precision Paints BR Blue and as this model is going to be used on a 1975-1982 themed layout, that’s what I needed.  Much stuffing around, including taking a Farish Class 47 to get colour matched (smallest they’d do was a 1 litre tin – that’s a lot of N Gauge models!) and help arrived in the form of some Railmatch Acrylics. 

Now I have had bad experiences in the past with both Railmatch (enamels – hence my preference for Precision) and acrylics – Tamiya in my case but a fair few years back.  So I was naturally hesitant.  However, having given the Humbrol Rail Blue Acrylic a go (and finding that my attitude towards acrylic was confirmed) I figured the situation couldn’t be any worse.  Happily, it worked out very well indeed, although I didn’t attempt to use the airbrush.  Thinned with a bit of filtered water and about 4 coats later:
Next problem was the yellow – the photo above was taken after this had been sort of solved.  I tried a novel approach, which involved painting some Humbrol 63 Sand on the ends.  It looked pretty good, until I put it next to a Farish 101.  Then it looked pretty ordinary.  Still, I figured as a base coat, it should improve things.  It did, sort of.
Yellow is one of “those” colours really.  Still, weathering it should work out.

The next problem was what number.  I model LMR generally but the kit is for a WR example.  The LMR ones didn’t have gangways, but had a third window (and there was only 4, which seem to have been the first four scrapped).  So a couple of evenings were spent trawling the web.

Turns out a 128 in Rail blue with gangways, head code boxes and round buffers is a bit of a difficult combination to source but I ended up very lucky and found this picture © David Hann (link):
W55991 Reading
Bingo I thought.  However, it raised another issue.  The model has holes for the Dapol lights to shine though into the head code boxes.  As it happens, they are for the inside boxes, where as you can see in the photo the dominos are on the outside.  Still, don’t have to have working lights. 

A bit more of a trawl around David’s photos on Flickr and I was lucky enough to find he had taken a picture of the arrival (the photo above shows the departure of W55991 and W55020) earlier the same day – which happens to be September 11, 1981(second bingo as it fits my time period).
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I’ve cropped the photo down to just show 55991 – it’s still David’s © (link to original). 

(As an aside, I have tried to find out on Flickr how to get in touch with David to seek his permission to publish his photos here.  I couldn’t see how to so if someone could tell me, I’d appreciate it.   As it isn’t for commercial gain, and I have acknowledged Copyright, hopefully there isn’t an issue.)
So this is what I am trying to achieve with my model.  I have noted the half open window on the middle loading door.  The driver is clearly seen in the cab door window too.  And the leading end doesn’t have the exhaust (which I haven’t fitted to mine)  There is also the weathering pattern.

My model has progressed, based on the second photo, to this:
Arrows put on, as has the number.  I don’t have Parcels Service transfers, but I believe they are, unlike a lot of transfers, obtainable so I will have to get on and do that.  I won’t glaze it until the handrails have been added, the exhaust pipes are on and footsteps are put under the doors, along with the final transfer.  Once all that has been done, and it’s been glazed, then weathering.  I have until November 21 to get it finished.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Victorian Railways K Class Part III

Another one of the long term projects.  Part I and Part II date from 2011.  Since then progress has been spasmodic with the tender bogie situation referred to being sorted in 2013 when I obtained some castings from Phil Badger – who made the kit.  At some stage, the whole lot got a coat of black paint but I don’t remember when.

The current state of play is this after this weekend:


There is still a bit to do – cab and tender steps, paint the buffers on the tender and then put the number plates on.  I’ll also have to work out a front coupling.  It has a Microtrains 1015 on the tender but it is a little high so I’ll have to take it off and pack it.  Then there is the all important (add it to the pile!) weathering and then finally some real coal in the space.  At one stage I was considering DCCing this one, but I’m not sure where I would fit the chip.

Still – progress, mostly inspired by the painting of a couple of VR Diesels, more of which anon.

Friday, February 6, 2015

A Shed in Your Hand.

I posted late last year about the Kickstarter project from Andy Vaughan which resulted in me getting a number of the etched building kits he was offering under the Severn Models banner.  Andy has since gotten underway as a quick look at his website will show (and those who cruise the Bay of E may have seen the various kit options there).

My initial thoughts on the sheds are detailed in the previous post.  As I mentioned the lack of gutters, down pipes and a chimney, at least on the brick shed, were a bit of a let down.  So I got out my collection of brass and had a look to see what I had and what could be done about it.

I found some pipe which had an outside diameter of 1mm and thought it would be suitable – no round channel available at the local hobby shop and I am not even sure it if is available from the K&S or Albion Alloys ranges – and with the aid of a sanding disc in the Dremel and about 5 mins of careful sanding I had a length of gutter.  A downpipe and a stove pipe chimney came from some .7mm OD pipe and that had the brick shed sorted as a coal merchants office.

The other building I decided to use as a fodder store – gutters and a downpipe were sorted but the stove pipe was left off.  A coal stove (or any fire source) in a fodder store is not the best idea I would think!  In the end I removed the downpipes as I thought they were a bit much but as the gutters were well soldered on, they were left in place.  In any case, now that they are painted, I think the gutters complete the building.


Yes, I noticed the chimney is crooked after I took the photo!!!


Doesn’t look as bad from the back!

I have to fit glazing – I was thinking of giving microscope slides a try for a proper glass look – but I’ll leave that off until after weathering.  The weathering UFO pile is really building up!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Chivers GWR Python

I have had this model kicking around for sometime waiting, as seems to be the trend, for transfers.  Lots of kits unfortunately seem to be produced without transfers being obviously available (or if they are they only cover one period of the model’s life) and this one is no exception.   Luckily I have the Tatlow NPCS Book and it has the Python in it (handily next to the LNER Long CCT which Chivers does too – more of which anon) and the pictures give enough inspiration to get on with cutting various bits and pieces from other transfer sheets.  The only thing I wasn’t able to find was a yellow W of a suitable size.


I haven’t put the sealer coat of varnish on the transfers yet and like the previous couple of Former UFOs, weathering to take place.

I have two more of these kits to build – one is going to be 580, the one specially strengthened to carry elephants but I am going to have to find a GWR Roundel transfer for that as the picture I have, dated 1947, has the vehicle in brown with a roundel!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Chivers LMS Tube Wagons

Another UFO getting close to FO status – this time with a much shorter gestation period! 

These LMS tube wagons date from 2012 when I saw some on eBay and purchased them.  They were duly made up in late 2012 and managed to get some paint on them in early 2013.  Since then, sporadic progress on transfers had LMS applied to 5 out of 8 sides, numbers applied to 3 out of 8 sides and that was it.  With 8 transfers per side (number, tare, Tube, L, M, S and a pair of small Ns to denote non-common user) I was well behind! I found them again during the tidy up period mentioned in pervious posts.


Transferring recommenced Thursday night and the models were completed over the Australia Day Long Weekend.  The models were then sprayed with Humbrol Matt Varnish out of the Humbrol rattle can – not overly disappointed with the fact the black is now looking more battleship grey as it starts the weathering process.


As I have mentioned before (way back in 2010!!) I have never been especially successful in getting the Chivers chassis to run well and these have proven to be no exception to the rule.  The kits came without wheels and I know the Parkside Dundas 6.2mm diameter ones are recommended but I have found a tendency with my Parkside wheels to come apart with the tire falling off the plastic centre.  Wheels therefore have been a bit of a problem for me.  I have tried a number of different manufacturers and, owing to my cack-handedness with building the chassis (previous LMS tubes in BR livery run on 2mm Scale Association etched replacement chassis – I can see already this happening with these – doubly so considering I will then be able to easily fit DGs and later 2mm wheels) there is a variety of wheels fitted, all in an effort to get them to run smoothly.  The best ones are a single pair I had which don’t match anything else in my bits box and I don’t know the manufacturer.


As with other UFOs recently FOd, they haven’t been weathered.  The weather hasn’t been good for attempting to spray anything over the summer – too wet and humid – and with the desire to emulate Tim Shackleton, some practice on scrap bits is called for first I think.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Mill Lane Sidings Shock Opens

Another one of the “somethings” aka my UFOs which Amity decided needed fixing up was my three Mill Lane Sidings (now N Gauge Society kit 36 – see here for the details on the kit) shock wagons.

From what I remember from when I got them (2010 – seems to be a trend developing here…) Richard Bardsley had done the opens as part of his Mill Lane Sidings range and then sold the moulds to the NGS – I’m sure someone with the full skinny will comment and let me know if I have the wrong end of the horse.  Either way, the kits were very easy to put together and I left off back in October 2010 having painted them with Precision Paints P127 BR Bauxite as recommended.  I thought (and we know where thinking can get you) that I would have to paint the sides white to put the transfers on as I assumed (erroneously as it turns out) that the white part of the transfers were clear.

Fast forward 3 and a bit years and I managed to find the transfers and the wagons (different places – which accounts for the delay in part) and added them to the “something” pile which could be completed at the kitchen table rather than in the shed.

I painted one wagon side white and made a bit of a hash of it to be honest – spray at x paces and no masking so not flash.  Not worried as I knew I was going to have to touch up with bauxite around the edges.  Put first transfer on and that’s when I discovered the white was white and I didn’t need to have done the painting.  C’est la vie. 

So two have been done other than the tarpaulin bar – I have to find suitable brass wire – and the white stripes on the ends.  The third needs to have the paint sorted before I get it to this stage.


These are similar to the P19 Ballast Wagons which I have likewise in the UFO boxes in as much as the transfers are very thick and the use of MicroSol or similar is highly recommended.  I found it very difficult to get the transfers where I wanted them and so ended up with a less than satisfying pair of models.  I am going to get a Kit 36 from the NGS to see if the transfers are any better and if so, I may see if I can get get transfers and fix them up.  As they are, wreathing will probably hide most of the sins.  I’ll put a picture up when I have managed to sort the three with bars and weathering – hopefully not a similar time span!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Bogie Luggage Van

Readers with either very long memories or recently arrived and trawling though the back catalogue may remember the title as being attached to a post made back in April of 2010.  For those now curious see here for an explanation.

As it happens, I have been back on the UFOs – the perils of tidying the shed and having your wife ask what's with all the boxes in the bottom drawer…  My UFO drawer as it happens.  So Amity counted and decided there were too many and proclaimed “something must be done about that”.  Permission was sought and granted to do “something” at the kitchen table whilst various paper craft things were being done (we can be together dear) and so “something” has been done.  I’ve finished it. 


The windows were done with the Krystal Klear as suggested (correct spelling this time) and from what I could tell from photos, the only lettering was the vehicle number – at least in BR days.  In Southern days they had Luggage and Southern on them as well.  Either that, the rest was hidden under the layer of grime which seemed to be the correct livery from the 1950s as I would have assumed things like length and tonnage would have been somewhere.  I haven’t done the grime yet, but will get around to it in due course, especially as I have the weathering books by Tim Shackleton and want to try out some of his techniques. 

I remember how much fun it was to build – and I had only limited experience then.  I will most definitely be getting a couple more – one for painting in Pullman livery once Dapol bring out their WC/BB Pacific. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

South East Queensland Area Group Meeting – 10 January 2015

Time sure does fly.  3 years ago I started the combined 2mm Scale Association, N Gauge Society and British Railway Modellers of Australia Queensland N Gauge Group and I’d like to think it has been very successful in encouraging the various members of the three organisations (some wear two hats – I wear all three!) in their modelling.
For the start of 2015 we did something different – we went on the road for the first meeting.  This was in response to a planned renovation at your humble correspondent’s residence which, had it started when we would have liked, would have meant the place was a construction site as I type.  Alas for the plans of mice and men!  Still, David H was very obliging and offered his residence in lieu and we all had a great time. 
David has a US railroad taking shape in a spare room and is one of the mad men who has declaimed that he shall have a working 2mm scale layout by the 2nd Australasian Gathering – which is in August.  With 2 out of 4 points working well he is heading towards success.  The less said of the other declaimer's efforts the better at this stage!  Along with finding out we had an accidental member of the DCC club some work was done by a few of the Group towards their various projects.
This year’s major theme is building dioramas which fit in an archive box.  Anyone who is interested in the rules for same I’ll be happy to email them to you along with the necessary explanations for what a couple of the more localised rules mean.
The road show will continue until July at this stage – hopefully by then we are back to normal.  Certainly hopefully it will be all good by the Gathering dates of 21/22/23 August as it is supposed to be at the aforementioned humble correspondent's abode!