Monday, March 20, 2017

A Point to be made

It was my own fault that I chose a curved point to build for a siding on the outskirts of Eden. The siding sits inside a 180 degree plus curve and will take around two wagons at the dock. My last workout on a set of points as explained in the post of February 18 was way back in my N scale days in the early 80's. Not having anything written down from the past episodes of point building I decided to bite the bullet and get on with making a curved point.
I needed printed circuit board (which is the usual medium for point building) and also some wooden sleepers. So I made a trip out to the Model Railroad Craftsman at Blacktown for some supplies. As I am using the Peco Narrow gauge track I even remembered to take a sample sleeper with me so that I could size it against what was available. I grabbed some Clover House copper sleepers and had to resort to some stripwood as they were out of wooden narrow gauge sleepers. In the end I just used the copper sleepers. A few other things were purchased there (as you do) and I headed home. I would vote this shop one of the best set out hobby shops in Sydney with plenty of various items, well suited for the scratch builder. (Are there any left?)
A start is made on the curved turnout
As I am using cork underlay on the main line section of track, I felt I needed something solid under the point, so I cut out some MDF to put the point on. It was prepainted in case it swelled up when I get to lay the ballast. I used a section of flex track to make the above point. The rails formed the outside tracks and then I used another piece of rail to make the frog section. So far so good, but even at this stage you can only test the track up to the frog with a bogie. Although there is a bit of slop in a bogie I used a NMRA track gauge to test the clearances. I actually had two track gauges when I was in HO but I think I sold them off. Even if I still have them I would never find them in the shed.
Nearly finished, raw and ugly
Well after a week or so I finally got close to finishing the point. It is laid on a 30" curve as can be seen by the nearly invisible track gauge next to the point. Thank goodness for the 30" marking on it, I spend ages looking for it at times, must put a dab of fluorescent paint on it. I still have to put the throwbar on. I also need to cut through the sleepers before I get to test it electronically. Some of the solder (read sodder in USA) needs to be cleaned up as well. But so far so good.
The siding takes shape.
In the above photo can be seen the joins between the two baseboards. It looks ugly now but I will cover it all up with ballast. As explained earlier I am building this part of the layout so that it can be taken apart and removed in the future. There is no point in demolishing a layout in the future when a little time taken now can avoid that issue. The point in the foreground will eventually head across a section near the door. For another day.
The first two wagons arrive in the siding


A view from the other direction
I am quite happy with how it is going so far. For narrow gauge the main track out of town on a 30" radius curve looks good. Even though there will be tighter curves elsewhere, this broad curve looks the part. One of the often asked questions in narrow gauge is "What is the minimum radius curve I can get my locos and rolling stock around?" I will never ask that question for my layout. I suppose I am not running 4 wheeled locos and rolling stock. Besides I don't have any empty biscuit tins that need filling with a layout. Pointless those types of layouts.
Nearly ready for loading



The whistle sign for the Main line level crossing is shown here, the wagons in the distance

Well I am happy with the progress so far. It has been slow but rewarding when I can see the progress made from this time last year. I'm sorry that the photos are just of general track laying and other construction, but I am looking forward to the scenery component, the bit that brings the layout to life.
Tomorrow I will be receiving a pack of goodies from Ian Lindsay models to further enhance the layout. With a pelican amongst other things, I might have to model some water for him around the Snug Cove area.
Till next time, enjoy your hobby.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Board 2


Well after conducting successful loads trials from the last post, it was time to get the saw out and start into the next baseboard. It would be so easy to have laid a straight line as the load trials were conducted but it would have no character. So I made a squiggle in pencil on the board for the track to follow. The track from the first baseboard joins the second at right angles. This is a no brainer for future times when they might need to come apart and rejoin. A Y turnout will be laid up to the join. One track forms the main line and the other leads to the coal siding.
Baseboard 2 showing cutaway for a creek/gully
The track is still on a rising grade from the adjacent board, the rise gentle enough so as not to restrict loads by steep sections. This may happen further around the layout.
Although my collection of pineboard seems to be growing I bit the bullet and purchased two 2.4m x 1.2m ply. Hopefully this will be stable enough to outlast me. When planning this section, I stared at this board for quite a while before I committed to pencil the route of the track. I wanted to incorporate either a creek or just a gully on the board and as can be seen in the photo a section was cut out and set in at a lower position.
There is no 'undo' button once you commit the jigsaw into cutting.
I assume this style of baseboard could be labelled the 'cookie cutter' style but it differs from some I have seen in that I use the whole width of the sheet and just raise or lower the board either side of the track roadbed. Using this system allow you to have a solid base for adding the scenery to. Some modellers I have seen just use the roadbed for the track and then have to come back and fill in around the track, which to me would seem more complicated. Each to their own.
I have still stuck with the 30" radius track on the two boards as it looks OK. I figure that if I need a tighter radius then all my stock will run around it. I think 18" radius would be too tight for my liking.
It is still a hard thing to do just looking at the boards and trying to visualise what scenery will go where. I don't know what will end up on the boards as yet.
Two wagons in the siding



The photo above shows where the Y point from the first baseboard will lead onto the next board. The siding was going to be too short to have two wagons in it so I extended the track base onto the next board. It looks rough as at the moment but it is great what you can hide under scenery, ballast etc. The building for the siding will go behind the red wagon. (one day?) The baseboards are 50cm wide at this point along the wall. It is still amazing to me how quickly O scale modelling seems to gobble up space.
8A climbs up over the creek crossing. Mount Crap in the background.
The next item on the work schedule is to start making the curved turnout that was shown in the last post. Once this is in place then the track can start to be laid onto the baseboards.
The next board in the corner will feature a timber trestle based on the Monbulk trestle like the one in the photo below.
In the meantime I will be doing some carpentry study, especially those tortoise and tenon joints.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Load Trials

Load trials, more on that a bit later. To get to the point of conducting a load trial recently I have fitted the baseboard top to the section containing the coal unloader and curved point to the siding near Eden.
The baseboard top was rescued from the old layout from Bega and moved to near Eden, not even a far distance in the real world. The baseboards that run along the wall of the garage have been made to have a slight climb up towards the next crossing loop station currently to be known as Greigs Flat. This rise in the track adds topographical interest and also a grade to make the locos actually work up this section.
At the far end of the first baseboard the rise is only slight climbing up about 20mm. This is enough to add a bit of variation in levels and start the climb up.

Although in real life some of the curves on the real VR narrow gauge are sharp, I have so far decided that I will use a fairly broad curve. One reason is that I had a leftover 30" track gauge from the HO days will can still be used on the On30 track being 16.5mm wide track, very handy. It also looks good at the moment this broad curve coming out of Eden. It certainly looks very messy on the board at the moment but it is the first stage of beautification (I hope) I could have painted this board with some brown paint but why waste that time?
The above photo shows the far end of the first baseboard and the track that will go into the coal unloader. There is no grade on this track and it is a level siding. In chalk can be seen the road which will come up from the coal hopper and cross over the line before running into the wall. One of the things I am not looking forward to is the building of structures for the layout. For this particular board I will need to build an unloader for the coal wagons. This will probably be just a hole under the track. This will lead to a conveyor to take the coal up to the hopper and the hopper itself. At this stage I have no idea what the end product will look like so I am open to any suggestions. 
The rise of 20mm on this board only starts half way along, then crosses over to the next baseboard. All these baseboards will be wing nutted together to enable removal at some time in the future. I am not giving too much consideration to the eventual weight of these boards, so if I find a bit of timber in the shed that will do the job at hand I will use it. If its too heavy at the time of removal I'll just rope in another guy to help. It would be more critical weight wise if the layout was going to and from exhibitions.
The above photo shows a train and some hoppers on the coal unloading siding, the grey plastic will be where the drop chute will be for the coal. The office and car adds some perspective to the overall scene.
The same photo from the opposite direction. The raised coal siding is clearly seen here and add some dimensional interest I hope. Snug Cove shelter  will be in the foreground. It will be small enough to be hopefully  made in an hour or so. Reminds me of those articles that use to be in the Model Railroader, can't remember the exact name something like "Dollar Models" Anyone remember? I'll make a couple when I do this one so the can be spread around the layout.
The long and winding road
Today I cut out the baseboard top for the next section. Murphys law it started raining today and is scheduled for the rest of the week. So that stuffed the idea of taking the board outside to cut it. Have you tried cutting board on an angle? Not easy for me anyway. There was nowhere in the shed that I could lay down the 2.4m x 1.2m board. After trying out a jig saw, various blunt handsaws and after spending fifteen minutes looking for another mini hand circular saw I had it was finally cut out. (What do mean a straight line Kimosabe?) The end product was not a pretty sight and was duly placed up against the wall with the nice side facing the aisle.
This brings the above photo to make some sense out of the title for this blog entry "Load Trials"
As explained earlier I want to have grades on the layout. So far I consider what has been planned is not a very steep grade and the only way to prove this is to carry out some load trials. So I got a few lengths of track together and laid them up the grade ready for the trials.
In my previous work life I was lucky enough to be employed in the section where the locomotive testing was carried out for the New South Wales rail system. There are certainly huge differences between testing a model and the real thing. In real life trains have to be tested under the worst case scenarios that being ruling grades and under wet conditions. Most of the testing for New South Wales is carried out on Cowan Bank near the north of Sydney on a 1 in 40 grade. Although not the steepest grade in NSW it is particularly notorious for its speed restricted approach at Hawkesbury River and sharp curves. Chuck in a few flange lubricators and a thunderstorm = recipe for disaster! Many a freight train have stalled in this section. The smartest thing the railways did in this section between Hawkesbury River and Cowan was to institute bi-directional working over both roads, although it has only been in place fairly recently. 
When testing these locos to simulate wet weather conditions a 100 litre water tank is strapped to the loco and piping worked down to be under the leading wheels. As soon as the loco hits the grade the water is turned on by the tester.
Well thank goodness we don't have to go to this extent on the models. Today I tried NA8 on the grade to see how it would handle a load. This particular loco was the first one I had sound fitted to and the weight that was supposed to be in the steam dome was replaced by the capacitors, so it is the lightest NA of the three. Using this logic if this one can handle a load then the other two NA's should be able to.
The first load trial
The first load was NA8 and six wagons behind. Although the grade is slight it had no trouble hauling this load.

So I added a few more wagons and the load was built up to 9 wagons and carriages. Again no troubles and up the grade she went. The last two carriages are both Bachmann that are lit and have wipers on the wheels which adds a bit of friction to overcome.
Third load trial and still managed!
Well the above photo shows the limit of the load testing. After adding two more Bachmann coal hoppers poor old NA8 was starting to show a few signs of struggling at the top of the grade. When the layout is running I don't intend to run trains this long (Unless double headed or I come into possession of a G class Garrat) It seems to defeat the purpose of modelling narrow gauge if the trains are getting too long. This was a good test for the loco and surprised me how well it actually went.
Although this setup looks a bit crude it proved that these loads can be hauled. I didn't want to get all the track bed cut out and finalised and then find out it was too steep. I am not sure if there will be steeper grades at other places on the layout, time will tell, but for now all good and a successful days testing.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Explanation of Sidings

In one of the photos on the last post, there was a photo showing a curved turnout going back towards Eden. This siding was an afterthought from one of the sessions perched up on the bar stool and looking too long.
The original intention was to place a car repair building between the track and the edge of the baseboard. I had already started to collect any junk I could think of that you might find around such a place. There were the usual 44 gallon drums, a car jack, tools etc. I even purchased an O scale motorbike kit from Kerroby. I suppose if I get lazy I could just paint all the parts and leave them scattered around the front of the works pretending they were being worked on. Yes I know this work would normally take place inside, but you would never see it all.
So while this idea of a workshop was going to work okay, I thought that this could become an industry and a siding built. Now there was no way a siding could be built from Eden yard to serve it, so after a while and twisting some code 75 track into shape I reckoned that I could fit a curved siding into this area. I don't think a workshop would be served by a siding so I will have to think a bit more as to what can go here. Maybe a dairy siding, time will tell.
I worked out that I could fit a siding coming off the main line around the corner opposite Snug Cove platform. Unfortunately Peco don't make a curved turnout so I will have to build one. Many moons ago when I was modelling N scale I had scratchbuilt many turnout using code 55 rail. I had the weathered rail and sleepers sent out from the USA from Railcraft. This was before I had the room for a layout so I just used to build turnouts and more turnouts.
Santa Fe N scale layout early 80's

Other entry into town
I had to assemble the layout on the ground outside as this was the only area large enough to do it. The layout never got finished from this stage and was sold. So I have built a few points in the past I just hope I can remember how to do it., I suppose its just like riding a bike, you never forget.
This is another view of the siding where the buffer stops will be right up against the road so that two wagons can be accomodated on the straight. The white line in the photo is the point rodding which will be hidden under the building.
This view is from inside the operating area for Eden and soon the HO track silhouettes will disappear under some O scale buildings.
Now just around the corner from this siding will be the one for the coal unloading. It might seem a strange commodity for narrow gauge, especially the Victorian system, but having obtained a modelling licence recently its a goer.
I have six Bachmann coal hoppers which will form a service from the coal mine to Eden where they will be unloaded. I am slowly realising how much space O scale takes up over HO. So when structures are put in they will have to fit on a small footprint.
Mock up for coal unloading siding
The above photo shows the main components for the coal unloader, don't worry it will look better later. You can see the workshops has been temporarily recycled. I needed a destination for the coal to go to, preferably the longest distance from the coal mine. I was going to have a wharf in this area with an unloader that would end up on a ship. But lack of space has canned that idea. So I will have an unloader where the coal from the wagons will go up a conveyor to the hopper and into trucks that will go under for loading then proceed out, over the level crossing and then off to a  (coal) power station. Yes this was well and truly before any protesters were born. Thank goodness for that. Anyway to pacify them I have a wind turbine up one end of the layout. Oh hang on no its just what we call a fan!!.
So that's where we are up to at the moment, a few more inside the house jobs and I will get stuck into it.
Any way sorry gotto go, there's a big storm coming over Sydney and I have to get ready and go to the State Theatre to see the Hollies in concert tonight.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Look Before You Leap

I have recently obtained the timber for the next two baseboards coming off from Eden. Knowing that I am crap at carpentry, so much so that if I see termites queuing up I will put out some of my work for them to enjoy. Better than getting embarrassed with the end results.
But the choice of model railways for a hobby has allowed my deficiency in carpentry to be all covered up so nothing shows. I even went to the extent to go to the local hardware store and obtained a corner clamp to try and ensure that the corners would be at 90 degrees which I am told is the ideal angle for corners.
Being armed with a corner clamp and also a drop saw which only comes out of the shed on special occasions I started on the baseboards.
The timber was measured up and was put under the drop saw. Now I am not sure if it was my inexperience with the saw, whether it was the model of the saw ( I always buy the cheap ones) but the finished product didn't look too straight. I was hoping that the two crook pieces put together might work but only nearly. So the basic frame was laid out on the concrete and my corner clamp now got its first workout. I think I would have designed it slightly different but for $10.40 I couldn't expect too much.
The twisting in the timber frames will hopefully straighten when I get the cross braces in. With a bit more head scratching, I was able to work out how I wanted the base boards to be assembled to allow a slight grade.
The first "new baseboard" is put into place
The first new board (above) will be "L" shaped to allow the track to turn 180 degrees coming out of Eden. I have butted the new baseboard up to the exit board from Eden and used bolts with wingnuts to hold. As previously explained this part of the layout will be transportable. Where to at this stage I don't know but it is movable. It will be virtually a fixture for the foreseeable future. In the photo above the corner near the door has been screwed into architrave. The screw is hidden and can be easily removed if the layout needs to be moved, it also saved making another leg.

Looking the opposite direction to the first photo. The level was part of the posed photo.
 When I got the first board into place I felt that things were starting to happen. It has been a while since I had assembled the two baseboards for Eden. It was here I was able to test new things (1) a new scale and (2) a new operating system - DCC. So far all has gone well but I need a destination to run trains to.
Yesterday I received two sheets of plywood that I can use for the baseboards. There will be enough to get me down to and across the roller door, the site of the first station. Once I had screwed the corner to the door it was surprising how the rest of the baseboards became more rigid. The second baseboard can be seen standing up in the above photo. Most of this timber came from the old window surrounds from recent renovations. It was destined for the skip until rescued, it is too expensive for landfill. 

The proposed track and structure placement

The next stage after laying out the base - boards is where everything is going to go.
I often just pull up a chair and seem to sit there and stare at the boards for ages. Eventually when something comes to mind I do a dry run with a bit of track and a few buildings, cars etc to get the feel of how it will turn out.
Having made the changeover to On30 modelling the brain has to recalibrated to think differently from mainline modelling. You are now allowed to have sharp curves and get away with it. And O scale certainly fills all available spaces quicker. On the other hand this makes the modelling quicker in that there is less detail to provide in the same area as HO.
In the left photo can be seen the track wandering off up the hill towards the roller door. I will explain the curved turnout template more in the next blog.
Where the black truck is, is where the coal unloader will be and further up the hill is another siding. Think Nobelius siding on the Puffing Billy railway and that's what it will be.


Looking back towards first baseboard
 The photo on the left shows how the track will wind its way up the hill. In this corner behind the track at the bottom will be a trestle bridge on the corner baseboard.
I try in my model design to not have too many tracks that run parallel to the edge of the boards. Trains looks so much better running through curves and it also allows for super elevation to be included. I have stuck a tree into the foam to give a sense of scale. The track is the old code 75 HO used here because it holds its shape better than the O scale narrow gauge track. As well the good old paper templates will show if it all fits.
The baseboard in this area will be around 50cm wide, which is wide enough to have enough detail and also it has to provide enough space for operators between this board and Eden.
I have one piece of plywood leftover that was part of the old Bega yard. I will move it over to the first new baseboard as soon as this stinking hot weather goes. At least the hot weather has given me a reprieve from the painting inside the house.



A two wagon siding, industry to be decided.
 The last shot shows the siding to be provided on board number two. It will hold two wagons and can only be shunted by trains moving away from Eden.
These sidings around the layout will eventually form part of the operation of the layout overall. I will eventually have job cards that will show where all the wagons on a train will end up.
I will outline the reasoning of the curved point and the working of the coal unloader in the next blog.
Sorry gotto go, dinners ready.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Floor Shine

This time last year I was right in the middle of a demolition job. That was taking down the old South Coast rail HO version. And almost to the day this time last year I had repainted the ceiling in a new splash of white and then the walls in their new blue colour.
This refresh was truly needed as it had last been painted when the HO layout was started in 2000. No matter how careful you can be there are always going to be marks, stains and dead spider remains all over the wall.
So having done the wall and have it looking nice the floor was not looking too good either. The floor seems to suffer much more abuse than the walls can take. Even a mop over didn't bring them back to the original colour. The floors were last painted way back in Easter 2009. I remember the date well as I was going to meet two Texan guys, Lance Lassen and Blair Kooistra who were out here on holidays. NIce guys, both modellers and interested in the prototype. Prior to their visit the floor was just bare concrete, so this was the catalyst to get some work done. Thankfully a four day Easter break gave me time to get every thing out and up from the floor, have it painted and then put it all back.
The layout is now at the stage where I want to get the future baseboards made so the track can be extended and finally a bit of operation can take place.
I realised that I needed to get the floor painted for its second time so this could happen. Recently, late last year yet another hardware store had succombed to the Bunnings giant and decided to close and there was the inevitable sell off of everything in the store. One of the things I spotted was a four litre tin of Berger Jet Dry paving paint at half price. It showed it being a grey colour which was a similar colour the floor is already painted but I wasn't sure what shade of grey. As you know there are fifty shades of grey.
I planned to get the painting done today, but yesterday after having gone for a walk, purchased the sunday paper and had roll for lunch, the weather wasn't too bad so I put up the roller door, rolled up my sleeves and got the roller ready to go. A lot of rolling going on yesterday.
I carried all the "junk" out onto the lawn ready for the work to begin.
The "pile" outside the shed.
With the can opened and stirred, I had to hand brush along the edges of the wall where the roller couldn't reach. The rest of the floor was gradually painted and I worked my way up towards the roller door so I had an escape route. This also helped in the ventilation as the paint was turps based and a bit on the smelly side.
You can see why it needed re-doing. Not sure I missed the bit on the left hand side

AH the smell and look of new paint!

The next day and looking good
 The pile of timber in the above picture at the left is for further baseboard construction. It is some of the remains from the old layout and other timber acquired. When all the baseboard construction is done then I will try and get rid of the leftovers. It is surprising how often you just need a small bit of timber and is costly to purchase. Above this pile of timber will be the future Thomson River bridge module.
From the outside looking in. Would be good to only have this much in there all the time.
Today I have moved most of the "rubbish" back inside despite the intense humidity. (I hate summer) Luckily most fits under the baseboards. We have two council cleanups a year so I am getting ready for the one in June.
I have already assembled two future baseboards for the next section and hopefully tomorrow I will go to the local timber yard and purchase timber for the legs that will hold up the next five baseboards.
Things are moving on SCR.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Reasearch and Development

Freelance modellers have it made. It basically means anything goes or do what you like.  Design your own rolling stock and locomotives and your own colour scheme, road names etc and you won't be wrong.
Then there is the rest of us that need a guiding hand in following a prototype. But there is also a mixture option built in. You can faithfully follow a prototype such as the NSW railway system but have it set in an imaginary location. This was the option I took up on my former HO South Coast Rail layout. It had real place names but had my interpretation of how that location would look. But no one could tell me that I had Bega station laid out wrong!.
Then there are the sticklers who need to model a location exactly as it was. I can only admire these people, who go to extraordinary means to achieve their goal.
Changing scales for me to On30 and more particularly the Victorian narrow gauge made me need to go out and chase up as many publications as possible in order to have that important 'reference' material. Currently I have purchased twenty four books so far devoted to the VR narrow gauge. These are invaluable to be able to provide information as to how it was done.
Most of the VR lines finished around the late fifties and even though they started at the beginning of the last century there seems to be a big gap in the middle for information.
We have books devoted to the building of lines such as "Steam on the Lens" Volume 2 that was dedicated to the building of the Moe to Walhalla line. It is a goldmine of information. Then there is the other end of the story when it was inevitable that these lines were to be closed in the late fifties and then photographers flocked to these lines to capture was was left at the time. We are lucky they did.
Remembering to my time back in the 60's colour film was very expensive, black and white being the norm for photos. It was a fairly simple process to develop the black and white films yourself as long as you took the precautions of not letting any light get to the undeveloped film or it would be ruined.
How lucky we are now with the digital age of photography that gives us instant results.
Your were either considered lucky or rich if you had coloured film and even more so if you could afford coloured movie film. I remember my first Bolex 8mm movie camera where you would run one side through the camera and half way turn it over and finish it off. Around just over four minutes per film reel didn't make for instant or long viewing times. Added then the film had to be posted to Kodak in Melbourne for developing. A week later we would watch the results.
I came into possession some time ago of some coloured movie film that I thought should be shared with viewers. The quality is very poor and it is silent film but the subject is priceless. The film covered NA7 locomotive coaling at Upper Ferntree Gully then moving to its train for a run up to Belgrave. Reading some of my 'research books' I was able to deduce that this film must have been taken around 1956 or earlier well over sixty years ago. 7A had it buffer beams and handrails along the water tanks painted in red mid 1956 according to the Hobby Publications book on the 'NA's"
Any way enjoy the film, also to be noted the use of child labour on the coal stage and for shunting!!. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Land of Make Believe


Well I might just squeeze in another post before the New Year. This post title is the name of a song from the Moody Blues, my favourite music group.
Make believe is what we get involved with when we create model railways. Some make believe better than others but as long as you are happy with your end results, that's all that matters.
Currently we are going through a period of very hot weather and I haven't ventured from the house towards the shed. I can still fill in a day doing various projects I have to do.
Another time waster that I have enjoyed over the years is the train simulator game called Trainz 
I believe this is an Australian produced game. Although this has never really a big part of my time , I have enjoyed playing it over the years.
They have just released another version centered around re-creating a model railway. This can be accessed through the link to Trainz above.
What this game allows is the ability to be able to create your model railway set up and let you operate and test various aspects before you commit to your spending money on your model railway.
If my shed ever burnt down and the layout was gone then I would have to be happy playing this game instead. Once past the initial purchase price, everything is free. Unlimited track, points, rolling stock, locos, all the accessories you could think of to go with it. It even has the ability to say load a coal train with simulated coal, then you can take it to a power station and unload it. There are many other features best found out by looking at the site.
Having moved over to On30 modelling, when I checked out Trainz, someone had produced some NA locomotives, the G42 garratt and some VR narrow gauge rolling stock to go with it. 30" track is also available to allow you to build your system.
I had a go of building the Beech Forest layout as I found this to be the most interesting narrow gauge plan compared with other stations that mainly had plain parallel sidings.
Although I am not building this location it was fun to do. Once built and sceniced, you can place trains on the tracks and have some operation fun. The NA works OK, but for some reason the G42 doesn't have any sound. I no complain, the guy who built it has done a good job.
This latest version of Trainz has the ability to take screenshots, and I have taken a few to show how far you can take this game too. These are really basic shots as you can spend hours super detailing the scenes.
Approach to Beech Forest. NA arriving from Colac and the G42 on its way to Crowes

While the detail in this programme is acceptable you can see there is room for improvement for crisper and more detailed realism. With the rapid advances in computers I am sure this day won't be far away.


Another heavily timbered region complete with trestle bridge
So these above images show a few things you can do with this Trainz programme. Time waster or just having fun, who cares, as long as you are enjoying your railways.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

End of year slow down

Work on South Coast Rail has almost ground to a halt recently due to house renovations taking up the slack time.We have had five windows replaced with new ones. Not only have we had the colour changed but now windows that will actually stay open with out the need of a stick. The stick was a solid piece but had one disadvantage in that the window was restricted to open to the size of the stick. I could have a range of different length sticks nearby but nowhere to leave them except maybe along the window sill. They were also a blast from the past being that mission brown colour. Just as I was going to get rid of them I was told that brown was having a re-run but the name changed to "chocolate" maybe to trick newbees.
They have all been installed over the past few weeks and now comes the chore of repainting the window surrounds plus having to undercoat the raw timber of the architraves. I was trying to get away with repainting the rooms but to no avail. Tick one box, my sons room has been done and he chose to get a new desk in there to celebrate. Another room I wasn't so lucky with, had the window measured wrong which entailed some of the bedroom wall being cut out to allow the new window to fit in. Bugger this was now another room to paint, seeing I had only done it last year.
And on top of it all we are getting the bathroom completely remodelled. So more painting of the roof, windows and doorway. All this hoping to be finished by Christmas time, wish me luck.
I have made this choice to throw all energy into getting this work done in the house and next year will be my time down the shed.
Now just because I haven't been down the shed doesn't mean nothing has been happening in other ways. We were told some time ago that Haskell who made the NA locos were also doing some NQR wagons to go behind them. I saw actual samples at the Liverpool exhibition in October and knew they were on their way here. I put in an order for two packets with the local hobby shop and recently took delivery. The models were available in three different shades to cover various periods for the modeller. I hope these open wagons sell well as future Puffing Billy models may be dependent on the sales of the NQR's.
The NQR's make an appearance at Eden

NA8 with a few new wagons on SCR
I haven't done any weathering on the Haskell models yet but all wagons on SCR will be suitably dirtied up. The first wagon behind the NA in the left hand picture is an Ian Lindsay NQR which has had the weathering treatment, but no decals added at this stage. These NQR's were the mainstay of the Victorian narrow gauge railways hauling everything from potatoes to timber and anything else in between. Photos exist of trains with well over a dozen of these NQR's ably hauled by a G class garratt.
Closeup of the Ian Lindsay On30 NU van
In the photo can also be seen a NQR flat wagon with bulkheads and a louvre wagon coded NU. These three wagons were some I was able to recently purchase already assembled. Slowly but surely the fleet is expanding.
The assembled but as yet unpainted NU

In the overall scheme with the layout there will be the  VR narrow gauge side, but also provision has been made to employ other locos and wagons that will entail a hand over of both the locos and brakevans at junction stations. This will add the element of operation to train working. I have two NC brakevan kits currently in the hundreds of pieces they come in to assemble one day. So at the junction station they will be replaced by a different brakevan. While trawling on Ebay recently I came across two Bachmann American style cabooses (cabeese?) The colour was close enough and they didn't have any lettering which was one less job to do and remove it. I was hoping that if I could remove the cupola and replace the roof with a flat one it might be passable for another type of brakevan. So I have de-americanised it!

The original caboose on the left and so far modified on the right
The above photo shows the work done so far.  The cupola was removed, also the ladders from the ends. On the roof I cut some styrene and glued it down over the hole where the cupola  was. I put masking tape over the styrene on the roof, this sorta worked and was designed to give the roof some texture trying to represent some canvas. I have dirtied the van up with some Tamiya Khaki drab thinned with Isopryl alcohol. I am not sure if I will leave the end grab handles there or not. Also tossing up if I should paint around the windows with a different colour. I have to put the stovepipe on the roof and I will add some ventilators if I can source any in O scale. The only other thing I might do is to replace the step into the middle of the van with a full door length one similar to the ones on the NC vans. The second van in the picture will also get similar treatment eventually and these will provide branch line service. These vans are lit as well. I will look through the narrow gauge decals to see if I can come up with a suitable code for it. Was there an ND?
Eden Yard
Well I reckon this will probably be my last post for 2016 and I would like to wish all the readers of this blog a merry Christmas and a great modelling New Year in 2017. We are always looking for new starters into narrow gauge modelling. Come over to the dark side, you're always welcome.

See you all next year!