Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Still moving forward

Crossing the local road into Broadwater
I can't believe we are now into another winter here in Sydney. Don't get me wrong I prefer the cooler weather than the stinking heat and humidity of summer. We were punished this year with an extended summer and it has finally got cooler. Also at this time of the year I am able to open the roller door of the garage and let some of that winter sun burst in. This particular afternoon I noticed that the afternoon light had a particular reddish glow to it. I reckon that the backburning of the local bush would have added to effect. So I rolled out the camera and took a few shots to see if I could capture the lighting effect.
Into the loop at Broadwater
Drifting past a loaded log wagon awaiting pickup
I was alerted recently to an add on Gumtree for some On30 locos and rolling stock. Two of the carriages were of the same type I am having constructed for the layout so no great interest there but they looked very nice. There was a red NA similar to the one in the photo above and 8A the only member of the VR narrow gauge that was fitted with a straight stack. I already had one of these locos fitted with a sound card. I was very tempted when the price was reduced and proceeded to obtain it. It was already fitted with a sound decoder so it would be  a straight drop onto the layout and away. Well as you know I am modelling a fictional line in southern NSW so that fact that there are two similar locos on the layout won't faze me. I actually prefer the straight stack loco so it fits right in. It has arrived from the southern state of Victoria and is now on the layout. The main current difference between mine and the previous owner is that he has fitted all the additional hardware like lamps, numbers, builders plate etc. Mine will eventually have all this fitted but with a different number.
New addition 8A with a small freight over the trestle
8A on its way to Eden
Pambula will have a goods siding and to service the vehicles I was tossing up whether to have a goods shed on a stage or just have a wooden faced loading stage. For some variety I chose the latter and found some scrap timber to build one. I felt comfortable to build this as it didn't need to be perfect. I used some scrap plywood left over from baseboard construction and the front facing timbers were made from surplus paddle pop sticks with their previous contents licked off. They required cutting in half to represent a scale size. I had no shortage of paddle pop sticks. Although the back of the stage will be nearly against the backscene I thought I had better finish it off properly and do both sides. A bonus of doing both sides is that I could pick the better of the two to face the viewer. It will eventually have a dirt covering and the height matches the floor level of an NQR wagon.
Early stage of the stage
The old HO layout is now long gone and all effort is now into the track laying and all wiring up ready for operation. Then gradually the scenery will come. Recently I had the need to get a new phone. I reckon when they originally came up with the idea that they could now combine phones and camera into the one device people would have found it hard to believe. So not only can I take photos but I recently discovered that it took panorama style photos. So I took a sweeping view of the front half of the layout as it was back in December 2017. These style of photos end up somewhat distorted but the photo shows how the current baseboards are set out in relation to each other. Now that I know how to take this style of shot it will be interesting to compare with future shots when more is completed.
Panorama of layout as at December 2017

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Pambula is next

I don't remember if I have ever been to Pambula on the Sapphire Coast. To try and recreate the town in a few square metres is virtually impossible. We can always take elements from localities to add some resemblance for the viewer to recognise. It would look odd with a desert scene in the area I am modelling.
So the next station after leaving Broadwater, crossing the Yowaka Bridge and climbing up the S bend we come to the small town of Pambula. Similar in design to Broadwater and the prototype narrow gauge will be a main line, a loop, and a goods siding. Both of these will be double ended to assist shunting. There will also be a siding for a factory/building and two other dead end sidings at each end of the yard. The station comes around from off the wall and runs into the middle of the room before heading around a right hand bend towards the next station. My aim by providing some sidings is to create shunting interest at each location rather than just go round in circles. Job cards for each train are still some time away but by early track design this will become possible.
Baseboards for Pambula under construction
One thing I have realised in doing this blog is that most of the early stages are about the construction of the layout. Apart from the corner trestle (which I had to complete before locating into place) the photos are basically boring. We must all go through this stage, construction of baseboards, wiring, track laying before any scenery can be attempted. I must say that going over to DCC has simplified wiring and when I stare at my old control panel for the HO SCR laying on the ground with its birds nest of wiring I think I made the right choice.
The narrow width of Pambula is evident in this photo.
I have also used the wire in tube method for operating the points at this location. I am also trying to keep the curves as large as possible for both appearance and operation. Although most of the locos and rolling stock can go around 18" radius curves it don't look pretty.
Opposite view to above photo
The loops will take around 7 or 8 cars plus loco which will be practical for most trains. If there is a need to operate a double headed train with more than 8 cars then with a little judicious shunting, crossings can be made. The tracks are also close to the baseboard edge so uncoupling wagons won't be a problem. One thing I have realised with O scale is there is never enough room to be able to construct a town. I am happy with this aspect as the thought of making many shops, buildings etc doesn't interest me. The trains are the key point in operating the layout, towns are all about imaging them.
Two siding added, left hand one will have a factory
That poor old station build in the above photo will eventually get glued down at Eden with the nameboard suitable changed. At the moment it is a portable prop for each location that allows me visualise how it would look. The goods shed is 'borrowed' from Broadwater at the moment and will also end up back there one day.
Pambula from the air
I have decided to construct a loading platform instead of having a goods shed there. It will be a full faced NSW style loading platform with ramps, just a matter of getting the time to do these projects.
In  the above photo on the left can be seen a portion of future baseboard that will contain a 180 degree curve. I felt that I need to provide a backdrop along this back section of Pambula to restrict the view. This will allow the operator to entirely focus on Pambula. I cut up a piece of Masonite I had and placed it along the back section and it worked quite well. It's incredible how something so simple can change a scene.
Backdrop provides focus on Pambula
I will have to get the blue paint onto the backdrop soon. The only trouble with masonite is that one side is smooth and the other side is rough, so I am not sure whether to place another sheet on the back to smooth it all out.
The building of Pambula is now the joining section of the all new baseboards to what I have retained of the old baseboards. This basically means that most of the baseboards are in place and will just require the track to be designed and laid. The other thing that this means is that from here on most of the layout is now sacrificial. The front half can be removed bit by bit but this bit - no.
My main intention is to plow on with getting all the track laid, when this is done the layout can be operated. (Assuming I have enough rolling stock assembled!) The next job is to start getting rid of as much as I can in the way of surplus timber, gyprock and other rubbish. Then will come baseboard fascias and lastly some carpet tiles to pretty it all up. The ultimate man cave.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Side Tracked

What has become an annual event recently occurred over the weekend of 14 - 15 April when the Maitland Steam Festival was on. Usually the steam locos come from south of Sydney at Thirlmere and head up towards Maitland on the Friday prior and return the following Monday. These trains in the past were just transferred empty and missed out on potential revenue. Now you can usually join the train in Sydney and travel up to Maitland as a paying passenger. As well on the return journey you can come back from Maitland.
We only raked up three starters this year, the others coming up with excuses such as "I have to baby sit", "boring, been there done that" and other excuses.
Getting our moneys worth Kevin and I went into Central and Ross joined at Strathfield. Sydney has had an extended summer this year and Friday 13th April was no exception. Not the type of day you would want to be firing a steam loco. A different scenario years ago when firing a loco every day kept you fit, but the spasmodic running of tours these days means firing a loco is a bit of a task. Or maybe I am looking at it from my perspective. I could maybe fire out to Redfern. (1st station)
This is either for the crew or spare water for the trip!

We had a 44 class pushing us from the rear but it is just insurance in case the 36 had issues. We got plenty of looks as we steamed through the inner Sydney platforms. Ross joined us at Strathfield and then settled down for the grades up to Hornsby. An uneventful trip down to Gosford and although I have done that trip countless times I still enjoy it. Traveling along the shores of Mullet Creek you could be in the middle of nowhere, but after going through the long Woy Woy tunnel, upon exiting you come back to civilisation. Gosford was a one hour stop to feed the loco more water and the passengers. The following photo taken by Kevin shows what an Aussie can do on a stinking hot day after firing a loco from Sydney to Gosford. What do you do? Sit down on the platform, rest up against the loco and devour a meat pie complete with the tomato sauce. The photo says it all.
Pie time
Eventually we reached Maitland where all the events we to be held over the weekend. The garratt loco 6029 also made the trip up there as both the 38's seem to resisting any attempt to get them back running again. May be next year we might see the green giants back again? Return back was by local services to Hamilton and then intercity train back towards Sydney. We will see what eventuates next year.
3642 arrives at Maitland. Kevin Waid photo.
That was the 'away from the shed' activity and now a report on what's been happening to SCR. Coming along the far wall of the shed next to the Yowaka River baseboard is a board having an uphill S bend section that will connect into the Pambula baseboard. From this section onwards the baseboards will all be a permanent fixture. So basically unmovable unlike the first seven baseboards built which can be removed and hopefully end up a 'better place' and not in the skip bin.
Next baseboard under construction. Don't look at the junk underneath!

The long boards shown the direction Pambula will go
As I have said on past blogs it is a big job to remove the old layout and clean up the years of junk that seems to naturally accumulate. I am sure that's why curtains were invented to hide it all. Over the years my carpentry has not improved but knowing that it all gets covered up in the end keeps me going.
Ply sheet laid out ready for track design
The track coming off the Yakawa Bridge is at an angle and will go into an 'S' bend to climb up towards Pambula. I am a big fan of curved tracks and other than at stations most of the track will have a curve. There will be a road intersecting this board. The road climbs uphill and will cross the track also climbing uphill. This should allow for plenty of scenic scope. I have it planned out in my head but you will have to wait until I have the chance to scenic.
Changes on the run

A dry run to see how it all fits the scene
I used the 'cookie cutter' style for the baseboards. The cut out bits form the base where scenery will go. One thing I was a bit concerned with was actually constructing all the baseboards laying the track and then finding out the grade is too steep for your standard train to run. The only option is to have the baseboard built, lay the track and then do some testing. What is my benchmark train that has to be able to traverse the whole layout is an NA loco, six Bachmann coal hoppers and a brakevan. Although in regular service the NA's won't be operating the coal trains for operating variation in the future they might be called upon to to the 'coal run'.
Tracks are down
The only way to test the load was to get some track down. The 'S' bend was laid and trials found out that a coal train hauled by the NA was OK.
I am looking forward to doing the scenery on this section, plenty of greenery.
My main target is to get the baseboards all done, lay the track and then start on the scenery side of the layout, what I am looking forward to. Hopefully on the next blog there will be some details of Pambula the third station out from Eden.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Back to the Grindstone

Despite the stinking hot weather we have recently endured, there has been no more sighting of Monty. The nice man from the National parks relocated him to a better place in the bush, so I hope he stays there.
When I made the decision to demolish the old HO layout and rebuild into On30 scale I didn't realise what a mammoth job it would be. The decision was right on a couple of fronts, I would have to clean up years of clutter in the shed, the shed would get repainted inside and the floor as well.
It is slowly progressing but it takes time to sell off the equipment and restart into a new scale. Also picking a new modelling medium, that being VR narrow gauge which is really a niche choice. You don't realise how alone you can be when you get out of mainstream modelling. I am lucky that there is sufficient models out there to be able to achieve the goal. As previously mentioned I have to blame Kieran Haskell for initially making the Puffing Billy NA. It is reasonably priced when compared with pricing of the new HO 30 class tank recently released. Ian Lindsay models offers dress up kits to further enhance the model. ILM also offers most of the VR narrow gauge models as kits. Well I now have to wind back the clock to the eighties when this was the only way to obtain NSW models via kits.
The first half of the layout has the baseboards constructed so that they are completely removable should the need happen one day. The second half which I am now working on is most of the old HO layouts baseboards which has had an adapted track design made to fit with a few modifications. It's remarkable how quickly this scale eats up the real estate. The fact that I can re-use the old baseboards will save considerable time in baseboard construction. Another aspect is that the scenery was basically complete and many hours of time were spent trying to make it look okay.
I reckon I have spent enough hours working out the final track plan for the empire and now need to get stuck into the work. Before all the track work starts I need to get stuck into repainting the ceiling and walls, hoping this will be the  last time I will need to do it. Nothing worse in having the scenery done with all the white spots over it.
One thing I can't help myself with is that tend to overbuild a layout with much more track than the average layout. I am blessed with a large shed and no way would I just go for one of those micro layouts and be satisfied. Some I have seen are that small you could go down the shed in the morning and have the layout built by lunchtime. How can you invite a few mates over and entertain them with a circular layout? Having said that I can appreciate the workmanship that goes into these layouts but how do they keep you entertained once done?
As another exercise I decided to draw up a profile and track diagram of the proposed track layout. As you can see by the profile I am definitely not a member of the 'flat earth society'. Well away from the circular track layout themes I have designed the layout to encourage operation and shunting. There is little flat track except at the stations. As the track is rolled out then I have to do load trials to see if reasonable loads can be moved around the layout. Maybe if the grades are too steep in areas then this introduces more operation in the way of assistant locos. This is also more enjoyable by way of DCC control. There is either the option to consist the locos together or the two drivers to have individual control.
To enable the diagram to be compiled, I assembled a train that was around 50cm long, and pushed it around the track (where built) and measured how high from the floor it was at that location. The end result looks like the familiar prototype 'grade chart' One thing it does is to readily identify where the grades are. Another bonus is by placing the track layout diagram directly under the profile chart. I have also indicated where the proposed infrastructure will go. The track designs for Broadwater, Pambula and Wolumla are typical VR narrow gauge designs with a crossing loop and a goods siding  accessible from each end for shunting. Some of the private sidings are readily shunted in one direction but need run round moves when shunted in the opposite direction. Ah more operation. 
The length of run works out around 54 metres from the buffer stops at Eden to the end of tracks at the branch terminus at Candelo. I am not sure how long in actual time it will take to do the whole run, let you know when it is all complete.

For this layout the lowest point above the floor is around 106cm up to a max height of around 127cm.
I have started to remove some of the HO track from the old portion of the layout. What I am hoping is that I will be able to blend the new track into the old section. This area was one of my favourites as the scenery was virtually complete and heaps of photos were taken there. The track was easily removed after the application of water and will be sold off.
I have included three photos of this area of recent work. The first will show the good old days with a garratt heading for the tunnel. The second is a solution to slow work on the tunnel clearances!!.The third shows the track section removed.
The old HO days May 2009

The problem with sizing

Ready for new track

Monday, February 26, 2018

Update on Monty

Just a small update in case some of you wanted to know what happened to the snake. Well the last I saw of it was when it slithered under the fence towards the neighbours house. We couldn't spot it again but after a 'yell out' from the lady at the back house yesterday it was 'found' again.
This time the guy from the National Parks was able to capture it. He commented that it looked a bit underfed. So then he kindly took it back to the bush a few streets away and released it into its new home.
The Kuring-gai National Park is around 150 square kilometres, plenty of bush to play in so why they choose to come around houses is beyond me.
All's well that ends well.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

The Full Monty (Python that is!)

It was only a matter of time that we had another visit from one of the National Parks neighbours. I should expect the occasional visit from wild life living so close to the bush. We seem to have the annual pilgrimage of the brush turkeys, possums and recently two days in a row a large goanna decided to walk up the front driveway and then disappear down the back yard.
The other day we were visited by a rather long diamond python. My wife spotted him (her? hard to tell) It was a warm day and he just slithered for a while over the warm concrete and then shot off into the garden. After taking a photo I went to warn my neighbour in case they got a sudden surprise. Being an ex National Park worker he rang a mate to come and take him back to the bush, but when we looked again for him he was gone. Never to be seen again. I suppose it is not a big deal with many of you having also come across snakes.
A visit from Monty
Ballast laid with weeds to come
There is never any shortage of jobs, both large and small to do to complete a layout. Picking out the one to do is the hard part. I decided to add some more ballast on the other side of the level crossing at Eden that leads to the goods yard. It was just a small section but like doing a jigsaw it filled in another spot. The above photo shows a cardboard outline of a factory/building that will serve the dead end siding. A VR narrow gauge buffer stop has been installed to stop any runaway wagons ending up on the road.

After the rains come the weeds and flowers
 For this area I have used the usual dirt from the local streets to provide ballast, I think it works well and the best part - it is free. The siding is typically more covered than the 'main line'.
Harry has stopped off to pick some flowers for his wife
Rolling into Eden
The critical piece of infrastructure for the Yowaka River bridge was obtained yesterday in the form of a piece of U shaped aluminium channel. After doing my calculations on a dodgy plan of the Thomson River bridge, I calculated that I needed a piece of channel 33mm wide and 15mm deep. After searching the web site of DIY Metal Supplies I found I was in luck that they had a stock size of 32mm wide and 16mm high. For a piece over 3 metres long it was only $13.26. Yes an exact figure. I dealt with a really nice guy there Mike and after I told him what I wanted it for and showing him a few phone photos, he understood as he had done some wargaming. So he wants to see some completed bridge photos one day. He cut it down to a piece 2 metres long for me as the bridge measures around 1.98 metres. So I have an offcut for another smaller version!.

The track will sit on top of the channel
I now think I have all the bits and pieces ready to make a start soon. I have ordered some rivet decals off Ebay this week and will trial them on the bridge. They might work easier than drilling countless holes to set the plastic rivets I have on standby. It is a big project but one I want to tackle and by saying I am modelling a bridge that looks horribly like the Thomson River bridge, I have an 'out' if I stuff up somewhere!
In the above photo the stripwood is ready in the tubes, the laser cut beams are ready in the bag and the long strip of foam for the concrete pylons is ready.
I plan to work out from one side adding the bridge top and sides. Once this is done then I will put the pylons up under the bridge and glue them into place. That's the current idea anyway. It's going to take a while to wade through the plans to work out how to do it. More on the bridge as it happens.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Movin on'

Can't believe it's now the first week in February. Why does time have to move so fast? Even so I am quite happy with my progress. I have just looked at my blog around a year ago and I was just making the baseboard on the wall side of Eden. The boards are now in place right up to Broadwater, the first crossing loop station. Included in the past year was the building of a corner baseboard that contained the trestle bridge and the scenery has been advanced fairly well.
If I started with a clean slate, that is the shed was initially empty, then I might have been further advanced. But when the old layout had to be demolished first and the shed painted etc, progress became a bit slower.
I have done some scenic work around Broadwater mainly ballasting the track and yard. I will return to this location in the future as there are items required to be built here. I need a platform for the goods shed, a station building, a livestock loading facility, a water tank and a private siding building. And not to mention trees that need assembling.
The plan is to get all the track laid, then do the basic at each location which is mainly ballasting and ground cover and then return to do the structures. I reckon that I will need at least three corrugated shelter sheds around the layout so I will construct them all at once. This also applies to the water tanks and I need at least two engine sheds. Once the track is laid then some operation can take place.
Dirt is progressed along the goods yard

Recycled scenery placed at baseboards edge.
The 'free' dirt was gathered from various locations in the suburbs, a little from each location so that the local council didn't become suspicious. The red truck was put to use by being pushed back and forth along the road to create wheel tracks in the dirt. When this was sealed the grooves made this area look more realistic.
The application of 'ballast' makes the scene more realistic
Broadwater is contained on two baseboards which can be readily detached when ready for moving. This will be as far as I go with this board until I return for more detailing, at least it looks like a station.
Trestle bridge in the background and a mixed train pulls into Broadwater.

By far the most outstanding engineering feature on any of the four Victorian narrow gauge systems without doubt has to be the Thomson River bridge. Built early last century with a mixture of second hand materials it is very impressive and calls out to be modelled. Luckily it is still in place and trains again run over it courtesy of the Walhalla Goldfields railway. I was lucky to travel over this bridge in August 2016 as part of a tour to Victoria.
I plan to make a representation of this bridge for the layout and adjoining the Broadwater baseboard will be one to contain this bridge. After a ninety degree turn coming out of Broadwater, the track then proceeds onto my version of the bridge.
Bridge baseboard looking towards Broadwater

Bridge baseboard looking opposite direction
The baseboard timbers above may look ratty but they were free from old window frames that were replaced recently. Once the scenery and fascia is in place no one will know. There was a bit of guesstimation in setting the drop down section, hopefully I can fit it in with the four concrete pylons. I am still trying to get my head around how I will build these four pylons, they are tapered upwards, have a rounded front and a flat side down stream, and capped off with a larger piece at the top. Oh well a problem to be resolved another day.
Although I am referring to the bridge as the Thomson River bridge, I have relocated it to the NSW south coast town of Broadwater. Heading northwards there is a river called the Yowaka River which joins the Pambula river to empty into Pambula Lake.
Where my version of the bridge will be
Thankfully there are still plans around that show the various subsections of the bridge. Some plans drawn to the larger scale are quite readable but unfortunately many of the dimensions are unreadable due to the resolution they were scanned at. So my bridge will be as close as I can make it. I had started out trying to draw the bridge up to enable me to take direct measurements from them. It comes hard to try and unscramble the multitude of crossmembers holding it all together. So my model will be as accurate as my skills will allow but not fully detailed as time will allow. As the model will only be viewed from the one side, I can't see any point in trying to add rivets to the hidden side. As it is I will have to live until I am 147 years old to get everything completed.
On a lucky day I was visited by a young friend Nathan who saw my drawing of the trusses in the middle of the bridge. I kept looking at photos trying to work out the best way to tackle the build when he suggested that this would be a good candidate for laser cutting. Not only did he make the trusses but the beams either side of them. Two trusses will have spacers in between and also have some rivets attached probably using Archer rivet details. This is all a new adventure as I have never made a bridge before.
Laser cut beams in rough position
As I am reckoning on this build of the bridge to take a while I have temporarily slewed the track towards the wall to enable the bridge to be constructed in the correct position. When I am ready to start the build I will outline its construction on this blog. There is a lot of scenery to be made in the future. Again this baseboard will be removable so hopefully it will live on into the future.
The piece of timber shows the path of the bridge, once built the track will be moved onto it
 So all things going well I hope to have this bridge completed this year. Before I start operation I had better provide some 'fall' protection for the bridge.
More on the bridge as progress is made, see you on the next blog.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

South Coast Rail #1

Hi and welcome to 2018. SCR has had minimal work done on it over the last few weeks, it seems to be that quite period when Christmas, New Year and all things family come at once.
The previous HO layout had many photos taken of it over its lifetime, hundreds as a matter of fact. These form part of its history and are readily accessible if I ever want to get nostalgic and take a trip down memory lane. So I took hundreds of photos but very few videos of the layout. One in particular shows a 44 class taking a coal train up to the mine, running around, loading and returning back down to Candelo. Another video was taken when I first received my 60 class garratt. Although only on DC I was able to enjoy the wonders of sound, as a matter of fact it was the only sound loco I owned. Thankfully manufacturers are now offering the choice of sound equipped locos which to my mind should be a given.
I think one of the reasons I didn't take much video was because I didn't see the sense of having video of bare baseboards, this can be captured quite readily with a photo.
Now that I have moved over to the On30 layout I find that the same situation applies. I haven't taken any video of the layout under construction. I suppose one day if I decided to make a video of the whole layout I can use photos added to show the various stages of construction.
Today I felt that I had made sufficient progress to actually make a small video of the layout. There are sufficient areas that have allowed me to make "South Coast Rail #1". Future videos will follow, number 2 will be next!.
Todays video making was also a chance to re-acquaint myself with the video editing programme. I am using Vegas Studio 14 which is probably just a complicated as any other programme. Although the programme has many options for doing fancy things a straight out video is all I want.
So I went down the shed ready to have a go at the video. First job was to find the tripod which wasn't hidden to much. Video No 1 was to be just a 'hope it will all work' episode. I wasn't fussed too much with the number 1 train and found an NA coupled up to the six coal hoppers plus an NC bringing up the rear. Two of the coal hoppers have been repainted red from the black and there are four more to do at this stage. I will have to work out a code for these hoppers as well. The coal traffic on the narrow gauge was purely restricted to South Coast Rail. The coal comes from up in the hills at Candelo and works its way down to Eden where it will unloaded and reloaded into trucks for transport to the local power station. This was well and truly before those big propellers on the hills were ever invented.
Charlie is ready with his shovel to assist in coal unloading. Sick of washing his white overalls, his mum made him repaint the overalls a darker shade of gray.

The video starts off in Eden yard, the coal train departing the goods yard to then hang a left hand turn. It crosses over the road that leads into the goods yard and then heads towards Snug Cove (which at the moment is still bare baseboard) The train then skirts around the back of the coal unloading plant. Another level crossing is traversed. This is the exit for the coal trucks. The track starts to climb up from Snug Cove towards Broadwater only leveling off over the trestle a then coming into Broadwater. The trestle module is nearly complete, just some more scenery work to be done and as always more trees. Another level crossing is crossed just prior to entering the station. The train come to a stand on the main line and a climax on a log train is also seen in the video.
This is the first video of SCR and was certainly a learning curve. After spending around two hours rendering the video and then another hour or so uploading to Youtube after finally loading I realised I has stuffed up by leaving some cutting room floor video on the timeline. So because I couldn't see it originally it processed about three minutes of black video then the surplus clip. So I had to delete and start all over again. Ah a learning curve. I just wish this uploading to Youtube was a lot quicker.
So I hope you enjoy the first video of South Coast Rail, more to come in the future.

Friday, December 22, 2017

The Last Post (for this year!)

Well the photo says it all, I hope you all have a great Christmas and Santa brings you plenty of train related products.
Progress has been good over 2017. The bridge in the above photo was completed and scenicked around it. All the baseboards that will be portable have been constructed and track laid on them.
The track will eventually meet up with some of the old HO baseboards still remaining. This will speed up construction as all I need to do is remove the HO track and replace it with the On30 track on the same roadbed. Then the scenery will need to be 'upscaled' to look more to scale.
I will make a start on the Thomson River bridge early next year. This will be a major build and many of the parts have been collected already. Sadly "The Railcar" guys have decided to retire and a source for many bits and pieces has now gone.
When more track is laid I might be able to finally have some operation on South Coast Rail. Together with radio control throttles so you can walk around with the train. This adds to the beauty of this scale.
So if you are wondering what your New Years resolution might be, try considering moving over to On30 modelling and in particular modelling the Victorian Narrow gauge. The more I have researched those four lines the more interesting it becomes. It involves more work than just being an HO/N plonker but the satisfaction of your finished result far outweighs the effort to get there.
See you all next year 2018!

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Return to Eden

Well can't believe it is already December another year just about gone and four weeks since my last update. Time flies when you are having fun.
I received my copy of 'Speed Limit Twenty Plus' during the week. This book is a re-write of the original 'Speed Limit Twenty' book published way back in 1963. The updated book contains around 164 pages compared with the original 132.
There are corrections to previous errors I believe. Also there are updates towards the back of the book such as an article on the Walhalla Goldfields Railway which happened long after the original book was published. It is certainly a worthwhile addition to the collection. I will leave the proper reviewing to someone else that has had the chance to go right through the book.
I was also able to get a copy of G42 Puffing Billys Big Brother at a sale day held by the Epping Model railway club last Saturday. A friend (thank you John) told me there was a book on garratts in one of the rooms on a sellers table. I thought it could have been about the 60 class garratts which I had recently sold. When he directed me to the table it was under some other books. When I saw it was the G42 one I quickly bought it. The young kid selling it said $20 or make me an offer. When I was deliberating whether to get the one I saw on Ebay for $50 plus postage, I was over the moon when this one came up. This book now fills a hole in my Victorian narrow gauge collection of books and reference material.
I have been able to get some work done on the layout lately. I really suffer from the "I've got hundred of jobs to do to get this layout finished" when entering the shed then spend wasted time trying to work out what one I will do. Maybe I should write them all down, cut up the list and put them into hat and just go with the first one I pull out!
The six Ian Lindsay models buffer stops have been painted and weathered and glued into position. Some were on a precarious position on the end of Eden baseboard. Not the place shunt and forget to stop. Straight to the floor. I have joined the Facebook On30 modellers forum whic although is US biased there is still much good information and ideas to be gotten from the site. When someone asked what do modellers use for buffer stops i put up a picture of my Victorian narrow gauge ones, just to show the variety of ways of protecting the end of the line.
ILM models VR narrow gauge buffer stop, careful of the drop beyond!
 I also did some more scenery work down from the trestle near the creek bed. I think this is the slowest part of modelling doing the scenery, but unlike wiring that tends to be hidden at least your results can be appreciated. One thing about changing over to O scale is the enormity of the trees over what you need in HO. They are huge and take some time to do right. I have put in the bare minimum at the moment just to get the feel of a scene, more detailed work in a scene will come later (maybe time permitting)
NA 8 runs towards Eden over the creek
The creek bed

So far in my scenery work I have been able to use a lot of recycled HO material which was all sorted out into take away containers. At least one corner of the layout is getting completed, it's just a slow process of keeping at it and it will all get done eventually.

NA 8 makes its way downhill from the trestle
 Another project that I have started on it to put some fascia boards on the edge of the layout. This is the final dress up to make the layout look presentable and finished (long way to go yet). It's hard to pick the right colour for the boards. Originally I was going with a darker shade of green but I thought it would blend in too well with the greenery on the layout, so I chose a darker grey which I think looks quite smart and hopefully will hide the dirt and dents etc a bit better. I am using 3mm mdf board. I obtained a 2400mm x 1200mm sheet and had to take it outside to do the first cut. The board has been glued to the main baseboard and not screwed. When the edging was cut it was taken outside for an undercoat and then the first coat of grey. When they are all in position they will all receive their second coat.
One end of Eden with the fascia board in place
 Eventually I will get around to painting the legs the same colour to blend it all in.
Section of fascia being glued into place.
 Visible in the above photo is a joining strip that is only glued to one side of the baseboard where the join is. I have tried to think ahead to when someone will have to pull all this apart. Either me or someone else.
I also did some more ballasting near the level crossing in the second last photo above. The glue is still wet, so this may be covered in the next blog write up, till then happy modelling.