Thursday, 19 May 2022

G that's nice

 The Victorian narrow gauge system only had two types of locomotives. Firstly there was the NA class 2 - 6 - 2 tank style locos. While they were capable of hauling most of the traffic on each of the four lines, traffic on two lines, the Colac, Beech Forest to Crowes line and Moe to Walhalla the traffic offering could exceed the capacity of a single NA and hence the G class garratt was produced. This was capable of doubling the load of an NA and saved employing a second crew. 

Only two were built to an order in 1925 from Beyer-Garratt and arrived in Melbourne aboard the S.S. Ferndale in April 1926. They were numbered G41 and G42.

G42 at Belgrave - Puffing Billy railway 2016
On the 5th June 1926, G41 started work on the Colac - Beech Forest - Crowes line and G42 took  up operation on the Moe to Walhalla line.

For those modeller wanting to model the Victorian narrow gauge line, there is the ready to run Haskell NA model and it was this model that got me modelling this prototype. There had been some brass NA models made in the past as well and were naturally more expensive than the Haskel models. The elusive G class being a larger to produce and less sort after model than  say the NSWGR standard 60 class garratt was always going to be rare. I believe it was made as a kit by Badger models and are a rare and sort after model.

Another source of the G class was via the Shapeways 3D printed model and it was this style of garratt the has recently graced the tracks of South Coast rail. The model was constructed by Mick Bennie who I met this week after travelling up to Sydney via Canberra for a run. It was great to finally to see a model of the beast on the track. The model was originally produced in 7mm scale but I believe it is now possible to get a 1/4" 3D model produced. The end product sits slightly larger than an NA but out on the track on its own it is hard to compare. So other than snaring a rare brass model or scratch building your own it is out of reach for VR narrow gauge modellers.

So while Mick was here we were able to pose the loco around the layout for photos. Below are some of the shots I took to record this historic event. Sadly now the loco is on its way back home.

Monday, 25 April 2022

Thomson River bridge - 9

 Progress on the bridge has been slow and I can now nominate the working time in years now rather than months. At this stage there is no rush for a finish date and I have been slowly progressing with scenery work around the actual bridge.

I am glad I spent the money last year to sort out the drainage problems and water getting into the shed. With La Nina running beserk on the east coast of Australia at the moment it's hard not to get caught out. I am glad my slackness in getting the pile of carpet tiles laid has paid off, so when they finally get laid the floor should remain dry.

When I got the backdrop produced by Office Works the final print wasn't wide enough to cover the complete back across the bridge baseboard, which meant I had to come up with 'add ons' on each side. I was able to massage some local photographs of the area to be able to join and extend the picture. The idea was to taper the photo down to the top of the hill so it could blend in. I made some more timber backing boards to join the existing board. This was rather messy and in reflection initially I should have made the backing board large enough to extend right across the back.

The extension piece
After the left hand extra board was in place I then produced both the left and right hand blending photos. Again they were printed at Office Works. I stuffed up with the order as I gave them three separate files on the memory stick and was charged for three items, had I put the three pictures on the one file and cut them up myself I think it would have been cheaper. Live and learn.


Left hand side added

In the above photo you can see the additional piece in position, I wasn't worried that it wasn't a perfect match and that all of the picture wasn't in focus. It is just a background item and will be eventually covered by forest in the foreground.

The second piece I had to produce was to extend the river downwards as the initial bottom of the photo was set too high. I will need to match up where the two pictures join, cut and then blend the two, hoping it comes out all right. The is where the poured river will come up against the background. I am semi dreading this part as it seems you only get one go at this and hope it comes out all right first go.

The 'moss roll'

 I am always on the lookout for items that can be utilised in scenery work whether it be from real live such as branches, lichens etc or man made objects such as this 'moss roll'. I came across at a local artificial plant warehouse. There are many items you can get that can be repurposed for a layout. You have to be mindfull also as to what scale you are modelling. I get more scope as I am modelling in O scale so more items scale better. This moss roll is around 1.8m long when rolled out and is now sitting down the left hand bank hill and up against the background picture. As foam has been used to form the hill, I also found some long 'u' shaped pins at Spotlight which are pressed through the moss to hold it into place. This roll forms the floor of the hill and can also be cut and teased up for added variety. This item was around $18 which I consider good value.

All the 'extras' are added
 Once this underfloor mat is in position then all the additional bits of scenery are added. I believe to make it look good then you need plenty of variety. The above scene has a mixture of commercial scenery and a few home made products. We have progressed a long way from the old green lichen days and a re spoilt for choice. I will say some of the commercial scenery products are expensive but the end result I feel is worth it. Products from Martin Welberg, MiniNatur and other products that the Modellers Warehouse sell are worth the effort to obtain.

The bridge while in position is still removable until all the scenery is in place. I can lift it up to work there when needed. I am working down the left hand side towards the river and undecided at this stage if I will do the river next or scene up the right hand side then back to the river.

The hill is slowly sceniced
It is slow work to do the scenery, I put something in place then stand back to make sure it all blends in together. This especially applies to colours of items. Sometimes if the colour doesn't blend with the surrounds it catches the eye, and is then removed. It all has to blend together. Contrary to that statement the placement of stand out colours can drag the eye to that item as can be seen by the yellow flowers in the above photo.

Slowly but surely it all comes together  

Well that's where the Thomson River bridge build is up to at the moment, hope you have enjoyed the long journey so far.

Monday, 11 April 2022

A few more

 Work on the layout has been reasonably quite of late as you can tell by the lack of posts. One thing I have been able to advance are more "Other Side of the Track' pictoons. You can find them on this site on the right hand side, just click where the red arrow shows. Plenty more to come in future, enjoy.

I will also add a few shots taken around the Eden ashpit where some of the crew were gathered preparing 8A and 16A for another run. The figures are by Andian Models and were painted by Ian Fainges.

Till next time

Sunday, 20 February 2022

Got a new one...

 Yes I've got a new one, a new phone that is. My older Samsung G6 has been replaced by another Samsung S20 FE. Now I know I missed out on the G21 and the recently released G22 but it all about the camera. I had the old one for over four years so in these days of built in redundancy it didn't do too bad. The new one still makes phone calls the same as the old one but the improved camera was the factor in updating. The ability to film in 4K even makes it better than my camcorder which boasted high def 1080p around. I remember when I purchased it way back in November 2012 mainly to be able to film my daughters wedding. Unfortunately it had broken down just before the big date and has been virtually left sulking in the draw ever since. The only drawback I have found with phone cameras is the inability to zoom in on a subject some distance away and be in focus.

So armed with the new phone I went down the shed and ran off some trial photos to see how it went. I must say I find them slightly better than the old phone but good results mainly hinge on the amount of available light. Look at how many photos look great taken outdoors in the sun.

Here are some the results taken around the usual spots of Pambula and the trestle bridge:

Stock special waits for the mixed train to depart

Busy day at Pambula

Wait for me!


Stock special enters Pambula

Nearly there at Pambula

Mixed freight heading for Eden

Some of the photos show a livestock train. There are six of these NM coded livestock wagons on the layout enough to have a special livestock train run. In real life there were fifteen of these wagons built and spread out over the four narrow gauge lines in Victoria. They are a nice piece of rolling stock from the Ian Lindsay workshops and a tribute goes to their builders Stephen Postma and James Black who did a magnificent job assembling, painting and weathering them for me. My rolling stock roster should now be complete with only the elusive G class garratt missing from the roster, maybe one day?

I have included two pictures of the bridge progress just to prove things are still moving along in that area. It is a complex build and I really need to think about ten steps ahead to make sure everything goes into place. Once something is glued, nailed, screwed and secured into place it can be hard to correct, so care required. That's not an excuse for the slow build but I want to get it right.

The pylons or trestle supports are not secured as yet, allowing removal of the bridge if required. The silver bit on the top of the bridge is a piece of aluminium channel being used as a temporary support until the end when it will be removed. This is the same channel as the rest of the bridge is built around.

In and endeavour to speed up the scenery work I found an old can of spray on scenery I used on the old layout. When I tried it although some spray came out it made no difference to adding to the scenery. It wasn't until I looked at the can and found out it was for HO scale and that's why it didn't work on my O scale layout. If anyone finds some O scale scenery in a can please let me know.

So we are moving along albeit a bit slowly. More updates next time.


Sunday, 16 January 2022

What 2022 already!

 Hard to believe that we are into another year. We still have the dreaded covid and its ugly cousin omicron hanging around. It hasn't changed my lifestyle a lot but the loss of model rail exhibitions and the ability to travel around has always put a damper on things. We just have to hope 2022 will be a better year for all.

Progress has been a snails pace on the layout since the last report but not entirely still. The train shed is located in the backyard which is also adjacent to a large garden that I have been working on. The garden always has to take second place to the layout, so when I go down the back to visit the garden I seem to go inside the shed on the way back. These visits can last from a few minutes or an hour or so, depending if lunch or afternoon tea gets in the way.

One thing you can guarantee is that there is always something to be done in the shed. One of the things we are all nearly guilty of is the collecting of items and objects for the layout 'in the future'. They are sometimes purchased because the thought is ' if I don't get them now, they might not be available in the future' This is often a true statement but there has to be a sweet spot where the bottom draw is getting emptied at the same rate as it is filling up again. I have a bottom draw that has a lot of Ian Lindsay model bits and pieces. Ian has now stopped producing his great range of products especially the O scale model parts I have obtained for future detailing. These included , drums, tanks, buffer stops, animals etc etc. These are now gold as they are no longer available from ILM models.

Sometime when I go into the shed, I might get the urge to run a train somewhere. Most of the time the trains tend to hang out at Eden. At the moment with the main line cut just beyond Broadwater where the Thomson River bridge is going and the opposite direction requiring the lift down section being lowered, any trains running at the moment just head to Broadwater and return. On the last trip some NM livestock wagons were shunted into the goods siding. Which got me thinking that I had some ILM cattle. So I got them out of the bottom draw, studied a few pictures of cows on the internet and go them painted a brown colour which was better than the resin colour they came in. Some were also painted black and white. So there are six cattle to be spread around the layout. They will either be staged in a field or be standing in a stockyard waiting for their ride to somewhere.

Naked cows

How now brown cow

Another project I have done is to do the preparation of the photos on the backdrop for the Thomson River bridge project. The initial photo was not wide enough so I needed to make another one suitable to match the left and right hand sides. With a bit of photo shopping I managed to so far get the left hand one done and fitted. There was also the need to extend the river section lower so it can blend in eventually with the river. I will cover all of this more in the next 'river bridge' update.

One of the great aspects of carrying a mobile phone around these days is that you always have a camera to hand. So even though at the moment I only have a few scenic spots on the layout I have included a selection of photos from around the layout. Until the next report.