Tuesday, 20 September 2022

Tanks A Lot

 One thing I can say about modelling narrow gauge in O scale is that there is not a lot of structures available that represent a prototype I am modelling that being Victorian narrow gauge. There was a fairly good ranges of buildings and other infrastructure that was done in the past by Ian Lindsay Models. I was lucky that I decided to do the change to this scale and caught the tail end of models from Ian Lindsay. They were mainly VR narrow gauge such as a goods shed, a station building and purely VR narrow gauge buffer stop. Many of these await their time to be assembled and placed on the layout. They are currently asleep in a bottom draw.

New to me was a water tank produced in 3D printing and is basically a two piece kit. The kit was produced through Brunel Hobbies in Melbourne. I believe this hobby shop has changed hands so I am not surewhere they can be purchased now. Will try and get some details. There is an upper tank and then the tank stand. Also supplied is a ladder and decals for the water height in the tank. Although it might be considered pricey for what you get ($89) all the hard work has been done. All it needs is a cleaning up of flash and painting. There is no need to chase up a corrugated tank or source timber for the stand. There is also the fill pipe and the outlet pipe has the water taps cast in. All in all a good kit.

The kit comes with excellent instructions, well set out and easy to follow. Colour photos are provided through out.

The tank as received
The first thing required is to remove any excess flashing which is minimal. I then gave the tank and stand a spray of Tamiya primer. After that the tank was sprayed with Tamiya Dull red in a spray can as recommended in the instructions. After the red had dried I painted some rust paint diluted with isopryl alcohol. Also the outside of the tank had weathering done by using Tamiya khaki drab painted on also using isopryl alcohol which basically works as a thinner.

The completed tank minus ladder

 The base was painted a grey colour, can't remember which one but there were many in the draw. By using a lighter base then you can apply a darker paint over it to show variations in timber colour. The bolts have even been modelled as can be seen in the above photo. Just hit them with a brown marker pen to highlight. I also used some chalks brushed on for variation.

After the tank stand was finished it was onto the filler hoses and a great tip from the instructions was to use the elastic strips from the currently in use surgical masks. I didn't have to go far to find some in the house. They work well and look like flattened canvas. Some weathering finishes them off. I don't think these would work for any other scale than O scale.

So when I was happy with the tank and stand I then thought of what I would use to fill the tank to represent water. I had on hand some Woodland Scenics Realistic Water. I wasn't completely happy with it as you can only pour a small amount, let it dry and then top up. It also dried white cloudy, not what I wanted. As luck had it I was doing a pour on a nearby river and poured some into the top of the tank. The resin had a slight green tinge to it so it looked the part. I would reckon for every 2000 photos of water tanks there would only be one that shows what the inside of tanks look like. I didn't take it right to the top, maybe suggesting that an engine had just refilled with water.

Chain from float to indicator
I was wondering what was on the tank/water end of the chain but after looking at a few plans it seems the float was simply a lump of timber. Most timber floats. I got a small piece of timber and drilled a hole through the middle and inserted some thread I have had on hand for ages. It really looks like chain. I have a big bundle of it ready for more chain work. I had to insert the timber and chain into the resin before it had set and then hook the 'chain' over the top wheel. There is not much of a groove for the chain but it sits there quite well. Before this was done I got some rust coloured paint and painted the whole length. It certainly looks like a rusted chain.
The 'chain' over the top wheel

After the resin had dried I was able to stretch the chain down to a position where it reaches the indicator and cut to length. Being slightly flexible it was not critical to get the length exact as it could be stretched into position. With a small amount of superglue on the end of a piece of wire the end of the chain was placed just above the indicator. I felt that doing this finished the model off and even a small feature it looks the part.

The last thing remaining to do to the tank was to apply the water level indicator to the side of the tank. When you first look at it it seems wrong but then because of the reverse wheel at the top, when the float is at the top, the chain extends down to show the maximum level. A white decal is provided with 0, 1 and 2 printed on it. My thoughts are that the numbers have been printed off centre to the right and should be more centred. I will also weather it up. But it looks the part. A 3d printed ladder also comes with the kit, which I will attach to the tank when the final tank position is selected.

The water level indicator
Hopefully with the advent of 3D printing some more cottage industries will fill the void of mass produced models not being made by the big companies due to limited sales.

This is an excellent kit and as they say 'get them while you can' Thanks to Brunel Hobbies for producing this kit.

Sunday, 4 September 2022

Just a few

 Things are slowly moving forward and luckily I had my camera with me when a double headed NA livestock train went past, so here are a few of the photos:


Saturday, 30 July 2022

Hello, Hello

 Recently I have had the privilege of meeting two fellow Victorian On30 narrow gauge interstate modellers. Firstly Gavin Hince the editor of the Narrow Gauge Down Under magazine was on leave from the winters of Victoria looking for a warmer climate in New South Wales. I am located close to the M1 which is the main highway north from Sydney so side trips here are no hassles. Gavin was an attendee at the 2019 Easter Narrow Gauge convention at Erina but was unable to fit in a visit at the time so this was an opportune time. After some carrot cake and a cuppa, Gavin and his wife went down to the shed to see South Coast Rail. We spent some time there discussing the layout and ways of doing things. It is good to have interaction with fellow modellers especially if they model the same prototype. And after a while they headed north seeking the warmth, but the weather forecast for the week wasn't good. Hope you didn't cop too much rain Gavin.

And yesterday I was pleased to finally meet up with Roger Johnson also a fellow VR narrow gauge modeller who was over from South Australia. This meeting almost didn't happen as when we were corresponding about his visit to NSW he stated he was available on a Friday. I thought the day would be clear but when I checked the calendar I found I was booked on a transfer movement on that Friday aboard 3801 that was transferring the carriages for the Maitland Steam Festival. This Festival had already been cancelled from April when a landslide from the flood had washed out the connection from Thirlmere to Picton. So I had to advise Roger that I couldn't make it on that day. But the rain gods struck again, the flood gates were closed over the tracks at Maitland and due to many other flood issues the Festival was called off again. So the good news was sent to Roger and a meet up ensued.

Roger was instrumental in making the 3d printed piers for my Thomson River bridge. Although the top structure of the bridge was coming along quite well, I was unsure how I could make the piers to match the top structure standard. So the bridge can now look as good as I can make it, thanks again Roger. Also while he was in Sydney he attended the 'Modelling the Early days of the NSWGR'. One of his models he brought along was a bullock team and wagon and very nicely put together.

Roger Johnsons bullock team
Roger and his wife also had to endure some carrot cake and a cuppa. (The carrot cake is standard issue here) Eventually Roger and his wife got to see the layout and Roger was reunited with the piers he made some time ago. They have also be painted and weathered very well by renown painter Ian Fainges. Similar to Gavins' visit time went too quickly for our layout tour and the rental car needed to be returned to Gosford.

So it was great to meet both of those fellow modellers and new friendships are made within the hobby.

The layout, yes I have been doing a little more scenery work down the left hand side of the bank down to the bridge. Slow work but satisfying when it comes out right. I can also add that doing the scenery to the way I want it is becoming a mini money pit. But I must live by my word and get what looks good. It is possible to do a certain amount of work by using cheap items such as logs, twigs, mosses, lichens out of the local bush, but sometimes it is left to the experts in the field who really know how to put great scenery products together. Such as the items from the 'Martin Welberg', 'Mini Natur' and other products that can be obtained from the Modellers Warehouse in Brisbane.

Another item that falls into the great scenery product was spotted on a New Zealander modeller on Facebook as '3 mile Bush Railway'. The item was some flax that looks great as an architectural stand out plant. Made by a company 'Finescale' I sent away for two sheets which turned out to be able to make eight plants. The plants come on a flat etched brass sheet that needs painting, separating from etch and then rolled into form the plant. Again these weren't cheap, being around $60 landed but if you want it you have to be ready to pay for it. I was happy with how they turned out.

Flax plant
Another great product I have been using are paper cut ferns available from a company called 'Model Scene'. They are very delicate and require a good eye to remove from the parent sheet. The green they come in is ideal for putting straight into the scenery and some good variety in the range. I believe they might also be used by wargamers so could be available from their suppliers as well.

Paper ferns

 So just as a reminder the photo below was taken in February 2018, over four years ago. Another reason that model railways are a lifelong hobby!
Where the bridge goes

Monday, 4 July 2022

Picture that

 It has been a few weeks since I have posted, but there hasn't been anything done worth reporting on at the moment. Winter is here in Sydney and with another rain pattern happening it is not too welcoming down the shed.

Every now and then I will go to the shed sometimes just to get some tools to use around the house and inevitably I will look around the layout for the next project. One thing I like to do is source out some photo locations. Until new sections get finished on the layout, it will be the usual hack spots for photos.

So here are a few shots I have taken lately. Don't worry the scenery is slowly creeping down towards the river bank on the left hand side.



More next time

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.