Tuesday 26 March 2024

On Your Trike

Firstly, still alive and finally getting around to another posting. If I was to name one reason why the delay the most logical reason for me is that it has been too stinking hot and humid. Those trying to model with corrugated iron modelling sheds will understand and if not insulated will also feel the full force of winter as well. Is it cheaper to heat or cool?

So although not being down the shed has mainly found me in the study being entertained by the internet and drawing track diagrams. A big time waster is the Facebook pages and as much as some people won't go anywhere near it, I find it quite entertaining at times. My original two sites has now grown to over 20 sites. 

One of the sites is 'Modelling the Victorian Narrow Gauge' and a recent posting was for a 3D printed trike, the three wheeled type the ganger would hand propel along  the track when doing an inspection or other matters. It was offered by Ron Van Der Horst for $30 and the finished photos looked like a nice model. Amongst my plans is to have a ganger shed at Broadwater and have a trike parked outside. I ordered two straight away as sometimes when you procrastinate you can never find the posting again. It seems it is a cottage industry product and the posted photos shows how the end product should look. Nuts and bolts and teeth on the gears are all clearly defined.

The end product

Ron Van Der Horst product photos

If this is where 3D printing is heading then I think it has arrived. To see a 3D printer in action and in the end see a perfectly formed round wheel being produced it amazing. Look how fine the handle has been reproduced.

So after ordering, the box turned up at home. I wish I was at the front door when the delivery guy flung the box, I reckon I could have caught it. Not to worry when I got it unpacked the item was rolled in bubble wrap and also protected by rolled up newspaper. Any any similarity to the picture of the trike that appeared on the Facebook posting and what came out of the box was non existant. I knew that but through Messenger I was warned to be careful cutting away the supports.

I think there is a trike in there
Another issue to overcome was the fact that the kit as provided was supplied in 1/48 scale but for O scale standard gauge which then needed the outrigger wheel support to be trimmed to fit the narrow gauge I was modelling. More on that later.

This really looked like a 'be carefull' type of kit. I then decided this deserved a new blade in the knife. So I found my $10 Aldi packet of 424 blades plus one knife handle to do the job. I picked the most pointed blade thinking if it was thin at the end it would fit right inside this kit. This kit is definitely not suited for anyone with the shakes, bad eyesight or any other medical condition that may see you getting stabbed. But I fell into one of those categories in that I am short sighted and my normal glasses nor my computer glasses would be of any help. So as a lot of people go, I took them off and voila I could see everything, that is anything up close. I started up 'tall end' as a lot of the supports were not so hidden. One by one I cut away the supports and slowly but surely the trike became visible. One factor that helps with cutting away is that the supports come to a fine point when they reach the object, so just a quick nick with the blade and it is cut free. They can then be snapped outwards.


So eventually you end up with what is in the photo above. It is slow work cutting the trike free and I reckon it took me around 40 minutes. In this photo you can also see the outrigger arm that goes on the opposite rail and holds the whole trike up. So this was my next challenge. You could call this a two piece kit. As stated this kit was designed for standard gauge so I had to modify the kit for On30 narrow gauge. I guess the preformed angles in the outrigger once attached to the trike would be a perfect fit, so now I was scratching my nut trying to work out where do I cut it to make it shorter and get the angles right? I also had to refer to the FB photo to see what end of the trike the outrigger went, it would probably work either end but I wanted to get it right, OK so it's up the front. This is an issue with the kit, no drawings or photo of the finished is supplied.

I am now undecided what the hardest part of this kit is, cutting away the supports or working out how to cut/modify the outrigger to 'narrow gauge' the kit. I got some pliers and slowly bent up the support near the wheel. All good I hope to the right angle. If I took the time, I could probably work out how to easily measure the outrigger and find out how much I needed to cut off to get the right length.The outrigger slided under the front but then it was hard to hold the trike, hold the outrigger and hold a pen to mark the spot, if only I had three hands. Somehow while trying this magic trick I managed to break the wheel off. Bugger. I thought I would try some 5 minute Araldite, so after mixing and holding it in position for six minutes it didn't seem to hold. It am not sure if it was compatible with the plastic. So scrape it all off and start again with the superglue, even though now eight minutes had elapsed, I managed to get most off. And after trying the superglue this also didn't seem to be holding. And just as I was pushing down on the support, it then decided to also snap. Bugger No 2. Could I glue these two pieces together? I was lucky that no one was going to be sitting on the finished item. Then as I was trying to sort things out, bang the wheel shot out and landed on the floor. My then biggest problem was that the wheel was grey and guess what colour the floor is painted? I eventually found the wheel and then decided to make up a new outrigger, but out of what? Maybe I could forego the outrigger? A two wheeled trike? Once you got it going it would be just like a bicycle but stopping would also be a problem.

One thing that is missing on my model is what I think is the brake handle that is shown in the photo under the seat on the right hand side. I worked out later that it was one of the sprues I had accidently cut off. In a maze of support pillars it was easy to mistake it and cut off. The kit is excellent for providing it, but somehow it should be pointed out it is a brake handle, don't cut off.

The only time Murphy shined on me today was when I remembered that I had some square brass rod (somewhere) and on one of the rare clean up days I had gathered all my brass wire, rod and angles. And I finally found the square brass and it was a perfect match for the plastic section. Then there was no way I was going to go through the glue the rod onto the wheel again so I decided to drill out the wheel. So I found my $10 Aldi packet of 424 drills, matched the rod size and drilled away and away and right out the front of the wheel. Bugger No 3. Any way it fitted the hole perfectly, so that was OK. Now working with a tougher material, I got to cut the brass to the right length and somehow superglued the brass to the trike. Those two materials seem to work together.

I felt I had finally achieved something by then, the supports all gone, and the wheel issue fixed and the outrigger glued up. Now it was time to get out the Tamiya primer. With a quick spray and with the sun shining a perfect day for drying. I like to get all the processes done in the one go, so after I picked the trike up by the handles and it didn't stick to me it was time for the overcoat. Looking at photos I think I had some red that was suitable. Although not specifically designed for models, I decided to stand back further when spraying to give a similar effect? The end coat came out a bit thick but now it has to be weathered up.

Straight out of the showroom
It was time to weather up using my tried and true method of Tamiya Khaki Drab diluted with isopryl alcohol. But before that because I didn't cover the wheels I had to paint the wheels up in black. Once this was done it was then onto the khaki drab. It is a case of into the khaki, then into the alcohol to dilute. Once on it dries very quickly and can be diluted down further if the original coat is too thick. Even if the end result is not perfect it is a better look than virgin paint.

Dirtied up a little

 Well that's how you fill in a day, put one of these kits together, paint it and write a blog about it. Overall and excellent kit but it would be nice to see a photo or diagram of the real thing and somehow pointing out the brake lever I accidently cut off. Maybe the producer could put a dab of paint on each one and also if a narrow gauge version could be produced with the correct length outrigger arm. Or just maybe it was just me?


Saturday 23 December 2023

The Last Post

 Well this is the last post for the year. Not as regular as some bloggers but regular enough when there is something to show.

I must admit this year has been fairly quite down the shed and not as much progress as I would have liked. When you are on the stairway to heaven or the highway to hell, you have to make everyday count. This sojourn into VR narrow gauge had it first inklings way back in 2015 and now coming up for eight years. I can definitely see progress but I also need to acknowledge that the whole layout will never be completed. The right hand side is looking OK and the left hand side has just the track laid down, minus any scenery, although one part traverses some scenery of the earlier HO layout.

I know what I need to build and construct next year so when we finally get there soon I will try and do more. I am awaiting some of the Haskell NBH tourist coaches, not that I really need them but more of a show of support to Kieran Haskell who has gone to the effort to produce them. It would be nice if Modelu in England produce some kiddies that can be put between the bars and have their legs hanging out.

Let the legs hang!

Every now and then I will get an idea in my head for a photo and then go to the shed and knock a few off. One idea which stretches the limits of my camera are some night shots. I did some recent ones around the ashpit down at Eden with some of the loco crew. The shots were lit by some led multi colour lights purchased from Aldi some time ago, the results came out OK. Here are a few:

Group photo down at Eden

So that's all for 2023, and I'll see if 2024 can be more productive on South Coast Rail. Thanks for looking.


Thursday 16 November 2023

Another blog entry

One of the things about getting into a regular pattern of updating and posting your blogs  is that if the pattern gets out of whack, people start wondering if you are still here. I received a call today from a friend at Junee who commented on the lack of recent entries. The only reason is that I haven't done much to report. I can go into the shed to get a tool for a project, look around the layout and see plenty of things to do but are not taking up the challenge. Most of us have ups and downs in modelling and go through lapses where other things in life take over.

A lot of the blogs all start well with new projects but soon fizzle out. Just check out how long some blogs have gone for since updating.

But one thing that hasn't stopped is our group get togethers every couple of months where we talk trains, drink, eat and maybe watch a video or so. This week was another visit to the North Meadows layout and always great to see. It is probably 99% complete, with the owner stating that there is no room to hold anymore items but he actually installed two extra storage roads to hold more stock recently obtained.

So just to refresh here are a couple of shots taken on the day:

 But there are a few shots I have taken recently of the layout so I will post them here. I will try and squeeze in one last blog for the year.


Sunday 24 September 2023

Action at Broadwater

Even though it has been slow, work has continued on at Broadwater. Some time ago I installed a Brunel Hobbies 3D printed water tank and I was happy with how it turned out. It is a simple kit with the water tower as one part and the supporting legs the second part. It was completed but the underneath hadn't been sceniced. A few weeds and grasses were added and quickly improved the look. A pathway was made leading up to the platform and on the path under the water tank I brushed some gloss Mod Podge onto the pathway to represent spilt water from the tank.


The water tank sits between the station and another temporary shed that will be replaced with a scratch built NSW style gangers shed. That should fill in the area between the station and the level crossing.

One thing missing from the rear of this baseboard at the moment is a backscene board. This will block out the ridges on the roller door that appear in current photos and need to be photoshopped out.

Broadwater is the first crossing station trains come to after departing Eden. The design is a familiar VR narrow gauge design with a main line, a loop and a dual ended goods siding. There is also another siding off the goods loop and a private siding that will require some shunting to get the wagons in out out.

 When designing this station it would have been easy to just run the track parallel to the baseboard edge but that is one thing I have tried to avoid on all stations on SCR. The curved lines look so much better than the straight track.

So far things have gone according to the 'plan'. Quite a while ago I assembled an Ian Lindsay model narrow gauge goods shed. It has been sitting on the ground for too long so I decided to build a platform for it to sit on. I probably cheated somewhat in its construction missing a few beams etc. Anyway the final product looks the part and because it sits low any missing bits are not readily noticeable. After gluing it all together it was sprayed with Tamiya light grey primer which after some weathering to tone down the grey turned out Okay. The shed sitting on the platform hides most of the planks.

All of the surfaces of the styrene were also scraped with a razor saw to simulate some grain, that is one of the down sides of using styrene instead of strip timber. The end result usually comes out okay.

 I am not sure of what the size of the platform should have been but as this layout is all freelance anything goes, as long as it looks  all right. One thing noticeable in the above photo is the gap between the wagon and the edge of the platform. Ideally this gap should have been smaller, that would have worked for the goods wagons but when I checked the clearances with an NA loco, the cylinders protruded way out so this is where the clearance spot will be. This gap is viewed from an angle where the gap is not that visible. Surprisingly a shay and climax loco I checked had better clearances.

 To try out the platform I had farmer Joe back his truck up and unload some potatoes and set up a photo shoot. The potato bags are an excellent product from  Stephen Johnson Models. They are available in both horizontal and vertical shapes. I painted the bags with some Tamiya Desert yellow and then weathered over with some diluted Tamiya Khaki  drab. An excellent product, even the bag seams and potato shapes inside the bag are visible.

To finish off around the platform some grasses, weeds and white flowers were positioned. That is the basics done but there is always the opportunity to revisit the scene and add more.

Tuesday 8 August 2023

Bits and Pieces

 No major projects have been worked on since the last post, possibly because it is cold in the shed. With no pot belly stove and electricity prices sky high. If I go down there too early you must dress like an Eskimo which rather restricts movement with the gloves. As the day progresses, and with sun up you can feel it getting a little warmer. No it is not really that bad, and with only another few weeks of winter and spring approaching it will be more conducive to work days. We have been blessed with a few mid twenty degree days. Up the afternoon end of the shed is a metal roller door where you can feel the suns heat radiating on the inside of the shed. I like to call this natures heater but it is still not enough or early enough to be of any use in heating.

So the concentration is on the right hand side of the layout as you go in the door. As probably explained the 'right hand' side is made up of modules that can be readily evacuated when the need arises and being on the 'Stairway to Heaven' (or is it the Highway to Hell?) I want to see at least one section finished.

Layout building is made up of many elements, all enjoyable and while there is a certain order in construction the finishing of a layout is flexible. Of course the baseboards need to be made and then the track can be laid. Once it is wired up the the scenery work can take place, that's basically how it goes.

Another part in the layouts progress is coming back to a scene and adding the extra detail bits that finish a scene. One of the things I have been doing around the layout is adding signs and notice boards, these are what we expect in real life and rightly so should be included. The plus side is that it gives scenes some completeness.

 A simple warning sign 'Beware of Trains' would be expected in real life and so is recreated to this scene. It only required a piece of stripwood for the post, some styrene for the sign and a computer generated sign readily stuck on. The whole sign was hit with a diluted Tamiya khaki drab colour to weather it up.

 Another sign is a level crossing warning which was made with some styrene glued to a timber post and painted in accordance with the standards. This is the approach 'X' is white and the rear is painted black. A simple quick sign that adds to a scene.

 Again in similar fashion the larger warning signs for road traffic are made with styrene arms fitted to a timber post.

Speed signs are also set out around the layout where speeds need to be indicated, the one in the above photo shows a speed limit of 10 miles per hour over the Thomson River bridge.

So apart from making some signs I have started work on the station building for Broadwater. The building is an Ian Lindsay station, purchased a while ago luckily when they were still being made. It is fairly straight forward and I will do a future post on it when completed.

Another thing I wanted to try out is to take some photos of the bridge and try to replicate sunrise/ early morning with it just getting light. I needed to use my 35mm camera for these shots for time exposure. I used some multi colour lights I got from Aldi some time ago and after many discarded shots some of the better ones are shown below.

 I'll finish off with a selection of other photos taken around the layout and include a few with the late afternoon sun shining into the shed.


That's all till next time