Sunday 17 April 2011

Coal her up....
There is never enough time on weekends to get all things done. Since the arrival of 3827 to the south coast fleet two weeks ago I have only had time to coal up the 38.
Baseboards generally serve two purposes. One to hold a layout up from the ground and to provide a cover for all the junk that hides underneath.
I can self assess myself and admit it don't fall into the real neat freak category. I have most of the rail related books sitting on a book shelf and even have the books on locomotives arranged in numerical order, the rest fall into a fit by size category.
Then down the far end is all the scenery bits and pieces. Bags of foam, coloured plaster, dry branches hanging out for the day when they will be instructed to look like a tree. There are even paper bags full of strange looking items that needs a look in every now and then find out what it is.
One such item is some lichen that I have had from way back in 1976 when me and my then girlfriend (now mrs) went to New Zealand for a tour. I collected it from fences stuffed it into a paper bag then it came back home with me. I'm glad Border Security is a recent tv show as it has allowed me to get away a fine or gaol sentence for smuggling in plant products. The exercise actually futile as I discovered the same product was available on our own trees up in the New England area. It will eventually get used.
Another item associated with under baseboard 'cupboards' is the cloth draped down in front of the layout in an attempt to not only to hide the junk but to make it all look more attractive. It does both jobs well. To well some times when I start looking for something and can't remember where its hiding. Maybe I should put post-it notes on the cloth 'Ballast behind here'.
It was this cloth yesterday that had me looking for at least twenty minutes for a tin that held my real coal supply for filling tenders. Eventually it was found hiding behind some gyprock saved from a rainy day project for the next rainy day project.
The DJH 38 has a shallow area thankfully for the coal bunker so it was an easy job to just pile in the coal until it was heaped and looked right as regards to size. Once the profile was looking right I sprayed it with water mixed with some detergent then some diluted white glue to fix it together. I made sure there was some spilled coal towards the back of the tender forward of the water hatch.
So tonight I took a dozen shots of the coal in the tender. I must admit only one reasonable shot turned out and have included it.

So the next project now is to get the headlight put in. As they say watch this space.

Sunday 10 April 2011

We havvada gooda news and de badder news.

First off the good news.....
The 38 class locomotive must sit close to the top of peoples list of locos. I remember when the first brass 38 was brought out by the Model Dock Yard in Melbourne all those years ago. I don't think I was even earning a wage at the time to even contemplate buying one.
In the later years I succombed to the Lima effort? for a 38 class. They were on the noisy side and just didn't look as good as they should. So when it went for a run on the layout I figured once it got about four or five metres away from the panel I was driving from I could no longer see it and even better couldn't hear it. Unfortunately having a circular route layout it eventually returned and I saw and heard it again. Another good reason not to have very solid baseboards is that when the loco didn't move you could bang the layout side and off it would go. (Along not off).
Things got a lot better when eventually DJH added the 38 class to their range of models. Again I was reluctant to purchase a model as I already had a DJH 30T (which got assembled by someone else), a 36 class (which I sold when the Austrains model came out) a 32 class (which I sold when the Trainorama 32 came out) and a 50 class which I now regret selling as no replacements have come out.
Then next to arrive was the Eureka 38 class. I'm not sure why I didn't get one of these. Could have been the plastic boilers or did 38's really run down the coast as far as Bega??. What I liked though about the 38 was that sound was an option and if I had bought one this would have been the version.
I also missed out on the later brass 38's namely those built by Mansfield. These were certainly a vast improvement on the Dockyard models in every regard. Again I don't think a painted option was available, you just got the goldfinger model and had to go find someone to paint it up for you. I wasn't going to practice my first effort at spraypainting and lining on a 38 class.
Then it so happened that one of our group had decided to change scales from HO to O and had a partly completed DJH 38 class. Having no further need for it, I purchased it with having a kit builder finish it off for me in mind.
I contacted a few contacts (thanks Brad) and he suggested I contact an assembler on the Central coast. He was OK to do it and the model was dropped off in January. Not only could he finish assembly but was OK to paint and line.
Following on from 3801, 3813 and 3830 the fourth most popular 38 surely must be 3827. I'm not sure why this loco was better than all the others but legend says so. The previous owner John had this number picked out, so as I knew I wasn't supposed to use the numbers 3801 to 3805(inclusive) (That wouldn't have stopped Bob Cooke) I went with the flow and picked 3827 as well. Does this make you sad in a way for all the other numbers that don't get picked? Who out there has picked 3829 or 3816?
Anyhow, I got a call last Sunday that the loco was ready and so it was delivered as a selection of photos below will show.

So when I finally got it on the track and kicked in the throttle away she went. I felt that I was actually excited to finally have a decent 38 class added to the South Coast roster. I reckon only having one 38 class on the roster books is a great idea. All the love can now be concentrated into the one engine. Those of you readers out there with one of every number of every class of loco that comes out. How can you share the love between them all. Reminds me of people with say 15 kids. What was you name again young man?

Its not only me that appreciates the new addition but I believe the loco crews at Bega are now trying to swap rosters for a drive on her.

I am also at a dilemma at the moment as apparently the kit doesn't come with a suitable headlight insert. (dumb as eh) So at the moment it is only rostered onto daylight runs. Anyone out there got any suggestions for a suitable headlight?
Another thing I need to add is a tender full of coal. Not a problem as I have a supply of real coal at hand. The load trials have yet to be completed and I'm sure of plenty of volunteer Bega crew who will do the job. Just putting this metal boilered loco on the track deems it to be a better hauler than the Eureka model. Time and tests will tell.

And the bad news..........
Well it has been quite a few weeks since the fotopic site has gone off the air, possibly for good. I used this site (along with many hundreds of others I suspect) for many photos on South Coast Rail. How time flies when I last noticed that I first used this site from August 2006 to post photos on.
This site was also the birthplace of the "other side of the tracks" where a more risque style of cartoon was able to be presented. (including cruelty to animals -giraffes and tunnel mouths).
I think there were a few hundred varied layout shots taken. So now move onto the badder news..........
And the badder news............
So when the fotopic site had gone down, I thought I still had the shots on the hard drive or so I thought until I got home from work one day.
My IT man (son) had told me there was a burning smell coming from the computer. Not knowing much about the insides of a computer, the only thing I know about burning chips is in the kitchen when the oil is too hot and they come out crunchy. No the bad news was that the hard drive was gone to God.
So you are all saying out there "SO you have a backup right?" Yes I was going to get one next week (but never did). So I have paid the ultimate sacrifice. I have lost a lot of files I was working on.
As luck would have it though, through the constant swapping and updating of computers I found a lot of photos I have been taking of South Coast Rail back to 2002 but there seems to be a gap in some of the recent year or so.
The folder with the "Other Side of the Tracks" was nearly complete. I was hoping to bring out a CD of them in the future when I got to 100 of them. Nearly up to 50 at the moment.
So I hope this hasn't happened to you out there. The hard drive has been replaced with two one teradactyl bite drives that means an exact duplicate copy is saved to each hard drive. So hopefully I have learnt the hard way and hope this dosen't happen again.
I might start up a hard drive backup company for railway people.
How about I call it "The Three Toots - Back Up Company"?

Friday 1 April 2011

Can Do Wonders.

Well finally it has happened. Possibly the greatest thing to happen in the model railway arena since the invention of sliced bread has arrived.

I was trolling on the Walters web site the other day looking for building products for a model loco shed and I came across this new product. One wonders why this product took so long to develop. It will be the saviour of many modellers, not only as a great time saver but also for the people who are new to the hobby.

So what is this new product? It is ‘SCENERY IN A CAN’. I could hardly believe that it was possible to achieve such a product given the well over hundred years that model railways have been around. Why wasn’t it invented years ago?

I was lucky enough to have a friend who was recently returning from the US on a holiday. He is not into model railways but was quite keen to help in the purchase of one can for me to try out.

Currently the can is only available in one type that being ‘ Mountain Stream’.

Their web site has announced that if this venture is successful then other types will follow such as “Western Plains”, “Hillside Scenery” and “ Coastal Dunes” the latter I suppose would give a sandy texture that would be good for creating beach scenes such as one of Bombo beach I had in mind.

I was a bit sceptical in this product but after receiving this can from my friend, I took it down to the shed to try it out. With such a new product I took the time to read the instructions on the can not wanting to wreck a scene in the usual fashion of ‘if all else fails read the instructions’. It recommended shaking the can for a good three minutes to ensure all the contents were thoroughly distributed within the can. The usual ball bearing was in there and after shaking for around two and a half minutes you could hear the mixture thickening up and I knew it was nearly ready to spray.

I have a corner on the layout where this can of ‘Mountain Stream” would come in handy. So with some trepidation and my finger on the trigger, I pushed down on the cap and out came a stream of stream. Strange words but true. The instructions also stated that the angle of spray and distance from the point of application would vary the result coming from the nozzle. Understandably the further away you are the more time the product has to dry before reaching its intended target. I have enclosed a shot of a portion of the stream to let you decide if “SCENERY IN A CAN” is for you.

Its fairly expensive (around $40.00 a can) but with all new products this is expected to allow companies to recoup the money spent on R & D. Maybe you want to wait a while for the price to fall. Like most electronic products they get cheaper the longer they have been around.

It will possibly be a good idea to wait till perhaps Model Railroader gets hold of the product and reviews it. They seem to be able to praise or bag a product given the resources a big organisation such as they have for testing.

In closing I must say I was privileged to be able to be among the first in Australia to try this exciting new product. I haven’t got a lot more scenery to finish off but I’m looking forward to be able to speed up this work and get on with some building of structures.

Now wouldn’t it be great if they can get “STRUCTURES IN A CAN”.

For further particulars try