Monday 13 June 2011

Yeah for Liz
You must be someone important to give everyone in the state a day off for your birthday and thats just what Her Maj Liz has done.
And what better reason would you want to hold a model railway exhibition. This was the second year the Epping Model Railway club had held their exhibition at the Thornleigh Brickpits. The venue is great, its just that its not set up for parking and the swarms of modellers that throng there first thing on a Saturday morning. I heard one guy was queued up at 7.0am obviously keen to get to the second hand stall first. I reckon he would have frozen his nuts off at that time. Me I was tucked up in a warm bed enjoying my first sleep in of the long weekend. I have decided not to attend the exhibitions on the first day due to the large crowds on Saturdays. Was told by the Bowen Creek boys (whose layout stood between the entrance and the second stall) that when the gates opened on Saturday it was like a stampede from Rawhide, yes cattle heading for that elusive bargain. While I was working in the garden on Saturday trying to finish the GPU ( garbo protection unit) in between showers I got a phone call from Mr Jim Kamilaroi saying that he was going to the exhibition on Sunday with a few friends from the Port Macquarie region and wondered if it was ok to drop in to check out the layout. OK by me so it was arranged. Sunday came around and the weather was as miserable as Saturday - raining and cold. Having left in the dark around 6.0am they reached my place around 9.40am and we headed straight to the show.
During the short journey to the show I felt the great social side of the hobby coming out. They were just a bunch of nice guys with plenty of joking and laughter going on. Arriving just after opening at 10 we headed into the show. Jim took me along to meet Andrew Campbell from Bowen Creek. Andrew comes from the Port Macquarie area as well. I was trying to match up his profile picture on his blog with what I saw in the flesh. I'm still not sure it was him as he had a beanie on. Due to the ambient temperature in the hall the beads of moisture on his forehead would not have been sweat but probably condensation from the cold.
I also met Ian Millard and if you have never met Ian and Andrew you will understand why their layout is set so high. In the hobby this setting of layout heights must reflect the standards to which they are built. Bowen Creek high set layout = high standard. The U - Drive layout set low = low standard. This is really design by accident as the little kiddies while standing in front of Bowen Creek will never be able to see the layout. They could never build to that standard so come back when you are taller. I couldn't see the back as well and are quite ready to admit I haven't reached their level either. A beautiful layout guys.
Bumped into Stephen Ottaway who must be congratulated in getting his eleventh child out into the world. The Australian Journal of Railway Modelling is a great wall to wall magazine of modelling. May there be many more.
I worked out that I had met (or spotted) throughout the day six bloggers - Ian Millard from - Liverpool Range, Andrew Campbell from Bowen Creek, Gary Laker from Lakers Locomotive, Carriage and Wagon Workshops, James McInerny from Lambing Flat, Jim Harris from The Kamilaroi Railway and Brad Hinton from Armchair Modeller DownUnder. Why Brad would want to model armchairs is beyond me. Get yourself a layout and some trains Brad. I did a tour of the layouts and noticed only two new ones I hadn't seen before. Having got a ride there with the guys from Port Mac I thought I had better get around the commercial stands before we had to leave.
My first port of call was the Austrains stand as I was interested in their 4 wheel tankers. I thought with only 4 wheels per wagon they had got to be cheaper than a bogie version. Yes one dollar change out of one hundred. Then the next problem which pack to pick? He had five choices and I wasn't sure what one to get. The blue one looked odd and the one with the typo on it (Pur Pull - John its spelt Purple). I ended up with the pack with the Golden Fleece (sunnies on for viewing), the C.O.R. and the Atlantic. (odd for South Coast Rail as it shares the coast line with the Pacific!)
I then saw the carriage packs. As much as they are very nice I am going to stick with my Powerline ones and hopefully get them detailed up. To make myself feel better I also bought a Sydney Hobbies FS interior to ease the pain of not getting the Austrain ones. Hey go tell your wife you have just spent $300 on three carriages. Did a quick trip into the second hand stall to see if my Atlas 40 class with Main West cab conversion kit had gone. I couldn't see it there so hopefully it was sold. Might put the money towards a 422 class which I believe will be my wifes Christmas present to me. I find the day is a great social day as well catching up with people you only get to see at exhibitions. And there are some you also have to dodge if you don't want to meet up with them. I remember David Anderson from Mansfield Hobbies saying the everytime he went to Liverpool he would spend 90% of the time talking and the other 10% to see the layouts.
Eventually caught up with the group and after a quick sausage sandwich we set sail for home, a cuppa and a quick look at South Coast Rail.
They left around two ish and headed for Port Mac. On a confirming email later that night they had pouring rain all the way and got home around 6.0pm. I think they all enjoyed the day out.
I got the tankers out of the box today and was surprised with their weight. I think they are actually full of oil and petrol. I couldn't imagine ten of these behind a 32 class on a grade. Did a start on the weathering to tone them down a bit. Think they look better.

What is it you say? Well if a barista does things to coffee, then a Cannista does things to cannisters, or more importantly ex film cannisters.
There seems to be a recent interest in the use of old film cannisters for model railway purposes.
This to me has become a sieze the moment event. I like most others have gone digital photography and the humble film cannister has gone the way of the VHS tape.
I could see the potential of these items and their size really suited them for HO scale. Too big for N scale and too small for O scale they were just right.
My next dilemma was - Did I have any?. I thought I had left my run too late, my old 35mm camera was given away a few years ago, so why would I have any cannisters?
Taking a chance I went to my wardrobe where the last known said cannisters were know to have lurked. But alas none. I then went to the next cupboard and bingo I discovered two cannisters (complete with film and no camera to take it with).
Anyhow I took them down to the layout and put one each way up between the oil siding and the to be milk factory. So this is where they remain.
I'm not sure how I am going to use them but are open to suggestions. The could either be a milk vat or for oil storage? What do you reckon??