Monday 17 October 2016

I've finally Climaxed!

Don't read too much into that heading!. Since changing over to On30 scale as I previously mentioned I always had a wish list of locos and rolling stock. It started with the NA locomotives and they were the reason I moved over to this scale. Other locos on the wish list were a Shay, a climax and a model of the G42 garratt which probably will never happen.
The last blog showed that I managed to get another box ticked when I obtained a shay off Ebay. The shay has managed around a week or so running up and down Eden yard wearing the track out. Albeit slowly. I was shunting it into the engine shed road and it stopped moving but still was making its usual sound. On close examination I was still no wiser into getting it running again. It could be a DCC issue or a mechanical gear issue, I am not sure but have put it aside for the time being until I meet up with an expert in Bachmann shays who might be able to offer some suggestions. But for now it can just sit there and idle away.
It seems I had better luck last week when a Bachmann Climax came up on Ebay and I was lucky(?) enough to win the auction. I fired off a question to the owner to verify if there were any gear issues, something apparently Bachmann and indeed other makers are famous for. The reply said it was a fine runner. It was received today and has been fitted with a dcc decoder although not sound. Obviously
whoever wired it up doesn't know the difference between forward and reverse as it does exactly the opposite to what is selected on the throttle. I'll just have to remember that this loco is the odd man out until I can get a sound decoder fitted to it, then it should be rectified.
The loco sometime down the track will also be weathered to make it look like it has been doing some work. The shay and climax are unusual style locos and I plan to utilise them on coal and timber working. The branch that will contain the coal and timber industries will be some time away so I will have to find some other work for them to do. Maybe shunting duties.
It is certainly noticeable when you operate non sound locos with sound equipped locos. Could it be that cars and pedestrian accidents increase on the layout because they didn't hear it coming?
Another problem has arisen. What is it about the number 8? There are literally millions of numbers out there but this is now the third loco I have amongst a fleet of five that has the number 8. Is it a Chinese lucky number that all their locos have to have this number? The first number 8 belongs to the only modified NA which was number 8 - non negotiable, it has to remain number 8. Then the shay turns up with also number 8. OK one option is to make it number 18 or just invent another number. Then as the photo clearly shows the climax is already numbered 8. I guess I just have to renumber the shay and climax to other numbers. I offer the following photo as a means of getting rid of at least one number 8:
This photo is the first of a series of irregular comments on various aspects of the layout that could be worthy of a laugh. I hope you may enjoy.
Here are a few more photos of the Climax working its way around Eden Yard.

I have also been working around the former sites of Bodalla and Candelo by stripping out the scenery and former HO track. This will be a later blog entry.

Saturday 1 October 2016

You can Shay that again

When I made the choice to go to narrow gauge, the choice was made easy when Haskell had made the NA Puffing Billy type locomotives. They have just recently followed that up with the common NQR open wagon that was the most prolific in number of VR narrow gauge wagons.
To me modelling the VR narrow gauge is like modelling a smaller version of the full size railways. Narrow gauge modelling encompasses a huge range of styles, sizes and almost anything goes.
Having said that there is one type of narrow gauge locomotive that is almost ugly and unique. That loco is the shay type. I'm not sure in what order the shays sisters were built but the climax and heisler type locomotives were certainly out of the box thinking in design. Their major use was in the logging and mining fields, their design adapted to get the job done.
In building up my fleet of locomotives I have put a few must haves on the list. The top one is a G type garratt of which two were built for the VR narrow gauge. A ready to run one would be nice and although limited brass ones were built, I think now a ready to run model would make me hear those famous words from the Castle "tell him he's dreaming."
Another model is the Climax and Shay. Bachmann have made both models in On30 and luckily last week a Bachmann Shay weathered and sound equipped turned up on Ebay. I started bidding on it and had a limit which was reached within the last minute of the sale. Sorry to the other guy if you are reading this.
No. 8 brings its first log train into Eden
It has certainly been weathered and finished off far better than I could have achieved. This fact alone gives me more layout building time when the job is already done. It also has a driver who looks happy (all the time actually) The timber load might need replacing with something more authentic than trying to burn plastic. The loco turned up and guess what number it was? Yes number 8. Of all the millions of numbers out there in the world now I have a double up with 8A the one off unique NA loco with the straight stack. I'll have to work out something with the numbers. This loco is intended to be able to work the logging branch down to the main line where it will hand over to another loco. More planned operation.
No. 8 holds up traffic over the goods yard level crossing
I suppose the benefit of  being a slow runner is that it takes a while to get to where ever its going. Well that's loco number 4 for the moment. I have some diesel body kits to assemble one day in the future. And to make matters worse we will loose an hour tonight when clocks are put forward for daylight saving.
Another benefit in starting out again is the chance to strip out everything in the shed and refresh things. The walls and roof have been repainted up one end with the usual blue sky paint colour. It certainly made a great improvement over what was there. Fifteen years is too long between paint jobs. So it was looking pretty smick, but missing something to break the "sky".
During my recent August visit to the Puffing Billy railway, I made sure I went into the shop at Belgrave to try and buy anything that would be suitable for the walls of the shed. I was beyond the Thomas the Tank posters but bought the only suitable poster that being a shot of a train on Monbulk trestle with two vintage cars in the foreground. It was purchased for $5 and rolled up to hopefully survive the plane trip back to Sydney. It seemed to be OK.
The Puffing Billy poster safely posted up on the wall
It would look very bare up on the wall alone, but I was lucky to be sent from photos from Alf Batchelder that he had taken on Puffing Billy. I emailed Alf re getting high res copies so I could blow them up and frame them onto the wall of honour. He kindly agreed and sent me some great photos of which I selected four. I had Office Works enlarge them to A3 at a reasonable under $2 each cost onto thicker type paper. These were then put into frames and now run down one side of the shed. It's starting to look good. I still have the opposite wall to decorate yet - plenty of time.
The narrow gauge wall in honour of Puffing Billy
 Its great to be able to theme up walls and your layout area with what you are modelling. I'm just not sure where I'll put all that NSWGR memorabilia now.