Wednesday 28 December 2016

Land of Make Believe

Well I might just squeeze in another post before the New Year. This post title is the name of a song from the Moody Blues, my favourite music group.
Make believe is what we get involved with when we create model railways. Some make believe better than others but as long as you are happy with your end results, that's all that matters.
Currently we are going through a period of very hot weather and I haven't ventured from the house towards the shed. I can still fill in a day doing various projects I have to do.
Another time waster that I have enjoyed over the years is the train simulator game called Trainz 
I believe this is an Australian produced game. Although this has never really a big part of my time , I have enjoyed playing it over the years.
They have just released another version centered around re-creating a model railway. This can be accessed through the link to Trainz above.
What this game allows is the ability to be able to create your model railway set up and let you operate and test various aspects before you commit to your spending money on your model railway.
If my shed ever burnt down and the layout was gone then I would have to be happy playing this game instead. Once past the initial purchase price, everything is free. Unlimited track, points, rolling stock, locos, all the accessories you could think of to go with it. It even has the ability to say load a coal train with simulated coal, then you can take it to a power station and unload it. There are many other features best found out by looking at the site.
Having moved over to On30 modelling, when I checked out Trainz, someone had produced some NA locomotives, the G42 garratt and some VR narrow gauge rolling stock to go with it. 30" track is also available to allow you to build your system.
I had a go of building the Beech Forest layout as I found this to be the most interesting narrow gauge plan compared with other stations that mainly had plain parallel sidings.
Although I am not building this location it was fun to do. Once built and sceniced, you can place trains on the tracks and have some operation fun. The NA works OK, but for some reason the G42 doesn't have any sound. I no complain, the guy who built it has done a good job.
This latest version of Trainz has the ability to take screenshots, and I have taken a few to show how far you can take this game too. These are really basic shots as you can spend hours super detailing the scenes.
Approach to Beech Forest. NA arriving from Colac and the G42 on its way to Crowes

While the detail in this programme is acceptable you can see there is room for improvement for crisper and more detailed realism. With the rapid advances in computers I am sure this day won't be far away.

Another heavily timbered region complete with trestle bridge
So these above images show a few things you can do with this Trainz programme. Time waster or just having fun, who cares, as long as you are enjoying your railways.

Wednesday 14 December 2016

End of year slow down

Work on South Coast Rail has almost ground to a halt recently due to house renovations taking up the slack time.We have had five windows replaced with new ones. Not only have we had the colour changed but now windows that will actually stay open with out the need of a stick. The stick was a solid piece but had one disadvantage in that the window was restricted to open to the size of the stick. I could have a range of different length sticks nearby but nowhere to leave them except maybe along the window sill. They were also a blast from the past being that mission brown colour. Just as I was going to get rid of them I was told that brown was having a re-run but the name changed to "chocolate" maybe to trick newbees.
They have all been installed over the past few weeks and now comes the chore of repainting the window surrounds plus having to undercoat the raw timber of the architraves. I was trying to get away with repainting the rooms but to no avail. Tick one box, my sons room has been done and he chose to get a new desk in there to celebrate. Another room I wasn't so lucky with, had the window measured wrong which entailed some of the bedroom wall being cut out to allow the new window to fit in. Bugger this was now another room to paint, seeing I had only done it last year.
And on top of it all we are getting the bathroom completely remodelled. So more painting of the roof, windows and doorway. All this hoping to be finished by Christmas time, wish me luck.
I have made this choice to throw all energy into getting this work done in the house and next year will be my time down the shed.
Now just because I haven't been down the shed doesn't mean nothing has been happening in other ways. We were told some time ago that Haskell who made the NA locos were also doing some NQR wagons to go behind them. I saw actual samples at the Liverpool exhibition in October and knew they were on their way here. I put in an order for two packets with the local hobby shop and recently took delivery. The models were available in three different shades to cover various periods for the modeller. I hope these open wagons sell well as future Puffing Billy models may be dependent on the sales of the NQR's.
The NQR's make an appearance at Eden

NA8 with a few new wagons on SCR
I haven't done any weathering on the Haskell models yet but all wagons on SCR will be suitably dirtied up. The first wagon behind the NA in the left hand picture is an Ian Lindsay NQR which has had the weathering treatment, but no decals added at this stage. These NQR's were the mainstay of the Victorian narrow gauge railways hauling everything from potatoes to timber and anything else in between. Photos exist of trains with well over a dozen of these NQR's ably hauled by a G class garratt.
Closeup of the Ian Lindsay On30 NU van
In the photo can also be seen a NQR flat wagon with bulkheads and a louvre wagon coded NU. These three wagons were some I was able to recently purchase already assembled. Slowly but surely the fleet is expanding.
The assembled but as yet unpainted NU

In the overall scheme with the layout there will be the  VR narrow gauge side, but also provision has been made to employ other locos and wagons that will entail a hand over of both the locos and brakevans at junction stations. This will add the element of operation to train working. I have two NC brakevan kits currently in the hundreds of pieces they come in to assemble one day. So at the junction station they will be replaced by a different brakevan. While trawling on Ebay recently I came across two Bachmann American style cabooses (cabeese?) The colour was close enough and they didn't have any lettering which was one less job to do and remove it. I was hoping that if I could remove the cupola and replace the roof with a flat one it might be passable for another type of brakevan. So I have de-americanised it!

The original caboose on the left and so far modified on the right
The above photo shows the work done so far.  The cupola was removed, also the ladders from the ends. On the roof I cut some styrene and glued it down over the hole where the cupola  was. I put masking tape over the styrene on the roof, this sorta worked and was designed to give the roof some texture trying to represent some canvas. I have dirtied the van up with some Tamiya Khaki drab thinned with Isopryl alcohol. I am not sure if I will leave the end grab handles there or not. Also tossing up if I should paint around the windows with a different colour. I have to put the stovepipe on the roof and I will add some ventilators if I can source any in O scale. The only other thing I might do is to replace the step into the middle of the van with a full door length one similar to the ones on the NC vans. The second van in the picture will also get similar treatment eventually and these will provide branch line service. These vans are lit as well. I will look through the narrow gauge decals to see if I can come up with a suitable code for it. Was there an ND?
Eden Yard
Well I reckon this will probably be my last post for 2016 and I would like to wish all the readers of this blog a merry Christmas and a great modelling New Year in 2017. We are always looking for new starters into narrow gauge modelling. Come over to the dark side, you're always welcome.

See you all next year!