Tuesday 31 January 2017

Look Before You Leap

I have recently obtained the timber for the next two baseboards coming off from Eden. Knowing that I am crap at carpentry, so much so that if I see termites queuing up I will put out some of my work for them to enjoy. Better than getting embarrassed with the end results.
But the choice of model railways for a hobby has allowed my deficiency in carpentry to be all covered up so nothing shows. I even went to the extent to go to the local hardware store and obtained a corner clamp to try and ensure that the corners would be at 90 degrees which I am told is the ideal angle for corners.
Being armed with a corner clamp and also a drop saw which only comes out of the shed on special occasions I started on the baseboards.
The timber was measured up and was put under the drop saw. Now I am not sure if it was my inexperience with the saw, whether it was the model of the saw ( I always buy the cheap ones) but the finished product didn't look too straight. I was hoping that the two crook pieces put together might work but only nearly. So the basic frame was laid out on the concrete and my corner clamp now got its first workout. I think I would have designed it slightly different but for $10.40 I couldn't expect too much.
The twisting in the timber frames will hopefully straighten when I get the cross braces in. With a bit more head scratching, I was able to work out how I wanted the base boards to be assembled to allow a slight grade.
The first "new baseboard" is put into place
The first new board (above) will be "L" shaped to allow the track to turn 180 degrees coming out of Eden. I have butted the new baseboard up to the exit board from Eden and used bolts with wingnuts to hold. As previously explained this part of the layout will be transportable. Where to at this stage I don't know but it is movable. It will be virtually a fixture for the foreseeable future. In the photo above the corner near the door has been screwed into architrave. The screw is hidden and can be easily removed if the layout needs to be moved, it also saved making another leg.

Looking the opposite direction to the first photo. The level was part of the posed photo.
 When I got the first board into place I felt that things were starting to happen. It has been a while since I had assembled the two baseboards for Eden. It was here I was able to test new things (1) a new scale and (2) a new operating system - DCC. So far all has gone well but I need a destination to run trains to.
Yesterday I received two sheets of plywood that I can use for the baseboards. There will be enough to get me down to and across the roller door, the site of the first station. Once I had screwed the corner to the door it was surprising how the rest of the baseboards became more rigid. The second baseboard can be seen standing up in the above photo. Most of this timber came from the old window surrounds from recent renovations. It was destined for the skip until rescued, it is too expensive for landfill. 

The proposed track and structure placement

The next stage after laying out the base - boards is where everything is going to go.
I often just pull up a chair and seem to sit there and stare at the boards for ages. Eventually when something comes to mind I do a dry run with a bit of track and a few buildings, cars etc to get the feel of how it will turn out.
Having made the changeover to On30 modelling the brain has to recalibrated to think differently from mainline modelling. You are now allowed to have sharp curves and get away with it. And O scale certainly fills all available spaces quicker. On the other hand this makes the modelling quicker in that there is less detail to provide in the same area as HO.
In the left photo can be seen the track wandering off up the hill towards the roller door. I will explain the curved turnout template more in the next blog.
Where the black truck is, is where the coal unloader will be and further up the hill is another siding. Think Nobelius siding on the Puffing Billy railway and that's what it will be.

Looking back towards first baseboard
 The photo on the left shows how the track will wind its way up the hill. In this corner behind the track at the bottom will be a trestle bridge on the corner baseboard.
I try in my model design to not have too many tracks that run parallel to the edge of the boards. Trains looks so much better running through curves and it also allows for super elevation to be included. I have stuck a tree into the foam to give a sense of scale. The track is the old code 75 HO used here because it holds its shape better than the O scale narrow gauge track. As well the good old paper templates will show if it all fits.
The baseboard in this area will be around 50cm wide, which is wide enough to have enough detail and also it has to provide enough space for operators between this board and Eden.
I have one piece of plywood leftover that was part of the old Bega yard. I will move it over to the first new baseboard as soon as this stinking hot weather goes. At least the hot weather has given me a reprieve from the painting inside the house.

A two wagon siding, industry to be decided.
 The last shot shows the siding to be provided on board number two. It will hold two wagons and can only be shunted by trains moving away from Eden.
These sidings around the layout will eventually form part of the operation of the layout overall. I will eventually have job cards that will show where all the wagons on a train will end up.
I will outline the reasoning of the curved point and the working of the coal unloader in the next blog.
Sorry gotto go, dinners ready.

Monday 23 January 2017

Floor Shine

This time last year I was right in the middle of a demolition job. That was taking down the old South Coast rail HO version. And almost to the day this time last year I had repainted the ceiling in a new splash of white and then the walls in their new blue colour.
This refresh was truly needed as it had last been painted when the HO layout was started in 2000. No matter how careful you can be there are always going to be marks, stains and dead spider remains all over the wall.
So having done the wall and have it looking nice the floor was not looking too good either. The floor seems to suffer much more abuse than the walls can take. Even a mop over didn't bring them back to the original colour. The floors were last painted way back in Easter 2009. I remember the date well as I was going to meet two Texan guys, Lance Lassen and Blair Kooistra who were out here on holidays. NIce guys, both modellers and interested in the prototype. Prior to their visit the floor was just bare concrete, so this was the catalyst to get some work done. Thankfully a four day Easter break gave me time to get every thing out and up from the floor, have it painted and then put it all back.
The layout is now at the stage where I want to get the future baseboards made so the track can be extended and finally a bit of operation can take place.
I realised that I needed to get the floor painted for its second time so this could happen. Recently, late last year yet another hardware store had succombed to the Bunnings giant and decided to close and there was the inevitable sell off of everything in the store. One of the things I spotted was a four litre tin of Berger Jet Dry paving paint at half price. It showed it being a grey colour which was a similar colour the floor is already painted but I wasn't sure what shade of grey. As you know there are fifty shades of grey.
I planned to get the painting done today, but yesterday after having gone for a walk, purchased the sunday paper and had roll for lunch, the weather wasn't too bad so I put up the roller door, rolled up my sleeves and got the roller ready to go. A lot of rolling going on yesterday.
I carried all the "junk" out onto the lawn ready for the work to begin.
The "pile" outside the shed.
With the can opened and stirred, I had to hand brush along the edges of the wall where the roller couldn't reach. The rest of the floor was gradually painted and I worked my way up towards the roller door so I had an escape route. This also helped in the ventilation as the paint was turps based and a bit on the smelly side.
You can see why it needed re-doing. Not sure I missed the bit on the left hand side

AH the smell and look of new paint!

The next day and looking good
 The pile of timber in the above picture at the left is for further baseboard construction. It is some of the remains from the old layout and other timber acquired. When all the baseboard construction is done then I will try and get rid of the leftovers. It is surprising how often you just need a small bit of timber and is costly to purchase. Above this pile of timber will be the future Thomson River bridge module.
From the outside looking in. Would be good to only have this much in there all the time.
Today I have moved most of the "rubbish" back inside despite the intense humidity. (I hate summer) Luckily most fits under the baseboards. We have two council cleanups a year so I am getting ready for the one in June.
I have already assembled two future baseboards for the next section and hopefully tomorrow I will go to the local timber yard and purchase timber for the legs that will hold up the next five baseboards.
Things are moving on SCR.

Saturday 14 January 2017

Reasearch and Development

Freelance modellers have it made. It basically means anything goes or do what you like.  Design your own rolling stock and locomotives and your own colour scheme, road names etc and you won't be wrong.
Then there is the rest of us that need a guiding hand in following a prototype. But there is also a mixture option built in. You can faithfully follow a prototype such as the NSW railway system but have it set in an imaginary location. This was the option I took up on my former HO South Coast Rail layout. It had real place names but had my interpretation of how that location would look. But no one could tell me that I had Bega station laid out wrong!.
Then there are the sticklers who need to model a location exactly as it was. I can only admire these people, who go to extraordinary means to achieve their goal.
Changing scales for me to On30 and more particularly the Victorian narrow gauge made me need to go out and chase up as many publications as possible in order to have that important 'reference' material. Currently I have purchased twenty four books so far devoted to the VR narrow gauge. These are invaluable to be able to provide information as to how it was done.
Most of the VR lines finished around the late fifties and even though they started at the beginning of the last century there seems to be a big gap in the middle for information.
We have books devoted to the building of lines such as "Steam on the Lens" Volume 2 that was dedicated to the building of the Moe to Walhalla line. It is a goldmine of information. Then there is the other end of the story when it was inevitable that these lines were to be closed in the late fifties and then photographers flocked to these lines to capture was was left at the time. We are lucky they did.
Remembering to my time back in the 60's colour film was very expensive, black and white being the norm for photos. It was a fairly simple process to develop the black and white films yourself as long as you took the precautions of not letting any light get to the undeveloped film or it would be ruined.
How lucky we are now with the digital age of photography that gives us instant results.
Your were either considered lucky or rich if you had coloured film and even more so if you could afford coloured movie film. I remember my first Bolex 8mm movie camera where you would run one side through the camera and half way turn it over and finish it off. Around just over four minutes per film reel didn't make for instant or long viewing times. Added then the film had to be posted to Kodak in Melbourne for developing. A week later we would watch the results.
I came into possession some time ago of some coloured movie film that I thought should be shared with viewers. The quality is very poor and it is silent film but the subject is priceless. The film covered NA7 locomotive coaling at Upper Ferntree Gully then moving to its train for a run up to Belgrave. Reading some of my 'research books' I was able to deduce that this film must have been taken around 1956 or earlier well over sixty years ago. 7A had it buffer beams and handrails along the water tanks painted in red mid 1956 according to the Hobby Publications book on the 'NA's"
Any way enjoy the film, also to be noted the use of child labour on the coal stage and for shunting!!.