Monday 22 April 2019

14th Australian Narrow Gauge Convention

Held every two years in Australia the recent Easter convention held at Erina on the central Coast north of Sydney was my first one I attended. Having come across to the dark side now around three years or so, I missed the last one held at Geelong in Victoria. When I found out this one was to be held just north of my residence I decided to go.
I had this blog and also joined two sites on facebook and was approached by one of the efficient organisers Dan Pickard who was aware of my On30 layout to see if I was interested in having the layout open for inspection on the Good Friday prior to the main event starting on the Saturday. I tentatively said yes with a come back to me when the show gets closer.
This was good and bad at the same time. Good as I had a goal to strive for and although I knew it would never be finished in a year I made an effort to get as much done in the time.
I am pleased to say that I never had to resort to night shifts down there but some long days especially when the deadline drew closer. But I no complain at least the progress was well advanced had I not had a target to go for. There was no plan to get big areas done but certain areas like the terminus at Eden resulted in that area nearly 80% finished. All I really need is to complete some structures like the engine shed, transfer shed, gantry crane and the coal stage and it should be nearly done.
Another project that I finished was the complete surrounding all edges of the baseboards with a fascia. This was a long slow process with the 3mm mdf being cut to shape out on the lawn, then undercoated and moved into the shed for attaching to the baseboard edge. Some sections were screwed in as they might need to come off for wiring access and other were just glued into position. Two finish coats later and it really lifted the appearance of the layout. Another enhancement was the addition of vinyl lettering in white to indicate the location of each station. This I hope will help when operators turn up to let them know where they are. Although there will be station nameboards by way of design some will be facing inwards and be of no use to the operator.
I also had plans of using carpet tiles on the floor and a trip to a used carpet warehouse got a boot (trunk) load of tiles. I put a few down on the floor but they started to slide a bit and was advised that I needed some double sided cloth tape to make them secure. As it was getting very close to the target day I made the decision to just use up the half a can of floor paint I had just to spruce it up. You could still smell the new paint on the Friday. The tiles will be laid at a later date.
So the room was as good as I could get it for the open day. There are now many more boxes containing items that once happily resided on the baseboard that are now underneath (somewhere).
As I was the first layout on the way north for inspection I didn't know what to expect in the way of crowds, were they going to be queued up at the side gate? No that didn't happen.
I was also lucky in that I had a last minute of assembled and painted rolling stock delivered to me from the Black workshops on the Friday morning, (thanks James) so now I can make a respectable train. I even purchased a visitors book for the event and thought it would be a good time to start one. The viewers were staggered out over a few hours which gave me some time to be able to answer any question re the layout. I held the fort till after 5 o'clock and no more visitors came. Relief the big test was over. Inside for dinner and then to get ready for the first day on the Saturday at the convention.
Saturday morning arrived and I headed off in the car up the Central coast and had to find the Central Coast Grammar school. Wow, when you arrived at the outside in the car park you could smell and see the quality. Why wasn't mum and dad rich enough to send me to a school like this? The committee picked a nice spot and it had everything you needed to hold this convention.
I had to pick up my info pack when i got there and met Rod Hutchinson the registrar. I finally got to put a face to some of the names I had conversed with on facebook and other places.
The hall was expansive if anything to me a bit on the big side (after all we were narrow gauge and wouldn't take up that much room) It was a meet and greet and I soon attacked some of the stands with my wallet. These sort of shows are great when all the traders are there together, you don't have to chase around on the internet and going to their shops for purchases.
Government Gums On42 and On2
Government Gums

After the welcoming address the lectures/clinics started in various rooms. i must admit time got away on the first morning and i missed out on the first session. After standing around talking, my legs started to let me know they needed a seat for a while, so I checked out the next session and sat through it. It was quite interesting though and was a talk on the narrow gauge railways of Japan.
Lunch consisted of Subway rolls which were quite enjoyable and are the staple diet I found out for these conventions, a lot less trouble than a spit roast lunch?

The Points - Rod Hutchinson On30

The Points
The Points

The Points
 A few more sessions in the afternoon and around 5.30pm when it had finished the majority of people headed off the a local club for the evening meal and a video presentation by Craig Marshall on the railways of Taiwan, in particular the shay that operates there. 

Cromford Canal Bull's Bridge Wharf - Michael Flack 7mm
Cromford Canal Bull's Bridge Wharf

Cromford Canal Bull's Bridge Wharf

I obtained a drink and then a seat ready for the evening meal. Now the only gripe I may have had all weekend was the seemingly (to me) arrival timing of the meals. The bread roll was dropped off on the plate by the nice lady and I noticed were quickly devoured as people were starting to get a bit peckish. The entree may have turned up around just after 7.0pm and then the awards for the competitions were made. This was a great distraction to any hunger pains that may have been around. The main meal finally turned up around 8.30pm with a choice of a pork chop or a lamb shank. Meals were nice but by this time at home I reckon the dishwasher would have been on. I suppose there were around 200 for the meal so it was probably the excuse for the delay. I believe the meal was going to be a three course one and that the dessert would make a show sometime later and by calculating the timing between number one and two courses I reckoned the third would turn up after 10.0pm. I had to drive an hour or so back towards Sydney and decided to forgo my dessert and told my mate to tell the lady I was at the toilet and you can fight over the surplus dessert. I found out the next day it wasn't sent back to the kitchen. I also had a football game to watch (We only lost by two points) and went to bed as I needed to be up again at 7.0am to start back for the Sunday offerings.

Kinmont - Dan Pickard - On30
On Sunday morning I went up with a mate and we got there just before opening. A few more sales and then off to another lecture. I was going to get my moneys worth today and do all the sessions. Lunch today was similar to Saturdays but were wraps instead of the Subway rolls but still nice. Tea and coffee was available during the day.

Bobcat County - Garry Walden - HOn3
Bobcat County

Bobcat County   
Quinces Landing - Ken Scales On30
Quinces Landing

Trouble Brewing - Steve Pettit - Gn15
Trouble Brewing

The talks were all finished by 4.30pm and the closing remarks were given in the main hall.
I must congratulate the work that the committee has gone to get the whole show prepared   and finished, many many hours have been put in by a dedicated few for our enjoyment. The quality and presentation of the Convention Notes was also first class and well laid out.
So before 5.0pm we had set sail for the queue of traffic that was normal for Sydney over the Easter period. I can say that I enjoyed the event and was good meeting up with the guys that were previously only a name.

Fingal - Simon Handby 00-14


Corrimal Colliery Incline - O & O16.5 in 7mm scale John Garaty and Guy Gadsden

Corrimal Colliery Incline
In one section of the hall was held the contest entries for judging. There were a few categories including dioramas, photos  both real and model, model locos, rolling stock and others. It was mind blowing to see the talent of other modellers all collected here in the one spot. Something you can only get at these types of conventions. The attendees were the judges and the final decision was made off the voting slip. Although the builders names were left of the information signs, sometimes signature work was easy to link the builder to. But they were still judged on their merits. But sometimes when you are a professional model maker it makes it easy to win multiple awards.
Freight rolling stock entries
A magnificent structure of Walhalla terminus of the Moe to Walhalla line

The next one will be in 2021 in two years time. So I hope I can attend that one as well.

Tuesday 16 April 2019

Two to go

Yes only two days to go until the 14th Narrow Gauge convention gets underway on the Central Coast of New South Wales at Erina. Since going over to the dark side, black sheep or whatever you want to call it I will be attending my first convention. I had 'gone over' when the 13th was on but due to other circumstances I couldn't attend.
I was asked well over a year ago now if I would be willing to have my layout open on the Good Friday as part of the convention programme.
Well if nothing else it was a good goal to head for so I agreed in principle with Dan Pickard one of the committee members. Time has flown and that time is now two days away.
I must say the layout room is the best its ever been for the moment as everything that has been on my workbench aka 'the layout' is now put away 'somewhere' So when it is all over I shall start looking for my next needed tool or scenery item.
There is a feeling that with a smaller group of narrow gaugers you seem to be part of a family. The group is smaller and although we might be spread all around the country there is still a connection through the electronic media. I have joined three narrow gauge Facebook sites and will look forward to catching up and putting faces to the names I have communicated with.
There are three full on days, two at the convention centre and the Monday reserved for travelling up to Toronto for the Lake Macquarie Light Rail which is a two foot gauge railway.
My layout will be open for inspection on this Friday between 1.0pm and 6.0pm for convention attendees.
See you Friday and at the convention.

Thursday 11 April 2019


Sometimes I wished I had a micro layout, it would have been finished long ago and I could have gone fishing or something else. No I am stuck with the monster I created but even though I have been slogging away over the last three years I can finally see progress.
On the old HO layout I would do a scene so that it was passable to view but always with the intention that I would revisit a scene and do some fine detailing. That never happened. So when you wish for a monster layout beware they can be a time absorber. Many people with large layouts often have help from friends to help complete their dreams. I have always preferred to start and finish my layout but are happy to listen to comments and advice along the way to the end. I can never imagine Leonardo Da Vinci saying to a mate, "Can you paint the eyes for me while I concentrate on the legs"!
Like a colouring in drawing the more I visit the shed the more blank spaces get completed.


I made a revisit to the trestle area recently and although it is fairly complete there is always something more or better can be done. The trestle area has two areas that back onto the backscene. It was always my intention to fill them in one day with something suitable.
I went onto the internet and looked for suitable pictures that might work OK for a backscene, I just typed in 'images for gullies' or something like that and many choices were presented. It was just a matter of selecting one and printing it out. I think I got lucky with my choice. The original was smaller than I wanted so after stretching the image it was good to go. The sky also had to be removed as it would have clashed with my sky wall already painted. It would be ideal to have some clouds on the backdrop but I was not ready, willing or capable of doing so. I was prepared ahead for this backdrop photo to be placed as when I constructed the scenery up against the backdrop I made sure there was enough room to slide a picture into place. I was amazed that I could actually think that far ahead.

When you look closely at the picture I think there is what appears to be a creek heading off in the distance and certainly would not be the feed for existing waterfall. Anyway this vista is meant to be viewed from a distance and the detail all blends in, hopefully the eye follows the train as it goes over the trestle.
Anyway I was happy with the end result, it gives the scene some depth. On the opposite side of the trestle there is a road that similarly heads into the 'blue wall' I had a photo left over from the HO days that I rescued and attacked with the scissors (again) and put it in position. It is not a perfect blend but for now it will do. I have only seen roads blended perfectly into the backscene a few times and one is on Alan Rockets On30 layout.
Road under the trestle heading off into the distance

Are they looking at the train or waterfall?
Another item that was completed (after much complaining from the bushwalkers) was to complete the bridge at the bottom of the waterfall. This now completes a circular path and it now possible for them to be able to fall off both sides onto the floor.

I will conclude with some other shots that were taken at Broadwater and Eden. Broadwater is nicely situated near the roller door and the afternoon sun can have some nice lighting effects.
Shay NO 12 at Broadwater
8A basking

8a arriving Broadwater

8A will come over soon and get the passenger car for the next train

A well worn path to the engine shed
The train ready to head off to Bega
Well it's getting late and I'm off to Maitland tomorrow on a steam train, more on that later, so I'll go and hit the sack!