Sunday, December 4, 2016

Fencing Contractors Return

I started a few days of holiday on Friday and was able to spend some time in the shed on Friday afternoon.  As the headline of this post says, the fencing contractors have returned.  For quite some time, I have had some 0.025” lengths of styrene rod painted grey to be used as rails on the various industrial fences around the layout.  I thought I had quite a few painted up ready.  However, once I started putting three per length of fencing, the top rail, the middle rail and the bottom rail, they were quickly used up.  Luckily I had another packet of Evergreen styrene so I quickly gave them a coat of grey primer and allowed them to dry as I was fitting the previously prepared grey rails.

I use my trusty Revell Contacta Professional styrene glue, which I apply to about 3 or 4 posts at a time where the rail will be positioned.  I then push the rail to the posts where the glue is and allow the rails to set.  I then apply more glue to the next two posts and then fix the rail, and then continue along the posts until I run out of rail length to work with.  I then try to butt joint the next piece of rail to the just ended piece.  Again I apply glue to the next 3 or 4 posts and join this rail to these posts.  I then apply glue to the next 2 posts and push the rail onto these posts to fix it in place.  Again I repeat this procedure over until I run out of rail length.  Then the process continues for the next rail length.

My downside is that I again ran out of 0.025” styrene rod.  I think I will need another 1.5 packets to complete the Rocla Siding and then I will need another 3 packets (at least) for the Lismore Shell Oil Siding.  That will be the next project on the layout.  I will have to try and pick up a few more packets at my local hobby shop next weekend, on my way over to the Club for our annual Christmas Party and modelling competition.  My entry in the modelling competition this year is my Murwillumbah Cement Silo.  After this showing I will affix the silo permanently to the layout. 
The front gates to the Rocla Sleeper Siding.  The road is not very distinguishable from the surrounding ground.

The track entry to the Rocla Sleeper Siding

Another shot of this location. 

Looking further into the Rocla Sleeper complex.  Quite a bit of work is required to build various items inside this industry.

Looking back the other way into Rocla Sleeper Siding Complex.

The fencing continues most of the way towards the rear gates

The rear of the complex.  More fencing to be completed here once I get some more styrene.

On Friday night I went to the Simon Says Hobbies and Games and their monthly modelling night.  I was joined by a few regulars, one being fellow Tuesday Nighter Geoff.  My main tasks for this evening was to check out an old Weissman kit for animated pecking hens.  I purchased this kit about 18 months ago and it has just sat on the layout.  I thought I better get it out of its packet and determine how I make it work.  This will be installed into the Baker’s Farm scene on the left hand side as you enter the shed and it will also need a hen house to be built.  I will try and do that this week during the night sometime.

This brings back a funny story from last Sunday when as I went to pick up the morning paper out the front of our place, my front garden was being decimated by three rogue chooks.  They had my bark everywhere, and had spent the night on my bench seat out the front on my verandah.  Eventually we worked out where they came from and they were returned.  They did not leave any eggs though.

The next task for Friday night was glue the roof on of my Glenapp Waiting Shed.  This has sat half-finished on the layout for a few years.  I also have plans to try and build its accompanying waiting shed over the next week as well.  I also added the ridge capping by adding a length of 0.040” styrene to the high point of the roof and a length either side of 0.040” x 0.010” styrene strip to either side of the rod.

This task was followed by an experiment of staining up a large number of sleepers in a bright new wood colour.  I had a small container of paint pigment that I added to a small pill cup.  I then squirted in some Isocol and mixed it together.  The balsawood sleepers were then submerged into the mixture for a few seconds and then removed and left to dry.  The resulting colour looked quite good.  These will be added to various locations around the layout to supplement the many black and grey sleepers that I have already deployed lineside on the layout.  I also plan to paint some of the sleepers under the track this same stain colour to give the impression that the sleeper has already been replaced by the local fettlers.  I also think I will also deploy a few stacks of sleepers to the various fettler sites around the layout. 

All these little detail items help add character to the layout and don’t cost much money and don’t take much time to create.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Epic Fail!

I did not get around to completing a huge number of tasks that I had set myself for completion this week - so I give myself a big fail.  The week started off with our fortnightly Tuesday Nighter’s meeting at Peter’s place.  My next foray into Model Railways was today.  I had a wedding to go to yesterday so that event bit into my spare time over the weekend.  On Thursday I was able to go to a vendor presentation at work for a number of hours, and I was lucky enough to sit next to a fellow Model Railway enthusiast.  If I was to suffer through a few hours of presentations, I might as well do it with someone like minded.

This morning when I did get down to the shed for a couple of hours, I was able to check out last week’s ballasting.  My straight ballasting sections were very well set.  My dirt based ballast sections needed another flooding of diluted white glue.  Once this was done, I was able to lay another 1m of ballast within the Rocla Sleeper Siding, and I was able to complete the Lismore Shell Oil Siding with dirt based ballast and also complete another 50cm of dirt based ballast in the Lismore Loco Siding.  So this is all I got around to doing on the layout this week.
The bottom track is where the ballasting starts and also where Grafton Yard begins.  The scene also shows the second loop around the spiral and Rocla Sleeper Siding above.  A couple of the famous Kerrie Hayes Jacaranda trees are visible in this photo.

A close up shot of the tracks around the upper spiral.  The Main line in on the left and Rocla Sleeper Siding inside that.  Yes the gates into the siding operate manually.

The southern end of the Rocla Sleeper Siding.  The track exits the tunnel and there is still about 30cm of track to be ballasted here.  The next section of track, has just been laid but not glued down.  You can tell by the slightly lighter ballast colour.

The track just south of Lismore Station.  This area is again blooming with Jacaranda trees made by Kerrie.

A closer up shot showing the Lismore Loco Siding on the left.  This is mostly dirt with very few pieces of rock ballast used here.  The mainline is in the middle and is yet to be ballasted.  The track on the right is the Lismore Shell Oil Siding.  The industrial fence is yet to be finished around the Oil Siding and the two road entry gates are yet to be fitted.  Again all gates will be manually operable.

The southern end of the Lismore Shell Oil Siding.  Again working gates and the start of ballasting at this location as well.

This arvo I was invited over to Shelton’s place to run some Victorian Blue and Gold era trains on his layout.  I ran quite a few trains and at times struggled to comply with all the rules that are not documented and not articulated until after I have breached them.  Also with varying degrees of momentum on some locos and the inability to stop them in anything resembling like a realistic distance, the session is quite stressful and mentally challenging.  The ballistic speed on the Powercab throttle has been adjusted and it takes about 20 turns of the centre dial thumb wheel to go from a speed step of about 60 to speed step 0.  I did not try and see if his Option key has been set to speed step zero, which I think it is set by default of most NCE Procab throttles.  This method of control of using the thumb wheel is almost unusable.  Like most layouts that I visit, it takes time to get to know what locations are in what direction and what track is what.  But this session was certainly enjoyable, but I think it could be more enjoyable with another crew member, and even two crew members.  This timetable of Shelton’s will no doubt be tweaked and improved for the next running.  An overview of the first part of the Operating Session is located here :-

I have made up a to do list for my activities for next week.  Let’s see how good I am at trying to stick to what I need to do this time.

With my next Operating Session approaching, I should try and find some time, to give the complete layout a run and fine tune the bits of track that I have adjusted since the last mid-year Operating Session.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Finishing Some Things Off

I think I will end the year off by trying to complete a few projects that I have on the go.  Today I went down the shed to see what I could do.  First off was laying about 4 to 5 metres of ballast.  The first area was about 1m of ballasting for the main line from the end of Grafton Yard just past the Grafton Loco area to where the ballast currently ends near the overbridge to Baker’s Farm.  I then went to the next level up on the spiral, and did another meter on the Main Line outside Rocla Sleeper Siding back towards the exit from the tunnel at the other end of Rocla Sleeper Siding.  I then laid just over a meter of ballast inside the Rocla Sleeper Siding.  This will be mostly dirt based ballast with a very small amount of rock included.  So I glued only the first 300mm and still have the next 800mm unglued.  I still have about 2 meters inside the Rocla Sleeper Siding and the Main Line her towards the Tunnel.  But that is a job for another time.  I then got motivated to do some more ballasting near the level crossing just south of Lismore Station.  This section of track is about 500mm long, and includes another 400mm of track into the loco siding and again about another 400mm of track into the Lismore Shell Oil Siding.  Both the Loco siding and the Oil Siding will be basically dirt based ballast with very little rock ballast in the mix.

I will check how well the ballast dried later during the week and may give all the areas another soaking of watered down white glue.

I also spent some more time trying to affix the roof to my FAM coach.  The plan is make it removable.  I have now super glued three nuts to the roof of the FAM and it appears that the bolts that comer up from the under the floor do screw into the nuts.  I will let the super glue cure and give everything a final try mid week.  I will then look at fitting the end diaphrams and the windows to the coach.  Then I will need to fit couplers and decal the coach.  It can then be allocated to one of my passenger trains.  That reminds me that I need to adjust the train consists of both my passenger trains as I have my Brisbane Limited sleepers from Auscision to take for a trial run and then put into service permanently.

I am also looking at fitting the railings to the industrial fencing around the Rocla Sleeper Siding.  Following this, the chain wire will also be fitted.  I will also add some signs to the front of the complex and then add some sort of buildings and a travelling crane to the worksite.

Next on the list of things to finish is some more detail to Baker’s Farm.  This is located on the left as you enter the shed and is on the road to the Rocla Sleeper Siding.  I painted up some more white metal post and rail fencing today and will fit that next Sunday.  There a few things to fit in the farm.  There is some more fencing down the other end of the farm and the hen house will need to be built and chickens fitted.  There are also some internal fences to be added to the farm and a few fruit frees and maybe some vegetable gardens.  I purchased some crows and pigs while down at Armidale, so I think it is likely that these will also get a run somewhere in the farm.

I am also trying to work up some courage and get out my No More Gaps again to resume work on another batch of trees.  I have about 40 trees I have at the armature stage and need to be thickened up with No More Gaps.  They will then be painted and sometime over the Christmas Holidays I will glue leaves on these trees.  I have about 20 that are weeping willows that a few of my creeks around the layout need to be decorated with.

I am also thinking that I need to put a few puddles around the layout – next to some roads, in the middle of a field, etc.  I may also put some water in a couple of swampy areas near Bonalbo Ballast Siding and between Richmond River Bridge and Cassino Station.  These are relatively small projects but I’m sure the guys attending my next Operating Session in December will certainly be impressed by this progress.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

2016 New England Model Railway Convention

I have just spent 2 days at the New England Model Railway Convention in Armidale.  It has been a very nice time.  I had the pleasure of travelling down with Darren, Geoff and Brendan and rooming with them for 3 days.  The Convention was well attended.  I think that it had more attendees this time, compared to last convention 2 years ago.  To be honest, when I saw the program, I was looking at some sessions and thinking “I’ve heard that before”, “That does not really float my boat”, “There are no prototype sessions”.  That did not deter me from registering, as there are other reasons to attend.  I get to see some really great models.  There are the hobby shops that come along to the event and have some great items for sale.  There are the demonstration guys showing off some sort of skill.  I knew that there were some ‘subject matter experts’ attending.  So I could talk to them about various facets of their processes or techniques in their special discipline.

As usual we left Brisbane early Friday morning and after a couple of pit stops we arrived at Armidale just before 4:00pm.  There were quite a few fellow modellers staying in our motel.  Friday night registration was a time to say ‘G’day’ to quite a few old friends and have a nose around.

So over Saturday and Sunday, I attended 8 presentations.  I must admit, that I was very impressed with all 8.  I got quite a lot out of some sessions that I made an initial assumption, that they would not ‘float my boat’.  So I guess we should not be quick to jump to conclusions.  I took copious amounts of notes and I have been inspired to try new things, and implement some of the topics covered this weekend.

I captured quite a few photos of various models, display layouts and scenes on the layout tour.  I also had many great conversations.  But, I really had some great laughs on Friday night around the table over dinner and drinks afterwards, and again at the formal Saturday Night Dinner.  Did we have some laughs.  We had three mates gate crash our unit for breakfast on Saturday morning.  That was funny.  I also look forward to apparently a few dozen people attending the Whitebull tonight for dinner.  A few more laughs I dare say.

So for the first time in quite a few weekends I am presenting some photos on the blog – this time from the last few days.
The best piece of modelling I think I have ever seen.  The transformer on Rohan Fergusson's Ashford Mungindi Extension.

The grain outloader on the same module.  This model took out best structure at the convention.  It deserved it.

A great example of weathering a fuel tank.  This model was by Steve Pettit.

A example of the toilet block built using my AMRM article quite a few years ago.  This always makes me smile.

I do love Fuel Depots.  This is just nice.  I hope to have a couple of my layout eventually.

I am trying to make these exact bridge pillars for my Upper Richmond River crossing at Kyogle.

A fantastic model of the Railway Hotel built by Rohan Fergusson.

Another shot of the same hotel.

Any another.

To finish off, this is a shot of two of my room mates taking a shot of a 'Pop-up Layout'.  This is actually a flat pack layout, that unfolds into this incredible presentation.  It was built by Michael Flack.  We were just blown away.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Buy and Sell Bargains

Today quite a few people went to the Buy and Sell at the RMCQ Clubrooms at Brendale.  At 8:30am, 30 minutes before seller check in, there was a queue up of sellers wanting to register.   That eventually sorted itself out and tables were claimed.  I was impressed with the amount of very good NSW outline stuff for sale.  There were some very good bargains.  I also sold some stuff and my little helper took 10% of my sales when I was there and 100% of my sales when I wasn't on my table.  He did pretty well out of it.  I did also charge him 10% of the table costs as well.  he almost ended up with more money in his pocket than me!

Earlier in the week, Geoff posted on some Facebook groups about the Buy and Sell and I spotted in a photo, one of the items he was selling which was a fork lift.  I immediately emailed Geoff for confirmation and made a claim on that item.  I picked it up today.  Upon looking at Darren’s sale items today, I saw a half assembled AMRI platform building going for $5.  Whoosh!  That was the sound of me snapping that one up.  That will go with my two other already assembled kits and I will be doing some cutting and shunting of the various pieces together from the three kits to help create a model of the Cassino platform building.  That, I think, will be next year’s major modelling project.  I also picked up a very nicely assembled Shell three dome Tanker also from Darren's table.  Bargain!  I also purchased a grass tree from Dave at the Modeller's Warehouse.  These look really good and are a new range in his store.

Last week a mate snaffled up a kit for the Stephen Johnson Models 400 class railmotor and the 500 class trailer, at the AMRA Buy and Sell.  Well these two items were for resale today at our Buy and Sell for an uplift of 100% on what he bought it for last week.  I am the lucky new owner of the 400 Class railmotor, only paying 50% more.  These items are as scares as hen's teeth and when they become available they go for prices a lot more than what I picked mine up for.

So once home, I assembled the fork lift.  I have put the AMRI kit on the bench until the Christmas holidays.  I also took the 400 Class railmotor kit apart and have given it a once over.  I think the bogies/wheels will give me some grief but I think I should be able to assemble the kit fairly easily also over the Christmas Holidays.  The Shell tanker has already replaced a Lifelike single dome tanker wagon on the oil train sitting in Lismore Shell Oil Siding. 

This week I spent some time completing the sign boards for the Murwillumbah Cement Silo.  They just needed a structure to attach them to the Silo by.  I painted the frames yesterday and I attached them this arvo.  I also spray painted the FAM sleeping car a nice silver.  I then sprayed the underneath a nice matt black.  It looks pretty good.  Today after not selling two of my old Lima IP cars, which were in the midst of some semi-rebuilds, I did a small amount of work to both cars.  I had a DAM sleeper that I had added a styrene infill to a single window according to a AMRM article.  The styrene was previously left white.  So today – I painted that silver.  Now it is just like a bought one!  I then took my old Dining car, which I was making into a lounge car (I think),  This car I had cut up and rebuilt, and sprayed it silver.  This car still has some work to do on it.  Hmmm!  Both coaches may make reappearances on the layout within some passenger consists in the near future.  Time will tell.

Of course next Friday is our road trip to Armidale and the New England Model Railway Convention.  It will be great to catch up with everyone again.  Drinks in our room on Friday and Saturday night after the Bowls Club closes!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Easing Myself Back Into It

On early Saturday morning I went over to the AMRA Queensland clubrooms as they were holding a Buy and Sell table sales event.  I met up with about 6 guys from the Club also in attendance.  Of course there were many other guys that I had a natter with as well.  The event seemed well represented with sellers and they were supported by what looked like a good amount of buyers while I was there.  I ended up not buying anything, but I was tempted by quite a few items.  I need to save up my money for next Sunday which will be the RMCQ Buy and Sell event at our clubrooms which starts at 10:00am.  I also have the Armidale Convention the following weekend where I have a few items in my sights to purchase.  While over at Zillmere, I also had a walk around the AMRA Clubroom Layout as I had not seen it for many a year.

When I returned home, I got back into some modelling activities.  I folded up another 10 blacks tarps.  I then spray painted four tarps a yellow colour and folded them up.  I then did another 6 tarps in yellow today.  These have also been folded up.

I made up another 3 of my 40’ container flat bases and the have drilled holes for the locating of the end wire cages.  I finished off the cages today.  I then gave them a spray paint.  So some of these are ready to be viewed and potentially sold at next weekend’s Buy and Sell.

I also cut up some small pieces of styrene and painted them blue, so I could add a sign that was created in Photoshop for my Murwillumbah Cement Silo.  The sign has been glued with white glue to the blue styrene sheet to form a blue border around the sign.  These are yet to be added to the model.  I first have to make a sort of frame that will attach to the round silos of the structure. 

I then got around to installed some of the detail items on the rail side of the structure.  This included many types of hoses.  These have been glued down to the model's base.

I then turned my attention to working out how I will take my model down to the Armidale Convention in two weeks time.  I found a plastic storage container in the kids play room today and it had nothing in it.  I checked the measurements and you would not believe it.  It fitted perfectly.  I then cut up some pieces of foam and then chocked the model in place, so it will not flip around in the storage container.  I just now have to hope that everything that I and my passengers need to take down to Armidale will fit into my car.

Did I mention that there is a Buy and Sell next Sunday 6th of November at the RMCQ Clubrooms at Buckley Park, Terrence Road Brendale.  Sellers register from 9:00am, buyers let in from 10:00am.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

I've Been Overseas

It seems activities are continuing to get in my way of modelling.  So I have no model railway activity to report except for the continued construction of a few more tarpaulins.  I created 8 on Thursday night and 10 more this afternoon.  I've also been working on putting some screws into a FAM coach to attach the base to the roof.  So maybe next week I'll get around to giving it a good wash and then the first undercoat before giving it a nice silver colour.

However, the main reason for the lack of model railway activity was that I went overseas this last weekend.  This weekend started with a day of work on Friday and the kids also had a day off school.  The boss didn't get a day off as she still had to all the jobs she does at home - but this time overseas. We all headed over to Cleveland to catch the Stradbroke Island Ferries barge for a nearly 55 minute trip over to North Stradbroke Island.  This was our first trip to Straddie, and the reason for the trip was for Mick and Melissa’s wedding on Saturday arvo/night.  Mick is my youngest nephew on my side of the family.  On Friday afternoon, I ran into a niece (Mick's sister) at the local convenience store, and that night I caught up with my sister and her husband and her two daughter’s, their husbands and their families for a couple of drinks and a chin wag at their unit.

This is the second trip overseas for the kids.  The previous time was Ireland, Scotland and England about 4 years ago.  This one cost a lot less and was really a fleeting visit.

Saturday I ran into a family friend and his wife and daughter while at the beach at Point Lookout also over to attend the wedding, and in the arvo we all gathered for a great event.  The reception was held in a marquee on Home Beach.  This was a great event with 5 out of my 6 nieces and nephews, but all 6 of their families in attendance, as well as my brother-in-law (Mick's dad) and his wife.  The evening kicked on until after midnight.  That was too late for me, as the boss had already gone home to help look after the younger great nieces and nephews and my kids back at the unit.  The reception started at 4:30pm and I left at about 11:20pm.  Boy there are some very bad people in my family, and they hang around with some even baderer people - and they have done this for many years.  I keep running into these same bad people at their family functions.  Well I guess that they are not all that bad.  But now I have seen them all drink out of their shoes.  Did I mention that the reception was actually on the beach!  I’m sure that they had sand in those drinks.  But it must have happened after midnight and it is on Facebook, so it did happen.  I am tasting that sand now just thinking about it.  There was no way I'd drink from my shoes that I was wearing.  Especially the ones that I wear to work.  They have holes in the bottom and I know I have walked through some disgusting things and that has entered the shoe from below especially in the rain!  No way!

Anyway we caught up again today for a short time and some of the boys were drinking mineral water and just plain old water.  Wusses is all I can say!  One could not remember how he got home this morning.  He was heard to say "We drove didn't we as the car is back at the unit?"  He had no idea.  Maybe it was something in his shoe?  My sister drove her husband and myself back home last night so that accounted for the car getting home.  The rest of the nieces and nephews and their partners had to walk over a kilometer back home around 1:00am.  I'm sure they all regret it now, but they had some great fun last night. We could not stay long this arvo's post event catchup, as we were booked on the 2:00pm barge back.  We had another great trip back on the ferry, it was just so calm on the 45 minute trip back across the bay on the Big Red Cat.

We had a really great place to stay on the island with views to the water.  But we had no phone reception in the unit and thus my daughter could not use our wifi dongle to do her school assignment.  Well I think it will be a late night coming up tonight for her.

So hopefully more trains this week and this weekend.