Sunday, October 18, 2020

Level Crossing Work and Clothes Lines

This weekend I didn’t do much model railway related activity.  However, on Saturday I went to a Buy and Sell event at the AMRA clubrooms on the northside of Brisbane at Zillmere.  I parked at PK’s and then we walked around the corner.  We queued up at the entrance to the site and recorded our details to be Covid safe.  There were quite a few sellers and lots of items but there was nothing there that floated my boat, but I saw quite a few people purchasing items, particularly some of our Club members.  I caught up with quite a few people to say G’day to.  But I ended up spending no money at all.  That had to be a first.

When I got home, I did some modelling during the afternoon.  I sat at the kitchen table and watched some Bathurst activity and started building a string of another 26 pallets.  I ran out of 0.030” x 0.040” styrene strip.  Actually I needed about 7 lengths of 13.5mm 0.030” x 0.040” styrene to complete the 26 pallets.  I thought I had more of that in my collection.  Damn.  I should have checked that out before I came home from the other side of the city, and I should have popped into the hobby shops on the way home and picked up another packet of it.  If I had, I could have made another 50 pallets today.  That is what stopped me.

Later in the afternoon on Saturday, I did some work on installing the various fencing I had made for the Lismore level crossing.  I am quite happy with the outcome.

The level crossing outside Lismore

Close up of one corner

Close up of the second corner

Close up of the third corner

Close up of the last corner

Today struggling to get any modelling motivation due to the Brisbane Lions losing last night in the AFL and also watching Bathurst today along with the Bledisloe Cup on split screen on my TV, I decided to just make 10 clothes lines to do something.  When at the Buy and Sell yesterday, I saw someone selling one of my clothes lines in HO scale for $10.  It had one of the bracings missing on one of the clothes line arms.  I sell complete ones for less than that.

So the plan is to paint the 10 clothes lines next weekend so I can sell some at the RMCQ Buy and Sell on the Sunday  1st of November.  I will have a lot of detail items available for sale.

The Risk Signal Box with gas bottles out the back.  It still needs some shrubbery added.

More Fettlers

The barrier above the tunnel from North Street below.  This is in Cassino Yard.

The worksite now has witch's hats protecting the work area and the two cars now have P and L plates attached.  One car also has a CB aerial.

Border Loop Signal Box (unpainted) with two signalman and a baby bird in the nest

Border Loop Signal Box close up.

A mate of mine, Greg, has 3D printed a NSW Staff machine.  I can't wait to get a few to paint  up and put them inside my signal boxes.  They will look so much better when Greg 3D prints the staffs and then has the section name stencilled on the staff body!  Hehehe

3D printed staff machine - by Greg

Sunday, October 11, 2020

More Detail Work

Well Monday was quite productive.  It was a public Holiday in Queensland.  I started off attaching some aerials to two cars on the layout.  Big whippy ones that the locals would have used for CB radios back in that time.  I could not resist the great modelling done by the Auscision team and added some P plates and some L plates to two cars on the layout.  I painted up 24 more barrels and have 24 more ready to go.  I have been wanting to complete the scene around The Risk crossing loop.  There have been a few photos surfacing lately on some of the Facebook sites.  So the first task was to make some gas bottles.  I made four out of styrene rod and tube and painted then up a nice silver colour.  Hey Greg – something you could 3D print! 

I then had to do some work on my signal box and station building at The Risk.  While it had been built many years ago, that was it.  First task was to paint the items a white colour.  I did that with a testor’s tin and then hit it with Frosted Glass to take the shine off the paint work.  I then picked out the window frames a nice brown colour.  I realised that the roof of the signal box did not have any guttering.  I got out a strip of 0.060” channel and cut four sides and glued then together with mitre joints.  This was painted with a spray can of Mission Brown from the 4 cans for $10 range of supercheap auto spray cans.  I then glued the guttering to the roof and fixed the roof to the signal box and placed the box on the layout.  I had sprayed the concrete water tank a white colour and the paint cracked.  Damn!  I have since weathered this water tank with some black and brown paint.

I then affixed the sign for ‘The Risk Signal Box’ to the front of the signal box and it looks quite good.  Well it has nothing inside the signal box and no internal lighting.  There is also no signalman, but when I run my timetable there is supposed to be no signalman rostered, as it is a Sunday on the North Coast and the train crews work themselves through the loops.  That will be a tasks for another day.  Hey Greg – how about you make some 3D prints of staff machines.  You will sell quite a few of these I bet!

During the week I added a downpipe to the signal box, but I did not get around to doing any planting of a few detail trees and shrubs around the crossing loop.  Geoff came over on Friday afternoon to pick up some 3D printed water tanks that Greg had done.  These look fantastic.

On Saturday I went to the Club.  I visited two hobby Shops on the way, Austral Modelcraft at Mt Gravatt and then the RC Model Aircraft shop at Brendale.  I was quite impressed with the paint and styrene available at that shop.  Quite a few people from the Club go down there.  So I will try and have a visit there before some of my trips to the Club.  It was pretty busy in there when I was there.

So when I got home, I decided to do some work on painting some wooden blocks a base colour.  I used these blocks to make sheds for the layout.  Four have been painted black on the front face as I will add styrene strip to look like a slatted wooden door.  I also painted two other wooden block sheds a maroon colour on three sides, leaving the front unpainted at this time, as I do not know what I will do with them yet.

Today I painted up some orange witches hats.  These have been placed around the piles of sand and aggregate outside the house in Canterbury Street – opposite the Cassino Station.  I’m sure the local council will not be too happy for these piles to be placed on a local street without some sort of protection.  I have also started assembling the 3D print of a cement mixer for this scene.  I have already lost a wheel off of it.  It went ping into the unknown during the week while trying to ensure it is a nice round shape.  Maybe I will do some more work this week on the cement mixer.

I have been trying to add some more detail to the level crossing just outside Lismore.  I have made some small lengths of road armco barrier.  I have also made up some fencing to go next to the road/rail crossing, and also some cattle grids to stop the local beasts from trying to walk onto the line.  I have also cut up some corrugated iron lengths to be used at a road overbridge between Lismore and Murwillumbah.  This bridge will be similar to one located at St Helena.

PK obtained some bee keepers and hives for me and these have been placed around the layout.  These complement my existing home made bee hives that I have in about 3 other places around the layout.

So lots of work on detailing scenes this week.  Probably more next week as well.

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Inspiration Through Photos

Well for the first time in a number of weeks, I did get around and start and complete at least one of the tasks I had planned to do this weekend.  I added the road makings to the road around Lismore.  This is just outside the Lismore Shell oil Siding.  I also drilled a hole for gates on the entry to the oil facility to be installed.  The road markings are made from 0.010” x 0.030” and 0.010” x 0.040” styrene strip to the road around Lismore. 

On Saturday morning I purchased a packet of 8 sugar boxes to be used as load on my scratch built QR wagons.  I split this haul with one of the Tuesday Nighters – Barnacle Bob, so 4 boxes will be added to one wagon.  I assembled and painted my four sugar boxes today.  I also got around to painting 4 Wuiske cement containers that I assembled last weekend. 

On Saturday arvo I had a visit from Greg from NMRA Div 1 as he was asking some questions about his control panel that he is constructing.  It looks very nice indeed.  I also attended an online zoom forum which was very informative.

Today I was also completing some sheds that I need to deploy around the layout.  I was adding some corrugated aluminium to some blocks of wood to complete the sheds.  The four that I have completed will most probably be painted tomorrow.

So I happened to move a few items on my work bench in the shed and low and behold, there was a packet of styrene 0.010” x 0.040”.  The things you find in my shed. I didn't know I had that there.  I might have to have a closer look tomorrow to see what else I can find.

I must admit that I was totally blown away by the 20 odd photos posted on the Auscision website on Saturday morning.  Truly fantastic modelling.  They must be the best shots I have seen of a layout for quite some time.  It is certainly possible to learn lots of things from studying those photos and to be inspired by them. 

Some things that stand out:-

- I immediately want to add some TW’s to one or both of my road over rail bridges on the layout

- Also a red P plate on some of my layout vehicles

- I also want an orange XD falcon

- The lack of paint on the gatekeepers house next to the railway line is fantastic, as my grandfather's house looked just like that about 40 years ago when I was growing up

- The level crossing detail is fantastic

- The fettler’s scene is magic

- The fuel siding looks great with the weathering

Well these fantastic photos have forced me to look at adding even more detail in a couple of places on my layout.  I will do some of that tomorrow.

Starting tonight I plan to put together the next 48 of my 44 gallon drums and maybe make another 26 pallets.  I might get around to painting some of these tomorrow.  My set of FAMs will hopefully be arriving on Tuesday so I will probably spend next Friday adjusting the bogies on them to run on my heavily graded layout, with all my changes of gradient.  Now I need to remember what I did to my previous Auscision RUB and sleeper wagons.

Sunday, September 27, 2020

I Never Really Got Started This Weekend

This week was a relatively quiet one.  Nothing significant occurred and no major modelling tasks were undertaken.  On Tuesday during the day while working from home, I had a visit from PK, Bus Driver and B2 - three train club mates.  So I took an early lunch and had a chat.  Apparently the three amigos went for run over to George’s shop and then travelled on to my place.  PK had some deliveries for me.  Apparently it was like a mixture of keystone cops and Benny Hill in the car on the way over.  Anyway I think it was the first time B2 and Bus Driver had visited my place to see my layout.  I gave them a quick tour of the layout and they hit the road back to the other side of the planet (I mean city).  That night I put some of the styrene obtained from PK to good use and completed assembly of 52 pallets in two strips of 26.  I was waiting on some styrene for the small boards.  

On Friday afternoon after finished work early I went to visit Lefty and Son to repay them for some borrowed styrene from a few weeks earlier.  We had a bit of a natter for a while before I returned home and never got motivated to do any modelling.

On Saturday I made my way over to the newest (relocated) shop on the southside – Modeller’s Warehouse.  I purchased a few things and I will be back there when he schedules his re-opening sale.  I ran into another Club member at the shop.  Anyway one of the things I picked up was some cement containers from Wuiske Models.  When I got home I assembled these kits.  They went together so easily.  I had planned on painting them up today, but ended up watching the cricket on TV.  So a job for next weekend.

So some other modelling activities that I got up to on the weekend, included cutting up the 52 pallets that I completed on Tuesday night, into individual pallets, but I never got around to painting them today.  Maybe next weekend.  I assembled 48 (half) of the packet of 44 gallon drums that PK delivered on Tuesday.  These were then painted in various colours and cut up and stored in my 44 gallon drum storage container.  I must have between 150 and 200 in there now for placement around the layout and for selling at various Buy and Sell's whenever they restart.  I just realised that I probably need a few more 44 gallon drums myself for the oil case building in the Shell Oil Siding at Old Cassino.  I also got around to adding some very fine wire to one of my clotheslines from the layout.  This wire is to represent the wire lines on the clothesline.  Next job will be to cut out some clothes and attach them to the clothes line.  I must do some rather risque clothing and see if anyone notices when they come to visit.  Another task I did was to cut out and clean up the components from a 3D print that my mate Greg did for me.  The print is for a cement mixer.  The components will be further tidied up this week and it hopefully will be assembled next weekend, and then it will have to be painted.

I had planned on adding some road makings in two locations around the layout, but never got to it.  I make my road makings, like centre lines and road edge lines from 0.010" x 0.040" and 0.010" x 0.030" styrene respectively.  But I think I need some more styrene before I can complete that task in those two locations.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Still Finding Plenty of Jobs to do

Friday started with another day off work.  I was able to visit Captain Barnacle and upload a new version of the single track level crossing code to the Arduino and it seemed to fix the problem.  I did some tweaking in the delay between reads of the outer IR detectors on approach to the level crossing and if I then wound up the intensity of the outer detectors a bit, it seemed to work very well.  Barnacle could throw his points all over the layout and it no longer caused his level crossing to activate.  I'm pretty sure he is as happy as a pig in mud.  This comment in no way refers to Barnacle's previous employment!  I do think it was something in his power circuit in the shed, or even the power supply supplying some of his point motors.  But that is not yet proved beyond reasonable doubt, and probably never will be as everything seems to be running well now.

So on the way home from Barnacle's, I popped into to visit Lefty & Son.  I tried to set them a task and hopefully they have accepted the challenge and have started cleaning the rollingstock and track off a section of their baseboard that they want to make modifications to.  They also wanted to change the second deck, so this needs to be cleaned up as well.  They just need to advise when the working bee is and I’m sure a few of the Tuesday Nighter’s will be over to give them a hand.  I have not yet replaced Raymond’s borrowed styrene as yet, that will be this weekend.

My modelling activities this weekend covered a whole range of things.  I painted up 50 pallets on Friday and sold them off.  I will complete another 50 this week and paint them next Saturday. I installed a small section of chain wire fence that I painted on Friday.  It was only 48mm long, and filled the gap at the end of lane way.  I also installed two small safety barriers that sit above the North Street pedestrian underpass walkway just north of the Cassino station.  This will stop distracted shunters or other crew members from falling onto the walkway below.

I cut up and installed 36 lids for 54 - 44 gallon drums (yes some will not have lids) which I painted in various colours today.  I stained about 50 balsa sleepers to make a walkway that will run beside the track in Lismore Yard.  This will enable the crew to walk beside the wagons and not fall over on the ballast, so they can connect up the pipes for the cement wagons that are unloaded here.  Just more detail around the siding.

I added the name boards to the Cassino platform signs on the weekend as well.  They look quite good.  I also added a number of perway crew to various fetler camps around the layout.  These also add to the realism of the various scenes.  I have also started to add some corrugated iron to a few more sheds that have been sitting around for years.  I found some old corrugated card that I had left over, so now that has been used up.  I must buy a few more packets for the 10 or more shed that I need to complete.  Maybe a bulk order with the Tuesday Nighter’s this week?

My main activity for the weekend was planning for a magnetic uncoupler that will slide beneath the track on both the mainline and the Norco siding at Murwillumbah.  A hole was cut in the baseboard and the magnet was attached to a piece of dowel and it slides between the two tracks and out of the way.  This will be covered by a piece of thin balsa sheet just under the track.  It sort of works.  More testing and some more fine tuning will occur next weekend.  While working in this area, an opportunity was taken to add the bitumen road to the Murwillumbah Cement Silo.  A turning circle was added to the far end of the facility.  I also added a bitumen road and standing pad to the goods facility at Old Cassino.   

The future plan is still to give a number of locos a bit of a test run next weekend.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

More Pallets - Well Almost

This week has been a bit slower.  I had Friday off work so picked Geoff up and we both went for a trip to Aurora Trains in the morning.  In the arvo I continued work on building another string of pallets.  I ran out of styrene and as it turned out I couldn’t pick any up this weekend from any of the model shops.

On Saturday morning I was able to fit in a trip to Austral Modelcraft as I had not been there was maybe 5 weeks.  I was after some decoders for the Club shop, but they had none of the particular model that were wanted by the Club.  Following watching most of my son’s last soccer game for the season, I made my way over to the Club for our AGM.  Over there I had a chance to have a natter with a few people I had not seen for quite some time.  The N scale layout’s top deck is coming along very nicely.  The water scenes are fantastic.  The Outdoor G scale was running with Quentin using his radio control loco, on the first completed circle of track.  The crossing loops and the second circle shouldn’t be too far behind.  This has been a great effort by a small group of members. 

Today I went over to Barnacle Bob’s place to again do some tinkering work on his level crossing flashing light setup.  The setup that Bob has installed, works flawlessly with trains running in either direction over his single track level crossing.  However when Bob throws some points on his layout, the Arduino acts like one of the IR detectors on the layout has detected a train.  I have watched the detector and it did not detect anything.  So the reason is most likely some sort of inductance in the triggering wires or electrical noise.  I have done some reading and now believe that it will be electrical noise.  I have also written an updated version of the level crossing detector code, and I will load that up next weekend to measure if one or multiple detectors are triggered whenever Bob throws a point.  I have some code to perhaps mitigate this issue, but I first need to measure what is occurring.

Another alternative could to provide a better power supply for the Arduino instead of what is currently being used.  This power supply would need a better filtering circuit going into the Arduino, so it filters out any electrical noise.  I will see what occurs next weekend when I can next go over for a visit.

Today I was able to pick up some more styrene from Raymond and Lefty.  Raymond has a styrene stand to rival most hobby shops.  From time to time, I put out an SOS and Raymond has what I need.  I then replace what I borrow from him at my earliest opportunity.  So with the help of Raymond's styrene I completed another 50 pallets and I am one strip of styrene short of completing another 25 pallets.  So with another packet of styrene I can then do another 25 pallets again, making a total build of 100. 

On Friday evening I did some work on my timetable.  I saw a photo in one of the facebook groups with a Murwillumbah bound cement train with a milk tanker as first wagon.  Guess what?  My cement train now has an extra wagon or two or three.  These wagons need to be dropped off at Lismore on the dairy siding.  Upon return, the now full milk tankers are picked up and placed behind the locos again.  That will be an interesting problem for the driver to solve as he will have to run around his train, if he can.  As one of the last trains in the timetable, the yard at Lismore should have enough free tracks for the various shunting to occur pretty easily.  But we will see.

Next weekend may be another change of pace, with some work on a few locos to ensure that they are working again after one lost its address following a short, and some others have had some gear changes.  I might have to check to see if I have snubbers installed in that section of track.

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Still Feeling Fenced in

Well this weekend started with a visit to the local hobby shop on Friday afternoon.  I picked up Geoff on the way and we both had a browse and picked up an item or two.  Next stop was at Barnacle Bobs.  Bob was installing one of my level crossing kits and had run into some trouble.  But it seems that some of his wires may have been crossed somewhere.  So I unplugged them, traced them back and plugged them back in.  One by one, I got his 5 IR detectors working.  Next task was to look at his level crossing lights.  His were from his old Wacol layout, and these were controlled by a module that just alternated the polarity on the wires to the lights and the two LEDs were wired back to back.  This was not what the level crossing kit was set up to handle.  But all I needed to do was to take the wire that Bob had wired to the common, and wired that to the alternate flashing output.  This meant that the two wires from each LED flashing pair, were just wired to pins 9 and 10 (for one light post) and pins 11 and 12 (for the second flashing light post).  Well, that worked and Bob's crossing setup now works just like a bought one.  Well he did buy it from me!

Again another two games of soccer yesterday and then I was able to get down to the shed and did some more pottering around.  I decided to plant about twenty telegraph poles around the middle deck of the layout, around The Risk and Glenapp crossing loops.  These had been laying on their side on the layout for quite some time.  Now they are installed.  I also added quite a few animals around the layout in various scenes.  I purchased these from Casula Hobbies a few weeks back.

Some telegraph poles at Glenapp Crossing Loop

More telegraph poles at The Risk

Dingoes near Cougal Spiral

Some horses near a fettler's camp

A kangaroo going for a run

Some wallabies near Border Loop

Today I did some more work on the houses backing onto the station at Cassino.  Firstly I added a few people.  I found some in my various spares boxes.  So we now have a couple of guys shoveling sand for the cement mixer.  I also have three people on the roof of the shed out the back and they are attempting to fit guttering to the shed.  Well that is what I am trying to portray.  I did some more work making some additional wire fencing and gates for a few houses, and even fitted chain wire to the gates and the fence segments.  I also installed the various wooden fences to some other houses.  One of the next bits of work will be to weather some of these wooden fences to indicate the age of the various fences.  Another task that I did was add some box trailers to a couple of properties that back onto the railway line. 

More traffic signs near Cassino overhead booking office

Canterbury Street house with workers and new gates.

A trailer in the back yard

Workers on the roof adding guttering to the train shed.

The worker on the roof from a different angle and showing the trailer in the neighbour's back yard.

The other house in Canterbury Street now has a gate.

The house in Convent Lane also has a gate

North Street house has fences glued in.

The fencing at the end of North Street was installed and the walkway made operational.

The other house in North Street with wooden fencing installed all around.

The house that sits in Wiangaree street also has fencing.

During the week, I was talking to Greg (our resident 3D printing guru) and he found and modified a 3D print for a cement mixer.  So I await with much eagerness for when I can catch up with him and get his print and then bring it home and assemble it.  After a paint, it will then sit pride of place outside my Canterbury Street house.

The next task is plan for the various houses in these Cassino properties that I have now fenced off.  I will also use my imagination as to what other detail scenes can be added to these various houses.