Sunday, March 29, 2020

The First of Many More


So yesterday and today were probably the first of many modelling days in the shed when I am not working from home or from work over the next short period.  Both my kids are now home, Uni is online and school will also be after the school holidays.  I still have to work, and we have arranged for our team to have someone at work via a roster each day over the next short period of time, unless we get told to work from home permanently.

On Saturday I was inspired after reading the latest AMRM and decided to start writing an article for the magazine.  I have a few in various stages of completion which I should move forward.  I just started another one.  I then went down to the shed and decided to upgrade some of my control panels.  I upgraded the Rocla Sleeper Siding Panel and the Rappville Loop Panel.  I used electrical tape colour coded for the Main line, Loop Line and Sidings.  I then added other detail, by annotating the tracks and also added the point motor DCC accessory address to the panel, in case someone needs to manually actuate the point.  So this can be done, by just entering the Accessory Address via the DCC Procab throttles.  So two new updated control panels are now live on the layout.  I have plans to gradually make my way around the shed and update a few more panels, replacing lines drawn on with pencil with lines of electrical tape representing the various tracks in the interlocking.
The Rocla Sleeper Siding Panel.  Mainline in on the outer curve and the siding is in the inner curve.  No expense was spared in creating my panels.  All the panels are attached to the baseboard with a hinge so I can easily lift them up and see what is happening with any wires underneath.

The Rappville Crossing Loop control panel.  This location also has a small disabled wagon siding which has a couple of 4 wheel wagons occupying it.

After I was happy with the first two panels, I decided to continue work on the steel loads I have been making.  I painted up another 60 or so pieces of dunnage for my loads and I think I will be way short of what I need.  Maybe I need another packet of styrene.  The bad news is that my closest hobby shop has advised its intention to shut up in the coming months.  That is such a sad outcome.  I understand that he has a bit of a sale on now.  So today I went down there for a visit and to stimulate the economy.  The sign outside says 40% off.  It also says 4 customers in the shop at any time.  I got down there and decided to pick up some styrene and spray cans of paint.  They had run out of 0.040” x 0.040” styrene strip.  So I got some 0.043” x 0.043” (4” x 4”) strip instead.  I also picked up a few more packets of strip to make my upcoming gantry crane project for the breakdown sidings at Cassino.  I also picked up some styrene siding sheet, but again some of the other ones that I really need to stock up on, were not in supply.  When there I was abused by two reprobates standing outside the shop.  On second look, it was Ken – a fantastic plastics modeller who we see most Friday Modelling nights that we attend at Simon’s shop and Geoff.  They were both calling out to hurry up and get out so they could come in.  You know what, I just slowed down a bit when I heard that.  I also told them to not lean on the nice white car outside the shop and to keep 1.5 metres from that.  That might have also created a bit more banter back and forth.

Yesterday I assembled two more loads of steel, and test fitted about 8 others into my narrowest wagon.  A few were just 1mm too wide,  The issue was that dunnage was not in the same plane.  So I cut the outliers a bit shorter, and gave them a bit of a paint touch up.  So progress is being made.  The loads do look pretty good if I do say so myself.  Today I glued up the last three loads.  This time I gave them a bit of a photo.  So these will eventually be for sale whenever I can next appear at a model railway exhibition or a buy and sell event.
The larger (in length) loads.

The slightly smaller loads in length.

These are the two special loads that I made for my mates Darren and Geoff.

The other thing that occurred during the week was that my stimulus package from Auscision Models turned up.  It only took a week after it was stationary in NSW for 5 days.  I initially thought that the package might have developed Coronavirus and had to be quarantined for 14 days as the days stationary started to mount up.  Yes it runs well, and sounds pretty good as well.  My only gripe is that the volume is too loud.  When I get 5 minutes I will google the volume CVs of the decoder and look at turning down the master volume CV.  I do not run JMRI at home for Decoder Pro.  I’m just as happy to manually update any CVs required that need changes on my NCE system using Program on the Main. 

I think this post is my 650th post on the Blog.  Who knows I might even get to 700 by the end of the year.

Stay out of harms way with all these fruitloops out in the world ignoring Government directions on distancing and isolating.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Still Loads of Fun


This week was again full on at work, so I was very happy to make it home on Friday afternoon, as that meant I had a weekend of modelling activities through social self-isolation to look forward to.  However, this was initially delayed because on Saturday morning I went to the hobby shops.  I had planned to pick up some styrene at Austral Modelcraft.  I picked up two packets for steel loads 'I' and 'H' beams, but the 0.040” rod and 0.040” x 0.040” strip sections in the styrene stand were empty - damn.  So off to Aurora Trains, and then I decided to buy way more than I thought I needed.  I cleaned him out of 0.040” rod by buying two packets and then decided to also pick up a 0.047” packet for good measure.  I also picked up the required packet of 0.040” x 0.040” strip, but this time I left more for other people.  I was not a same class at the 'Dunny paper' hoarders, or is that just a Queensland thing at the moment?

When I got home I went to the shed and started work on building some steel loads.  I cut up some styrene and made lots of dunnage.  I then painted the items.  I also received a late text from Brendan saying that there was a BBQ at his place tonight.  I assumed that Darren and Geoff were also going to be there and I was correct in my assumption.  We spent the first bit sitting around his large outdoor setting with just the 4 of us in his pergola.  Each having their required 4sq m to themselves.  After our feed of snags, we went to his layout and then assisted him solving a dilemma about how to fit the tortoise motors under his layout through maybe a 75mm foam base.  The brainwave came, and he spent his time at the modelling table creating an add-on brass attachment (prototype) to his tortoise point motors.  The first one apparently tested correctly and he is absolutely thrilled, and many more were churned out during the evening.  There may be a future article coming on his solution in a model railway magazine.

So when we retired to his dining room,I just sat at the far end of his modelling table, with the four of us at each end of the table filling up a greater then 16sq m dining room, again keeping to the governments recommended of 4sq m per person.  We also regularly disinfected our throats with adequate amounts of alcohol to keep the corona virus away.  I spent the time, assembling the components that I cut and painted up during the afternoon.  Just before I came home, I cut up the two packets of ‘H’ and ‘I’ beam steel so I could work on them today.

Today I went back down to the shed and continued utilising all the styrene that I had left over from yesterday.  There is none left now, all 6 packets are used up.  I also dipped into some other packets that I had around utilising some other styrene shapes, like square tube, round tube for other loads.  I painted up more loads of steel beam, steel rod, steel tube, wooden dunnage and also weathered two WAOX wagons after seeing some fantastic photos of Rohan Fergusson’s wagons on facebook.  I happen to glace at two WAOX wagons on my layout and they were pristine in appearance - I couldn't have that.  Not any more!  All of less than 5 minutes work and they are very acceptable for redeployment back on the layout.  They are now decrepit and very dirty, and back on the layout.  Thanks for the inspiration Rohan.

So I have completed about 6 loads, and just have to glue another 6 loads together.  While at it, I thought that I might make two other loads for my mate’s layouts.  One load will fit a BDX wagon, and another would kit a K wagon.  So next time I see these guys they will get a present.  That was to be this Tuesday but our get together has now been cancelled.  I really can’t complain about that in the current environment.  I wish the stupid people who continue to flout the rules when they have the disease just get locked up somewhere without medical care.  Good old Darwinism at its best.  Survival of the fittest.  I have two relatives who were on one of those cruise ships that docked in Sydney last Friday.  At least they will wait it out at their home for 14 days.  But again, I'm sure they don't have it as they were also self medicating with anti-bacterial alcohol while on board the ship.

Keep safe everyone.  I still have to go to work this coming week.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Loads of Fun


I came down with a cold early this week, and to save my fellow Tuesday NIghter mates from catching it, and from me being receiving the brunt of Coronavirus jokes, I did not attend our get together this week.  I believe Arthur had another train load of newly scratch built QR wagons on display.  What a Guru this guy is!

On Saturday this week, I made my way via a local Hobby Shop to the Club for our monthly meeting.  I picked up some decoders for the Club and some styrene for me.  The Club was almost deserted.  By meeting time, maybe half the normal numbers were in attendance.  Maybe the others were queuing for dunny roles a local shopping centre somewhere? 

Today I got my styrene out and cut up some ‘I’ and ‘H’ beams – enough for 4 wagon loads, and then gave them a paint.  My next task was building some bundles of steel bar loads from 0.040” styrene rod.  I made 10 of these bundles, and gave them a paint.  I then decided to make two 4 x 4 bundles of square steel posts ifrom 0.040” x 0.040” styrene strip.  The inside bars of the bundles were only visible on the ends, to same a small amount of styrene strip.  These were also painted up.

A task next week, is to paint the ends of the steel bar and steel posts a different colour.  This was used to identify the size of the steel item when in racks in a yard.  Me, being the smart fella I am, I used up all the 0.040” x 0.040” styrene strip I had on these bundles before realising that I was using it for my 4” x 4” dunnage between the various styrene steel loads.  Whoops!  What a dork!  Oh well, that just means another trip to the hobby shop next Saturday for some more styrene so I can continue on my load making quest.  I can then make some more dunnage and then paint it a wood colour and that will allow me to assemble the loads for eventual resale.

However, it appears that the next few model railway exhibitions in Queensland in March and May this year have already been cancelled.  So that now raises the question, what will happen to the model railway convention in Sydney and the Rosehill Model Railway Exhibition in June that I was attending?

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Another Wagon and More Loads


So this week I went for a scout around the model railway shops for the first time in a while.  I visited Aurora and picked up a 10 packet of Wheelie Bins.  I also dropped off some flyers for our show at Simon’s.  After visiting Simon’s I went a few doors down and visited Jaycar and picked up the components that I needed for the last incinerator I was making.  So that was Saturday all wrapped up.

Sunday I assembled the 6th power supply for my incinerators, and put together an additional power supply for the next project.  I then decided to complete the ribbing on a scratch built QR HWA wagon.  I then added the under floor truss rods.  Once that was complete, I sent the wagon to the spray booth.  So that was given a once over of light grey and is now sitting on the track in Acacia Ridge Yard awaiting a load.  I decided to give another of my HWAs a bit of a touch up paint job.  There was some sections of white on the underside of the sides that could be visible when operating the wagon, particularly when looking up from underneath.  So I cleaned this issue up.  

Now back in the mood for doing some styrene work, I decided to build two loads for some other QR open wagons.  These would be steel loads similar to what Arthur had previously built.  They would consist of an ‘I’ beam base and some steel rod lengths on the other end of the wagon.  So the ‘I’ beams were painted silver and then weathered with a distant dusting of mission brown.  I still might add some light brown colour over this in the future.  I then cut up the steel rod lengths and built them on top of some scale 4” x 4” (0.040” x 0.040”) styrene to represent dunnage.  In the future I will not glue to the rod to the dunnage until I have painted each separate colours.  I sprayed the rod and the dunnage silver and then picked out the ends of the rod in red and then tried to pick up the dunnage in a wood colour.  I then painted a lot of other dunnage lengths the same wood colour that were already glued to the large ‘I’ Beams on the base of the wagon.  My plan is to pick up some styrene next Saturday on the way to the Club and build up a few more loads (3 or 4) of steel for some more wagons next Sunday.

I also went back to Jaycar today to investigate method of showing what trains are in my hidden sections of track.  I could use a doorbell camera, a reversing camera, or some cheap IP wifi cameras that can broadcast to a tablet that could be used by North Coast Control, or just on a tablet fixed above the layout.  I will keep looking.  What I really need is one of those cheap security systems that you used to see in some stores where there was 4 black and white camera outputs displayed on a screen.  My issue is budget.  I won't be able to spend much money on this.  But I can’t find these old camera systems on ebay.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Closed Down and an Operations Session


On Saturday on my way with my chauffuer Shelton to an Operations Session at Darren’s we went past an old dear landmark that I first visited many years ago.  This landmark was a park on the left hand side of the road outbound on the Mount Lindesay Highway at North Maclean.  Many years ago, I visited this park, with a dear old mate - Mike, to take some measurements of the toilet block and the picnic tables.  Both these items were the basis of two articles that I had published in the AMRM many years back.  The picnic tables article appeared in the April 2006 issue, and the Toilet Block article appeared in the June 2007 issue.

The park had a locked gate across the front driveway and looked slightly overgrown.  The picnic tables looked like they had been removed.  It was a sad day.  I’m sure if Mike was still alive, he would also shed a tear both in sadness at that park shutting down, and then in laughter as we reminisced at what we did that day – two men with a tape measure and pen and paper walking around a toilet block measuring things.  But we had to do it only when no one else was using the park, in case they looked at us strangely and called the local constabulary.  We might have been strange, but we were not weird.  That would be PK.

Anyway, at Darren’s we were met by of course Darren, Jeffrey, Malcolm, Brendan, Iain and a local observer Jack.  I paired up with Jeff as the Bearded Warriors for the first train.  

This is the overall view of Darren's Layout.  Photo by Darren.

The job board.  I wrote our crew names on the wrong line for the first lot of jobs.  Photo by Darren.

This was train #109 a perway special coming off the hidden siding representing Binnaway and into North Gulgong Yard.  Here the guard's van was swapped end, and the train made its way to Mebul Road Ballast Siding.  There we dropped off 6 empty ballast wagons.  As there was no intermediate staff instrument at that location, so we had the staff and the train crew of Shelton and Malcolm, were hurrying up and waiting at Goolma for the staff, so they should pull forward of the loop and shunt back into the sidings and swap three loaded wheat wagons for 3 full ones in the siding.  But as we still had the staff, they just had to wait.  We soon arrived and started removing two sleeper wagons and MLE or rail from the perway siding.  At this location we dropped off the guard’s van and then completed our duties.  We then played a game of 'you scratch our back and we’ll scratch yours'.  We had the other crew pull our train forward so we could pull their grain wagons out from under the bin and replace them with three others they left on a run around track.  We let them head back to North Gulgong first and then we followed when the section was clear.  Again we had to end for end the guard’s van and then drive the train back down the hidden siding to Binnaway.  It was then time for crib.  This process took about 59 minutes of operating time.
This was where it was all happening at Goolma.  The brains trust swapping wagons around.  Photo by Darren.

Back at Nth Gulgong, the train has run around, and the train is about to head back into the hidden siding.  Photo by Darren.


I think my drink is empty and I am about to get a refill.  I could not wait for the train to hit the siding.  Photo by Darren.

Following crib, the Creek Street Crew took the second train.  This was a freight train that came from Dubbo on the cross country line and was supposed to travel to North Gulgong Yard to do some work.  However, there was a train coming the other way.  It was a mixed freight crewed by Iain and Brendan.  As soon as they arrived and sunk their staff, there was a bit of bickering between the signalman at Goolma and the signalman at North Gulgong as to who was to get the next staff.  This was resolved by the Train Control as he advised with the freight in the back platform road at Goolma and the freight just arrived on the main, there was no room for a third train.  Until the cross country freight has left the location, the other freight cannot gain access to the various tracks at the back of the location.  Once we were given the staff, our train left Goolma and ran to North Gulgong and then had to do a truck load of work picking up 9 wagons from 6 locations in the yard.  

This is the X2010 form used by Darren for Train Number 160.  Forget what the form says it is a typo.  Photo by Darren.

Fiddlesticks.  I'm starting to pull what was left of my hair, until I realised that Jeff as the second person and the holder of the above X2010, for Train number #159 and its return train #160, he had to work out the moves.  I just had to do them and not push anything into the dirt.  Photo by Darren.

We spent the entire time working on perhaps the first third of the layout.  We did not extend farther out to Gollan and Wattle Flat, after which the layout is named.  Perhaps next time?  Plenty of chatter and laughs, great company, cold drinks and good nibblies, and I did not have to drive.  What more could a person want?  

Today I went down the shed for a couple of hours and started assembling another 6 incinerators.  I completed 5, but I did not have the components available to make the power supply for the last.  I will visit Jaycar next weekend and pick up enough components to make another 5 power supplies and put them away for later use.  These incinerators take in input power, DCC or DC or even AC and rectify it and then supply it to my flickering yellow LED.  I had request a couple of weeks ago for a few, and I only had one sitting around.  So I thought I might make a few more.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

No MoJo


This weekend was very slow with most of the time spent in front of the TV watching the V8s.  I did get to the shed for about 15 minutes on the Saturday and I inspected the 5 wagons I sprayed with Frosted Glass last weekend, and turned them around and sprayed the other side using the same technique as the week before.  The two Banana wagons were put back into their siding at Lismore and the other three Limestone wagons were left to dry in Acacia Ridge Yard.  So that was it.  I could not get motivated to do anything else.

I have been tossing up how I was going to build a model of the gantry crane that existed in the breakdown sidings at Casino.  Datasheet G5 has the crane that existed at Kyogle and I have built this one.  I don't think there is a datasheet that covers the crane at Casino.  The Casino crane looks like a must heavier looking beast, as it was not for lift loads, but probably locos while bogies might have been replaced.  I have seen one photo of the crane in the Breakdown sidings on one of the Facebook groups but that does not allow me to work out the height and footprint, and the sizes of the various girders that I need to build a model.  So if anyone has any photos, I’d be happy to receive a copy, or if they have a plan of that crane, you would be a lifesaver.

It just so happened that on Tuesday this week while I was going through my email at home, I clicked on my blog and I noticed the interesting number of hits.  It was 444,444.  So I had to take a screen shot and keep it for prosperity.

Tuesday Night this week we are going to Cliff’s.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

NMRA Meeting for Div 1


We visited Shelton’s place on Tuesday this week.  He had some minor track realignments in his layover tracks or staging area.  He has two tracks where I thought there was once 3, but I think he can install four tracks in the area.  This would allow him to have a few more trains just sitting there that can enter and leave the layout to run past.  It will also give him more variety as he does a lot of breaking up and reassembly in his various sidings.

On Saturday the NMRA division 1 group went to a local business that was run by one of the members (Gary) and more than 30 people turned up.  We also had someone from Bundaberg live stream in, along with a group of people from Lismore.  So we used technology to allow people who could not travel to us to also attend the meeting.  We had Gary run us through some of his fantastic machinery.

There were other presentations during the day, I did one on building loads in particular the rail loads for my rail carrying AKFX wagons, but I also showed off a couple of steel carrying wagons in NSW NOBX wagons and some QR HWO wagons.  The reason was to show members how simple it is to add a load to a wagon.  In my session, I showed some rail stacks for my AKFX wagons in varying states of completion.  I had 4 lots of rail all painted and completed.  Another was completed but not painted and two more were just frames, with the central rail and the two outer rails in place.  On one of these frames I installed 6 more lengths of rail on one side of the frame to give an example of how I do that work.  I then painted the unpainted completed rail stack and that took all of about 30 seconds.  We had a presentation on making conifers by using the twisted wire and hemp method using some ready made tool.  The outcome was quite realistic.  My issue is there are not many of those types if trees around the area I model, so I can't make many.  They are certainly a north American tree.  Gary then gave a very interesting presentation on weathering with paints and pigments and he also has a collection of chalks and pencils.  The couple of wagons that he did do some work on turned out very nice indeed.  I also spent about 3 minutes at the very end, giving a demonstration of the Frosted Glass spray can just giving a dull coat to four pristine wagons.  To me every wagon needs to be weathered somehow and nothing should be presented on a layout in pristine format straight out of the box.  It needs some form of enhancement.

Today I spent a small amount of time at the modelling desk.  I added the 6 other lengths of pseudo rail to the half completed rail stack that I started at yesterday's modelling clinic, and then completed the second frame.  I then painted both of these and I just need some 4” x 4” dunnage to separate the rail stacks in my wagons.

As my can of Frosted Glass had run out I visited Bunnings and picked up a new can.  The old one had lasted a couple of years so I can do a lot more work on some wagons my wagons in the coming weeks.  But I could not wait and once I got home I gave about another 10 wagons a bit of a dust up with Frosted Glass.