Sunday, January 24, 2021

Quiet Week

This last 7 days has been extremely quiet in term of modelling activity.  I did some early planning for installing an Arduino on a level crossing for a demo layout.  So today I packed up everything I need and hopefully I will be able to install this tomorrow.

Yesterday I went to an NMRA luncheon and had a good natter to quite a few members.  Afterwards Darren came back to my place to pick up some modelling items which I forgot to take to the meeting – Doh!  While just walking around my layout and pointing out a few things to Darren, I got some ideas.  These included moving a couple of throttle holders from my bottom deck fascia.  So last night they were relocated to the top deck fascia.  This should provide a couple of extra inches of aisleway space during an operations session.  I will also do a bit of a trim to a couple of locations of the baseboard.  All this is in the aisleway leading to Cassino station.

Another activity I did get around to during the week was to cut up about 60% of my pallets into individual ones from the strips that they are made in.  The rest are cut into 12 lots of 4 pallets mini strips.

I have Tuesday Nighters this week at my place.  I have at least 8 visitors attending, so tomorrow afternoon, I will be washing out the pergola and cleaning the outdoor furniture.

So hopefully I will be motivated to actually do some modelling work on Tuesday, including painting up the first 60 odd pallets in various colours. 

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Kyogle Dairy Building

On Friday I went to Aurora Trains in the hope that they had a Walther Cornerstone building I was after.  There is a God!  I found one on the shelf that i was planning to utilise to kitbash the Kyogle Dairy Building.  With some other stuff in my hands (bogies and decals items), I left very happy.  So while watching the cricket on TV on Saturday, I knocked out 4 strips of pallets.  So that was 104.  I also added the 4” boards to another half strip of 13 pallets that I had hanging around.  I still have enough styrene to finish another 26 pallets.  It is amazing, that after buying 4 packets of 0.010" x 0.040" styrene, I had two packets with extra lengths of strip in them.  So that has enabled me to complete the half strip, and still have enough styrene for another strip of 26 pallets available.  Of the strips that I have completed, the plan is to do maybe 20 in red, 20 in blue, and 40 in various shades of brown.  I will leave the rest unpainted to meet any future demand.

Also on Saturday afternoon I cracked open the Walthers Cornerstone building that I bought at Aurora Trains on Saturday.  I gave it a thorough check over and prepared the various components of the building.  I find it bizarre that these kits have lots of other parts in them, because they make the various sprews do multiple kits.  My plan of attack is to only build one side of this kit, by adding virgin styrene to the rear of the kit and thus I can make my implementation of this kit twice as long as what the kits is supposed to be built as.  So that means I need to make my own roof for half of the building (the back side), as well as adjust the inside of the kit for a base that runs the full length of the new kit size.  So the extra bits in this kit, have provided me with some goods shed platform deck, that I will probably halve in width to run the full length of the new building size.  there are a couple of extra items, and also some detail items, that I might see if some of my mates can use.  I don't think it will fit in with my implementation.

Today I could not get motivated to do anything.  There has been some dabbling with new Arduino for an upcoming level crossing implementation, and testing some motors for my animated whirly0birds.

I can feel a long weekend coming next weekend, so hopefully I will progress some projects.

Sunday, January 10, 2021


Well our plans for this weekend were certainly scrapped at short notice on Friday morning.  We had planned to visit a fellow modeller’s place and have an Operations Session on Saturday.  However, that outing was cancelled when Brisbane was placed into Lockdown for 3 days from 6:00pm Friday evening.  So not to be 100% beaten, we retired to our online forum on Saturday morning and into the afternoon, with us all online talking and doing some modelling activities.  Well I was watching cricket in the background as well. 

While this online activity was occurring, I was getting phone calls and texts from someone, exchanging emails from someone else and having Facebook Messenger messages from someone else.  So lots occurring on Saturday while sitting on the PC all locked up.  In the arvo I mowed the grass and assembled a new stand for the printer in the kid’s playroom, as the old location for the printer has now been replaced with a second monitor by the main user of the PC in that room - the young gamer in the house.

While I was at work on Thursday, PK visited to drop off 7 packets of styrene that he purchased from me so I could do some more pallet construction – among other things.  During this week on Thursday and Friday evening, I completed adding the bracing on my 20,000 gallon water tank.  On Saturday after talking to someone online and showing off some photos I took back in 1988 of the real tank from The Risk crossing loop, I realised that the tank was painted grey/silver before it rusted away.  So on Saturday I painted it grey primer, before I weathered it with Rusty Brown paints.  Also on Friday evening I cut up about 230 strips of styrene to make another run of 78 pallets.

Back on the topic of the water tank stand, I still need to build the front stand attachment to the water tank stand, and add some water pipes.  I was given some information on the pipe sizes required on Saturday on the phone by Cliff. 

The water tank stand made out of styrene 'I' Beam, tube and rod.

The tank painted grey primer

A bit of a close up photo of the painted tank

Another task that I am also working on is trying to add some roof mounted whirly-birds to two 12m x 6m steel sheds on the layout.  Now there is no use just having these ventilators on a building if they are not going to rotate in the wind.  So I am designing a motor assembly and drive train so the two whirly-birds in each shed rotate.  PK has given me this challenge, and he has made it even more difficult, as he also wanted a squeaking sound to come from the shed when the whirly-birds rotate.  First things first.  Now also wanting detail items of some things very different and the first one of everything, I am thinking of having these whirly-birds rotate at two different speeds.  A slow speed and a slightly faster speed.  We will see how this develops.  Brad has done a fantastic job in designing and printing these whirly-birds.  I’m sure they will be available online very soon.

The other activity from last week, was adjusting the sidings in Kyogle, and moving the Veneer factory.  here is shot of that area.

The veneer factory has moved back from the front of this baseboard.  The foreground will now be used for a model of the Norco Factory.

Sunday, January 3, 2021

The Holiday is Over

That heading sounds like a song title.  Well almost as this is not a carnival.  My place regularly looks like a circus though.  Well this last week of holidays has now ended and I must front up to work tomorrow, while the rest of the house stays home.  School and Uni holidays seem to never end.  I have completely lost track of time this last week.  Isn’t that what holidays are for?  I went down to the shed everyday and did something.  I went through the timetable cards that the guys notated and I think I have fixed up everything they identified.  There are still jobs to do, like investigate the headsets, but there is plenty of time for that.  I'm still trying to win that illusive Lotto jackpot so I can go on a permanent holiday but no luck at that as yet.

This week, following the Running Session last Sunday, I have adjusted some sections of track on the layout.  Starting with the section through the last Running Creek tunnel on the way to The Risk.  I ripped up that section of track.  It was very difficult to access.  Once I did rip it up, I was immediately regretting that I did do that.  This section was giving a few wagons some issues with derailments occurring intermittently.  One in particular was by the NSWGR Paybus.  Once the section was relayed, the paybus was working through the section quite well.  I also had some complaints about some other sections of tracks and I was also getting issues when trains ran through a set of points near Glenapp Loop.  Upon closer inspection it was revealed that there was some ballast in the point blade and wagons were derailing.  The point could not be set for the mainline correctly.  I fixed that and then everything went back to normal at that location.  I then fixed up two power jumpers.  For the next major job I didn’t venture far from the Running Creek Tunnels, actually, I went to the deck directly above, and moved the building that I had located there for Kyogle Veneers – my made up name for the industry located at the timber siding at that location.  I have no idea what that industry at that location used to be called back in the 1980s to 1990s.  I also moved the building from the front siding to the rear siding.  I added a backdrop board (still to be painted) to that location.  I adjusted the track in the rear siding (re-directed it slightly), and extended it a bit.  I then took the Dremel to the building and basically cut it in half and it now it sits up against the backboard and looks quite good.  The front track is now the Norco Siding.  I printed out some photos that PK took on one of our Railmotor trips to Casino and I am now looking at building that industry.  I also slewed the siding further forward towards the mainline to make some space for the building.  I ran all the identified troublesome trains except NL1 – The Brisbane Limited, as that will be a future job. 

I have also been doing some modelling while watching TV at the kitchen table.  I knocked off another 26 pallets, and have started another string of 13 pallets.  I will pick up some more styrene this coming Saturday and that will allow me to complete that last string of 13 and then make another 52 pallets.  I will also hopefully have enough styrene for another 52 pallets if I need to make some more.  I also painted up some 3D printed items that Brad dropped off at my place last weekend.  The whirly-bird roof vents look great.  Some were painted silver and places on a shed in a backyard behind the Cassino station.  A review of the photos I took of this shed from the Cassino platform, show it indeed had a whirly-bird on its roof.  I also added two green whirly-birds to a railways shed on the other side of the railway overbridge at Cassino.  Thanks to Brad, I was able to add a mailbox to outside the overhead booking office at Cassino.  I also started pushing out some more steel loads.  During the week, I purchased and assembled another 4 more Wuiske cement bins.  These were painted yellow and added to another one of my scratchbuilt FJC wagons.

I actually got around to constructing the steel base for the water tank at The Risk crossing loop.  Geoff provided me with a single level 20,000 urethane water tank some weeks ago, to replace the 40,000 gallon tank I had at this location.  The Risk had a 20,000 gallon tank, so I must get my scenery details correct.  The water tank had the base added today with the cross bracing also added.  The next task is to add the wire bracing.  Another mate of mine and a member of our Tuesday night modelling group – Cliff, had put together a 20,000 gallon brass, etched nickel silver and polyurethane version of this same water tank and published the review in the AMRM, in December 2018.  This kit was from the Mechanical Branch Models.  My version of the base is an all styrene base.  It will be interesting if I give up as a bad joke, adding all the rigging on the legs of the water tank.  Time will tell.  I will go back to that task after I finish the blog.

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Last Operations Session for 2020 – Might Also Have Been the First One as Well!

This week, I have been working towards getting about 24 HO scale clothes lines completed.  I also painted the last two of my scratch built 12mm wagons.  A quick stocktake reveals that I think I have about 26 scratch built QR 12mm wagons on the layout.  More are planned for next year.

I also had to do some maintenance work on the layout including fixing the headsets system.  I had one plug in point for my head set setup that was broken when I did some fascia work during the year, and I also found two other points that were also playing up, as two wires came off the headset plug in point and knocked that plug in point down stream out of action.  So a test on the layout on Thursday was quick to identify what was wrong with the plug in point when I damaged it when I did the fascia work.  The other two were also easy to fix. 

I did a bit of a tidy up inside the shed by removing many half-finished projects and then got the tea/coffee making facilities ready.  I also washed down the outdoor furniture ready for the crew to come along.

So some of my other down time during the week, has been spent making another 52 pallets.  These will be painted on Tuesday this week.  The next tasks will be to build two more QR wagons.  I also have to add some nice 3D printed detail that a mate gave me to the layout.  More on that next week - or maybe during the week.

Today I had the pleasure of having 9 mates come over (1 other so called mate decided to go drinking somewhere else, two other mates were away with their families) to run a train or two for the last time in 2020.  I had most of my usual crew and Brad along for the first time.  Brad and Marty were there to film some footage for a session to be broadcast on NMRA-X on Monday 28/12/2020 at about 11:00am Queensland time.  We ran 27 trains in the three hour Operations Session.  Some of these trains are very short in terms of time to complete, while others take a long time to run and have to cross sometimes three other trains in the opposite direction on my single track layout.  They can take close to an hour to run.  Some have some rather difficult to follow shunting movements to complete.  Sure we had some issues, but other bits ran very well.  We had some issues with our headsets.  I different one that didn't touch during the week, decided to go down.  I can see a wire off the back of this one.  I think I will have to disconnect the whole headset system and then re-connect it bit by bit and see if I have some sort of crossed wire somewhere, as there is a huge scream in the headsets.  I don’t think the scream is caused by the headset bus line, being parallel to the DCC track bus.

So I recently replaced some of my old NSW RUB cars with new ones from Auscision and wouldn’t you know it, this train caused all sorts of issues when it was run.  So the old train ran well.  The complete new RUB set ran well, but when intermixed, they did not go too well together.  Of course because they ran well separately in their original trains consists, I did not test the new hybrid train prior to the Operations Session.  Guess what I will be doing next week?  A couple of other trains stalled at various locations, a few wagons derailed, my steel train ran abysmally, one loco went belly up and stopped working.  So I will re-run these trains during the next week and try and sort out their issues.  I have a couple of track sections to fix up where some power feeds were displaced.  While the camera crew got photos, I did not get any. 

Thanks to my crew for coming over, participating in the Operations Sessions, and having overall good time.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Merry Christmas

I just wanted to wish all the readers of this blog a very Merry Christmas.

I do hope that you are able to spend some time with the people that mean the most to you.  If you can't be close to your family, try and contact them via online methods (facetime, skype, zoom, MS-teams, etc.) so you can at least see them and have a chat to them.  If that fails, just pick up the phone.

Now tomorrow (the 25th) is well known as the date that the big fat fella that dresses in red (that is not PK by the way) always drops off some presents under the Christmas tree.  So if there is nothing model railway related under the tree, just dip into your piggy bank and buy that new piece of rolling stock that you always wanted.  I give you permission.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

More Wagons hit the Layout

This week started with Monday being a day off work.  The whole family went to coffee and and other nice things and when we got home, then I was able to get to the Shed.  I completed the track installation in Grafton Yard and tested all the electrical work.  I also fixed the three track power issues I had identified the previous weekend.  I did a round of the hobby shops on the south side on Saturday.  First stop was Austral Modelcraft, then over to Aurora Trains and finally to Modeller’s Warehouse.

I picked up a universal joint to help fix a Trainorama 44 class, a packet of 5 x 12mm wheels for some scratch built 12mm wagons, and some other details items.

On Friday afternoon, I started building four of my own QR 12mm FJS wagons without the sides fitted.  This has been a plan for many months.  But Wuiske Models released out some very nice models of FJC wagons this week and that inspired me.  My four wagons were competed on Saturday and I turned two into FJC’s so I will have to add the Cement bins.  I was quite impressed with how they came out.  The two FJCs were painted this afternoon.  I have some plans for building two QR container flat B wagons over the Christmas – New Year break.  One of these will carry 2 x 25’ QR refrigerated containers that I have sitting in Rocklea Sidings. 

During the week I made my last updates to the timetables for the Operations Session.  So the timetable cards have been printed and the cards sorted into timetable order.  The master diagram that says were everything is on the layout (i.e. what track each train starts from) when the timetable kicks off.  It also tries to track where trains lay over during the Operations Session.  What it does not have is any narrow gauge trains in it yet, as it currently predates all but a very simple 12mm trains included in the QR timetable.  So that will be remedied over the Christmas – New Year break when I get some downtime.

Other activities I started yesterday was building 24 clothes lines that someone asked me for.  These will be completed by Thursday – including painting.  I also have plans to build another 52 pallets, again an order for someone.  I also wish to building about 6 steel loads from various flat or open wagons also over the Christmas – New Year break.  I must remember that I also need about a dozen box trailers to be built.  All these activities will only take a few hours on any day to complete.

Another activity that I have been doing this afternoon is trying to make a replacement universal drive shaft out of some brass strip.  I created three universals and they seem to work, but just don't have the same flexibility in the drive train.  Maybe some fine tuning will produce a better end result.