Sunday, February 28, 2010

Australian Model Railway Convention

Nothing much happened this week except that on Friday I picked up my NCE Mini Panel at Austral Modelcraft. It will still be some time until it gets installed. Maybe next weekend or the weekend after. Quite a lot of rewiring of my control panel to the Mini panel needs to be done instead of the control panel to the DS64's. At least 24 wires need to be moved and shortened. I will also have to re-run my cab bus to where the Mini Panel will be placed - I just hate re-wiring things.

Yesterday I gave my new car its first big run, with a trip out to the Ipswich Railway Workshops and back for the Australian Model Railway Convention. Apparently about 100 people attended. The day included an optional sausage sizzle breakfast, with 5 sessions that people could attend during the day - three before lunch and two after. There was a close up session at the end as well. Tea, Coffee and water was available all day to attendees. Over half dozen shops were in attendance showing off their particular wares with a few show specials also displayed. There was also a 55 minute behind the scenes tour of the workshops. On display behind the scenes was the QR Heritage fleet of Steam Locos as well as 1620 and a DH. As well as the heritage locos, there was also the heritage wooden wagon fleet, quite a number of the old stainless steel suburban coaches and a 3 car silver bullet (railmotor) set along with RM 1901. The privately owned former Great South Pacific Express coaches are temporarily stored under lock and key here also.

I had the unenviable position as one of the presenters for the session just before Lunch. I didn't see anyone fall asleep and there was a fair bit of laughter eminating from the audience so hopefully the session went alright. As this was my first attendance at this Convention, I was surprised when they presented me (as well as all the presenters) with a plaque at the end of the day for being a presenter. I also received a nice little bag with the session notes, brochures, a bottle of water and a few nibblies included as well as a copy of 'Chasing the Sunshine' book by David Burke as a gift for presenting - another surprise. The day was very professionally run by the Workshops staff and I would thoroughly recommend attendance next time if possible. I know that at least one person came from the ACT and someone from the NSW Mid-North Coast.  We also had at least two from Sunshine Coast, a few from the Gold Coast and a number from Toowoomba and beyond.

I had the chance of stepping into the 1720 simulator and going for a fang down the track. While the throttle notched up, I could not get the brakes to work, so I could not stop until the end of the simulation - luckily I had green lights.  I must admit I did not try putting the loco into reverse.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

N Scale Coil Steel Containers

Thanks to PK for lettering the cat out of the bag in a comment last week.  This week I made 5 N Scale coil steel containers, similar to the Auscision HO ones.  I made one on Monday night and took it to work on Tuesday to show off.  Last night I made the frames and cut the sides out for the next four containers.  Today while watching the Winter Olympics this morning I put the four together and this afternoon gave them my el-cheapo spray on Yellow Undercoat from my $2.50 spraycan.  SuperCheap has these on special this week.  They have a blue colour as well that might be close the blue container colour.  I might have to check that out.

The five N Scale coil steel containers

Today I also packed my stuff up for next Saturday's Australian Model Railway Convention at the Ipswich Railway Workshops.  It's an early start with the day starting at 8:00am - at Ipswich.  That means a pre-7:00am leave from home.  Saturday is my normal sleep in day!

Next week I might have some photos from the Convention.  Then my attention will have to return to building the styrene bridge piers and abutments for Cougal Spiral.

Yesterday I also traded in my trusty '99 AU Falcon (all of 79K on the clock) for a new Falcon XR6 (or near enough new). I pick it up on Wednesday - the first day this week without damb meetings. I'll have to have a half day to get it - I think I'm coming down with something already - cough cough!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Ballasts and Styrene Building

On Monday this week, my large package of Auscision Models Ballast wagons arrived.  Three mates at the Club got their wagons on Tuesday night and Saturday at the Club.  I finally put mine on the track today.  They are very nice indeed.  My 10 x NDFF's go well with my existing 25 ballast wagons, various ballast ploughs and a tool vans, along with 8 x concrete and 6 x wooden sleeper carrying wagons and various rail set wagons - one 8 car set for 110m lengths of rail and 2 x 2 car permanently coupled sets for bringing rail to Acacia Ridge for trans-shipment to the narrow gauge system.  Most of these wagons have all been scratchbuilt.

The new Auscision ballast wagons in Acacia Ridge Yard

My collection of Ballasts in Bonalbo Ballast Siding - mixture AR Kits, 1 Rails North and mine

Cassino Chockers with trains - Another 2 ballasts in the loop

My NCE MiniPanel has not shown up at the Hobby Shop yet so I needed to do something else this weekend.  So I decided to build a few more containers of the coil steel variety.  Auscision has some very nice models coming out, but I consider $29.95 for 2 steel containers slightly too much to pay - particularly when you get charged another 10 for postage and insurance - but at least it is per order not per pack like their other wagons.  So I made a few myself just to give it a go.  I completed the first two while the Monthly Club Meeting was chugging along yesterday.  I thought they turned out quite alright.  The first two were basic boxes, the third - which I completed today while watching Australia bat in the Cricket, had the fork lift prong holes in the base and the top even is removable from the base.  However, I did not put a coil steel frame inside - yet! - Shhh - no one will know!

My first two RH Coil carrying containers

This was #3 - with slots for fork lift tonges - and it does come apart

Another view of #3

Bob from the SCR Blog gave me some very good information about his fantastic bridges during the week.  He pointed me to the Mico Engineering web site and their products.  I will need to use modeller's license and selective compression to convert the Cougal Spiral from approximately 70-80' spans to 30' spans on my layout.  I will do a bit more planning around this subject over the next few weeks.

Next week I will be preparing for the Australian Model Railway Convention at Ipswich Workshops on the 27th Feb.  I have been asked to give a presentation on Building with Styrene.  My notes were completed over 2 weeks ago.  I just need to organise what I will take to illustrate the presentation.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

More Plastering

I had an early mark on Friday so I could pick the little fella up from school.  That was his first week of full days.  He had a big smile on his face when he saw me.  Anyway when we got home, I decided I'd throw a few more mixes of plaster around Cougal Spiral.  So this I did.  On Saturday I even went further towards Kyogle Stock Siding and even threw one mix around Lismore.  Given that there was once a small branch towards the river, I have installed a depression in the area between the Lismore station sidings and what will eventually be the Norco Siding.

A photo I took many years ago while on the Bicentennial Train of the Cougal Spiral.

My Cougal Spiral - I just need a bridge and some piers

Lismore with the Norco siding in the forground

Today I sat down in front of the TV watching the cricket and spent some time finally making my Austrains 36 Class run with a DCC decoder.  The loco had been sitting in a box in a number of pieces for quite some time.  I'd guess for over a year.  I had a long time ago, installed an LED headlight in the boiler.  I had also installed a small decoder between the wheels.  I just had to isolate the motor, remove the noise suppressors and wire up the decoder and the headlight.  Voila it works quite well now.  It may need a run in and a bit of an oil before it is released back to traffic.  It seems to run better in reverse than forward.  At the same time I was trying to install a KD on the front of the loco.  This does not look too good.  It is also a bit low.  I may have to come back and do a bit more on this feature.

During the week, thanks to those people on the NCE Yahoo newsgroup, I decided to install an NCE Mini Panel to drive my two Digitrax DS64's point motor controllers for Acacia Ridge Yard.  I don't know why I did not think of this myself.  I just have to wait for the local hobby shop to get one in now.  As it turns out I did not have any money to buy one if he did have one when I visited the hobby shop on Saturday!