Sunday, May 30, 2010

More of the Same and Some Insane

This week I continued along the telegraph pole theme.  I super glued the bits of wire to steady the arms to about 5 poles.  Another 10 still left to do.  I hate this job.  In the mean time, I got stuck into another 30 poles. This time with two crossarms in stead of teh three arms that I did last week.  However, I have not added any insulators to these as yet.  I also got around to de-flashing the Ian Lindsay kit of 30 crossarms with 6 insulators per arm.  I painted the 30 crossarms a Bulldust colour.  I then touched up the 180 insulators with a white colour.  After doing this I attached 17 crossarms to some code 40 or 55 rail.  I'm not sure what code it actually was.  I found my last length of code 75 rail in the shed, and cut up another 13 posts.  The smaller code certainly looks better than the code 75.

I also cut up my remaining styrene to produce a few more Coil Steel Containers but ran out, so I made a trip to the hobby Shop on Saturday Morning after my Son's soccer game was cancelled, and guess what - they didn't have any either.  So later the afternoon, I went to the Silkwood Mauraders Shop and sure enough Raymond had my two sizes of styrene, so I bought them off him.  Did I mention that they now have a blog - look under "Silkwood Depot" in my list of non NSW blogs.

I have now made up one new complete container and partly assembled 3 others.  I have run out of the corrugated sides for the rest of the containers.  I'll just have to wait for it to arrive from OS.  I now have three different paint schemes on my containers.

Coil Steel Containers in the three colour schemes so far

While I had the stain out this weekend for all the telegraph poles and cross arms, I thought I might try and stain a tarpaulin or 10 that I had made out of the wife's tea bags.  I had previously folded a few tea bags up to resemble folded tarps to put inside a few wagons.  These kept unravelling so I am yet to decide if I will put some sort of rope tie around them to keep them folded.  However, after staining while in the folded position then have now retained their folded shape - so I don't really need the rope ound them.  So the question out there to those more knowledgable than me - Did they get tied up with rope when folded on a wagon?

 The work mat - single, double and triples arm poles, unassembled posts, unassembled cross arms and tarps along with a couple of coil steel containers

I also installed my 6 Coil Steel Cradles on two old Lima 2 wheel wagons I kitbashed many, many years ago now.  I cut off the standard Lima wheels and installed AR Kits bogies on them, permanently coupled them and in pairs and added KD's to the ends. I had to cut off lots of the old Lima wagon sides to make them resemble a generic NSW wagon.  I have two pairs of these wagon sets.

Two coil steel flats sitting on the old Lima wagons in Acacia Ridge Yard

The Tuesday Nighters are coming to my place this Tuesday, so I needed to vacuum the shed this afternoon as well as clean down the benches and the sink.  It has been quite some time since I have given the shed a vacuum.  So once finished vacuuming in the shed, I thought I might make a few little scenes come to life a bit more and give the guys a laugh or two or three.

We have the Fairy Hill Farmer caught in his outhouse.

We have also caught a lady out the back of the Fairy Hill Community Hall king use of the conveniences

Additionally it looks like PK was lucky in his endeavours to meet one of the young ladies from near Running Creek when he was out photographing wild birds - if you know what I mean!  It seems he was staying at Ron and Margaret's B&B off Fairy Lane.

Is that PK in through the window?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Telegraph Poles

Saturday morning this week I got the gray spray paint can out and hit my 6 coil steel cradles with the paint.  At the same time I also painted three of my scratchbuilt coil steel containers a gray colour as well.

Later in the afternoon I turned my attention to completing some of the 14 other Telegraph Poles started the previous week at Geoff's modelling night.  Progress was very, very slow, as I cut off each insulator and dipped it in white glue and tried to attach it to the crossarm. 

After taking the kids to a disco at school on Saturday night and spending the whole night thinking about what I was doing with the assembly process, I thought that instead of dipping the insulator in white glue and then placing the insulator on the arm, why not put white glue on the arm and then just placing the insulator onto the now tacky arm.  When I tried this on Sunday, the speed improvement was exponential.  It was quite a relatively quick process to fit the rest of the insulators.  Progress again sped up when I used a Dick Smith's helping hands gadget to hold two crossarms (one on each side) while I added the insulators - instead of having the cross arm on my cutting mat and having it move all around the place. 

Back to Saturday night - when I first arrived at school on the Saturday Night, the Principal came up to me and said he saw you on TV a while back.  He said I knew you were into model trains but not that much into model trains.  What he was refering to was the Sunday night of the Brisbane AMRA Exhibition, the ABC News had a story on the Show and I got a small speaking role.  Apparently the clip was repeated on the Monday National ABC News around midday.  One of the guys at work based in Melbourne emailed me about it.  It is indeed a small world.

Back to modelling!  This morning before I got stuck back into my insulator work, I went to SuperCheap Auto to pick up a spray can of light blue paint.  This will be used on my next lot of Coil Steel Containers.  I will put together a few more Coil Steel Containers this week and next week, after I get some more 0.080" x 0.080" styrene of which I have now run out of.  Why do I always check on Sunday instead of Friday?  If I had checked the styrene situation on Friday I could have gone to the local hobby shop on Saturday to pickup a packet - Hey Raymondo do you have one?

I also dropped into the local cheap shop to pick up one of those bulk packets of Super Glue for $2.00 to attach the wire stablisers from the telegraph pole to the cross arms - BUT THEY DID NOT HAVE ANY!  That has to be the first time ever, that one of those cheap shops did not have any super glue.  Anyway while I was perusing the aisles, I came across a three pack of markers labeled "Furniture Touch Up Kit".  It contained three colours of brown permanent markers.  So I grabbed the $2 packet and when home proceeded to test them on the track work around Cougal Spiral.  The two light colours were too light for track painting, but the dark colour produced the same result as using the whiteboard marker that I had been using.  Two coats and very passable.  The light pens I will use on various woodwork around the layout to give it some colour variety.

So this afternoon I completed applying the 6 insulators to each of the 42 post arms.  I then found an old Ian Lindsay kit that contained 30 Telegraph Pole Crossarms and Insulators.  This week I will tidy these up, remove flash, and apply these to some Code 40 or 55 rail I have laying around, as the telegraph post.  Looks like I will have to get another length of rail this weekend as well.

Above is the work station setup on the kitchen table so I could watch TV and work.  Top left is the gray Coil Steel Container I painted yesterday, below that the stained telegraph posts, and below that the remaining crossarms awaiting insulators.  On the right hand side are the various completed crossarms and bottom right is my completed pole from last week.  Also visible top centre is the 3 pack of Markers.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sunday Buy and Sell Bargains

Sunday morning I received a phone call from Darren asking if I was going to our Club's Buy and Sell.  I was talked into it and not long later he picked me up and we went to see what we could offload.  I don't think I have ever sold more than I have bought at a Buy and Sell and today was no different.  There were at least 15 sellers tables there and many more buyers coming through the Clubrooms for a gold coin donation and partaking in our sausage sizzle with softdrink and tea or coffee.  The Clubroom HO and N scale layouts were operational and a few people that I spoke to at the Brisbane Train show 2 weeks ago also showed up and talked about joining the Club.  This all makes it worthwhile for our Club to stage one of these events.

I picked up a set of 6 Kibri Power Transmission Poles that I thought would look good around Fairy Hill Loop.  I do plan to actually install some powerlines on these once I work out where they will go and how far they are apart in reality.

Some of the power transmission poles just temporarily placed around Fairy Hill Loop

I also picked up a number of cars - some scale and some just toys.  The Australia Post van was $5, but the rest were $15 the lot.  Some are scale 1:87 cars when I look underneath.  Some are just great models and most are right hand drive.  I think 4 are porsches.  Looks good for the Porsche Club to visit one of the locations on Cassino in the future.  Brilliant bargains!  Mind you I don't have enough roads on the layout for all these cars yet.

The car selection from today's Buy and Sell raid

I also picked up a weathered dummy XPT power car and another coach for $10. I will eventually do some swapping of bogies, car shells and car walkway connections with some of my existing wagons.

A Friday Night Modelling

I think it was on Wednesday night I received an email from Geoff advising of a potential modelling night at his place on the Friday at 7:30pm. I responded that I'd be there if his fridge was full. So I thought about what I would work on during the modelling night. When I made my way to the shed to get some items out, I glanced at a couple of areas on the layout and thought that it was about time that the humble telegraph pole made an appearance - adding a bit more detail to a few more scenes. Being a model of the NSW North Coast in the period pre-CTC, we needed to have many lineside telegraph lines simulated. I had managed quite some months ago to salvage a damaged telegraph pole off the old Club HO Scale layout - Wherawe which was being scrapped as I thought it looked good and I might be able to use that as a template for some on my layout. I believe that the one from the Layout was built by Jim Hutchinson (our Club's first Master Modeller) and it did look very nice although it was now damaged.

A bit of History. Besides our normal Tuesday fortnightly get togethers, a subset of the Tuesday nighters attend running nights on my layout - when I get motivated to arrange one, and even less often modelling nights at Geoff's. Besides engaging in our modelling interests we talk a lot of B.S., have lots of laughs and have a great time.

So on Wednesday night I started gathering components for Friday's task. I started cutting up a lengths of 3mm dowel as the telegraph pole posts (I got 15 out of one 900m length) and then cut up some Kappler HO scale 6" x 4" wood into 45 cross arms - 3 per pole. I then thought about what I might use for the insulators on each cross arm and how to join the insulators to the cross arms. I earmarked a selection of styrene rod and tube sizes and brought them up from the shed to the kitchen table.

On Thursday night I made up my list of things to take along to work on at Geoff's on Friday night. You look a bit stupid when you turn up at a modelling night without a model of something or some parts you need. On Friday I came home from work a bit early so I could pack my stuff for Friday night. I packed my B & B House from just south of Fairy Hill Loop - just off Fairy Hill Lane, to show the guys the progress on installing a bedroom scene through the window - R Rated of course with a Noch Naughty Scene. I also packed a selection of empty bottles, one with my standard wood stain, some straight metho and a brush. I also packed my poles, cross arms and a container full of sleepers in the hope I would be able to stain all these. I also packed a pin vise drill, drill bits, various wires, white glue, files, snap off knife, various tweezers and a ruler.

Upon arrival at Geoff's, Darren and Geoff were already at work on their projects with a stubby in front of them. Geoff was working on his nice scratch built sheep wagons and he showed off some astounding brass and wire soldering work for a side of one of his wagons. It absolutely looked just like a bought brass kit side - very top quality work. Darren was working on a Uneek whitemetal signal that will be operational. He was cleaning off the flash and putting bits together. Soon after the fourth invitee, Peter, turned up and showed off his new Trainorama 42 Class in 125 year colour scheme and then started work on splitting matches for an old derelict house he is going to build. Peter had recently purchased some nice HO scale cars for $4.50 each - quite a bargain price. He was using the top of the plastic case the cars came in, as a container, to stain the pieces of match stick he was cutting up. Very ingenious! Peter was using various colour stains and combinations of stains and Geoff also produced one of his stains obtained from Bunnings and I tried this for my telegraph poles. It worked very well.

Darren had brought along his scanner and we were listening to QR southside suburban control intermittently until the overhead came down outside Roma Street at about 8:30pm - 8:40pm and all hell broke loose. There was a football game on at Suncorp Stadium with over 40,000 in attendance and the second half had already begun and with many people wanting to catch a train home afterwards, there was going to be a lot of unhappy people - especially if the Broncos lost - which they didn't. Well there was a lot of unhappy drivers and guards just going by the communications, many passengers stranded on trains unable to continue their journey and trains without power and emergency lighting lasting only for maybe 20 or 30 minutes. Eventually power was restored progressively and by about 10:00pm all was restored and trains started moving again. I bet there was still lots of upset football fans.

During the modelling night, I was able to stain all my telegraph pole posts, all the cross arms and fit insulators to 3 arms (1 pole). We were having our normal scale conversations. How big is an insulator? We thought about 2 - maybe 2 and a half inches. Seconds later Geoff produces one - Ask no questions - get told no lies! It was 3 and a quarter inches across. That was good as I had chosen 1mm styrene for my insulators. 3.25 inches = .947mm in HO scale - close enough - especially when invoking my 3 foot rule for modelling. I was quite impressed as to how the first pole came out. I also bent up and fitted a wire brace to the pole. I was not looking forward to cutting and fixing insulators to another 14 poles each with 3 cross arms and 6 insulators per cross arm. That is 252 insulators to cut and fit. However, I'm pretty sure that I will need about another hundred poles for the layout of varying sizes. I wonder if I could hire a slave somewhere for a reasonable rate? I had previously made a mental note, that when making lots of a particular part, make sure they are the correct size before cutting up (252) more and finding out they were the wrong size. My memory is drawn to the time when our Club's fantastic N scale modeller Johnny Josephson was making scratchbuilt N scale wheat wagons and cut up well over a hundred hand grab irons and steps only to find they were the wrong size. John was optimistic about the situation and proclaimed that they were only short at one end and then proceeded to try and sell them in the Club For Sale Column in the Semaphore for 120 or maybe 240 grab irons and steps - the wrong size. We never did find out if he was able to offload them!? I do miss more of John's modelling stories - I used to hyperventalate and almost wet myself while reading them.

At the end of the night after drinking Geoff's beer, his coffee and almost demolishing a packet of his cream biscuits, I had one telegraph pole complete. A fantastic night, great company and we need to do it again soon. Any chance of drinking two more of your beers next week to complete one more telegraph pole Geoff?

One (the first) Telegraph Pole sitting just outside Grafton Yard - an old speed sign also in view.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

A Week Away

Last Monday while a public holiday in Queensland for Labour Day and with the main Brisbane Model Railway Exhibition was on, I was driven to Coopers Plains Railway Station in the afternoon to catch the airtrain to Brisbane Domestic Airport, for my connecting flight to Sydney for work.

While I stayed at the Travelodge on Phillip Street, my days were spent at the Sofitel Wentworth Hotel a few hundred meters up the road for a symposium - I think that is a beat up name for a conference.  There was no time for anything else but work related until Friday afternoon.  After the last session concluded at 12:00 noon on Friday and a quick bite to eat, I headed off to Hobby Co in the Queen Victoria Building.  I have not been to Hobby Co for about 3 or 4 years.  It has moved since I was last in Sydney.

I did enjoy seeing a Eureka Garratt running around the layout in the shop window with a few Eureka 4-wheel coal wagons in tow.  Beats that European stuff on the other tracks!  Maybe my bias is showing through - Oh who cares.

After a look through the shop, I found the Noch Naughty Scene I will be installing in my B&B, so I picked it up.  I also lassooed some Noch figures for sitting on toilet seats.  Just the thing to detail my many dunnies situated on my layout.  I was then off to the airport for the flight home.  I came home to an empty house as teh Kids were off at a Birthday Party at Macca's.

With Saturday spent at Soccer followed by a great niece's 5th birthday party and then catching up with emails at night (i'm half way there), followed by today with the family for Mother's Day for breakfast this morning and at the inlaws in the arvo, I have still not done anything railway related this week apart for the purchases above.

I also missed the Tuesday Nighters Session just up the road on Tuesday Night.  I did put forward my place as a possible alternative for 2 weeks time, but have not heard if the meeting will be here or not.  Eventually the guys will tell me where the next event is.

This week I plan to look at installing a sealed room in the B&B so I can turn the light on remotely to capture the young couple on the bed through the window.  I will have to ensure that my young kids can't see what is going on through the window.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Brisbane's Model Railway Exhibition

Today marks the end of my participation in the Brisbane Model Railway Exhibition for this year, although the show is still on tomorrow.  I fly to Sydney tomorrow afternoon for the week with work so I can't go to the show as well or there would be one dead modeller in our family. 

Well today started off quite poorly.  I left my phone at home along with my camera.  Damn - So no shots of the various layouts at the show.  We will have to wait for Geoff's "The Eternal Beginner" blog update tomorrow night as he is heading in tomorrow morning to check out the shops and take his photos.

However, back to the weekends activities.  As the sign says outside of my cubicle at work say - "A bad day of model railroading beats a good day at work".  Really, both yesterday and today were good days at the show.  Yesterday I constructed about 20 steel coils for my coil cradles, along with 10 wooden saw horses.  Today I completed 3 N scale picnic tables for our N scale layout, built 3 of my versions of the RH-RV Coil steel containers (similar ro Auscision's version), built a 6' high step ladder, built a 14' wooden ladder to allow workers to get onto the rooves of my signal cabins, and almost completed another 18' ladder.

This afternoon, Geoff who was working with me today on our Structure Building Stand, met with Brendan from Gundagai Model Rail layout Blog fame.

I had many interesting conversations, had a huge number of laughs with various people I caught up with, realised I will never drink light beer again, had my photo taken by two ladies for the AMRA Exhibition web site, also spent some time with the ABC reporter and cameraman.  They mentioned that it might be on after tonights weather bulletin at the end of the 7:00pm news.

Tomorrow morning I will unpack my purchases and my modelling equipment and pack my bag before I head to Sydney.