Sunday, May 16, 2010

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.

1 comment:

  1. You know Craig's attention to detail does not just apply to his layout. His account of the night is so much better than my feeble attempt... though if you'd like to visit a shorter version, head on over to SSC.

    We better not leave it so long between modelling nights nights. Oh and Craig if that is how you need to get the job done, that's ok by me, but I worked out that at that rate by the time you're finished the night you build the last pole you'll need to drink 28 stubbies!