Sunday, May 27, 2012

More Trees

Tuesday this week I had to take the car to the car doctor so it could have a transplant or two.  A women changed lanes on top of me a few weeks ago as we were heading to my niece's wedding.  As my appointment with the assessor and the panel beater was in the middle of the day, I decided to stay home from work.  So in the morning I went to Bunnings to buy some 'No More Gaps'.  That afternoon, I resumed residence in the shed and tristed up a wire storm, with about a dozen more trees twisted up.  I also went through a fair bit of solder to ensure the tree trunks were well supported and didn't sag over.  I then trimmed them up a bit to ensure the wire for the branches were a good length.

That night I started applying the no more gaps.  I was quite happy with the result. 

I didn't do any tree work on Wednesday as I had to watch the Mighty Maroons beat the Blues. What a great result! Looks like another clean sweep coming up.

On Friday night I resumed adding the no more gaps to my trees while I watched the Broncos get done.  I then hit the trees with another coat on Saturday afternoon.  My kids are intrigued with the making of these trees.  They keep asking is that plaster you are painting on?

So I think that the cluster of trees I now have sitting on the dining room table in a tray are ready to go down the shed and get a coat of bark (paint) on them.  I will mix a few different shades of bark (paint) and see how they go.  It has been many years since I've painted trees and I've forgotten what I did.

Also yesterday I had trouble with one of my Procab throttles.  It would not fully power up.  last night I gave the RJ12 plug at the bottom a few wipes and today I tried it again and it is now working.  I assume some sort of barrier has built up on some of the wires in the plug.

Today I went to the working bee at school and helped lay a couple of Lok Block walls.  My poor back and arms are now killing me from carting those blocks about and hammering the blocks repeatedly with my mallet to get them level.  When I got home from school I had recieved a phone call from a mate who wants a few decoders put into a few of his Hornby Locos.  Myself - I wouldn't bother.  I'd just replace the British outline stuff with good old Aussie outline kit from Auscision, Austrains, Trainorama, and Eureka.  So I rang David back and he came over with his younger brother Chris, and eventually Chris's son Adam who lives in the next suburb (almost opposite the kids school) also came over.  So I showed the two newcomers over the layout and ran a few sound locos to show off - a Garratt and a Tsunami 44 class.

Over the next few weekends, my outlook is focusing on the next running session in a couple of weeks, and I will need to ensure I have everything in place, - beer, softdrinks, a clean desk for North Coast Control, new batteries in the intercom system, and the track tested where I had been doing scenicing to ensure it still runs, etc.  The invite email has gone out to the crew and already I have two declines due to other activities or people being in other states.

Tuesday this week will be at Lefty's, so we will get a chance to run a train or two in his newly laid trackage.  Next weekend is also the Toowoomba Exhibition.  I will try and get there on the Sunday.  I also expect my (and a few of my mate's) BCW's to turn up either tomorrow or Tuesday as I received an email from Werris on Friday advising he has posted them  - Woo Hoo!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Trip to Nimmitabel

This week started off with the Tuesday Nighters visiting.  Numbers were down and it was cold outside the shed.  We had 5 of the normal crew turn up and we had George from the next suburb, who knows some of the crew pop down to have a look at the layout.  The guys gave me some possitive feedback about the trees I planted the previous weekend and the scenicing I have undertaken on the bottom deck north from Cassino through Cassino Meatworks and then up to the top deck around the tunnel portals and around Nammoona Ballast Siding.

I also received some ideas from those present to improve the scenery.  Their suggestions motivated me to head over to Hobby One on Saturday morning and I picked up 4 more packets of trees.  There are approximately 100 trees in each packet.  Well they are more like saplings as they are quite small, but they help to fill in under and near some of the better quality trees.

This trip on Saturday was followed by a visit to the Mt Gravatt Showgrounds where the local chapter of the NMRA were having their annual model railway exhibition.  There seemed to be lots of T-Trak layouts in attendance.  As always the best was Ron Everingham's Broxburn Sidings.  I just love the way Ron has implemented the many LED's around his layout, as various types of lights.  Laurie McLean was also in attendance with his working animations.  They are just great!  I enjoyed talking to the various guys there that I usually catch up with once or twice a year.  It was good to have a quick chat to Jim from J&J Hobbies and Big Al from AR Kits.  I also had a chat to Adam from Wuiske Models.

I had to leave here ooner than I wanted to, as I had the Boss's car and she had to take the daughter to dancing.  So I had a quick trip home, and then got ready for four of the Tuesday Nighters to come over so we could car pool in my car down to the Nimmitabel Extension.  These four just happened to not come on Tuesday night, so we spent 15 minutes in the shed showing them what I had recently completed.

So when we arrived at Darren's acerage about 25 minutes south of my place, we were met by 4 other Tuesday Nighters and Darren had the BBQ going cooking some snags.  Darren also had an open fridge policy that we all took advanage of.  Darren has certainly been making good progress on the layout.  I took a few photos of the layout to share with everyone.

A 44 Class is shunting in the Loop at Wattle Flat.  A 19 class is at the end of the branch with two S wagons and guards van.

The other end of the Wattle Flat station yard is the stock siding and wheat silos.  The track then heads to the right back along the branch.  The backdrops here are just stunning.  Apparently they were painted by Peter another one of our Tuesday Nighters crew who could not attend today due to other commitments.

Around the peninsula we come to the next crossing loop where various goods are delivered to the industry located here.  Apparently, tin, cardboard, various grains are delivered as well as the finished products and various waste products are removed from the sidings.  This should produce a nice shunting location.

The next loop is located on the other side of the walkway.  Again some shunting will also take place here.  Two hidden sidings are located to the right at the far end of the siding.

Eventually the track will get to here and the end of the layout, with some off stage sidings to the right continuing on and will be located above Darren's rather spacious and tidy work desk.

Some of the crew.  Darren, Bob, Brendan and Father Christmas - sorry PK.  Apparently Darren installed this temporary piece of chipboard that morning so we could terminate trains at the current end of the track laying.

I'd expect that by next year all the track will be laid.  By the year after I'm also expecting that we will be having regular operating sessions on this layout.  I wonder if we talk about it here, Darren might try and meet this schedule of activities?

Today was our Club's Buy and Sell.  I did not feel too good this morning so decided to stay at home.  By about 2:00pm I finally made my way to the shed and proceeded to twist a bit of wire up to make about 7 trees while watching the V8 on TV.  These will now form the trees either side of Fairy Lane just on the southern side of Fairy Hill Crossing Loop.  Two trees I had started making and had soldered them up, are just too big for this lane.  I might have to either donate then to someone who is modelling a larger scale or just find somewhere else on the layout to plant them. 

Future activities will consist of twisting up a few more trees from wire and then applying the liquid nails to the trunks and finally adding foliage.  It is only a few more weeks until there is a running session at my place.  I have three newbies invities that I hope turn up, as they are all very good modellers and they are known by a fair percentage of the normal operating crew.  I might have to have an advance run to check the track is running well and is clean, as I have laid quite a bit of glue around the meatworks area.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Week After the May Show

Monday this week was spent with Geoff working on the Structure Building Stand at the May Show.  Early on the Monday I went around and took a number of photos of the layouts or various scenes on the layouts that I liked.  Some of these I will try and replicate on my layout.

While I do like the scale of the Coffs Harbour layout, I thought the best layout on display was A-Tractiv Effort by Peter Lewis.  His eye for detail is just great.  I had a real good talk to him before the show opened on Monday and got some snaps of inside some of his buildings.  He has one building very similar to one of mine.  Maybe PK once lived or visited where Peter's layout is based?

I just love the detail here.  The fencing around the rail formation and beside the road, outside the house.  It is just brilliant.

I just loved how the swings were working.  I'm going to find my old chain and made some as well.  The merry-go-round and the see-saws also worked.

I also love how the railway is in the background.  I wrote a proposal for a new Club exhibition layout like this maybe 10 years ago for our club.  I wanted members to volunteer to build a building on a block of land on a street for the front of the layout for half the layout.  I had hoped that it would turn out just like this scene.

Don't you just love the rock garden edge in the back garden.  Apparently PK used to visit the house to the left.  And what about the quality of the buildings built on this layout?

Another scene that I have never seen modelled before is the dried mud on Queens Wharf.  Being O scale may have made it easier to do, but it just looks great.

I always leave an exhibition with a renewed enthusiasm for what I need to accomplish in my modelling.  I hope to do some of what was captured above on my layout over the next year or two.

After a day building items and talking to the public at the Exhibition, Geoff and I packed up quickly and were one of the first groups to leave the hall.  Once home, I unpacked my stuff down the shed and started thinking about my next endevours in the shed.

On friday after coming home from work early, I went down the shed and got to work.  I had an old packet of 100 trees ranging in sizes from 3.5cm to maybe 6cm high.  This cost me $15.99 a couple of yers ago when I purchased it.  I started placing these on the layout with the few really good trees I purchased from Brian at Trackside Trees.  The best trees you can get come from Brian.  Placing these trees, made me get out my tree making matting, and the foam board with about 20 or so trees that I have previously built that was sitting in one of my cupboards in the shed and covered them with glue and the various shades of green matting.

I then laid out a few of my telegraph poles around the layout.  Many years ago a retired Telecom technician advised that telegraph poles were always 132' apart when placed along the railway right of way.  This is 2 chains in distance.  My poles were just thrown around, and not spread out according to scale at this point in time.  However they will be.

I took the family and the mother-in-law up the coast yesterday as my youngest niece on my side of the family got married.  We came back at lunch time today so after unpacking I could only get down the shed for about 2 hours this arvo.  I made up a few more trees and placed a few more on the layout. 

A few trees are being placed around Ron and Margaret's B&B.  The ones in teh foreground are from my pack of 100.  It seems PK is getting taste of his own medicine in this view.

Running Creek has had a few more trees installed.  I still need a few more weeping willows around the creek.  A bit of water in the creek wouldn't hurt either.

Here a few more trees have also sprung up.  Mostly saplings. 

 Over the next few weeks I think I will try and pick up a few more packets of those 100 trees in various colours and see if I can place then in the same areas I planted the last lot and then start moving further around the layout.  This work will complement the base board colour I've recently spread around.

This Tuesday the guys are coming to my place.  I have styrofoam everwhere on the floor from my various activities over the last month or so.  I guess I will have to try and remove this before hand.  Hopefully the guys will see some improvements or progress since last visit.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Brisbane Model Train Show

Two days down, one more to go.  Tomorrow is the last day of the Brisbane Model Train Show.  I will be there early tomorrow with my helper Geoff.  On Saturday, the numbers through the door seems pretty good.  I couldn't go today, and my normal offsider Jim held the fort at the exhibition in my absence.  Well I'm really his offsider.  There were a couple of layouts at the show have not seen before in the flesh and they were of good quality.  There were of course a number that I had seen before and very much enjoy viewing over and over again.

In particular, we had Queens Wharf, Newcastle, A-Tractiv Effort, Rosevale, Australiana, Dagabar, Broxburn Sidings, and our Club's Brendale, Pine Rivers and Tall Timber Tramway.  I must admit I have not done much looking around the layouts and I have taken no photos as yet.

I plan to get a few photos tomorrow and have a good walk around the layouts.  I certainly caught up with a few people we only see once every year.  I ran into Ian from Coffs Harbour and the bugger even has some working 2-lever lever frames.  So I acquired 4 of them and I intend to try and do the same when they finally get installed on my layout.  Make then working.  that will be a bit effort for me, with that intricate soldering required.  I might have to outsource it to one of the Tuesday Nighters.

I did spend some time talking to the various shops that make their way to our Show.  Of course I spoke to Werris, Brian fromTtrackside Trees, the guys from PGC about their new ready to run 2300 Class in 12mm, Warren from Gwydir and Ian from Simply Glues.  I must not forget the guys from Auscision a well.  I am hanging out by two 73 class locos and an XPT with a few extra coaches and power car.  It is really great to catch up with these people, but it is pitty that it occurs only once a year.

I did catch up with two ex Tuesday Nighters - Jim and Peter.  I also caught up with an ex Club Member and an ex member from another Club that I belonged to.  The exhibition scene is certainly a very social environment.

Besides the normal people who know about my blog, only one person said to me - "Oh are you Craig from Craig's Shed".  So if you are visiting the show, call in tomorrow and say you follow or lurk on my Blog.

Today, after getting home from a party I set up shop on the kitchen table and proceeded to install an Alco 251 V12 Soundtraxx decoder into a club mate's 44 Class. I then installed a decoder into another club mate's Powerline 81 class. I also wired up his headlights, rear headlight, and the white and red marker lights. What a chore! I hate these locos. I will never do another one. Oh well they are now ready for them to run on the layout at the show tomorrow.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Friday Bloody Friday

Well what a day!  I had the day off today in preparation for the Brisbane Model Railway Exhibition on this weekend at the RNA showgrounds at the corner of Gregory Terrace and Alexandria Streets, The Valley.

So I started off having to whipper snipper the edges and mow the lawn.  I went to the garden shed and picked up my safety glasses.  They fell apart!  Damn.  They were my good ones.  I have two other pairs, but I managed to fix them with my trusty styrene glue. 

So while whipper snipping, the whipper snipper ran out of cutting cord.  I could not get the bottom off the device to re-fill it.  Damn!  So I only half did the whipper snippering.  I started at the back, so the front still looks like a jungle.

While mowing, I had a blow out of my Right Irish Safety Boot - my right yard thong broke.  Not 10 minutes later my Left Irish Safety Boot blew out as well.  Do you no how hard it is to mow the yard with two broken thongs.  Lucky all the neighbours were at work, as they would have looked at me very strangly because of how I was walking with my broken safety boots.

So after a shower, coffee and biscuit, I then started to pack the car with the items I was taking to the Showgrounds.  As I was carrying items out the front door into the garage, I was mugged by a family of Jehovah's Witnesses for about 20 minutes.  Damn wife spoke to them back in February and they came back for a chat.  Well I suppose they were not that bad to talk to.

So, off to the barber for a hair cut to look good for the all the young ladies who will be talking to me tomorrow at the show.  If only I got to the barbers 1 minute earlier, I would have been at the front of the queue.  I had to wait more than 30 minutes to get my hair cut.

On the way into town, there were signs all along the freeway on the electronic information boards that a road on the other side of the city was closed.  This road was reasonably close to the Exhibition grounds. Traffic through the middle of the city and towards The Valley was very bad.

And to wrap up the day, my 7 year old son almost beat me in chess tonight.  I can't have that!

So I was really having a bad day!

Hopefully tomorrow at the Exhbition will be a ripper!  Remember to come and say hi.