Sunday, April 27, 2014

Continuing Scenic Work on Ballast and Stock Siding

This week I had Monday and Tuesday off as well as being able to spend some time in the shed on Friday afternoon and Saturday.  On Monday I had to make a trip to the local hobby shop to see if Raymond had some 0.060" Styrene 'I' beam.  As usual he did so I borrowed a packet and purchased a replacement pack on Tuesday from Austral Modelcraft.  I used the 'I' beam to represent the rail posts that are used at many cattle yards.  On Tuesday afternoon I hit the fences with some base colour paint.  On Friday afternoon I painted the 'I' beam rails a rusty colour.  Saturday I installed the fences and then looked at putting some cattle within the various pens to give them a lived in look.  The colour of the cattle looks a bit anaemic, but I can fix that up later.

The southern end of the stock yards with a few cattle in two of the pens.

Slightly north of the first picture, it shows two cattle loading ramps and two sheep ramps.  There still needs to be some internal fencing for this area to direct the cattle to the ramps.
An overview of the Kyogle Stock Sidings.  I still need some fencing at the northern end.

 Yesterday I also spent some time laying some ballast in the Bonalbo Ballast siding.  I think it came up quite well.  Basically this area is now complete except I might need some sort of a building for the workmen to rest out of the sun in.  I may also need some sort of shed for the heavy equipment, but I am undecided about that.  I will ask the Tuesday Nighters their opinion about that.

The Bonalbo Ballast Siding has been ballasted.  A bit of dirt was thrown around between the two sidings and behind the siding farthest from view.

Another picture this time showing the front gate.  Eventually I hope to install working gates at this location.

Today I got down to the shed and decided I might run a train or two.  I have not run a train for weeks.  I first had to clean the track where I had been ballasting and scenicing (Bonalbo Ballast Siding, the Bruxner Highway level crossing and the Kyogle Stock Siding), but that was the only locations I did that to.  I ran a ballast train into the newly ballasted Bonalbo Ballast Sidings and that worked OK.  I also ran a stock train into the Kyogle Stock Siding and that also worked well.  I then ran a few trains around the layout and positioned them as if the time in the timetable was 11:00am.  Three trains that were supposed to be running at that time had been accelerated through to their destination as they were only minutes from home if the next timetable session was to start with the clock set at 11:00am.

I ran one of my 421 class locos and it train across the Richmond River Bridge and some issues occurred.  I remembered that from the last running session.  I had to remove a millimetre or two from the top of the bridge pier as there was a slight ski-jump on the bridge between the through truss girder section and the Pratt Truss section, at the point where they joined.  After a small amount of filing of the plaster bridge pier, the 421 now seems to travel across there with much more ease and does not ground its fuel tank on the point where the two bridges join.

Once the trains were in position, I then sorted out the timetable cards so the North Coast Controller will know what is running midway through their run and the next few trains are ready at their source.  I then positioned the magnets on the train controller magnetic board to match the timetable.

Following that I then sat down and started to plan what I needed to buy at the Brisbane Miniature Train Show this weekend at Doomben Racecourse.  This will be the first Brisbane show that I will not attend more than one day at for many a year.  I and my fellow exhibitor Jim will not have a stand there this year.  Jim has other plans for this weekend and besides that we were not selected to exhibit this year.  We might be back again next year.

It will be good catching up with a number of fellow modellers this Saturday at the show.  I will be with the RMCQ HO layout Brendale.  Hopefully I will get a chance to run a train or two on DCC.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Kyogle Stock Siding

This week I have been working on making a couple of stock races for the Kyogle Stock Siding, as well as some various lengths of fencing to surround the stock yards.

As mentioned last week, I have three white metal stock races.  But I made up three stock races myself from styrene.  I used the white metal sheep races from Sentinel as a guide and made a low level sheep race and two versions of high level sheep races. 

I then had to start building some various fencing to go between the various stock races and then to surround the southern paddocks.  I will be building a few intermediate fences and of cause the mandatory gates that will direct the various beasts and sheep to the appropriate loading point.

I ran out of Styrene on Friday and purchased a few more packets on Saturday and now I find out I have just run out of my favourite 0.060" I beam styrene that I use for fence posts.  I need that to build the various intermediate fence posts.  I think I also need to pick up another packets of 0.060" x 0.020" which I am using for the various rails on the fences.  I use a larger size styrene on the actual races.  There are five rails on the fences and only four rails on the races.

On Tuesday I plan to make a visit to Austral Modelcraft in the morning to pick up some more styrene so I can keep building on Tuesday afternoon as well as next weekend.  The stock yards are only being built in low relief, but will have a few beasts sitting and standing around ready for loading.

Overview of the Kyogle Stock Siding yards looking southwards.  This shot shows just how narrow this area of the layout being modelled is.

Looking north showing the stock siding loading ramps.  In the foreground is where three separate paddocks will be built.  Just below the stock siding, is the Intermediate Staff machine for the section Kyogle to Border Loop and the plug in point for the headsets to its right.

A low level and a high level sheep loading race in the shot.  A fence will join the two stock races and a gate will direct the stock to one or the other gate.  These fences are meant to be pushed through the Styrofoam base and the bottom rail will just be above ground level.

The main loading area of the yard for the cattle and sheep.

Close up of the white metal cattle loading races with some NSCF's sitting at the two cattle races.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Modelling Night and Control Panel Work

During the week I was notified by Geoff (email and SMS) that he was having a modelling night at his place on Friday after 7:00pm.  So I replied that I thought I could make it.  I then had to think about what I was to do while there.  I had a dental appointment on Friday afternoon and after getting home, I went down to the shed and was tinkering around in my Shed.  I decided that after I complete the Bonalbo Ballast Siding area, I might start working on the Kyogle Stock Siding scenery.  I had 2 Uneek kits for cattle races and a Sentinal kit for a sheep race.  These will form the basis of the loading facilities at this location. 
So to kick off the planning for the Kyogle Stock Siding scenery, I took two sheets of A4 paper and stuck them end to end with sticky tape and then cut two sheets to the shape of the scenery - like a wedge.  I positioned a few stock wagons in the siding and worked out where the stock races were to be positioned.  I then cut up some 8mm Styrofoam into the same shape of the paper.  This will be used as a base for the scenery I will build.  I thought if it was built on a small removable base, I might be able to enter this into our Club's modelling competition at the December meeting.  So we will see.
With some more time to kill, I decided to do some work on some petrol tanks I had lying around.  These came from a kit I picked up at the Armidale Convention about 3 and a half years back.  I super glued the tank support bases to the tanks.  I then painted up the three petrol tanks with some white paint from a spray can.  Upon completion, I was left thinking that maybe I should have used an etch undercoat first.  Whoops!
Later that night, I went over to Geoff’s and after putting 5 bulk packets of KD couplers into individual packs of 2 pairs each for subsequent on-sale at our Club shop, I got around to putting together the three stock races with super glue.  That was all I did for the night.  But I did enjoy the couple of beers I took, the great company, and the biscuits, fruit cake and coffee put on by Geoff.  it was indeed a great night.  We watched a YouTube clip of a Lego Darth Vador in the canteen in the deathstar.  The guys had not seen that before.  It is really a hoot.  This came up as I has seen the new Lego Movie that morning with the kids.  I thought the movie was great - particularly from a modeller's perspective.  Lots of laughs!
My next task in the Shed is to plan how I will build the outer railing fences in the Kyogle Stock Siding yard.  Will they be 4 rail or 5 rail?  What size are the railings?  I have many different shaped pieces of styrene at home.  I happen to have some very old styrene that is marked as having dimensions of 7 1/2" x 1 1/2" that I might try and use for the rails.  For the fence posts I will use some round styrene or some small round wood for the corner posts and some 60 thou I beam styrene for the intermediate fence posts.  I will build this in-situ on the styrofoam and then I can just lift it off the layout in one piece and spray paint it and then after scenicing the styrofoam, I can return the stock yard fencing to the styrofoam base and place it back on the layout.  Well that is the plan anyway.
On Saturday morning I went to the Shed for about 30 minutes before heading to the Club for our monthly meeting and decided that I might need to add a couple of other stock loading points to the Kyogle Stock Siding Facility.  I'm not sure how often there were more than one separate loading point within a single siding, but mine will have multiple cattle and multiple sheep loading points.
While at the Club yesterday before our monthly meeting, I adjusted the track through two of the platforms of the main station.  Unfortunately the track was all glued down against my suggestion and there was a kink in the track through one of the platforms and at that point one of the member's locos kept having his cylinders hit the platform.  This also occurred on the next platform as well, but this was just due to the track not being laid parallel to the platform edge.  So after painting on a small amount of hot water to the track, and using a small trowel prised under the track above the cork, the glued track lifted off the cork underlay and was realigned and the troublesome loco now runs through both platforms without incident.
Following the Club Meeting, I ran two of my trains around the new HO clubroom layout.  I used my radio Procab in an effort to demonstrate to members that this is a very nice system (Bugger this plugging in trick.  Radio is the way to go for me).   It takes about 6 minutes to complete a single loop of the layout. 
Today I went to my mate David's place and we were continuing to work on the control panel at his Lower Hammersmith Station location.  David has made a very nice looking control panel and we connected wires from it to the NCE Mini Panel.  We also coded up about 23 macros (one for each route) with varying numbers of points to be thrown from a single point up to 6 points.  David has an N-X panel arrangement at this location and by just selecting the entry track and the exit track the points automatically throw between these two locations.  So we tested each Peco point motor individually, by issuing the Accessory command from the NCE throttle - points numbers 1 through 16.  Some points were throwing the opposite way.  So we just changed the wires on the DS64 which throws the Peco point motors.  We still have two locations were the crossovers are not throwing properly.  But David will look into this and by the next time I go over there that should be fixed. 
We next tested the macros and the ones that we tested seemed to be setting the points correctly.  So far so good.  Unfortunately, after pressing the buttons on the control panel not everything seemed to be throwing correctly.  We did get some routes to fire from the control panel, and I are not sure if this is because the code I wrote in the Mini Panel has a bug or it is not working correctly yet.  However, after we fix up the problems with the points we will get stuck into debugging the Mini Panel and that will be the first of potentially another two large N-X panels that David will have on his layout.  This is pretty exciting stuff.  I think I will re-visit my code before my next trip to David's to ensure that it all looks correct.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Continuing Down the Same Path

Yesterday I went over to Anthony’s place to have a timetable running session.  His layout also has a blog Border District.  I was accompanied by Shelton and Darren (two of my regular operators) and met up with Mark and Andrew while there.  The session is certainly was full on.  There is plenty of shunting involved.  You really have to use you brain to work out how you move the drop offs into position and how to put those pickups onto the train from the various sidings.  First you have to find the siding.  There are both facing and trailing sidings at various locations that really test you ability to think.  At this session Darren had the Station Master job at Tatiara Downs.  I had it at the last session.  This is the most stressful job out there.  I do enjoy operating at someone else's layout as it gives me an opportunity to see how they accomplish the running session on their layout.  I am looking to see if I could take bits out of their session and incorporate those components into my operating session.  We had an absolutely great time.
Today I got down to the shed and built the remaining ballast pile at the Bonalbo Ballast Siding.  I then painted the ground between the two ballast sidings and between the farthest siding and the shed wall.  I then decided to lay a small amount of coloured sands and dirts around the first half of the sidings as far as I could reach.  The rest will be done next weekend but from the access hatch in the corner of the shed, from where the rest of the siding will be easier to reach.  I then decided to throw a small amount of ballast around over the two sidings up to the point where I had laid down the basic ground work.  Again the rest of the ballasting will occur next weekend.  I really need to go and buy some more white glue as I am now completely out of it.
I was having a look around the shed today and it took me ages to find my stash of ballast.  It was apparent that I do not have enough.  So I will have to pick some up at a local hobby shop over the next week or two.
I will also be looking at finding a few trees to install outside the Ballast Siding area.  I might have to review my current collection, build some more or look at buying some.  Luckily, the Brisbane Model Miniature Train Exhibition –aka the May Show is only about 4 weeks away.  Hopefully I might be able to pick up some more trees from Brian at Trackside Trees.  He makes the best trees.  I have already started on my shopping list for this event.