Sunday, May 25, 2014

Making and Planting Trees

This weekend was a tree full event.  Yesterday afternoon I spent some time painting up a few tree trunks of wires wound trees I had previously made with various colours paint so that I could turn them into trees later on.  Later yesterday and again today I spent some time gluing some Noch grass mat in two shades of green onto the tops of a few trees in the section that I’m trying to detail.
I was quite impressed with the results.  Yesterday and today I was also installing quite a few more of the Hornby Skale Scenics well over 50 into the same scene with a three better quality trees I purchased yesterday from Austral Modelcraft and about half a dozen trees that I had completed yesterday and today.
The scene is progressing quite well.  However, I need to get out the ‘No More Gaps’ and coat a few wire armatures that I have made.  These will be for making a root system for near the creek.
I could not resist it much longer so I have provided a few photos of what I have done so far.  I think I still need about 50 or maybe more Hornby Skale Scenics trees to be installed on the far side of the track and about at least another half dozen of my home made trees to be installed.  Then I can add some under tree material and a bit of stagnant water to the creek.  So here is the progress.
Looking south towards one of the Running Creek tunnels, the fence, the now disused former telegraph line and a few trees are visible along the bank of the creek.

On the northern bank of the local Running Creek, the same items are visible in this view.

Visible here is the northern portal of the next Running Creek Tunnel to the north.  The fence line and telegraph line try to follow the terrain up the mountain.

An overview of the screen looking North.  One main tree in the background needs to be greened up slightly, but that is a task for two weeks time.

A view looking south.  The unfoliaged tree is visible here in this scene.
This week I will be working on a trial mechanism to allow my siding gates into the Bonalbo Ballast Siding to be operated by a servo.  I hope to pick up a Tam Valley decoder to work my servo at this week’s (Yes – I got the date right this time Jim!) Toowoomba Exhibition.  So it’s a bit of an action packed week this, with Tuesday Nighters and the Toowoomba Exhibition on Saturday, and local Queensland Day activities at my kids school on next Sunday.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Bits and Pieces

On Wednesday I came home from work early so Kyle did not have to go to dancing with his sister.  So I made use of the time and went down to the shed and continued work on my next scenery area.  I had previously laid some ballast on the visible section of track.  I also had previously installed the telegraph posts from one side of the scene to the other and also incorporated some fence posts made from 0.060” styrene I beam and on Wednesday I installed the rest of the scene’s required posts.  I then weathered the track with my trusty brown marker.  It does come up fairly good when the ink dries on the rail.  I then went about looking at how I could make some tree stumps with tree roots that have been exposed by the flowing waters of the creek in the scene.  So I twisted up some wire and while it is yet to be soldered up and have no more gaps added, I think it is starting to look just right for my bare rooted trees for this scene.
I then went through my collection of trees that had I have had in varying states of completion in a shed cupboard or under my workbench and just plain laying on the layout.  I am trying to get motivated into completing these off.  I must have over thirty trees, way, way short of what I need to do justice to the layout.  Some need a coat of no-more-gaps, others a paint and they all need some greenery added.  I have been looking at where these trees could be placed on the layout in this scene that I’m currently working on.
Friday afternoon I made a trip over the local Hobby shop Austral Modelcraft and picked up some decoders and also picked up a cheap reasonable tree for $5. 
Saturday morning after soccer, while the boss went and had her shopping fix, I installed a decoder into an 80 class loco for a guy at the Club and also replaced the headlights with LED’s.  I then went back down to the shed for a few minutes and installed the tree that I purchased yesterday and three other similar trees that I had laying around.  I also am getting ready to install about 30 other cheapo trees that I purchased some time ago that were from the Hornby Skale Scenics range.  I have five packets of trees with about 100 trees in each packet.  I have four separate colours for these trees.  These are very small trees that can be incorporated around, under and beside some good solid type twisted wire trees in the scene. 
Later in the arvo after the boss came home, I travelled down Darren’s layout – Wattle Flat to meet up with a few crew and have a bit of a free for all running session.  I ran a train the whole way out and back from North Gulgong to Wattle Flat and return.  While at Wattle Flat, I swapped over the 9 or so wagons on my train for the 9 wagons at the various industries at Wattle Flat.  That is easier said than down and means that I have to move the guard's van from one end to the other.  Again this is a pretty tricky job - but very interesting and also time consuming.  It does take a fair amount of time, running from one end of the yard to other, pushing those wagons here and pulling those other ones there.  We had a great time.
Sunday I went to our Club’s Buy and Sell and sold a few bits and pieces and bought a few pieces of track for a mate (if he wants them) and a few sets of points for my layout.  I got a pair of medium radius Peco points (left and right) and a 3 way point.  The left hand point will go into Loco Pilly and allow that location to be completed, once the point motor is added.  The right hand point will go into Acacia Ridge Yard and allow some of my currently isolated sidings to be connected to the main line.  The three way point will be placed in Grafton Loco.  I had previously removed a three way point from there and used it in Loco Pilly so I could store some locos there and have this location operational and allow light engines to go between Loco Pilly and South Brisbane, and Loco Pilly and Clapham Yard.
On the way home from the Buy and Sell I popped in at my mate David’s place.  He has successfully wired in 9 x Digitrax DS64 quad point motor controllers in to control all the points for his main staging yard.  This yard is a single track in at each end and it expands out to be about 12 tracks wide – quite impressive, with both dead end tracks at each end and through tracks.  I showed David how to set the addresses of the DS64's, they start at 21 and go through to 56.  I did the first few and then David took over.  We then tested that they all threw the correct direction.  About half of the tests revealed that the point threw in the reverse direction when thrown.  That is easily fixed up.  There were about only 2 maybe three that did not throw properly.  So David now has some tasks until I’m next needed.  He has three NCE Mini Panels on order.  Two of these are for use in his staging yard, one for the east end and the other for the west end.
So this week has been a collection of lot of little bits and pieces.  Next weekend I will be travelling to Toowoomba on the Saturday and Sunday is a working bee at the kids school.  So not much time for the shed.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother’s Day

I’d just like to say Happy Mothers Day to all the mothers out there.  I'd like to especially say it to my darling wife Debbie.  My wife has put up with my many additions now for nearly 30 years.  It is all our other halves, the mothers of our children, that allow us to spend some time in our sheds and layouts rooms, or away at Exhibitions or conventions.  Without them being so considerate and understanding we would not have the layouts that most of us have today.  Following breakfast today, the kids gave some nice presents to their mother and later this afternoon to their grandmother.  I’m sure the boss had a good time, catching up with one of her sisters and brothers at her mother’s house this afternoon.
Now on to the important stuff.  Today I got time to spend about 30 minutes in the shed just before lunch.  I also spent about 30 minutes in the shed yesterday before lunch.  I am working on detailing an area of track just under a metre long in a very prominent area.  I hope to have it finished before the next time the boys visit on a Tuesday night.  There is lots of greenery and detail items that I need to install.  There will be no pictures of this scene on the blog until the whole scene is complete and until after the boys have visited.
Today marks the 300th post on the blog.  I have accumulated 100 followers and have had nearly 153,000 site visits.  Thanks to those that do visit this site and use it as a jump off point to other blogs that they find of interest.  I hope you do enjoy checking in from time to time and seeing what occurs in my Shed.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

A Day With Model Trains

Saturday was the first day of the 2014 Brisbane Miniature Train Show held at the Doomben Racecourse.  I attended as usual and actually run trains for about the first hour and a half of the day and then just walked around talking to people at the front of the layout and at various stands.  I also found time to have some money relieved from my wallet by a mad hatter selling some great scenery products.  I think these scenery products are just magic, and I will put them to good use while super detailing some scenes on the layout.
This was the first show that I have run trains at for quite some years.  I had quite a few people ask questions about the DCC system controlling our Club layout - of course it was NCE.  I also had a number of people say hello to me yesterday and ask how my layout was coming along.  So I had some quite lengthy chats.  It was great catching up with the Toowoomba guys in particular.
I was quite a bit disappointed by the quality of the layouts on display.  I’m not really a fan of the N scale T track module system, and there seems to be quite a few of those types of layouts in attendance, but it is these types of layouts that can be taken up the two flights of stairs and escalators and exhibited in the rooms in the top decks of the racecourse.  The bit I dislike about the T track is that every module is built differently and the layout joins stand out like the proverbial ......  I’d assume many exhibitors of other types of layouts will not volunteer to show their large expansive N and HO layouts unless they can be assured of a ground floor setup position.  I must admit that I thought our two club layouts, the HO and N scale were very good looking.  There were also a couple of other layouts that I thought were good.  I must admit that I did like the T Gauge (1:450) layout - Winston & South Maple Railway and of course my perennial favourites - Broxburn Sidings and Cascade Crossings.
I left the exhibition early so I could get home, have a debrief about my son’s morning soccer game and then within an hour head back out again for a further fix on model railways.  I headed down to Darren’s layout - Wattle Flat along with four others, and then the 6 six of us (including Darren), had a BBQ dinner and then had the first official timetable operating session on the layout.  It was great!  We ran 3 trains out and two of them got to come back in just under a hour and a half of operations.  Crickey there is some shunting to do on that layout.  It was very good indeed, although the loco that I had was configured to a very high level of momentum, so I had to travel very slowly and the brake function was not configured.  It was driving me crazy.  Due to this very, very slow throttle response time on the throttle, at least once, there might have been an acquisition that I might have put some wagons through the end of the stop blocks.  Luckily, there was no photographic evidence available, of the supposed incidents.  So now those incidents are referred to as – What incidents?  I have no idea what you are talking about!
Following the session, we had a quick discussion before I had to head back home at just before 9:00pm.  It was also quite cool out last night and on the long trip home, I was accompanied home by the trust car heater.
Here are some photos of the Darren's layout:-
A view of Wattle Flat station.

The local grain processing plant.

The next major location further towards Sydney.

The next location, a very nice ballast siding.

The first location modelled on the layout - North Gulgong.  I had a train that I needed to shunt at this location.  Crickey it was complex!

The staging yard with two of the staged trains on the right most two tracks.  One train started at North Gulgong.  The train that I ran was second from the right.  It was quite long.
There are quite a few other locations not captured here of other locations where industries are starting to spring up and be incorporated into Darren's timetable.  It is coming along just great.  I await the next opportunity to muddle up a shunting activity.