Sunday, March 29, 2015

Quiet Weekend Again

This week I have not done anything modelling related until today.  I did spend some time today adding the last few parts to the Model Railway Club’s Medusa Cement Silo that I am building, while I watched the Black Caps try and fend off some very good bowling from the Aussies.  However, I think I spent more time on the floor trying to find a small compressor that fell off the table and disappeared.  I could not find the small part .  On about the 5th attempt at searching for it, when I had to enlist my son’s help, I found it hiding on the far side of the kitchen table's leg.  You always find it in the last place you would look.  Funny that!
With the long weekend this coming week, and the cricket finished – both my son’s and the World Cup on TV, and with soccer season two weeks away, I should be able to actually do some work on my Cement Silo and the layout in the Shed.  Hopefully I will get the bug again.  I seem to lack motivation at the moment.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

A Bit of Rain

Yesterday and today we have had some real large downpours.  Yesterday I was stuck in the shed when the rain came and today it prevented me from going to the shed.  But I still got my train fix this weekend.
Yesterday, four of our Tuesday Nighters group were to head over to Anthony’s place for our monthly running session, but at 12:20-ish I got a phone call advising that the day was being cancelled on account of a medical emergency.  Luckily we have since had a follow up email from Anthony and diagnosis has been made and hopefully recovery will be swift with a course of antibiotics.  Our model train running fix will just have to wait until next month.  So as soon as I was contacted by Anthony, I contacted Darren whom was in transit to Shelton’s place to meet Grover and Shelton to car pool to Anthony’s.  However my relay phone call put a stop to that.  Shelton hosted the Tuesday Night crew last Tuesday and he has certainly made some changes.  He has undertaken some radical changes to his layouts and the concept is very good and I think with the use of two auto reversers he will have the foundation of a very nice and operational focused layout.  For those interested Shelton has also updated his blog tonight.  So once hearing about the cancelation news, and with Shelton being on fire with his modelling juices flowing, he chose to continue working in his shed.  Meanwhile Darren and Grover popped around to my place, and got stuck in my shed with the afternoon downpour from the storm.  We also made it wet on the inside by having a drink while the guys were here.  The guys stayed until the rain stopped and then headed home.  But I certainly took some words of wisdom away from Darren that I will investigate over the next month.  It is these modelling meetings that ensure that my own modelling juices continue to flow, and I have an ever expanding list of things to do on the layout.
Today with my daughter heading to Garden City shopping centre (with the boss as chauffeur) to catch up with about a half dozen of her school friends from last year, to shop, lunch and see a movie, provided me with some time to do my own thing while Kyle did homework and played x-box with some mates.  The rain this arvo was again heavy so I decided that with a quiet house, I'd just work on the kitchen table and continue progress on the Walther’s Medusa Cement Silo for our Club HO Layout.  Well I think I have the model in a basic state of completeness.  All the sub assemblies have been done.  It just needs some slight tuning with the items to go on the roof to ensure that the sub assemblies sit as per the locating nipples in the roof.  I will decide in the next couple of weeks if I will spray paint the cement silo myself or just take it to the Club and let someone else have a go at that task.
Plenty of things to consider next week and still plenty of projects on the go.  Maybe I should prioritise cleaning out the gutters on the Shed with all this rain around!  Until next week.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Construction Aplenty

I had my planned Friday off work this week and that gave me an opportunity to do a few jobs and pack the car for a Friday Night modelling session at Geoff's, and a Saturday Clinic at the Club.  But before packing I needed to do some painting of a couple of models.  First off the production line was my scratch built model of the Murwillumbah Cement Silo.  I just sprayed the base of the silo a green colour.  That was followed by the scratch built fuel tanker inspection gantry which was hit with a grey primer.  I still need to add some hoses to this model and then fix it to the layout.  The stairs were out of my spare parts collection and had quite a number missing.  I added the missing stairs just lately.
My inspection gantry.
This angle shows the bracing for the end iron.

I took my silo to Geoff's on Friday night to do some additional work on it.  My plan was to cut out some styrene ends to close off my pipes on the roof of the structure and install the visible rings onto the pipes.  The cutting the ends from 0.010" styrene was easy, but getting my 0.040" x 0.040" rings to stay attached to the PVC pipe was difficult. It just lifted back off the PVC pipe.  Maybe I should have tried either 0.020" x 0.040" or 0.030" x 0.040" styrene, as it may have wanted to keep its original shape less than the square size styrene. Or maybe I could have cut some nicks in the underside of the styrene to allow it to take the curve that I was stressing it into more easily.  Eventually I got most of it to stick, and I was going to use some blue plumbers glue today to really give it some sticking power, but on inspection, the small plastic bottle of my blue glue had dried up.  I think I have some MEK somewhere in the shed, but the styrene bands are now fairly well attached.  I also started cutting out some more styrene for the roof top structures.

It was quite funny at the Modelling Night modelling session as two other attendees were also working on cement silos and we were all on one side of the table.  Grover and Darren were both working on their own Walthers Medusa kits.
This is the progress of my scratch built Murwillumbah Cement Silo.  I know I am going to have fun with all the pipe work that I plan of installing from the roof to the ground.
While at the Club yesterday following my Son's cricket match in the early morning, I was doing a small amount of work on the Clubroom HO layout with PK when I saw a Walther's Medusa Cement Silo sitting on the layout in its box.  I thought, why don't I start another project?  You can never have too many!  So I left a note on the layout advising that I had it and took it home and today I have assembled the base unit.
During the lead up to the F1 on TV today I put this together.
Back to yesterday at the Club and my main reason to be there was to present the next skills session.  Yesterday it was to encompass painting the base and applying various scatters and sands to give a base covering.  These sessions are to encourage member to have a go and improve their modelling skills and techniques that they can then use on their own layouts, or on the new layouts we are building or planning to build in the clubrooms.  Here is my diorama so far, which is the subject of our monthly presentations.
My diorama thus far.  There will be a bit of a creek, a roadway on the left corner, and a railway line crossing the creek on a timber bridge on the right hand end.  There will be a couple of trees added as well.

A photo taken from the other side.
There is a rather impressive rock wall on the new HO clubroom layout that was going to be repainted a lighter shade of grey, as the creator was not totally satisfied with his initial paint job.  But before this is done, and because it was going to be re-painted, I thought I might try and hit it with a few colours of acrylic paints that I had with me for my diorama to see if I can resurrect the wall and get away from the repaint.  So I sought permission and got stuck into that yesterday at the Club.  I think it might have gone some way to reducing the dark grey colour, but I think it will still be repainted.  Anyway it kept me busy for about an hour yesterday.
On the way back home from the Club I dropped into Jamie and Tristan’s house to pick up a sheet of 1.5mm thick ply which they laser etched to look like 5-6” boards for my road overbridge that I am making for the Club Layout.  I could not find the correct material for my road overbridge, so they helped out by creating some for me.  I think they should put this in the local hobby shops!
This was done by Tristan on his laser engraving machine.  It is very impressive.

Today I stained this with my standard stain while watching the F1 race on TV this arvo.  I also stained the last few pieces of wood  required for the bridge piers and the main beams to support the road.  The plan is to install the bridge at the Clubroom in a month's time as part of that meeting's skills session - building a trestle bridge.

Last week I replaced the support mechanism for the LED lights above The Risk.  Here is a photo.

The light support from Glenapp Loop to The Risk.  Much more stable.
So as you can see I have plenty of projects running concurrently.  I plan on doing a lot more to both cement silos next Sunday, as Saturday is my son's cricket followed by a running session at Anthony's Layout in the arvo.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Resuming and Progressing Some Stalled Projects

This weeks activities started out on Tuesday this week.  In the afternoon I did another vacuum of the shed before the guys came over for out fortnightly meeting.   I had eleven guys show up and chew the fat, initially in the shed, with most making a tea or coffee before we adjourned to the pergola when some supper came out.  I received some positive comments about the LED lighting that has been installed under the decks of the layout.
Yesterday afternoon I resumed my rewiring of the Austrains 81 class loco and fixed up the red marker lights at the end where they were not working correctly.  They were constantly on.  This was resolved by removing the wire from the red LED at that end and re-attaching it.  I think the wire was slightly astray on where it was soldered to the decoder.  So now this works - good progress. 
I then started working on the headlight and number box lights.  These were not working at all.  So I removed the wires from one end and commenced some investigations.  I used my LED tester (2 x 1.5V batteries and 1K resistor) and confirmed that these were wired with the positive side of both LED’s on separate wires and a common cathode.  The common wire needs to be attached to a function wire – white or yellow and the two separate wires need to be connected to the Blue wire on the decoder.  That is the opposite that I need to installation on my NCE decoder that is already installed into my 81 class loco.  Damn imbeciles! 
Overnight I wonder if it was possible to install a transistor switch in one of the LED’s positive (blue) wire connections and control that transistor switch with another function output (perhaps my green wire) on the decoder.  However, this will only work if the first function is turned on first.  Anyone electrical engineers out there or gurus who can design circuits got any ideas?  Anyone overcome this issue?
Today I went back down to the shed and put the TV on to watch the cricket and did some more work.  I replaced the wire structure that was holding the LED light above the section of track from Glenapp Loop to The Risk.  I used my recently built wooden brackets which hang off the Loco Pilly to Dutton Park track baseboard.  I am still waiting for a replacement power supply from my Chinese supplier.  I think it has been lost in the mail.  I was also thinking last night that if I had another four strings of 5m of bright white LED lights I could seriously consider the layout to have its lighting initially complete with at least a single string of LED lights across most modelled areas on the layout.
Going slightly off topic, I see that NCE have released their LED lighting components.  At $US199 for an initial 1.8m of lighting, it is slightly more expensive than what I have installed.  But this is multi colour.  I do want to investigate installing alternate colours around the layout and having them able to be blended together to form different day and night time scenes.  I can but wish and I think it will take well over another 10 years before I get to this point.
Back to modelling in the Shed this afternoon.  I resumed work on my fuel tanker inspection gantry.  I added plenty of bracing to the outer roof to make it look self supporting and added a railing around the raised inspection platform. 
Either during the week or perhaps next weekend I plan to try and spray paint this model and then install some rubber hoses made from black electrical wire.  I am planning on taking a day off this week.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Preparing for Tuesday Nighters

Basically this last week I’ve done no modelling whatsoever.  I have however, done the edges, mowed the lawn and cleaned out the pergola in preparation for the Tuesday Nighters group heading to my place this Tuesday.  I did look at my 81 class loco many times this week and then put it back down.  I need to determine why the rear red marker lights always come on all the time and why the headlights and number box lights do not illuminate.  Maybe one of the Tuesday Nighters has better eyesight than me (hey Brendan) and check it out.

I did move some of my modelling projects off the kitchen table and back to the shed.  I do plan on doing some more activity on them quite soon.  I think I misplaced my enthusiasm.  I will see if I can find it again next this week.

Hopefully after Tuesday night, and potentially with Wednesday off, I might get back down to the shed and progress some of those projects.