I had Friday off and decided to head over to Aurora Hobbies at Tarragindi Road and by chance took his whole supply of Chuck’s Ballast. He hopes to get some more for the Brisbane May show and I hope he does too. I think I will be out of ballast again by then. I picked up 3 x 1 kg bags. I then went over to Austral Modelcraft and picked up some more NCE decoders for the Club.
Yesterday after soccer in the morning, I was picked up by the Geoff's Taxi service and along with Darren and Shelton, we headed to Anthony’s “Border District” layout for a running session. It was great. Everything ran smoothly, we had good company, a few laughs and most of all fun. We completed 26 trains, with some trains having two may crews, and some driver only. I was Train Control and even got to driver three trains and did a bit of other roustabout work around the layout. I put two trains in the dirt, by running off the siding due to momentum being configured on the loco. It was a really intense about 4 hours effort. I up for another one next month!
Today I went down to the shed and put some of the newly purchased ballast to use. I completed the area in Border Loop that I started a few weeks back. I then decided to do some work on Cassino Platform and tidy that up before I ballasted Cassino Yard. My Cassino platform was transplanted from my old Cassino layout that I originally had inside the house in a dedicated train room. I was evicted from there when my second child came along, thus the shed was born as a compromise. I just recycled my Cassino station platform. However, with more space available, I just kept the old platform and added onto the back platform road by about 1-2cm and then a large extension on the northern end for a longer platform and enlarged Dock. I can now fit a full seven car XPT in the platform. My 620/720 set also fits quite nicely into the dock platform. I used plaster that I poured into some formwork for the additional platform area. It has been sitting around all white in native plaster for quite some years.
Well today I decided that I’d use a dremel tool and try and grind the plaster down to the wood platform height. After about 5 seconds I realised that was not going to work. So I went through my file collection and found a three pack that I got from my Father-in-law. There was a ripper file that took the bumpy top off the platform plaster and then I used a finer file for cleanup and smoothing of the finish. Everything looked quite good. I also found the tin of paint that I painted the platform with all those years ago – It had to be nearly 20 years. You guessed it, it was rock solid. So I threw that out and mixed up my own grey tinge for the platform finish from cheap black and white paint. I gave the platform about three coats as the plaster was very porous. We will see how that turns out next weekend. When that was complete I had some lunch, watched some TV to relax and then went back down to the shed.
I then ballasted a small amount of Cassino Yard. From my calculations, I think I have only completed about 20% of the yard area. I have quite a lot more to do yet. I’m not certain that I have enough ballast to complete Cassino Yard.
While doing the ballasting I was watching the same TV show in the Shed, that I started watching in the house while having lunch. As I was still watching that show when I had completed as much ballasting that I had wanted to do today, I sat at my workbench in the shed and started thinking about a challenge that the Tuesday Nighters group are about to embark on. It involved making a model of a shed that Darren took some photos of and posted on facebook. I had some laser scribed 1.5mm ply that I initially took my file to and thinned it down from the back. Then I took the dremel to it and it seemed easier and quicker to thin down. I have thinned this ply down to some very thin thickness, probably about 0.75mm I think that will look very good in my small shed model that I will be building.
So the plans are more work on the platform at Cassino, more ballasting and more work on the Tuesday Nighter shed project. I will publish some photos next week.