Sunday, May 29, 2016

No Motivation Again!

I have not done much model railway related activities this weekend.  With soccer in the morning yesterday and followed up with another visit back to the fields in the afternoon to see the first XI and the first XV teams take on their opposition.  While Kyle won his soccer game in the morning (4-1), both first teams were outplayed.  There were a few ripper rugby scores from the weekend, 87-0 (my great nephew’s 5C team), 100-0 (in a year 9 game I think) and another in the 70’s to nil and I think there was a 12-0 soccer score as well, ands we took out the day’s aggregate between the schools in both football (10-2) and rugby (7-5) yesterday.  So with only two weeks left in the season, Kyle’s 6B team has only lost one game, so unless they get some miracle results, I don’t think they will win their premiership.
So today the day dawned with no Internet access.  So from around 6:00am until way after lunch we had no cable connection.  The kids were upset as one had to do some homework related activities online.  In Telstra's own stupid way, we currently have a tech scheduled to come out on Tuesday morning to look into their problem.  So that started to stuff my day, by trying to talk to some gumby who did not know when I said "I had no WAN access via my modem".  When I read the lights illuminated on the modem to him, he said, "Oh – you have no W-A-N connection".  So I then thought to myself  "Oh really, so that was the reason?  Good.  Dip$h1T!  No $h!t Sherlock!  I told you that as soon as I rang up." 

Apparently these help desk bozos cannot do anything but read from a script and follow the bouncing ball.  They do not understand the technology that they are supporting and until they systems tell them that XYZ is wrong through their own narrowing down procedures they can't be told what is wrong.  Where do they get these uneducated english as a second language speaking people from?  But this arvo after 4:00pm I noticed that my modem was back talking to the world.  Now I see that 5 hours after I logged a call this morning, that Telstra realised there was an issue in my locality.  Gee they are on the ball!  Can’t wait for a rebate on my bill. 
So when I did get down to the shed after lunch today, I started sorting out a number of globes that I have in my spare parts boxes.  These globes are out of a number of locos that I removed the existing lights from and replaced then with LEDs.  My son has a school assignment due in a couple of weeks that involves using globes, switches and electricity, so I thought I would give him my collection of 3V globes to use.  So he now has well over a dozen 3V globes.  If required I have about the same number of 12-18V globes as well.  I will have to teach him to solder the globes to the wire circuits.  That will be interesting!
After that I decided to do some small jobs on the layout, but couldn't get motivated to do any of the larger jobs on the layout.  So first off the list was to replace a Shinohara 3-way point with a Peco 3-way point within Grafton loco.  This will lengthen the three sidings by about 6 inches and allow an extra loco to comfortably into each of those sidings.  This job has been hanging around since early May when I bought the Peco point at the Brisbane Exhibition.  I then planted about another 6 trees around the Lismore station and siding area on my layout and also did a bit of detail work, by installing a kite stuck up in a tree in the same area.
I think this Friday is a modelling night at a local hobby shop, so I think I will be working on some detail items for installation in Border Loop and more items in some of the fettlers camps around the layout.  I will soon be starting work on the next building for Glenapp crossing Loop, as well as continuing work on a couple of milk containers.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Finally My Two 73 Class Locos Make the Roster

Yesterday I had to cancel my attendance at Anthony’s usual Operating Session as the boss was working on the canteen at my son’s school in the afternoon and would not be home to late.  She was representing the Cricket Supporters manning the canteen at the Brisbane Eisteddfod at my son's school hall.  All this meant that I was to stay home with the not so littlies. 
So I thought I would make the most of this enforced time at home and head down to the shed.  Last week I promised to get stuck into my two Auscision 73 class locos.  They have been sitting languishing around the shed with decoders half installed in one and none in the other for a couple of years.  So I first turned my attention to 7305 which has two decoders in it.  When it was last handled by those checking out how I got two decoders into the loco, a wire fell off from the front light board.  So for over 12 months it has sat there lonely.  So I thought I would try and remember what location on the front light board the wire came off from.  I tested the loco and it certainly ran.  The front and rear headlights worked and the front and rear, white and red marker lights all worked.  The rear number board lights worked.  So I guess that narrowed down the issue to be the front number board lights.  I grabbed another light board and tested what position on the light board lit the number board lights.  Aha!  Location identified!  I tried to add a bit of solder to that location on the light board and then also added some more solder to the wire that will connect to the light board.  On the second attempt it was successfully joined.  I then tried to stuff the decoder wires into the loco and put it back on the test track.  Oh oh! The loco now did not move.  What had I done?  So pull it all apart again and everything looked good.  So I thought I would remove one wire to the motor and see if one of my heatshrinked joins had gone bad.  I cut one of the joins, removed the heat shrink and that looked fine.  But as I was resoldering the wires back together, I noticed that the wire to the motor had some adrift from the factory installed sheatshrink.  I had certainly picked the correct wire to troubleshoot.  So I removed that heat shrink from the motor terminal, and re-soldered the wire to the top motor connection and reapplied some heatshrink.  Back onto the test track and the loco now ran.  So back to trying to squeeze the wires back under the body.  Eventually this was complete and everything seemed to work, except that the front number board lights still do not work.  I have no idea why, but at this point I do not care.  So this loco is now operational and located at South Brisbane Interstate.  One down, one to go.
Yesterday I also pulled the cover off 7304 and sat down to work out what lights I wanted to have operational.  I had a 4 function NCE decoder, and I was certainly not going to deploy a second decoder in this loco.  So I decided it would be front and rear headlights and front number boards and rear marker lights.  Why?  Because I could.  Last night I drew up the diagram of what would be connected to where, and this arvo I soldered everything up.  First the front and rear headlights.  Now I could not remember if I needed to add a resistor to the circuits.  Even though I had just finished working with the other loco only seconds ago.  So I tested the loco on the test track.  Hmmm.  Front headlight would not light.  I reversed the loco’s direction and the rear headlight lit alright, but immediately went dark in a puff of smoke.  I guess I answered my question and I needed a resistor. Doh!  So that light board was consigned to the spare parts box, and out came another light board.  I remembered to add a resistor and then reversed the wires on the front headlights.  Back to the test track and both front and rear headlights were now working.  I then connected the front numberboard lights and then the rear white marker lights.  These had to be soldered to the underside of my N scale NCE decoder.  Back to the test track and everything was OK.  So I fitted the 73 class shell back on and everything was good. 
Now as I moved this loco back to a siding in South Brisbane Interstate, I realised that the removable hatch on the back of the first loco’s long hood was not sitting properly.  So I went looking for some white glue, as I was going to the add two small drops and put a weight on the hatch and let it dry.  With only a small amount of white glue, I’d be able to remove the hatch if I had to again.  However, upon my return, I could not find the hatch.  It went walk about. 
I have looked everywhere and still cannot find it.  I suppose it will eventually turn up.  If not, I will see if Auscision has a spare one when I next order a loco or some rollingstock off them.
So after this sad story I then cut up about another 50 balsa wood sleepers and stained then and left them to dry.  Yesterday I also stained a few (16) wooden posts made from round kebab sticks and other round timber that I had hanging around.  I will use these posts to hang some gates from when I get around to making some.  They will be installed in various fencing runs around the lineside on the layout.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Modelling the Railways of NSW #33

For the first time in 13 years, I ventured down to the Modelling the Railways of NSW Convention.  This one being No.33.  The last time I went, I think Paige had just been born and the Convention was still at Petersham.  This year’s convention was at Loftus TAFE, the same location as for the last few years.  I was joined there by fellow Tuesday Nighters – Darren and Geoff.  Also there were the four stooges from Toowoomba - God these guys are funny.  Some of this crew were there 13 years ago – at least Bill, Bazz and Dazza that I can remember.
I left home Friday morning, travelling by bus and then train to Brisbane Airport.  I fly Virgin to Sydney.  At Sydney Airport I was met by Darren and Geoff, and we proceeded to head into Sydney by train and visit Hobby Co, have lunch and then head out to the ARHS at Redfern where Geoff picked up some bargains.  This was followed by a further train ride to Kirrawee and then a short walk to the Sutherland Motel - our place of residence for 2 nights.
Once settled in we went for a walk to the Boyle's Hotel and had a couple of beers before we heard that the Toowoomba guys had also arrived.  So we walked back to the Motel and then soon after walked to a nice Thai place and had a great dinner over a few more beers and then back to the motel for a night cap, and plenty of great laughs.  It turned out that the Coffs Harbour guys were also staying at the same Motel on Saturday night.
The next morning we walked to Loftus TAFE (about 20-25 minutes) and had a very enjoyable time.  I purchased a few items, including an X200 class along with a decoder, and 6 sets of white metal gates and 4 water tanks.  There was plenty of other things I would have liked to buy but I thought the weekend had already cost enough.
After another 20-25 minute walk back to the motel, we arranged for a pickup of pizza and garlic bread and of course these had to be washed down with some cold amber fluids.  Again we had great company and lots of laughs, but eventually pulled up stumps late. 
Today we were up early and caught the train into Domestic Airport and flew home.  After catching the Airtrain from Brisbane Airport to Altandi - cost $0, I was picked up by the boss and caught up on yesterday’s Soccer score - 9-0 (Go Lauries) and the other incidents that ended up with Kyle having an X-ray to his ribs following activities at his sister’s school’s Open Day.  He had issues from a soccer game 2 weeks ago and they were came back to bite the poor kid hard yesterday.  This wasn’t mentioned to me while I was interstate yesterday.  He needs to rest all week, if he wants to add to his season goal tally from last weekend of 3.
At the Convention, there was a good selection of topics and I was able to find 5 that interested me.  I believe I learned a bit and now I just need to put that into action.  I will certainly try to put into action some tips I learnt from Warren Herbert from his fastrack point building demo.  Again the display layout (Bullenbung Creek) was fabulous.  I had to laugh when one session that I went to, had a reference to Craig’s Shed in his presentation’s sources.  That made me feel quite chuffed.  I also had some good conversations with quite a few people.  Maybe if we had access to a car while down in Sydney, we could have done a few things on Friday and Saturday night or Sunday during the day.  So maybe next year, if we can get four coming down from Brisbane, we might drive down and back, spending Friday at the ARHS and Sunday at Exhibitions and potentially Operating Sessions in Sydney(?).  I just hope finances permit this occurring next year as well.
So this arvo after lunch, I took my gains down to the Shed, and tested the X200 on DC, and then installed the Decoder into it.  It worked quite well.  I then set about locating the various new gates and water tanks around the layout at their proposed future locations.  In an effort to tidy up a bit after dumping everything in the Shed from the previous weekend, I located 30 Jacaranda trees around the layout.  They look very good indeed.  During the week, I was spending lunch times at work trying to watch a few minutes of the DVD that Shelton burnt from a video taken by Darren back in 1992 from the cab of double 44 class locos when travelling from Clapham Yard to Grafton.  I still have not completed the detailed analysis of this video as I'm only half way there at the moment, but I have taken quite a few notes to assist with detailed scenery planning around the layout in my crossing loops and between loops.  One thing I did record was the location of various Jacaranda trees located around Cassino.  So these locations now have their correct trees installed.
I think I will now jump in and get my two 73 class locos operational over the few weeks and then jump into adding quite a few more meters of fencing around the layout and permanently adding a few more trees.  I have about 20-30 trees in various locations around the layout that need coating with no more gaps.  I should get stuck into this as well as adding foliage to about 25 woodland scenic trees that I also have.  Still plenty to get done on Cassino.  I think I will sleep well tonight.

Monday, May 9, 2016

The Brisbane Model Railway Exhibition Wrap

Holy Heck!  Were there some people coming past our display in the morning on Saturday and also mid morning on Sunday?  Ran into plenty of the regulars, Some old mates, some new mates from the modelling night I attended the night before and lots of people Joe Public.
I think the best layout was Giligulgul even though it was just doing some back and force shunting.  The lighting of the display and the detail and weathering on the layout was pretty good.  Another good one was Puffing Billy as well Gloucester Street brought back memories of my childhood a I used to get off there to go to school.

The guys and girls from the Modelling the Railways of Queensland Convention made up 30 Jacaranda trees for me and presented them to me in on Saturday arvo.  So these will go a long way towards the approximate 5,000 that I need to install on the layout to finish it off.  I also purchased 6 nice reasonable large trees from Dave McPhee’s stand – the Modeller’s Warehouse, and another 9 trees for pretty cheap from the stand next to him – Craftsman Scale Accessories.  At this rate, my grand children will still be buying trees.
Saturday arvo we had a bit of a laugh at Peter (Giligulgul’s) expense.  As he was describing something to a crowd of onlookers, looking at the layout, looking at crowd, looking at the layout, looking at the crowd – we turned his layout off.  When he looked back at the layout – the layout was black.  I’m sure his face must have turned white.  He then looked back at us and saw a few guys rolling on the floor laughing and he immediately knew what had occurred.  Colour soon returned to his face.  The crowd also new what had occurred as we were making a few hand gestures behind Peter’s back.  Who needs enemies, when you have mates like the Tuesday Nighters!  Peter is a guy who like me, doesn’t get even, he gets one up.  He has already advised me to watch my back.  So this should be fun.
It was quite appropriate that our Structure Building stand was located next to the Gloucester Street layout by the Love's as where I was sitting was the approximate location in relationship to Gloucester Street station of the Park Road Shed that I had on display.  I had quite a few people walk past and say, was that the Park Road Siding Shed – or was that the Stephen’s Transport Shed.  The answer to both was a certain yes.  That is a great incentive to keep building models when the ones that you currently build invoke memories in some of the older viewers that allows them to recognise what the model represents.
On the shopping front I also picked up 3 Kg of ballast which should enable me to ballast Nammoona Ballast Siding and Glenapp Loop and The Risk.  I could also get to do the top deck of the helix around Ron and Marg’s B&B (the one in which PK frequents).  I also picked up the a 2.5m back scene from Wuiske on the Friday while they were setting up.  I also put an order in for about a dozen water tanks from Wayne which will help detail some of the Track Gang camps. 
On Saturday all I did was cut out and assemble the components for the small electronics hut for Cassino on the southern side of the overbridge.  I also cut up the four side for the shed on the top of the track side hill right next to that electronics hut.
Sunday at the show, I started early with my rounds.  I scouted round and took a few photos.  I sold a couple of wagons to a mate from the Club that could not find what he wanted at the shops.  I eventually purchased another Shell tanker wagons in a three pack of tankers from SDS.  I also picked up an Auscision yellow/gold storage box for Brendan.  I also picked up another second hand 3 way point from Col’s Railway Equipment for Grafton Loco.  This point will replace a Shinohara point that takes up too much room and I can extend the three sidings by about 5 inches each, more comfortably fitting in the locos in that siding.
On Sunday I finally completed the second shed I was building on the weekend.  I cut the 8 windows in the shed sides, glued it together and fitted a removable roof.  I then started on making some tanks to be used in my scratch built milk tank 20' containers.  I had some 20mm OD conduit that I cut into a 62mm in length and squared up the ends with a large file.  I added 2mm of styrene to the ends of both pieces of conduit.  Once the glue dried, I filed that styrene end addition round and then tapered it to a cone on the end.  One is complete and it looks pretty good.
So the question is what do I do next year?  Do I build another shed from the Park Road stable, or some other buildings.  Plenty to think about before then.
The road overbridge at Gloucester Street Station.  I walked up and down those stairs hundred of times before it was closed and we then had to go to Vulture Street instead.

The gangers camp on the new and highly detailed Giligulgul layout.

A scene from the Puffing Billy layout.

A nice modern house on the Puffing Billy layout.

A slightly older house on the Puffing Billy layout.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Prepping for the May Show - Amongst Other Things.

I spent quite a bit on time down the shed on Monday - A Public Holiday in Queensland.  Firstly I installed some more 12’ fence posts.  But I did not have enough.  So I had to make another 10 posts and paint them up and I still didn’t have enough - I should learn to count - or have more fingers sown on to my hands.  Having no 0.080” styrene rod left, I decided to cut up some wire posts out of some piano wire that I had.  I cut up just enough so I could complete the fence around the Lismore Shell Oil Siding and the Rocla Sleeper Siding.  I then decided to paint up a couple of batches of fence posts from ‘I’ beam.  I then put a few of my styrene and brass 44 gallon drums on a stick and painted them three different colours.  These were left to dry.  However, they were left too long, and the they became welded inside my piece of wood with fence posts holes and when I removed them (on Friday), most broke off with some styrene post left inside the holes - Bugger!
On Monday afternoon I decided to paint the top piece of the Murwillumbah Cement Silo with a tin of paint I purchased a couple of months back.  So I did this and emptied the very small tin.  However, the writing (pad printing I'm reliably informed) on the pipes that makes up the three vertical tanks atop the Cement Silo, was still showing through.  Well that was a bit of a bummer - Bugger number two.  So that meant that last Friday I had to buy another tin of light grey paint and give the silo tops a second coat.  This turned out the last tin in the hobby shop when I picked it up.  Maybe things were starting to turn for the better.
My next project of the day was to paint the corrugated card that I was going to clad my Park Road Goods Shed with.  But my paint tin of silver paint developed an issue and the nozzle seems to jam up.  The tin is full but nothing comes out. Another Bugger!
Turning to scenery I placed a few water tanks around some of the fettlers camps.  I now realised that I need about a dozen more tanks to position around the camps.  Might have to try and look out for some at the upcoming Show.

As alluded to above, on the way over to set up the tables for my display at the May Exhibition on Friday, I picked up a tin of light grey spray paint from HobbyOne for the Murwillumbah Cement silos, and on the way home, picked up four cans of SuperCheap paint for $10 for other modelling jobs.  I used the silver super cheap paint to finish the corrugated card that will go around my Park Road Goods Shed.  I let that dry.  It turned out quite good.  The last spray of the light grey paint from the Hobby Shop was used on the Cement Silo and it finally concealed that troublesome writing on the pipes.  maybe they are still looking up.

On Friday Night, there was a modelling night put on by another local hobby shop - Simon Says Hobbies and Games.  I went along with Darren and Brendan and three other plastic modellers as well as Simon himself.  We had a blast.  My first task was to put together a small luggage trolley that I picked up a long time back.  First issue was there were no instructions.  As I was cleaning up the flash on one of the wheels it did a really good vanishing act onto the carpet.  Well I think that classifies as yet another Bugger for the week.  So I assembled that item and if any passengers need to use it on Cassino platform, they will have to balance their luggage to ensure that the three wheels can carry the suit cases. I have two more trollies to put together but classified that as a bad joke and moved to other projects for the night. 

Following that episode I finally got around to attaching some small clips (made from styrene channel with a small locking clip added to the end) to Murwillumbah Cement silo, to allow me to position the pipe work that runs down the front of the Cement Silo structure to be fitted against the structure.  It should be able to be clipped out and the top of the silo removed if required at a later date (well it should be able to be removed).  I then added some black heat shrink to the end of one of the pipes in each of the three groups to make it look like flexible hosing.  That seemed to work well.   I also finally fitted the now dry corrugated iron to the Park Road Goods Shed.  It fitted like a glove.  I have purposely left a hole in the roof with no corrugated iron cladding, and I will have some workers up on the roof replacing the sheet.  However, I think I will have a worker hanging from the rafters after falling through - just another mini scene on the layout.

I will post later in the week about the May Show.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Brisbane Model Railway Exhibition 7th and 8th May

Just a reminder that the best little model railway exhibition in Brisbane will be held this coming weekend 7th and 8th of May at the RNA showgrounds in the Marque in side show alley.  I will be working with Jim Hutchinson on the Structure Building Stand, so come along and have a chat.  I might learn something off you. 
I will be building a couple of sheds for use on Cassino and may get around to making a wooden road over rail bridge.  If I finish these I will start work on some tent huts from articles written in AMRM many years back now by my stand sharer – Jim Hutchinson.  I will also have a couple of models on display that are also from the Cassino Layout.
It will be great to catch up with some mates as this is the place where this happens.  Bring plenty of money as I’m sure some of the shops and manufacturers will have plenty on display and some really good sale items.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Lots of Detail Items to be Worked on

This week's modelling activities started on Tuesday when we went over to David’s place for our fortnightly gathering to check on progress on his layout.  David has ripped everything up and started again.  Some baseboards along two walls of his shed have been rebuilt, but there is still a long way to go.
On Saturday afternoon many of the Tuesday Nighters had the opportunity to head down to Darren’s place for a look at what he has been doing lately.  He has ballasted quite a bit of track and installed some very nicely detailed scenery.  A few guys took the opportunity to run a train from one end of his layout to the other and back again. 

We had a great time just sitting down and watching some video that Darren took back in 1992 of a trip on the NSW standard gauge line between Clapham Yard and Grafton.  The footage was taken about 1 year after era my layout was set in.  The footage was inspiring.  It was very nice to see some of the scenes through the various crossing loops that I have modelled looking pretty close to the mark.  I’m sure that some of the guys who were there watching the video thought that my layout was not as accurate to the prototype as it is until they saw some of these great scenes.
As I mentioned it was inspiring looking at this footage.  So I spent most of today in the shed working on creating a few detail items to be installed around the layout.  I purchased some additional styrene on Saturday morning and cut up about 32 x 12' foot fence posts from 0.080" styrene rod.  These were painted silver when the afternoon cleared up.  I also cut up about 39 x 0.060" 'I' beam fence posts and drilled 5 wire holes in each.  I also cut up 12 x 44 gallon drums from brass tube.  I also cut up about 15 x 44 gallon drums from styrene tube.  I placed a few fruit trees around the layout in some back yards of various houses.  I dug out a few benches and placed two in the local cemetery and about 7 more on the Cassino Platform.  I decided that I needed to build a set of stairs in the Cassino cemetery to go from the car park down to the grave site.  I plan to put a classic old country church in the next allotment to the cemetery.  I also placed an old picnic table in the cemetery for mourners to sit and reflect at.

I then went digging in some of my old modelling boxes and found another 20 or so 44 gallon drums for installation in the various fettler camps that I will be installing.  I also pulled out about 7 or 8 classic corrugated iron sheds that will be distributed to various fettlers camps around the layout.  I will also need to make up a few toilets and various piles of clutter for these camps.

This detail driver was inspired by watching the video at Darren's yesterday and just understanding that some of these crossing loops were miniature microcosms of activity instead of being a desolate site.

Last Monday being the ANZAC day public holiday I also got down the shed and listened to the Brisbane march on the TV.  While that was on, I cut up 72 fence posts from 0.060" styrene 'I' beam and drilled 5 holes in each post.  The fencing contractors then installed the fence posts for the line side fencing from the Cemetery to near Fairy Lane.  I also did some investigation into my raspberry pi issue.  It turned out that my mouse was stuffed.  So I replace that and then I could do what I wanted on my pi.  However, my aim of configuring the fast clock in JMRI on the pi to sync to the NCE system could not be done.  My version of the JMRI was quite old and the relevant code was not operational in that version.  So I have graciously asked Greg to download the latest version for me and install it on the micro SD card and then I will set about configuring the fast clock then.

Tomorrow, being another public holiday in Queensland, I will be working on installing the corrugated iron cladding for the Park Road goods shed.  I think this will be a challenge.