Sunday, November 27, 2016

Epic Fail!

I did not get around to completing a huge number of tasks that I had set myself for completion this week - so I give myself a big fail.  The week started off with our fortnightly Tuesday Nighter’s meeting at Peter’s place.  My next foray into Model Railways was today.  I had a wedding to go to yesterday so that event bit into my spare time over the weekend.  On Thursday I was able to go to a vendor presentation at work for a number of hours, and I was lucky enough to sit next to a fellow Model Railway enthusiast.  If I was to suffer through a few hours of presentations, I might as well do it with someone like minded.

This morning when I did get down to the shed for a couple of hours, I was able to check out last week’s ballasting.  My straight ballasting sections were very well set.  My dirt based ballast sections needed another flooding of diluted white glue.  Once this was done, I was able to lay another 1m of ballast within the Rocla Sleeper Siding, and I was able to complete the Lismore Shell Oil Siding with dirt based ballast and also complete another 50cm of dirt based ballast in the Lismore Loco Siding.  So this is all I got around to doing on the layout this week.
The bottom track is where the ballasting starts and also where Grafton Yard begins.  The scene also shows the second loop around the spiral and Rocla Sleeper Siding above.  A couple of the famous Kerrie Hayes Jacaranda trees are visible in this photo.

A close up shot of the tracks around the upper spiral.  The Main line in on the left and Rocla Sleeper Siding inside that.  Yes the gates into the siding operate manually.

The southern end of the Rocla Sleeper Siding.  The track exits the tunnel and there is still about 30cm of track to be ballasted here.  The next section of track, has just been laid but not glued down.  You can tell by the slightly lighter ballast colour.

The track just south of Lismore Station.  This area is again blooming with Jacaranda trees made by Kerrie.

A closer up shot showing the Lismore Loco Siding on the left.  This is mostly dirt with very few pieces of rock ballast used here.  The mainline is in the middle and is yet to be ballasted.  The track on the right is the Lismore Shell Oil Siding.  The industrial fence is yet to be finished around the Oil Siding and the two road entry gates are yet to be fitted.  Again all gates will be manually operable.

The southern end of the Lismore Shell Oil Siding.  Again working gates and the start of ballasting at this location as well.

This arvo I was invited over to Shelton’s place to run some Victorian Blue and Gold era trains on his layout.  I ran quite a few trains and at times struggled to comply with all the rules that are not documented and not articulated until after I have breached them.  Also with varying degrees of momentum on some locos and the inability to stop them in anything resembling like a realistic distance, the session is quite stressful and mentally challenging.  The ballistic speed on the Powercab throttle has been adjusted and it takes about 20 turns of the centre dial thumb wheel to go from a speed step of about 60 to speed step 0.  I did not try and see if his Option key has been set to speed step zero, which I think it is set by default of most NCE Procab throttles.  This method of control of using the thumb wheel is almost unusable.  Like most layouts that I visit, it takes time to get to know what locations are in what direction and what track is what.  But this session was certainly enjoyable, but I think it could be more enjoyable with another crew member, and even two crew members.  This timetable of Shelton’s will no doubt be tweaked and improved for the next running.  An overview of the first part of the Operating Session is located here :-

I have made up a to do list for my activities for next week.  Let’s see how good I am at trying to stick to what I need to do this time.

With my next Operating Session approaching, I should try and find some time, to give the complete layout a run and fine tune the bits of track that I have adjusted since the last mid-year Operating Session.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Finishing Some Things Off

I think I will end the year off by trying to complete a few projects that I have on the go.  Today I went down the shed to see what I could do.  First off was laying about 4 to 5 metres of ballast.  The first area was about 1m of ballasting for the main line from the end of Grafton Yard just past the Grafton Loco area to where the ballast currently ends near the overbridge to Baker’s Farm.  I then went to the next level up on the spiral, and did another meter on the Main Line outside Rocla Sleeper Siding back towards the exit from the tunnel at the other end of Rocla Sleeper Siding.  I then laid just over a meter of ballast inside the Rocla Sleeper Siding.  This will be mostly dirt based ballast with a very small amount of rock included.  So I glued only the first 300mm and still have the next 800mm unglued.  I still have about 2 meters inside the Rocla Sleeper Siding and the Main Line her towards the Tunnel.  But that is a job for another time.  I then got motivated to do some more ballasting near the level crossing just south of Lismore Station.  This section of track is about 500mm long, and includes another 400mm of track into the loco siding and again about another 400mm of track into the Lismore Shell Oil Siding.  Both the Loco siding and the Oil Siding will be basically dirt based ballast with very little rock ballast in the mix.

I will check how well the ballast dried later during the week and may give all the areas another soaking of watered down white glue.

I also spent some more time trying to affix the roof to my FAM coach.  The plan is make it removable.  I have now super glued three nuts to the roof of the FAM and it appears that the bolts that comer up from the under the floor do screw into the nuts.  I will let the super glue cure and give everything a final try mid week.  I will then look at fitting the end diaphrams and the windows to the coach.  Then I will need to fit couplers and decal the coach.  It can then be allocated to one of my passenger trains.  That reminds me that I need to adjust the train consists of both my passenger trains as I have my Brisbane Limited sleepers from Auscision to take for a trial run and then put into service permanently.

I am also looking at fitting the railings to the industrial fencing around the Rocla Sleeper Siding.  Following this, the chain wire will also be fitted.  I will also add some signs to the front of the complex and then add some sort of buildings and a travelling crane to the worksite.

Next on the list of things to finish is some more detail to Baker’s Farm.  This is located on the left as you enter the shed and is on the road to the Rocla Sleeper Siding.  I painted up some more white metal post and rail fencing today and will fit that next Sunday.  There a few things to fit in the farm.  There is some more fencing down the other end of the farm and the hen house will need to be built and chickens fitted.  There are also some internal fences to be added to the farm and a few fruit frees and maybe some vegetable gardens.  I purchased some crows and pigs while down at Armidale, so I think it is likely that these will also get a run somewhere in the farm.

I am also trying to work up some courage and get out my No More Gaps again to resume work on another batch of trees.  I have about 40 trees I have at the armature stage and need to be thickened up with No More Gaps.  They will then be painted and sometime over the Christmas Holidays I will glue leaves on these trees.  I have about 20 that are weeping willows that a few of my creeks around the layout need to be decorated with.

I am also thinking that I need to put a few puddles around the layout – next to some roads, in the middle of a field, etc.  I may also put some water in a couple of swampy areas near Bonalbo Ballast Siding and between Richmond River Bridge and Cassino Station.  These are relatively small projects but I’m sure the guys attending my next Operating Session in December will certainly be impressed by this progress.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

2016 New England Model Railway Convention

I have just spent 2 days at the New England Model Railway Convention in Armidale.  It has been a very nice time.  I had the pleasure of travelling down with Darren, Geoff and Brendan and rooming with them for 3 days.  The Convention was well attended.  I think that it had more attendees this time, compared to last convention 2 years ago.  To be honest, when I saw the program, I was looking at some sessions and thinking “I’ve heard that before”, “That does not really float my boat”, “There are no prototype sessions”.  That did not deter me from registering, as there are other reasons to attend.  I get to see some really great models.  There are the hobby shops that come along to the event and have some great items for sale.  There are the demonstration guys showing off some sort of skill.  I knew that there were some ‘subject matter experts’ attending.  So I could talk to them about various facets of their processes or techniques in their special discipline.

As usual we left Brisbane early Friday morning and after a couple of pit stops we arrived at Armidale just before 4:00pm.  There were quite a few fellow modellers staying in our motel.  Friday night registration was a time to say ‘G’day’ to quite a few old friends and have a nose around.

So over Saturday and Sunday, I attended 8 presentations.  I must admit, that I was very impressed with all 8.  I got quite a lot out of some sessions that I made an initial assumption, that they would not ‘float my boat’.  So I guess we should not be quick to jump to conclusions.  I took copious amounts of notes and I have been inspired to try new things, and implement some of the topics covered this weekend.

I captured quite a few photos of various models, display layouts and scenes on the layout tour.  I also had many great conversations.  But, I really had some great laughs on Friday night around the table over dinner and drinks afterwards, and again at the formal Saturday Night Dinner.  Did we have some laughs.  We had three mates gate crash our unit for breakfast on Saturday morning.  That was funny.  I also look forward to apparently a few dozen people attending the Whitebull tonight for dinner.  A few more laughs I dare say.

So for the first time in quite a few weekends I am presenting some photos on the blog – this time from the last few days.
The best piece of modelling I think I have ever seen.  The transformer on Rohan Fergusson's Ashford Mungindi Extension.

The grain outloader on the same module.  This model took out best structure at the convention.  It deserved it.

A great example of weathering a fuel tank.  This model was by Steve Pettit.

A example of the toilet block built using my AMRM article quite a few years ago.  This always makes me smile.

I do love Fuel Depots.  This is just nice.  I hope to have a couple of my layout eventually.

I am trying to make these exact bridge pillars for my Upper Richmond River crossing at Kyogle.

A fantastic model of the Railway Hotel built by Rohan Fergusson.

Another shot of the same hotel.

Any another.

To finish off, this is a shot of two of my room mates taking a shot of a 'Pop-up Layout'.  This is actually a flat pack layout, that unfolds into this incredible presentation.  It was built by Michael Flack.  We were just blown away.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Buy and Sell Bargains

Today quite a few people went to the Buy and Sell at the RMCQ Clubrooms at Brendale.  At 8:30am, 30 minutes before seller check in, there was a queue up of sellers wanting to register.   That eventually sorted itself out and tables were claimed.  I was impressed with the amount of very good NSW outline stuff for sale.  There were some very good bargains.  I also sold some stuff and my little helper took 10% of my sales when I was there and 100% of my sales when I wasn't on my table.  He did pretty well out of it.  I did also charge him 10% of the table costs as well.  he almost ended up with more money in his pocket than me!

Earlier in the week, Geoff posted on some Facebook groups about the Buy and Sell and I spotted in a photo, one of the items he was selling which was a fork lift.  I immediately emailed Geoff for confirmation and made a claim on that item.  I picked it up today.  Upon looking at Darren’s sale items today, I saw a half assembled AMRI platform building going for $5.  Whoosh!  That was the sound of me snapping that one up.  That will go with my two other already assembled kits and I will be doing some cutting and shunting of the various pieces together from the three kits to help create a model of the Cassino platform building.  That, I think, will be next year’s major modelling project.  I also picked up a very nicely assembled Shell three dome Tanker also from Darren's table.  Bargain!  I also purchased a grass tree from Dave at the Modeller's Warehouse.  These look really good and are a new range in his store.

Last week a mate snaffled up a kit for the Stephen Johnson Models 400 class railmotor and the 500 class trailer, at the AMRA Buy and Sell.  Well these two items were for resale today at our Buy and Sell for an uplift of 100% on what he bought it for last week.  I am the lucky new owner of the 400 Class railmotor, only paying 50% more.  These items are as scares as hen's teeth and when they become available they go for prices a lot more than what I picked mine up for.

So once home, I assembled the fork lift.  I have put the AMRI kit on the bench until the Christmas holidays.  I also took the 400 Class railmotor kit apart and have given it a once over.  I think the bogies/wheels will give me some grief but I think I should be able to assemble the kit fairly easily also over the Christmas Holidays.  The Shell tanker has already replaced a Lifelike single dome tanker wagon on the oil train sitting in Lismore Shell Oil Siding. 

This week I spent some time completing the sign boards for the Murwillumbah Cement Silo.  They just needed a structure to attach them to the Silo by.  I painted the frames yesterday and I attached them this arvo.  I also spray painted the FAM sleeping car a nice silver.  I then sprayed the underneath a nice matt black.  It looks pretty good.  Today after not selling two of my old Lima IP cars, which were in the midst of some semi-rebuilds, I did a small amount of work to both cars.  I had a DAM sleeper that I had added a styrene infill to a single window according to a AMRM article.  The styrene was previously left white.  So today – I painted that silver.  Now it is just like a bought one!  I then took my old Dining car, which I was making into a lounge car (I think),  This car I had cut up and rebuilt, and sprayed it silver.  This car still has some work to do on it.  Hmmm!  Both coaches may make reappearances on the layout within some passenger consists in the near future.  Time will tell.

Of course next Friday is our road trip to Armidale and the New England Model Railway Convention.  It will be great to catch up with everyone again.  Drinks in our room on Friday and Saturday night after the Bowls Club closes!