Sunday, December 31, 2017

Operations Session from 27th December

We had 8 crew and an apprentice turn up for the Operations Session for Wednesday 27th December.  We almost had more Victorian modellers in attendance than NSW modellers.  I might have to start imposing sanctions on Victorian Modellers if they keep multiplying.  It didn’t start well when Greg declared JMRI a failure and we had to resort to Procabs and Procab-Rs only.  Arthur diligently sat in the North Coast Controller’s chair for 3 hours and had trains running smoothly.  Well we ran 37 trains to completion.  It seemed that towards the end of the session, the crew just sat down as the clock neared the end of the session, not wanting to start a train and leave it out on the layout just before a break for crib. I was the only person operating, with the rest just watching me, and Arthur directing.

Now there were about 7 issues registered from the session.  One 80’ container wagon lost a coupling.  So the 0-5-0 hand of god removed the troublesome wagon (for later fixing) and operations continued.  The North Coast Motorail was listed twice as having bad couplers (mismatched coupler heights) - once traveling to Murwillumbah and once travel from Murwillumbah.  I’ve gone and checked things out on Thursday and everything lines up?  I gave it a run and it works OK now.  Maybe someone adjusted something during the session.  I super glued the coupling back on the wagon and returned the wagon to the train.  I fixed up a loco with dirty wheels, and took a file to two pieces of track that were slightly out of height alignment.  So that was not a bad result from the Operations Session.  However, when the session completed, there were still 12 trains to run.

So on Thursday afternoon, I ran 5 trains and advanced the fast clock from 6:30pm in the timetable until 8:00pm.  I also slewed the last 40 cm of number three track in South Brisbane Interstate Yard by about 4-5mm and now the new wooden unloading platform that I made during the Christmas break sits on the other side of trains in the station platform at South Brisbane Interstate and between track 3 on the other side.  I still need to add a few more legs to the modelling platform and add some more detail to the deck, but for all intents and purposes, it is all complete.

On Friday I had 4 people over, Lefty (and Son would have also been over if he didn’t work all night doing oncall), Arthur, Marty (NMRA Div 1 super) and Shelton.  Well wouldn’t you know it – two more Victorian Modellers. We took the timetable from 8:00pm up until midnight.  Had a coffee or cold drink and had a bit of a chat.  So that meant that the timetable had been completed successfully.  Apparently Lefty advised that he did not know the various locations were and where the various control panels are for each location.  But that is natural for people with very little experience on the layout.

On Friday arvo I ripped up two sweeping dual gauge curves that I had laid between Acacia Ridge Yard and Clapham Yard.  These were laid with my own scratch built dual gauge track.  It was HO flex track on which I soldered up a third rail of code 83 to make it dual gauge. On Wednesday morning I placed an order with Queensland Scale Models for some lengths of Tillig dual gauge track.  What service – it turned up on Friday morning.  So the new dual gauge track was substituted for the home made dual gauge that kept causing my 12mm trains to derail around the bend, as I could not keep it in gauge.  It worked on some other areas on the layout, but not at these two locations.  I then ran my narrow gauge train between Clapham and Acacia Ridge and back.  I also found one narrow gauge siding at Acacia Ridge that was not wired, so out came the drill and the soldering iron and voila – that is now fixed.
Just after Christmas 2017, and looky here.  Santa has turned up for an Operations Session.

At Border Loop, a ballast train waits for another train to overtake.

This scene shows a photo from the web, that I have tried to replicate in my scene at Border Loop.
Here is the freight train to South Brisbane Interstate coming through on the main at Border Loop.

Further north, the freight train has made it to Acacia Ridge Yard.

Some activity on Fairy Lane, an ambulance is passing a scene of some roadwork.

Just nearby Fairy Hill Loop, a triple loco set powers a long container north towards Fisherman Islands.  It is passing Ron and Marg's B&B.

Looks like PK is staying a night in the bedroom and Lefty is trying to work out what PK is doing.  maybe Lefty is taking notes.

At Acacia Ridge Yard, two trains from the Ops Session are visible.  The Ballast Tamper on track 5 and the ARHS sponsored CPH with trailer doing a run from South Brisbane Interstate Platform to Kyogle platform and return.  It is captured here heading back to South Brisbane.
Oh Look, a stock train lead by 4894.  It is here at Nammoona.  Remember this fact for a future up coming post.

The Stock Train at Nammoona from another angle.

On the facia of the layout are a collection of Tea Bag Tarpaulins before they were cut down to HO size.  These ones are being made in Victorian and SAR colours for my modelling mates.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas Everyone

This week we had 11 guys visit Cassino on Tuesday Nighter for our fortnightly meeting.  We met in a rather hot shed, where the guys wandered around to see what had changed since their last visit.  This was actually Cliff’s first visit to the Shed.  He was blown away by what was there.  We found out the Cliff was a former copper stationed at Casino many years ago, and he could associate with some of the scenes.  It is a small world isn't it.

Saturday I went over to the Club to assist with the fixing of a short occurring on a diamond crossing from Tillig that handles the crossing of 12mm and 16.5mm track.  When I got there the guys had advised that they had figured out how to wire the piece of track.  When they described their method, I agreed with them that they had it correct.  A bit later we tried to run a train through the track and it did not work.  I think they better start from scratch and disconnect all the wires from where they are currently connected.  They need to then connect one wire at a time and check with a multimeter.  Sometimes it is hard to get good help.

The main reason for venturing over to the other side of the universe - sorry town, was to attend a running session at Mark's Place.  His layout is called Arden Street.  It is very nice and is coming along very well.  It is heavily geared towards operation.  It has a card system where you draw some cards and then make up various trains based on the cards up to a maximum wagon length.  It is certainly a tester for the brain, both in the creation of the train list and putting the train together and then shunting that train and bringing back any returns.  While it was reasonably warm in the train room, I think most of the sweat that I produced was from the brain working overtime to solve the shunting puzzles created for each operation.  

Today I went down to the shed and run a narrow gauge train from Acacia Ridge to Clapham and around Clapham yard to test out the track.  I have two operations sessions scheduled for this coming week.  Next Saturday will have my first narrow gauge trains running.  That could be a problem, as some of the dual gauge track that I scratch built around two very large curves are causing some issues.  We will see.

I also ran my track cleaning train from Clapham Yard to Acacia Ridge and back, then all around Clapham Yard, then back all the way back to Grafton.  It gave me no issues at all, so the track seemed to be rather clean.  It must be the Wahl oil I have a been using lately, although I did give it another coating.

Everything is currently set for Wednesday's first Operations Session.

I will leave you with some photos of yesterday's successful Operating Session with Mark and Anthony at Arden Street.
Five industries are situated along this stretch of track.  This is where most of the current shunting takes place.  The track work is about to be slightly changed here.

I need one of these gantry cranes for Rockla Sleeper Siding.  This has given me some ideas on how to build one.

The loco depot after which the layout is named.

The two other operators.  Layout owner Mark on the right and fellow Mexican modeller Anthony on the left.

This time Anthony turned around for a look.   He is busy writing up the next shunt for the me the pilot to take around the layout.

This is the originating yard where all trains are made up from.  Apparently it is about to be widened by another maybe 2 or 3 tracks.

The industries are taking shape.

Some shunting taking place at the local flour mill.  There is also the possibility that the layout will be extended off to the left out through the door, with another yard on wheels located around the corner so some mainline trains can enter and leave the layout.  This will simulate locations farther west.

The harvester company has a lot of wagons in its siding.  It is possible that the trackwork here may be slightly tweaked.

The diagram of the Yard.

Looking out to the main line (if you call it that) from the yard.  There are even two NSWGR wagons on the layout - providing steel plate to the harvester company.

These buildings are going to look great when the are completed.

Merry Christmas everyone.  I hope you enjoy some relaxing time off work, and spend it with those people that mean the most to you.  Tell them how much they mean to you and just have a great time.  Stay safe if you are travelling.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Santa Has Come Early

After a fantastic week away from work on holidays down the coast with the family the previous week, my mood suddenly took turn to horrific, when I had to go back to work, and stuff-up after stuff-up was uncovered when I got back to work.  I just think I am surrounded by turkeys and they are not the edible types.  Well it truly was a bad week back at work.  Anyway, I left early on Friday and a group of us ventured over to Brendan’s for a BBQ and a modelling night.  In attendance were Geoff, Darren, Grover, Anthony and of course myself and Brendan.  Dinner was great.  Besides BBQ snags, we also had some kebabs and a bit of a salad.  We again spent quite a bit of time just talking, looking at Brendan’s progress on his VR layout and did I mention talking.  Oh of course we may have a coldie or two or three while we were talking.  The night ended up why Brendan producing a mango cheese cake (made by his better half) and we had a great time demolishing most of that.  And no we did not get to any modelling.  

To put a big U turn on my week, later in the evening, Brendan presented all of those in attendance with a Christmas gift.  Wow.  Totally unexpected and out of the blue.  I received a KLY wagon and a NSW North Coast DVD.  Damn Brilliant.  Thanks for the present Santa Brendan.

Saturday started off with a mow of the grass as it was starting to look pretty overgrown after not being touched for two weeks.  This was followed by a trip to a local Umart to pick up my new Raspberry Pi and a power supply.  Next up was a trip east to my next appointment for a stop off at a burger bar over near Anthony’s place where 6 of his Operating Crew gathered for a Christmas Lunch.  About 50 minutes later, 5 or the 6 were back at Anthony’s for his regular Operating Session.  Luckily I was admitted, because I left my radio throttles at home.  Oops!  Sorry I won’t do that again.

The Operating Session at Anthony’s was another great one.  I won’t admit to doing a ‘Craig’ with my first train = np one noticed anyway.  I also will not admit to not swapping over the loco cards on another of my trains when I did an engine swap at Tatiara Downs.  But I slipped back and quietly returned the cards to their correct place without anyone knowing.  However, I did see the owner driving his loco down the grain loading siding, way past the outloader, in contravention of his operating rules. 

When the session ended, we always sit down and have a chat.  Anthony then produced a bottle of wine each for his Christmas crew.  A very nice gesture indeed.  Thanks Santa Anthony.

Today after cleaning the pergola and the outdoor setting for next Tuesday night’s gathering at my place, I went down to the shed and wired up my new Raspberry Pi that I picked up on Saturday.  It fired up in seconds.  I changed the settings, rebooted and I was away.  However, I still have issues with my wifi devices not responding when I tell them to do something.  Well it is starting to look a lot like it is the wifi dongle.  Damn.  I may be able to swap mine for another as a trial, to determine if that is actually the cause.  I have an upcoming operating session, so I might have to seek some assistance to remove the external wifi dongle and use the internal wifi in the new Raspberry Pi.  There is more than one way to skin a cat.  However, I don’t know how to do this type of work.  So the Pi will now be packed back up and wrapped up and put under the tree for another week.

As said previously Tuesday is the last get together for our Tuesday Nighter’s group before Christmas and indeed New Year, but Santa will not be present unlike the two other events mentioned above.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

2017 RMCQ Christmas Party

Well another club event has been run and boy was it a very nice day yesterday at the Club.

In the lead up to Saturday, I spent the last week down the coast with the family and was able to relax going to the beach each day and having fantastic weather.  I did not get up to much modelling activity but I did relax by doing a bit of reading and a bit of tennis with my son.  There was cricket on TV for the first 5 days and I could not get motivated until Thursday, when I decided to try and decal my FAM coach.  I knew that the decals I was going to use were old, and I had heard many stories about people using old decals, and thought that was not going to happen to me.  Well I was very wrong.  The decals just disintegrated in water after 3-4 seconds.  That was a bit of a shame.  I texted the boss who was out shopping asking her to pick up some clear nail polish (you can never have too much of that stuff).  Upon her return I coated the next lots of decals with the clear nail polish and allowed then to dry.  So on Friday I then tried re-decaling the FAM coach and low and behold, the decals did not disintegrate.  I did have trouble separating the decal film from the backing paper, but eventually with a little persuasion the decals came away and they were able to be positioned on the coach.  However, I then had the decal resting on something when I turned the coach over and that stuffed up the decal.  That is a newbie issue that I just slapped myself for.  So my coach went from being a pristine coach to a dilapidated coach with the decaling half coming off the wagon.  Oh well – I could model that.

My next task was to complete about a dozen 6’ x 4’ box trailers.  Basically all I had to do was fit the axle and the wheel hubs to each wagon.  So after an hour or so, that was complete.  However, my plan to paint the trailers a nice new silver colour down the coast, came to a thundering halt.  It was blowing a gale on Friday afternoon, I was going to do it over at the beach so that was not possible and I certainly was not going to do it in the unit we were staying in.  So on Saturday morning, after getting home from the coast, I went down to the shed and set up a base to paint on, and then I spray the collection of trailers.  I then let then dry and after about 40 minutes, I placed a selection of 20' x 10' sheets of concrete reo into my 40’ container flat and added 8 of my 6’ x 4’ trailers to the load.

It was then time to head over to the Christmas Party.  As I said earlier, it was a very nice day.  No traffic on the way to the Clubrooms.  Not too hot, and there was a nice breeze blowing.  There were about 8 tables set up in the Club meeting area, with table cloths and Christmas decorations on each table.  I added my donations to the various Christmas Hampers and purchased my non winning tickets for the various drawers to be undertaken later. 

We had a very nice sit down lunch of cold meats and various torts.  A fantastic feast to end a year.  Thanks must go to the organisers of the food and setup of the Clubrooms.

I had three of the Auscision Coil Wire Wagons to sell, and the first person I spoke to about buying some, said “Yep, I’ll take three”.  Well that was easy.  I unloaded my modelling competition entries onto a table and that became the modelling comp table.  Of course I had a cold drink in one hand while I was doing this job.  I then went around and started to advise members, that there was a model of PK on the modelling table.  I just wanted to get a few laughs.  Everyone did!

I must admit that our Club member Greg, certainly put in in preparing the Club Modelling competition for the Annual Christmas Party and I was totally disillusioned that only Greg and myself put in entries.  I thought it was really poor form by the other members.  I know people are busy, but the members must have worked on something during the year.  I know that there are some fantastic modellers in the Club, so my goal now is to try and convert a club full of plonkers into about 10 to 15 people each putting in an entry in next year’s modelling competition.

Well on that subject, this year with so few entries, everything rolled up into two categories.  These were Dioramas, and the People’s Choice.  Greg did a really good effort on his oil depot diorama and I thought that my model of PK’s shed might cause enough of a stir to get the popular vote by our members.  How wrong was I.  It turned out that I won both trophies with my Chicken Coop entry.  I was very happy, but I bit embarrassed that I had 5 out of the 6 entries on display.

So my attention now turns to planning for my Operating Sessions that are scheduled for the week after Christmas.  I will need to clean the track, ensure the timetable cards are ready, the trains are in the right spots for when we start the session and the food and drinks are ready.  I might also have to clear the desk used by North Coast Control and update the train magnets in case the controller wants to use them to track the trains on the day.

I have also been doing some more work on planning for my presentation at next year’s Modelling the Railways of Queensland Convention presentation.  I will create two identical base boards over the Christmas break to start things rolling.
My 40' Container Flat with a load of concrete reo mesh sheets and 8 of my 6' x 4' box trailers

My FAM coach with had windows added and while hard to see, had venetian blinds added to the insides of all windows 

A rail side view of my scratch built Old Cassino goods shed.

A view of the road side of the Old Cassino goods shed.

PK's Shed with his clothes line.  PK's neighbour's dog is hanging from the clothes line after grabbing onto an old skipping rope.  PK is the guy drinking with a huge white Santa type beard sitting on the ground.  The Other guy is his neighbour.
Greg's Oil Depot.  It had working gates.
A view of the whole diorama of the oil depot.

Greg's enhanced kit turned into a diorama.  It will eventually be installed on the Club Layout.

A shot from another side.

The oil depot on the layout.

Another view from the layout.

Yet another view from the layout.

And another.  There are also cracks in the bitumen base that the oil depot has laid.  Even some weeds growing behind the shed.

One More!

The Chicken Coop.  The hen house (obscured by the apple tree in this shot) has a ramp up to the pen house for the chickens to walk up, and the door on the pen door does actually pivot/swing back and forth.  The chicken are all over the place with some inside and some outside the pen.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Slowly But Surely

This week on Tuesday I attend the Modelling the Railways of Qld Convention Committee meeting and we did some program design for the upcoming convention in October next year.  At the end of the evening, it looked like I was volunteered for a presentation, just when I thought I got away scott free.

Oh well.  This upcoming convention should be a ripper.  I have been planning my session at a very high level outline already.  I have 12 months to put it together.

I have also been doing bits and pieces this week to help complete the Old Cassino Good shed.  So finally on Friday night it was completed.  Friday started off with mowing the lawn in between showers.  So after that was complete, I then concentrated on the models for next weekend.  The goods shed had a final extension completed and painted and it was all put together.  However, I decided not put it on a diorama.  It is on a base, but that is all.

Next it was a revisiting of PK's shed.  It didn't take long before I realised that the glue I used to affix the corrugated iron to my styrene on PK's shed had caused the styrene roof base to warp.  So, back to the drawing board and I made up a new styrene base for the roof.  This time I used aquadhere to affix the corrugated iron to the roof base.  I they had to reattach the gutters and the down pipes, and that took no time at all.

The next task was finding the decal settling bottle in the shed.  Well I eventually found that and I am ready to get into that sometime this week.  I then started to think about the venetian blinds that the FAM coach needed.  Well I decided to make up a tool from an old AMRM article from Ian Black (I think).  Well it actually worked.  It was 12 knife blades that I draw across the clear styrene.  I will cut these up and fit them while watching the cricket over the next few days.

I still need to complete a few loads for my container flat.  Again a task for this week.  It better be, as time is running out.  Luckily I'm on holidays so should have some time up my sleeve.

I could not get motivated this weekend to progress anything.  Too many family activities.

However, slowly but surely I am completing these models.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Two Down, with Another Two Almost Complete and Another To Go

After last week’s post PK sent me through a couple of witty emails in response to my post about his backyard shed and clothes line.  I was not very sorry about airing his dirty laundry so to speak.   I had to respond in kind, by saying I was not going for the prize of best model, but most popular, as I am sure everyone will get a huge laugh out of the entry once they see a model of him outside his shed, drinking beer with his huge beard (and I do mean huge white beard) – Note I have purposely not posted that photo as I want to see his reaction in person when he sees the completed model.

Work this week centred around completing my Modelling competition entries.  On Monday I bent up and attached four handrails around the access doors for my FAM Coach.  I also bent up and painted two down pipes for PK’s Shed. 

On Tuesday Night after a trip to my son’s school for a Drama Presentation was cancelled due to apathy, I was able to make it to the UPMRC Buy and Sell.  I caught up with a few mates there and afterwards, a few of us caught up with Peter and few other Tuesday Nighter's at Peter’s place.  I could not find anything of interest at the Buy and Sell.  But I must admit there was plenty of items being transacted.

I had Thursday and Friday off thus week to watch the Test Cricket.  On Thursday this week, I attached the down pipes to PK’s Shed.  I also had a rather thorough look for my previously built chicken coop.  No Luck.  So I made another one.  I then made up the hen house to go inside the chicken coop.  On Friday I cut up two base boards - one for the chicken coop and  one for PK’s Shed and did a bit of work in preparing the diorama bases for these.  The hen house and chicken coop were painted/weathered and the wire attached to the chicken coop.  The door even works.  So with a few added pieces of detail these entries are now considered complete.

On Saturday I got stuck back into the Old Cassino Goods Shed.  I found a few photos that I had put aside and also dialled up a view from Google Earth and Google Street View to confirm colouring and other various details.  That allowed me to basically paint up the model that I have built.  Late yesterday I also cut up a display base for this model.  Last night I decided that I needed to add an entry to the building, so this morning I painted that up with the help of my Silver, Grey Primer and Yellow Oxide spray cans.  I will add that tonight.  I spent all day today at a family BBQ, and we had fun watching the women's world cup football and the cricket on TV.

I think tonight I might think about some extra detail onto the Goods Shed and maybe next Friday (another day off) I will paint up the display base, and add the track, ballast and driveway for the trucks to the goods shed module.  Then that entry will be completed.

That will then leave me all next week and the week after (when I’m on Holidays and there is more cricket on TV) to apply the decals to the FAM passenger coach and also complete the building of the load for my 40’ container flat.

So I think everything is coming together nicely for my Club Modelling Competition entries.  I just need to remember to pack everything up when I head over to the Club for the Christmas Party and Modelling Competition on the 9th.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Modelling Comp Entries Update

Well after weeks, maybe months, of prodding PK, it seems like the silly old bugger has finally installed his clothes line in the back yard.  There was a post on Facebook by PK and I have attached his photo here.
One of PK's 2 HO scale clothes lines that I made for him for his retirement.

This week, I could not find time to progress any of my planned modelling jobs.  However, I was able to spend a little time just looking through my decal collectiuion.  I did find relevant decals that will allow me to decal the FAM when I’m on holidays later this week while watching the cricket.

I was about to have a half day on Wednesday this week, when I got a call from George from Aurora Trains, that my Auscision order was in.  So I went home, picked up the car and drove over and collected up some more Coil Wire Wagons with loads for myself and some mates.

Yesterday I also picked up some items from Simon Says Hobbies and Games.  This included some styrene and something special for the model I started to build yesterday.  This model is titled PK’s Shed.  My modelling competition entry is a model of PK’s Shed.  It also has a sliding door just like PK’s shed.  However, in this version of the shed, it has a clothes line just outside.  This version was also lined and painted on the inside, also unlike PK's.

Today I spray painted the inside of the shed, and then painted the outside of the shed.  I then painted the tracks for the sliding door, and fitted them to the model.  When they were dry I fitted the glass doors and tested to ensure that the sliding door could be opened and closed – which it could.  I then built a roof frame and then attached some corrugated iron.  This was then painted and the shed finally assembled.

The gutters were then painted and attached.  I have not yet attached downpipes, but I can do that this week sometime.  This still needs to be put onto a very small diorama, again a task for this coming week.  That will then make it the second modelling competition almost complete.
PK's shed and clothes line.

I will continue looking for my wooden chicken coop that I had previously built and cannot find.  So next Thursday before the cricket starts, I will turn the shed upside down.  If necessary, I will build another one on Thursday.  That should then make 3 entries down with two more to go.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Planning the Club Modelling Competition Entries

Tuesday this week I made my first visit to Cliff’s place for our Tuesday Nighter’s meeting.  Cliff is the newest member of our group, although he has been a member for quite some time now.  I have not been able to make any of the previous trips to Cliff’s place to view his layout.  He has a nice layout down one side of his garage and plenty of tracks to shunt back and forth on.  He also has a few desks on which to undertake modelling and painting.  While there another of the Tuesday NIghters brought along 3 of his Eureka 40 class locos.  So I coded them up with 4 digit addresses for him.  They seem to have a very weird speed straight out of the box.  Very fast on speed step one, and one had a huge amount of momentum.

This weekend was our monthly meeting for our Club.  It was also the date that we needed to have our modelling competition entries submitted for next month's modelling competition.  This allows the organiser to determine what categories we will have entries in, and arrange judges, and trophies to be purchased for the various categories that will have entries.  This year I plan to have 5 entries.  The competition is on the second Saturday in December.  So I have not much time left in which to complete my entries.  I spent a good hour thinking what I was going submit on Thursday night.

On Friday night I decided to get stuck into completing my Hanovale FAM sleeper.  THis has been sitting around for months.  I had previously tried white glue for making the windows, but they turned out very cloudy.  So on Friday I cut out and shaped 10 windows for one side of the wagon from clear styrene.  On Saturday night, I made another two windows for the side doors.  Today I cut out 10 more for the other side of the wagon, and got around to gluing them in.  The windows now look much better.  I also painted two bogies up for the FAM on Friday afternoon.  Today I also fitted the KDs and the bogies to the FAM.  I now need to do the two end windows in the doors that allow travel between coaches in the train, and then look around for some appropriate decals for the wagon.

Yesterday on the way to the Club, I picked up some styrene to make a train shed as part of a diorama to be entered into the modelling competition.  I think I will try and get around to completing that either tonight or during the week.  I will paint it next weekend and it should be ready by next Sunday.  So that will be two entries down.

I have made another structure that I was going to use for entry number 3, but I have not been able to locate it.  It is somewhere in the shed.  I will dedicate next weekend for locating that item and put the finishing touches on it.  If I cannot find it, I will make another.  You can never have too many of this item.

Another item that I was going to enter was started many months ago and has languishing on the layout unfinished and unpainted.  So I think I will be working on that the weekend after.

My last entry also contains lots of half finished models.  So I need to get stuck into completing these items.  I am having some holidays around the cricket test match in Brisbane and the first week of December (just before the competition) and should be able to knock up about a dozen items and paint them up.

It will be shame if other members do not get on board and put entries into the competition.  That is why I am putting in 5 entries.

I have also done so much detailing and scene making on the home layout during the year, but I just cannot up and bring it along to the Club.  The shed is just not portable.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Goodbye PK

Well this week PK showed up at work on Tuesday after another couple of weeks off on holidays.  On Thursday about 60 of his closest friends and some that just wanted to make sure he was going to leave for good, had lunch on the roof at work and had about 42 pizzas ordered as well as chips, cake and softdrink etc.  It was PK’s retirement lunch from work.  My association with PK started about 17 years ago, when PK’s section at work (Office Systems Unit) shutdown and all the guys from there were redeployed to our central office in other teams.  That is when I met this ratbag.  I found out he had an interest in model trains among other things.  He wasn't a bad bloke either.  He used to swing between being bald with a beard, hair and no beard, a dead ringer for Santa and different combinations.  On the Thursday at work, various photos from his work history were plastered around the office in stairwells, inside lifts and on some doors.  He even looked like a porn star with a mow in a few of the photos.  PK always knew his stuff.  I have had the pleasure of being able to wander down between floors and have a talk to PK (as well as other model railway guys at work) when I needed to get away from my desk before I went postal.  We could also reminisce about some dork at the Club, something funny from Tuesday Nighters, something that occurred at an exhibition, or just have a chat.  PK is a great source of jokes, funny photos and train information.  He will be missed at work.  Although he barely spent any time there this year with holidays and long service leave.

Thursday was the first party.  His work mates got him a selection of presents that were quite funny.  He also got a few bottles of alcohol which apparently he will slowly demolish.  I also presented him with two HO scale clothes lines I knocked up just for him the night before.  PK built his 12 m x 7 m train shed apparently 4 years ago (I think it was longer) and has all the materials in it to insulate and line it.  They have been there for a couple of years.  Also in his shed is his trusty clothes line.  He can dry clothes in any weather.  He also has a clothes line post ready to install outside his shed, so he can then get around to insulating and lining his shed, and move into layout building mode.  He just needs to dig a hole, put the post in, and back fill with a bag or two of pre-mix concrete.  We have been waiting for ages.  So that is the reason for his present.
Santa leaving work with his retirement goodies (Photo by Cookie)

On Friday PK and about 40 to 50 of his mates went to a local hotel and had a very nice lunch and a few cold drinks.  I pulled up stumps just before 3:00pm to get home and do things as the daughter had a school dance to go to, and I had to look after the son.  Apparently PK kicked on until about 9:30pm.  Various photos were posted by his mates while he was in various degrees of inebriation.  It was a very nice arvo and we had many laughs, caught up with some people who have moved on to other jobs, but generally just farewelled a great mate – PK
PK having a drink on Friday (photo by Rob Hawkins)

On Friday Night after deciding that the two clothes lines I put together for PK looked pretty good, I jumped into putting together two more clothes lines for myself.  I painted them on Saturday.  I just need to string some line on them.

Today was a Buy and Sell day at the Club.  Plenty of sellers, plenty of buyers and I resisted and ended up not buying anything, although plenty took my fancy.  I did not have a very happy day selling some of my excess NSW stuff, and having to buy food for my apprentice in tow.

We have all been threatened with a phone call from PK on Monday asking what we are doing, as he will be lazing around drinking coffee with his feet up in his pergola, reading the paper followed by a train magazine while we are trying to still save for our retirement.  See you on Tuesday night PK.  It has been lots of fun.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

I've Got a New PC

Again there was very little Model railway activity this week.  I had to miss our Tuesday Nighters meeting as it was my daughter’s awards night.  She had a very good night, with her being dux of 6 subjects, and picking up another 3 awards throughout the night.  Anyway on Friday night a few of us ventured down to Darren’s place for a BBQ and a natter.  Geoff and Brendan did some modelling, while I just sat back with Grover and watched.  Yesterday I did nothing besides buying a new laptop.  My first new one in almost 7 years.  This one is just slightly faster with a SSD inside.

Today I just wandered around, changed a washer, trimmed up a couple of trees and watched some cricket on TV.  I also set up the new PC.  I have been starting to think want I could enter into our Club’s upcoming annual modelling competition.  That is in December, but entries have to be registered by the second week in November.  While I have done a few things this year, I’m not sure they are competition enterable.  I might have to make a list, check it twice, and see if it was nice enough to complete before the December meeting, if I register it in two weeks time.  That means that I might have to pull my finger out over the next few weekends.

I feel I have a duty to contribute I model or two as I have been entering for many, many years.  So I have some thinking ahead in the next week.

Another thing that has annoyed me today is that a state election has been called and totally stuffed up a project I have been working on for the last 6 months.  Everything needs to stop for the next 4 to 6 weeks, and if it is not approved and implemented before the end of the year, it will cost our customers, I'd suggest a few hundred thousand dollars.  Damn!

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Slow Weekend

Yesterday, I made my way over to Anthony’s place for his monthly Operations Session.  I was the only NSW modeller in attendance, now that Brendan has changed his stripes to Yellow (or should I say Gold) on Blue.  I was joined at the session by Brendan, Mark, Jeff and Jeff’s father Ian who was on holidays in the sunshine state on this rather dreary day, as well as our host – Anthony.

As usual the session ran very well.  Everything runs very well at Anthony's place.  I could not claim to doing too many things wrong during the session, and I did get the job of SAR Operator No. 2 and thus I had a number of shunt trains to operate.  I had a grain train that was 6 bogie wagons long and a van and the siding could only hold 5 wagons.  Also the van could not go under the loader.  Bugger.  That was taxing my brain as to what to do.  I then had to top up fuel in loco at the other end of the yard and also add a PWS wagon to add to my train just inside the van, on my return trip.  Bugger again.  I forgot to make allowances for the PWS, so had to do some more shunting.  All this was occurring in the middle of a very busy Tatiara Downs yard controlled by Station Master Brendan. 

Another train I had was the stonie.  This runs onto the branch at Border Junction and sets back into the stone loading facility siding at that location.  Again more mental arithmetic needs to be done, as my van and 9 empty stone wagons are on the train and the wagons can only be loaded 3 at a time.  Luckily there is a small storage siding off the loading siding for me to stow 3 wagons and the van.  So after a bit of a soft shoe shuffle in lots of three wagons, and a couple of ventures out onto the branch in between trains, I finally got this train loaded.  Then I need to get down to the branch terminus so I can run around the stone train.  Again not so easy as I need to end for end the guards van as well, before I can come back.  I also have a single ended loco, so off to the turntable so I can see what is happening as I head on my way back to staging.  

One would think that the layout owner might spring for an extra van in his inventory so it would make the drivers job of this train a bit easier, with a van at each end.  No not this scoundrel of an owner.  But all these little scenarios come together to make the session the success it is, and most enjoyable.  Apparently this was the 30th session that has been held.  I’m pretty certain that my number of attendances is under half, but could be as high as 12 sessions I’d guess.  This is a great afternoon.  We even get to drink and drive.

I wonder if I can work some of these puzzles into my timetable escapades?

There was also another branch train, a passenger, that needed to do some drop offs of a couple of fast goods wagons to the dock siding at Tatiara Downs, before I made my way onto the branch.  Once at Jameston, I also needed to drop a passenger van at the goods shed for later return, before running around, turning the loco, adding two extra cars to my consist due to it being school holidays and I was away back to Tatiara Downs.  After the passenger disembarked at this major station, I have to run around my train (I was getting dizzy) and then had to shunt my carriages into the carriage siding next to loco. 

My simplest train of the day was the first.  It was taking control of the Overland from Tatiara Downs following the loco swap from VR power to SAR power.  Once I got to staging I also had to take the motive power off the train, and shuffle the locos into another siding (Siding A) as the train is too long to sit in No.1 track with motive power attached.

Today I unpacked the items into the shed that I took to the Model Railways for a Day Seminar last Sunday.  These had been sitting on the dining room table drawing the ire of the financial controller.  Well it has rained all week so I did not have time.  (Well it didn't rain on Thursday - but I mowed the grass on that day, so I think I was allowed some grace due to that)

Today my only modelling work was attaching 42 x 44 gallon drums to some masking take and then painting them all silver.  That will be the base colour before I had other colours to these drums on another day.

Who knows what will motivate me for next week?

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Today Was the Day

Today we held the Model Railways for a Day Seminar at the AMRA Clubrooms in Zillmere.  Over 30 people attended on top of about a dozen presenters, the Seminar’s organising Committee and workers from the host Club AMRA – around 50 people total.  While the day dawned very wet on the southside when we left home, when we got to the venue, it was actually fine, with patches of blue sky.  But that didn’t last long, as it soon rained quite heavily, between intervening patches of light sprinkles and no rain at all.  One of our Tuesday Nighters whom was also presenting lived literally around the corner from the Clubrooms and after we all unloaded our gear for the day, three of us drove our cars around to his place and the four of us all walked back to the AMRA clubrooms, in an attempt to reduce car parking congestion in the grounds.  

I think the attendees of the day enjoyed themselves.  They got a couple of freebees in their gift bag, a sausage sizzle lunch, and quite a few pages of notes to compliment the presentations given during the day.  At least 24 of the 28 small dioramas found their way to a new home.  Quite a few dunny kits also found their way to a new home as well.  Of the modules commandeered by the attendees, quite a few had a nice looking tree planted on the model by the end of the day and at least one that I saw had some very nice looking clouds painted on the base skyblue backboards.

I think Modellers Warehouse, who did a presentation during the day, and also provided some materials for some of the sessions, may have sold a bit of stock.  Which is really good news.

I await to received feedback from the attendees to see if this Seminar has hit the mark, and any suggestions to improve future seminar days.

Following are some photos from the day.  It is now that just realise that I did not get a photo of all the dioramas before they were claimed.  Bugger!
Lefty in the distance, with the tables of the various presenters filled with their examples.

Now looking the other way with tea and coffee also set up.

Some of the attendees before muster.

Looking the other way.

Arthur and Kerrie talking trees.

Bob doing Air Brushing.

PK with his modules for scenery bases and scenicing techniques.

Dave doing Static Grass application.

An example of a small diorama of static grass.

From a higher angle.

Various sample displays of colour and length of static grass- some done by attendees.

Arthur closing out the Day.