Sunday, November 17, 2019

Progress Being Made


Early in the week, I think it was Monday afternoon, I went down to the shed and completed the install of the small baseboard extension I was making to the Clapham Yard baseboard to allow a small siding to be added.  This baseboard extension was screwed onto the existing baseboard, and allowed me to install the new set of points towards the end of Siding 7 in Clapham Yard, followed by the laying of the now two tracks at the end of Track 7.  Each of these two sidings is now capable of holding two narrow gauge wagons.  I bent up a paper clip into an omega loop and connected the set of points to an old DPDT switch.  I drilled a whole through the switch actuator itself, and threaded the paper clip though the hole and through the hole in the point throw bar.  It works like a charm.  I am thinking that I will not power the trackage after the points.  This will make shunting these sidings after the points all that more interesting for an operator, as the loco will not be able to drive through them.  The operator will have to keep a match wagon or two available to reach a wagon beyond the points.  I may not tell the operators of this requirement either. Hehehehe!

On Wednesday I went to Aurora Trains to pick up a can of some spray paint.  I also picked up 4 cans of cheap paint from supercheap as they had their 4 cans for $10 special running.  I was wanting to pick up some Silver paint and also picked up three other coloured cans.  Upon returning home, I found out that I already had a can of silver, what I actually needed was a can of Grey Primer.  You guessed it, that colour was not one of the three other cans I picked up.  I had been delaying painting some 3D printed water tanks for a couple of weeks, because I thought I did not have any silver paint available, when I had it all along.  What a dork!

On Thursday, I got around to doing the painting.  I painted 6 water tanks that Greg had 3D printed for me a few weeks back.  These tanks in various sizes look damn good.  I then turned my attention to 42 x 44 gallon drums.  I painted 18 drums silver, 18 drums red and the last 6 drums which I did not fit lids to were also painted silver.

I eventually started work on assembling some scratch built QR FJS wagons.  I had previously cut out the sides for 7 wagons.  But upon further investigation, I had made them all too high.  Well it was only in one direction that they were oversize I suppose.   So I finally gained some enthusiasm and went to the shed and fixed up the height issue on all the sides for all 7 wagons.  I made up the initial 7 boxes for the open wagon shapes and also made the bases for all of them before I called it quits.  

Later on in the afternoon, I rounded up three sets of 12mm bogies and made some bolsters for all 7 wagons and glued them on the wagons.  I drilled holes for the bogie screws and added bogies to three wagons.  I might have to go looking for some cheap 12mm bogies.  I used rubber bands to temporarily attach KD coupler boxes and took them down to the shed and tested the first wagon against my height gauge.  All perfect.

Next task was to attach some KDs.  I chose to use the KD #5 inside a box and added them to the wagons.  On first look, they looked awful.  The KD boxes stand out like a set of  protrusions on a dog.  I now went back to the that web thingy and checked out what MMR Arthur Hayes blog said and studied how he adds KD to his QR wagons.  Hmmm.  Arthur uses scale couplers and not no. 5’s.  He also sort of attaches the couplers directly to the wagon.  So I took the KD boxes off the three wagons that I added KD boxes to and then set about directly attaching the KDs via a screw and 3mm piece of tube and a piece of styrene to keep the coupler from jumping off over the screw.  I must say that they look 10 times better.  They are also coupled closer together.  So you can teach an old dog new tricks!  I attached bogies to two more wagons and now I have 5 wagons ready to be detailed with frame webbing from small pieces of styrene and then painted.  I might get around to adding this detail later this week.  I must ask Arthur where he gets his 12mm bogies from, as I will need a few to finish off the last couple of FJS wagons, let along all the other scratch built ones I will do, following the plans that Arthur gave me of the various variations to some standard QR open wagons.  I just need to remember where I put those wagon plans for safe keeping.  Hopefully they will turn up.

Today I could not get motivated to add any of the wagon detail.  I did go to the shed and started drawing up a near enough scale plan of the top deck, from Rocklea Siding, Clapham Yard, Loco Pilly and Fisherman Islands.  I have yet to draw in the Dutton Park set of points, and any of the track further north towards Park Road Siding and South Brisbane Interstate Yard.  I did have a bit of a clean up in the shed today and threw out a lot of paper.  I did find the track plan that I did do for Clapham Yard, Loco Pilly and around to Fisherman Islands and South Brisbane Interstate, but there has been much rebuilding of the tracks in all of these locations, over the various amendments that I did, so I just started again with a new plan.  I will find some time to study the original plan to see how much the final layout varied from the initial plans.

Unfortunately I’m back at work on Monday, but my daughter is now home for about 3 months as she finished school on Friday.  Her next task is to attend University next year.  I had last week off work so I could attend all the scheduled activities, breakfasts, suppers, other handover events at her school.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

A Bit of a Tidy Up


On Tuesday night we visited Arthur's place.  He always has new scratch built wagons to show off.  It almost makes me depressed, when I can’t get the motivation to re-cut up some styrene that was cut too large so I can then put my own versions of some 12mm scratch built wagons together.  he is a human production line when it comes to modelling.  It was a great night, catching up with everyone and finding out what everyone is up to.  We had Geoff showing off a static grass applicator that he picked up the weekend before.  He was ecstatic about it.  So I might have to find a way of getting one myself.  I did see in some local catalogues that Office Works had 6 x 10L containers for $20.  I could not complain about that price.  So on Sunday I went to my local office works and picked up 2 lots of the 6 containers.  The only issue was that the second bundle was lacking lids.  That did not matter.

This afternoon, I put a whole lot of scenicing material into a series of these new containers.  So I have now thrown out some old stuff and have now got about 6 of my storage wooden trays back to put useful items in.  I also started to install the new 12mm siding in Clapham Yard and have just added a small addition to the baseboard.  I might complete that tomorrow as I'm on holidays this week.

Yesterday I was over at the Club and had to help a mate try and get one of his locomotives running.  People spend lots of time trying to use JMRI – Decoder Pro, but if they don’t know how to use it, it is waste of time.  If you don’t know what to look for, you are wasting your time.  Technology won’t solve issues, if you can’t or don't know how to use it.  This also harks back to my mantra, you can not manage what you can not measure.  So I just took his loco to the NCE test track at the Club.  I checked the loco number that he told me it was supposed to be.  I made sure it was set up for the long address.  I then checked CV19 to see if the loco was in a consist.  Well it was!  That will stop it from running on any system that the consist was not made on.  I removed the loco from the consist, by writing 0 to CV19 and guess what – It ran.  Don’t over complicate things.

There a few simple steps to check over a loco when it will not run.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Buying and Selling, Coming Out on the Right Side of the Ledger


I came home from work on the Friday afternoon, and I knew I had some things I needed to complete.  Do you think I could remember what they were?  Eventually I worked out I needed to paint up about 18 pallets in a red colour for a mate ready for a Buy and Sell at the Club on Sunday.  So that was a pretty quick task to accomplish.  A quick spray on one side, followed about 30 minutes later by a quick spray on the other side.  While I was in the spray painting mood, I decided to take out the old Frosted Glass spray can, and I gave a few cattle wagons a spray along the bottom the wagon.  This was followed by a few more wagons as well.  A couple of QR Louvre wagons were similarly treated and a couple of open wagons as well.

On Saturday morning, there was the grand opening of Ground Up Scenery over at Underwood.  This business has acquired the stock of Dave McPhee’s Modeller’s Warehouse.  Anyway I ventured over there yesterday morning and ran into Darren and his boss, and found out that Geoff and his daughter had already visited, purchased and left, and that Barnacle Bob had also been there earlier than me, and had already left.  Well I did spend much more than I had intended, but there were some reasonable bargains.

When I got home, I decided to spray up another 7 tea bags in various colours so I can make another 14 tarpaulins.  I then broke out the Frosted Glass spray can again, and hit the 3 cattle wagons with a second coat, and the hit another 3 cattle wagons, 3 sheep wagons and a few louvre vans, with various coats out of the spray can.  I also packed up everything required for Sunday’s Buy and Sell at the Club.  On Saturday afternoon and evening, I went back to working on scratchbuilding 10 QR open wagons.  I didn't get far.  I assembled an FJS kit and then when I was about to commence my production line to scratch build a pool of 12mm open wagons, I cut one piece of styrene and then packed it in.

Today I hit the road over to the Club.  I got a good spot at the Buy and Sell and sold an absolute motza.  I don't think I had sole this much ever.  I moved some wagons, a signal and then lots of my scratch built items, namely - Stop signs, Give Way signs, tarpaulins, pallets, insinorators, drums, reo-sheets, industrial bins, a generator set, dunnies, clothes lines and bee hives.  They don't call these events Buy and Sell, so I also needed to support some of the other sellers in their attempt at getting some funds back.  I picked up a VR VLCX wagon and a 12mm left hand point.  

When I finally got home, I packed everything away and paid off my debts from the previous day's Mastercard bill, and put even more money back (about a month's budget) into the rather negative Modelling Budget's balance.  I have even banked next weeks modelling budget straight into the Modelling Budget's balance, but never fear I'm still truckloads from getting positive.  The plan is that by the time mid February comes around, the balance might be back to zero.  But of course that assumes that I do not buy anything that has not already been budgeted for.  

I have one more week, before I'm on holidays and I have lots of tasks planned.  This includes, finally getting time to work on the 12mm Timetable, build some 12mm open wagons, and do some work on detailing the area around Baker's Farm, build an overhead travelling crane and then maybe add a new 12mm siding with my new 12mm point I just purchased.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Finishing Off Some Tasks.


I had a couple of days off work this week.  On Tuesday we had to go to my daughter’s school for an assembly and then spent a couple of hours looking at a second hand car for her.  On Friday we had to go to my son’s school and then spent quite a few more hours again looking for a second hand car.  Well we got what we thought was a bargain.  It is better than my wife’s current car.  5 years old and only 53K on the clock.  A better model and bigger engine.  Boy it has some herbs when I took it for a test drive.  The junior boss checked it out on Friday afternoon after school and was pretty happy with the find.  We pick it up on Tuesday.  We'll probably go for a lesson in it on Tuesday night.

Anyway, on Tuesday afternoon, I decided to do a bit of weathering for my blue 80 class loco.  I saw a photo online and decided to try and replicate this weathering with just some frosted glass spray paint sprayed into a medicine cup and then applied to the model with a micro brush and paint brush.  The first side looks very reasonable thus far.  I will return to that in a few weeks and complete the second side.  Yesterday I went to the shed and decided to try and complete a few tasks.  The first one was looking at the wiring for Fisherman Islands Yard for the newly laid narrow gauge crossovers.  Well upon further investigation and test running of the 1720 class loco, it seems that everything has been wired up already.  Or more correctly, I had enough jumpers originally installed and when I put the points in, everything was successfully jumpered.  I then looked at a few pieces of rolling stock sitting on a few sidings.  These were also hit with the frosted glass spray can and they have had the plastic (new) look taken off them.  I call this can - weathering in a can.  It is very similar to dull coat spray cans.

I also added some lead weight to a Bachmann Tamper that I had sitting in a siding at Grafton Yard.  Actually I have two of this train.  One is located in the Old Cassino Contruction Siding and runs well as it already has had extra lead weight added.  So I added weight underneath the other train and it seems to run a bit better.  I think it might need a bit of an oil in the gearbox though.  Before the weight was added, the wheels used to spin and any gradient was a task too hard for the train.  It is now miles better.

Today I went to a local Buy and Sell.  I picked up a quad output point decoder for one of my mates for a steal of a price and dropped it off to him on the way home.  I ran into another mate who wants some of my scratch built styrene pallets next weekend at my Club’s Buy and Sell.  When I returned home I was a few red pallets short.  Like I had none.  I thought I had a few unpainted pallets that I could paint up in red.  But I was wrong.  I had 6 unpainted pallets.  So I purchased a packet of styrene and along with what I already had on hand, I made up another string of 25 pallets.  I will paint about half of them this week when I come home early one day, so they will be ready for sale this coming weekend.  Yesterday I also added the handles to the last 4 of my industrial bins, and painted up 9 sets of lids.  Today I got around to painting 6 bins and then when they were dry added the lids to 9 bins.  I also folded up a dozen tarpaulins this afternoon.  During the week I painted up around 20 tea bag tarpaulins, so I could make up about 40 tarps.  So I have quite a few left to fold up.  Tonight I will put the finishing touches on another 36 or so 44 gallon drums.  They can be painted next week or maybe next weekend.

I have also started looking at my narrow gauge timetable.  My number of wagons has grown since we last had an Operations Session, as well as the number of narrow gauge locos has also grown.  I have also added two extra turn around sidings, converted 5 dead end sidings into run around loops, and added three extra dead end sidings in the narrow gauge world.  So I need to ensure that everything starts off at the correct location, and every wagon is added to a train sometime throughout the session, and at the end of the session, everything ends up back on its original location.  I might also have to add the loading and unloading of a narrow gauge steel train, just like my standard gauge train does.

I am also considering applying for my Dispatcher, Electrical and Civil NMRA certificates.  These will take some time to put all the documentation together.  Maybe I will focus on this over the next month or so and not do too much work around the layout.  I can then continue to start on adding some more detail items around some areas on the layout.  This will be a very big job.  I do have some major model building to carry out, with a travelling crane for the Rocla Sleeper siding to be scratchbuilt, and the main platform station building for Cassino being the two major construction targets for December this year.  Who knows I might even finish them.  I was wondering if I could actually incorporate some sort of movement into the travelling crane, but it might be too difficult.  I have been delaying jumping into the station building.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

A Visit to Barnacle Bob's on Saturday

I came home from work early on Friday and went straight out again to visit George at Aurora Trains.  He was having issues with the NCE QSnap quad output point controller with the Z21 system.  He had given me a ring earlier in the week and he could not get the NCE QSnap to talk.  For that matter it also looked like the NCE SnapIt was also not working on the Z21 system.  So I took the QSnap to my place and placed on my NCE system and sure enough it came online.  So what does that tell you?  It seems that the Z21 was putting out a considerable higher track voltage.  It appears that it was about 17V AC as measured on an AC Voltmeter.  I’m sure my NCE system is about 12V as measured on an AC voltmeter. And is about 13.8 Volts.

I asked the Australian NCE guru Marcus Ammann via an email he pointed me into a notice on DCC Concepts website and it mentions that “… Its (sic) not perfect (what is?) and we have noticed that it does some things (like set accessory decoders) in a way that does not meet DCC standards, but they still work well when used with Z21…”.  Well that is not good!

Based on what I saw, I think that the makers of the Z21 need to issue a version of their code, to fix the issue.  To me, nothing betters the NCE command station - any version!

I returned the QSnap to George on Saturday morning and then made my way over to Barnacle Bob’s.  The local NMRA (Div 1) meeting was at his place and about 35 turned up.  Bob’s layout is just magic.  I think everyone was impressed with his animations and scenic ability.  I had a good time, with good company and had a great feed put on by Bob and Mary and their helpers.   We had quite a number of people present some stuff at the Show and Tell part of the meeting.  I was quite impressed by the weathering clinic by Duncan and Cloud painting presentation by Barnacle himself.

Today I made my way to the shed and did some more wiring work on the Acacia Ridge Yard.  I found a feeder not working, so resoldered it and I shimmed the check rail on a Tillig dual gauge point on the divergent standard gauge track and now my standard gauge loco runs through it without derailing.  I added a 4cm length of 0.010” x 0.060” styrene strip.  I also found another feeder broken off in Clapham Yard and fixed that.  The staff machine for the Clapham Yard to Dutton Park section had a dodgy LED indicator at Dutton Park.  I eventually tracked it down to a connection in the main signal bus for this track section about 30cm down the track.  That was were my previous 4 core cable ran out and had to be spliced to another cable to connect to the LED panel at Dutton Park.  Well I resoldered that joint and all works perfectly now, but it did take some tracking down.  But in reality it was quite logical.  That is why it me so long to find it.

I also added jumpers to the new storage siding trackage at Grafton Yard and gave it a test.  What that showed was that my second Bachman Ballast Tamper needs some more weight over teh motor.  That shoul dbe an easy task, but I just need to get around to it.  I have Tuesday off this week, so maybe I can get onto Fisherman Islands Yard’s jumper wiring.  I will also try and do my tax.  Whio knows I might get something back.  Tuesday is also Tuesday Nighter’s at Geoff’s.  That will be good.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Happy Bathurst Day


I spent the day today glued to the TV in the hope the Team Tricky Dicky was to win the 2019 Bathurst 1000 race.  They certainly did and they could have taken it a bit easier on my nerves.  The result was in doubt until the last corner.  Well done Scott!  While the TV was going, throughout the day I did move from the chair to the kitchen table and back again, to do a couple of bits of modelling.  I put together about 36 x 44 gallon drums and cleaned up the flash from next 30 drums but not the lids as yet - maybe later tonight.  The other task that I did was fold up and then tie up about 26 tarpaulins of various colours.  The tarps went into the container where I have maybe 150 tarps already assembled.  You can never have too much detail around the layout when you finally install it.

Later in the day, I decided to rescue 4 x QR narrow gauge grain wagons that I tarped quite some time ago, and bring them up to the kitchen so I could do some more work on them.  The work was to apply some tie down ropes to these home made tarps.  The tarps because they were painted with a thick coat of spray paint are quite course and they tend to want to return to a flat shape and not follow the wagons sides.  They bow away from the side of the wagons.  That is not a good look for a scale model.  So I attached some cotton to the insides of the tarps with super glue and then when this had dried, I pulled those ropes tight and super glued those ropes to the underside of the wagon.  The result was much better than before I had those ropes attached.  They now look quite presentable.  The issue is now that I cannot run those wagons empty.  Well I could not really do that before either as the three scratch built wagons that I made had a styrene frame inside the wagon that held the tarp in the shape of the wire frame that existed on the prototypes wagons that I have modelled.

Yesterday was Club meeting day so I went to the Club to catch up with everyone.  I handed over two 2400 class locos to Greg as he bought them under my original order.  They ran quite well and I think he is impressed with the sound of his new models.

Yesterday afternoon was a birthday party for my niece which I attended on the way home, so I never got home from the Club until about 9:00pm.  So basically no modelling work yesterday and no shed time.  So I still have to attach the droppers to the Fisherman Islands Yard around the narrow gauge trackage that was upgraded with the various crossover from a couple of months back now.  The next job after that will be to colour code the point actuators (push-pull rods) so operators can work out what rod connects to what set of points in this yard.  So both of these tasks will hopefully occur next weekend.

The biggest job I have to do, which I keep deferring and thus in turn defers my next operations session, is to desk check the narrow gauge part of the timetable to ensure that the narrow gauge wagons start at the correct sidings and the trains pick up the correct wagons and return them to their starting location at the end of the timetable.  Maybe this will be revisited in the next couple of weeks.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Still Bin Busy


This has been a quite weekend so far with Saturday spent at a family reunion on the wife’s side, and today a lazy day watching the Football on TV.  On Friday afternoon, as well as some evenings during the week, I was putting together some more 3 cubic meter industrial bins.  Today I put the hinge on the lids of the bins and added the handles on the side of another dozen sor so.  The handles are of course for the garbage trucks to lift them up by, to facilitate emptying.  I also assembled another 8 later this afternoon.  I cannot see any more being assembled.  I think I have now almost been all binned out.

The plan is to complete the painting of the remainder of the bin collection.  I was wondering what the collective noun for garbage bins is,  A trash of bins perhaps?

This afternoon between grand finals, I also put together another 30 x 44 gallon drums and painted these later this afternoon.  I hope to add lids to another 30 or so tonight after the football.

With tomorrow being a public holiday I will be back in the shed and doing some electrical work.

Tuesday this coming week is at Shelton’s place, so it will be interesting to see what changes he has done.  He has added some additional sidings.  I assume that he did not follow any of our suggestions from last visit.  

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Painting Myself Into a Corner


On Tuesday afternoon I picked up some more cheap paint.  Autobarn had a sale on so I went to see what they had in stock. It seems that this paint is made in same factory as the cheap brand of paint available from Super Cheap Auto.  The best thing is that this brand at Autobarn still has the Yellow Oxide Primer available.  I did give it a quick test run on today and it seems to be the exact same colour.  The reason for the early finish on Tuesday was because the Tuesday Nighters came for a visit.  There were 14 of us in attendance in my shed and then in the pergola.  

Later in the week, Geoff hosted a modelling night on Friday evening and Darren, Brandan and myself took advantage of that to do some modelling.  I put together 10 industrial bins – the 3 cubic meter type.  I also completed the last string of pallets (24) and a small string of pallets made from offcuts (7).  Earlier in the afternoon I had previously headed over to Aurora Trains and picked up some more 44 gallon drums that George got in for me.  I now have 192 to put together and then use on my layout for detail items, on wagons as loads and to sell to people at an upcoming Buy and Sell.

On Saturday I was chauffeured over to Austral Modelcraft by my daughter on a driving lesson and picked up some insulated joiners.  I have no idea where these rail joiners go, but I keep buying packets of insulated and metal joiners all the time.  So on Saturday when I got home, I completed another 7 industrial bins.  In the afternoon when the AFL grand final was on, I swapped a left hand curve point out in South Brisbane Interstate Yard for a left hand point and that seems to have been a good decision.  I then installed that left hand curve point, into a siding off number one track in Grafton Yard to add another short dead end track.  So these short dead end tracks can now store my Railmotors, CPHs, ballast tampers and railbuses.  So they are now out of the way, but still on the track.  You can never have too many sidings to stock rollingstock.  Trackwork then shifted to Acacia Ridge Narrow Gauge Yard and added some PC board sleepers under my scratchbuilt fasttracks dual gauge point.  I then cut an insulated gap into this points diverging tracks.  I then added insulated joiners to the Tillig point nearby.  I then laid the dual gauge headshunt and tested pushing a few wagons through both points and the new trackage.  All seems to work satisfactorily.  
The point on the left is the one that got replaced. 

The point above is the one I replaced.

This view shows the two short sidings for various small trains that are run on Cassino

Today I got stuck into doing some painting of industrial bins and pallets.  I used the various colours from my cheap cans of spray paint to paint my industrial bins and lids.  The lids were then glued on after the paint had dried.  A number of the bin, have a lid that is able to be opened.  So if someone was to model the bin with junk coming out of the bins, these are the ones to use.  So you do not have to use a spray gun to paint your items.  Sometimes the cheap paints work just as good.

My bin collection is various colours.

A number of chep pallets on the right.  A collection of drums on the left.  Some additional bin lids above them.

While I had the paint out, I painted about 10 tea bags various colours so I can extend my tarpaulin collection during the week.  The last thing I did was put some of the bins on various pallets.

I had planned on getting around to adding various electrical jumpers to the tracks in Acacia Ridge Yard and Fisherman Islands Yard, around the insulated gaps in the tracks near the new point work.  Oh well, that can get done over the long weekend.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

NMRA Meeting Inspiration and an Anti-Shelton Device


Saturday this week was the latest NMRA Div 1 get together.  Darren, Geoff and I car pooled and went to visit John Kennedy’s place on the other side of town.  I had heard about John's layout, I had even been invited to some running days, but I never got there.  Well today I finally did.  The layout is in a 6m x 6m shed.  It has some very nice scenes scattered around inside the shed.  There was a pair of legs sticking out from underneath a car.  There is a huge brown bear trying to claw its way up a tree.  There is a mother bear and cub also walking around in the trees.  There are also some deers in the forest.  There was a very dodgy business that I saw.  It was PK’s Custom Computers.  I’d bet that shop owner was very dodgy.  
The Business in Question

John’s method of point control on the bottom level of the layout incorporates a Shelton protector.  We all had a laugh about this device.  When we operate at Anthony’s place, we need to set the various points by pushing or pulling a knob on a rod attached to the point, protruding from the layout fascia, exactly as John does.  On a couple of times on Anthony's layout, after a train has left a crossing Loop in particular Nankiva and the points reset, Shelton would bump the point control mechanism while taking photos and then blame the driver of a previous train because his train never took the correct track into the crossing loop.  I always thought it was the drivers job to verify his route before he entered a crossing loop.  Well John has solved this problem with some old cupboard handles.  Very ingenious.
A view of the Anti-Shelton Device

A second version of the Anti-Shelton device.

I had a great time talking to a number of people about at the meeting.  There was some nice 3D printed model on display by a mate of Johns.  I would like to get someone (Greg or PK) to print some of these out for me.  Very nice.  On the way home, conversation in the car turned to a few events next year.  There is the Modelling the Railways of NSW Convention, hopefully in mid May.  That would be followed by perhaps the NMRA convention in early June.  That will be on the same weekend as the Epping Exhibition – so maybe two for the price of one.  Of course there is also the Armidale Convention in November, that is unless it clashes with my daughter’s graduation from school.  Oh the pain, the pain!  My modelling budget is going to take a big wack next year, and I’m starting from a big negative and I also plan to order an Auscision DEB set with sound.  I really need to win lotto, unless someone with lots of money want to adopt me to help me pay off my modelling debts?

On the home front, I painted up about 25 pallets on Friday afternoon and also painted about a dozen tea bags in various colours.  I cut them up on Saturday night and rolled up the tarps and tied them all up.  I have another about a dozen tea bags still to cut up and make tarps out of.  While at the NMRA meeting, I spoke to George and he convinced me that I needed to do a few tarps in various shades of grey.  So that process is now underway.

On Sunday morning I continued on the task of making some 3 cubic metre industrial bins, I spray painted two bins black and two bins blue.  I let them dry and eventually glued the lid onto the base.  I still have about 10 more to put together and paint, but that will be a job for the future.

The next job I undertook in the shed, was to build a new left hand dual gauge point from a fast tracks jig.  This point had the dual gauge continuing through on the straight and the diverging track is standard gauge.  The third rail of the point, is on the right hand side.  Well after about an hour it was complete and it seemed to work on the workbench.  This point would not have been possible if not for Geoff dropping off three lengths of PC board sleeper on the previous Monday evening.  Thanks mate.  I had run out of the stuff.  I now know where he gets it from, so I will be getting a packet of the stuff sometime in the future.

Once the point was built and I had completed lunch, I went back to the shed and started to investigate where the point was to go in Acacia Ridge Narrow Gauge Yard.  You guessed it, the track was lifted, the point installed, the point actuation mechanism built and the scratch built point was usable.  The head shunt for that point was then relayed and extended by about 30 cm.  I then looked at the Tillig point I had previously removed and then started to install it where it was to go.  I then joined the diverging track of the Tillig point up with the diverging track of the scratchbuilt point and it was tested.  So pushing a train through the point does seem to work.  The dual gauge headshunt from the Tillig point still needs to be relayed and the wiring reattached.  This Tillig point had been removed from Rocklea Siding some months back and replaced by another fast Tracks scratch built one.  The reason why, was that it was causing issues when taking the curved route.  Watching trains go through while testing today, gave me the answer why it was causing problems.  I think the check rail needs to be shimmed, like you need to do with some older Peco medium and large radius points.  That will be another future job, but at least I know it needs to be done.  As I write this post, I have just worked out that I think I may have forgotten to install an insulated joiner of two or three in the new points I just installed.  Oh well, I can fix that next week.  That might cause an issue when I turn on track power next and work out that I have a short.  At least I will know where to look!  I might have to revisit the wiring for Fisherman Islands after the narrow gauge points I put in some weeks ago now.  I’m not sure that I installed all the jumpers.  That is another task to catch up on.  Oh by the way, the Mastercard statement came in recently, and the boss asked why the large charge was on it.  I had been sprung.  A 1720 narrow gauge loco and decoder, three WHO wagons, and stacks of 12mm points and track purchased at our Club’s exhibition in August.  It is only right that we support the exhibiting shops at our show - right?  I actually survived that confrontation, so I might be able to buy some more next year, once I clear the debt off.

Today I also completed wiring up four new incinerators.  These were also tested and looked good.

One of the tasks that I had planned to do during the week was to try and get some Export brand yellow oxide primer.  Well it seems to be discontinued.  PK tried his local SuperCheap Auto shop which was advertising online that it had stock.  When he went there on Tuesday there was none.  On Wednesday my wife went to another shop that was advertising stock. Yes you guessed it – there was none.  Damn!  I might have to find another source for similar paint.  I’d bet nothing will be that cheap.

Tuesday Nighters this week is at my place.  Hopefully we will get a good number turn up.
 

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Where's Ya Bin?


Tuesday this week we visited Bob Harding’s place and checked out more progress on his layout.  The work of art keeps getting better.  Those in the NMRA Division 1, need to definitely mark the 19th of October in your diary, as that meeting is now at Bob's place.  NMRA members will be able to look over this excellent layout for themselves.  The next Tuesday Nighter’s meeting is my place is in two weeks time, that will be a bit of a let down for the boys, after visiting Bob’s.

On Friday Afternoon after work, I painted up about 40 pallets in a nice wood colour.  These need to be bagged up for sale at our next Buy and Sell on the first Sunday in November.

On Saturday on my way to our Clubrooms I picked up some more styrene so I could make another 50 pallets.  It was our AGM and I had completely forgotten about that when I rocked up.  I completed the first string of 25 pallets last night.  I hope to cut them into individual pallets tonight while watching the cricket.  This afternoon I cut out some styrene shapes for my next mass produced modelling project.  I hope to work on it during this week.  I may make the first model tonight again during the cricket just to check out how they fit together.  I will be making about a dozen three cubic metre industrial bins.  These will be built as per the article in December 2018 Australian Model Railway Magazine.  It has been a while since I made some of these items, and I think the market will tolerate some of these in the local hobby shop.  Who knows some might appear in Aurora Models next weekend.

Today I went out and picked up some cans of spray paint from SuperCheap Auto.  Unfortunately I could not get my trusty Yellow Oxide Primer.  I will have to look in some other stores.  I do hope they still make it.  It is my go to yellow for painting many of my styrene models.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Not Pipes and Drums, But Pallets and Drums


During the week I received a message from the local hobby shop that they wanted some more of my pallets with 44 gallon drums on them to sell in the shop.  How could I say no?  Luckily I was having Friday off work and headed over to the hobby shop and dropped off 6 of these pallets loads.  I also dropped off two packets of 10 x 44 gallon drums.

On Friday night, another local hobby shop had their normal monthly modelling night.  About a dozen people turned up and worked on various models.  Some were building tanks, two were railway modellers and the others were working on various cars, planes and a pilot for a cockpit.  I put together another string of 25 pallets and then cut up another string of pallets that had dried during the week.  During the day I had sprayed about 25 pallets a nice brown/wood colour.  Another 20 had been given a blue “Chep” colour but they are not coming up too well, the paint is very tacky.  I eventually hit them with a coat of dull coat and that seems to have fixed my issues.
The strings of pallets before they are individually cut up.  Some tacky blue pallets above the newly made ones.  I plan on making another 50 pallets next weekend.  I will have some for sale at our Club's next Buy and Sell in November in packets of 6 or 12 in various colours.

So after completing a driving lesson on Saturday morning, I went to the shed and decided to do some more painting.  I painted 5 drums a grey colour.  Another 5 were painted light brown, while 10 were painted a dull green.  I also did ten pallets a light brown, another 10 “Chep” blue, ten a light grey colour and I also did one a dull green.

While that was drying, I revisited the insulfrog point that I purchased a few weeks back that was to replace an electrofrog point in Acacia Ridge Yard from track 3 to track 2.  Before I put the point in, I used a Dremel tool with a sanding disk in its jaws and tried to take a peak out of the baseboard where two separate baseboards met.  I must have taken about 3mm out of the board at that location and then tested the steel train through that point.  Previously when backing up the loco had a propensity to derail and cause a short at that location when backing from track 3 to track 2.  That is now a distant memory.  It now works like a bought one.  

Today I did some more drum painting in various colours.  I also hit some of the pallets that I had previously painted with my dull coat covering.  I also happened to unleash this technique on quite a few wagons on the layout.  My standard gauge steel train sitting in Acacia Ridge Yard had about 4 wagons painted on one side.  I also attacked three HWO wagons and their loads that were sitting in the narrow gauge yard.  I also gave the engine a dose of dull spray.

I eventually returned to my work bench and  cut up about 35 pallets into individual pallets from their string that I make them in.  I also painted another fourty 44 gallon drums and did some more dull coating.
Various colours of 44 gallon drums.

Some dull coated light brown wooden pallets.

In the Acacia Ridge Narrow Gauge Yard, there are two tracks that have a third rail for standard gauge trains to use.  However, one of those tracks is isolated from any other standard gauge track.  So it is hard to explain how any standard gauge trains can get there.  So I am thinking of installing a dual gauge set of points which I need to make using a Fasttrack jig.  This set of dual gauge set of points that will allow for a loco and two or three wagons to fit in a headshunt and get access to that isolated dual gauge track.  So I will look at building this set of points over the next weekend or two.  We will see what eventuates.  Of course all these will be manually operated.

This Tuesday is our Tuesday Nighter's get together and we are visiting Bob's.  I must put some mosquito repellent on before I leave home. It will be great seeing what Bob has accomplished since we were last in attendance.

The collection of about 65 x 44 gallon drums in various colours.  Some still on the sprew as they are still wet.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Loads of Fun

On Friday evening, I started assembling some more 44 gallon drums for use on various modelling projects.  These will be painted a number of colours.  Previously I have painted my drums a simple silver colour.  The next lot will be black, white and dark blue.  My plan for the week, is to assemble another 40 or so drums and these will be painted green, red, and combinations of colours next weekend.

On Saturday I got chauffeured around by my daughter while I was giving her some driving lessons.  So I put the driving to good use and I made my way to two hobby shops.  She read a book in the car while I was inside the hobby shops.  At Austral Modelcraft I picked up some styrene, and then made my way over to Aurora Trains.  While there I picked up some spray cans of paint, and also dropped off some loads of drums on standard pallets for George to sell in his shop.  He has already placed them on his Facebook feed.  I think these make nice scenic detail items, or might contribute to a load for an open wagon.

On Saturday afternoon while listening to the footy on the radio, I started assembling the first strings of pallets.  I wrote an article back in April 2005 in the Australian Model Railway Magazine.  So after a short time, I had constructed two strings of pallets or around 46 pallets.  

Today went for a trip to another Hobby Shop - Simon Says Hobbies and Games and picked up another packet of styrene,  I had run out of 0.010" x 0.060" needed for pallet production.  Believe me it is a production line.  So after lunch I produced another 49 pallets.  I have styrene left for another string of approximate 25 more pallets.  I also spray painted about 25 of the already assembled drums.

I will be selling pallets in packets of 6 and maybe 10 or 12 at an upcoming Buy and Sell, or I will place some more 44 gallon drums on some of the new pallets for sale as well.  Eventually I might drop some more off at Aurora in the future, if George is interested.

On Friday night this week, I'm hoping that the local model shop, Simon Says Hobbies and Games will have another of their regular modelling nights.  The plan is to assemble the last string of 25 pallets.  The next step is to cut individual pallets off from the strip one by one and then paint them.  That will be the end of my project to produce some more pallets.  It has been quite a number of years, maybe 13 to 14 years, since I was on my last pallet making blitz.  It was amazing that I had quite a few assembled pallets left from back then.  I have given quite a few away to some mates for use on their layouts for clutter, and scenic enhancements around their layouts.

The next task is to paint these pallets in blue and brown colours next weekend.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Finishing Off Some Jobs


This weekend I started off with a short visit to the Redlands Model Train Show.  This is a nice little show.  I got there about 3 minutes after start time, and walked through the door and immediately got hit with a question about an NCE DCC system.  Anatol was trying to put a cab address of 10 into a SB5 system and his throttle was hanging.  So that was soon rectified and his layout was back operating.  I then took a photo of The Wuiske’s for their Facebook page to advertise the show and then had a good talk to our local El Supremo in Div 1 Super Duncan.  I then moved around the layouts, making my way over to George at Aurora Trains and then made my way back.  I could not believe the number of people I stopped and had a natter to.  I had a two hour self-imposed limit that I had at the show before I had to leave to visit a local shop on the way home and then get home to take my daughter out (driving lesson) to the Uni of Q for a lecture/information session for 3 hours.  This is so she can make her selections for tertiary entrance in the next few weeks.

I had a nice talk to Ron with his new layout, that man is amazing.  I then saw Phil and Den from the Philden layout fame (that was an attempt at humour), and then made my way over to see Col at the second hand stall.  I was after a RH curve point (insulfrog point to replace an electrofrog point that I have in Acacia Ridge Yard and a LH medium that I thought I might install in one of two places on the layout (Acacia Ridge Yard for another runaround or to replace a dual gauge point in Fisherman Islands).  The LH medium point will be enhanced to a dual gauge point if I install it in Fisherman Islands.  I had plenty more conversations with various people before I had to cut my visit at the exhibition short.  I could have stayed there for another couple of hours.  However, if I had, I’m sure that I would have ended up spending too much money.

On the way home from the exhibition I stopped off at Austral Modelcraft and picked up some code 83 rail for some more point making, some piano wire to control the narrow gauge points I am currently working on in Fisherman Islands Yard, and some more track joiners.  I just go through these things.  I prefer the Atlas code 100/code83 ones at 48 per packet.  I thought I had completed buying these things about 3 packets ago.  Although it might be a reason that I keep installing more trackwork on the layout.

Today we had a local fete at my kids primary school for the best part of the day.  I did get down to the shed in the afternoon and started off trying to complete a few jobs.  I installed the piano wire under three more narrow gauge points and installed some conduit at the baseboard fascia for the piano wire to run through and nailed the track down so everything worked well.  I installed the last 12mm point purchased a few weeks back and the track work looks good.

I did have an Alleluia moment during the week.  It was not a good one.  I have gone to the trouble of putting these new 12mm points in place in Fisherman Islands to facilitate some shunting and running around trains in this yard, but it finally dawned on me, no one can reach these tracks to couple of uncouple the trains – Doh!  I might have to come up with some manual magnetic uncouplers similar to what is used on Anthony’s Border District layout that we operate on.  I will see.

I also then started to add all the track jumpers back to the bus for the track either side of the new points and for the new siding in Fisherman Islands.  After all the wires had been solder up, I turned on the track power, and yes you guessed it - I had a short in the Fisherman Islands Yard.  So I checked everything, I double checked everything, and then unsoldered all the wires.  Sill a short.  I decided to check all the new points.  One set of Peco 12mm points, had the wire that is soldered to the frog, hidden from display.  This wire had been wrapped around the third rail (dual gauge track at this point on the layout) and was causing a short.  I untangled that wire and left it separated from everything and turned the track power back on.  Guess what?  It now worked.  So I then had to reconnect all the other jumper wires back to the track bus wires.  So that was done and everything seems to work.  No trains have run over the new 12mm track under their own power as yet, but at least there is no short.

A job well done for the weekend, if I do say so myself.  I still have another job next weekend, to install those HO points I purchased yesterday.  My phone has not rung yet after all the raffles I entered yesterday and today.  Damn.  I guess I am just not lucky.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Painting, Soldering and Track Laying - as Well as Running an Ops Session


This week we visited Cliff’s on Tuesday.   However, I did not get there until quite late due to work commitments and so I didn’t visit his layout this time.  By the time I got there everyone had adjourned to his unit and sat around to eat and drink.  I got there and enjoyed the conversations with those in attendance.  PK was doing another MB Klein order, but what I wanted to purchase was not in stock.  So I placed it on backorder with PK.  Being the great mate that he is, he advised the next day that he actually had 5 packets of what I was after in his kit bag.  He offered to sell one to me for a good price.  So on Thursday PK rocked up at work and I handed over some cash and I was then the proud owner of a packet of Tichy Train Group 44 gallon drums.  96 of them in fact.  However, upon checking the contents, there were actually 100 inside the packet.  The first 30 of them have now been assembled - lid put on the drum, and painted silver.  The next lot will be painted all different colours, to represent the various oil company colours of the era that I am modelling.  I should work out what colours they need to be and build up a stockpile of those paint colours.

Saturday this week, was the local NMRA meeting at Darren’s place.  So Geoff, Brendan and myself were conscripted (we didn’t need too much coaching) to run trains on his layout while the other members of the Division watched, and asked questions.  That allowed Darren to be free to speak to other guys while we kept the trains running.  I think a few of the visiting members got a laugh or two from the bantering that was going on between the various crews.  But we really need to get allocated trains before Geoff in the roster.  He kept me at a crossing loop for about 2 hours while he shunted at the Branchline Terminus, before I could get there to do the same.  Geoff had a wheatie, and was swapping the various empties for fulls before departing back to the junction station and onforwarding to Sydney.  I had the shunt train and it was an absolute brain teaser with all the shunting required.  I made one big stuff up on this train.  I had to shunt down to the good shed at the end of the line and swap a loaded wagon for an empty wagon.  However, I missed the sign “Locos to not pass this point” and I lost power.  I should have had a couple of wagons as match trucks so I could reach the siding with the loco safely outside the private siding boundary.  Oh well, I will remember next time.  It has been quite some time that I have had this particular train to shunt.

I had some very good conversations with some of the members.  Some I had not met before, and some that I had not caught up with for some time.  The lunch put on by Darren’s wife and daughter was fantastic.  It was a fantastic day.  About 45 people were in attendance.

Today I went down to the shed just before lunch time and did some spray painting.  I had some steel loads to touch up, I found some more steel beams to spray paint and I spray painted 30 new 44 gallon drums for various loads around my layout and for making up on a pallet which I have started selling.  I have a few pallets left in my collection that I thought I might be able to sell off with a load.  I was inspired by Arthur Hayes’s article in the last AMRM where he created some loads for his HWA wagons from Queensland Scale Models.  I just happen to have a few spare of these on my 12mm network.
The painting results.  44 gallons drums, and various steel loads.

Once the painting was over, I had some lunch and then resumed shed activities where I had to fix some soldering issues with some wires that had come loose.  My dual gauge point on the lead into Acacia Ridge Yard from the north had the wire to the frog come loose.  So that was fixed as did the control panel for the standard gauge entry to Acacia Ridge Yard from the south, which had the wire for track 2 come loose.  The next task was to bite the bullet to rip up a curve point in Acacia Ridge Yard from track 2 to track 3 (used by the steel shunt).  The baseboard under this tracks will be levels across a baseboard joint and hopefully take out a bit of a high spot that causes some issues.
This train, consisting on 1770 James Cook, three HWA wagons and one load for an HWA wagon is what I picked up last weekend at the Pine Rivers Model Railway Exhibition.

While doing work on the track, I decided to install most of the 12mm track I picked up at the Pine River Model Railway Show the previous weekend.  I installed the new siding off the number 2 loop siding in Fisherman Islands Narrow Gauge Yard.  I then set about installing the crossover from the narrow gauge track 1 to the dual gauge track.  This was completed and tested and seems to work well.  I then installed the first crossover in narrow gauge track 1 that will connect to narrow gauge track 2.  The second set of points has not been installed as yet.  That is a job for next Saturday afternoon.  Of course I will have to install the myriad of track jumpers to the various sections of track in the narrow gauge yard so we have continuous track power and locos can continue to sit there and idle away if required.  Considering that I only have one narrow gauge loco with sound, I’m a bit optimistic about my statement, but at least the trains can run to all section in the yard when it is rewired. 

What I am doing to the narrow gauge yard, I have already done to the standard gauge yard, as seen in the photo below.
This photo shows the narrow gauge track 1 with the crossover to the dual gauge track, and the first point installed to connect to the narrow gauge track 2.  The second point still need to be spliced in.

This photo shows the new dead end siding middle left, that will allow a loco or two to be stored within Fisherman Islands Narrow Gauge Yard.

Next weekend I need to pick up some supplies at the local hobby shops and then I will head over to the Redlands Model Railway Show later in the morning.  Sunday I have other activities planned.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Strathpine Model Railway Exhibition


This weekend I’ve clocked up the Kilometres travelling to and from Strathpine for the Strathpine Model Railway Exhibition.  The collection of layouts this year featured some QR ones.  Three absolute rippers in fact.  Stannum Vale was there in HOn3½ with fantastic scenery and exquisite models.  Across the aisle was Samford making its debut.  It was in On3½ with S scale track – 22 mm I think.  Great big rollingstock vehicles, nice scenery and inspirational.  Just next to this layout was Dagun in also HOn3½ .  Another relatively new layout.  It even had two of my scratch built grain wagons with tarps on it a couple of times on the weekend.  I must admit that they were not up to the same quality as the others, but at least they got a run.

We also had a sugar industry layout also representing QR outline, and we had a couple with NSW and Victorian outline trains making appearances.  We also had a fictional On30 layout Mt Mee Tramway also with very nice scenery.  With a bit of imagination, we could also include two other layouts in the local outline.  Urangan Pier based on a replica of the pier at Hervey Bay and also Broxburn Sidings, but you need to watch out for the huge crocodiles on this layout.

There were the usual culprits with their shops and/or businesses and I saw plenty of folding stuff handed over – particularly from my wallet.  I have about 4-6 weeks before the wife finds out how much I spent.  Just be quite PK!  On Wednesday this week, I might get down to the shed and install a decoder in a new 1720 class loco - actually James Cook 1770.

So over the weekend I had plenty of fun.  I built a few models.  I gave away a few items.  I sold a few loads and tarps.  I had plenty of conversations with exhibitors, Club members, and the public.

Soccer season has now finished and my son’s team won one game and drew won in a challenging season.  Yesterday was a 9-0 loss against a team of thugs.  My weekend have freed up somewhat.  Now next weekend is the NMRA meeting at Darren’s place.  More trains.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Still Tinkering Around Rocklea Sidings and Acacia Ridge Yard

I was able to have Friday off work so I could pick my son up from school camp just after lunch time.  He spent 4 days hiking around Mount Barney.  So in the morning before I went to pick him up at school, I started working on the replacement of the point motor base/actuator for the standard gauge entry to Rocklea Sidings.  I replaced my Peco point motor base with a sprung loaded version (Peco PL-12) which I obtained from Shelton – thanks mate.  I installed this and then fired up the DCC system and I ran my NR class loco through the point in both directions.  There seemed to be no issues.  When I tried to run the NR class loco into the sidings, the point would not throw to the siding.  I decided to leave this until Sunday.

So today I worked out the DCC accessory address for that particular point - 1142, as I cannot reach the control panel when I’m working on the point on the layout, as I have to crawl under the layout and stand on an old stool in an access hatch, so I have to use my throttle to call up the DCC accessory address of the point motor and throw it that way.  My idea was that I screwed the Peco PL-12 down to tightly and the point motor will not throw the point in one direction.  So I released the screws slightly and gave it another go while I monitored it in both directions.  Well it takes 2 and sometimes three throws to push it over fully for Rocklea Sidings.  For the mainline, it throws first time.  I think there is some binding somewhere in the setup.  I also ran a narrow gauge loco through the point on the mainline and this is also good.

On Saturday I worked on getting everything ready for next weekend as I will be working on a stand doing some modelling at the RMCQ’s Strathpine Exhibition next weekend.  This is at the Strathpine Community Centre off Mecklem Street at Strathpine.  It is open 9-4 both days.

Today I did some more pottering around as well.  While I was working on the Rocklea Standard gauge point, I decided to re-visit the point from the dual gauge in Acacia Ridge Yard that allows a train to come in off the mainline from the south from track 1 inbound to travel to the dual gauge siding.  So this has now been much improved with no shorts now with wheels touching dual gauge trackage of opposite polarity.  

I also did some work on the workbench.  I spent some time adjusting the tarped loads on my four QR narrow gauge grain wagons.  So I’m happy that these are now fitting the wagon.  I also made some steel H beam loads for various steels trains, standard and narrow gauge.  I also made up another 20 bee hives for next weekend.  I also made up 10 pallets with 44 gallon drums on them also for next weekend.  I also made up another three 20’ container flats for generator sets.  I think I also potted around on a couple of other activities while at the workbench but cannot remember what I did.

Say hello to me next weekend at the Strathpine Model Railway Exhibition.

This is one of the two dual gauge points that I installed recently.  This one is actuated via the DPDT switch in the baseboard with an omega spring to ensure it does not over throw.  The frog is electrically switched via one pair of contacts on the switch.

The same point but now in the opposite position.

This is the standard gauge point into Rocklea Sidings.  The point motor in the bottom of the photo sits upon a Peco PL-12.  I was hoping that the PL-12 would provide an over centre spring effect to the dual gauge point.  But there is binding.  I will spend some more time on this in the future.

This dual gauge point is located on the Acacia Ridge Yard dual gauge track, just left of the standard gauge track 1.  It now appears to work quite well.  But I will super glue some extended check rails into this point when next get a chance to climb under the layout.

This view is of the narrow gauge end of Acacia Ridge Yard.  The track where the standard gauge wagons are is the extension of the dual gauge track in Acacia Ridge Yard from the photo above.  To the left of that track is the standard gauge mainline into Acacia Ridge from Glenapp Loop, which brings trains to and from Grafton.  Above that is the trackage towards Clapham Yard which is reached by exiting the other end of Acacia Ridge Yard and travelling around an 180 degree curve, thus gaining the relevant height.