Sunday, May 26, 2024

NMRA Div 1 Clinics Weekend

This last week just gone was my last full week at home before going back to work for a short term.  Basically, I did not do much modelling at all at home last week.  I did go out on a scouting mission for some pictures driving around the area and taking plenty of photos of the area covering a potentially new layout that I might build in the next few years.  Still plenty of planning still to do.

I did however, do some reviews and practices of my presentations that I presented this weekend at the NMRA Division 1 Clinics Weekend.  I was scheduled to present 2 and a half sessions on Saturday and 2 and a half sessions on Sunday.  The half was shared with my partner of modelling crime PK.  Apparently there was about 50 paid attendees registered for the weekend.  They could attend Saturday and/or Sunday, with a different fee depending upon what sessions they attended.  One stream allowed the attendee to build a small completely sceniced module with track, scenery, static grass, and I think a tree and some rocks.  There was considerable interest for this stream.  The rest of the attendees could do things like modelling in water, building trees, scenery techniques, Intro to DCC, Controlling your layout with ESP/MQTT, JMRI (various topics and sessions), building a detailed structure – 2 parts, Layout Planning, Intro to Model Railway Operations, Painting Backdrops, Modelling Tarpaulins, Applying Decals, and Weathering and a few more.  So each of these sessions were repeated on Saturday and Sunday.

Well what a weekend!  Great enthusiasm, great presentations, enthusiastic attendees, raffles, great catering, quite a few laughs.  It was only 14 minutes from home, so I was spoilt.

There was a considerable number of non NMRA members attending, and we even had some already joining our Division.  I think there will be more joining us soon as well.

Sure there might have been some things that might have gone better over the weekend, and they will be addressed, but that is really only nit picking.  It was a top weekend.  Quite a few of us even went to dinner on the Saturday evening.  The organising committee deserve a pat on the back.  I might need to find some time this week to sit back this week and process what I learnt at the few sessions I attended.

This week is Tuesday Nighters and it is at my place.  So I need to clean the tables and chairs this week, along with the coffee cups. 

I still have a few tasks on my to do list this week to complete - well actually truck loads.  Maybe I will actually make some progress given that the Clinics weekend is now out of the way.

Sunday, May 19, 2024

Signal Box Progression and Great Day at Buy and Sell

On last Sunday evening I created a bit of a to-do task list for this week's modelling activities.  So on Monday morning I started down that road.  I cut up some styrene to form a fence that can be taken to the Club for installation on the top deck.  It is about 35cm long.  It was painted silver to look like galvanised iron and then some fine mesh wrapping was used to simulate the wire of the fence.  Some black electrical tape was stuck onto the fine mesh to simulate the metal sheet that is installed at the top of the fence to stop animals like koalas climbing over it.  It was then all glued together.  We will see how well it comes up.  PK, took the fence from me on Tuesday evening as he usually attends the Club on Wednesday.  However, when I got to the Club today, I forgot to look for or even ask anyone if the fence has been delivered, let along installed.  Doh!

On Monday evening, I started making the 15 levers for the interlocking frame for Kyogle signal box.  Tuesday morning these were cut to a reasonable length and then painted black.  I had planned to I pick out the levers various colours to simulate their correct colour in the signal box for signals, point locks, point control and spare levers.  However, I never got around to that task.

Tuesday evening was our get together at Shelton's place.  I hadn't seen his since last year.  A very good informative meeting.  Shelton had installed a reversing loop on his layout.  I think he needs to install a second to swap back direction again.

Later in the week, I did however paint the floor of my Kyogle signal box.  I also painted the walls.  I then added some shelves and started down the path of populating the signal box.  I made a fridge and installed that.  I already had two tables and two chairs already made, for this exact type of project.  So they were glued down inside the signal box.  I added two shelves to the wall.  I also drew up a bit of a track plan to go above one of the shelves, so the signaller could throw the correct levers in the correct order.  I also installed two staff machines that I had around already painted up.  I also had some filing cabinets laying around.  So I added one of those to the corner of the room as well.  I also made up an esky with a metal handle.  That has also been installed.  The door and windows have just been press fitted.  The windows need a paint and the door, a second coat of paint.  I had an OO scale railway worker that I purchased last year in Newcastle.  But this giant of a man is taller than the HO door.  Bugger!

Looking towards the platform side of the signal box.  Two red staff machines.  fridge on the right.  Table and chair on the left.

Looking from the platform side.  The signal diagram on the rear wall.  Filing cabinet on the right.  Esky next that.  Another table and chair on the left.

I then had a few photos of inside a NSW signal box come into my facebook feed, and I needed to install a few other items.  Like a sink, some phones on the wall and also a wall clock, calendar, jug, coffee cup, train register book, staff hoops, pen and paper and so on.  I might also try a fan and a heater, but I think these might to hard to make out of styrene.  I would also like to install a jacket over the back of a chair, but don't know what to make it out of.  Any suggestions?

Saturday we went to the local NMRA meeting at Garry’s business.  What an absolute cracker of a day.  Great presentations, great laughs and nice food.  They keep picking on me!  When I got home I had to head off to an engagement party with the wife’s family.  Another great evening.  But no rest for the wicked.  I had to be up early and head over to the Club for our Buy and Sell.  I sold some quantity of items, and then put that revenue to good use.  I picked up a bundle of track and got 6 sets of 12mm points and various lengths of flex track.  I also picked up a Powercab for $100.  I’ve checked it out and it works as a Procab and that is all I need.  Now I just need to install a radio card in it.  Just before I left I picked up a 12mm mobil oil tanker for $10 (no wheels) from the Loves.  I can fix the no wheel issue.  I also picked up a set of level frames to replace my hand made ones I made earlier in the week.  These levers have the release grips on each of the levers, mine do not.  But this frame is too big.  So I will have to cut it down in size.  I made $13 out of the day, so I am ecstatic following my wins.

So I might need to do a catch up on some of the items from last week’s to-do list, this week.  


Sunday, May 12, 2024

Weekly Hapenings with Pictures

This week started with a delivery from eBay for some more Arduinos.  My plan was to test a concept I had to gang up the common from two of my level crossing flashers to install an Arduino single Relay.  So I tested this on a some code that flashed two outputs, and wouldn’t you know it.  It worked!  So the alternating flashes, will hold the common ‘on’ so it can control a relay to lower the level crossing gates at a level crossing.  So that enhancement will be added to my level crossing circuit for future level crossing systems I sell.

On Friday I went over to Aurora Hobbies for a browse.  While there I ran into Gary Lamb from Western Australia.  We used to chat online while Wuiske had his whereby site operating.  With Yeerongpilly station out of action for its rebuild I gave Gary a lift to Yeronga Station so he could get to his next place on his travel itinerary for the day.

I went to the Club on Saturday and had a chat with a few people, as you do while at the Club.  I cooked the snags on the BBQ while someone cooked the onions.  The meeting was uneventful, but enlightening allowing members to understand what is going on inside the Club.  That is why we pay the executive the big bucks (haha) to run everything. 

I did see some really nice VJM wagons (I think) sitting in 12mm staging sidings at the Club.  One set was extremely well weathered by Mitch.  Another set was decaled, but not yet weathered.  They also looked very micky mouse.  Another item that took my interest was an area of scenery that has had a backdrop added.  It fits in very well.  I offered a couple of suggestions to really bring it up to spectacular.  I will work on a section of fencing that I will take to the Club next Sunday and see if I can splice it into the scene.

The 3D printed wagons all weathered up.

Once you blow this scene up, you see the koala fence in the background.

Adding a scratchbuilt fence to this scenery will look fantastic.

On my way home from the Club I stopped off at PK’s place.  You would not believe it, but his clothesline is real.  I had to take a picture to prove it.
The non-fictitious clothesline.

PK even exists as well.

This arvo I started to make a signal level frame for my Kyogle Signal Box.  I have cut about 16 lever slots in a section of curved styrene and I will add the levers tomorrow.  I found two staff machines that I have previously painted, so I just need to make a couple of chairs and table for also installing into the signal box.  The box still needs painting and the door and windows need to be fitted.

I have also just glued all my 3D printed people to a piece of balsa wood so I can undercoat them, and then paint them over the course of this week. 

Sunday, May 5, 2024

Sydney Trip

Well, this week I ventured down to Sydney to attend the Rosehill Model Railway Exhibition.  I was joined by 4 fellas from Toowoomba and Tyler from Launceston.  On Thursday afternoon we all met up and travelled to Campbelltown.  We stayed in a nice little motel.  Pretty basic but it was about a 1km walk to the RSL for dinner.  On Friday morning we jumped in our hire car and we went south.  We got some coffee and something for breakfast.  First stop after that was Alan’s place followed by a trip to Gary’s place and then a trip back to Peter’s place.  Fantastic hospitality and great layouts to see.  It was about 6 years since I visited all three layouts.  That was when we attended the Modelling the Railways on NSW convention, and the day's events were organised by Marcus.

We got back to West Ryde about 7:15pm and checked into the motel for the next 2 nights.  Saturday morning we went and got coffee and something to eat then off to the Train Exhibition, at Rosehill.  This was my first trip to an Epping Model Railway Club Exhibition.  I ran into a couple of Queenslanders.  Jack, Merv and his wife, Scott and then Andrew.  I bit later on I saw Peter and his daughter.  I also caught up with Warren and Kathleen, Rohan and plenty of NSW mates.  I suppose I need to also mention Tyson and Marty were there flying the Queensland Flag.

I was most impressed with the number  of NSW outline layouts and the general quality.  Some parts were ordinary, while some were very, very nice indeed and inspirational.  well done to the organisers for the exhibition.  Food was slightly dearer that normal, but cheaper than some shows that I have attended.

We pulled up stumps early and headed out to see Australian Modeller.  I took the opportunity to trawl up and down all the aisles as well as have a look at the layout in the Australian Modeller.  Well done to Ian, Alan and the third person (sorry I forgot who) who all together built this fantastic display layout.  Loved the scene inside the shed, especially when the train is going over the level crossing.  Boy he has some stamina.  This reminds me of a scene on Bob Hardings layout, but Bob's had sound effects.  Also the scene where Mr Wilks had his chain saw was funny.  Also the body found in the trees – which is very hard to see, was good as well.

Saturday night we visited Marcus’s place.  We had dinner and then a run on the layout.  Two of our crew Tyler and Paul had not been there before.  They were blown away.  We had some brilliant discussions.  It is great therapy attending here and having a chat.  Thank you Marcus.

Sunday we had a bit of a sleep in and then a good breakfast and then went train hunting around Enfield.  I got a couple of photos.  We then went to the airport, returned the car and Tyler left for the Virgin Terminal, while everyone else went to the Qantas terminal.  The 4 Toowoomba guys were on the same plane to Brisbane and I was on one a couple of hours later.  My plane was early backing out and early landing in Brisbane.

I will need lots of time to put together all the 3D printed kits I picked up at Rosehill.  i also might have acquired a seconds RailBus.  I will see how it runs tomorrow.

When I met up with the boys from Toowoomba on Thursday, I got some feedback about they want more pictures on the blog (I know some of them can’t read).  While talking to Marcus on Saturday at the show, (and also talking to the other person of the same name – he spells his name wrong), someone else advised they wanted more photos in the Blog.  Maybe I can do that in the future with my upcoming change to new work hours – Hehehehe.

Thanks to everyone in our travelling posse, for a great weekend.  Lots of laughs, a great learning experience and very good company.

The Crew from Saturday Night.

Everyone trying to run trains.

Sunday, April 28, 2024

Extra Long Weekend

This week I took advantage of the ANZAC Day public holiday and made it into a 4 day extra long weekend.  I spent time sitting at the computer doing some more Powerpoint presentation tuning.  I also purchased lot of tins of spray paint on Friday and Saturday.  This paint was from SuperCheap Auto, Dulux, Aurora Trains, and Bunnings.  All up 14 cans of paint in various colours.  These are all for various presentations that I have coming up over the next month. 

I also tried to purchase an Arduino single relay from various local Jaycar stores, but no one had one in stock.  Fortunately, Greg (from the Club and work) had one at his (almost local) store and was able to pick a relay up for me.  I will exchange it for dollars tomorrow at work.  The relay is so I can test an enhancement to my Arduino level crossing detector circuit, so that we can also install working boom gates controlled by the relay.  I think it should work, but I really need to test it before I can tell people it works.

I was also able to move my old spare PC back to the shed and with the recently installed wifi I was able to get online from the shed on Saturday arvo and talk on Discord with some NMRA mates online.  I initially had trouble with my microphone on this PC and was the brunt of Marty's jokes because of this.  What are mates for?  Isn't it so you can go one better.  Watch out Marty!

I watched NMRA-X this morning and enjoyed the presentations.  Today I was able to construct and paint the door for my Kyogle signal box.  This model has to have some internal detail added over the next few weeks and I also hope to add lights.  

I have also started down on the path to paint up a number of ‘O’ scale tarpaulins for a NMRA friend who models VR.  Some other mates who also model that railway outline may also be a winner when it comes to VR coloured tarpaulins.  The tarps are all shades of green.  We will see how they are judged at a later date.

Next weekend I will be at the Sydney Model Railway Exhibition put on the Epping Club.  I have not been to this exhibition previously, so I am really looking forward to it.  I will be travelling back rather late in the evening, so my blog update may be late.  That starts my next period of Long Service Leave.  During this period of leave, I have to work on my Presentation for this year's Armidale Convention.  That will take at least 2 weeks to throw together and find supporting photos.

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Meetings and Running Day

This week I did not motivation to do any modelling.  Tuesday Night was at Glen’s place.  He had a couple of nice trains circulating around his layout while we viewed his layout.  Glen had a couple of locos that short out the layout when they run over some points.  This usually occurs when the tread of the wheel travels over the ‘V’ of a Peco insulated point and spans both metal rails at the same time where they meet the ‘V’.  This can be solved by putting some clear nail polish over this part of the ‘V’ to insulate the wheel from those two pieces of metal.  Over time this nail polish will wear off and will need to be replaced.  So that is easily fixed.

Saturday was our NMRA meeting and it was held down at the Logan Clubrooms.  They had their layout running and the projector set up with the chairs down the old open area, which was enclosed many years ago.  I gave a presentation on my two Grain wagons which were presented at the 2023 Australian Convention.  One of them got a merit award, but I have no idea which one.  Anyway it didn’t matter.  My presentation discussed what was done to the wagon and how to do the various enhancements to a kit to see if you can get to the merit level.  After that presentation, we had the AR region AGM, and that was over quite quickly.  Then we had Paul and Bob talk about part 2 of their recent OS trip.  This part dealt with the European segment.  That was followed by a fantastic BBQ lunch provided by the Logan guys and then Scott from Bowen, whom is building an O scale layout in a huge shed showed us some updates.  Scott has been having an article published on his progress in the AMRM bi-monthly magazine for the last about 18 months or so.  We also had a bit of presentation from Arthur for the various AP awards in our division.  The president and the Secretary both received their Official AP award.

For something completely different, today a stack of us ventured to the Border District for a running session.  There were 4 crew, a hostler, the station master, Train Control and an official photographer.  Anthony’s layout is going to be the topic for a presentation at this year’s Modelling the Railways of SA Convention.  The layout is looking a million dollars following the work done on it over the previous couple of weekends.

With ANZAC day this week, I’ve taken the opportunity to get a long weekend.  I hope to complete a few jobs, like building some clotheslines, work on a Powerpoint for May meeting and do some more scenery work on the area near my Rocla Siding.  I will also circle back build a door for my Kyogle Signal box.  Then I can work on the various internal items for the signal box, and install some lights there and in the station building.  I can then fit then into the layout. 

The week after is the Brisbane and Sydney Model Railway Exhibitions.  I'm heading to Sydney for the first time.

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Signal Box Progress and Ops Session

This week started with some correspondence about my signal box from an old modelling mate.  He sent me various photos of his model.  Phil Flynn had built the model from Hawksmoor models and provided me with various measurements from his kit.  I think I have done a reasonable effort given how close my guestimates were compared to Phil’s model.  I continued working on my Kyogle Signal box.  Later in the week, I realised that I needed to build the concrete block base for the fibro signal box to sit on.  I was hoping I did not need to do that.  But again I had plenty of styrene to use to build my model.  It did come up quite good.  I have so far painted the roof of the signal box Silver to represent the galvanised iron.  I have not yet painted the guttering the maroon colour that I need to paint the model in to fit into the era I am modelling. 

On Friday I launched into my plastering task.  I left this to last.  I did most of it on Friday, but I had a bit left to do, which I completed this afternoon.  This afternoon I also gave all the stark white plaster a raw umber colour.  After this I usually work in small sections and apply various dirts, sands and dusts to the baseboard covered with a watered down white glue mixture.  After a few coats of this, I then go back to add various green and brown grasses to bring the baseboard up to a full covering and make it complete.  The next step will be possibly some fencing and a few trees for the trains to run through.  I will leave this task until my next lot of long Service Leave in early May after I attend the Rosehill Model Railway Exhibition in Sydney.

On Saturday I went to Darren’s place along with Brendan and met up with some of mountain men from Toowoomba.  This was Bill, Smithy and Steve.  Smithy kept saying something like  ‘I’m a mountain man and I like mountain (sic) wom….’.  Anyway, we had a great afternoon.  Thanks Darren.  We had a coffee, and late morning tea.  Then lunch was served, and then the brain had a workout running two train runs on Darren’s layout.  Darren has two man crews and I was teamed up with Steve, an ex-Driver.  The first train was an empty wheatie.  We started at the terminus station - Wattle Flat – after which the layout was named and swapped over three empty wheat wagons at the silo for 3 full ones.  So the full ones were put on the front of the train.  We made our way past the first crossing loop and passed Brendan coming the other way, a few toots on the train horn and then we made it to the next crossing station.  But if you are not taking the branch here, it is a bit of a pain to actually cross someone.  Here we had to again swap three more empties for three fulls in the grain siding.  This location has a facing siding for the grain silo, so we ran around the three empties using the load dock and did the same for the fulls we pulled out of the silo siding, before adding these onto the waiting train on the mainline.  We were soon underway and made our way to the mainline station.  A crew was busy shunting the yard here when we made the yard limits.  We were able to take the main line and again swap three empties for three full grain wagons in the grain siding.  That left us with a train of 9 full wheat wagons destined for export via the port.  We then had to do a swap in the yard.  This entailed leaving our fulls where the next empty grain train was already sitting in the yard, put our guards van onto the rear of the waiting empty train, and take those empties out along the branch back to Wattle Flat for tomorrow’s pickup train.  However, before we left we had to do a loco swap from a 44 class to a 45 class loco.  I might have grabbed a cold drink as I ran passenger with Driver Steve back to Wattle Flat.  On the outbound trip we again passed Brendan at the crossing loop on the branch.  Brendan’s mate was someone new to me – called Mr Nobody.  This time, Brendan was bringing in his pickup freight from the branch.  He had already set up the points for us to perform the cross when we got there.  When we got to the terminus, we had to set a few handbrakes and move the guard’s van onto the rear of the train and send the loco to the loco for servicing and go to barracks.  First thing tomorrow another crew will swap out the first three empty wagons for three now full grain wagons at the silo and the whole process starts again.

This morning I went to a Buy and Sell that I saw advertised at Birkdale.  I had planned on being there at 9:00am, but the son had a call up for an early shift for his checkout chick job, so the wife wanted to make sure he left before we did.  She also wanted to go to some markets at Thornlands, so about 20 minutes out of my way and I got to the Buy and Sell late.  It was pretty well attended.  There were lots of people that I knew there selling stuff.  There was some interesting stuff.  Someone was selling 41 packets of evergreen styrene.  Well I bought that for a good price.  I missed seeing PK at the Buy and Sell, but had a few good chats with those in attendance.

Unfortunately I am back at work tomorrow, but I only have 2 and a half weeks of work, before my next 4 week stink of long service comes around.  This time, as I said earlier in this blog, I’m off to Sydney for the Rosehill Exhibition and then I’m back into the shed and doing scenery and more work on the Kyogle station precinct.  I think I can get used to this permanent holiday stuff.