Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry Christmas

I hope everyone enjoyed their Christmas and received lots of great presents.  I received some early Christmas money from the inlaws and put this towards the purchase of a 44 Class Soundtraxx sound decoder.  This decoder arrived at PK's place on Monday and he delivered it to me on the Tuesday.  So on Thursday night the old NCE D18SR decoder in the 44 Class loco that was to receive the sound decoder upgrade was removed and the factory fitted circuit board was also removed.  On Friday I put the new decoder in.  However, it was not until today that I put it on the test track and verified it worked.  I kept the bulbs for the front light, also installed an LED for the rear light (Shhh I blew the rear bulb!), and installed two more LED's for Functions 5 and 6 which are the front and rear cab lights.  I did managed to fit everything back together but I think something is rubbing so I may pull it apart later this week to fix this issue.

Monday night this week is a Running night for some NSW modellers.  So just before I went down the shed and placed three sound fitted 44 Class locos in the Grafton Loco to assist with trains that need extra motive power tomorrow night during the running session, that is if the shed does not get washed away before hand.  I also positioned 6 trains in Acacia Ridge yard for departure and tested 8 or 9 trains in Grafton yard that can be run.  I think I have a couple of crossing loops occupied around the layout so I might have to free these up before the running session.  I still have to fit the last power supply for the last signal panel displays for Rappville to Grafton - I have been slack.

The fridge is stocked ready for Monday, but I do need to run the vacuum cleaner over the shed floor as I did do a bit of drilling and sawing lately.  I think I will have plenty of time to do this tomorrow as I will not be watching the cricket.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Wet Weekend

The modelling related activity this week started with a Tuesday Nighter's trip to Lefty and Son's up the road in the next suburb. We spent quite a bit of time talking and checking out some of their recent O scale purchases that were displayed on two tables in the shed. We were also checking out their shelving that they purchased from Bunnings. This is used to store '& Son's' O scale models.  Lefty (Dave) has plans to start putting up wall brackets sometime between Christmas and New Year and this will be followed by baseboards. I understand that '& Son' was to have the Wednesday off work to receive a delivery of wood for the baseboards - framing and tops. We expect that by the time the next Tuesday Nighter's meeting comes around again at their place, they will have some layout built and some track laid - but we will see.

As promised last week, I was setting myself a goal of getting the power supply for the North Fork to Old Cassino section working this weekend. This was accomplished on Friday Night. As this weekend was chock full of parties, there was not much chance of shed time, however, I did schedule 1 hour in the shed early on Saturday morning before attending a pool party for a 6 year old's birthday for lunch (one of Kyle's school mates) followed by a family get together at the Sister-in-law's place just around the corner at night for another 5 hours for a BBQ dinner. It certainly was good catching up with the wife's family, but you know it is time to go home, when you are looking at your right hand and the table in front of you trying to figure out where your stubby has gone (you had it only minutes before) when after about 20 seconds you realise it was in your left hand.

Yesterday in the one hour session before heading off to the pool, I was also able to complete the installation of the staff machines for the locations for Cassino and Rappville along with an intermediate staff location at Bonalbo Ballast Siding.

Today, with about one and a half hours available in the morning, before heading to my niece and her husband's place for their youngest's 1st birthday party, I was able to install a section of facia about 7' long in the area of Grafton Yard. I then wired up the three control panels for Grafton Yard and Rappville Loop, along with the intermediate staff location of Rocla Sleeper Siding. I called it quits when I could not find the power supply for this section and then I remembered it was on the kitchen table. So one night this week I will install that and the whole section from Grafton Yard to Acacia Ridge will be controlled by Staff machines. I still have to complete the building of the last two power supplies required for the branch line for the section Old Cassino to Lismore (with an intermediate staff location for Lismore Shell Siding) and the section from Lismore to Murwillumbah. As I have lots of junk laying all over the track at Lismore, these power supplies might get installed before trains will be running in this section. As Lismore is directly beneath Kyogle on the layout, and there will be a bit of plastering occuring at Kyogle over the next 10 days or so, this section might remained covered. I am intending to build these last two power supplies tonight at the kitchen table, so I can try and remove everything from the table for the next few weeks at least.

This morning, I also got up on the ladder and cleaned out some leaves in the guttering near the downpipe for the front of the shed. We have had quite alot of rain recently. It is really annoying. Let's hope we have a fine Christmas.

This week PK was on a spending spree of a couple of Austrains locos (from Horizon Hobbies at Warner) and then was looking for sound chips for them.  So I said to him, put me down for a soundtraxx 44 Class equivalent chip so we'd share the postage.  Hopefully these might turn up on Monday so I will have something to do next weekend on the long weekend before the Monday Night.  I have a few NSW Modellers coming over on Monday night for a running session.  The usual culripts will be there - PK, Darren, Geoff, Peter, along with a new comer - Rob who was an American HO modeller before downsizing to N scale.  This will be his first trip to see the layout.

Until next week - everyone have a Happy and Safe Christmas and spend some good quality time with the family and the layout, let's hope the white bearded one in red leaves something model railway related under the tree.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Annual Club Modelling Comp

Saturday 11th December was the date for the RMCQ annual modelling competition.  We had some very nice entries and none more so that the ones by Daniel, Greg and Jim.  Daniel won the Best Improved Kit category with a D & RGW Gondola constructed from a wagon base.  My photo of this entry didn't turn out so I can't post it here.

Greg attained the encouragement award for his model of Kensington Hill Station that will go on his layout of the same name.
Kensington Hill Station

Jim Hutchinson entered his model of Nettle Creek and scooped the Pool with the Judge's Best and Most Popular Trophies.

Nettle Creek Hotel - Gee Jim models a lot of pubs - I Wonder?

The rest of the Street in Nettle Creek

Close up of the Cafe and Post Office.  By the way don't park outside the Post Office as the Local Constabulary likes to give out tickets

 The Cafe - What is the Special?

One more view of the Hotel

Well done to all the entrants and of course thanks to the judge - John Guest from Horizon Hobbies at Warner (our local Hobby Shop), who makes time every December to come along and undertake the judging.  

This day was also the offical opening of the HO Shed Extension, the last meeting for the year, and the drawing of the Christmas Hamper, which was split into 9 prizes.  The shed still needs to be lined, the floors acid washed and then sealed with some clear finish, and teh power points wired up.  We still have a few lights to put up and isn't it so much easier now we have a sparkey in the Club.  Thanks to PK who acquired the lights.

Getting ready for the Meeting.  The Executive. in the new 12m x 12m extension.

Some of the Rabble!  This is where the new HO layout will go exactly where the chairs are.

During the afternoon it started to rain, and rain and rain.  Didn't it bucket down.  It was torrential at times.  The creek down the back was flowing quite well when we left.

The Local Creek

Back in my shed today I wired up the Staff Machines for the Fairy Hill to Cassino Section, with 8 panels in this section there was a lot of soldering.  This was followed by the Cassino to Old Cassino Section with its two panels.  I also wired up the section from Cassino North Fork to Old Cassino, but I did not install the power supply for this section.  That should take about 10 minutes next weekend.

Before I got to the shed, I finally got around to installing the black strapping around about 10 coils of steel.  They look quite good, but the strapping could have been slightly narrower.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

10 Men in the Shed

Tuesday this week, was Tuesday Nighters and it took place in my Shed. We had 10 visitors including two first timers - Clayton and Brendan, plus me. As usual when the guys come over, they spend a few minutes acquainting themsleves with what has occured since they last visited. There had been quite a lot of plastering undertaken, as mentioned in last week's update. I ran a couple of trains to show the first timers how the layout worked, and we split up into a number of groups within the shed. Barry and Shelton were near the yards talking operational processes on the Interstate Mainline about a kilometre from my place. Raymond and Geoff and a few others were near the Kitchen - chin wagging, The rest were near the door and flowing out of it. I was showing a few points off to the visitors and infrequent attendees like George. later on during the night Darren advised that he had an issue with his NCE Radio handset. The Layout-id on his handset has mysteriously changed to ID=1. We knew how to fix this, but we couldn't get the EXPN key to show the menu for us to change the value. However after a while Darren fixed this up.  THis was accomplished by holding the EXPN button for a number of seconds before the handset sprang to life and then we were able to change the layout-id back to 0.
As a result of the last running session (the previous weekend) there were a couple of issues to address. So, yesterday I pulled up the track between the Running Creek Tunnels to basically fix a kink in the track just inside a tunnel mouth. But at the same time, I wanted to install a short trestle bridge over a creek. I had planned on installing a new piece of rail but I thought I would try just removing the track pins and relaying the existing piece of rail after I installed the trestle. I had two timber piles that I had lying around, that I built quite a long time ago. I had to cut some 5mm dowel and drop it in the bottle of stain for 2 minutes, let it dry and glued two pieces on top of each other for the bridge girders between the piers. I also threw a bit of glue around under the track inside the tunnel to help it say alligned and used a clamp to hold it in position over night. I also installed some 0.8mm balsa under the outer rail around the curve between the Running Creek tunnel portals to see if a little bit of superelevation would make the section of track look better and possibly enhance the ride qualities of wagons around this area. I gave the track a test drive this morning and the trains ran quite well around this relaid section of track.  Although the trains are very close to the inside tunnel portal side.  So I may have to lay a new piece of track eventually if some of my long or wide wagons and passanger carriages hit the tunnel portal - with my luck some will.
The newly installed trestle

Is that a light at the end of the Tunnel?  The kink was just inside the tunnel.  The newly installed super elevation is also seen in this photo.

Yesterday I also decided to rip a bit of the high facia down at Kyogle and install a section of below track styrofoam before a layer of plaster will eventually installed (maybe next weekend) over the top. This will allow for an area of the scenery falling away from the track to be modelled.  I also need to put some more styrofoam in on the other side of a tunnel facia (the above photo) around Kyogle one of the sidings at this location. This just helps to blend in the scenery between various places on the layout.

The styrofoam between the facia and the track with the scenery falling away slightly.

This morning also adjusted the heights of the KD couplers on about 4 wagons by installing KD washers under the bogies.  I also adjusted the heights on two troublesome 48 Class locos, 1 x Trax and 1 x Powerline.  I did this by using the overset couplers in place of standard #5's.  So they now seem to work a lot better.  After this I had a short run of a couple of trains between a couple of cross loops.  Here is a photo of one of the runs.
In a treeless Border Loop, the 620/720 set in stowed in the siding allowing another train to pass.

This afternoon I went to visit Shelton's layout, up the road about 2 kilometres.  We spent the time discussing how he could get some additional running line within his shed and introduce a hidden staging yard or two.  That is something I will ponder for the next few weeks.  I can feel a diagram coming on.