Sunday, December 20, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
However, I have been busy wasting my time by trawling the web.
Digressing slightly, Chris and I went away for a few days late last week and as we were leaving we dropped into the local newsagency to pick up something to read. I couldn't find anything so I bought an English model railway magazine remembering that I had picked one up a few months ago and had been refreshed by it. I hadn't investigated the british scene for many years.
This event caused me to have a better look.
I present to you now some web sites that should inspire and hopefully not bring on feelings of inadequacy. We can all learn from others and these few sites are just fantastic!
Here is the first a look at Irish Railways (5'3" gauge) in P4.
Now some thing from Scotland.
And a site by Chris Nevard with some small layouts in the british style with a lot of incredible model photos, note the real cat in this photo.
I came to these sites through a site with a huge number of links on all sorts of model railway subjects. A small number of the links are dead as you would expect with so many to keep up to date but Bob Heath the owner has done an amazing job of bringing them together in the one spot.
I hope you enjoy cruising through these sites and I apologise for dragging you away from your modelling.
Plenty of inspiration, now to some modelling again.
I have been taking a few photos though, so something is happening.
Early morning in Wollar, no Photoshoping just the light through the garage window without the lights on.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
I have done only one more point for Cassilis but could lay track almost right through the yard if I wished, I just haven't.
Anyway, here is a little scenery project I did a few years ago.
Take a sprig from the end of a Cootamundra Wattle branch (Acacia Baileyana '"Purperia' variety). See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cootamundra_wattle
Trim the fine branchlets as per the picture.
Dye a cotton pipe cleaner a light to mid-brown with a little orange in it (if you can find them), I used a little artists acrylic paint.
Cut the dried pipe cleaner into pieces about 20 - 25mm long.
I made a jig with a piece of timber drilled to take the short length of pipe cleaner with timber surrounding the hole to support the branches (sorry, no picture but just think about it).
Glue the ends of the branchlets to the top of the pipe cleaner , at least two layers looks best, put the small branchlets on top and there you have it!
Yes, I know the branches are upside down!
Why do you think I haven't published this before?
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Normally I visit my mum and dad on Sunday mornings and this can run into the early afternoon as I am building a layout with dad. I have done this once already for about 4 years then 18 months ago mum and dad moved and well, we start again.
The layout is coming along nicely this time as it has been planned carefully instead of just growing like the old one (usually between my visits ;-) ). I have been building the new one for the last 6 months or so. I will post some photos at a later date.
The point being though that they are away visiting my brother at Townsville.
Now this leads me to another story.
Last Sunday I joined a few hundred other people who were lucky enough to visit what may be known as the Main Western Line layout. The layout was opened to the public in aid of a charity and at $10, entry it was worth it.
The layout was on a property at Brewongle near Bathurst and was built for it's owner Paul Hennessay by John Brown a well known modeller. John told me he had taken 19 months at 40 -50 hours per week to get it to this stage. Well John, you can be proud of your achievement. John had some assistance from another modeller whose name unfortunately escapes me.
Some may have heard of it but you have to see it to believe it. It is housed in a 100' x 45' purpose built building, notice I didn't say shed. The layout is in a U shape with a large staging yard at the base of the U and two long peninsulars. It is a takes up a space about 80' x 30' leaving enough room for a few lounge chairs and wood burning fire.
The layout represents a section of mainline from Tarana to Bathurst and it includes a short Oberon branchline.
I took quite a few photos and also video but will only post these few photos below.
This photo was taken 2/3 of the way down one peninsular.
And this photo was taken when I turned around and took the last 1/3, long enough?
Monday, October 12, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Well, let's see, the spray booth is finished and working. It appears that the fan should be at the exit end of the ducting as it certainly sucks better than it blows. It could be better but provided I keep the sliding perspex 'doors' open about 300mm it works well enough so that I can't smell solvent when my nose is about 150mm from the opening, not very scientific but hey it works.
Next, I now have nine of the eleven undertrack Kadee uncoupling magnets but the point work has gone no where, real life sometimes intrudes.
Now here is something I have been pondering for a number of years.
Since I bought my digital camera and began taking model photos I have been painfully aware of the lack of height of my backscenes. I have difficulty framing my shots as trees and some taller buildings stick up above the top edge of the backscene. This puts them in front of the brick wall and removing the bricks in Photoshop to place a real background into the picture is a real pain.
When I built the layout I had to decide on the height of course and I foolishly went with the decision to cut 2400 x 1200mm masonite into three 400mm high boards in an attempt to save money. The 400mm high board only allows a 350mm high backscene by the time it is screwed to the layout frame.
Here is what the backscenes look like.
The problem I have been wrestling with is how do I retrofit higher backscenes?
I can't see them being 1200mm high but I think 600mm (cost again) would work reasonably well as the top level of the layout is at 1400mm so another 600mm would put the top well above head level.
Monday, August 10, 2009
At the moment here is the track layout on the baseboards. I have gone for a slightly unconventional terminal track end whereby the main line passes through the platform (see plan in previous post) but doesn't stay straight as it swings through the crossover and ends as the second track from the right at the bottom of the photo. I hope that makes sense?
The reason was to allow me to fit in a loco stabling/railmotor servicing track next to the turntable. There was no other way that I could swing a track into place but I think it's important to the temrinus, to me at least.
Also in my efforts to get that typical set of crossovers into the goods yard from the loop I have a shorter goods siding to live with but hey, I like the flexibility for shunting the goods and stock sidings.
I have also had to use a curved point at the throat of the yard to get the correct swing off the incoming curve.
The observant will notice that the branch crosses over the Coxs Gap Loop which is not prototypical for NSW by any means. This is a compromise I have had to live with to enable me to get a branch terminus, the space above the lower staging yard being the only possible location. It's also the way the main got to the upper staging yard before it's leap across the room to the left.
The secret is that the track is going to cross a brick road bridge over Cox's Gap Loop so that unless you really look you will not know that a rail line is crossing it unless a train does so.
The next stage will take a while as I am investigating the use of Kadee under track magnets which will be hinged below the baseboard to be raised into position when required. I will probably do a small mock up of the base board and do some trial fitouts. I have worked it all out in theory but you know how it goes, there is always something you haven't thought of. The other reason is that I need about ten and I only have two at the moment.
While I collect the magnets I will start to scratchbuild the points.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Now, back to Cassilis.
I have built the baseboards (2 - see plan) and they are now in place above the lower staging yard. I have probably tried too hard to fit in too many goods options but the above plan is it. I have decided to keep the sidings straight to ease shunting with Kadees but did manage to angle the yard across the board area for a better effect. I have also managed to fit a loco siding for the branch loco and possibly for the CPH railmotor passenger service.
I am going to scratch build the points and try to put as much of my modelling into this station area as I can. Building a largish layout causes you to assess what you can achieve in a reasonable time and this leads you to realise that highly detailed work can't really be done all over. Some can do it but I decided years ago to build for overall effect with focussed highly detailed scenes (not too many of those as yet).
I have split the baseboards into two pieces as the lower staging yard is also able to be split into two. You never know if you may have to move in the future and I didn't want to put a lot into this station to have to scrap it later.
A couple of weeks ago Chris and I went for a cruise down to Crookwell and Boorowa to photograph some suitable infrastructure for Cassilis. I new there was a fair bit of infrastructure at Crookwell and I had found the silo at Boorowa when doing a Google Maps Streetview search.
I have previously seen a photo of Crookwell in snow and I can now believe it, no snow but Chris wouldn't get out of the car!
I needed the turntable pics as I recently bought Anton's 60' Sellers turntable which is very nice although it doesn't have the characteristic curve of the bottom of the frames. This is a bit annoying but given how nice the unit is otherwise I can live with it, particularly if there is a lot of static grass growing in the pit.
I am also planning to get one of Keiran Ryan's silo kits soon and needed detail photos of the silo, especially the corrugated iron unloading shed, the only part of the structure that Keiran doesn't supply.
On our way back we checked out Harden and I found a 5 ton yard crane on a square brick base. The interest here is that I have bought a Uneek 5 ton Crane kit and a Peter Boormans Workshop 5 Ton Crane kit. Both are the same version of crane and have cast and etched parts but the Uneek one has an octagonal concrete base and the Peter Boormans one does not come with a base. The point here is that it is going to be easier to build a square brick base than the octagonal version. It also adds a bit more interest.
As we were leaving Harden I turned around and was presented with this shot which I will use to close this post.
The old and the new - Harden South Box July 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
I screwed a plastic gutter downpipe collecting box to the wall over the vent that I was going to use as the outlet and sealed it with acrylic flexible sealer. I used 90mm PVC pipe from the spray booth to the exhaust fan that I had mounted on an interior dividing wall in a timber box. The air exiting the fan was channelled into a plastic plant container that tapered down to about 200mm and a 90mm fitting was mounted in the base of the container. Silver foil covered spring wire ducting available for clothes driers was then sealed to the 90mm outlet of the fan and run to the vent in the brick wall. A lot of time was taken in waiting for sealant to dry sufficiently to move on to the next stage.
Before making the final ducting connection to the wall vent outlet I turned on the fan.
Well, hardly any air came out!
I removed the ducting at the fan enclosure and got a reasonable air flow.
The problem seems to be that the spiral spring ducting is not smooth inside and the ridges of the spring is sufficient to impede the air flow.
I now have to re-think the whole project.
I am going to put a new smaller spray booth as close as possible to the wall vent and cross my fingers, unfortunately I don't have a lot of room for the fan enclosure.
The spray booth and fan enclosure had previously done years of service at my old home but it was ducted with smooth bore 90mm PVC pipe.
There's a lesson there me thinks.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
The tree, the cause of all the trouble is sitting on top of the lower staging yard on the site of the Cassilis branch terminus station.
Saturday, May 30, 2009
I love the look of a curved station but have always shied away from it because of concerns about the reliability of uncoupling KDs. Uncoupling KDs is a question in itself, permanent magnets, electro-magnets, by hand, etc. that I still don't have an answer for.
I have found that the new whisker and scale head KDs are far superior in performance to the old No. 5s, however because they are so good, with 4 wheeled stock they can false uncouple when moving slowly over permanent magnet uncouplers. This is a big issue with steel axles on light 4 wheeled stock.
I only put permanent uncouplers on stub ended sidings so it's not that big an issue and can be overcome somewhat by adding weight to the wagons. This suits me as I like my loads to be heavy to give the challenge of getting up the grades with bank locos.
I am hoping to build Cassilis station yard with handlaid points as per Bylong station so curving might be the way to go, perhaps a nice broad curve will still allow the KDs to couple and uncouple, I must do some trials.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Monday, May 25, 2009
Saturday, May 23, 2009
I also rang 'Rowdy' David Allen another quiet Rambler.
Well we had a most enjoyable evening running trains and adjusting the CVs on a Tsunami Alco 251 V12 decoder I had just installled in a Trainorama NSWGR 44 class. Gary had been a driver for 15 years and Rowdy had been a fireman for several so they were invaluable in determining which of the 15 diesel horns in the decoder was the closest to a 1960s 44 with dual horns. After much tooting of horns it was down to two, numbers 4 and 13. I am using the number 13 horn at the moment and it will be put to the test the next time all the Ramblers drop by.
Next we moved on to dynamic braking, the Tsunami allows the dynamix brake to be turned on with function 4 but you can also have the throttle respond accordingly by adjusting the CVs. By default the Tsunami will drop the diesel sound to idle when the dynamic brake is used but the real 44 class would go to notch 4, so notch 4 it was. This doesn't give as much change in engine noise as the default as you may only be around notch 4 when descending a grade but it's nice to know that it is happening.
In conjunction with the dynamic braking I had set the automatic notching in the Tsunami to change every 10 throttle steps, so when set in 128 mode and with a speed curve active that tops out at the 80 step mark this gives you eight notches as per the prototype. The Tsunami can also be set up for manual notching where the diesel engine sound is disconnected from the throttle and most be notched up and down by the driver, I haven't tried this yet.
The 44 was given a heavy momentum for both accelerating and decellerating for more realism.
The Tsunami allows function 11 to activate a brake that will slow down the loco, the braking effect being fully adjustable by CV for effect.
Now, I use NCE and function 11 is an awkward two handed button press and function 7 operates the brake squeal noise so I used JMRI Decoder Pro to make function 7 sound the brake squeal as well as activate the braking effect. Function 7 is also the brake squeal on locos fitted with QSI sound decoders such as Eureka and Austrains C35 so this is a good match, nothing more confusing than trying to remember which function does what and which decoder is in which loco. The JMRI DecoderPro freeware program is just the thing for setting these function button assignments easily.
With the momentum and the above adjustments the 44 took on a whole new dimension.
There may be more adjustments to make for fine tuning but I am more than happy with the way this 44 operates, two more to go.
A word of warning, the standard shrink wrapped Tsunami barely fits and one speaker must be removed to make room. For my second 44 I have bought the Atlas variant of the Tsunami, this being a flat long decoder that should replace the existing lighting board although it isn't the same shape. Maybe one day Trainorama and other manufacturers will ensure that the lighting boards in their diesels are made to the Atlas 'form factor' for ease of decoder installs, or at least for this decoder. Unfortunately this is not the case with the upcoming GMs.
One last point, I fitted a speaker enclosure for the 44 that is available from the Model Railroad Craftsman at Blacktown, NSW. This speaker enclosure need a little bit of chamfering on the inside edge to fit the existing 44 class speaker. You must have an enclosure sealing the back of the speaker as you will get little sound the way the speakers come in the 44 class without it. The speaker needs to work against entrapped air to produce the sound.
Gary Spencer-Salt, the proprietor has produced this speaker enclosure to go with his Loksound sound decoder kit specifically set up with 44 class sounds. Having seen and heard this operate in James McInerney's 44 class I can thoroughly recommend the Loksound as a far easier install than the Tsunami.
Finally, towards the end of the night Gary Laker asked if he could take a photo of his 13 class and passenger cars that has been working their way around the layout that night.
I gave him my camera that is permanently set up for model photos and a tripod. The desktop photo above is the result of his photo and a bit of enhancement by me by dropping a real background into the photo instead of the light blue background that exists right behind the train (see below).
As you can see Gary is a fine modeller with a good eye for weathering.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
NOTE: Links to timetable files are to be found at the bottom of this post.
Two nights before they returned home to Texas, Blair Kooistra and Lance Lassen attended an operating night at Bylong.
Others attending were, left to right, sort of:
Bob Merchant (Senior Bob), BobLynch (Junior Bob), Blair Kooistra (at rear), Ron Cunningham (front), James McInerney (centre), Lance Lassen (at rear in orange shirt), Terry Flynn (centre), myself (front in white shirt), Layne Hardy (centre), Des McDonell (towards rear) and Gary Laker (front right). Keiran Ryan turned up later from work after the photo was taken.
Blair has been posting a day by day diary of their train chasing exploits around NSW on his Under the Weather blog (http://undertheweatherblog.blogspot.com/) since he arrived back home and I feel slack about not updating my own blog.
We had a fun night operating Bylong to timetable for the first time since it's recent changes. Everyone was given copies of the timetable and signalmen were allocated to the staging yards and each station with a 'station timetable' to control the passage of trains through their section. We did not operate with a dispatcher although I was available for advice and to troubleshoot as the night went on.
The timetable was run to a 6:1 fast clock and we started well but slowly dropped behind until we were running about a fast hour behind at one stage. I had allowed for this and the middle of the 'day' was quieter and we managed to catch up a bit of time. It later became busy but we finally ended up a bit late.
There were an Up and a Down Pickup Goods as well as an Up and Down Branch Mixed that had to shunt. Blair volunteered to be driver with James McInerney as guard, he must be a masochist!
He did say he had a great time though as he shunted with James' Trainorama 49 class fitted with a Loksound sound decoder from The Model Railroad Craftsman at Blacktown NSW. James had done a lot of adjusting of the CVs and the loco had been programmed with momentum so it was interesting to shunt with.
James also brought along a Trainorama 44 class similarly fitted and adjusted like the 49 and also an Austrains C36 with a Tsunami sound decoder that was so well programmed that it would fall almost silent and drift downhill with only the clank of the side rods to be heard. I really have to ask James exactly what CVs and values he used as my Austrains C36 is also fitted with a Tsunami.
Lance chose to drive a couple of the mainline trains during the session and said he enjoyed himself.
We had two goods trains that needed banking from Kerrabee to the Gulgong staging along with the attendent light engine workings of course.
All in all, things didn't go too badly but I certainly have a couple of things to fix before the next session.
Blair kindly offered to attend the next session..... ;-)
Here are the timetables, train control graph and forms used.
The full timetable.
Individual station timetables.
Train control graph
Modified NSWGR X2010 form used for pick ups consists including shunting instructions.
When you click on one of the above links you will get a preview on a Google Documents site, go to the File drop down and click on Download Original.
See if you can find the error in the timetable and train graph, there is a move that wasn't actually possible on the night, I stuffed up.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
At the instigation of Dr Iain Stuart this post is being composed in Windows Live Writer and to give a small update on directions at Bylong.
In my last post I posted a photo of the layout with the new branchline and scenery. The branchline makes it's way around the room until it arrives at the previous position of the upper staging yard (above the lower staging yard).
At this point it enters the terminus of Cassilis.
Cassilis of course didn’t have a railway line but that just gives me a free hand to design the station yard.
Here is the proposed station yard as it stands at the moment.
I hope to start work on the terminus sometime in the next couple of months.
Yes Keiran, that’s where your silo will be going, the one I have been promising to buy for a while now.
Postscript: Live Writer was very easy to use and the plan could be placed right where I wanted it, although you have to have a Google Picasa Web Album account as a requirement, not a great impost.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Just to show that I haven't been bludging here is a quick and dirty photo to show progress on the new upper level trackwork and scenery.
The main line climbs up and around behind the tree line to the upper level Gulgong storage.
That's 5085 creeping around the curve on the branch coming from the non-existant terminus.
The terminus will be above the lower staging which can be seen in a panoramic layout view in one of my early posts.
I think that the lower level backscene needs to be repainted to make the mountains rise up higher near the tunnel to better blend with the new upper level scenery.
What I am trying to achieve with the new scenery above the tunnel is the effect of a distant tree lined hill from afar but smaller trees and shrubs when up close looking at just the branch and main line.
I think it works reasonably well.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
So I have reverted to a previous desktop picture but have added a wide screen 16 x 9 version.
Programs that show pictures seem to handle the different proportions OK but the Windows desktop does not have an option to show different proportion pictures properly.
I will do the same on the Eureka Models Blog desktop pictures that I do for Ron Cunningham.
I hope that this is of some use to you.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Well, I went back to work this week, what a joy!
I did however enjoy myself over the break, kit bashing my flour mill. It started as a Walthers kit for a steel merchants, I can't remember the name but you should recognise it. Anyway I had started it many years ago before the Walthers sugar mill was around, it was the most likely candidate. I had realised later that most flour mills had three or even four floors so two wouldn't do and the project stalled, I'm good at that, 3/4 finished models are my specialty.
After pondering over the problem after Christmas I realised that with a few bits of spare brick material and part of the rear wall (out of sight) I could give the mill a third floor.
I still have to build the rail unloading shed and vertical conveyor tower to the two silos but I thought I would share what I had done with you, after all, I am now 3/4's of the way through the total project.
So here it is, I'm pretty happy with it.
It has a mixture of features from several mills, double multi-pane windows, external fire escape stairs, expolsion wall, bricked up windows, etc., see below.
Photo from http://www.filmcentralnsw.com/film_tv_nsw_home.shtml
Photo from http://www.filmcentralnsw.com/film_tv_nsw_home.shtml
Photo by Ray PI cut a point into the main just west of Wollar in the area of the panorama photos of the layout that you can't see, just to the left of the camera (see earlier posts). The point is controlled by a push-pull rod to a Blue Point mechanism so this should make shunting interesting, most other points being electrically controlled.
I will post a photo of the completed mill with silos when I get it done but don't hold your breath.