Monday, December 20, 2010

How's that for Prototypically Straight Track?

I am of course referring to my latest Desktop picture to the right.

I should apologise for my recent blog post where I led with a photo that I used on my last blog 5 weeks before!

Goes to show something, getting old? No don't answer that.

In the previous blog I also showed a picture of an overgrown siding and as can be seen by my desktop photo at right I have been a bit busy this weekend.
Here are a few more photos that I took to see how it was going, some areas still need some more work and clean up (grass laying all over the station parking area), etc.
Basically I have given the BYLONG station yard a going over scenically including the trees and I have finally finished the dam that supplies water for the livestock at the abbatoir, well nearly.

Lastly, I would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and leave you with this 'Christmas card', my first attempt at adding smoke and steam.

Ray P

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Long Time Since....

Yes, it is a long time since I posted on the blog, not since 30 October to be exact.
It has been a time of small changes to the layout and I mean small.
However, I was motivated tonight to post when I received this link of a 1964 film on Australian Railways in an email from Blair Kooistra of North of Narrabri only to discover that Blair had finally posted again when I went to copy his blog link for this post, I will leave you to check his blog but I will say that his is a very similar story except that mine was Triang in 1960 and polished Masonite.
What have I been doing?
Here is a photo of the new scenery around the Wollar flour mill with 3390 passing the Cassilis branch junction bracket signal and yes, it does work.

Another addition is this fine small shop built by Phil Gibson of Trainorama that I picked up a month or so ago at Toms Hobbies, Phil does very nice work and he makes these up every so often; I also have a large shop version of his that I bought a couple of years ago.

I was using my 3 year old $1400+ digital video camera at my Grandson's first birthday a couple of weeks ago and turned it off only to discover that it wouldn't turn on again. After dropping it into the approved repairer and waiting a week I was informed that the main board was dead and a replacement would be $700, it cost me $77 to find this out.
After several days of pondering over repairing or buying a new one I decided on the latter as I couldn't overcome my concern that if the main board could die so quickly once what was to stop a replacement from doing the same again.
I bought a JVC GZ-HD620 full high definition digital video camera, normal retail $999 for $799, that came with a free 8GB SD card and a promotion to get a free 500GB portable hard drive by following some simple steps and mailing in the required proof including the bar code from the box - BARGAIN!
I have been spending the last week experimenting with it and shooting some BYLONG videos, nothing to post yet but soon maybe.
Although it has full high definition of 1920 x 1080 it is difficult to produce a YouTube video that shows the clarity as uploaded videos seem to loose something along the way. I have also worked out that I need more light to acheive a higher f stop for a better depth of field. Now the thing with digital video cameras or at least the ones I can afford is that the highest f stop is usually only f3.0 but the GZ-HD620 had f4.7. My dead video camera had f8 but when I tried to use it everything was too dark, back to the lighting issue.
OK, here is a trial video as I couldn't help myself, 6037 climbing towards BYLONG on a coal train, yes I know that the coal is going in the wrong direction.

I picked up some new scenery materials recently from the Model Railroad Craftsman at Blacktown NSW. Gary and Maria have what I would say amounts to the largest range of scenery products around. The items of interest were new static grasses in dead grass colours (and greens) from MiniNatur at $13.50 per 50g pack. I have previously used Heki Winterboden which is a good dead grass colour but it is only about 2 - 3mm long, this MiniNatur grass is 6.5mm long, just the thing for that thigh high dead grass so common in Australia. I got a Beige, Golden Beige (yellower) and a slightly green but almost dead grass colour called Late Fall.
Here is a photo I took of an oil siding on BYLONG that is overgrown and little used. I know that oil sidings would probably have been kept clear of grass due to the fire hazard but I couldn't resist having a go with the new grasses.

I used Pascoes Self Shining Long Life Floor Polish (really a waterbased clear coating) as mentioned on Julian Watson's VR Days blog as an experiment to glue the grass and it worked well, it can be found at Bunnings and Woolworths for about $5 for 500ml and at Bunnings in 5 litres for $35, I am going to get this size soon. Like Julian I also tried it with ballast and will shortly try it with soils. It doesn't dry as hard as say PVA so could be useful if you need to take up some track later.
Well, that's about it for now, it's 11:33pm and I had better head for the shower and bed.