Sunday, October 22, 2017

Bad Boy Bobbie

I've have a rule with modelling which has been working well up until now. That rule is that I complete a project before I start something new, well that's the idea and it mostly works. And as we all know, rules are made to be broken. I've mostly finished the louvre vans which need to get a final coat of colour (grey is a colour?), fix the roofs to the bodies, decals and some weathering.

Semi Louvre MLV

King Post BLV

Queen Post BLV

36ft MLV


Milk LV

And because I couldn't wait, I decided to start build in an Ezi-Kits M40 Tank engine. Bad boy Bobbie!!. I've made some modifications including replacing the North Yard gearbox with a Highlevel Slimliner 54:1 gearbox which sits lower in the frames allowing me to fit a cab to the engine. Also, thanks to Craig W, I was alerted to the fact that the front footplate appeared too long. So a quick perusal of the GA plan (Thanks Greg E) showed that Craig was right, the footplate was 6" too long so this was reduced in length. Also added was the frames behind the front bogie as a well as a brass Z19 brass chimney, thanks Tom P!!. There are still some final details to add and then DCC and sound. The speaker will be in the bunker under the coal space with a keep alive hopefully fitting there as well. The Tsunami will fit in the smoke box (just). That's it for now and I won't start anything else, promise!! And thanks to all the guys for their help and advice, its what really makes this hobby even more enjoyable. Cheers.

The beginning

High Level Gearbox

Cab Interior

Front Bogie with frame insert

Getting there

With replacement brass Z19 Chimney. Thanks Tom P!!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Back on the Tools

I've turned my attentions back to making carriages again as I tried (in vain) to get some models finished for the Early Days Convention back on 22/7. I still took some along of what I'd been doing with some MLV's but didn't take any of the Milk LV's I'd been working on.
So here's where we're at with my Louvre Van Fleet. Firstly, I couldn't live with the dodgy 36ft MLV's that I'd cobbled together out of Berg's LV's so these were scrapped saving the ends and sides. I decided to makes some masters out of the Bergs LV's and create a proper 36ft MLV side. This seemed to work ok but I need to refine my casting skills as I had to make about 16 sides to get enough decent castings to make 3 wagons. Not a good success rate but it was still worth it as I have 3 reasonably accurate 36ft MLVs. Everything is scratch built bar the ends, couplers, buffers, bogies, and brake cylinder.

36ft MLV

Still working on the Roof

With the left over sides, I decided to make them back into LV's again but this time as Milk LV's with the lower panels opened out. I had enough bits left over to make 3 LV's, waste not want not!! Yes, it would have been easier just to buy the RTR version but where's the fun in that? So, I opened out the panels with a Jeweler's fret saw and used some Branchline models Milk Van ends to complete the model. All brake detail is included as this is standard for all my wagons and now I just to add the shade roof, brake hoses and coupler release bars before they go into the paint shop.

Milk LV

Needs a coupler release

I also had 3 Lima 18ft LV's which needed to be converted to NSWGR vans as per the Branchline Modeler Article from many years ago. This was done for 2 of them but the 3rd received the Milk treatment and has had the lower panels opened out much like the Berg's LV's. This one will end up as the Farmers and Dairymen's Milk Company No5 as built by Clyde.

Dairymen No5

The buffers are trial fit

Lastly, I have 2 Redfern Models Semi louvre vans that I've been working on. Basically, I've removed the under frame and all details on these 2 models and have rebuilt them. Still some work to go with steps on the end solebar, buffers, brake hoses and some hand rails still to be added on top of all the details already added. Its been worth it as the difference between before and after is quite marked.

I'll need to find a decent set of Diamond Frame bogies

I think I'll redo the steps as I'm not happy with them

Anyway, that's about it for the Louvre Van fleet. I'm just about done with them so next will be a trip to the paint shop for these wagons and the previously completed BLV's and then I can run some typical 1930's Fruit expresses. Just need the 57 on the front!!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

There's Movement at the Station

Well, things are getting exciting with trains running on the lower deck now. I've been having some fun getting all of the kinks and bugs out of the layout with most issues corrected, bar a couple of points in the staging yard and 2 dead DCC point motors. Fortunately, the guys at DCC Concepts have a a fantastic lifetime warranty for their point motors so these have been returned and I'm waiting for the replacements to arrive. The last things I need to do is to install 2 UTP patch panels for the NCE Power Cab and install the turntables, one of which has been purchased, a 90ft table for the bottom deck. I've also still go a fair bit of fascia work to do but that will come as the scenery goes in.
One thing I've also been doing is integrating JMRI Software into the DCC system. I was surprised at how easy this was to do so the next task will be designing some control panels for the storage yard control. I've also integrated some iPhones and an iPad to act as wireless throttles and these are working a treat. My initial thoughts are that they're actually easier to use than the NCE Power Cab and much cheaper too!!! I was going to get a NCE wireless add on but the iPhones are more than adequate.


Here's a few photos of some train action at Picton.




Staging Yards

The great thing is I can now get back to doing what I love the most, building rolling stock and locomotives. And, I'll be able to start on scenery and structures too so I'm thrilled to have gotten to this point after many years and many mistakes. Let the good times roll!!!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

It Works

Here's a little clip of 5096 running a test train through Thirlmere.

So, as you can see, things are actually working on the Loop Line or Top Deck of the layout. Not without some issues, mind you, but mostly trouble free. I've got to work on a couple of points where the loco stalls at low speed but overall, I'm pretty happy given this is my first real layout.

I'm also learning about DCC at a rapid pace given the issues I had last week with an EPROM upgrade on my NCE PowerCab that totally screwed over the QSI decoder in the 50 class. Many attempts to reset using CV commands and DCC Magic Wand resets all led to nought until a conversation with Marcus Ammann led to taking the tender body off to find the reed switch (it had moved to under the coal space rather than where it was supposed to be under the water filler) and then do a DC reset. Bingo!! Chip reset to default again.

So, I've been having a bit of fun driving some trains from the bottom deck and up the helix through Thirlmere to Hill Top and beyond but I better stop and continue with the wiring for the bottom deck.

Getting closer!!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Wiring Update

Well it looks like the Russians have taken an interest in the goings on at Picton....the hit counter has gone berserk!!

Anyway, activity continues at a methodical pace with the track laid on the helix and all the top deck wired now for power. All connections have been soldered so its been an effort to get this completed. I have 2 droppers for every section of track as recommended to me by the 3 Amigos, Bob G, Es D and Ian T. There are a lot of droppers to solder to the bus but I don't want to be going back to fix bad power feeds in the future.

About to enter Picton Tunnel

I've also been working on the control panels for Thirlmere and Hill Top. They are made from 3mm MDF using DCC Concepts DPDT switches and LED's along with some push buttons to activate the electro-magnetic uncouplers.

Hill Top and Thirlmere Control Panels

Rear View

Next tasks will be to mount the panels and connect the point motors to the DPDT switches and then run the Control Bus. Then to the bottom deck.

I recently splashed out and bought myself a Eureka Saturated D50.

There's a bit of work to be done to bring it back to 1930's condition such as removing the buffer beam hand rail and step. Aside from the wheel splasher errors, I'm also not happy with the coal load in the tender so that will need to be fixed as well. Apart from that, it's a pretty good model and I'm happy with it and it should look a lot better once it's weathered and has some crew to grace the footplate.

So for now though, it's back to the wiring........................

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Closer Still

We're almost at the finish line with just the track to be laid on the helix now. I had a lot of fun with building the helix as one half was supported on threaded rod from the bench work underneath with the other half suspended from the bench work above on the top deck. This was due to having the storage yard running below the helix.

Eventually, the helix will be under a mountain so none of this will be visible. I still have to even out the grade so that its a consistent rise from the bottom to the top so this will be this week's task along with laying the track. I was a bit short on flex track so I ordered some from Gywdir Valley Models which should arrive during the week ready for laying.

I also finished off the lift out section as well with some modifications to the original back scene. I decided to cut this down to the same size as the front valance as it didn't quite work as originally configured.

I also had to put a slight 'S' in the track so I could maintain the 36" (~900mm) minimum radius curves.

So the plan for this week is to finish off the the helix grade and lay the track followed by installing some LED lights for the lower deck lighting. I'd bought some LED strips previously from eBay and have just ordered some power supplies which I'm hoping will arrive soon.

Then, it's on to the wiring and then......Operation!! If there's not too much trouble shooting that is.


Monday, April 25, 2016

Getting Closer

We're getting closer to the finish now and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel....sorry, I couldn't help that. I've finished most of the track work with just the lift out section and the helix to go before there is a complete, continuous mainline. 

Picton Yard

Down Main with Ash pit

Picton Station dock and Per-way Siding

Loopline Junction

I also still have to the loco depot and turntable for Picton and the turntable roads for the storage yards but they can wait for the time being. I've built the track and ash pits for Picton shed but ran out of nut / bolt / washer castings for the ash pits so I'll be on the phone to Brunel Hobbies tomorrow to order some more. Then I can complete that part of the loco depot roads and following that, the lift out section and the helix.

Then, the wiring will commence. Exciting times indeed!!

Cheers for now.