Sunday, March 28, 2010

Masking Tape Damned!!!

It's been a productive week in the spray booth with lots a paint flowing, mostly on the models. I've painted about 20 or so wagons in NSWGR Gunmetal Grey which I'm quite happy with and another 20 or so waiting their turn. So then it will be decal time. From what I've seen there seems to be 2 types of font used for goods wagon codes and numbers in the '30's, one a standard Arial looking font and the other a stenciled version. I'll have to consult with the Learned Ones at the "Early Days" convention in May as to what this means and what the balance would be in terms of how many wagons were lettered in each type of font.
Anyway, this is not the point of the post.
Here I am, painting the refrigerator cars as mentioned in a previous post, and all is going swimmingly. Fairly quickly, 8 cars are in startling gloss white with masking tape being applied to a BRC, 2x MRC's and 2 x SRC's. I used up some old tape I had on the SRC's and MRC's and then some new tape on the BRC.
Then I left them for a couple of days and came back and sprayed some Floquil Grimy Black over the roofs and under frames. It was hot those days so temperatures at Picton would have been not particularly pleasant.
Then I took the masking tape off..........
The BRC was fine but on the others, half the gum from the masking tape stayed on the wagons. Expletive, Expletive, Expletive!!!
I managed to get it off with some Meths but not without ruining the white paint and also damaging a fair amount of detail on one of the MRC's. So back to the workshop for repairs on the MRC and back to paint shop for the others.
I fixed the MRC during the week and painted them all today so I'm back where I started from. I should be applying decals this week and doing some weathering with some photo's to follow.
The lesson here is don't use old masking tape if you want to avoid anger management classes.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Mr Postman, is there a Package for Me?

A while back I decided that at least for the loopline, I would hand lay all of the track with stained wooden sleepers and Code 55 track as NSWGR  track in the 19th Century did not have track plates but had 4 spikes per sleeper / rail. It was not until the early 20th Century that track plates were decided as being necessary. So to represent dog spiked track with no plates, I would have to hand lay the track.
Anyway, I bit the bullet and placed an order for some track bits and pieces from Andy Reicherts Proto:87 store in the US. Have a look at I can't recommend this site enough. Although, as the url suggests, Andy's main interest is Proto:87, there's plenty of goodies here for the finescale modeller as well. He has 3 types of points available with varying levels of detail. I ended up getting some base level #6 points (10USD ea) for points not in view, a bunch of Superfine #6 points with additional detail, 1yd length Code 55 rail, track joiners, spikes and fishplates. Elscotto opened up the wallet and purchased some "Easy Street" grooved rail and points for his "Elizabeth St" module. So 2 weeks after we ordered, a package arrives at Picton and all I can say is WOW.
Andy even threw in some extra detail packs at no extra cost. If I get this right it should look superb.
I also placed an order with Steve Hatch at Railway Engineering for some finescale track roller gauges. See
Unfortunately, the order has been lost somewhere between the US and Picton. Steve has been great and has dispatched a replacement order so hopefully, the gauges should arrive soon and the per-way gang can start wielding the picks.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Bunnings Makes a Fortune

Yes, they do, and it's mainly because of me, what with buying tools and materials for the layout. Anyway, there's been some progress this week with half of the top deck being built and mounted on the walls. I've also moved my work bench and rolling stock storage into the garage and have set up a rudimentary spray booth so nothing else gets painted as well.
So the plan at the moment is to have the mainline and Picton Station and yard environs on the bottom deck with the top deck being the Loopline with Thirlmere and Hill Top as the stations. I'm also going going to mix some eras as well with the Loopline being set prior to the deviation and duplication in 1919 and the bottom deck, as I've said before, in the 1930's. Both Elscotto and I have a number of carriages and locomotives from the 19th Century that will need something like the Loopline for them to run in an appropriate environment. I'm also using some modeller's licence in that the infrastructure for the loopline, as being used as the mainline in the 19th Century, won't be too much different from that used in the early 20th Century as a branch line. This will allow me to run CPH's and 13's in my "Modern" time frame as well as running A's, B's and D's in the "Early Days" No doubt, there will be some wayward J's and O's struggling up the 1 in 30's as well.

Here's some photo's of the progress so far.

The ply and track is just for effect

The "Spray Booth"

The work bench and storage cabinet

This is where Thirlmere will be

Aside from the baseboard progress, I've been painting a batch of refrigerator wagons including 2 x SRC, 2 x MRC, 2 x BRC, a Howlin and a Tiffany, Summer and Winter Car.
This week, I intend to finish the painting of the refrigerator cars and maybe I'll be able to start on the rest of the wagons.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Let's Get to Work

The Hired Help arrived on Valentine's Day, 2009 to begin work on converting the garage. Luckily for me, Valentine's Day doesn't get recognised in Picton so work could begin without ramifications.
First thing to do was to nail up some gardener's chicken wire so insulation batts could be installed. It's one very hot garage in the summer so any relief from the baking heat will be needed to stop me and the models from melting. I don't enjoy summer at all. It doesn't like me and I don't like it, so maybe  down the track, I'll have to install some air conditioning. We'll see.

Let the scratching begin

Get down, Funkster

Elscotto's practical knowledge soon got things underway and we had most of the chicken wire up over a couple of weekends. The challenge for us was finding time in our busy schedules to do work so consequently what I thought would take a couple of weekends ended up taking about 3 months!!! We had to extend the rafters downwards to give clearance for the fluorescent light pots I had bought as well as provide something for the new ceiling to be attached to.

Batts in and additional rafters installed

We decided to get a real electrician in to cable up the power and lights

Next, came the hard bit of putting up the ceiling and installing the cornices. The ceilings took a couple of days and again, what I thought would take a month or so ended up taking about 4 months. I am not, nor ever will be, a ceiling installer. The amount of rework I did as I kept stuffing things up was amazing.
Anyway, bit by bit, I managed to get the cornices done and all the filling at least presentable to a point where I could paint the ceiling and get the lights installed. Soon after, the walls and main support beams were attacked next by filling holes and removing nails etc, followed by a coat of azure blue paint. Elscotto helped again with fixing up the dodgy window and putting some eves up at the back to keep the grape vine from invading the trainroom. Next to last task was filling and painting the floor so that the final result looked like this:

Dodgy window fixed

You could eat your dinner off that

There are 12 double fluoro lights installed. Turns night into day!

The window you can see in the last photo above was totally rotten so it came out and was replaced by a new Aluminium window. Locks have been installed and now the garage is complete and ready for the Per-Way gang to start.
It's only taken a year but it's been well worth it as I can now start on the fun bits and get trains rolling into Picton.
And as I said before, it's been with Elscotto's help, advice and encourgemant that has got me off my lily white behind to get things done.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

A Blank Canvass

Up till now, I've been a solitary modeller, mainly because I've had other priorities like family and playing in bands so contact with other like minded individuals was limited. I work in telecommunications, which is a den of geekdom, so although there's generally not many peoplle involved in the hobby, there is at least an appreciation and an understanding of the complexity....especially when you start talking abut DCC!
So anyway, for a number of years, I've been attending the "Modelling the Early Days of the NSWGR" Convention, again keeping a low profile. And all the while I'm thinking about how to convert the garage into Picton's home and guessing about how I would accomplish it.
Many people have talked about the value of joining a club...I can add that attending conventions like the "Early Days" is also the best thing you can do as well. You get to talk to like minded people, exchange ideas and make friends as well.
I got talking a couple of years ago to Elscotto who has since helped me immeasurably with converting the garage to the trainroom. Aside from practical help, he's got me off my backside and actually doing things which is the biggest help anyone can give.
Anyway this is what we started with.

Bare ceiling, no insulation

That window was completely rotten and has to be replaced

More Ceiling

Looking at the doors

Very dodgy window installation. Yes, that's Fibro holding it in.

And no eves so the grape vine can also make its way inside.

 This was how it looked in February, 2009 before we started. It has taken nearly a year to finish it off and start building the baseboards.

What's In the Workshop

As I said, up until we moved, all my modelling has been building wagons and carriages and it's only now that I've actually been able to even start painting them. I've got about 70 wagons and carriages now in undercoat ready to be painted. All my stock is superdetailed with brake rigging and hand rails with the goods wagons using Kadee's and the passenger stock having sprung buffers and screw couplings. I mostly modify kits to build up my stock and have recently bought a bunch of Trainorama Steel S trucks and K trucks which will all have to be upgraded. Anything else that isn't available, I scratchbuild.
I decided to use screw couplings on the carriages as I didn't intend to be shunting them and they would look so much better with buffers touching and no Kadee trip pins hanging around. Years ago, Stephen Johnson used to have kits for screw couplers which I bought a number of....and now I wish I'd bought abot 40 as I've run out. So if anyone out there knows a source for 3.5mm screw couplers let me know please otherwise I'll have to use 4mm couplings
Here's a few photo's of my kitbuilt and scratchbuilt rolling stock. I might have to invest in a better camera lense if I'm going to take closer photo's.

An Ian Lindsay D Truck with An Old Buggers D that I'm doing for Elscotto

Scratch built BEY

Kitbashed Trainorama (I think) MRC

Old Buggers BKD

Scratch built SF

Scratch built Square Cornered Steel S

Heavily Modified Camco GSV's into SV and OSV

And lastly, modified Silvermaz K and scratch built WT's

Hopefully, I'll be getting out the spraygun in the next week or so and  get some colour onto the wagons.

It Starts From Here

I've been modelling trains for most of my life and it's always been my aim to have a layout that I felt represented somewhere in the real world. I've spent the past 20 odd years living in inner city Sydney which is not exactly conducive to having space set aside for building a layout so those years were spent researching and honing my modelling skills. Which mostly meant building something, thinking it was good and then seeing a model in AMRM or MRJ and then rebuilding it.....oh well. My friend Elscotto says I should keep some models to show how I've progressed. I think he's right to a point but some models shouldn't see the light of day let alone be run in a train. Anyway, there will be a couple left to show where it all started from.

So, 3 years ago my wife and I decided we had to move from Newtown to the suburbs as we wanted our 2 kids to have a back yard to play in. The added bonus here was that the train room was one of the prerequisites for the new home. So we bought a house in sunny Earlwood, still close to all the shops and eateries we love but importantly it had a 2 car garage that is to become the home for Picton.

Why Picton?

I've always loved the Main South and I originally wanted to model Cootamundra as it was the junction for the Tumut / Batlow Branch which I had travelled on a couple of tours in 1970's as a teenager. And it has the mainline with thundering 36'ers and 57's as well as 12's, 19's and 30T's shuffling up the branch. But to do it justice would require much more space than I had so back to the drawing board. So where else? It had to be on the Main South and it had to have a branch connection and preferably with an engine shed. Junee, forget it. Harden...maybe but again would require too much space. I contemplated Galong but it didn't have enough complexity. Goulburn was in the same boat as Junee which then left Picton. Picton had it all, mainline, branchline and engine shed plus the added attraction of Stonequarry viaduct. So Picton it is and set in the 1930's.

Why the 1930's?

To me it was the goldon age of the NSWGR but still with hints of an older era. There were specially painted named trains, pastoral green passenger engines, 57's starting to run from Enfield, tapered boilered standard goods and a plethora of beautifully lined, tuscan and russet carriages. Heaven! And the multitudes of classes of goods wagons and brake vans, a large proportion of which would disappear in the post war modernisation programmes. And the last of the J's, D's and L's were still earning their keep but unfortunatley not on the main south or its branches.

That's why it's the 1930's for me.