Sunday, May 30, 2010

Early Days Love In

Yesterday was the 20th Anniversary of the "Modelling the Early Days of the NSWR" Convention and what a great day it was. About 70 people attended, most of whom were familiar faces, and as usual, the subject matter was informative and thought provoking. It's interesting to reflect on the impact this particular forum has had on the hobby. We've seen kits produced by some very talented modellers over the years (thank you Peter F), most of which would never have seen the light of day otherwise. The amount of research that the presenters do and pass on, really makes this a not to be missed event. Even if the period of focus, 1855 - 1930, is not your era, there is much subject matter that transcends the period of discussion.

This year, I was asked to talk about Picton and how I'd come to the decision to model this location. In the back of my mind, I was thinking that nobody would be interested but afterwards a couple of guys, John and Gary, both made mention of what a good choice Picton was. John was one of the presenters and gave a very informative presentation on building Manning Wardell F and H class in 7mm scale. And Gary is a wealth of information and has actual paint samples that he has been analysing from pastoral green, C35's and C36's.

This is why I return year after year!

I also got talking to Ian and Andrew from Coffs Harbour and these boys are serious. Aside from some exquisite etches of a LLW well wagon, they showed me an example of a BLV and a SL heavy load vehicle that had been produced using 3D CAD and resin / thermal printing. I am continually amazed at the innovation in the hobby....and people say it's stagnating? I don't think so. It reminds me of people who say that the music of the '80's was crap. Well, yes the mainstream was, but if you looked deeper, there was there was a subterranean movement that pushed the boundaries and was continually looking for innovation, Sound familiar?

Anyway, Elscotto and I emptied the wallets to procure the goodies on offer. Elscotto spent some bucks on some turn of the century (19th-20th that is) figures....he reckons it was money that should have been spent on other items. I guess Elscotto is not a people person........

I had an 1885 and an 1891 louvre van on pre order that was available for pickup and you don't get this stuff unless you attend the conventions.

I also took some of my models along and James M took some photo's and took down some details of each model, so I'm hoping they might appear in an AMRM some day.

Bob G and Ian D have done so much to progress this niche of the hobby and I'm grateful to them and everyone else who has contributed to the organisation and content of the "Early Days"

 I am a better modeller because of this forum

Sunday, May 16, 2010

D is for Decals

The white printer ribbons arrived so I finished doing the artwork for the decals. This took quite a while longer than I thought as it was difficult to get the relative font sizes correct between the codes and numbers, capacity / tare and the solebar numbers. So after a bit of experimentation, I finally got it right and set about trying to do the printing. Well the memory ain't what it used to be, age and alcohol abuse might be catching me up, so for the life of me I couldn't remember how to print using the white ribbon. I tried everything but nothing seemed right and I didn't want to waste decal sheet and ribbon experimenting. Then, when all else fails RTFM, which doesn't work when you can't find the bloody thing! I searched for hours where it should have been and then of course, I looked where it shouldn't have been and there it was. As it turned out, I was on the right track and if I'd gone one more step, I would of been printing. Still, the manual really helped especially after the first print showed that the white was too opaque and needed a second coat. I tried that and the two print runs didn't register correctly so it came out blurred. The way around it was that the printer driver has an overlay function which basically re-feeds the decal sheet back through the printer for a second ink run. After that, it looked great. So, I now have enough decals for 130 wagons as this was what I could fit on an A4 sheet which isn't too bad. The only thing I couldn't reproduce was the handbrake, on and arrow symbol. I just couldn't get it small enough so I'm leaving it off.
So, aside from the already completed refrigerator cars, I've gloss coated all of the goods wagons and applied the decals on the K's, S's, ICV's, PV, BD and BDS leaving only 39 wagons to go....oh dear. I am never going to build up a stack of semi completed wagons again. Anyway, here's a pic to give you some idea.

The explosive decal came from a commercial source...can't you tell?

So this week, it will be decals, decals, decals.....I'm mad for it!!!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Learn to Love your Louvres

While waiting for the printer ribbons to arrive, I realised there wasn't much happening in the carriage works. Sure, there's about 14 or so 12 wheelers that need buffers, drawgear and bogie detail to be added but I have to buy the wheels and couplings. Then there's the EAM underframes, again waiting for wheels and couplings as well as the Trainorama S's and K's also waiting for new wheels.  And hanging over my head is the order for some LFX's from Mike McCormac so I'm being particularly frugal at the moment as the Capital Review Board won't release any extra funds.
With the that all in mind, I thought I'd start on the wagons for my No179 fruit express. I've got all the bits and pieces on hand including 10 x AR Kit MLV's and 2 Redfern Models MLV's (ex BCV). If you look at photo's of 179 Fruit Express in the '30's, there's a wonderful hotchpotch of bogie louvre vans making up the train including Thow BLV's, and cantilever underframe MLV's as well as the standard MLV's and ex BCV, MLV's. So, there will be some scratchbuilding required to make the louvre vans that aren't available commercially. Anyone got any ideas on how to scratchbuild louvres?
Anyway, I made a start on detailing the underframes of the AR MLV's

All original detail removed and new queen posts and brake cylinder supports added

10 MLV's ready for more detail

 Each queen post has 13 parts so there's a lot of fabrication to happen here which I'm about 2/3rds the way through. Maybe I should have made 1 and made some moulds and learnt how to do casting. I made 1 MLV about 10 years ago and I fabricated the queen posts for it so I'm following the same procedure.

And here it is, warts and all

The Redfern MLV will be a challenge but I think the bones of the model are OK. Well at least that's what I'm telling myself. Mind you the model is advertised as being caveat emptor so I shouldn't be too critical. You be the judge.

This is going to be fun?

Next week, I'll continue with the MLV's and I might even have a shot at some track work. Elscotto also said he will pop around this week to pick up his D's and a brake lever jig I made for him so we can have a night talking about long as he doesn't point out any deficiencies in my handywork ;-)