Sunday, November 10, 2013

Who's a Goose Then?

Um, that'd be me! I was working on the batch of louvre vans during the week and was putting the shade roofs on and marking out where the support brackets go. All was OK for the 3 door wagons but when I got to the 2 door MLV's, something wasn't quite right. I had the GA drawing and somehow the brackets were not lining up where they should be in relation to the louvre panels. Then it hit me. The drawing clearly showed that there were 2 louvre panels between the corner pillar and the door where my MLV had 3. I don't know how I missed this subtle (not) detail but miss it I did. Maybe it was willful blindness with not seeing what I didn't want to see but it now makes the small 2 door MLV's totally wrong. I could live with them (just) being about a foot too short but now that the number of panels is wrong too, I don't know what to do about them. Do I just ignore the obvious mistakes or do I scrap them and be done with them? I can't see any manufacturer bringing out a small MLV any time soon so I may just have to put up with them for the moment. I may paint them up and see how they look in a train. Anyway, I've only got a few things left to do like filling in the gaps in the under frames for the BLV's and adding some small strips of styrene to the lamp brackets which I'll do soon.

3 Door MLV


Standard BLV

King Post BLV

Last and Least, the Small MLV

I got out to the Train cave today and mounted some more point motors so I'll continue with that for the time being so I can get the track down. Hopefully by Christmas!!

Sunday, October 20, 2013


Looks like I've been a bit slack keeping the blog up to date so here's a post to make amends. Not a lot has happened since the last post as I'm struggling to find the time I need to make some serious progress. Sometimes I think I've bitten off more than I can chew as I don't seem to be making much headway. I've also been looking at other modeler's efforts at exhibitions and in magazines and I'm getting tempted to try different prototypes and scales, If I had the time I'd do some S Scale NZR, 7mm NSW Trams, HO Scale SAR, P4 Caledonian, On3 DSP&PRR and some G scale Industrial. Of course, none of this will ever happen but I've been thinking lately that If I'd not started Picton and done something smaller, I'd have a chance to do something else as well. Anyway, no point thinking about the what if because I've started it now and I will just have to get on with it and finish it and then I might get the time to do something else. Oh, and I'd like to do an exhibition layout one day too!

So, I've been progressing with the MLV's and BLV's to a point where the bodies and under frames are almost done for all of them. The only things remaining are to make the shade roofs, attach buffers and fix the handrails and lamp irons. To make the shade roofs, I've got some .010" corrugated iron that I bought at Hobbyco years ago. It came in A4 size sheets and is nice and stiff and holds its shape well and is the best corrugated iron I've seen. I use a wood dowel to roll across the metal and soon it takes on the shape of the roof.

Cantilever BLV

King Post BLV. Still have to fix the under frame in place

Regular BLV. There's 2 of these

3 Door MLV

36ft (almost) MLV. There's 3 of these

I hope to finish these off over the next week or 2 after which I'll be back into the track work. My order of Cobalt point motors has arrived so I can mount these and get the track down and wired up. Elscotto has offered to help me with the wiring so things should move quickly once I get the track down.

I had some holidays recently and rather than go to the coast like we normally do, we decided to go inland around Cowra. For a long time I'd been thinking about Gas lamps for the stations of Thirlmere and Hill Top. As these are set in the late 1910's, gas lights are mandatory. The only thing is I'm not sure what they looked like. Anyway, we happened to go out to the LVR at the old loco depot in Cowra and look what I found.

A Gas Light

I took some detail shots ready for when I have to make some for the stations which hopefully, won't be too far away.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Fathers Day Fun

Well it was Fathers day today and I hope all you Dads had a great day. I woke up this morning and was greeted by my wife and kids with a bunch of presents one of which was......

An Ezi Kits D334!!!!

Oh yeah, how goods that? I'll have to do some mods to it like fitting a Belpair boiler and coal rails to the tender as these were features in the era I model. I can picture the D piloting a saturated P with a string of dogboxes on the hill up to Hill Top. One day!!!

Seeing as it was Fathers Day, I didn't have to cook dinner (I love cooking) which gave me a couple of hours in the Cave after doing some more painting and playing soccer and Frisbee with the kids. I managed to get some work done on 3 BLV's that I'm working on alongside the MLV's and LV's. I'm keeping 2 of the BLV's as Andrew and Ian intended but the third I've decided to model with the earlier king post truss rods. So far so good.

BLV with King Post Truss Rods

And here's the 4 truss rod BLV

Still have to add the truss rods

I also went to the Early Days Convention last week and another excellent day of train nerdiness was had by all. It's not often you get blown away by a modelers efforts but when you see the work of Ross B, who built Central, you know why. Ross gave a talk on how he researched and built Central as well as how he's going with his next project, Newcastle in the 1890's. You have to see this up close to see how beautiful his modeling is and the effort he puts in. And its all in N scale too.
Also of interest to me was Tony P's talk on the history and restoration of the ARHS Canberra's AL Sleeping Car. It will be a beautiful carriage again once it's restored back into AL configuration rather than the DCC version that the ARHS purchased 30 odd years ago.
My only complaint about the Early Days is that its not long enough and you don't get to talk to everyone that you'd like to. It's a small price to pay but I love going every year and wouldn't miss it for anything in the world.

It's the best.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

7 Months But Who's Counting

I don't believe it but its been 7 months since the last post. That's not very good is it but to tell the truth things have been slow and have been creeping along at a snails pace. There's been a few things going on around the house like a major bathroom reconstruction and Granny flat re-roofing that's eaten into my time as well as finances. Also work and ageing relatives also kept me away from the modelling bench but today, I actually made it out to the bench for a few hours. I normally get an hour or so per night in the cave so since the last post, I've finished making all of the upper level track and its ready to install. I've installed 6 out of the 12 required point motors and all 8 of the electro-magnetic uncouplers. I'm going to install the rest of the point motors before laying the track but this will take a while as I need to save up the money. Doing the work on the house has certainly drained the finances!!
Here's one of the points

And there's 11 others

So for the last 2 weeks and today, I've been working on some 36ft MLV's and BLV's and some 18ft LV's. At last years Early Days, Ian D presented his research on the Thow BLV's and this work included GA drawings for the cantilevered underframe version as well as 2 door, 36ft MLV. I'd previously spoken to Andrew from ANDIAN Models about this project and he had some spare BLV van bodies that he was willing to part with. These arrived and with a bit of modification and a scratchbuilt underframe, here they are.

Still a bit to go on the cantilever version

The bogies are not quite right so I'll have to add some detail around the axleboxes and bolster to make them look more like the originals. Here's a 3 door MLV also from the BLV Discussion.

Still a fair way to go on this one

I'd also previously made a couple of 18ft LV's and had 3 more to go which left a whole bunch of 21ft LV sides lying around. These were made from some old Lima HO scale louvre vans that I picked up at various 2nd hand stalls.

These were made based on an article in Australian Journal of Railway Modelling

So what to do with all of the left over sides? We'll turn them into 36ft MLV's, that's what we'll do. And after a bit of cutting and shutting I ended up with some 36ft sides. Well not quite 36ft as the side ended up being about 1ft short. I'll just have to live with it I guess until some manufacturer makes a more accurate one.  I won't hold my breath.

35ft MLV's

Seeing as the Early Days convention is on again next week, I was hoping to take some of these models along but I suspect I won't get them finished in time. Anyway, we'll see what happens.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Still on Track

It's been a while since the last railway related post so it's time to give an update on the track building. I've done all the track and points for the top deck storage yard also known as Mittagong and now I just have to fix it all down. I'm waiting on the delivery of some Kadee under track magnetic uncouplers before I mount the track but in the meantime, here's how it looks

Track is Code 55

Hopefully, the uncouplers will arrive soon but in the meantime, I have to build the 9 points necessary for Thirlmere. I've made a good start on 4 of them, one of which is curved. This is my first attempt at building a curved point so I hope it works.

 Just have to add the sleepers and throw bars

I still have to mount the point motors, wire everything up and build some control panels so I think we're another couple of months off at least before a train runs. It'll be good to finish it though as I'm keen to get back into building some rolling stock. Building track doesn't give me the same buzz as building carriages but it has to be done.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Achtung Shpitfire!!!

And now for something completely different! For a while now, I've been trying to get my son interested in modelling, specifically, modelling Trains. This has been successful to varying degrees but the bug hasn't bitten yet. There's a lot of things that compete for a young boys attention these days, far more than when I was a kid that's for sure. Computer games, TV, sports of all kinds, Lego, reading. you name it, my son gets into it. So when we went on our last holiday, aside form the usual train magazines, I also bought some plane mags  which my son also read. You see, I have a bit of a "thing" for WW2 aircraft as well. Anyway, soon the questions started, "What's the best plane in the World dad", "What's a Mosquito Dad", "How fast did they go" etc, etc. Next thing there was a centre spread from one of the magazines up on his wall. It was of an Avro Anson which has just been recently restored.
Thinking back to my childhood, it was making model planes that really got me into modelling. I was around 10 when I started to make planes and I remember clearly one birthday getting a 1/72 scale Airfix Lancaster. It was nearly the best present I ever received! So I thought, maybe he'd like to make a model aeroplane?

I bought a Revell 1/72 scale Spitfire MkV starter kit that comes with glue, paint and a paint brush and after a couple of weeks and some help from Dad, here's my son's first plane

He's very proud of it

The Spit is in the markings of Pilot Officer Axel Svendsen of 234 Squadron based at Tangmere in 1942. Next we're going to finish off a Monogram 1/48 scale B24D Liberator that I'd started years ago. I was going to do it as "Strawberry Bitch" a B24 from the 512th Bomb Squadron of the 376th Bomb Group. This was one of the Bomb Groups involved in the famous low level raid on the oil refineries of Ploesti in Romania on 8/1/1943. My son doesn't like the name so it's going to be "Moby Dick" a B24 from the 90th Bomb Group, 5th Airforce operating in the South Pacific... and he likes the sharks mouth on the nose. I'll post some pic's of it when we finish it.

On another note, I've finished all the points for the storage yard so if I'm lucky enough to get some time tomorrow, I might be able to get some track down.

So many models, so little time

Monday, January 28, 2013

Tracking Ahead

Since the last post, I've continued to build the track so that now, I've done all the mainline on the top deck between the storage yard and Picton Junction. I haven't actually fixed it down yet but I will once I finish building all of the points. All the track outside of the storage yard is hand laid Code 55 with the track in the storage yard being a combination of Micro Engineering Code 55 Flex Track and Andy Reichert's Proto 87 track and points. Here's how it looks,

Coming up the hill from Picton Junction and looping round to go to Thirlmere

Looking down the the hill from Hill Top to Thirlmere

Points for the storage yard

So slowly but surely the track is getting laid. Now, I've only got 19 points to make and I can start fixing everything down. After that, I'm giving up on the track work for a while as it's starting to get to me again but never the less,  I'm determined to get the top deck track finished once and for all. And the quicker I get it done, the quicker I'll be back building the LFX's and shock horror, making scenery and buildings! Then, there's some loco's to build too.
So many models, so little time.