Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Track is Back!!

First of all, I hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas and the big bloke who dresses in red, brought you lots of railway fun. My Christmas was excellent with lots of family time and birthday celebrations which made it a very hectic period, not to mention the vendor love that got tossed around this year. I've put on a couple of kilos so there maybe a couple of New Years resolutions  waiting in the wings, particularly as I think my liver is about to explode!

Anyway since the last post, I've managed a bit of time in the Train Cave finishing off back drops and bits and pieces. I've also managed to....wait for it....lay some track. I don't believe it myself but I've got back to the point where I got to before I demolished Picton Mk1. I still have to mount the point motors but at least the track is back and I can continue my new found enthusiasm for track laying. Here's how it looks

Hill Top looking towards Sydney

Sydney end Point work

Albury End Point work

I also managed to start on the storage yards that lead from Hill Top by starting on the cork underlay and building the points by soldering all of the point frogs. I'm going to keep going with the track laying for as long as I can tolerate it. Who knows how far I'll get.

Here's the storage yard. I may even Scenic this part as well one day

So that's it for 2012 as another year bites the dust. Its been fun and at times, hard work as I've tried to juggle Family Life, the needs of the Salt Mine and looking after ageing relatives. But, as my lovely wife said to me yesterday as we celebrated her Mother's 80th Birthday with a big bash at our place with all the family, you only have one family and in the end, they are the ones who are going to be there for you. So love and cherish them.

All the best everyone, hope you have a wonderful and prosperous New Year.

Sunday, December 2, 2012


I haven't done anything on the LFX's as I've been working mainly on the layout. I started about 3 weeks ago intending to work a week at a time between the LFX's and the layout but I got all excited and kept going on the layout instead. I also did some repairs to the track work that I'd damaged when I pulled apart Picton Mk1 so it'll be ready to install in the next couple of weeks. So far I've nearly finished all of the back scenes with just a little bit of filling to go. I've under coated most of it and here's how it looks

iPhone Magic

I also fixed up some valances that looked like a drunk had cut them so now they're actually straight. I'm going to keep going on the layout while I've got the bug as I'm making some good progress. I'm also getting annoyed by people asking when I'm I' actually going to run some trains. I'll get there, I tells ya, I'll get there!!


Sunday, November 11, 2012

LFX Progress

Since last week, I didn't get as much done on the doggies as I would have liked mainly due to some action at the salt mine which prevented me from venturing out to the train cave. But I did manage to get to the point in the build process where I start on the bogies for the elliptical roof LFX and nearly to that point for a Mansard roof car. I also have cleaned up and drilled all the commode handle holes and the door handle holes for a third.
So it's been a painless build so far. All things fit and match where they're supposed to except the ends which needed a small amount of filing to make them butt against the roof line correctly. This is also suggested in the instructions as being possibly necessary. One thing I've learnt with these kits is to be more patient and use a lighter touch than usual. This can't be a bad thing for a modeller to learn and will help me with all the other kits I have filling my cupboards. 
The footsteps on the ends of the cars look fantastic with half etch detail of the bracket on the underside so, if you happen to have a derailment, you'll see them when the car is on it side! The point is though, you know the detail is there! Love it. The light switch handle on the other end is especially fine and takes some careful filing with the aid of a jig that's provided with the kit. This allows you to get the piece finished correctly without bending it. It's a half etch that needs to be folded over and soldered and it looks impressive once cleaned up. I'm also impressed with the interior detail which went together easily and helps makes sure the car is square and true. There is no warping or bending in any of the urethane parts so you end up with a completely straight car, so unlike many urethane kits I've built before. It's not hard to remedy a warped side but it's annoying. So here's a piccy of the current progress

Doggy 1 and Doggy 2

So this week the doggies will go into the kennel while I do some bench work and track work. The plan is to do 1 week on each project that way I don't get bored with either of them.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

2 Posts in One Night

Yes, loyal punters, there's 2 posts for the price of one tonight! I know I said I'd get back to the bench work but that will be during the week. I was fortunate enough to get some time in the train cave today and old habits being hard to break, I decided to start on some of my Mike McCormac Models, LFX's. I've been dying to get started and I thought now is as good a time as any so today I managed to put most of the car body together of one together. And here it is

The roof is still loose

It took me roughly 3 hours to get to this point and this is because there's no need to make things fit. Everything matches perfectly with the only requirements being to remove the gloss to the castings so the glue adheres and remove the moulding cusps. Nothing really.

Now I've been making kits for a long time, I remember trying to put together a Freidmont BS and I think I've got a LLV and K wagon lurking somewhere and when you compare these with Mike's Models, you can see how far the kit manufacturer has come. I don't want to get into a debate about kits versus RTR, but I just don't see how a RTR model will have the level of fidelity and detail that one of Mike's models has. These are truly beautifully designed and made models and if you follow the instructions accordingly, you will have an outstanding, museum quality model for your layout. I love detail on kits and where it's lacking, I put it in. My belief is if you can see it, then it should be modelled. All of my models have some extra detail but I'm afraid that won't be necessary with the LFX's. It's all there.....nothing to add.

Anyway, I'll be building a batch of 3 so it may be sometime before I finish especially as I'll be doing some bench work as well...but there is the holidays coming up

17 Years but Who's Counting

I was trying to work out how long ago I started putting the NIB set together and I added it up and I reckon it was about 17 years ago. Not a bad gestation period hey? Since I started to put them together they've had the under floor detail built twice, painted an awful strawberry red and cream then stripped and had the bogies rebuilt to take 23.8mm axles. Oh, and removed the cast on diaphragms and replaced them with working ones so I could have the diaphragms touching but still go round corners. Anyway, they're finished now except for attaching the roofs on the HFN's. I'm toying with idea of putting LED marker lights in but we'll wait and see. To be honest, I'm sick of the sight of them as it took me over 2 weeks to attach all the windows....just about every one had to have some filing done to make them fit properly, very poorly designed in my opinion. Here's how they turned out

HFN 2198

End detail showing Diaphragm



I also managed to finish off all the other carriages I'd been working on. It's a good feeling to finish off these models that I've had in storage. There's still a bunch to go but not for now. Here's how they turned out.





KB 1105


So, that's it for now. I think it's time to release the Navvies again. I saw the wonderful work Linton was doing with his bench work so he's inspired me to start again and get the bench work finished for my Picton and lay some track. It's about time I get something running but I can't help myself from build rolling stock so I'll split my time between bench work and the carriage works.

That's the plan anyway and we all know how plans end up.......

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Bring On the Republic

Well, they should have....80 years ago or so. Then I wouldn't have had to worry about the Royal Cypher on the side of my BKD prison Van!! This was a right royal pain in the @#$%. And while we're at it, why couldn't King George V make it to the end of the 1930's instead of dropping off this mortal coil in 1936? What this meant was I had to make a choice between King George V or VI so I could choose which cypher to use as the BKD prison vans had the reigning Monarch's cypher on their sides. I chose KGV as he gave me the greatest time frame as he reigned from 1910 - 1936 which also fitted in with my Loopline time frame of 1919, just before it was bypassed.

Just before we talk more on the cypher, I finally worked out the problems with the decals out as the yellow was coming out almost transparent. What I did was print of the yellow as white first and then follow up with the yellow which solved the problem.

Anyway, back to the cypher, I trawled the net looking for something suitable but couldn't find much at all except for lots of photos of post boxes, First World War Medals and postage stamps. Eventually I found a graphic but it wasn't that sharp and when I printed it with white first, the whole graphic printed out as a white box which of course was totally useless. More trawling of the net until I found another, much sharper graphic. This time while sharpening the graphic and replacing the black with yellow under high magnification, I noticed that there was a very light grey pixilation across the whole graphic. Could this be what was causing the printer to print solid white? I removed that, printed the cypher on white, then yellow and bingo, it worked! The only thing is I don't know if it is the same cypher that was painted on BKD's in the '30's as I've never seen a photo of one from that time period. Oh well, I reckon no one else has either so who's going to argue? Here's how it looks

On her Majesty's Service

Also decaled the GT, BKG's and KKG as well as the KB

Just some weathering to go

I also managed to do some more work on the NIB set with some touching up of the paint as well as building the working diaphragms and making the footsteps for the ends of the HFN's. Next will be add the diaphragms and deacalling the NIB set fallowed by weathering for all the carriages. But this won't be for another couple of weeks as this week at the salt mine isn't looking good and then the following week, I'll be on holidays with the family up in sunny Cairns.

Cheers until then 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Hurley Burley Time to Go Early

Early Days Convention that is. Went to the Early Days convention yesterday and had an excellent time as per usual. However, I'm getting sick and tired of going along and learning new information that requires me to go back and redo some of my models!!! Gary S gave a great talk on the research he's done on the paint schemes of the Engines and Carriages of the NSWR from 1855 - 1955. There's going to be debate for years I think about some of the conclusions that Garry put forward. Green Second Class cars! Venetian Red instead of Purple Brown! Black lining with yellow borders! Garry had, with the help of the RTM, obtained paint chips from the 8 wheel radial car and the locomotive instruction car FZ909 so he's got the paint to prove it. Also, Ian D gave another of his excellent talks this time on the BLV louvre vans. And here I learnt where the 3 door MLV with cantilever under frame came from. I can see one of my ANDIAN models BLV's getting a taste of the razor saw soon to make one of these cars.
All the usual suspects were there again and it was good to catch up with them. There never seems to be enough time to talk to everyone....I reckon you could turn it into a 2 day event without much trouble. Fellow Pictonian Linton was there for the first time so it was good to catch up with him. Some great models were displayed as well and not a infernal combustion engine in sight. Managed to pick up some goodies including an etch for an R class frame (18class for the Post 1924'ers). Both Elscotto and I picked up an EZI kits A class each as well.
I also managed to nearly finish my EHO's with only the glazing to go so I took them along anyway plus a bunch of goods wagons.

EHO 669

EHO 1833

This week I'm going to have a crack at the decals again and finish off the other vehicles and then it's time to start on a LFX. The EHO's are lonely.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Success and Failure

Let's talk about the failure bit first shall we? I'd sorted out the artwork for the passenger car decals and printed them off and all came out well. Or so I thought. Went to decal one of cars and the yellow was almost transparent so was unusable. I tried printing it again but this time running them through a number of times to try and get the yellow more opaque. Again, no joy so I'm going to have to come up with Plan B. I'm going to try printing them using a colour laser printer and then spraying a coat of acrylic clear coat over the decals. If this doesn't work then I might get in contact with Steam and Things as they have a bespoke decal service and see what they can do. All of this was a bit annoying as I wanted to take some of my passenger cars to the Early Days convention next Saturday.

Enter Mike McCormac. We'd been talking about the buffers I'd used on his EHO's so I sent him over a few of the 4mm, 13" buffer heads that I had for him to have a look at. And in exchange, he sent me some decals that he'd made up for the EHO's as well as some cast screw couplers (beautiful work too). Alrighty!!! Back in business. So now, it was time to bite the bullet and get stuck into the lining. Many years ago, I purchased some Exactoscale BR Straw lining ink for use in a Rotring Lining pen. Unfortunately, the inks are no longer available but luckily, I bought 2 bottles at the time so I should have enough to last me for my needs. There's a lesson here too, don't put off that purchase of the stuff you really need as it will probably disappear before you get around to buying it. Now for the success part. I got stuck into the lining on the EHO's and the N cars and it came out pretty good, at least I think so....others may disagree. The lining, if anything, is a bit pale but I'm hoping the a touch of weathering will dull it down a bit. Here's how they turned out

 Nice Decals Mike!!

The lining looks quite pale in the photo's but isn't so bad in real life

Here they are together

And here's the FN

So, I'll finish the EHO's this week with a bit of weathering and then off to the Early Days Convention next Saturday.
I think the next project will be making some LFX's to keep the EHO's company. Now that I've got the lining sorted, I think this will be the thing to do.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

More Paint it Black

I was going to print some decals today and do a spot of decalling but I discovered that all the artwork I'd done was in landscape and of course, the ALPS printer only prints in portrait. I tells ya, I'm getting good at this artwork business with all the practice I'm getting! Anyway, what to do with a few hours to myself? I've been getting a fair bit done in the paint department so back to the booth I went. I finished off the KB, EHO, and GT and then painted the under frames of the NIB set, check it out.







Still a bit to go on the N cars but they're gradually coming together. I'm going to try and get the decals done on a few of the carriages as I'm hoping to take some carriages and wagons along to the Modelling the Early Days of the NSWR so I better get my act together. Only 2 more weeks to go until the convention and uber train nerdiness....can't wait.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Paint it Black

After painting the town red a few posts back, I decided it was time to paint it black. Grimy black that is. First cab off the rank was the Second Class Redfern car that I'd recently put together. First, was a coat of Purple Brown followed by the black for the under frame and roof. Here's how it turned out

Isn't Purple Brown is a lovely colour?

Next was a wooden under framed BKG

Tuscan Red isn't too bad either

Then a steel under framed BKG

No Electric Lights for this baby

Followed by a KKG

All the horsies are AR Kits modified as necesary

Then a loaf of bread EHO

I have a flat roofed EHO also from Mike McCormac models that's in the paint shop at the moment

And then a BKD

All carriages have sprung buffers and screw couplers

Still to go are a KB, GT and EHO that I mentioned before plus a few touch ups for the cars above. I'll start on the decal artwork again this week as I think I've cracked the problems I was having before with the colour registration moving all over the place so I hope to have them lettered soon. If anyone has any idea how the Second Class Redfern was lettered for the First World War period, I'd love to know. All the photo's I have showing the lettering date from the late 1890's and shows a simple car number only.
Then there is the lining for the EHO's.....shudder.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Happy Birthday 4 Aces

Happy Birthday O 1111, who turns 100 years old tomorrow! Went down to the Tram Museum at Loftus late in the afternoon today with the kids and had some rides on SPER's classic Edwardian trams from the long lost Sydney Tramways. You may have guessed that I have a soft spot for the Trams of Sydney especially the iconic toast racks. I just can't imagine Sydney with 100's of these beautiful trams whisking their commuters off to work in the morning peak. I get to put up with Tangaras and air-conditioned CDC Bus diesel contraptions which is about as appealing as gouging out your eyes with a rusty spoon. But today, I got to feel what it was like to travel in style on a Sydney toast rack. Out and about were O 1111, O 805, N 728 and some other classics, C 29, C 290 and F 393. J 675 was on standby and 42s was lurking near Railway Square as well. C 29 had some trouble late in the day and was failed when it dropped its lifeguard but otherwise all was good. Said hello to David C and Mark N and learnt a few things about what's going on. Unfortunately, Elscotto couldn't make it as his XL Falcon's gearbox gave up the ghost. Anyway, it seems that OP 1089 is making lots of progress and looks set for a re-entry into service next year and P 1729 is having lots of attention as well. Good to see that P 1501, which was recovered from the Tam-O-Tel in Lightning Ridge and is in Bendigo, will continue to be restored. All we need now is the coupled E's to get the love and we could all be toasted to our hearts content.

I took some pic's of course.....check them out

I do wish Gladys Berijiklian, who was there earlier in the day, sees the value of what SPER does and helps out with some financial assistance but most importantly, sees the value of Light Rail trams in the modern world and gets the trams back running where they used to be. I hope it happens in my lifetime.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Another One for the Paint Shop

I've finally finished the Redfern FN car and I can safely say that I've got the soldering bug out of my system! While I certainly enjoyed putting the kit together over the last month or so, I think the next one will go together a lot quicker now that I've worked out all the shortcomings in the instructions. The hardest part of the kit was the bogies as they are near scale in width which made it difficult to get the wheels to not rub parts of the side frames and short out the layout. Having said that they do look good once assembled. I added some extra detail to the car including brake cylinder and associated rodding, brake detail on the bogies and inlet pipes for the gas cylinder. The other thing I did was replace all of the supplied  supports for the double roof with ones I bent up from some flat bar as the originals were way too thick. All I have left to do is add lamp irons and brake hoses and it will be into the bath for a good scrub and then off to the paint shop.

Here's how it looks,

I'll add the buffers after painting

All in all, I'm pretty happy with it. It's the most complex etched kit I've done so with this behind me, I'm more confident in tackling the LCB Ashbury car I bought a while back....just not now.

There's a package wending it's way from the US so it might be time to unleash the navvies again.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Long Weekends are the Best

Don't you just love long weekends? Especially when there's a Model Railway Exhibition and it rains! Thornleigh was a much better exhibition this year than last year with good quality layouts like Bullenbung Creek, Boorowa and Arakoola to name a few. The other thing I liked about the show was there was plenty of room to move around which was excellent and gave you the opportunity to stop and talk without creating a traffic jam. My son enjoyed the show as well especially the Scenery Clinic and he walked away very pleased with himself. As it was my birthday, I had some cashola to spend on some goodies, like Andian Models BLV's....yummy. Had a chat to Ian and a peek at the upcoming compensators and rodding chair etches which will be superb. Can't wait! It was also interesting when chatting to people how often the topic of kits vs RTR came up. You can probably tell which side of the fence I sit on but it's heartening to see that the kit market isn't dead and is actually getting better I think.
So the plan for this weekend was to finish some painting which had to be postponed due to the rain. Instead, I started off a new kit from the pile in the drawer waiting to be built. Yes I know I was going to start on one of Mike McCormac's superb Doggies but I had an uncontrollable urge to solder. Lots. I haven't made an etched brass kit since I can't remember but it would have been one of the Craftsman models steel S trucks. Anyway, I decided to start on a Pioneer Models Second Class Redfern car. And here is how far I've gone.

1 x FN Redfern Car

This will keep me occupied for a while and I still have the painting to do as well

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Done and Dusted

The MLV's are all done now, all 10 of them. Thankfully, my old faithful Badger got the job done and the Paasche will now be consigned to the "Do not Open" drawer. So, after some washes of rust and thin sprays of dirt and soot, this is how they turned out.


MLV's 6705, 23260 and 260

The Lot

I'm pretty happy with the way they turned out so I'll take the tape of the wheels during the week and then start on the next project. I think I'll finish off the passenger cars I painted and do a bit of track laying as well even though Craig suggested getting started on the LFX. That will definitely be next after the passenger cars as I feel the need for a challenge and Mike's wonderful kit will certainly give me that. Besides, I can practice my lining skills on the BKD, EHO's etc. One thing I'm not clear on was whether the BKD was lined at all so I'm going to make an assumption that they were lined similar to a brake van....unless someone tells me otherwise.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Getting Closer

The new spray booth has worked out well with the 10 MLV's getting a coat of etch grey and then top coats of Floquil Grimy Black. And no dust problems either. The booth made a big difference in keeping the fumes down in the train cave so it's been a success I would say. I tried to use the Paasche airbrush again and it failed entirely this time, no paint flow at all so I used the Badger single action and it worked fine first time. I think it might be time to ditch the Paasche and look at something else as it just doesn't seem to want to work.

So here's the louvre vans as they look today.

Before the decals

After the decals

This week I'll finish them off with some weathering and then it'll be on to the next project. I probably should finish off the N cars, horse boxes, GT, EHO's and BKD that I started painting a while back which will mean getting the decals printed for them and working out how to do the lining.

Then again, I might do something else, maybe lay some track for a change. We'll see what turns out.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Off to the Paintshop

The MLV's are done now so they'll be off to the painters over the next week or so to get a coat of gunmetal grey and muck. I'm reasonably happy with them except for the wagon code panel on the side. For the '30's, it should be on the louvres closest to the corner pillar but unfortunately, it's too difficult to remedy so I'll just have to live with it.

One of the MLV's

Here's all 11 of them

I've been contemplating how to scratch build the earlier 28 ton cantilever framed MLV's but haven't come up with a solution yet to replicate the louvres. I've got some spare LV van sides left over from converting some Lima vans to the short LV's so I might get some plans soon and see if I can use them instead. If that fails, then it's scratch build for sure. If anyone has some ideas or techniques, I'm all ears as I've been looking around for methods but nothing has turned up. Also, there's the Andian Models BLV coming plus I've got a couple of the Redfern Models BCV's.....shudder. I love what James McInerney did with his, turning a sows ear into a silk purse as he describes it, but the louvre panels are wrong for my era so it may be better to scratch build some of these as well.

Since building the layout, I had to get rid of the cardboard spray booth as it wouldn't fit under the bench work. So I splashed out on a proper spray booth from Runway 13 that vents outside the train cave.

I reckon it might get a work out soon.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

More on the MLV's

Still working on the MLV's with some progress being made during the week. I've added the air tanks to all of them and have started fabricating the truss rods with 2 wagons completed so far. Here's how they look

It's slow progress that's for sure but worth it in the end I think. Well that's what I keep telling myself as each post for the truss rods, has 3 parts which equals 240 pieces for all 10 wagons. Also, I See that Andian models will have the BLV's ready for the Epping exhibition so it looks like I'll have to make tracks to Epping this year. Just in time for my birthday as well!
I also managed to add some fascia to the layout as well as plug some of the holes in the back drops and build some shelves....not very interesting but necessary all the same.
More work to do this week on the MLV's and we have a long weekend next weekend so who knows how much will get done.
Hopefully, lots!