Sunday, May 21, 2017

OMG!  I Need a Rest After a Great Convention Weekend

This weekend has been a really long one.  It started on Thursday at sparrows, when Dave and PK rocked up and we headed off down towards Murwillumbah, Lismore and then over to Old Casino and finally Casino.  We had some walk arounds at each location and took plenty of photos.  From there we headed over to Tenterfield before dropping down to Glen Innes and then catching up with Rohan Fergusson.  We had a view of his layout due to be displayed at Epping in a few weeks.  Guys this is amazing.  I do remember it in its previous guise back from 2005 at Brisbane and I even found a photo from then.  From there we scootered down the New England and ended up at Tamworth for the night.

Next morning we hit the road and were bombarded by trains at Werris Creek and lots of places between there and Muswellbrook.  Again lots more at Muswellbrook and then we headed down to Sydney and our motel at Sutherland.  Then the troops started to arrive.  Geoff and Dazza, Sailor Darryl, then John, and then the Toowoomba boys - Smithy, Bazza and Doug.  Apparently the first carton did not last long.  We had a great dinner at a Sutherland Hotel and then I went back to the motel to try and get my internet connection working, but it did not and I then ran into Stephen as he was walking past my unit.  The others came back a while later and some more drinks were consumed.

The reason for the trip was Saturday.  We rocked up to the Loftus TAFE and caught up with all our interstate mates.  Of course this was for the Modelling the Railways of NSW Convention No. 34.  I attended 5 sessions, purchased a few items (Shhhh!  They really were cheap).  It was a really great day.  Apparently I’m doing a presentation next year.  I enjoyed cathing up with many of my Interstate friends.  On closing the convention for the day, we headed back to the motel where we joined forces the for 1 hr trip across Sydney to Marcus’s place.  Hospitality was in spades!  Marcus cooked 12 of us Spaghetti.  We then had desert.  Then the piece de resistance, the descending into the garage and the official viewing of the Main North.  Absolutely Brilliant in an understatement!  I think everyone got to run at least something.  We had a great time, with many other like minded model railway guys.  Did I mention Marcus also putting on supper.  We finally got home at 1:00am and then finally to bed.

On Sunday morning, we bid farewell to Dazza and Geoff and hit the road and had coffee just down the road, before heading back across town to James’ Lambing Flat layout.  Again a few did a bit of a run.  We dropped off Darryl who headed back to Nowra, and we then headed to East Maitland to watch some trains.  We again were not disappointed.  We then let John go his own way, while we headed up the coast towards, Taree.  We had a look over the station, before we ran into Matt from Matt’s Ballast and had a bit of a talk and tour of the Taree Clubrooms.  Then we headed north to Port Macquarie, were we are tonight.  We just had fantastic grub at the an Irish joint.

So when I get home, I will post hundreds of photos over the next week or two from this vast road trip.

We have been having a ball.  What a great group of guys.  Thanks to PK and Dave for a great time so far.  We hope to get to Grafton for a look tomorrow before getting home in the arvo.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

A Quiet Week Before the Storm

Following last weekend’s model railway exhibition, this week was rather quiet in terms of model railway activity.  The week started with a visit was model railway Royalty on Monday night.  I think James enjoyed the visit to the Shed and it was very nice to have him in attendance.  On Tuesday night we did venture to Shelton’s for our fortnightly’s get together.  Well we should have known.  The layout is never the same on any two consecutive visits.  We were not disappointed as Shelton, has changed the layout again.  He has simplified his layout and it is just as good as his previous version, but it just takes less time to do a circuit.  There are some very nice features of this version, including long sweeping curves.  This one has basically removed the previous hairpin curve that existed.  So some very good positives.  We also expect a few tweaks following suggestions from the Tuesday Night crew.

Yesterday, my son’s soccer game was on at 12:30pm, while the Club meeting is on at 1;00pm.  Luckily they were on in the same vicinity.  I finally made it to the Club to have some lunch with junior Pele in tow at about 1:50pm.  The aim was to catch up with PK and Dave to discuss the trip down and back from Sydney.  PK was there, but no Dave.  PK was telling us about his new baby - A 3D printer.  Anyway we had a good chat with those still at the Clubrooms and ended up being the last to leave.

Today was our Club’s Buy and Sell event, and numbers were down slightly in both sellers and buyers.  Maybe it was because it was Mother’s Day.  Note to organisers – don’t do it next year.  For the last 20 or so years, this event has been on the third Sunday in May.  Next year it will go back to the third Sunday as the May show is on the second weekend in May.  I did not sell much at all.  Possibly due to the lack of NSW buyers who were looking after their wives on their special day.

I did purchase some more water tanks of various sizes.  So they will get a paint job in a few weeks time and get placed around the layout.

This Thursday morning PK and Dave will come to my place and we will begin our photo-a-thon on our trip to next weekend’s Modelling the Railways on NSW Convention at Loftus.  We are all looking forward to it.  Hopefully we will stop at Murwillumbah, Lismore and the Casino.  Then we may head down via the inland route.  We will confirm in the next day or two. 

Sunday, May 7, 2017

2017 Brisbane Model Train Show

The last two full days have been spent at the RNA showgrounds for the 2017 Brisbane Model Train Show.  I also spent a couple of hours on Friday there helping setup the Club's HO layout as well as the table and chairs for my Structure Building Stand.  I had a ball.  It is always great to catch up with people that I see close to just once a year and then some others that I seem to catch up with at every model railway activity.  It is also nice just having a natter with absolute strangers and it is so fullfilling to see smiles on their faces when I show them something, and then they realise what I have modelled and it may have some sort of moving part of hidden detail.

This year, although I took the camera, I did not take one photo.  There were a couple of new layouts at this show.  Firstly there was Tarni, which I think made its debut at the Modelling the Railways of Queensland Convention last year.  There was also Philden also making its debut, but this home based work of art has been well covered in the blogosphere by Phil himself.

The usual shops were there and had their usual selection of goods available for purchase.  I could not resist when talking to Dave McPhee from the Modeller’s Warehouse late on Sunday arvo, yelling out in front of a few people – “Dave, do you have any Marijuana?”  He replied “Yes”.  Of course he had scale 1:32 scale plants.  So in HO scale that is a big crop.  This was about $8.00 a packet.  I have no idea what it costs in real life, but I’m sure it is a pretty good price in anyone’s language.  Most of the modellers in attendance at these shows have a pretty good sense of humour and we cannot wait to stir them up a bit.

Dave's shop is now stocking MEK, although not my preferred method of joining styrene, it certainly has its advantages in some situations and while I have some at home, I do not take it to exhibitions. Dave provided me a bottle to try and I used it on a double garage I was building.  I had great success with this stuff.  When I ran into Dave on Friday during setup, I was amazed at the variety of trees that he is now stocking.  These included Jacarandas in full bloom, some very nice weeping willows and his grass trees are excellent.  When I saw his grass trees, it made me remember that I purchased some last time I saw him.  It then dawned on me that I have no idea where I planted them on my layout.  But it made me realise that I could get 50 more of his grass trees in a variety of sizes and I would have no trouble at all placing them in realistic locations on the layout and still want more.

It was good to catch up with James from AMRM on both Saturday and Sunday.  It has been years since I’ve seen him at the Brisbane Show and I think it was just been once in the past – maybe twice.

On the Structure Building stand, yesterday I had the modelling guru Jim Hutchinson accompanying me.  Over the years, Jim has had numerous fabulous construction articles published in AMRM.  Today I had Geoff from Splitters Swamp Creek fame sitting beside me.  The current buildings that Geoff has on display under construction are just mind blowing.  You guys really need to follow his blog.

I was just pottering around dabbling in a few items.  I also snapped up a few scenic detail items at some of the shops.  I got about 8 water tanks.  But I think I still need another 20.  That goes with the existing 20 – 30 that I have already placed on the layout.  You can never have enough water tanks.  I picked up some laser cut benches to supplement my own scratchbuilt benches, and I picked up a few KG of ballast of varying colours from Matt’s Ballast. That should keep my busy until later this year when I catch up with him again.  I think it best that I don't mention any other purchases - Shhhh - Hey Lefty - you dobber!

Next week we have a Tuesday Nighters get together at Shelton's.  That will be special.  That is followed by our Club meeting on Saturday, and a Buy and Sell on Sunday.  I might need to pick up some styrene next weekend as well.  Of course the following week is the Modelling the Railways of NSW Convention at Loftus.  I am driving down with a few people so that is taking quite a few days.  I must have a good wife to let me do all this Railway related activities.  But it is a pitty that I don’t get a longer financial leash.  Oh well, maybe next year.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

It's Been Pouring up Here on the North Coast

Well the headline says it all.  It was been so wet on the North Coast that puddles have started appearing all over the layout and a few creeks are staring to flow.  I spent last Tuesday in the shed with the TV on watching all the ANZAC commemorations.

This was me starting to create a few puddles next to the track and in various low lying areas around the layout.  Finally the Richmond River got its first coat of water.  This was followed up yesterday and today with further water added to every puddle.  Below is a pictorial record of these puddles.  There are also a few other locations not recorded.  I used some clear varnish finish that I obtained from Darren many, many years ago.  I am on second 250ml tin.  I still have one more tin to apply if required.

Right next to Ron and Marg's B&B there is a bit of a drainage ditch that has started to get some small puddles added to it.

A long way further north one of the times that the track crosses Running Creek, the creek has started to flow.

At Lismore the puddles in the hollow have almost dried up.

Underneath the Jacaranda tree is s small puddle.

Just south of Lismore a few small puddles have appeared right next to the right of way.

On the other side of the level crossing, a couple of puddles also exist.

The shot of the puddle underneath the Jacaranda tree from another angle.  This shot also shows one on the other side storage siding in Lismore Yard.

Right next to the Bonalbo Ballast Siding, there is a hollow next to the mainline and a few puddles are left after the heavy rain.

The Richmond River finally has its first coat of water installed.  A few more are required to be added.  Maybe a second coat will be applied tomorrow.

The Richmond River from the northern bank.

The normally dry creek that runs down under Cougal Spiral has a small trickle starting.

Just outside Cassino station after the Richmond River bridge, a small drainage ditch has water in it.

Just a few hundred meters further north, the water is also in this drainage ditch.

This shot of the fettlers camp between Glenapp Loop and The Risk, has three small puddles starting to appear right next to the track.

Just next to Glenapp Loop, just behind the disabled wagon siding, a small puddle has started to be formed.

Up at Border Loop, some water has begun to puddle in the lower points either side of the storage siding.

At the beginning of the storage siding at Border Loop, a small puddle is also beginning to take place.
In the Kyogle Stock Siding, the ground in a couple of areas is beginning to boggy as well.

Besides the water work, I also installed a level crossing near a local bed and breakfast.  I also installed the wiring for a scene located on Fairy Lane, right next to Fairy Hill Crossing Loop.  I initially installed the wiring for the headlights and tail lights in my police car, and also a car pulled over on the other side of the road.  These tested very nicely.  I was then to install the blue flashing lights on the police car and the flashing arrows on the back of a work truck near the level crossing.  These worked well on a 9V battery that was registering about 7 and half volts.  The lights all had what I thought were current limited resistors attached, and when I connected them up to my 12 volt power supply, I did not install an additional 1000 Ohm in line resistor to any of these lights.  Well, all I can say is whoops!  Next subject.  They all have seemed to have blown.
The fettlers camp at Nammoona Ballast Siding.  The old 44 gallon drum being used an incinerator is in full swing, with what is left of an old sleeper still poking its head about the drum.

Another incinerator at Border Loop also in full blast.

This camp is located between The Risk and Glenapp crossing loop.  In this shot one of the fettlers is standing next to the drum and its glow is reflecting off him.

The planned scene on Fairy Lane.  The headlight and tail lights are lit, but nothing else works.

The new crossing located just south of Fairy Lane.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

All on a Tilt!

I shouted myself a long weekend so I had Friday off and went down to Jaycar to pick up some wire.  On Friday night, a few of us ventured over to Geoff’s place for a sausage sizzle followed by a modelling night with a few poisons of our own taste.  I started off the night, fixing an old CPH railmotor trailer that fell off the layout the previous weekend and had a smashed end.  That end was glued back on, so it is almost as good as new.  I then cut up another 4 tarpaulins.  However, the big activity for the night was making a shed for the backyard of one the houses on my layout.  But this was going to be no ordinary shed.  This one has an operating door.  I have recently been motivated by some of the photos other modellers have been posting on the many Facebook modelling groups.  Some have put together their own sheds.  One was a shed used by something like a rural fire brigade and it has a tilt-a-door installed in the open position and it looked pretty damn good. 

Now I just had to go one better.  My shed, has a tilt-a-door installed but, it can be closed, or it can be moved into the open position.  I am pretty proud that I can do this.  I drew a quick little sketch on Thursday night about how I thought it might work, and on Friday I put this into practice.  The operating mechanism went through two revisions, and the second is much better.

On Saturday afternoon after attending a midday soccer trial for my son, I went to the shed upon return.  I made up about 9 of my power supplies with my newly purchased wire and three have been co-opted into service to power three of my fettler camp incinerators.  They go wonderfully from track power supply.  Following this, I resumed shed construction.  I cut up two concrete bases and painted then grey.  I then cut up more parts for a second tilt-a-door shed and sprayed these as well as the original shed.

I just need to construct a roof for the sheds and they will be ready to place on the layout and I assume they will be a one in a million item with an opening tilt-a-door.

This afternoon after attending a school working bee until early afternoon, I went back down the shed and did a few more simple tasks.  Some of the wires around Fairy Hill Loop from the top level baseboard were hanging down too low and they spoil the scene.  So I drilled a few holes in various beams and the upper baseboard and a few zip ties have been used to pull them out of the way.  Much better.

A while back I purchased some illuminated traffic arrows and a police car blue flashing light bar from Brendan.  Well like most things in my shed, they just sat around for quite some time.  So out they came and they have been tested and I now have a position for them on the layout.  The arrows will go on a work truck at a work site.  The blue lights will go on a white car that I purchased quite some time ago and also has headlights and taillights that illuminate.  So all these will be wired up, off one of my power supplies and can be turned on by visitors from a switch in the facia.  However that is a task for tomorrow.
The shed with the door closed.  The current handle is just temporary so I can open and close it.

Voila, the same shed with the door slid back.

The view from above, with the door open.

The view from above with the door closed.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Nice Relaxing Easter Break

On Tuesday this week, we had our second consecutive meeting at Geoff’s place.  It was a great meeting.  We just had enough there and we had a good show and share.

On Friday this week, Greg came over from the other side of town for a few hours in the arvo.  He did some more work on my Raspberry Pi reconfiguring it so certain panels started with various defaults and he was trying to make the JMRI fastclock the master of the NCE clock.  There are some issues that sometimes, the NCE fastclock does not restart, while those using smart phones are getting the time updated.  But I’m sure we will work out the correct process to fix this.  Previously Ray Pilgrim had sent me his fastclock procedures so I will have another look at them as well.

While Greg was working on the Pi, I was running my Brisbane Limited around the layout, until it derailed.  The water tank fell off one of the Auscision sleeper wagons and caused some havoc as the train was coming into Clapham Yard.  A bit of glue and everything seemed as good as new.  I did find a section of track without power just before Clapham Yard, curtesy of my moving some points around and removing some precious power connections.  So a temporary connection was made and everything was OK again.  However, I then found that about 7m of track did not have any power connections to it.  Power was being made through the rail joiners for that whole distance.  So I will need to purchase some suitable wire for the DCC bus tomorrow from Jaycar and wire that up along with a few track jumpers.  At the same time, I will also buy a roll of standard wire (as I am completely out of wire) so I can connect all my power supplies to the track bus to make various LED lights work around the layout.

On Friday and Saturday I also made up about twenty tarpaulins.  These will be used as scenery detail around yards and in wagons.  I think I gave a few to Greg to take home as well.  On Friday I also started looking at painting the water in my Richmond River opening just south of Cassino.  I have painted the river a base colour that I was not too happy about.  This morning I mixed up some more accurate muddy brown paint and recoated the Richmond River and this looked a whole lot more accurate.  That was before the paint dried.  I will see how it looks in the morning.  My plan is to paint a good clear finish over the top of the water colour and give it a nice reflective finish.  I have a few detail items to add to the river as well.

My only other modelling activity today has been looking at Assembling a laser cut station building kit that someone from the Club gave me.  So far I am completely amazed at how easy this kit is to put together.  I intend to take lots of photos and this construction will be a separate blog post in the future.  I also intend to try and paint this kit as I am building it.  I received a few photos from Arthur Hayes and some instructions as to what he uses for his station buildings.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

The Calm Before the Storm

This week I have been relaxing with not much on the modelling front.  Friday night I did venture down to Simon Says Hobbies and Game and got stuck into building 6 x 20 foot container bases for my gen sets.  My mate Darren was also in attendance with a very comfortable small turn out.  There was plenty of room to model.  This is a nice relaxed modelling event and there is always tips being exchanged from those building planes or cars and those painting or weathering models.

On Saturday morning, I was ordered over to Austral Modelcraft by PK, who woke me from my slumbers in the early am, to pick up a box of track  for the Club from Ray.  But before I left I painted up the 6 gen sets and the 6 container bases and two other containers that I put together the previous week.  These were a single 20 foot container with solid ends and a 40 foot container base with solid ends.  They all turned out quite well.

I also spray painted 6 tea bags that I had unfolded, cleaned out and allowed to dry.  These were painted the yellow oxide paint colour that you get from Supercheap Auto when they have 4 cans for $10 on special.  These tea bags can be cut up and produce two scale 24’ x 16’ tarpaulins.  These can get rolled or folded up and then a piece of cotton is tied around them and these become loads in my wagons, to be left around yards or on container flats.

After heading over to the Club with the box of track in tow, and sitting through a very fast meeting, I ended up chatting to many of the members and solved plenty of the world’s problems.  See there is nothing that a lump of 4 x 2 with nails in the end cannot solve.  One member ventured up to the Caloundra Buy and Sell earlier in the morning and came back with 4 x white NSW Freightcorp cement hoppers for $100.  I'm very dirty about that purchase.  When I offered him $10 for one hopper, he would not be in it.  If he did that, he would have still picked up 3 for $90 - still a bargain in anyone's mind.  I just could not understand why he didn't take me up on that offer?

Today I have not done anything hobby related.  I am preparing myself for a big week ahead.  Our Tuesday Night group will be heading to Shelton’s on Tuesday this week and I hope to ask plenty of questions of Arthur.  As this will allow me to do plenty of modelling next weekend over the long weekend break.  I have been given a kit by one of the members of the Club and asked to put it together and write up a review.

So hopefully, there will be plenty of photos and progress over the next week or two.