Modelling The Railways of NSW Convention blog and new website.

As part of the revamp of the Modelling the Railways of NSW Convention structure the convention now has its own website which will replace the blog as of now.
It can be found at www.mrnsw.org.au
Details of where and when can be found at this stage and additional information, including brochures and registration forms, will also be available when the programme is finalised.
There is also a contact facility to handle any enquiries.
This years programme is almost finalised and details should be avail soon.


Sleeper Wagons

Recently was able to find a small slot in work bench schedule and do something rather different - build something for myself !
Purchased these at Thornleigh from Aaron Denning (InFront Models) and am glad I did as they are now out of stock till more Austrains chassis become available.
The cradle is a one piece casting which required very little flash removal at all, none at all in some instances, and drilling out of 0.4 mm holes to insert ladder rungs and hand rails cut from supplied wire stock. Drilling these rung holes proved a challenge, even with the dimples quite clear I found it difficult to drill them straight and as a consequence some of the rungs look a little 'how ya goin' ! Now whilst this could be put down to 'in service abuse' it still messed with my head not being able to work out how get the drill bit in there properly, I'm sure it can be done. An etched brass fret contains the stanchions to hold the sleepers in place and these are glued into 0.4 mm holes drilled into the ends of the bolsters. Take care that they are facing the correct direction and don't be too stingy with the glue or they will fall out with a little handling.
Removal of the weight from the chassis comes next. Take care handling these chassis' as the detail, whilst quite strongly built, has a propensity to un-attach itself and disappear into the black hole under the work bench ! The weight is consigned to the bits box for future use.
The kit comes supplied with two sleeper load castings which have nice definition and the sleepers appear to be just about in scale. Some flash needs removal and I gave mine a going over with a stainless steel toothbrush sized wire brush to add a bit more texture. I then sanded the base of each casting on a block to ensure it would sit flat in the cradle.
Washing time, this is where you will find out how well you glued the stanchions in ! Usual warm soapy water and dry well. I stuck mine under the bench lamp for a few hours to make sure. Etch prime everything then a coat of Tamiya German grey for the chassis and cradle and Tamiya flesh for the sleeper loads. I brush detailed the loads using Tamiya flat brown and hull red in small amounts.
Finish off, a day or two later, with a wash of Mr Kelly's patented isocol and black Raven oil. I measured out 1ml of isocol into a medicine cup and added 1 drop of Raven oil. You can always add more coats !
Decals supplied with this kit, for these less than perfect eyes, bordered on micro surgery. Why are white lettering decals printed on white paper ?? Aaron has provided many options for decaling but oh so close together on the sheet ! I used embroidery scissors combined with my normal glasses plus the magnifier of my bench light to cut out the required numbers, depot and the standard lettering for these wagons. There are two little oops' with the decals, the first is "Ways and Works" should be "Way and Works" and the other is the printing for "Werris Ck". Have a look under the magnifier and you will see what I mean !
Add plenty of rust and dust the wagon, I also lightly dust the sleeper loads as well, this may not show in the pic, and finish with your fav flat finish. The instructions advise gluing the loads in place and I doubt they would run empty due to the lack of weight but I am going to try a small dot or two of blue tack to hold them in so I can unload them in situ for future photo ops.
Very nice kit and satisfied my bent for unusual wagons. Three down and three to go.
In Yettobenamed perway siding on Werris Ck. Pic courtesy of Ray Pilgrim.


Modelling the Railways of NSW Convention 30

All is pretty much finalised now for Convention 30.

Please have a look at www.mrnsw.blogspot.com for all the latest information and registration forms.

Hope to see you there.


Rumors of my demise......

....have been greatly exaggerated !
But if you were to judge this by my activity on this blog of late, 7 months to be precise, you could not be blamed for thinking otherwise !

Whilst activity here has been very quiet, I think I have set a new PB for inactivity, elsewhere it has been all go. In a big push to finally get the cave completed to a point where I could make a start on the layout I engaged the services of a gyprocker to line the cave and make it habitable for as much of the year as possible. In hindsight this was a very good move. I went through the quoting process and it was actually Boral themselves who gave me the best price with a job time of two to three days and then ready to paint.

Three days in and the sub contractors were inventing some new words to describe both the guy that quoted and my cave as well ! While walls and ceiling were well within the norm for being a "bit" out of square, it was the beams that had to be boxed in that caused the most grief for them. The 'quoter' had also only allowed for 'square set' edges (no cornice) but the subbies said this was not going to work and I would have problems with cracking later on due to the metal shed expanding and contracting in the temp changes. So Boral coughed up for the cornice, supplied and installed, for free ! Thank you very much indeed and Im more than happy with the job they did. IvĂ© since had several offers from people wanting to move in, not believing that this 'shed' is to become my playroom ! I suppose having carpet, an air conditioner and LCD hanging off the wall may have swayed them a bit to !!

The storage level track plan created on AnyRail
I also made a start on the benchwork for the storage level and this is nearly completed. This also incorporates 4 traverser type yards and once I get to the wiring of these yards, which will incorporate around 36 micro switches, progress will slow. As I'm sure I have mentioned in other posts, despite being in the hobby for over 3 decades Ive only built one layout, which Mum made me dismantle because she couldnt get to the bed anymore, which was built from Hornby set track from the Hornby track plans book from 1980 or 81. Apart from this attempt I've never laid a length of track. Despite this I am most fortunate to be a part of a group which comprises a truly awsome model railway "brains trust" which I will draw on heavily over the coming years. Although not a club in the true sense, it is from this experience that I can see the real value in belonging to a club or group and having access and exposure to so many varied skills, knowledge and experience.

View from east end showing showing loop storage and through road. Two traverser decks can be seen on the right.

                                     View from west end. Two more traverser decks on right.
As you can see I have gone with the tradional blue walls and white ceiling colour scheme. There is a total of 8 double and 3 quad power points spread around the room. It is lit by four double tri phospher fluro's.
Another example of "brave new world" syndrome was the purchase of a FastTracks jig from Gwydir Valley. With around 150 sets of points with the current track plan for Cambewarra this was a financial decision as well as just wanting to have a go !
 Here are the fruits of my labor so far. Have done six sets so far and have it down to about 1 hour per set not including the timber sleepers.
Thats about where I'm at so far. Still have a few jobs on the bench which may rate a post later on. Preps for the convention are well and truly underway and, as always, we are on the lookout for presenters and demonstrators. Date is yet to be finalised but towards the end of June is looking like a possibility at this stage.


One for the Poms !

Of late the DLE has put his foot down and demanded that all those "odd jobs" be completed - now. As the staff of LLC&WW failed to meet last financial years deadlines (the share holders were not happy!) all outstanding jobs were issued with a 90 day "notice of completion" deadline. Of course this most intimidating behavior  by management was dealt with in the time honoured workshop tradition and the shop steward called a stop work meeting immediately, the local watering hole was declared the most appropriate place to convene said meeting. The notice was tabled (or was that under the table ? I think that part came later) many responses from the rank and file were duly noted in the minutes, none of which are printable, there may be children reading, and a "notice of intended industrial action" (read strike) was the motion which was voted, unanimously, to be conveyed to management !

After some furious (and quite colourful to, so I have heard ) negotiations were entered into, a compromise was agreed to by all parties. The shop steward returned from the meeting, every one went quiet, he looked quite flustered, his dust coat unbuttoned and his tie was askew, his face was red (possibly leftover from the earlier stopwork meeting !?) he called everyone to order, you could of heard a pin drop, "It's the Scotsman"
he bellowed "and we've got one week to get it out of here!". Damn thing had ruptured a defraginator flange whilst on a tour down under and we were the closest workshop. We had the parts but had placed a black ban on repairing it because it was painted a non union endorsed colour !

Don't you miss the old days ?? When everyone new exactly who really ran the railways ?

Whilst the above rant may seem to be the result of the misunderstanding of the term "standard drink" it's actually the compilation of a whole bunch of stories that my Dad shared over years from his 28 years at Eveleigh workshops on the loco side. Not much inducement was required to "walk out" in the 60's and 70's. My PB in this regard was being a part of the great "there goes the brakevan" strike of '82, I think that's the right year, I really didn't care that much, as an 18 year old fireman at Thirroul, still living at home with no commitments, it was just another couple of weeks to be spent at the beach.

Whilst I'm not quite sure what triggered the above the true story here is that, probably close to a year ago, my mate Branchline Bob ( The Coolah Branch ) made me an offer I couldn't refuse. Although it pained me greatly this is not the first time I have done jobs originating from that "other" country where their love of anything that runs on rails can, but not always, go to lengths that I personally find a little disturbing. I did, however, ensure there was some Australian content and it wears the plates and head board (according to Fox transfers in the UK) that it wore whilst on tour down under may years ago. Jokes aside, the guys at Fox were excellent to deal with and I had the required etchings within a few days of the order. The level of detail and the quality of the etchings is amongst the best I have seen. The flowers on the "ornate" head board are hand painted and stand up to any scrutiny under the magnifier.

Here's the end result. I'm only responsible for the finishing. Bob built and applied the green and black to this OO scale A3 (?) DJH kit.I apologise for the 'hue' of the pic, it's the lighting in the room where I work. You will notice this on most of my bench shots.


On the level......

Those of you that follow Rod Kelly's blog , NSWGR Southern Line in a Shed, will know that he has resurrected his Laser Rail Bits line of detail/structure kits. After an absence of 7 years from the market, their return marks, in my opinion, a swing, or trend if you like, in the hobby in general.

It's no secret that, in the rolling stock area, modellers of NSW outline (and other states) have never had it so good as far as choice, detail and quality go. Some 'labels' have even drawn criticism for including too much detail on their models, citing their fragility as making them impractical for use on 'working' layouts and an alternative identical model with less detail should be offered, of lesser cost of course. The reality here is that the number of detail items inculded on a model makes very little, if any at all, difference to the shelf price of a a singular model.

While some may lament this as the 'the end of the kit as we know it' era, something that would initiate active debate between those of either opinion, I see it as the start, or  restart, of the emphasis on detail(s) of the layout, both home and club, as well as exhibition.

Over the couple of decades that I have been attending exhibitions the emphasis has, generally, been on the models rolling through the varied landscapes. There are of course exceptions to this and some individuals and groups raised the bar to to new levels in both aspects. While the standard in rolling stock remains high in the majority of cases, it is the quality of scenery and the detail which has been making steady upward progress over the last few years. It was with this in mind that myself, when I recently became aware of it when I discovered his blog, and others, have encouraged Rod to start (again) manufacturing his range of laser cut/etched timber detailing parts.

Rod sent me a selection of level crossing kits which covers what amounts to single lane and dual lane crossings in either brand new or reclaimed sleepers. The outline appears indentical, apart from the size of course, but the etching detail is what creates the difference between new and reclaimed. The etching detail is what is the standout for me. In the reclaimed version the outline of sleeper plate wear and spike hole is quite evident and even after I applied 'distressing' with a #11 blade and stained the crossing using a Tamiya wash of grey and then black, was still quite visible. One thing which initially caused me some 'distress' was after applying the weathering wash the entire crossing curled up, almost resembling a dried out hotdog bun ! Well that's interesting, I thought, however applying a small amount of Tamiya thinners to the opposite side soon encouraged the crossing to flaten out again and it stayed that way, thankfully! It may well have flattend out by itself, in time, working with timber this thin is something new to me.

The pic show the crossing installed, very quickly, at Kankool Perway depot on Werris Ck. The other crossing was done using timber 'sleepers' from a different manufacturer. As you can see they are a tad overscale and don't produce the same result as the Laser Bits crossing. Installation was simply a few drops of PVA on the back of each component and place, followed by 'backfilling' with fine ballast and dirt. The distressing and weathering (staining) took about 15 minutes. Do this a little at a time as 'unstaining' basswood is an art that I'm yet to master !

With any of the Laser Rail Kits accuracy is paramount. Rod researches everything he does, in person where humanly possible. Most of all he is after feedback, good, bad or otherwise, and ideas from modellers for future projects. He has some great stuff in the pipeline and all it will take is some support from the modelling community (and enough hours in the day and a reliable source of suitable timber) for these projects to become a reality.

Have a look at Rods blog for more pics and info on planned kits and check out his Ebay store for whats available now.

The installed crossing compared to its predecessor.

Here's one of the "main street" of Breeza on the Creek - because I could !


Convention 29 - 2012 Forms

Information and registration forms have been posted on the Convention blog . These can be printed as per the instructions for submission.

Everyone on the mailing list should receive forms in the next day or so as they were posted on Saturday.

With one of our largest presenter lists as well as commercial traders and demonstrations we are really looking forward to an increase in numbers from last year.

Once again the cost has remained the same at $55, including notes, with discounts for eligible students.

Look forward to seeing you there.


(Now maybe I can get some modelling done!!)