Hooroo '09

Well we had a wet second half to Christmas day and a totally wet Boxing day (but I did get a chance to get to the bench!) and my alarm is set for 0400 for a return to work tomorrow which will take me through to NYE, ho hum and poor me and all that other stuff!

So I'm pretty sure this will be my last post for '09. I hope that everyone had a good Christmas and that you will all have a hoot of a NYE celebration, or a quiet one, whatever your preference may be. Mine will be spent on the harbour bridge, yes the one in Sydney, making sure it doesn't burst into flames during and after the fire works. Believe it or not there is a lot of timber in the old girl. They don't even stop the trains anymore !

Sound exciting? I can assure you that the 'side on' view from the south pylon is not all that wonderful, but the explosions set off from the tops of surrounding buildings near the Quay aren't too bad!

Not that much activity on the bench of late, I think I slipped into bit of a rut on the motivation road. 3265 was finally programmed and tested on Werris Ck last Fri and my first foray into DCC sound decoder installation was a success in as far as it made all the right noises, moved forwards and backwards and emitted no green smoke, always a plus. It did show me that there is a lot more work to do before delivery. Extra pick ups will have to be fabricated and fitted to the tender (which I have done, pics to follow) and the loco as well. 'Through the body' connection cannot be relied on to get the signals from the track to the decoder. Stay tuned. The decoder and speaker has been removed from the tender and it will be off to the paint shop next year.

The LED headlight install, from a previous post, failed as I could not get the 3mm led to fit in the headlight housing. Will be switching to a 1mm flat LED as described in Ray's AMRM article.

The cave is dead in the water at the moment, till early Jan, when the local concrete plant fires up again, aiming for a slab pour in early Jan if I can coerce the council to do a pre pour inspection during January.

Well thats about it. Looking forward to catching up and reading up during '10. Cheers.


Cave update

Couple of progress pics from the cave project.

After knocking over the formwork in a day, the back filling started. The slope of the block was greater than I had guess-t-mated so this entailed extra form work and steel as well as a healthy amount of back fill material so as not to take out a second mortgage for concrete.

Cost to date:
Shed (walls, roof, ent door, guttering etc, gyprock batons and roof insulation - $5400
Timber for formwork and other hardware - $650
Roll of plastic - $75
Steel reo and other bits - $595
Fill material (approx 8 ton) - 1 carton of Carlton Cold + delivery $75 ??

According to an online concrete calculator Im up for about 8 cubic meters of concrete.

You can tell by the length of the shadows in the last pic this was a loooooong day. I'm going inside for a shower and something cold !!!


32 bits and pieces.

Now that the paint shop has closed after all the work orders have been filled it's back to the 'Large' for some more work on the 32, Which I have been advised will be numbered 3265 and plated "Hunter" in honour of it's recently 'reborn' big cousin.

This pic shows the headlight, after it's return from the milling shop, having been bored out to allow fitting of the 3 mm yellow gold LED from Gywdir Valley Models. Initially I though with a headlight body this size I would be fitting the 5mm LED, not so. Even the 3 mm had to have the front filed a little to fit. I drilled two small holes in the rear of the head light and poked the terminals from the LED through, making sure that they did not touch the headlight body anywhere and then put a large drop of 'liquid insulation tape' into the headlight from the front and poked the LED through. As the terminals passed through the holes they dragged some insul-goop with them and insulated the terminals from the headlight body. After sitting in the vice for a while the goop went 'off' and the LED now sits securely in the headlight. Later I will fill the gap with clear resin to give it the glazed look. I will clip the terminals as close as I dare and fit leads to run back to the decoder prior to fitting the headlight to the loco smoke box.

Work on the tender included the fitting of additional pickups, as Ray Pilgrim did on 3822 (see other post), to ensure better signal to the decoder, using 0.5mm phospher bronze spring wire and soldered to the underside of the bogie spreader. The bogies a electrically connected via the black wire you can see passing over the speaker grill, simply by soldering this to the top of the bogie spreader. This wire was purchased at Casula Hobbies and is from the DCC manufacturer TCS, it is 36 gauge ! very fine stuff.

I have since fitted the motor and gearbox to the loco, connected the motor wires and the pickup wires to the tender and the locomotive frame as well. All being well 3265 should have its first test run very soon. Unlike it's larger cousin the last thing I want to see is any smoke when I open up the 'throttle'.


From the paint shop (Plow vans 2)

From my previous plow van post here is the just about finished items plus NQOY kit from Casula Hobbies (waiting on decals for it).

The two plow vans actually share the same coding (NZBF) but are from different periods. The blue one being the later version. This was finished in Railey Paints FreightRail Blue enamel and Bakers Grotty Black enamel with the handrails done in Floquil Reefer White laquer and finished off with Dulcote.

The older plow was finished in Bakers PerWay Cream and Old Black enamel and weathered with a mix Humbrol brown and a dash of orange for that western NSW look, as per the supplied photo in the kit. All the handrails and roof plumbing are scratch built from .05 brass wire and primed with etch primer first. The NQOY was grey primed first, then some Grotty Black, some FreightRail Blue and weathered with Humbrol brown. After decaling it will be Dulcoted.

Hopefully now I can get stuck into the 32 and get it into service!


Its arrived !!!

Just after I said "not much to report" it's turned up! Crawled into bed just after 7am, after night shift and about 7.30 Francine says "I think your shed's here" Well that's worth getting up for!...I think?

Well that's it, can't say I can see 5 1/2 K in that little pile of bits but time will tell. I should mention that there is an entry door kit, 4 boxes of hardware and the insulation just out of shot, but still! Now where did I leave that concrete trowel??


October 'roundup'

Not to be confused with the bovine kind or the herbicide, but thought I should throw something in before the end of the month just to keep my monthly average up. No pics to offer this time.

The 'Colourbond Cave'
Not much to report here. The kit won't arrive for another couple of weeks yet. Still toying with the idea of doing the slab myself. I have actually poisioned the grass were it will go so I suppose that constitutes a start ??. Hoping for a pre Christmas lockup.

Onthe Bench
Got some paint and decals on the plow vans from the previous post. Waiting for some FreightRail blue to come in. Have given the Runway13 compressor a workout. What a good thing. Had the opportunity to try one of Peter's double action airbrushes out at Liverpool, something I had always been apprehensive about, and I'm a convert. Sorry Paasche H, the future is not looking good!

Some wiring on the 32 has been done. What I'm starting to realise is that once I wire up the decoder I wont be able to separate engine and tender to I might have to some painting first. Headlight has bee bored out to accept LED. Not as much room in there as I thought, turning out to be a little more difficult than first thought.

The Liverpool Exhibition (and the 38's)
Like many I attended this modeling and spend-fest. Helping out on the Eureka stand on Sat and Mon whilst still getting a look around and giving Ron an occasional break. Nothing new here, been doing this for several years now but this year was a bit different - the 38's are here ! Such a variation in reactions from the punters. A few had to be reassured they were not dreaming and that the ones on display were actually for sale! I think the thing that amazed me the most was the number of conversations that started with "I've heard a rumor..." or "Someone told me that...". Some so concerned with number of alleged "defects" they almost needed counseling!

The major source of all this reliable information - on-line news groups or forums. According to a reliable source, I don't go near the things, there was in excess of 70 pages of discussion on the quality and performance of the product even before the first pre production models existed and before the actual models available for retail arrived it pipped the 100 mark.

No one would argue that with such an iconic loco as the NSWGR 38 class Pacific the rivet counters were always going to have a field day. I often wonder if those that choose to take a dump on a particular product or manufacturer ever consider the consequences of converting every thought that pops into their head into a post on a forum or, dare I say, a blog! I'll go out on a limb here and say that less than 1% of these geniuses would have even the faintest idea what it takes to turn an idea into a sellable, working model, that will run well on a variety layouts (the variety I'm referring to is track specs) and not just look pretty on a shelf.

Most reports coming in are positive. The performance is petty well prototypical in terms of load versus grade and the sound is genuine. This statement is actually based on fact! I have seen, and heard, Eureka 38's performing duty on Werris Ck. Hauling 5 (6 at a pinch!) Lima passenger cars up 1:40 curved grades. Five of our Friday nighters' took delivery of their 38's and every one was given a test run, without problems.

It has been along wait, 1 month short of 5 years actually, but I think it has been worth it. Ron's motto during this time has been "Do you want it now, or do you want it right". Well done Ron and good luck with the rest of the projects.

That'll do. Got to remember this is a post, not a novel.



Plow Vans

Almost ready to head for the paint shop (and an excuse to christen the new air compressor from Runway 13 !) are NZBF 1041F and BBP 1049X. These two wagons represent the same plow van at different stages of its life. Pretty much the same under frame with revised body arrangements. They were an integral part of most ballast trains and ran to every corner of the state, so would be at home on just about any layout with only the type being era specific.

I've had a temporary secondment from the Large Erecting Shop over to the Wagon Works and two wagons that are way past their contracted delivery date have been brought to my attention.

These fellows are both Hanovale kits, which are currently 'off line' at the moment and not producing, whilst these are not, in my opinion, high quality castings, Hanovale produce a line of products which fill a market segment which is, generally, not served by another producer in terms of individual models. I hope Hanovale comes to a point where production can commence again in the near future.

These kits both require a fair amount of patience and a light touch as the chosen material is quite brittle and does not respond well to a 'blacksmiths' approach. Whilst excess flash on the resin castings is not a problem there is some on the small white metal/pewter castings (steps) which must be removed with great care with a fine file. The resin body castings required some filler but not a great deal which was pleasing for this type of casting material as well as a fair amount of sanding with some fine wet and dry to remove molding imperfections and blemishes. A better model would have resulted from some more under floor detail (brake gear) cast separately in another material rather than 'half casting' as part of the floor.
Some skill with the soldering iron is required in both cases, particularly in the case of the hand rails for the NZBF. Hanovale has included a jig for these hand rails and it works quite well despite looking a touch confusing initially. I used Zap CA for assembly which resulted in almost permanently connected fingers a couple of times but it bonds the material well. The roof on the BBP was over length and required a 'cut and shut' to bring it into size with the body. I used my recently acquired Proxxon 58mm table saw which did a near perfect job. When it came time to join the two roof halves together again, the joint required almost no filler. Proxxon makes some great gear. Check them out.
These are definately 'modellers models' and not for the beginner, careful reading of the instructions in required, but these also include a fair bit of prototype info as well. Whilst they do require a fair amount of work, this, in my my view, is a plus. The finished product will reflect the amount of time, care and effort you put in and refine (or wake up!) your modelling skills and that has to be a good thing.
If you have some of these kits in storage they may become 'collectable' if Hanovale does not start up again, which I hope they do. Dig 'em out, dust 'em off and get modelling!


Speakers ain't speakers, or size doesn't matter ! (32 update)

Sorry I have been a bit preoccupied with 'the cave' of late so here is the latest from the LLC & WW bench. I have a few other rolling stock entries to come but photographing them is proving a little difficult. The pics below are taken with the latest aquisition, a 2nd hand Canon EOS 30D. They are large files, approx 3 mb each, so let me know if they prove difficult ot tedious to view and next time I will reduce the file size

After a long wait the sound gear for the 32 arrived the other day from the states.
An initial mix up actually turned out to be beneficial from a learning perspective anyway. I had ordered a "light steam" Tsunami decoder with a Digitraxx Mega Bass speaker, I received a "DGRW K class" decoder and a QSI speaker.

As it turned out the K class decoder is the better choice for a 32 in terms of sounds. The QSI speaker(1 watt, 8 ohm) on the other hand it too large for the 32 tender and has no mounting points. I have put this aside for a future project. The Mega Bass speaker has approx the same size cone and magnet as the QSI speaker, comes with a mounting plate and is physically a smaller unit in all dimensions, it is also rated at 2 watts ! double the output of the physically larger QSI speaker. An extra watt may not sound like much but that is a 100% increase in power output!

I have never claimed to know the in's and out's of DCC let alone throwing sound into the equation, so this will be a learning curve for me as well. Hopefully the specs will prove them selves and the adage that "size doesn't matter" will be proven true.

This pic shows the diference in the size between the two speakers.
The Mega Bass speaker is in the foreground.

Soundtraxx decoder and Mega Bass speaker in situ. The speaker also includes a template (left) which is handy for installation.
If I'd known this was going to be a sound job I would have done all the drilling prior to folding/asembling the tender. I will also experiment with a scratch built speaker enclosure to see if this improves the quality of the sound as the tender body will not be a good acoustic seal.


The first step

I received a large envelope in the mail this morning bearing the Wollongong City Council logo on the front. With much trepidation I opened it up and carefully examined the contents. It contained the Development Application Consent and associated construction certificate paperwork for the Colourbond cave !!

No restrictions, or objections, to building right on the boundary and only a few realistic requirements for building in a bush fire prone area. Mind you some of the jargon and terminology may as well be written in ancient Hebrew for all the sense it make to me but I will persevere and seek 'council' from those more enlightened in such things.

This is going to take a little time to get my head around the fact that I may have a shed by the end of the year. Think I will go and give my FairDinkum supplier a call with the good news, I'm sure he will be impressed!

So it begins.....


A Milestone

We usually have a few of them on life's journey (isn't that profound!?) Getting married, having kids, first house (and usually first mortgage), first car, first kiss, first time your kid's ignore you completely, etc, etc, you know what I'm talking about.

I had a sort of a milestone recently, I discovered that I'm the youngest member of our modeling 'group' ! I turn 47 in a bit over a week and I'll be honest, I never expected to be the youngest member of anything ever again! It was a pleasant surprise, mind you the two guys who I thought were younger than me definately look like they have a lot less k's on the the clock!

I had another genuine milestone a few days ago, I submitted a DA to council for my first shed! A backyard haven, a retreat, a colourbond cave, manland (apparently-not real sure about the conclusions one could draw from referring to it as "manland"), what ever you call it, it's 48.75 sqm (7.5M x 6.5M) of space to build a layout in. Now unlike council who said "about 6 weeks" when I enquired how long should it take to be approved, just after asking me for $670 in lodgement fees, my good wife approved this after the first request with the only condition being that some of the 'under layout' space be used for general storage of stuff. I can live with that!

So now the saga starts. I don't imagine this will go smoothly, I live in a "bush fire prone area" which generated about another 5 pages of paperwork and want to build pretty well on the boundary because I have a small back yard. It's going to be interesting. I will keep you posted.

Future site of the Colourbond Cave !


32 class update #1

Following on from the "marker light" post I actually got in a bit of work shop time today and fitted the marker lights and associated electrical conduit/junction box in 0.4 mm brass wire, the boiler handrail/smoke box brackets and the cab roof. The hand rail is formed from a single length of 0.5 wire and takes about 1/2 an hour of judicious bending to get it right. I actually got the bends in the right places the first time which is unusual - for me.

I also had a go at filing the marker light handles a bit smaller to get them in scale, but you would never notice!

The head light is in the milling shop getting bored out to accept a yellow gold LED from Gwydir Valley Models and should pretty much be the last visible part to go on. Uncharted territory from now on so it should be interesting. Any tips from anyone who has done this before would be much appreciated! The front buffers and coupling, painted separately, will come later after the buffer beam is painted red, this makes a huge difference to the appearance of this area on the finished product.

The whole loco was looking a bit ordinary as I had given it an overnight bath in white vinegar to arrest the corrosion being caused by the soldering process/flux. Using white vinegar neutralises the flux but leaves an inert, dark, kacky (?) film on the surface of the metals, so I have given it a clean up with a fibre glass burnishing brush (pen). These are and invaluable tool when working with white metal and brass and nothing else does a cleaning job like it. A spinning metal wire brush is, in my opinion, way to brutal when working with plug in detail parts. These are available from Casula Hobbies at Liverpool and Tom's Hobbies at West Ryde. Don't forget to buy some refills at the same time as they do a great job but don't last very long.


Hint's 'n Tip's (and a few obscure thoughts!) #1

Hint 1

Don't ever let your work space get to this state! I spend more time looking for bits and pieces due to this chaos than for any other reason. If you look under the desk, directly below the belly up 38, you will see a portal to another dimension, yeah that big dark space that you're staring at. It's either a dimensional portal, a worm hole or a black hole (are the last two one in the same ?). It has to be, because every time a little part, and the odd large one, enters it's dark maw (that should read "that I drop") it usually disappears of the face of the planet never to be seen again - it's true, really it is.

I have sent my son on many search and rescue missions into this dark abyss, purely as a last resort of course, (mainly because his eyes and back are about 25 years younger than mine) some have been successful, others, well, there may be children reading..............!?

Tip 1 (This one is actually useful, I promise)

Detail parts such as these white metal marker lamps, for the front of the 32, are not cast with any locating sprue or spigot. Even if it were, on a part this size a fine white metal locating sprue would be fairly useless and probably break off at the first nudge, or shunting mishap! These little fellas' have been modified to make them more likely to survive actually being used in service as opposed to sitting in a display cabinet or a dark box somewhere. Particularly if you were take your pride and joy on the exhibition circuit for others to marvel at. The casting sprue for these is the square bit at the bottom which represents the 'handle' to change them from red to white. It looks a bit chunky at this resolution but you can only go so small with white metal and get the bit out of the mold in one piece. This highlights the reason that some casters go to the trouble of 'lost wax' casting in brass (which these really should have been) as the detail would have been much finer, and more expensive of course. I may have a go at filing these down a bit and see what happens.
The first step in this mod requires a 12v drill, or a 240v one with speed control, a 10 or 15 mm piece of 0.5 mm brass wire, a 0.5 mm (#76) drill bit and good quality cyanoacrylate, thats boffin speak for superglue.
Drill a hole, you knew that was coming didn't you, at slow speed or you will find that your drill bit may 'skin' with white metal if it gets too hot, right through the side of the casting, as 'square off' to the casting as possible, and out the other side. Ease out the hole a bit, ie wiggle the drill bit around a bit, to make some room for the glue. No you cant really use the 'next size up bit' as this, in my opinion, is too sloppy a fit. There is also a very high tech and expensive drilling lubricant you can apply if you wish - spit, seriously, it works. No, not a 'lumps and all' golly, just a bit of unadulterated saliva. Not recommended straight after eating!

Don't stress if it's not exactly square, the next step will fix that. Take your piece of wire and check that it fits through the hole ok. This will probably be when you discover if your hole has been bored square or not, if it's an easy fit then take it out and apply a bit of super glue to the wire and shove it back in the casting until the other end is flush with the outer edge of the casting. If you went to the trouble of filing the end of you bit of wire flat, I'm yet to find a pair of cutters that give a true square cut, then you will have a nice neat appearance on the outer face of the casting. If not, then leave the wire a bit proud of the hole and touch it up with a file or some fine emery on a hard flat surface.

Once the glue has gone off, adjust your new sprue to square it off if necessary. Drill a receiving hole where the part has to go, using the same technique and bit, trim the new sprue to about 5 mm, test fit, because this hole may not be quite square either, adjust if needed, apply glue and in it goes. Repeat the process with the other lamp but don't forget that, in this case, being a pair, that they are 'handed' right and left. I you glue the wire in the wrong way you will not get it out again once the glue goes off. You can avoid this possible error by only drilling part the way through each casting on the correct side first. The end result may not be quite as strong.

You will have noticed I repeated the term 'square off' a couple 'a three times. Take the time to do this or your installed detail part will look crap, simple as that. I employ this method to any detail bit with a locating sprue around 1 mm dia or less. I use Zap CA glue and find it lasts for years if you keep it in the fridge (not with eye drops!) and don't let it sit on the work bench with the lid off. If the nozzle starts to look a bit ferral, give it a gentle squeeze with a pair pliers and the offending bits should come off. If its blocked just drill it out, it works.


32?? (Current project)

This is my current project (for someone else), an NSWGR 32(P) class DJH kit. Since this pic was taken more detail has been added to the boiler/smoke box, mostly handrails and and other plumbing.

The loco will be fitted with a Tsunami sound decoder (light steam) and a 'Mega Bass' speaker. I just finished measuring up the tender and the speaker should fit ok. The speaker decoder combo was recommended by Mr Spencer-Salt from MRRC at Blacktown and I can't wait to get it installed and start fine tuning. It will probably have some working lights as well. This 'P' will eventually be finished in the NSW maroon and lined livery and will be a 'named' engine.

Stay tuned....regular updates will be attempted !!!

(PS It was quite disturbing how smoothly this post went, must have been holding my tongue the right way this time ?? Thanks for the help Ray ! - Notice the link !! woohoo)



I have just spent several hours trying to do what should, by all accounts, be a relatively simple task, uploading and placing images on a blog.

I am giving up now, due to the risk of irreparable damage being done to my computer due to sheer frustration. I even managed to get some text and HTML code mixed up, hence to odd coloured paragraph that thinks its a picture !

As you can see I have changed the template to full screen, which is ok, but I just cannot get the pics to go where I want them. They always end up at the top of post and the size of a table cloth !! The thumbnails work ok but I just want the image, without the all the other photobucket website stuff that goes with the thumbnail, and a nice sized pic on the blog that every other blog I look at seems to be able to do ! - I'm over it already....



Pic's on this post have been re uploaded on 2/8/09. No 'photobucket' link anymore and much more detail - GL

Enough talk - Let's get to it!

A standard (non streamlined) 38 class Pacific DJH white metal and brass kit built for a mate as a 40th gift (his wife paid for the kit, I just built and painted it!) about 8 years ago.
Finished in Bakers Verdant Green enamel, it took three attempts, several phone calls and the inventing of some new words to get the finish right, it is modeled in pristine "straight out of the shop" condition, hence the clean side rods, connecting rods and tyres and lack of dirt. The only weathering was Dulcote and the handling it has had over the years.
The lining is a WAO kit, the valances were lined in sections as the complete decal was too much of a handful. Some of the boiler bands also resulted in some new words being invented as well!
It has a tender full of real coal and a Kerroby crew that never seem to do much.
The headlight is a lens that Lloyd Sawyer used to sell and the name escapes me - as do many things these days.....

This loco has had a rough start to life, one of the owners daughters picked up the box one day with a little too less pressure on the box sides and the whole lot went careering into a tile floor nose first, sorry no pics, several spare parts, some judicious straightening and a lick of paint and all was good again.Originally built to run DC, when the owner was bitten by 'the bug' 3822 arrived back at the LLC&W Workshops with a strange looking component to be fitted, I think it was called a 'dee-coe-da'? Wires like cat hairs, lot's of 'em, and all different pretty colours to boot. Lots of shiny tiny ity-bity tronical stuff stuck to a bit of green plastic ! Conversation went something like this: "What's this do?" "I dunno, can you fit it ?" "Fit it where?" "I dunno. Its for deeceecee layouts" "What ? Have you read the instructions?" "Don't be stupid, that's your job." " Right o, where did I put that soldering iron ?"

After scaling back to the bare four wires required to make the thing move it was off to Ray Pilgrim's place to see if worked. This thing ran like a clock on DC but we were about to enter the dark world of "the extra C".

Quite a few DJH kits use a pick up system called 'half live'. There are no actual pickups on the loco, it uses the the wheels (non insulated) on one side of the loco and the same set up on the tender but on the opposite side or rail. So motor connections are fairly simple, one terminal to the loco chassis and the other to the tender. Its in the latter part that the trouble starts as far as DCC is concerned.

Apart from the fact that a white metal and brass locomotive is a giant, rolling short circuit looking for somewhere to strike, the path that the DCC signal takes from the rail to the decoder, via the tender, in standard form, is fraught with danger. From the rail to the live wheel, to the pin point end of the axle, to the bearing cup (usually glued in), to the bogie side frame, to the bogie spreader, to the bogie screw/nut/spring, to the tender body, to the tender coupler pin, to the loco draw bar, to the decoder 'pickup' wire washer/tab, where the first actual soldered connection is encountered !!

That's 11 non soldered electrical connections for the signal to travel through, if done in standard 'off the instructions' form. I should add that DJH/ARKits make no claim that the instructions are 'DCC friendly' as they were mostly written well before DCC came into fashion.

The fix for this is to fabricate some 'axle wiper' type pickups from 0.5 mm phospher bronze wire. These are soldered to the bogie pivot washer and lightly bear on all 4 tender axles, a wire, approx the same gauge as for the motor, is soldered to the other side of the washer and connected directly to the appropriate decoder wire. If the decoder was being fitted in the tender the actual decoder wire could be used. This has cut out 10 of the 11 non soldered joints ! This does not increase the number of pickups but makes them a whole lot more reliable. Should you wish to take things to the next level I have heard that PC board can be used to make pivoting pick up mounting plates, fitted to each bogie with pickups on each wheel. This would double the amount of tender pickups! Good luck! The pickups described here and shown in the pics, were made and fitted by Ray Pilgrim.

The other annoying problem with this kit, and others, is the tendancy for the front (and rear in this case) bogie retaing nut/screw to come loose and fall off during running. The obvious solution here would be glue, but this makes tuning and repairs a bit painful.

In the case of the front bogie a better fix is to remove the screw and file a small 'flat', about 2 or 3 threads wide, on one side on the end of the screw. Then drill a 0.4 or 0.5 mm hole in the middle of the filed flat. Form up a clip out of 0.4 mm brass wire with some round nosed pliers and use this like a 'split pin' to hold the bogie on the screw. If the bogie is adjusted to the right height using the nut, mark this point, file the flat and drill the hole at the appropriate point and the nut can be discarded and the bogie can be held in place with the pin and a washer without any problems. If you need to raise the bogie slightly then add extra washers as required. This tip courtesy of Ian Dunn.

The rear bogie on the 38 is a bit different. A screw passes through the body then the bogie pivot, then into a threaded spacer in the chassis. If this screw is tightened too much the bogie wont move in any direction, not enough and the screw and the bogie will fall out. The fix is similar to the front bogie. Remove the brake rigging plate from the underside of the chassis and fit an M2 screw through the threaded spacer from above so it is pointing down. Refit the plate and bogie and trim the screw so there is just enough protruding to file the flat and drill the hole. Note: If this screw is left too long it will foul on points.

Should you wish to improve front bogie articulation even more then fit a brass tube 'sleeve' to the bogie screw. Carefully file out the slot in the bogie to a loose fit, but not too loose, over the sleeve. Good side to side movement is required but not excessive 'fore and aft' movement. This prevents the bogie from becoming 'hung up' on the thread of the the bogie screw.



Epping '09 ( or 'Recession 09?' )

I hadn't been to the Epping exhibition for quite a few years, or any other other suburban exhibition with the exception of Hurstville for that matter, so when the opportunity presented itself I was not disappointed.

Spread out through the buildings of Epping Boys High it had a very different atmosphere to bigger exhibitions but shared a few similarities as well. The layouts were to a very high standard with a couple of new ones ( to me anyway) 'Brooklyn @ 3am' - a TV set sized layout that depicted suburban/industrial switching (shunting) and 'Bowen Creek' - a larger but similar in style layout depicting a single line country station. The detail in these layouts was outstanding, both have raised the bar in exhibition layouts. Simple in track plan and operation, although Brooklyn was quite innovative, but the attention to detail, which draws the viewer in, was astounding.

The other thing which stood out was the attendance and the hiding that both wallet and plastic appeared to be copping.

I arrived around 8.00am to help the CEO of Eureka Industries set up. The exhibition opened to the public at 10.00am and there were a few keen souls queued up already! At 9.30 the queue was at least 100m long, from the ticket booth to the car park anyway. By 11.00am the main hall was gridlocked - seriously gridlocked, and the armfuls of merchandise being lugged around was unreal.

Whilst not wanting to go into sales estimates I can say that at least two commercial operators underestimated the amount of stock required to meet the demands of punters on the day!

Recession, economic downturn - sorry, no evidence sighted!

Can't wait to see the Liverpool exhibition and the effect that the economic climate has there - or not.


What's in a name ?

Thank you Gents for your positive feedback - mostly!

As expected the name, or it's length, generated some interest. I can only claim credit for it's application, not it's creation. That must go to one who is well known, to those who responded (via email), for his attention to "vocal detail" and "written description" - I think that's a fairly kind and accurate assessment ? What say you Lance D ?

So in keeping true to the originator and in response to that other comment, I have reverted to the original and longer name - so there !


Getting out of my comfort zone.

This is intended to be a place to showcase my efforts at the "workshop". Over a period of time I hope to post on current and past projects and hopefully generate a bit of discussion and answer questions, also to encourage others to set up a "workshop". It will also force me to 'up the ante' on my photography skills as well.

It will also be a place to have a bit of a ramble (no, not the Friday night kind), comment on whatever happens to be relevant to the hobby at the time and perhaps quash a rumor or two.

Whilst being a strong supporter of the current RTR climate that has surged through the market place in the last few years I am also a strong proponent of the BYO (Build Your Own) market as well and promoting the skills that go with it. They must be preserved and the kit manufacturers that feed this aspect of the hobby must be supported.

I have gained enormous satisfaction over the years building everything from an S truck to an AD60. I have never built a layout ( but hope to one day), but have been involved in the hobby, in one way or another, for around 35 years. I have made some great mates over the years (one of whom came up with the name for this blog without realising it at the time) and believe that our hobby fosters friendships by it's very nature. I've had the privilege to operate on some iconic layouts, be a part of the exhibition scene (the highs and lows) and contribute to the convention circuit as well. It has been quite a ride, hopefully it's not over yet.

This blog is definitely uncharted territory, I don't like anything I can't fix with a box of tools and computers absolutely come under that umbrella.

If I have a concern, other than my computer letting me down, it would be that this blog takes up valuable modelling time.

Let's see what happens.