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!