Locked Up !

No, not me, the Cave !

Making the most of my last block of days off and the fact that most of these jobs could be done by one person, I got stuck into it and here is the result.

Cutting in the doorway required removing a couple of sheets either side of the opening so the wall girts could be 'coaxed' into their final position. No top door jamb brackets were supplied so it was off to local hardware, again.

Pre hung doors, gotta' luv'em!, dropped straight in first go. A hand full of tek screws later and it's in.

Cut a piece of cladding to go above the door, refit the wall sheets, another days work to add guttering and down pipes and there you go!

Here's the view from the back and the side wall now replaces the fence. Neighbour's happy as his veggie patch is 6" wider. The old fence frame will come down - one day!

The hardest part of the cladding stage (and the producer of the most naughty words) was trimming the gable flashing off vertical with the edge of the guttering with snips. The DVD made it look so flamin' easy. I even have scars!

Next stage will be a roughing out of the electricals. My electrician is also a keen railway modeller and is building a 6M x 10M layout room himself, at least we will be speaking the same language when it come to explaining what my needs are.

Then comes the insulation, lining, painting, flooring and air conditioning - now I'm depressed again. I thought it was time to start some benchwork !


The Cave gets a lid (almost) and 3265 gets a home.

A productive few days off with some corrugated colourbond getting heaved into position as 'lockup' gets a little closer.
Chief Construction Engineer Hardie (looking more like an Italian fisherman on this occasion!)
rolled up for another stint and we discovered why there are people who do this for a living and the importance 'checking for square' when building anything.
I thought that I had been pretty vigilant in this regard, checking, adjusting, checking again etc etc. Frames went up ok, walls went up ok, roof went on ok...nah! I knew the slab was square but something went awry in the framing stage I think, as when the roof sheets were were set atop the frames and lined up with the end wall they were not square to the side walls, the disturbing part was that it was more pronounced on one half of the roof than the other!...go figure.
After a frustrating hour or so trying to work out what was going on, it ended up being a case of 'put and look' with each roof sheet and trying to get each sheet progressively back into square. The side wall is more critical than the end wall as the relationship between the guttering and the ends of the sheets is pretty important to get rid of storm water into the guttering rather than over it!
It took about 3 hours to get 8 sheets up (not quite half the roof) and secured in place, and about 10 minutes to silicon up the holes where the tek screws missed the roof girts completely after sheets were re aligned.

At the end of the day I offered a prayer of thanks....for gable flashing, as it will certainly cover a multitude of sins.

From the bench.

The saga of 3265 came to an end with the addition of a crew and some coal and will be delivered to it's new, and very patient, owner shortly.
Many lessons learned from this project. Whilst I am a proponent of DCC it really does cause a 'raising of the bar' when building locomotives. I suppose I have built around 30 or so white metal loco's but this was the first to have DCC and sound fitted. The lack of 'electrical tolerance' of DCC decoders and more so when sound is involved, will cause this builder to refine assembly methods and be more vigilant of potential electrical problems during construction rather than trying to fix them afterwards. I have described these kits as "rolling short circuits" before and this project has shown this to be even truer on this occasion. I have at least another dozen of these kits in storage, with a few more on the list. It was my intention to sound equip them all as I eventually build them, and probably still will, but with some trepidation as I tune my 'DCC sense' to spot problems as they become apparent.

Some pics of 2606 are included, not built by me but required some attention and a dusting up for that 'in service' look. The side and connecting rods had been left silver and the paint work was 'as delivered'. A coat of black metal etch on the rods followed by a light coat of TLB 'Grotty Black' all over and some weathering using Humbrol Brown 113 and a little gray primer. Finished off with Testors Dulcote, which also masked the edges of the number decals somewhat as well.


Still alive....

Someone said to me the other day "the blog's a bit quiet lately, what's happening with the cave?"

April and May were 'post free', this is the first time this has happened since I started "the Works", and pretty well 'everything else modelling' took a back seat due to some fairly serious ongoing health problems with my parents.

The cave did get a bit of a kick along today thanks to some help from my mate Lindsay, who also helped with the slab pour, with his help we were able to get both end walls sheeted in less than 2 hours. This bit of progress has inspired me to get a move on and get the thing locked up as soon as possible. Thanks Lindsay - again! Next stage with be to insulate and sheet the roof and seal things up to satisfy the bush fire requirements for my area.

3265 is finally a runner with the help of Marcus Amman and Ray Pilgrim who both played a part in it's commissioning. I have learned that Romford tender wheels are most DCC unfriendly. The hub of the wheel is actually wider than the tire and touches against the lip of the top hat bearing in the bogie side frame causing all sorts of short circuit problems. Wheel sets were replaced with SEM axles and all is well. Thanks Marcus for ID'ing the problem and Ray for your 'programming persistence'.

Not much else has been happening on the bench of late, unlike my counterparts North of Narrabri and at Splitters Swamp Creek, some very nice rolling stock work there Blair and Geoff, if you haven't seen it yet check it out from my blog list.

I'm off to Epping tomorrow to give Ron a hand on the Eureka stand, so stop by and say g'day if you're around.



The Meccano set I never had.

No I haven't left the country but I did leave the state for a while. Not long back from nearly 3 weeks away touring Gippsland and southern Victoria. Caught up with friends and was able to get to the Healsville Railway Festival, a mix of model and 12" to the foot railways held during the Vic Labour Day long weekend.

As you can see from the pics I have struck a blow on the "cave" project. Two fairly full on days work (one started at 7.30!, most out of character!) with a pretty impressive result, if I don't say so myself!

Big thanks to Layne, who actually volunteered with no coercion whatsoever, definately would not have got this far without his help.

The wall frames I assembled and clad the day before on the slab. The gap is for the entry door which is cut in last. Chief Contruction Engineer Hardie can be seen here admiring our handy work. The walls, at this point, are supported by nothing else other than the orange ropes! Before you even think it....no, we did not drop them. Everything, to this point, went disturbingly to plan!? You can see the assembled rafters on the ground, next step.

Rafters in place, ropes remaining, just in case. These gave us the most grief of the whole job. Getting them at the same angle and the same height was frustrating and time consuming. The first attempt resulted in an 80mm difference from one end to the other. Not long after this stage my neighbor stuck his head over the fence and said "Starting the benchwork tomorrow ??"

Around 5.30 in the afternoon this was where we left it! Cladding the end walls next, then the roof insulation goes in with the roofing to follow. Resting tomorrow for sure.

From the other side. The pipe work in the fore ground is the remnants of the fence, which proved quite handy to lean on.


3265 - Ex the Paint Shop

A couple of pics of the finished paint job.

I think this paint job was more difficult than 3822 (from a previous post) because the the 32 is a physically smaller loco and has more plumbing to work around. When it came to masking up it was just that much harder because of its size. Doing the boiler bands in sections was difficult when it came to lining up the short sections in a nice straight line.

All that remains now is a coal load and some tender tools, a crew and a test run on Bylong.

In the next post(s) I will cover the 'process' that I use to paint white metal.
(Sorry Geoff, this has been a long time coming and I realise I'm doing a 'backflip' but after a rethink I decided to make a post of it.)


"I have a dream".....and now I have a slab to build it on!!!

2 concretors, 6 'volunteers', 4 wheel barrows and 6.8 cubic metres of concrete later....the slab lives!

6.30am...beep,beep,beep etc, this can't be happening.....it's slab day......must.......get......up! Didn't get home from Ron's till 12.30am,.......must.........get.......up! Slowly reality kicks in, noise outside, crikey! concretors already here!

Walk, more like stagger, to back door, geez' it's dark out there? Overcast bigtime! Short conversation with concretor "Might rain mate" Noooooooooooooooooooooo! Not today! "We'll give it half an hour". Tick tick tick tick, longest half hour of my life to date! No rain. YES! Concrete confirmed, 'volunteers' onsite, wheel barrows serviceable. Tick tick tick tick, wheres the bloody concrete? Tick tick tick tick. I know, I'll put the kettle on etc, etc. 8.45 am, what's that noise ?, sound like a truck, a big truck, yep. Lets do this!

Form a queue at the back of the concrete truck, first load done....down comes the rain!

First barrow load.......also coincides with rain starting.

Last barrow load......note plastic covering slab to stop rain damage. 20" after last barrow was tipped the rain stopped!

Plastic off, start floating. By 4.00pm the formwork was off. Two week wait now for a good cure before I can start drilling into the slab to fix dyna-bolts and begin putting the 'Mecano' set together.


3265 in the paint shop.

Had a bit of bench time yesterday so I got out the masking tape and air brush and this is the end result.
I forgot just how fiddly these 'multi colour' jobs are! Dirty, grimy black is so much easier and they all end up like that anyway!
Started with Navy Dressing (Bakers Middle Buff) on the roof after masking up the edge frame which had to stay in black. Gave that a few hours to go off and then masked up the whole roof, smoke box, chassis foot plates and splashers, except the sand boxes and 374 pieces of masking tape later I cut loose with the maroon. Had a little bit of 'blow over' from maroon to black but otherwise went ok. A few touch ups with the brush were required. A bit more tape and the buffer beam was red!
I also fitted another set of pickups to the insulated drivers as well - what a fiddly job that was. Definitely one to be done much earlier in the assembly process.
Will start the decaling soon - mmmm boiler bands and tender lining, can't wait.

Must say this shot looks a lot more 'maroonier' than the last one. Just opened the curtains and turned all the lights off. Natural light and about 20 seconds on F25 provided a much better result.


3265's headlight - Mk 3

As a follow on to previous posts re this little challenge here is the 3rd version (attempt) at getting some forward illumination happening for the P.
I had purchased some of these tiny LED's quite some time ago from Gwydir Valley Models and at the time thought they would make great marker lights for future projects, never realising how much light they emitted until Ray Pilgrims' article in AMRM and his blog (Bylong) post on yard lighting.
They will really be a useful item for many different lighting applications. They come pre wired, which is a major plus for something this size, with about 150mm of two very fine insulated twisted wire attached. The insulation is the paint on kind so be careful when pulling the wires through metal sheet etc or it could easily be worn through and short out. A 1 or 2 watt 1K ohm resistor, spliced into the positive wire, will also required to tone down the output of the LED as well.
When I finished removing the 3mm LED from the headlight housing of the 32 I filled the surplus holes I had drilled with solder and drilled a 1.5 mm hole in between and towards the rear of the two headlight supports. This will take the wiring out of the headlight and into the smoke box via a countersunk 2 mm hole drilled into it directly below where the headlight will sit. I countersank the smoke box hole to make it easier to thread the wires through the two holes at the same time.
Next the headlight housing was soldered to the top of the smoke box. After the obligatory cleaning ritual, the the air brush was pressed into service and the body of 3265 had it's first coat of paint!
After test fitting the LED into the headlight housing I had found it difficult to get the LED to sit square in the housing. After some brain wracking I cut out a disc of 1 mm or so styrene and filed it up almost fit in the housing. I drilled a 1mm hole in the centre, counter sunk it to take the wire connections from the LED, threaded the wire through the hole and superglued the LED in place. After the glue went off I again test fitted the now styrene mounted LED into the housing and carefully employed the file until it was as perfect a fit as possible. I then treaded the LED wires into and through the headlight and down into the smoke box. The LED was a nice snug fit and after squaring up and testing to make sure it still worked, the styrene was fixed into place with a drop of superglue. The finished assembly looks like a rather perfect fried egg ! Will experiment now with a lens to try and diffuse the light and make it appear more 'yellow'.

The 'fried egg' and headlight housing before assembly.

Headlight and 'fried egg' fitted and painted.

3265 loco in black 'Mirotone' and the tender in black and maroon. I don't know about your monitor (or my photography!) but the tender almost looks indian red! I can assure it's not - Bakers Maroon - and it looks a lot more 'maroonier' (new word!) in the flesh. I looked at the Trainorama maroon 32 photo from the website and it looks pretty 'tuscany- indian reddy' to me there as well.


Bogies, logs and brake gear

My first modeling efforts for the new year involved an attempt to progress a little further with 3265 and try to clear a few unfinished project off the bench.

This UME (MLE) is an AR Kits model with a Sydney Hobbies log load chained to the deck, although the detail hounds will notice that the logs are not actually chained to anything! The UME kit has , and still is, been around for yonkers. Whilst not having the detail of the the latest Austrains offering, or the price tag and weight, it is the basis of a fairly accurate model. With some added detail parts it comes up very nicely. I have not given this one the detail treatment as is was more a loading exercise.

The SH log load comes as an unpainted one piece resin casting. First thing is a good scrub with warm soapy water and let dry. A coat of your favorite self etch primer, Bakers in this case, followed by a base coat of whatever med brown you have in stock. I used a 20 year old tin of Humbrol, gotta love that lead, lasts for ever ever and I never had the urge to drink it once ! Follow on by brushing two or three other shades of whatever browns you have and finish off by streaking on some black here and there. Use the dry brushing method on all but the first coat so as not to ply on too thick. I did a second one of these and had to do a bit of work with the back of a knife blade to get some definition in the grain detail so there is some variation from casting to casting. You can also run a fine black line with a thin brush where the logs join together so they appear to be separate logs and not a mass. The chain is from Model Builders and is 40 links to the inch. Cut to length and secured under the logs with a dab of CA. I secured the load to the wagon using PVA on top of the stanchions so it will be easy to remove if needed. The whole thing is then given a good going over with Testors Dulcote to cover the little indiscretions.

Here is the tender for 3265, minus the sound equipment, with its first coat of paint. Mirotone satin black metal primer. Next will be the maroon on the tender sides.

Tender bogies for 3265 with the second set of phosphor bronze pickups added. A small piece of PC board was glued wit CA to the bogie spreader then the pickups were formed and soldered to the PC board. Fine wire was then soldered to the PC board for electrical connection and the pickups adjusted by judiciously bending them away from the wheel tyres till they just touch. Too much pressure and the wheel sets will not turn properly.

Some Bergs BCW and BSV wagons, 2 of each, I purchased from a deceased estate already assembled. I have added brake detail from a number of sources including Ozzy Models, Silvermaz and some scratch building. Full brake gear, including the handbrake chain and release rods, and grade control equipment has been depicted. These have since had a coat of primer but the detail stands out better for the pic beforehand. These four wagons will finish off my stock train of bogie and four wheelers.