Saturday, July 31, 2010
First up is the railfan. I must admit that this months issue leaves me a bit cold. I'm not quite sure why. The Andrew Gorrie photo essay on the Wellington ferry terminal is (as always) a bit different and worthy of a second look. There is a collection of 1960's south island photos which are reasonably interesting. Wab 794 trip to the west coast and the ongoing series on old bogie carriages round out the issue features. There's just something missing, and maybe its my favorite branch line series.
Then to the local rag. This issue is largely devoted to the biannual convention. I was lucky enough to first up receive a misprinted issue. A quick e-mail to the guild and a replacement copy was in the mail, despite the responsible guild member being on holiday at the time (2 thumbs up for service). From the photo spreads I see that facial hair is back in (when did that happen?). There is a sizable photo spread of the competition models. I always find this interesting to see just what everyone else is doing detail and painting wise. I was a bit disappointed that there was only one NZ120 model entered. The write up is comprehensive for those who weren't there. For the modern image fans there is an article on the Fc log wagon. Oh, and part 2 in the history of NZ120, yet again without the Internet links. Minuses are the ever present group comments including a large Chch section (where is the promised guild website; its a much better location for this) However for me the true star of the show would have to be the best performance by a mustache at an awards ceremony by 'El Presidente'. My misprinted issue has this in the true terror of duplicate (I should put it on trademe as it could be a future collectors item).
So, this quarter for me is really a draw.
One thing that has been noted by the peanut galley is the increasing number of pages devoted to obituaries. This seems to be a growth area unfortunately. What will be ineresting to see is who picks up the North yard range
Friday, July 30, 2010
DB says: That might sound appealing if you managed to buy Otira and are reading this from its cold and miserable bowels. Over here, its been 30 degrees C in the kitchen for the last week ...at night. Personally, I'd rather be sitting under the damp veranda of the Otira hotel with a ham and cheese toastie in one hand and a cider in the other, watching three banker locos idling away by the station, their exhaust rolling lazily up to the still misty heavens...
But I digress.... I managed to sweat a few minutes away in the train room last Sunday evening in a feeble attempt to progress the passenger train a little. My first thoughts were to throw some blue paint on carriage sides, but then something sensible in my head thought it might be best to do some work in their nether regions first because getting the bogies mounted might require the use of paint-damaging power tools.
You may recall from the earlier application of these Kato bogies, that the bolsters of these things are oddly stepped down in the middle, and literally on top of these, the nice pinpoint copper bearings/current collectors stick up as you may see below on the stock bogie at left.
To get around this, I crudely applied sidecutters to the task of removing the tabular protrusions from the copper pickups (will paint or permanent-marker what's left later on), and used two small washers per bogie to lift the bolsters away from the resin bodies. To deal with the 'downstep' in the middle, I removed the edges of the lower washer so it would fit within the step, and to stop it spinning around and making everything crooked, I lightly contact glued it in place per the item on the right of the above pic.
The application of a power drill, washers and screws later had me staring at the following:It's all a bit hard to see in the pic because of the masses of white, but they look fairly decent. I'm ok with the coupling distance and will make up some sort of concertina/bellows between the cars later on to fill this in and hide the Rapido couplers. I think the ride height is ok, but I can always unscrew things and slip another washer in there later on if I want to jack them up a bit.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Hello to all who have expressed fear that I have run off with your $12 bogienotes and am sunning myself in Hawaii. No such luck.
I've had a busy time at work lately so I apologise for not being on email in a while. Just to vent, last Tuesday I got home at 8pm, had a 2am call, up at 5:30 to travel into the city, back home at 8:30pm in time for 9pm, 11pm, 12:30 and another 2am call. I really need to move to France, where one of my guys is leaving tomorrow to take 4 of his 7 weeks of annual leave entitlement... on top of a 35 hour statutory work week and it's impossible to fire people there... On the plus side, my personal madness should ease off over the next month as I move over to another job that should allow more time for modeling, sleeping and drinking. And perhaps even a visit back to the motherland.
Be that as it may; the banking system being what it is, I have no doubt that your deposits arrived in my account and will check if I get a chance tonight, make up a list for the blog and get mailing these things away.
Again, apologies for the delay, but given that you've been waiting for these for 6 months already I'm hoping you can hold off a few days more.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Looking at the bottom right of the plan reveals a multitude of tracks running at a variety of interesting angles. There is a small loco shed out on the roadside fence as well. The stock yards which I could not initially find (I did have the size increased) were at the top left, and were shunted off the line running into Wellington.
I'm quite glad I found this, buried as it was in a pile of scans etc. With a small diesel shunter it might make quite a neat 'non-standard' model for those who are not overly keen on modeling NZR prototypes, but want something different.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
First up the wheels.
On the left is a Parkside Dundas solid wheel, and on the right is a 2mm FS 8 split spoked wheel (both 6mm). I was surprised I had ordered these (the catalog is a bit hazy in places), but they will do close enough for the old style NZR 6 spoke star wheel, and the moulding is so beautiful. The wheels are to NMRA standards if a bit on the narrow side. They need to be regauged down to 9mm so I'll have to work out how to do that properly.
Next up, brass W irons.
These have holes for the pinpoint axles to be soldered in, and then they fold up and cosmetic sideframes are attached to the outside. These will go under an La with Trackgang solebars on the outside to see how they look and run on my trackwork.
This is a bogie inner like the W irons above and is about 4'6". The intention is for these to go under yet another guards van, possibly retrofitted under my 30' clerestory van with trackgang 4'10" passenger bogie sideframes on the outside.
Finally, the old archbar 4'6" bogies.
These fold up like an origami puzzle, and are incredibly fine. I'll have to get some serious soldering practice in before I attempt these.
So, pending how these wheels run on my new trackwork, I think I may have been seduced by the sirens song. I just hope our relationship doesn't end badly...
Sunday, July 25, 2010
There was mention of a new Guild website that is due to go live 'soon'. Now, given this was discussed at Easter, obviously 'soon' is a precise measurement up there with 'whatever' and destined to join the metre, kilogram and candela in the international system of measurement. 3 months on and there's been nay a peep on this topic. Now I know that the guild runs on the picture of the smell of an oily rag (I think some times it wishes it could have a look at a picture of the smell of an oily rag) and still manages to produce a world quality print magazine that is the journal, but there are times where I think that it could be a bit more forward looking. My thinking is that maybe there needs to be a rethink of the communication routes of information. There are items that are suited to the journal (station data, how-to articles etc) and things that may well be better suited to the net like product announcements and reviews, and also other Internet links. The latter is a current bugbear of mine in that my single article on the history of our illustrious scale was cut into 3 parts, and the links to our forum and this blog will be published 6 months after the start of the article series. If I had known I would have written it completely differently.
The other question is; where are the S scale modelers online then? This is the strongest scale in the country and from what I'm aware has 2 active website/blogs online (Grant Morells site and the reactivated NZfinescale). Is S scale just for the older modeler? Where are the 9mm guys in all of this?
I will admit that I'm not counting the Yahoo E-mail lists here, but these seem to be only really used by the same people, with a large mass of lurkers suffering in silence.
In comparison to this, Nz120 has a forum (thanks entirely to the efforts of Wes) and several active blogs. How did we manage to lead the charge further into cyber space. Where are the rest of the countries modelers? I guess there would be an argument of 'Oh, but we are too busy modeling to share what we are doing'. Some how we manage to do it here week in and out, even if there isn't a lot going on. You don't have to post a lot, just the occasional update on what you are doing with a few pictures to demonstrate whats going on. Its really not that hard.
Sort of on topic, the local group currently seems to consist of a handful of chaps who are actively modeling, and the rest of the group. I'm trying to come up with an idea of some sort of challenge for them to get some of the armchair modelers back at the bench burning their fingers like the rest of us (well, maybe just me, but I'm getting to like the smell of burning flesh, which is a good and bad thing depending on how you look at it).
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Well, not much on today. I might do some community outreach to the elderly this afternoon, as I need another eye cast on my hand laid track. That and post the Grassmere point formation to Wellington.
So, sit back, have a cuppa, and have a look at some more photos from the 2mm Expo here (and the links)
Friday, July 23, 2010
Back to my problems in hand with the monstrosity I've decided to build. Having finished the track on the first module, attention then turns to the second module. Unfortunately this will possible have the most complex piece of trackwork ever attempted on an NZ120 model to date.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
So, what does everyone think. What sort of challenge would encourage you to build a small layout. I'm talking to the vast number of lurkers that we have out there, not just the 10 or so people who regularly reply, or the handful that are already building a layout. I would even be tempted to build a smaller layout than the beast I'm currently stuck with.
(I must try to track down some examples that have worked overseas to encourage more fence sitters to build a layout)
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Recently after delivery of a batch of J sheep wagon etches, the question of 'how much' was broached.
'Oh, just whatever' came the reply, not realising that 'whatever' is really not what it use to be (the entire whatever market having suffered a serious crash a few years back which killed the driver outright).
Fast forward a few months, and While his children were merrily redecorating the floor of our house with Pizza, Am Fet (I wonder if he will eventually become an acronym, and if so, will Alec Fenton be impressed?) looked covetously at my modules and commented 'that track looks nice..'.
A few hints and a track plan of somewhere called Grassmere (I'm sure I've been there and stood in the lake, but I recall I was in England at the time, and I can't remember seeing any piles of salt, just fat lost poms wandering round with GPS units) and I figured that he might actually want something built.
The first step was to actually agree on just what was wanted, and several iterations of plans were sent and rejected until I realised I was being sent the same plan several times over, despite my misgivings. Ah well, I wasn't going to have to operate it, so it was time to start. Fortunately a parcel from Woodsworks had arrived and I had enough rail to start work.
The first step was to translate the track plan into something that I could work with. Fortunately I had received a copy of the actually track layout and could then toss the 3rd planit rubbish away.
This is what the plan actually shows.
The important parts of the arrangement are the 2 points face to face, and the back line not quite parallel with the front line at the packaging plant. The back line also has to be straight for at least the length of a modern wagon (however many millimeters that is, but I think about 6" in a real measurement). Armed with this the trusty drafts people sat down and drew the area out full sized, with all the track radii marked in. Due to local planning constraints (something about the layout living on the top of a cupboard in the kitchen I think) the track layout had been somewhat optimistic, and so I was forced to use what I consider to be an absolute minimum radius of 600mm
The next step was to place all the sleepers in position with the aid of double sided tape. Once this was done tracklaying could start in earnest.
Tracklaying proceeded using my usual methods. I must translate these into something everyone else can use at some point.
The first step really is to get all the outer tracks in place, which then locates the frogs. I'm going to have a chat with the local Gurus as the frog areas are still not working out as well as I had hoped that they would, and I need a second pair of eyes (or 3rd and 4th as there will be optivisors involved). However they worked fine and a test bogie ran throught them without the checkrails installed.
And finally the finished product. The throwbars are not straight (I might go back and fix the worst offender tonight) but it's all there, and I just have to go through and gap all the rails now, as well as clean up some of the soldering mess. I just hope that that chap Cabbage doesn't look at it too closely. He won't be impressed....
(Its not bad for 3 evenings work, and the total cost of materials is about $10. Building something thats going to live on top of a cupboard in the kitchen, priceless..no wait hang on a minute...)
Monday, July 19, 2010
I work for KiwiRail (I used to work for ONTRACK, but lets not go there, that wound is still too raw). As of 3 weeks ago, I now have a new desk on the 3rd floor of the railway station....in with the Engineers. Weird people Engineers, especially railway ones (which, lets face it, is a bit of a sheltered workshop). Once when ringing up Hutt Workshops to arrange a photo sortie for Magikan on the damaged DQ that was languishing in the paddock, my contact there answered the phone with "Good Afternoon, KiwiRail DQ Photo Department?"
But I digress.
My desk has many fine attributes, such as having nice view over to Oriental Bay and Mt Victoria, being close to Train Control to inquire on how the crossword is going and what on earth is 12 down, and within sneezing distance of the microfiche archives......hence the embarrassment.
This morning, I suddenly thought "There is a drawer in there for private siding plans...What if I look up Dominion Salt Co...."
Why on earth I didnt go looking for this months ago when I first drew up the plans, I'll never know. However, its now in Nelson at the Track Making Factory of Druff and Co. I await the results with undisguised excitement....Huzzah....
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Huh? Bogies, loads and loads of bogies. Note the thinner main frames, proper 'round' cylinders and freestanding brake linkages (click on the following pic for full effect):A bit of an improvement over the prototypes.
The majority of the pile in the first pic will be in the mail on Monday heading to paid-up members of the DX-bogie-side club on a first-paid first-served basis (payment instructions within)
I ordered almost enough for everyone as I'm not stupid enough to plop all that money down to be left with a load of leftovers. Be in or ...not!
Saturday, July 17, 2010
After somehow surviving a holiday back to the Antipodes (i.e South of Christchurch) I'm now trying to mentally gird my loins before the assault on all the work that has backed up in my absence.
Anyway, on my travels I came across this wee pearler of a building located at the north end of the Temuka yard:
I'm picking it was once the Temuka Flour Mill (no sh*t, Sherlock):
Anyway, what attracted me to the building (apart from the "multimedia" approach to its construction) was what looked like a loading facility on the south end of the building:
I couldnt get close enough to have a better look (these shots were taken from the adjoining road crossing), but to me it looks like there could have been some form of chute loading arrangement under there, or at the very least a loading dock and doors. Plus those fire escapes would make a neat detail on a model.
The middle "tower" building looks rather dramatic in this setting, and I think the raised concrete ridge on the roof is the sign of an internal firewall?
The lettering on the sides definitely adds to the look as well.
The final building on the right has an interesting roofline that complements the rest of the complex, and I have a weird feeling that the tower on the left replicates the angle on grain augers I have seen on farms in the area...so maybe this is the receival area? Plus it looks as if the rail siding carried onto here as well.
Anyway, a neat complex of buildings that wouldnt look out of place on a shelf layout as well as providing a few different spots to shunt wagons to and from.
Friday, July 16, 2010
Soldering iron set to melt and away we go. Even though it was only 6 straight sections of about 30cm it still took about 90 minutes to get it all done. I've left the track ends overhanging the edge of the baseboard and these will get cut back to the correct length when the track goes down on the next baseboard.
So, the track is down on the first (and by far the easiest of the 3 boards). Theres still a fair bit of work to do ironing out the rough spots and making sure that its all gapped in the right places. Its not the beginning of the end, but the end of the beginning.
(Oh, and the end of the module is square, its just the camera paralax thingy that makes it look like that).
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Speaking of which, and not that we were, but isn't it unsettling how one minute you're young and the next minute, you're not so young any more? I well remember the first time I saw U2s "Where The Streets Have No Name" video... that was twenty three years ago. I was made aware of this fact by one of my work colleagues' 12 year old son. I keep forgetting that in his presence, bringing up anything that happened before about 2005 is pretty much a waste of time. Fortunately I've been blessed by managing to avoid the scourge of the worldwide breeding epidemic that seems to have been going on for the past few billion years. Not that kids aren't fun, but it's nice being able to hand them back when their nappies need changing, or they cry a lot, or need a loan for a car etc. That's not fair - he's a great wee guy and if Claudia ever puts him up for sale (maybe not the other son) I might put in a bid.
Anyway, with that blog equivalent of freshly applied PolyFilla now behind us, I can report that I have finally recovered from my AO resin crisis. A fresh batch of 30-minute-cure stuff arrived and I got stuck into casting, using the whole 1L batch up in just a few days. One in the morning before work, one when I got home, another mid evening or before bed. That's one of the nice things about resin casting - instant gratification.
As feared, the first few of these will probably be junked because there were a few bits of residual stickiness in the nooks and crannies of the mold that took some cleaning out.
Yes, they are solid block castings. I had expected to put a 'plug' of rubber into the bottom of them, which would make them hollow to save resin and weight, but elected not to because this resin isn't that heavy, and I'm lazy. Excuses listed in reverse order. I want to get these things done and move on.
They are also cast in white resin rather than transparent as suggested by Steve4painting - an excellent idea, and one that I did consider, but my pusher of resins doesn't carry truly clear stuff, so for reasons of impatience and laziness and envy, greed, gluttony etc, I took the quick and easy route - so white they are.
The other nice thing about casting one-piecers like this in resin as that I basically have carriages now. No fiddling around trying to assemble sides and ends and roofs square and fill in the gaps. In theory I could plop on some bogies and paint and be done.
Yes, another crappy cameraphone pic in bad light... The AO front right is yet to have some fine sandpaper applied to the putty filling some air holes along the roof edge. When I remembered to run my stirring stick along those ledges in the mold (mid-pour) to free up the air bubbles I got very clean castings. On this one I obviously forgot...
And finally, it seems we won't be running anywhere near a full-strength-Tranz afterall - a quick recount of the Kinki Kato bogies I ordered from Japan last year, reveals that I only have enough left for 8 cars rather than the 10 I had thought. Did I mention that I studied accountancy at university?
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
then the next is "what are the conditions to be?".
Right, the first obvious thought is to be that it has to have 120 in it somewhere. Thus layout dimensions adding up to 120" are possible. however this could lead to some quite large layouts 9at 2' wide a layout could be 8' long) which is still a fair size. 1200 square inches could be a possibility, but some of our more mathematically challenged modelers could struggle with this. my other suggestion would be that it has to fit the Air NZ luggage size, namely be under 25kg and the 3 dimensions have to add up to 158cm.
Who else has any thoughts? should we also aim for a standard end board to connect them all? (say a 9' by 2" with a couple of holes and the track orientation set) or should they be stand alone type layouts?
Oh, and just to remind everyone, we are not an HOn3.5 blog as well (despite the flights of fancy of some of our writers, who will have to be taken to the basement for re-indoctrination). If we start catering to other scales we will have to let those S scale nutters on and who knows where that is going to end.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
This is where we stood from the call for expressions of interest:
Soooo, drop me an email, let me know your address, and I'll tell you where to drop the low-denomination unmarked sequential bills. $12.00 each including shipping:
Monday, July 12, 2010
And the final result?
A small step further on in the process.
Unfortunately I managed to snap one of the male joints on my universals so I'll have to buy another packet of them, keeping Mr Knight in coffee for another day...
Sunday, July 11, 2010
As part of the gold jubilee, the association organised a layout challenge, namely to build a working 2mm layout with a total area not greater than 9.42 square feet.
This resulted in (I think) 1/2 a dozen new layouts being built. The results can be seen here (among others), but I'll include a few examples that I think are more noteworthy or inspirational from an ideas point of view.
I like this simply from the 'its curved not straight' view. There's some serious metalwork holding those legs in place as well.
How many snow scenes to you see modeled this well? It feels cold just looking at it. For a more detailed look, there is a thread dedicated to its construction here on RMweb.
I've seen a few photos of this layout, but I've never realised just how small it was. It also features catenery for the electrics.
More pictures of this event can be found here.
Saturday, July 10, 2010
DB recalls: Now that I have a nice blue mold, I poured my first AO car last week with the dregs of some lumpy 30-minute resin clearly stamped "Use by April 2010." Whatta-mistakea-to-makea.
It came out moderately well at first glance, but to the touch there were a few sticky bits on the roof and ends. Dammit. The lumpy bits in 'part a' obviously didn't mix well with 'part b' and that consigns the casting straight to the bin (along with the leftover resin) as paint will never set on them.
The next attempt was with the 18-hour resin (all I had left, and similarly stamped although unopened). Don't know what happened here but the stuff didn't set in 3 days. Yuck. Not only is this a pain because you have to dump the globby, sticky mess of a casting, but it's also bleedin' hard to clean that gunk out of all your crevices. Eeeek. Thus your next one and a half otherwise-perfect castings might end up with gunky residue in the corners as well.
Nonetheless, after those two disasters and one possibly recoverable, I'm left with the first decent casting.
Thursday, July 08, 2010
Again, I find myself chasing trains around Sth Canterbury while letting the offspring systematicaly dismantle Grandad and Nana Druffs house. This morning saw me and the boy out in Nana Druffs red sportscar to see trains 920D and 923 cross in the Timaru yard.
Not much to report on that front, just about every train I see these days seems to have 7117 or 7199 on the front (and so it proved again today). However, holed up at the old car and wagon depot was this:
DX5483 is now the last DX in Blue since 5310 (with its funky long hood) was sent to Hutt shops, and was sitting here after stopping suddenly while on the head on 922 at Temuka last night. We had seen it leaving Dunedin earlier in the day (with a cloud of smoke as it crossed Blanket Bay) in attendance with DC4133, which is one of the few fruit salad DC's still in existance.
So where to now for 5483? Could it be time for KR now its KO'd??
Watch this space.....
Wednesday, July 07, 2010
So, today here is one for the history section. I've been sent another picture of Dunedin railway station which currently resides at the Otago model engineers, where you can see part of the road side (that no one ever saw).
The 8 sided tower was one of the hardest bits to do, and I still don't think its quite right. Not bad for a model made from cardboard on a students living allowance. Even more surprising considering that I had discovered alcohol and the future lady of the house by this stage.
Looking at the near wall, I think its got a bit mouldy over the years
Monday, July 05, 2010
Sunday, July 04, 2010
Amateur fettler and his brood descended upon Chateau dandruff last night, so theres been a bit of work involved after that. The car finally no longer smells of Pizza, and I think we have found all the bits that the kids left under things. I took the opportunity to hand back the Dj underframe, and also divest myself of the Railfan doubleups I have acquired in Trademe auctions. There were also one or 2 items dropped off which will require a bit of work before they grace the electrons of the blog. There may be some modeling later this evening, but at the moment I'm just enjoying the sun.
Saturday, July 03, 2010
Well what a few weeks we've had.
My elderly bumbling neighbour inadvertantly burned out my other neighbour's house while attempting to fix her plumbing with a blowtorch (after falling down our stairs two years ago, slipping into his pool, falling off a ladder, writing off his car in an unusual accident in front of the post office last year and driving down one of the divided motorways for 9 miles in the wrong direction three months ago. But be that as it may).
All this excitement, coupled with an overdose of work, visiting rellies, the soccer, and the oppressive heat and humidity of an early-running summer has meant things have been pretty quiet in the train room of late.
From time to time I've applied some Testors filler and fine sandpaper to my AO car master, which has slowly been evolving towards acceptability. This model seems to have been going on forever, which for a modeller as impatient as me is both rare and frustrating, especially as this isn't exactly a fancy schmancy item.
My modeling runs on momentum. Once I stop it's hard to get me started again, so best not to stall even when burbling along in first gear. With that in mind I stuck the thing in an old Kato clear plastic box and poured some rubber over it yesterday. It will be interesting to see how a resin copy comes out as I haven't made something this big since my first dabbles in NZ120 molding way back in the Crustacious Period.
Apologies for another cameraphone pic, but as they say "The best camera there is? The one you have with you when you need one!"
Friday, July 02, 2010
I've had the van tops sitting on the shelf for a while now, and came across a set of unassembled trackgang bogies the other night. Much drilling, glueing, falling apart and swearing ensued. I'm also convinced I'm getting far more clumsy as I seem to be dropping small items far more than I remember (or maybe its the same rate and I just don't remember as well as I once did). I finally got the damn things atached and in the right place, and it seens to run OK as far as I can tell. I also managed to attach a knuckle coupler to the back.
As you can see compared to the previous picture, theres been a bit of weathering going on. I like the result (well, once I've painted the bogies and then dusted them up a bit.)
Thursday, July 01, 2010
So, tonight, here are a few questions;
-Where are the Journal and the Railfan for last month?
-Given that the government can spend 2 billion dollars on another expensive cross town carpark in Auckland, why does everyone get up in arms at spending 1/2 that on the entire railway system that has been run into the ground over the last 15 years.
-How does one order items from Robin Knight on the internet? Or do I need to find a pen and paper, and remember how to manage without a spell checker?
-Whats on everyone else's work bench then?