Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Iron Gate

Cabbage's Travels

Iron Gate stream a scene waiting to be captured.
This little stretch of coast line has always made me wonder about a model railway scene, so on the way back to Picton the effort was made to stop and get some informational pictures that may be used for a MMW 4 module corner, bend or dog leg scene.
The approach

South west corner

The iron gate??

North east corner

The get away

Iron gate stream bridge

South Tunnel exit

 And not to mention the aerial photography 

Have to take it all away to the drawing board and see what can be made of it.
Using 4 similar reversible and interchangeable modules to make a bigger scene is what the free-mo idea is all about

 The idea

The idea is based on a 1200mm radius curve but looking at it I'm going to try a few other sizes, maybe up to 2400mm which would make the modules roughly 900mm along the track.

Monday, December 16, 2013

AO Milestone

DB notes:

I needed to find a pic of some AO cars to continue my journey and had a read of when this all began and subsequent episodes.

The 12 year old mentioned in there turned 16 yesterday, so I guess this has been a long slog towards nothing. And I note that the real Tranz looks a little different now.

Finally some progress!

Reflector interiors and tinted windows were added on the 4 cars that were furthest advanced and somehow I managed to cobble up 8 sets of Tranz Scenic decals (some made up of 4 bits of scratched up decals) and here we are.

Its enough for a basic train - obviously there's still a bit of work to be done but few of the Americans will notice the lack of undergubbins and inter-carriage connectors (which I've subsequently had a go at and you'll see in the pics below).

These were surprisingly popular with the locals at the Long Island open house today, especially that they were all created from scratch (more or less). I also had a copy of a NZ Railfan handy with some pics of the real (previous) Tranz so they could see the prototype in a more appropriate setting.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Great Workbenches of the World Part Eleventy-Five - An Ongoing Series

DB exposes:

Now that we temporarily inhabit a small, elevated concrete box, I hadn't expected to do a lot of modeling. But I bought some stuff with me rather than having it freeze in a storage unit over winter.

Unexpectedly, today I continued a never ending journey on my AO cars for the TranzAlpine in the hope of getting a few 'done-enough' for a model railroad club open house this Sunday.

In doing so, I thought it might be time to revive Evan's Great Workbenches of the World series.

Workshop with a view

Yes, here I am decamped on the bed, trying not to get Tamiya smoke and PVA glue on anything (noticeable).

I have a few plastic drawers of stuff that live under the bed. The big one out at left houses paints and plasticard scraps. The three drawer one next to it has various projects in many scales from many continents, lots of US diesel shell parts, decals, sandpaper, glue, knife etc. and on top are smaller ones with various and sundry little parts.

The cardboard box in the foreground has some NZ120 models and partially finished bits, including my DJ in pieces, bits to make more CWs, 4 painted AOs that I'm windowing, and 4 unpainted ones yet to grow wheels. This was an old keyboard box (remember when computers used to have actual keyboards rather than swipey-swipey things?) filled with some tray inserts Rhys procured about 20 years ago that happened to be sized about right for NZ120 things.

The actual 'workbench' itself is a white wooden shelf from a cabinet about 30x30cms square that is being used to paint some clear plastic with smokey shades. At right, Mrs defacto Northern Dandruff is providing encouragement by having a snooze complete with lovely dream about yummy paint smells.

There you have it. Small, compact, and you have to tidy it up when you finish or you won't be able to sleep.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Leaving Home Ain't Easy

DB sadly draws conclusions from airborne experiments:

Landfill: Scenery removed and out for the worms
While in the land of the long white cloud, His Royal Druffness has just acquired a train room with attached house, up here in the Great Dandruffy North, we've just done the opposite.

It's quite a shock for two people to move - after having spent 12 years in a fairly roomy 4 bedroom house - to a tiny 1 bedroom apartment.

The physics of this transformation required the rapid expulsion of what seemed like several tonnes of accumulated rubbish; including the unceremonious trashing of my half-finished layout in the sky.

It was an interesting experiment, but even when accessed from an altitude of 6' 3, the idea of an 'above the doors' layout turned out to be a little impractical. While viewing it wasn't as bad as you might think, it's the operation, and ongoing maintenance that was always going to be extremely difficult.

The Big Gorge, stripped of scenery and nicely packaged for the trash man

Close, but no cigar.

Not that I wanted a cigar.

It was a bit sad making the decision to dump Moana, a layout section I really loved making and looking at. The scenery (and the goods shed for unknown reasons) was saved to be reincarnated in some other scene but its soulless shell was crushed by a passing garbage truck on Friday.

On the same day, I also separated from my modeling table (as featured in Great Workbenches of the World) for the past 22 years. Sigh.

Onwards and upwards.

[Aside] In case you were wondering what I was up to over the quiet months before I started attacking DJs and running my DXs, yes, I'd been playing with more N scale silliness. Here's my attempt at a 4-front windowed Canadian cab Dash 9 made from an SP kato -9 loco with an Atlas SD60M cab modified for 4 windows and fettled a little. Now in long term storage.

Something new for Steve4painting to roast 

Monday, November 25, 2013


Finally I have a moment to write another post.
Everything is installed at La Casa Danruff. The modeling room indoors is almost set up. The total space is 2.6m by 3.1 ( or 8' by 10' for those of you old enough to remember). I've managed to score a corner desk cheap from trade me, and it fits with the 2 cube bookcases into one end of the room.

Its not big enough to fit Paekakarik and so I'm now doing some thinking about a layout based on MMW modules.
Currently I'm leaning towards a port scene, an industrial scene and leading to a fiddle yard. There has been quite a few options postulated here over the years, including Opua, Kingston and Port Chalmers.  I've even knocked up some module track plans which would just about fit.
I've also discovered recently that there is a paper model of the Earnslaw available here.

This asks me another question on Layouts. Can one combine a collection of models into a scene that they historically would not have operated and make it believable, or would you just get nailed bu the rivet counters. I know deep down that I shouldn't care, but my day job relies on Accuracy..

If I'm not required in the garden too much over the next couple of weeks I'll think about some possible modules that will fit into the room.
As a scary aside, I see that I'm now officially recognised by the National Library no less.
I'm not sure whether to feel chuffed or terrified.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Moving on

Its the last night here at Schloss Dandruff. Everything has disappeared into boxes or a bin.

Packing is one of those interesting times where it should be a chance for a clean slate. Every item can be assessed for its future utility and an informed decision made on its future utility.

OK so I'm not fooling anyone. Everything gets kept apart from bits of scrap wood, and even those are only thrown out after some soul searching.

(I tried to find a picture to convey the mess having neglected to take one during the packing process. nothing came close to the horror....)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Sort of product review

As there is not much modeling going on here at the moment, I thought I would post a new product review. OK, so its not new, but new to me.

Over the years I have used many different paint brands. Starting off with good old Humbrol enamels in the early 80's (and the cleanup hassles), then  discovering the eastern exotics of Tamiya and the wonders of acrylics. Floquil just passed me by as it was a brand that never made it out into the wilds of the South Island.
In Wellington I eventually discovered Vallejo acrylics during my wargaming phase, which was a step up from Tamiya. more recently in Nelson I started using Citadel/warhammer colours, which again had its own set of pluses and minuses. However I always came back to Humbrol for some shades that no one else seemed to do as well.

 OK, so at this point I guess I should comment on the minuses I see in each of the brands.

Humbrol- The lids should win a queens award for "just what the hell were they thinking!" The paint dries up (matt) or forms skins no matter how hard the lids go on. Requires a ready supply of turps to keep the brushes clean.

Tamiya-A wide selection of colours for the wargamer, but with some odd gaps. The paint is OK, but the pigments crash out of suspension without warning. The lids can gum shut

Valljo- Great system for getting small amounts of paint out, and seals shuts so no drying out. covers really well, but has to be sealed as it rubs off really easy.

Now despite these comments, there are still places where I use all these paints to best utilise there unique properties

Recently in one of the 2 model shops in Palmy, I discovered that Humbrol now does acrylics.
The tin lid is gone, replaced by a plastic screw lid. The paint (so far) seems to cover well, and doesn't seem to rub off.

Only one problem. there are 2 ranges, a railroad authentic range and a standard range. I managed to try to open the standard range upside done without reading the clear instructions. Oh, and the standard range has a pop lid (which I did not notice till looking at it tonight)

I still maintain its not clearly labeled.

Once the modeling bench is set up again I'll do some more in depth testing to get a better idea of just what the Humbrol acrylics will and  won't do.

Oh, and I can't comment on how any of these paints in an airbrush. I've never used one, and don't see myself starting.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

And so it begins (again)

Its all been a bit surreal over the last few weeks. we have brought a house, but the settlement date is not till the middle of next month. Thus the packing is not overly important at the moment. However time does march on, and so tonight I made a start on the Man-sion.
Paekakariki came down in about 30 minutes single handed. Most of this was spent with me buggering round looking for things. I think I could probably get it down to around 10 minutes with a bit of practice.

Interestingly enough once it was down I had a look at all that space that I could have utilised so much better than I had over the last 2 1/2 years. The one word that sprang into my mind was 'Cass'.
Maybe next time.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sunday Morning

Well, the calm after the storm really. It now appears that we have brought a new house, so everything will soon be in boxes for the shift. Hmm, that had not struck me till I just typed it...

So, not much to comment on here apart from how the change in Lebensraum will affect the model making. short answer is no idea, but at least its inside
I've already had it suggested that I could join 2 rooms to make one. However given that the 2 rooms are separated by the bathroom, toilet and wash house/brewery (there's some forward planning for you) I doubt if it will happen.

So, in lieu of anything interesting this morning, here's an aerial shot of part of Pendon.

(Photo by Andy Y from Rmweb)

Monday, September 23, 2013

Bite sized chunks

With moving into a smaller area the layout constrictions change. With my self imposed minimum radius of 600 mm this does limit the things you can do in a small room. The hunt then begins for stations in a corner. Just looking through the collection tonight, I found this little gem

Port Ahuriri (or Napier ) circa 1912. It has some interesting items which caught my eye.
First up it's on a curve. This scores points on the 'fit into a corner' box. There are 2 distinct sections that could be modeled. The 1st (and smaller ) is the dock which is on the opposite side of the road to a group of warehouses (all of which still exist but converted into restaurants). This would make a good small shunting plank about 6' long (including the fiddle yard).

The second is the main yard. At first this doesn't seem that interesting. However if you look closer, the right hand side the trackage belongs to the Napier harbour board, which is a private railway. In American layout planning terms, this is an interchange, or a source of traffic for the NZR. What is even more useful is the large goods shed at the front of the yard. This can be used to hide the tracks to the right leading to an off stage fiddle yard. The backdrop of industrial buildings also provides a shunting track at the back.

So, there are plenty of ideas here for a corner MMW module.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sunday evening.

Well, only a week late...

I was going to write something last weekend, but its taken this long for my thoughts to gel a bit more.

Carrying on from lasts weeks post, smart money is on a downsizing of modeling space in my immediate future. This has a few implications layout wise. There won't be enough space to set up Paekakariki in the new digs, so it will probably be going into storage (unless there is a good home for it to go to).

I've been doing some deeper thinking about what I would like in a layout. I have not been overly satisfied with the roundy roundy type layout for a while now. Paekakariki is only really an extension of this. Granted it is a fidle yard-station-fiddle yard set up, but there is no real shunting to be done. I've also made any possible shunting moves quite difficult when I scaled it down 5 years ago.

I've been doing some reading on design of layouts for operation, and it doesn't make too much sense to me I must admit. However its doing a good job of expanding my horizons. I just have to work out how to compress everything into a smaller space and still get a layout that I can live with.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Saturday Morning

Posting has become a bit slow here of late. Odd as work has stabilised. The project that was sucking the life out of me 5 weeks ago has become a project that now seems to be behaving (which in chemistry is no mean feat). I should have recovered the drive to get back modeling aging, shouldn't I? Maybe not, and here's why sort of.

The Lady of the house and I have been dipping our toes in the time honoured Kiwi pastime of 'selling ones soul to a bank for an extended period of time', otherwise known as buying a house. We are currently at the exploratory house hunting stage '(get me the elephant gun, its a big one this time'). Its always intriguing to have a look through other peoples houses, if only in a 'what the hell were they thniking' kind of way (and yes, there have been a few like that).

Its an interesting juggling act as well with a variety of things to be factored in. Most important is a good bathroom and kitchen as this is where all the costs are if you have to fix these things. Number of bedrooms etc and a decent garden all figure in. So, what about the most important room?

This is an issue with huge implications as when one signs up for these things it doesn't tend to be for a short period of time. Renting is all well and good when you can just decide one day, I feel like something different, lets go out and have a look. So, what am I looking for in my next model room. I guess I should have a look at the pros and cons of my previous 2 rooms.

Nelson was a bedroom inside the house. It was about 9' by 10' with carpet (and plenty of small springs and screws by the time we left). The modeling desk was in the sight line of the TV, and I could converse with the lady of the house if I felt so inclined. There was no layout to speak of (though if the MMW module ends had been available, who knows what could have happened). In terms of productivity it was very good. Paekakariki was destined to run down one side of the garage.

Palmerston North is the sleep out behind the garage. It's 11' by 20' (give or take) with plenty of space for all my gear. I'm on my own out there for hours at a time. Its been not that great in terms of productivity, to the point where modeling projects have appeared on my computer desk inside the house with an increasing frequency.Paekakariki takes up one whole side of the room (and more).

So it appears that I am looking for a room inside the house, possibly with some extra space outside. This means 3 bedrooms (one for guests) plus a decent garage of some sort. Now given that I'm unlikely to find a 16' long room inside a house what does this mean for me layout wise, and more importantly, it begs a large question.

Has Paekakariki become a 20' millstone around my modeling neck, and is it time to move on to something more practical with better design and more operational satisfaction?

I'll continue this thread tomorrow, assuming I'm not mauled by an errant house during an open home.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Week off

Just finished a weeks holiday, which I have spent wargaming with an old friend.
hopefully it will soon start warming up so that I can get back into the shed.

During the week there were a few excursions out, during which there was a bit of train chasing.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Milestones time

Well, it's the 1300th post here. I've got rather ho hum about these milestones. The first hundred was exciting, as was the 500th (I think) and the 1000th too. After that, I'll look forward to the 2000th maybe, but that's still quite a few months off.

More interestingly we have just hit 200,000 page views. Now apparently this is quite something on the Wibbly Wobbly Woo, especially for a small blog on an obscure topic read by a handful of people a day. I can only assume that our several regular readers have short memories and keep hitting refresh every 2 minutes.

I guess looking back over the last 5 years the blog has changed. It started mostly as modeling, history and a bit of rabble rousing. We merrily commented on anything and everything, from the Journal to the latest Kiwirail news. We have merrily tilted an windmills and targeted a few sacred cows.
However sometimes I feel its gone from an L'enfant terrible to middle age conservative (with improved spelling along the way). In some ways, I think this is a good thing. The scale has gone from the brink of extinction to a viable option for modeling NZR. This renaissance has been lead by several local manufacturers, one of whom took a huge punt on the scale several years ago.

How is the scale regarded by other NZR modelers? Certainly I feel that some self appointed experts tend to look down their nose at us. Others look on with mild amusement. I still think we tend to share more with the 9mm scale guys (and more than just a common number measurement). I also think its interesting that these 2 scales seem to be more 'go ahead' currently than the middle scale, which seems to be in somwhat of a holding pattern.

So, where to from here? N scale is changing with continuously available loco models giving way to shorter production runs, with repeat runs separated by several years. As an example of this, it's now hard to find Bachmann 4-8-2's in US shops. In the UK, spares of all sorts (both loco and wagons) are far harder to find. The scale needs freely available wagon wheel sets on 13.5 length alxes, ideally from on shore. I'd like to see some accurate steam loco mechs available to initially run under the current range of 3D printed tops.

To finish up I keep going back to the first post back in 2008. This whole blog was inspired by John Rappard. He started me in the scale 25 years ago. I'm just paying it forward to the rest of you.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Cruel camera

Sent in By Grant Morell are pictures of my bush locos on his layout. For some odd reason they didn't move and I can only assume ;
1) I need to set up the decoder CV's correctly so that they read DC correctly.
2) The current draw in the Masterton town hall was a bit much to power my DCC box there.

This was a bit of a bugger as I was hoping for some information on how they ran on hills.

 The rail truck precariously perched on a bridge with no pilings. It does look the part from this angle, even if I have to paint the wires.

The Cb on a piece of ballasted track. This view may push me to at least build a small diorama. I've always wondered if stub points can be made to work OK in code 40 rail. Grant has made a pair that work for his layout in larger rail.

Monday, August 26, 2013


I've been pondering over the last couple of days about what I would do if I was forced/decided to start over. Its not anything earth shaking, just my idle brain at work.

I'm very lucky to have a room that is 20' by 12'. However if we do decide to move (and the lady of the house has been looking at houses on trade me) I'm quite unlikely to be as lucky again. I also feel that Paekakariki, though good as an idea, is an appalling waste of the overall space in the room. If I had been able to build from scratch, I may well have decided on a layout with several peninsulas, and probably a bit more operating potential. The MMW modular concept would have got a bit more of a look in. This would have created a more flexible layout for any future house moves. This is all from a purely practical analytical standpoint. As it is, the layout takes up one side of the room, and my bookcases and wargaming gear the other. I have designs on the top of the book cases for another project.I wonder if there is anyone who would want to take such a large project on. It may suit another group (or a group)

Oddly enough, when Mr Bond visited last night, he thought the track ran really well (visitors and reliability seldom mix, he's well come back any time) and I should get stuck into the ballasting. Even the bush tram locos ran well, though 1431 needs some surgery after the mech took a trip onto the floor at Masterton. Its nice to have a different set of eyes looking at something (beyond the normal pack).

Maybe come summer when my workload is not quite so daft.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Masterton show update

Just a couple of things to finish up from last weekend.

I've been insanely busy at work the last couple of weeks, but things seem to have sorted themselves out this week. So I had the inclination to nip out to the mansion for a photo or 2.

First up, the module as its stands at the moment. The mainlines are protected by foam to stop accidents. I like the concentrated simplicity of the track plan, with plenty of shunting in a small area. I have to add a fidddle yard at the right hand end to use it as a stand alone layout.

 I also did some shopping for scenic material. First stop was Scenic Textures, where Brian was able to hook me up with some foam slab. As good as the woodland scenics stuff, and locally made (oh and only $15 a bag. I grabbed 2 and I'm looking forward to trying it).

On the right there's is a different type of scenic texture, this time from Kelmara loco depot. Its similar to the Busch sheets I had already used (of which I picked up another roll), but its on a mesh backing rather than a paper backing. It looks good for weed patches or possibly house lawns (with a bit of a trim).

Monday, August 12, 2013

Masterton show

I had a very enjoyable weekend with MMW and the VCC team at the Masterton show over the weekend. despite showing up late both days, I had the chance to do some modeling and also talk bollocks with other like minded individuals.

With showing up late I was forced to share a table with Brabs from VCC. This was good for me as there was a never ending selection of tools to 'borow'. I also had to supply polite replies to 'I've lost my nuts'.

 I did manage to get my MMW module working, and ran a few trains. However for some reason my Cb and bush railcar refused to work. For some odd reason the DCC box could not program anything.

I took a few photos, but unfortunately Brabs is the unacceptable face of model railways, and the camera agreed. Instead here is a couple of pictures of Kai iwi from different view points. I should do them in a sepia tone, but black and white seems to suit.

I also had a few interesting chats with a variety of NZ railway 'personallities'. I had a printed H class top o hand, and was told buy one magazine editor 'come back when it runs'. Sounds like a challenge from him and his mustache.

Thursday, August 08, 2013


Well, due to things at work going a bit nuts this week (which is a vast understatement), I have made no more progress on the MMW module. The plan is to take it down to the Masterton show this weekend and get it running then.

Well will be on the MMW stand, drop in and say hello.

Sunday, August 04, 2013


Well, more work today on the MMW module.
First up I tested the side and ends on the top (which I am using as the plan). The side is about 20mm too long. I then have to cut this off the side and reglue it. Cutting the side then broke 2 knife handles, so there was a trip to Mitre 10 to buy a new knife. Finally I got everything glued on. The second side was glued at one end.
I then looked at the tracks exiting the modules. I had cut these short as I had stuffed up. I had to apply track joiners to them. This ripped the rail out of the sleeper webbing. I've looked at it and have decided that I can thread code 55 rail on and solder a PCB fisplate as the last sleeper, which should work OK.

A couple of hours later and I come back to do the final shaping.

This managed to work, though I'll find out tomorrow if its glued.
(The base is placed there simply to help with the shaping, and is not in its final position)

And the title? More than once this afternoon I took timeout to pound a scrap piece of wood with a hammer in shear anger and frustration. Its not relaxing me at all, and I really need a way to let off steam from work stress.
I swear I'm not far off going back wargaming for another 10 years......

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Saturday action

With a week to go till the Masterton show, I've decided to have a crack at knocking up an NZ120 module with MMW ends. I know I've had plans before, but they have always been a bit grandiose. Time to do something a bit more bit sized. The aims are to build a small module that can be connected to other modules with MMW endplates. It has to be small enough to fit on a shelf. It has to be capable of some shunting. That should about do it. After all, I only have a week.
(Oh, and not use any really fancy tools either. well, other than a laser cutter...)
First up, the track.
'Deja vue? No, I've seen it all before.'
 The track work previously earmarked for Grassmere and Weta creek, is now seconded to the new project. The tracks on the left hand side are the main (bottom) and siding (top).

The base is made from 1" blue styrofoam. I made the sidings long enough to accommodate at least a 50' wagon. More if 4 wheeled wagons are used. Maybe not big enough for some, but more than enough to meet the aims of the project. The whole length is 80cm and the width 30cm.

There is space for 3 line side industries (illustrated with wooden blocks). I have added a foam board top to bring the track up to the correct level for the end plates.

Glueing the top on. plenty of mass used to keep it all flat while its drying.

And to the ends. I cut a piece of MDF of about the correct length and 20cm high. The ends were attached using no more nails and tacks. I made sure that the sides were about 1mm up from the bottom of the ends. they are desined to rest on the ends.
Now, despite having a PhD, I managed to get the ends the wrong way round in every permutation before finally having both the correct way.
'The wrong way round'
'The right way round'

'Getting closer together'
 Tomorrow I'll put the 2 together and add the inner face.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sunday evening

Well, thanks to a dose of 'cantbearseditis' this morning, a trip to Paekakariki did not eventuate. It was going to kill a large chunk of my day were there were other things to be done. however the garden has been sorted and beer bottled, and I managed to fit in a skype chat to Japan.

I'm now off to ponder what projects to have a go at for the Masterton show...

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Saturday morning

The weather seems tro be on the improve here at Schloss Dandruff and so I'm being threatened with gardening duties. That and there is beer to be made.
So, while we wait for Beakaboy to post a 'guess the voice' youtube clip, I'll just point out that Paekakariki are having an open weekend with hours  10 till 4. I think a trip may be in order tomorrow, possibly with a map to orientate myself on the ground.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

On Display

From and other spots some photos of the Taupo show from the weekend.

'Look apon my works and dispair, ye modelers of inferior scales!'
Peter attempts to convert the heathens to modeling in a decent scale.
(more photos here)

'Thank you for purchasing your DCC system, we hope you will spend many happy hours trying to understand the instructions...'
Beakaboy in a quiet moment, deciding which train to run next.
(more photos here)

The Next show on the list is the Wairarapa show on the weekedn of the 10/11 of August At teh Masterton town hall. Marks model works and assorted hangers on will be there. No NZ 120 layout planned to be there unless my modeling mojo seriously fires itself up in the next 2 weeks.

And in other 1:1 scale news, The Standard Railcar made the trip from Pahiatua to Napier and back.
On my list of things to be built.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

No juice

A rare occurrence today as I made it out to the man-sion. While looking at which project to ignore first I was running some trains up and down. Suddenly the Ed's stopped while heading towards Wellington. 'Thats odd' I thought, 'I've added in solid track feeders down there.

Ok, time to have a look under the boards.

Hmmm, it appears that while I had added new track feeders, someone had forgotten to actually connect them up. Yah, time for my all time favorite job, soldering up underneath the layout.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Gadzooks! We're Credible!

Am_Fet writes:

Its interesting that whenever I think of "our" scale, I always get the impression that we are a minor side shoot lagging well behind the major juggernaughts of S and 9mm.....almost like the poorer and significantly smaller cousin.

Cabbage however, seems to have different ideas.  He quite frequently proclaims in a loud voice on street corners to startled passers-by that Nz120 is the scale of the future.  Sure, I snigger, and make rude pointing gestures towards him behind his back....

NO MORE......After todays wee episode I am truly a convert.

This morning this got placed on my desk with the question "Can you make it go?"

"Its....a box", I retorted, quoting Woody from Toy Story.

"No, can you make whats in the box go?"

So....what I have in my hot little hands is a factory built 1:87 scale DL made entirely from brass.  To make it move under its own power will require the sourcing of a self contained power bogie....investigations are not just continuing, they have yet to start.

And the reason?  Unless you missed it (I know I have), apparently rail in NZ is 150 years old this year.  To celebrate this milestone, KiwiRail are putting together a display train of old to tour the parts of the country the tracks still reach, and one of the display containers will include moving model trains.  I've been told the shopping list (to match the DL and Frateschi DX's) is for 10 container wagons, 10 log wagons and 10 milk wagons......

.....And this is when I thought "Where are we going to find those in HO?  It would be so much easier in nz120...."


Its a pity theyve already decreed Nz120 to be too small for the display.  But even if you moved up to S for display you couldnt do it.  Your minimum radius would screw things for a start (I think we're already overstepping our bounds with a 600mm radius) and then once you factored in 2 DX's ($500 a pop) followed by 10 container wagons (thats another $400 without even trying) youd be well on the way to bankruptcy and the display train would end up consisting of a life size cutout of Jim Quinn on a Hi Railer....with a flag...

Take it as gospel....Nz120 IS the best scale to model modern image.  And I think we can all be proud that we've played a part in that.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Sunday Family Movie

Am_Fet writes:

Yet again, the rabid foamer community has come up trumps....maybe their habit of pointing cameras at everything that moves (and most of the things that dont) might not be so annoying after all.  Case in Point:  Already this morning the foamer jungle drums are beating as news comes out that 2 DL's will be running light up Westmere.......and I fail to see the point.  In a few months you wont be able to move without falling over fact, I'd be more inclined to record DC and DXB movements.....

Whoops, let me dismount from my hobby horse...there.....Wow, everyone looks so much taller from down here....

While the Patea layout is progressing, planning is still moving forward on the Castlecliif layout made from MMW fact, I might even post some of my scribbles this week to put the latest design thoughts up for debate.

I did come across this gem however, and it shows quite well one of the movements the Castlecliff Line will support.  Here are "The Twins" (1267+1200) coming back from the terminus with a rake of containers.

As stated previously, working around this service will be the DSG and DSC shunt teams servicing the local warehouses and industries, of which the Castlecliff has (or did have) squillions.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Field Trip (How not to do it)

Am_Fet writes:

After the sterling work so far on the Cheese Store Roundy Layout I had to face the fact that at some stage I would need to get to Patea (somehow) and get some photos from the correct angles and resolution that would allow them to be used for the "photo building" method.  A set of decent photos for the backdrop were also on the shopping list.

A chance comment by Drew a few weeks back spurred me into action.  He announced that the DL invasion was imminent and the chance to ride a DC might soon be gone.  Right then!  Operation "Last Chance to See" was underway!

Tuesday night found me ensconsed in the salubrious confines of the Capital Connection to Palmy where I had a midnight connection with freight 522 to New Plymouth.  After a pleasant evening playing trains in the ManSion, I was duly delivered to Milson depot at 11pm ready for the nights adventure.  Luckily the heater in the cab of 7186 worked well and with 7158 and 4692 on behind we made short work of getting to Whareroa and the joyous reunion with Drew who was down to take the train the rest of the way to New Plymouth.

After dropping off 7186 (which was down to run 537 back to Palmy in the afternoon) we headed to all points north.  Another stop at Stratford has us dropping off 4692 which was slated to run 52 shunt before heading back to palmy that evening on 521.

It was around about here that I fell asleep for 30 minutes or so, not having slept for the previous 24 odd hours.  Oddly enough, I'd slept through the same bit of countryside the last time I was through as well!  Apologies to all Inglewood inhabitants, but it possibly doesnt say much for the scenery....

The plan was for Drew to tie up 522 then drive back to Stratford to run 52 to Kapuni, but a complete lack of tonnage killed that after service 7158 we headed for home and breakfast.

With the weather looking threatening, I made the call to pass on the chance to sleep and to head to Patea while we could.  As it was the weather was freezing, overcast and a bit damp, but I still took the chance to get the photographs that I needed while Drew just basically ran riot, occasionally yelling from a different part of the complex "I feel like I'm on Time Team!" and imitating ghost noises.

After getting the photos, we went on a general fossick trying to work out where the old buildings were and their uses.  The engine room took a bit of nutting out, and I still dont think we worked it out.  There are remnants of where the boilers poked through the walls, but where the attendant stuff went (coal piles, chimneys etc) is still up for debate.

Treasures found include

...finding the trolley tracks along the loading bank at the front of the complex were to the weird gauge of 2'6".

and this old wagon door with the intriguing lettering "R E" on the top.

After a bit of siteseeing (Patea river mouth, Tawhiti museum which was closed, Normanby diary factory, Te Ngutu Battle site where Von Tempsky was killed) it was back to Drews place for a few hours kip before being dropped back at Whareroa around 5pm for the trip back to Palmy on 521....and that elusive DC ride.

After 521 came a quick dash back to Welly on 229 with 4191 and crawling onto the couch outside my lab at around 2am for 6 hours kip before work Thursday morning.

SO.....that was the easy bit, now I've got to use the photos to make the backdrop and buildings!  ARGGHH!!