Sunday, July 24, 2016

Palmy Rail-X 2016

Well, another 2 years, another Rail-X.

Again this year I joined the peanut galley to make models while the masses loo on in mostly bemusement. On Saturday I spent the day building some larger scale track, while B 0-4-4-0 flew the flag by working on his model of Conns Creek. After the completion of the track work on Saturday night, we had to come up with a way to clean off the residual flux at the venue.
Cue the kitchen sink and a couple of table spoons of bicarb.

We then patted the track work dry with hand towels, did a quick runner and no one was any the wiser...

On Sunday morning, I had a crack at the Tomytec bus chassis. In the previous post on this topic I had pointed out that there needed to be a visit to the chop shop. After having a bit of a think I came up with a plan. After doing a bit of measurement some brass tube was soldered to nickel silver shim to create a hinge type contraption with the front steering unit attached to one side of the hinge and the rest of the mech attached to the other. I added a second piece of nickel silver to act as a clip to hold everything together.

I then added a few bits of cardboard to hold the top in about the right place and stuck it on temporarily

The rear wheel looks a bit odd due to the photo angle but it is actually in the right place.
I didn't have any road prepared but it roamed the table with a surprising amount of grunt.

Finally, I quickly knocked together a test piece to check if an idea I had for a bush tram layout would work. using some of the grass mat and some code 40 track, plus a handful of donated scenics, I knocked up the idea in about 30 minutes.

It needs a shave in places but for a first attempt I think it shows promise.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

That time of the year again

For those of you how live close to palmy, on the 23rd and 24th of this month there is a Railx on at the normal location (Barber Hall which is part of the arena Manawatu). All the usual suspects will bet  there, plus Mr Trackgang and at least one unusual suspect.

I should be there most of the time though I may have to visit the Home show at some point which is on the other side of the complex. Houses don't just insulate themselves......

Thursday, June 09, 2016


At the weekend I finally secured  the final item in a collection that I have been building for a while.
Its taken many evenings checking Trademe, buying small collections just for 1 or 2 items, and passing the unwanted on to others.

So, what have I got?
A complete collection of Railfan magazines. 20 years of railway history, both old and modern.

38cm high, which does lead to a bit of a storage problem, if one requires quick access to any article, for which I will have to develop an index of some sort. No doubt the editors will now release series collection books (which i think would be a great idea. The collected branch line articles would be brilliant).

Can anyone point me at a set of plain magazine binders?

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Wharf IV

A bit of checking last night.

I think that the height is about right. Now I just have to come up with a jig to knock out 20 sets of wharf pilings

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

A surprise

While down south I was asked to help identify an NZ120 collection as part of an estate. While a large porton of it was Japanese wagons and locos, there were a handfull of gems. these included;
- A zinc etch Dx (2nd batch ) assembled by Kelvin barry.
-A John Rappard resin cast Dx.
-An RB Resin cast DFT.

There were also several Japanese steam locos.the standard 2-6-0 and 4-6-2 and then there was this.....

Now, this is a beast I've never seen before (which is saying quite something), and some research reveals that this is a B6 by kawai Shokai which unfortunately is long out of production.
The mech also shows that it is not a normal Japanese N scale loco as the motor looks like an old Bachmann 3 pole from the late 80's

Of real interest is the wheel diameter (8.5mm or 3'4") and the wheel spacing (12.5mm +13mm) which is not far off useful.
Unfortunately it is one of those things that is long out of production, and since this one is the first I have ever seen its probably as rare as hens teeth.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

An apology

After my previous post, I noticed that Trackgang now sells S scale kits. Sorry Russel I did not know this.
So, the prognosis for the patient is not as terminal as first thought.

Monday, May 16, 2016

A question.

The occupants of La Casa Dandruff have been on holiday down south. Oddly enough a visit to Dunedin coincided with a local train show. Despite the wrong dates being published in the journal (and I guessed that a train show would probably not be on a Monday and Tuesday) I managed to turn up on the right day.

While most of the layouts were of the non-prototype sort, one that did catch my eye was Arauatu from Invercargill. This has been featured in the journal but I had not sen it in the flesh before.
As the following pictures show, it is a nicely observed layout with some nice scenes,

Apparently the back scenes are painted by one of the modelers wives who is an artist.

As I don't tend to have a lot of contact with your average S scale modeler and I'm not on the gated community, I struck up a conversation with the layouts occupants. One question that i did ask was how they found the availability of S scale kits. 'Trademe" was the reply.
Now this throws up a few red flags for me. If the average NZR modeler can't get kits from a manufacturer and instead relies on an auction site and estate sales, then its very hard to attract new modelers to the scale. NZ120 was in this position when I started modeling in the scale 25 years ago, and it was scratch build almost everything, which is not much fun for new modelers.
This lead me down a rather dark path with arrived at the stop "Is NZR S scale dying?"
Now I'll be happy to admit that the fine scale boys seem to be doing fine which is all well and dandy, but there does not seem to be the incoming base to support that indefinitely.
Now I'm expecting to see in the comments that the scale has never been stronger etc, but I'd like to see it backed up with some hard data.

Update; A check on the links from the Guild website revells that John gardeners website is defunct (so no direct order of steam loco kits ) and the owner of Southdock/Railmaster is reduced to an E-mail address. Good luck with the estate sales......