Sunday, August 12, 2018

Book Review Time

Among other things I've been reading, I picked up a copy of "A West Coast Engineman" by Ian Tibbles..

Ian was a fireman on the west coast from 1962 to the end of steam in mid 1969. In this time he worked on every line on the coast. There's a good collection of photo's in the 250 odd pages. There's also the standard collection of character stories which quite honestly don't do much for me (now, a good chemical accident story, that's riveting reading). What is really usful is the descriptions of the various workings, as well as the shunting methods used at Westport and Greymouth. So an excellent resource for those with an interest.

Thursday, August 09, 2018

Treasure or a lemon?

From a comment by Darryl P from the previous post;

"I brought a small box of buildings, which contained what I now believe, may have been a building from one of John Symthe's layout incarnations. A pretty basic card structure, but none the less, with some pedigree (in modelling circles)" 

We've all been there, looking through a box of dross hoping to find the nugget hidden to others eyes. And indeed, one mans trash is another mans treasure. But for the younger modelers out there its hard to know what the treasure is, and how to identify it. How does one tell the difference between a Boul, a Bernsten or a Cabbage? Most modelers have a certain "tell" to their modeling and finishing which makes life a bit easier. So, in my opinion what are the "tells" for some of the well known NZ120 modelers (no offence guys)
John Rappard: John built a lot of his models using a wooden inner (not a big tell as I'll discuss anon) with plastic overlays. The 4 open topped wagons had  wheeled wagons were all on Peco underframe's and the bogie wagons on Atlas bogies. Some resin casting in the harder polyurethanes. Locos are plasticard with some resin casting. The buildings are also solid wood with overlays. weathering was drybrushed
KiwiBonds; Locos mad from a variety of materials including mums old draws (well, he's used everything else). The style is one of those things that I can't quite put my finger on, but more a case of "I know it when I see it".
Trackgang (Russel Smith). The models are assembled with airbrushed weathering to a professional standard. What we should all really aspire to.
Mike Gee (yes Mike you get a mention). Architectural (sorry I can't come up with a better explanation).
And finally, so how do you know that you have a lemon Motorised Dandruff original? Resin castings, a black wash and dry brush weathering.Squareness an added bonus.

Sunday, August 05, 2018

Nostalgia ain't what it used to be

Again from the trademe files, more History of the scale. This time its The original Dunedin to Port Chalmers layout which back in 1988 kicked the scale off to a wider audience. It was subsequently rebuilt from its end to end form to the more exhibition friendly roundy roundy format.

"Thin operators only please"
 I did a couple of exhibitions running it and my F and J with their period 6 wheel coaches were at home on the layout. So fast forward 25 years and here it is on Trademe.
One thing I have pondered is what do you do when you have brought a piece of history? Should it be left as is and left to slowly deteriorate, preserving the original builders strokes. Or should it be spruced up to last another 20 years. Or should it suffer the ultimate indignity of being "rebuilt" by the new owner

Then there's the size. For this layout, 6" by 12" with a 5' extension is quite sizable. That's a fair bit of wall space to find for a layout home. Its also an odd shape for an exhibition layout. If it had not sold then I would have just offered to buy the Port Chalmers scene.

Just looking at it, I would think about adding another siding on the right hand quay to provide a bit more interest. But there is the philisopical problem where I'm altering a historic artifact.

Fortunately I didn't have to worry about these dilemmas as someone else won the auction. I hope that they are strong enough to carry it round. John was a very skilled modeler but did build things to last without much thought put into weight.

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Boat progress

After a couple of nights work, the deck windlass's (all 8 of them, each with 17 pieces) and anchor windlass are done. Once I sorted out how to do them it was just a question of cutting the bits out and threading them all together. They were then painted, lightly weathered and glued in place.

With these added to the front deck the only job left is the ladders from the bridge to the deck.

At the other end the rear superstructure needs the railings done and ladders down to the deck.
I also need to do the lifeboats and the ventilators, which I really have no clue about.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

A request

Does anyone out there have the August 87 journal?
I'm after one (or a scan) of the Ds article and plan.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

The bridge

From the "here's one I prepared earlier" files.

I had previously prepared the bridge roof frame. As its quite a complex beast (which is a vast understatement) I first created a jig to place the square brass before I burnt my fingers during the soldering process.

So with the frame all together and without the smell of burnt flesh in my nostrils, the hard work wasn't done yet. You see with the slight angle and several levels it was a challenge to cut the pillars to the right length. Somehow I managed to fluke it with only 2 flying off to the far reaches of the modeling room. I then managed to get most of them vertical.

Thursday, July 12, 2018


I'm always amazed how many time I'll buy something to do a job faster than my current tools, then find its not doing what i want and go back to plan A. I had a mile or 2 of railings to paint and rather than doing them by hand I thought "I can buy a tin of spray paint for that" (Tamiya of course, not the spraycoat). After taking everything off the model, carefully labeled so that I knew where it would go back, I got stuck in. In no time I had a looming disaster on my hands with the paint forming a string of pearls along the wire. After a quick wipe down I left everything for a day, and then painted them all by hand, as I was going to do in the first place.

Glued back on its really made the model pop (and yes, the center railings still have to be trimmed to length).

Despite all this, I'm still trying to avoid 'going down the rabbit hole' detail wise.