Sunday, September 30, 2018

Assembling the bits

So, as with all good bush tram loco builds, we peruse the pages of Japanese N scale spare parts. The key is to identify possible candidates and then eliminate them. Whatever is left winds up in the shopping cart.

So looking at the target.....

We have a 0-4-0 but with the geared drive is actually an 0-6-0. Theres no real space for a motor in the loco so it will have to be in the tender. Now I'm not a fan (that's a bit of an understatement) of tender drive, so that's out. I prefer a motor in the tender driving a shaft through the cab to a worm drive. Pick up on all wheels is a must for any small loco. Oh and we need inside bearings as well (and outside power pickup is surprisingly common).
The big plus is that I don't have a scale plan so theres a bit of flex in my choices and I don't think anyone can tell me I'm wrong.
Well, you could but you would then be told where to go (and its not close by...)
So, after a bit of a hunt we get the following collection.


The "loco" end is from some weird ass Japanese Co-Bo shunter. However its got inside frames which passes the main qualification. A closer look reveals some very small holes which look like being ideal guides for drilling out holes for the crank pins. It also has a traction tire which is fitted for the express purpose of reducing the number of wheel available for electricity pick up, and to make one wheel a different size.
The bogie for the tender could be any one of the multitude offered as spares, so I just picked one that looked like it had inside bearings. The worm drive was picked at random based on the assumption that they are all the same (the gubbins seem to be common regardless of the manufacturer from what I've seen). In this case I was right.
And the wheels are finer scale replacements for Kato steam loco's and limited to 1 per household. I have no idea why, but possibly so that some modeler doesn't corner the market on replacement spoked wheels. I purchased 2 of everything assuming that I would screw something up somewhere along the line.
Motors are mini motors from Nigel Lawton. I've had 2 of these for a long time and it seems to be the ideal project to use them on. Oh and DCC is a given....

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Another journal hunt

Recently I've been doing some more thinking about bush tramways and the locos that ran on them. This time round I'm interested in the December 1986 Journal. From the October 86 journal a list of things to come includes

- A bush tramway track plan, no idea of what but possibly Bob Stotts layout.
- More bush tram modeling
- More bush tram history.

What Im interest in if there are any more loco plans. I have a very basic plan for a Johnston 0-4-0, but I'm wondering if theres anything better out there.


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.