Tuesday, March 31, 2009

"The Time has come,"

...The walrus said," to talk of may things: of shoes and ships and sealing wax, and just how the hell do all these bits go together underneath?"
(I'd apologize to Lewis Carroll, but hes dead at the moment so it would be a bit pointless.)

I think I've cracked how to mount the 2 unpowered bogies, but you'll have to wait to see that when I get the bits to actually do it. The first bit to do was file the bolster pads off the bottom of the frame, and remove the connection casting between the 2 cars.

With that problem solved (until reality turns up and kicks its butt), I moved on to something I really feared, the undergubbins. Scouring the Railfan articles and several other books yielded exactly zero good pictures of the collection of shapes under the skirt. A plan 'B' was then conceived. It basically started by the assembly of all the bits i could identify onto the underframe. Thus, on went the engine, the fuel tanks, the radiators, the exhaust pipes and some wee cylinder bits that I have no idea about but which fit in the holes, and a part that looks like a tank of some sort mysteriously labeled 'AR'.

This then left a collection of other bits that Pats back to front plan and assembly figures make no sense of. I finally managed to sort out just exactly where the hell everything went (or a reasonable approximation). The photos will mean more than me trying to describe it.

Subassembly 'D'. The tab from the wee generator type thingy fits into the slot at the bottom.

Subassembly 'O'. Same here, only up the other way.

It then became quite obvious where they fitted. 'O' fits on the non-detailed side of the engine, and 'D' sits next to it. In retrospect its not actually that hard, but the bad exploded view and instructions don't help, and it takes a fool to leap in where angles fear to tread..

(as an aside guys, there were 2 of the wee generator bits from figure D and O missing, but there's also some spare bits I don't need.).

I've now just got to sort out what the 2 pewter strips are for as they are not mentioned anywhere that I can see. Theres also some muttering about brass strips round the generators, but I've no idea how it should look.
The researching of underframes has also revealed that there was some pipework running across the non radiator side of indeterminent purpose. Will have to see if I can sort out where it runs from/to, and then find some brass wire to make it.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Plodding along

Tonight I've got the ends on the the 2 bodies. Its not as easy as it looks. The instructions on how to put the detail parts on the ends, which you have to do before putting the rest together, are at the back of the instructions and the lower marker lights have to be left out until after the unit is painted and the decals applied. Sounds like a recipe for disaster, but we shall see.also note that I've not managed to re line up the holes for the MU cables leading to the one on the left being in the wrong spot. I was trying to follow the instructions on how to relocate the pre-marked hole, but it all went horribly wrong, and I had to drill the hole out to 1.5mm to try to get enough space to push the casting over far enough to not look too out of place.

Unfortunately its failed, so probably the only other option is to cut the locating stub off the back and line it up correctly freehand.

At some point in the next couple of days I'll post some more thoughts on how to motorize the little blighter, as the next step is trying to sort out the underframe and how its all going to work with my bastardized bogies (which have excellent pickups, but might not be as easy in the whole scheme of things).

On the hunt

I've had a request from someone looking for an unassembled trackside DFT kit.
assuming that there are a stack of unassembledtrackside kits out there (well, if there were people would be sending me lots of pictures of them) this should be easy...

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Short update

Just did a bit of work on detailing the bogies tonight. I was sure that there was 6 in the packet, but 30 minutes later, and I am one short. Have now spent at least 1/2 and hour looking for the last brake cylinder under everything on the work bench, and around the floor underneath.

In other news, the power bogie moved under its own steam (so to speak) tonight. Now I have to sort out just how the whole chassis will go together so that its the right height, and runs well too (in fact, good running is the number one priority, everything else is secondary).

Update; Found errant brake cylinder by cunningly starting to look for something else, and there it was on a piece of floor that I'd examined minutely 5-6 times. I've also added the brake rigging, and a second cylinder that is on the drawings at the opposite end to the brake cylinder. this is from the bits of pewter that were the pins on the inside of the bogies to locate them in the normal build.

Now I will be forced to look at the underframe, and see where all those bits fit in.

'Its all your fault, Merv Smith'

I'm not sure this line would ever fly in court.

Today while out and about I happened on another bookshop going out of business. Maybe its not such a good idea to run one in Nelson. Taking advantage of others misfortune in these circumstances is always a good idea, and I happened to chance upon this book.

Back in my formative years ( which some would argue are yet to finish) My parents brought a copy of this book for Christmas. before this point I was like any other mug running triang and hornby trains (which were the only things you could get in those far off days). After this book I was a demon with cardboard and balsa plus other assorted bits, removing the tops from locomotives and substituting an increasingly bizarre collection of steam locomotive tops made from all sorts of odds and ends. This has lead through a meandering 25 years lead me to my current point, with a workbench covered with 1/2 finished projects. The defense rests M'lud.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Wheel them out

This mornings post carry's over work from last night.

The bogie sideframes are all on, and its not overly obvious that the wheelbase is too short under there. I've cut the gear towers off where they are not needed. I'll have to have a good hard look at how I'm going to mount them to get the body at the right height (ug, mechanisms, my least favorite thing, but probably the next big job). I will also have to try to find a decent picture of just where the brake cylinders sit on the sideframes, although it looks like they are very similar to the EE bogies from the same time period.

As a continuing question, is there anything that the readers would like to see written about? More of? how about the guys in the peanut galley who read, but manage to avoid the comments section?

Friday, March 27, 2009

Friday night pt 2; my workbench

So hows my railcar coming along?

I've got the car bodies together, but here's my first real complaint. the No 1 end ( with the baggage and engine) at the top goes together fine. The No 2 end at the bottom is a different story.
While its the right width at the end, the floor doesn't fit particularly well (to the point of almost dropping through). However the measurements are all the same for the bits for each car, so I'm buggered if I know whats going on. My suggestion at this point (and for the new owners) might be to provide the internal partitions as this would assist greatly in the initial assembly. At the moment the first step is to solder the sides to the one end, then use the roof to line everything up. this is just a wee bit hinky when its on the bench, and the extra bracing would make it much more user friendly.

Tonights job will be to fillet all the joints with 5 minute araldite to give it some more strength.

(So, ECMT, hows your build coming then. Is it out of the box yet?)

Friday night; Guest workbench.

Fresh from the corners of dingy rooms, cold garages and back sheds everywhere, here's this weeks collection of others models.

First up, from Woodworks comes a conversion of a Japanese model.

"Hauled out the beginnings of two 50' steel cars that I have had hanging around for Donkey's, with a view to getting them finished off. They came from a set of five Tomix Japanese passenger car bodies of various styles. It is a fairly major chop-job - rounding sides and corners off, new roof, vestibules and chassis, not to mention bogies, but at least the windows are near enough with just a little bit of carving with sharp knife - slightly better than starting from scratch. Original example at top, and sides in various states of modification below."

Next up, Russell ventures from the safelands of S scale and has a crack at his first Nz120 kit.

"Well my project on my workbench isn't as difficult as yours, but I've completed the construction phase of my first nz120 kit. Had a bit of spare time before work (evening shift has an upside), so decided to put together a 40' container. Hey presto! Low melt solder later, and its together in about 20 minutes. Longest task, cleaning parts ready to solder. It ain't pretty but its a start. Now off to the paint shop over the weekend."

And last but definitely not least, from the magic workbench of David Weedon, just to show once again how it really should be done.

"I have one of Pats railcar kits. It's assembled to the point of the drive installation. I haven’t found anything suitable yet for the drive as I want a full interior. I have attached a photo of my scratch built railcar which has working head, tail and interior lights. I am thinking of adding sound to it as there’s plenty of room underneath for a speaker."

It should be pointed out that the scratchbuilt railcar was the inspiration for the Trackside version.

Gentlemen, thank you for letting me use your pictures. I'd pay money, but until the blog gets a sponsor (hopefully a brewery :v) then you just have to take gratitude.

quick question

Is this months railfan out yet?

The new media

I've been pondering yesterday and today about the roll that blogs such as this one could play in the future sharing of information on modelling NZR prototypes. This is part of the whole wider discussion that continues on the Willbly-Wobbly-Wooo about blogging's place in current journalism etc.

As the only real prolific blogger in this field in the country what are my thoughts? Mainly that I see pluses and minuses to the whole thing. The pluses are that its easier to communicate information in real time. An evening at the bench with photo's can be communicated in 15 minutes, with as many pictures as you like. Problems and successes are delivered as they happen. Random useful tips for others can be explained.

Contrast this with a magazine (I'll lump them all in together, they have not really changed format since the mid 70's). the Articles are more thoughtfully composed and laid out. due to space constraints there are not as many photo's to illustrate the process. Some of the spontaneity is lost, and some of the stuff ups can get lost (would anyone admit in an article that they had superglued a Dx to their pants, or washed their paintbrush in their glass of pinot noir?).
In their favor, magazines do not require a power source and can be read anywhere, and I do love them for that.

Another thing would be writing styles. To write and article is reasonable formulamatic. I wanted to make a model of this, therefore I found a plan and some photo's, then made the model doing this, this and this along the way, and here's how it looks now its finished. This structure is not a bad thing as with a tiny bit of assistance anyone can write an article. Writing for a blog, there's virtually no filters short of the ones between your brain and the keyboard. Its free form, the are no set formulas other than a heading. Marshaling ones thoughts into a semi-coherent stream of text is actually reasonable hard to do. I've had written blog posts that I've tried to write, written 4-5 paragraphs but just tossed the lot as I was rambling and couldn't remember what my point was when I started. This leads to the most important thing; is what you are writing about of interest to others?

In the 11 odd months I've been writing this thing, I've also found that its handy to have a couple of mates to fill in when you are just not in the right frame of mind to do anything. Darryl and Evan have both stepped up to the late at odd times with very well written articles ( I wish I could write 1/2 as well as Darryl, I'd write novels) for which I've been quite thankful for. Also those who with a bit of badgering have shown what their current projects are to a wider variety of people.

So where to from here. I've been thinking about whether a specialised forum would work (something like www.rmweb.co.uk). My current thinking suggests possibly not. Another possibility I had been mulling would be to get the local group together and get them to write a short article every month or so about what they have been doing. Case in point would be the write ups in the journal about the Chch and Wairarapa groups meeting, but with some more pictures of the models and how they were made. I can read that 'Fairfax Snodgrass turned up with a delightful model of ...', but it would be nice to see a picture or 2 of these little gems to inspire the rest of us to have a go. The space limitations of a magazine mean it will realistcally never happen.

The biggest risk of all from blogging is that if we spend all our time writing and reading everyone else's, there will be no time left for modeling.
comments on the back of a postage stamp in large letters please.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The wizzy bits

One of the problems with the railcar kit is the vagueness of the motorizing instructions. I'm sure a GP-XX or farish mech can be used, I'm just not overly sure how the blighter would fit in. Not having a spare mech lying around, I came up with the following compromise.

The motor is an open frame Tenshedo jobby sold by Robin Knight as a spare for an OO or 12mm SPUD unit ( in retrospect I think that there might be an N scale version). The Atlas worm gear is mounted onto the motor shaft.. the whole motor is jacked up to the correct height so that the worm and drive gear just mesh nicely without being too tight. the motor case is 18mm long which will just fit into the baggage compartment with minimal intrusion into the passenger cabin (in retrospect I'm not sure why I bothered worrying about it). If this is still too large, then look here for a smaller motor which should fit much better.

I'd test run it, but I don't seem to have any fine wire around top connect the pickups. For a motor mount I'm going to glue a brass frame over the top, and then build a motor mount on the internal frame somewhere. the main concern is that the powered bogie will only have minimal side-to-side travel and the minimum radius might be limited. I had hoped to get it round 18" radius curves, but it might have to move out to 24". It will make the Ka's easier to build too.

Finally, on a different note, why is it when you only have one drill bit you never lose it (that 1.4mm drill has served me well for nearly 25 years now) but when you buy a set, suddenly you can never find the one you want!

The last but one?

Spotted on Trademe today.


Buy your own kit, and join me in building the damn thing. Ability to swear not necessary but could be useful. Access to sizable quantities of alcohol may be an advantage.
I was awake at 3AM this morning trying to think how I was going to do the drive train and fit the bogies underneath.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

First quandary

Theres always something that comes up straight away. The bogie side frames looked a bit long to the inner finescaler, so I compared them to the plan.

Hmmm, way too long. Maybe the plan isn't that crash hot as the wheel base is 8' rather than 7'6'. a hunt and 3 different plans later and its correct. The length of the bogie side frames is between 31 and 33mm depending on which plan you use. The actual length? 36mm. Cunningly, I have got my inner fine scaler drunk tonight (he can't handle his Belgian triple) and when he sobers up tomorrow I will have removed 1/2 the material between the outer spring hanger and the end of the side frame, which looks about right to me.

Update: with the bogie sideframe issue dealt to for the time being, I turned to the cab ends, and again immediately ran into another problem. Do I want lights or not? If I decide to have lights (and the Da's don't, which would be a horrible thing to contemplate putting them in) then I'll have to buy some clear plastic rod to fit in the holes that i still have to drill. theres also problems with the skirts at the bottom (not square) and the pilot holes for the MU cables are too far over to the right (which is covered in the instructions by 'start drilling leaning slightly to the left, then slowly straighten up,). I Know Pat was always saying, 'if you are going to do it, do it right' but I'm starting to see a stack of wee problems that could have been easily solved at the masters stage before it went into production.

As an aside, and part of a real conversation I had with Kiwibonds today (as opposed to a fake one that involves typing), how many people have actually brought a trackside railcar (or other kit) and how many have built one? if unbuilt, whats holding you back? Or was it just brought as part of a wider investment portfolio?

Same plea, different day

Since you know what I'm up to, whats everyone else have on the workbench (apart from apile of paint, a stack of 1/2 finished models and some russian cavalry as well)?
Do we need to run another competition to wake everyone up?

(BTW, if anyone is interested, I've got a Bachmann 4-8-2 light mountain thats surplus to requirements at the moment. Contact me if you are interested, otherwise it will just go on trademe)

Monday, March 23, 2009

No time like the present

Tonights job has involved making a start on the powered bogie. The kit is unpowered and requires a 'donor' to move it. Mine is care of the GP30 bogies I brought a while ago for my Ew project (which died before it even made it to the workbench in its first incarnation). I was just going to thin the plastic frames down and then glue the pewter frames on the outside. However this would have made the bogies about 2mm too wide (note to self; I wonder if theres any way to exorcise the finescale modeler who seems to be lurking in the back of my head!). the answer lies in how Mr Atlas put the bogies together. The pickups collect from the pinpoints on the outside of the wheels, and as long as the central plastic pillar is intact, the metal wipers will hold the wheels in place.

"excuse me but your pickups are showing"

Then its just a case of removing enough metal from the rear of the pweter sideframe and gluing it on.

"only another 5 to go"

New toys

Mmmmm, coming home to a package at the door is soooo good. Tonights comes with a special warning.

"Hmm, this will hold up construction"

Inside is a collection of quite crisp looking castings, and a set of quite eclectic instructions. It says to read them first, but I don't think its going to help.

"The last of the Trackside railcars"

Already I'm planning changes. the bogie innards will be replaced by the GP30 bogies I have pre-aquired so that I can get pickup from all wheels. The pivot arrangement between the 2 halves will also have to be modified, as I can't see any mention of the corridor connection bit's anywhere.

I'm also going to avoid low melt solder and go for glue. I just have a problem with something that could melt in strong sunlight.

Update; Pat, you were a good man, but I'm starting to wonder about whether english was your first language....

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Get them while the're hot

Spotted today on the KatoUSA website. The Mikado mechs (no top or trucks) are only $20US each. I should have waited and I could have got 2 for $100NZ.

The wheels are 9.3mm in diameter (3'9") and are on ~11mm centers. No cylinders, valve gear or rods. Unfortunately I don't think that they would work as is for any loco apart from an Ed. However as a source of bits it could be well worth it.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Seen on the Yahoo group yesterday. Someone looking for inspiration for a new layout, and pointing out that there hasn't been much new stuff posted recently (on the group). The first questions I would ask in reply are, how much space have you got, and what sort of operations do you want to see?(well, my first response was 'well, what have I been doing'). Do you want to be able to shunt wagons for hours on end (in which case a port style layout would be ideal), or do you want to watch long goods trains amble through the scenery (in which case start saving for that big house). What sort of time period are you looking at? Do you already have a collection of rolling stock or are you starting from scratch? This will then dictate what sort of layout will suit you.

I often look for inspiration NZ railway mags and books like NZ Railfan (which is the only magazine I'll shell out money to buy, its just so damn interesting). Not necessarily for a whole formed idea, but bits of scenes that I like that can be combined into a larger picture. I seldom get inspired by looking at other peoples NZR layouts for some odd reason. I can appreciate the work that goes in and the level of skill, but it doesn't tend to give me ideas that often. For model railway inspiration I often go off shore.

I'm always reading whats going on in England, and to a lesser extent America. The brits are the world leaders when it comes to building locomotives and rolling stock from scratch, kit or modification of RTR products (more on this at some point in another post). The Americans in contrast excel at building a variety of different styles of layouts, and have a far better handle on operations. Locally I'm not sure where we fit in. Operations have never figured highly on layouts I've seen, but that may be because there's only really a handful of layouts in the country large enough to support this.

So I guess its a long way of saying that you should spread the net wide when looking for inspiration, and not just look at what others in the area are doing.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Its friday again

Says it all really. It's been a long week at work reading science patents. This is indeed far less fun than it sounds, and I'd like to make all patent lawyers eat their own patents (all 180 sodding pages each of them). However, it does come with its lighter moments. I came across this gem which did make me laugh.
Screening assays for agonists and antagonists of the hedgehog signaling pathway"
It always make me wonder how you can get funding for this, and why they are so crap at signaling stop and go across roads.
On the Nz120 front. I've made a new purchase which will arrive in the next couple of days. I'm really looking forward to getting it.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Put the glasses on please

Spotted on Trademe a couple of days ago.
One of the last of the trackside models 88 set rail cars (see, not a mention of a Fiat anywhere. bugger stuffed it up), which is probably technically correct since the name of the range will probably change.

Whats worse is the set of questions asked, which show a horrible lack of knowledge, or a complete incapacity to read.

What scale railway is this for, please?
nz12o 1:120

hi ,, ?? what scale is this , 1/64.... etc ..
nz12o 1:120

What brand of kit is it and what scale thanks.
nz12o 1:120 track side kit from Pat.

we run NZR HO S gauge ,, ? is 120 compatable in sizeing.
no sorry runs n scale track 1:120.

I congratulate the seller for his patience, mine would have run out at number 2!

Monday, March 16, 2009

So whats everyone else up to then?

Kiwibonds and I were lamenting today that theres not much coming out of the woodwork modeling wise from the rest of you. So send us in some photo's of your work, even if its just repainted Japanese N scale wagons. And what do all our overseas readers do? You can't all be coming back for the sparkling wit.

Oooo, 200 hundred not out.

Well, 200 posts up in 11 months. Not a bad rate. and theres probably at least a dozen posts in there that have something useful to say. Thanks to Kiwibonds for providing tonights shots. the fist is one of his night specials. Note he shoots from the off side so as not to blind the driver. However I see its almost managed to light up the hills behind.
The second is maybe what Kiwirail should be doing for a paint scheme. Isn't photoshop wonderful.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Focus boy, focus

I've been buying old books on trademe again, and this time its 'Steam finale'. While its nice to have something like this to browse through from time to time, it allows one's mind to wander to think of other layouts that would be really neat to make. So, now as well as Paikakariki and Southland branch lines, theres also the west coast, with its collection of old steam loco's that survived right till the end of steam, and the midland line. I will obviously have to win lotto so that I can get a Chinese factory to build me all the models I would need ( oh, and the house to fit them in). In the meantime I can just sit and scribble plans in my wee notebook.

Meanwhile, today I have been busy making the world hops shortage worse, and making the house smell of malt.

'mmmmmm, beer....'

This has not been popular with the lady of the house. Wait till she finds out I've spent more money...

Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday night picture

Following this weeks modern theme, we have up to the minute picture's of the latest developments in colour scheme's (thanks to Doug Johnston for the use of these)

Is it the die hards from Toll trying to make the Corn-Cob scheme look good? Or a deeper conspiracy involving the Monks of Kato Blue (there's a good name for a rock band. I went to school with a guy who now fronts a Japanese punk rock band called 'Tripod Jimmy').

Monday, March 09, 2009

A slight hicup

Well, the first quote for laser cutting MDF for the baby baseboard system came in today, and its just a wee bit more than I was hoping (only by a factor of 3). Theres a few other places to check out, but it might be time to look at a saw bench from Bunnings.

I'm going slightly mad

(well, maybe the rest of you won't notice)

They say theres a fine line between genius and insanity. The only way I'm likely to find it is to move from idiot through insanity and sneak up on genius while its not looking.
Tonight I started on that road by soldering up the first piece of hand laid track I've ever made. I started off by taping a piece of paper to a piece of MDF. a line was drawn and then the steel ruler placed on it. Some PVA was applied and then the sleepers were glued down using the mk 1 eyeball for alignment and spacing. A heavy weight was then placed on top till the glue set.
I made up a card guide with 2 slots cut in it at a 9mm spacing, and with a nik for the track center line. The various bits of metal were pre-tinned with solder, and then the first rail (code 55) was soldered down. Hmm, it all seemed to work OK. I then used the card jig to solder down the second piece of rail. To my surprise it actually worked. Here it is compared to a bit of commercial code 70 stuff (its cheap from gawd knows where).

The crap photo is the best I can do tonight. Its probably best for all concerned if everything stays slightly blurry, as it makes everything look so much better.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Modern image mayhem

Well, maybe not mayhem, but a change from the raving anorak wearing kettle fancying garbage I've been subjecting you folk to for a while.
When the wife and kids are away, men get up to things. Some go out with mates for a night of drunken debauchery. Some stay in and dress in womans cloths. Amateur fettler has a different vice.

"Cor, look at the headlights on that then"

"Hmm, I wonder where the coffee machine is..."

Also, theres a new batch of modern image pictures up over at Kiwibonds site. these are not something you'll see everyday, and are coupled with observations on how not to take pictures.

Finally, I've also added a link to an index of N scale modeling in Australia. Its worth a poke round to see what things are like on the other side of the ditch.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

And now for something completely different

Well, the last couple of weeks has been a bit single topiccy really. certainly a valid topic, but you can have too much of one thing. So tonight, its track plan time.

A station type that is fairly commonly modeled overseas is the Junction. Normally a busy mainline with plenty of trains for interest. the main drawback is that they tend to be quite sizable chunks of real estate with complex track work. Maybe this is why they are not that commonly seen at local train shows. However one does have options that are not particularly large like Frankton or Addington. The first is Lincoln, Junction of the Leeston and Little River branches.

Its not a particularly large station, but still one with a bit of interest, especially with the odd shaped station platform.

The second option tonight is Lumsden.

This is a far more interesting beast as it was on the line from Invercargill to Kingston, and also a connection to Dunedin through the Wamea plains 'branch' through Gorre (phonetic spelling). The Mossburn branch was a few km futher up the road, so there is the possibility of 6-8 trains a day. to cap it off there is a small engine shed present as well. Locomotive optuions would be A's, Ab's, Q's and later on Dj's and even Dsa's (I've seen pictures of them running the shunt from Gorre to Lumsden and back. Add to this a collection of interesting old wagons and there is quite a bit of potential for a home or exhibition layout.
(A warning, these are a bit big file size wise, I couldn't really trim them down much further)

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Not quite the silver bullet

Further to the last post, and one of the comments that was made. I don't see CAD as a solution to all my modeling problems, but I do see it as a useful tool to solve my lack of being able to cut a straight line or measure anything the same twice. And if you want to use etched parts its either that or get out your crayons and a big sheet of paper to draw everything 4 times the size.

I've also always been good at breaking items down into separate assemblies and thinking in 3D; its just a logical extension of that. I don't think its going to slow me down much. I think a large problem is deciding when something is good enough to print out or etch, and in Nz120 thats when I can see all the detail that I want from about 18". I struggle to have 4-5 goes at a master for something, I either get it right, or it goes to the back of the que.

To finish tonight, and another reason why i would like to be able to source more bits on shore, heres part of a newsletter from Austrains, an Ho scale manufacturer in Australia ( no kidding) who (like everyone else) get their models made in China.

"A couple of months ago we were advised by the factory that, effective 1st August, all product prices will rise by 10%. This will be followed by a further 10% increase commencing with product shipped after 1st January. At the moment the price rises apply only to product but we can be certain that individual quotations for new tooling will now also rise accordingly.

We had always worked on the basis that once the tooling was paid for the product price could be held almost indefinitely. This is now longer the case.

As an example. Three months ago the rerun of the JX Cement Hoppers was quoted 30% higher than a similar run at the same time last year. Now we have another 10% on top of that. Effectively 43% more than last year. With the help of the strong Australian dollar we can absorb some of the price rises but not all. In recent weeks the A$ has fallen from a high 0f $0.97c to $0.81c as this is being written. If the dollar falls dramatically we will have to have a major rethink about both product and pricing.

This price rise does not only affect Australian importers. It is the same for the 80+ companies who use the same facility in China and we can only assume that other factories will follow suite."

So the take home story is that you can get everything done overseas, but there are hidden surprises and what looks cheap to start with, can suddenly become quite expensive.
personally, I'd like to at least try to support NZ industries to keep some people in work here a little bit longer.