Friday, February 25, 2011


Magikan scribbles...

After a discussion one day with Am-Fet about his plans for the saltworks and his need for GSY containers, the following conclusions were reached:

The GSY container

We felt that Rapid Prototyping was going to be the most effective way of reproducing the side door container. Given that these have been around since 1997 potentially quite a few could be used (and not just by Am_Fet), so the plan was to produce an RP pattern for resin casting.
So a couple of evenings with CAD produced this.

The CAD file ready to get sent for Rapid Prototyping.

A week later and a package arrived in the mail with the results.

The RP pattern

A little silicon rubber and we are ready to start casting more.

The Rubber Mould

The end result, GSY's by the train load

The resin cast GSY containers

To complete these we still need to sort out decals and we are currently working with our New York office to produce these.
At least these containers have worn the same paint scheme for their whole lives so only one set of decals will be needed.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

To those who are there, and to those who desperately wished they were there, our thoughts are with you all.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


Am_Fet intones:


With all the preparations made for the worlds biggest leave pass (similar to a train control "work between 2 stations" warrant), I started getting a few things together to take with me. In the past at shows of this ilk, Cabbage (aka Marks Model Works, purveyor of fine 3/16ths Dubs A kits and 1880's exhibition layouts) and the VCC Models team have set up demonstration tables and merrily hacked, filed, soldered and muttered all within the scrutinizing eye of the viewing public. So, being the naive innocent little lamb that I am, I packed a few tools and started casting around for projects.

I already had a few IA's that still needed to be assembled before making their way to a new home in the Naki, plus I'd found a J5 etch that I was using as a bookmark in a train that was going north anyway to sit in the Head Druff's new train room.

With all the latest goings on in Taranaki I am starting to re-invigorate my interest in the milkies, so pulled back my old CAD OM drawings to see if anything could be done with them. A phone conversation with Mr Laser late on a Thursday afternoon confirmed if I could have a file to him early Friday he'd have it available to be picked up by stumps that night.

In the end I did 2. The first was a standard OM in 0.5mm styrene designed in a similar fashion to the IA with etched girders and slots in the decks for them to go into.

The second was a bit more....ground breaking.

The wagon spine was made from 4.5mm acrylic and consisted of 2 cuts; the first was the side view with the drop centre, the second (after the piece was rotated 90 degrees in the machine) was to provide the slot in the top. The decks were then added in 0.5mm styrene.

The real proof of the pudding was in the making....and oddly enough the single piece spine was a lot easier to finish (by a factor of 1000%!) and it only took 5 minutes. In fact, I gave up on the styrene one as it proved impossible to put together. There is a bit of "twist" in the acrylic due to the heat of the laser, but I am informed that a quick reapplication of heat will allow it to be bent back into shape...not that I cared, this was just a prototype, goddammitt!

Thanks to Cabbage, it even got a lick of paint...

So here we are. The boys were really enthusiastic when they saw it, as it opens up a whole lot of new ideas....such as locomotive chassis for split axles (large block of acrylic, cut the side elevation for frame shape and axle holes, then rotate and cut slots for the gears).

As for me, I suppose I'll have to finally get the tank supports underway in 2mm acrylic as well as starting to beg Cabbage to turn up some SS tube on his lathe. Luckily he's already provided a sketch on how the cradles should go together.

Seeing as I need around 12 of the puppies the incentive is there to make the assembly as easy as possible....

An update from the front

Just back from the Whanganui show. Once again it was a great chance to catch up with some fellow modelers and meet some readers (Hi to Zane and Quintin).

The show was interesting (coal smoke from the traction engine outside added to the flavour), in a good location. However (and for once) there was not really anything that caught my eye layout wise. Well, apart from the Marks Model works (and friends) stand.

First up is an N gauge layout built as a layout for kids to play with, by a modeler that has created some well executed 'left field' models in the past(I wish I could find pictures of his Wellington railway station in wood, complete with trains). The big kids gave it a good run today as well.

The thing I really like about this layout is that it can be folded in 1/2 for transport/storage. The 9' radius curves were a bit limiting for my Nz120 models but 1410 soldiered on for the whole afternoon. This layout provoked a lot of discussion during the day and many ideas were kicked round. Another astounding fact is that the layout is powered by 2 sets of 8 AA batteries! this seems to be quite happy running locos for long periods of time (and I'm told that the batteries have not been changed in 3 years). This also provoked a lot of discussion, with much centered around the possibilities of running a layout on DCC from a laptops USB port.

Also present was the S scale Kai iwi /Rimu flats layout. This is an 1880's period layout which again fiolds in 1/2 for transport. The Rimu flats side is a work in progress, and while not having any prototype at least one punter claimed to have gone to school there.

The other side is a deceptively simple single track through some rolling countryside. However its the small details that set this layout apart from others. I'm told that the Birds etch is one of the most popular etches sold by MMW.

Friday, February 18, 2011

On Display

Just to let you all know that the MD crew (minus one playing brass monkeys in New York) will be at the Whanganui show tomorrow. We may well be located somewhere near Marks Model Works, but will be wandering the hall as well, bringing you all the news that's fit to print, and probably some that isn't.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Its Gorn!!!

Am_Fet writes:

In between writing begging letters at work over the last few days for enough silver coins to allow me to buy some new servers (which seems to have kept me busy since January), I was idly scrolling through some photos and came across this wee gem courtesy of Drew:

Those of you who know me wont be surprised to know that it is a picture of empty milkie 547 at Patea. Taken from the oppersite bank of the Patea river, it looks past the cheese store on the left towards the old wrecked freezing works in the distance....

ITS GONE!! Who flogged the freezing works? Where did that large lump of twisted metal and concrete gone with the graceful chimney forlornly pointing at the sky?

When I took up the matter with Drew, he said: "The demolition contractors did a fine job cleaning the site. A bit too good actually as they were supposed to leave the chimney as a monument, but it came down and a big sh*tfight broke out between the council and the iwi as the iwi wanted the monument but the council didnt... blah blah.."

And so another part of my perfect little world crumbles into dust. To be honest, I'd rather not have to model it (or at least paint it on a backscene)....but I seem to have firmly nailed my colours to the years around 2009 when the most diverse loco liveries could be seen....and export traffic still flowed north to the port of New Plymouth.

Still, its highly tempting....

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Local sights

On our touring today I came across the main reason what Kiwirail doesn't wash its locos

'Hmm, must have shrunk in the wash again....'

This local attraction is just 5 minutes bike ride from the Schloss. I was quite impressed. The loop of track seems to be quite long.

'Ladies and gentlemen, the Overlander will be a bit late in Wellington on Monday as its only 1/10 the size...'

Friday, February 11, 2011

All new

Tonight, while on the way to pick up the lady of the house from the airport, I stopped to take some photos of the local scene from a vantage point I had happened upon last week.

'Milson at sunset'

I think this is my first photo of a 30 class electric. Note also the collection of old swap bodies. there are about 10 sitting here in a long row.

Monday, February 07, 2011

A voice from the past

On my recent wanderings on the wibbly wobbly woo I came across this.

(from Phil Parkers flickr photostream)
The most interesting bit is the last paragraph, which, while incomplete is still as true today as it was when written 75 years ago.

'It is felt that, although a great deal is to be said for the "dead true scale" basis of modeling, yet how easy it is overlooked that, just as oak trees grow from small acorns, so does the fuller realisation of true scale modelling grows from humbler efforts. hence it behoves us all to remember that no effort is so poor that there is not some point worth passing on to those who are striving after the same ideals.'

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Home base

Well, as has been commented on the last post (and the bush telegraph is working well I see) the new home base is indeed Palmerston North. If you had told me even 3 years ago I'd be living in the Manawatu I would have laughed at you, and yet here I am. I must admit that I have been pleasantly surprised as its not quite as bad as I had previously thought. It is a bit different from Nelson, as I can hear the Saturday night stock car races as I type. However it is much closer to Wellington and a variety of other like minded modelers (even modeling in the same scale).

Further to this all, it appears that I'll be making the trip to the W(h)anganui show in a couple of weekends with cabbage, B 0-4-4-0 and assorted other hangers on.

Finally, here's one of the costumes from the Wellington sevens. Apparently they even have the crossing bell sounds.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Settling in

Well, since its been 10 days since I left the South island, here is an update on the move. We are now in the new Schloss dandruff. its smaller than the old model, but has a bit more character (and a less anal landlord so we can actually hang pictures up on the walls). Of more interest to the regular readers of the blog is the new room where everything will live. Its far larger than the old room, so the wargaming/workbench stuff will fit down one side, and the layout should fit on the other side.

The major hick up in this whole plan is that I will have to build some legs to raise the layout up off the floor finally. At least I'm back in an island where there is a supply of blue construction foam for the side bits of the layout.