Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Well, I was already to write up some of my top secret research tonight. I headed out to the Man-sion, located all the relevant bits and the lights. I switch on the camera to be greeted by a short sad blip. Hmm, battery's are flat. So, you will all have to wait till another night.

Important questions for this evening; anyone know where I can get hold of 0.5mm double sided PCB board?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Right, today I need to stop for a moment and ask those in the penny dreadfulls at the back there
1) A while ago, someone was after a copy of the little black loco and wagon numbers book circa 1993. As an oddity of the move this has now turned up...
2) Its about time that I ventured out to meet the locals, so where does the local NZR group meet and when?
3) I vaguely remember someone locally here talking about having access to a CinC wood cutting machine. maybe I'm wrong.
4) Anyone seen either the railfan or the journal yet. For the first I should really visit the editor and cross his palm with gold, or at least sign up for a year or so.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Conspiracy Theories

A Paranoid Am_Fet writes:

It always starts innocently enough...gentle bantering amongst colleagues, a suggestion that a certain station would make a great model...but then things start to turn...sinister....and things happen...behind your back...without your knowledge...and wheels are put in motion...

This email arrived from Schloss Dandruff last week:

"I've just come up with my take on Whareroa. not as spectacular track wise, but it will work and look good. "

???? That came out of the blue...I asked him not to show it to Cabbage as he had been badgering me enough about Whareroa anyway.

"Too late, he sent me the original and asked for some input."

???????? Whats going on here? I feel like I'm being tag-teamed here.....Oh well, might as well go with the flow and offer to send some photos up...

(These thoughts had nary left my little skull when this email arrived:)

"BTW, heres the pictures Cabbage sent, which seem to illustrate it quite well."

So, I suppose I'm just the muggins that will have to build it then...

(Mailbox Pings)

"I could make the track...."

Sigh....Anyway, the real purpose of this post (and probably the next) is to show how The Head Druff managed to reduce the full size Whareroa yard down to a more manageable "kernel" that still allows realistic train movements and operation. In the next post I will talk (hopefully with Drews help) on how the yard is run on a day to day basis, then in the last post Herr Druffmeister will show how he came up with his design.

I cant wait....

Monday, March 21, 2011


Well, I think I might be the worlds worst photographer

On Saturday morning while getting the wood in, and having my wife comment that it always seemed longer when we were younger, I heard in the distance a steam whistle. After the job at hand was finished,

"Thats gettin some wood in..."

I had a chance to have a look open the wibbly wobbly woo to see just what was going on. Turns out it was Ja1271 on a return trip to Whanganui. Having discovered the timetable, I spent a bit of time on google earth sussing out possible locations (street view is an incredibly useful tool). 7pm rolls around and I'm out the door. driving out towards Fielding. as I come round the corner to my chosen spot (a possible silhouette against the sunset), the damn thing barrels past me on the way to Palmy. Bugger.

U turn back along the road, past palmy station. yes its there, but probably not in a good spot to get any decent shots. Further down the road I turn off an check out a spot I had sussed out. its crap.

Last stop is one of the over bridges out before Longburn. I get out of the car, looking to hurdle the fence. When the hell did they start putting 7' fences round cows? its not like they are at risk of hurdling the damn thing when its 4'. walk up to the top of the over bridge cross road, and drop down the bank a bit. Looks OK, just have to wait. It gets darker and darker and eventually I hear the rumble in the distance. camera set, and as it hits the spot I push the button.

I turn round back up the bank, hoping to get one of my trademark going away shots...
In retrospect I should have tried at least one other spot which would not have had me driving round like a maniac (which is hard to do in a 50 kph zone)Well, at least it was a nice evening to be out. and I didn't run out of gas on the way home.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sunday discussion time.

Well, its been a while since I've done any musing here.

First up I came across this on one of the forums I frequent (its English BTW. for some odd reason I have a soft spot for British railways, though mine tends towards Victorian railways).
Its from a company which sells aftermarket parts for 7mm scale diesels.

"We have sold about 50-55 of the complete sets for the 47 + many more cab interior sets & a few bogie sets [other than to those who have the complete works] but I've never seen any of them finished by customers - mind you we have sold 150+ of our Class 08 Sets for the Bachmann brass job - and I've only ever seen one or two of those finished! Remember that it is thought that only one in five of kits sold ever get built [even less for plastic kits] and of those, maybe one in five get built anything like correctly and you'd only be expecting to see around two Heljan 47s nicely finished with all the sets on!!!"

Now this does tend to ring true somewhat to me, and I just wondered how many Trackgang kits have been sold and completed. Likewise for the brass etch cetera diesels (I've seen maybe 5-6 Da's built and maybe 3 Dc's?).

-Secondly, as you all know I've been kicking round how to make the large stem locos that I'm going to need to do. Now, as we all know there are going to be some compromises involved with the under gubbins. for one. You struggle to stick your hand between the wheel flanges on a Ka, and scaling that down accurately is going to be a bugger. Now to counter this my plan is to shrink the wheels from 11.25mm down to 11mm and increase the wheel spacing to 12.5mm. This gives an NMRA standard flange of 0.5mm and 0.5mm between the flanges. To compensate for this there is an extra 2mm to be added in the boiler, which given that its 100mm long is only an error of 2%

Now I'll point out at this point that this sort of thing also goes on in the S scale models, and they also have problems in the cylinder department. Why? Because the wheels are wider than the prototype and so it pushes everything further out, making the loco wider than it should be. You can also see this in the commercial stuff where the valve gear sticks out a long way to get the clearances functional. theres other ways arround this, mostly involving the minimum radius

Its all really just a question of which compromises you are prepared to accept, and as long as the proportions tend to be about right, the rest teds to get hidden. To me, small wheels with too many spokes stick out like a sore thumb.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Getting it up...

...off the floor that is.

I discovered that we had cunningly hidden my folding legs behind the collection of packing boxes that still live in the garage. So, this afternoon I managed to get the layout off the floor to clear some space.
"Look, carpet mum"

I still want to try to raise it to 1.2M off the floor, as I think it will look a lot better, plus its spot on for the bar stools that I have.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Belated Boxfiles

With missing the layout in a box file competition due to a mixture of extreme dissatisfaction with an old job and moving for a new one, I've decided to do something concrete about at least one of the ideas that I had a long time ago.

My favorite idea was based on this area found in the back blocks of the Timaru industrial area.

So, here we have a potential layout that is long and narrow, with the buildings just present as a low back scene.

Last night, during a break from a job I've got going at the moment in my 'spare' time, I took some time to cut out a potential baseboard layout.

Each baseboard is 75mm by 350mm. this means that I can fit 3 boards in the box file, and get a layout that's 1 metre long without staging. I've drawn out a track plan that I like which will have enough space for shunting. Setting it in a cold storage facility will also allow me to period surf simply by changing the wagons and locos. the track will (again) be hand laid, and I'll have a go at code 40 rail

I should have been doing this 6 months ago.

(Things will be a bit slow over the next couple of weeks still, but should then return to normal)

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

The way ahead.

Well, with the weather getting colder here (in Nelson you tend to forget what cold is) its time to do some planning for the winter modeling period. but first lighting the fire.

In breaks between doing other jobs I've been thinking about what I want to achieve in the coming 12 months, with an overall goal of the next convention wherever it is (I seem to recall its sort of local). so what does this mean in terms of doing stuff?

Layout; Finish the trackwork for the last module (major), get some servo drivers for the points (major) and control system for same, plus make 2 cassette systems. Get some 1" thick blue foam and do the scenery. Do some card mock ups of the building.

Locos; get started on the steam locos. Get approximately accurate 4'6" drivers made. Mechs built using 2mm association gubbins (must remember to renew subscription). Learn how to do CAD to make a fair bit of this easier. Oh, and do the Ew and some D/Dm sets.

As well as this, I need to sort out 'Der Room' so that I can actually use it. This will involve putting the layout on legs so that I can get it off the floor.

Well, that is a fair bit of work, and some items will cost, so I'm going to have to stagger the whole project quite carefully. To cap it all off some careful measurement of 'Der Room' the other night shows that I can get build a reverse loop at one end, and put in a 2' radius curve at the other, and extend round to the other side of the room. I then get to choose whether to model north or south of Wellington. Currently I'm torn, but I'm leaning towards the hill up towards north junction. Steam locos were used as bankers at times up here as far as Muri, then would return light engine to Paekakariki.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Now with Working Ditchlights

Am-Fet writes:

Just lately I seem to be a bit more mindful of ditchlights. I have no idea why, I think conversations have turned to them as we are looking at how to do locomotives and even if they could be lit or not. And everything seems to have them these days, even 1954 English Electric Diesel Locomotives.

So there I was, minding my own business while hitching a lift with Drew on Friday on train 535 (Whareroa-Palmerston North) when things took a bit of a surreal turn.

We'd stopped at Easttown (Wanganui) to get a warrant through to Marton and I took the chance to get out for a PNB (personal needs break, I'll let you fill in the details) as well as get some pics of the locos. We had 5448 and 5068 on point with 4231 along for the ride. I had previously hitched a lift on 4231 coming home on 201 (The Overlander) on my last jaunt, so I was keen to get some photos of the beast as it is now.

Interest is given by the just visible NZRC logo hidden behind the Tranzrail stuff.

And then I spotted it...what in the name of W.W Stewart was the story with the ditchlights?

"Oh", replied Drew, "Those are the Repco models...".

Now thats a modeling challenge in any scale.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

You can't keep a good train show down..

Just posted tonight in the NZ railchat group.


The Chch train show committee have received positive initial feedback from the CCC indicating that the venue for the planned show on April 9 & 10 looks likely to be available if we still wish to proceed with the show.

Having a venue is only part of the equation.
Obviously we also need to know we will have layouts (and people wanting to display them).

This is the purpose of this email.

If you were scheduled to exhibit a layout at the show can you please let me know if you still wish to do so or not?

This feedback will aid our decision whether to proceed or cancel/postpone again. A meeting is scheduled for Wednesday next week, so replies before then would be appreciated.

Glen Anthony.

If anyone is interested either contact Glenn direct or through the Gmail address and I'll pass them on.

Weekends off

Well, another quite week here. I've been a bit tied up painting figures over the last couple of weeks, which cumulated last weekend with playing at the world wargaming championships. For those of you who may be vaguely interested the full results are here. Having not played these particular rules much before I was a bit surprised.

Back in the room at home the carnage has gotten a bit worse as I had to unpack a few things to find all the wargaming bits that I needed.

Its time to make some legs to make some space in the room, and save my aging back. I'm also thinking that I might need some more shelves as storage space. The hunt is then on for cheap shelving I guess, unless anyone else has any clever ideas.