Sunday, August 28, 2011

Trackmaking XXXIV: Last lap bell

Well, this weekend (as well as being hijacked to do some gardening) I've started work on the last 2 points for the scenic part of Paekakariki. These are for the 2 points leading onto the turntable behind the loco depot. First up the ceremonial marking out and sleeper laying.

I've then got started on the rails. Here's the first curved rail in place.

After I finish these 2 then its just some straight bits of track and the turntable to do and that's it. I'll then have to start doing some real modeling. This worries me as I'm hopelessly out of practice making buildings.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Saturday morning.

That time of the week to laze round and have a relaxed breakfast.

Topics over a cuppa and pastries this morning would be

- Are armchair modelers getting even lazier?

probably not. However We/they tend to sketch ideas out on to paper with a nice sharp pencil. personally if I'm designing a layout I don't go near a computer, its all done in a book. I just can't get a computer to articulate on the screen what I'm thinking. That then limits me to putting stuff up as the scanner I own won't run on the new computer so I have to fire up the old one which is a complete PITA. Would it have been easier if people had a set entry format so that they could get on with designing without having to worry about the writing so much?

- What is the 'Right' size for an NZ120 layout?

Another interesting one. Clearly a boxfile isn't doing it, so where is the lower limit? And if people are not building layouts, Why not? Are they building anything at all? Is it a lack of time, energy or confidence?
Personally I would have thought that a small layout gives you a chance to build something that you might not build otherwise, and get to have a go at some scenery modeling. I still have the full scale track plan sitting there for a branchline station on a curve. It would be a pain in the butt to build with code 40 rail.

I'm surprised that no one had a crack at that great British idea, the loco refueling point. Ideal for those with way too many locos (which is most of us?).

Also for your consideration, here is a nice small British layout in 2mm finescale that I would hold up as possible start for ideas. A main line along the front with an industry behind, all in about 5' plus fiddle yards.
Go to the link to see more(as well as the photo credits). And remember that it is still only in 2mm scale.

There we go, more than enough dry matter for a good fiery debate. I'm now off to play in the ched, hopefully making more track.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

NZ120 layout in a boxfile competition

Well, now this is over and we wait to see who the winning layout designer is, here's my not so humble thoughts on the layouts proposals.

The winner, “Endearing Creek Timber & Mining Co.” is a nicely simple layout, which I think could be modeled in one piece and still fit in the back seat of a car. There is plenty of opportunity to model nice little detailed areas around the mine. there is a fair bit of NZ bush to make. This plan has also given me some thoughts for a small bush tram layout for my Cb to run on.

Possibly an adaption would be to bend the river a bit further round to provide a bit of a scenic block.

The second place getter, Rangiuru Passing Loop, East Coast Main Trunk, Bay of Plenty, is a bit more problematic. While I can see its attractions from a train running point of view, I think it has some fundamental problems as a layout in a boxfile.
The main one is that there is no way you can fit that many points into the top left hand box short of using Peco Setrack points. This detracts a bit from the visual appeal. I also think that, for me personally, its not quite what I think boxfile layouts are all about, which is small areas full of details and the chance to experiment with something you wouldn't normally build. However it would make an interesting shelf layout.

I also think that we as a scale should try to come up with a baby modular layout system for next convention. Given that we are all useless at designing anything as a committee I think its probably wishful thinking :v).

So, what does everyone else think?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

DCC; the learning curve

A short play in the shed tonight. I thought I would give my twinset railcar a run on the non DCC loco setting. I had the lid off to start with as I had not managed to get it to go. I must admit that I was rather surprised to see a circle or blue sparks round the commutator. 'Must be time for a clean' I thought. Never mind, on with the lid and up and down the yard a couple of times. A few track spots presented themselves as problematic and I was just starting to investigate when I noticed a quite prototypical wisp of smoke emanating from under the railcars body, as well as blue flickering lights on the trackbed under the motor compartment.. 'That's odd ' I thought, 'I don't normally make models that well'. I lifted off the track 'tout suite' (that means quickly for those of you who slept through french at school). On taking the lid off and putting it back on the track I was greeted by a bright blue light where the brush contacts the commutator. This was then deemed to be a bad thing and I shut everything down. It was quite spectacular in a 'my that is an interesting scientific phenomena I wonder if I need to look for a new motor now...' sort of way

(As a note here before everyone tells me I'm a mug, I am well aware that running non DCC loocs with a DCC box is an idea right up there with banging ones head against a brick wall or voting ACT, which I did once as a scientific experiment (but that's another story). Please don't point out that it is a bad idea when its quite obvious that it is.
I have manged to run non DCC locos with my old Challenger unit but that only had an old apple power supply with a power output that might light an LED on a good day. Obviously the new power supply makes blue sparks everywhere untill the smoke comes out)

Kids, don't try any of this at home....

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Saturday morning

Well, the pastry's have been eaten and its time to go shopping (white ware and brewing supplies).

As an interesting note While hunting for something else I came across the Wikipedia page on Da's. If you trawl down you can see that Dc's 4421 and 4513 are converted from Da's 1441 and 1446, which started service in August 1961. This would then make then 50 years old. There will be arguments about just how much of the original is left, but they are arguments that one could level at preserved steam locos as well.

While ducking behind the parapet I'll just leave you with these little gems.

Into New Plymouth.

My favorite bit is at the start.

A short clip from 'Kb country'

A fitting tribute to Brian Cross. Some of the camera work is just fantastic.
(The guy who posted it doesn't have any other NZR videos in his account, just a stack of dodgy looking Anime videos)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

DCC programing

So, having got the new box out of the box, I had to plug it in to test the beast.
as it was a bit cold outside in the mansion, I've moved inside.

'The test track and surrounds'

After setting the various locos to their correct numbers, I discovered that I had wired all the chips in backwards. At least I was 100% consistent. Fortunately there is a CV that you can change to solve this so I don't have to unsolder everything. I then started playing with the acceleration/deceleration rates. This will be a good idea until the collision damage begins to mount up. Not content with this I then went a step further and reset the Cb's top speed down, as well as adjusting the mid range speed as well.

This weekend I will have to have a go at speed matching as one of the Ed's is faster than the other so MU'ing them is not that crash hot at the moment.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Guest; Taranaki driving

From Drew tonight, but from yesterday morning. no doubt its a bit worst today.

"WOW what and AMAZING adventure... I have been up all night and am still amped hahaha

Had to drive a little ford focus to Palmy in the most insane adverse conditions I have ever driven in. Hard core snow in many places. blizzards, the works!

Wasnt snowing in Palmy, but by the time I got to Fielding (with 526) it was snowing, and snowing hard in Marton. Was snowing up the Westmere and many other places in between."



'On the Westmere bank'

Monday, August 15, 2011

DB says:

Like Señor Druff, I am also on tour, so here are a few pictures for those modeling the Midland Line taken on Saturday from above the interior of your shaky, snow-covered southern isle.

Near Mount White

Staircase Viaduct

Storming up the Cass Bank

Snow time

Well, with the heavy snowfalls all over the place I was still surprised to see snow on the ground at Schloss Dandruff tonight. It started about 4 pm and was quite heavy by the time I went to drive home.

"No Drew, thats not the Man-sion..."

Tonight I arrived home to a box from the US,

The contents of which were...

"Hmmm, no not that sort of Zephyr"

I was all set to get out into the Man-sion tonight but 2 things defeated me. The 1st was the power pack, which while capable of 240V inputs, did not want to mate with the local power outlet. The second was a local power cut which reduced us to the miracle of fire. I did manage some reading though.

"I'm just missing the blanket over my head"

Saturday, August 13, 2011

On Tour; Dorkland

This week I've spent several days on a work trip. While this has involved mostly listening to experts talk about sciency stuff, eating bad food and drinking, I did find some time for a bit of trainspotting.

I was on top of the hill, and it was a short walk down to Newmarket. far faster than driving the distance anyway.

I was walking down Newmarket rd when i noticed that you can see the infamous new triangle from a car park. off I wandered assuming that I'd just get tossed out if someone had a problem.
no sooner had I arrived at the fence than a train headed off out to west Auckland.

This had just passed when another train arrived from the west.

Well, apart from the wire fence, not a bad spot to watch. however, there were people sitting in cars looking anxious, so I moved on to let them conclude their drug deals in peace...

What did strike me about the station is that its very European, and quite reminiscent of Swiss and German stations that I've been through, with a modern concourse above the platforms, and display screens to show what train is on which platform.

The other end of an SD set. actually quite modern looking given its only an old BR mk III coach. Why we can't build something similar here is beyond me.

I tried to get some pictures of the AD railcars, but I was never in quite the right spot when they turned up.

Finally, an SD set heads off towards Britomart. I saw 6 trains in about 15 minutes. While it was 5 O'clock, it was still quite impressive.

For something completely different, this would be a great station to model. Lots of trains, modern surroundings, and the possibilities of some freights out onto the North Auckland line.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Break time

Just a note to say that I'm off on a work trip for a couple of days, so I'll be going quite for a while. hopefully back to full speed on friday.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Back from the front

I'm just back tonight from a 2 day trip to the windy wairarapa, manning the front lines at the MMW stand. The show itself was quite good. Mark was secreted round the back and so it was left to me and Michael to be the acceptable face of modeling. While I was planning to again have a timeline I forgot to record anything so will just use pictures.

Here is Dandruff industries section of the table. A full selection of locos and wagons. The track section that I was working on. The price Cb was used to frighten larger scale modelers. answers were "its a price Cb, not a shay", "It has a DCC chip", and "No, it doesn't have sound may i poke you with my red hot soldering iron instead?" also note the large tea cup and nice sammies. a big thanks to the ladies in the kitchen for refilling my cup without question for 2 days. If they had lamingtons I would have given them an A plus.

On the tarckmaking side I was able to sit down and make a tarck formation from go to whoa. this gave me a chance to experiment with some areas that I have previous not quite been happy with. I must sit down and write up the definitive 'how to do it'.

One visitor was Graham with his Df as seen on comes complete with dirt and sound. Its nice to see another modeler who is willing to weather his models a bit.

Scenic textures Brian Roulston moves faster than lighting while working on a diorama that he completed during the show over 2 days. A couple of chats about 'super fine' ballast, either side of some reminiscing about the old days in Dunedin when we were younger, may well bear fruit later in the year for loco depot ash grade ballast. The fine ballast will be great for the yard and mainlines.

One of the layouts of the show for me was Grant Morrels Kerosine creek.

An overview of the layout showing some of the beautiful scenicing. Its given me a few ideas for a small bush layout for the price Cb.

The loco depot featuring a selection of famous bush locos. A price E and a MMW dubs A as well as a couple of truck based locos.

My overall impression was that of a good friendly show. It was about the right size with a good selection of layouts and traders (a couple of book shops that got some of my money).

There were also a few wide ranging discussions on various possibilities model wise ranging from the wildly impractical to the only moderately impractical. more food for thought when I finish making track.

Saturday, August 06, 2011


Just a quick note this morning to say that I will be at the Masterton show for the next 2 days. if you drop through stoop and say hi. I'll take some pictures as well.
Now I'm off to make lunch and load the car up

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Colour me dirty

With some discussion on colour that steam locos should be painted, I'll submit my take on the matter.

A bit more grotty than the average main line loco, and it still needs some more stains from leaky valves. I also need to add a load of wood to the back.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

History time

From Glenn Antony tonight.

"Here are some photos I took at the Timaru Model train show at the weekend. Its some of John Rappard's "Dunedin and Port Chalmers Railway" modules dating from 1988 (or there abouts), which are now owned by the Timaru group and have been reconfigured into a roundy-roundy circle with a branch line to the wharf."
Passenger train passes through St Leonards. A kato tank loco

South end of Dunedin railway station including a small port scene

Dunedin railway station c1870's. This was taken from a sketch/woodcut (I think, it certainly bears quite a few similarities to the original. Unfortunately I can't seem to find a copy of it)

Port Chalmers. Kato tank engine on the main, and what looks like a Wf on the siding.

Port Chalmers from the other side.

These pictures do convey something of what a groundbreaking layout this was. Running period locos and stock looked really good on it.