Friday, August 31, 2012

Baby trains

In Wednesdays post you will have noticed that I have got a bit further in completing my log train. Thanks to Grant Morells advice I cut some buts of Rhododendron off the 30' tree in the front yard. This was then cut into sections. This is a not bad representation of a cut down tree. It looks like something out of the KATO 'pocket line' series of short trains.

And the whole train is less than 1' long. Still needs the chains, some pivots and coupling devices. Oh and paint as well.

Looks more interesting than 3 Dc's and 70 odd log wagons. Well a bit more modelable anyway.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Going Bush III

So, a day off (my first since the start of the year), and what to do. Make a start on the bush tram for real, that's what. Working from the base knowledge that Kerosene creek is built on expanded polystyrene and has lasted 20 odd years, i figured why not do something similar. While shopping for (more) plants at the weekend I noticed that underfloor insulation is relatively cheap at the moment, so purchased a bag of 1200 by 560 by 60 (9 pieces for $58 at Bunnings).

The next question was size and a track plan. The first was sensibly limited by the size of the back of the car, which is 1200 by 600 by 900. given that the end plates are 200 deep, and I wanted at least that high again for hills, this gives about 1200 by 1200 with a height of 400. Sounds about right. Next up is the track plan. Normally I'd sketch and sketch until something fell out. Since I'd done some thinking and had some flexitrack I could just do it in real life.

The main line is limited by the 600mm radius that 'we' decided on for the minimodules. It will have a passing loop, goods shed, small station and a siding that heads off stage to the sawmill (which I'm not going to model, its in the 'too hard to let trains run through it' basket). The Bush tram will be on a separate loop. This will include a loco shed next to the NZR station, a couple of bridges and river scene similar to Charming Creek, and a log loading point. The module end plates can be seen as well, so its a 90 degree corner. Not sure if this is a good idea, but that's never stopped me before.

And what layout planning session would be complete without the chief project engineer placing some trains on to see how things might look. The Cb is just passing where the loco shed will sit. The area behind the Da will have a general store and a couple of houses. I still have to sort out where I'll put the logging camp plus a few other items, but I like the base idea.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Going bush II

I've always struggled to make large numbers of trees. Well, more correctly I've never really attempted it, unless you count using sphagnum moss spray painted green 25 odd years ago.

In my wanderings on the net I came across this last night. While not New Zealand I think its an idea worth looking at.

The base of the forest is expanding foam filler, that is shaped, painted and flocked. Looks a lot faster and cheaper than using Woodland scenics foliage blocks.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Wandering minds

One of the reviews in the journal was a discussion of a UK book by Wee Duggie, Penrhyn Quarry Railway Modellers Guide. This sort of item seems to be reasonably common in the UK. In fact, the UK book market seems to be able to support all sorts of odd books on esoteric subjects. The book contains a selection of prototype photos, a few maps, some plans and in inventory of locos and wagons. There are several how-to modeling projects. The reviewer makes the comment that its something that should be able to be done in this country, given a range of potential subjects.

So, what are local topics that would fit into this sort of format. All the usual suspects would be Mt Somers, The Puponga coal company, And the Ongarue tram. Two of the three have been covered before quite well, but without the modeling highlights. The Ongarue tram should be covered, and now that it has been converted to a cycle track of sorts it might be time for something suitable. Another couple of suggestions I would make would be;
-The Waihi gold mine tramways, which look quite interesting from the limited reading that I have done.
-The Castlecliff line, which has somewhat survived to the present day.
-The Kaitangata coal company. Who could resist a railway running down the main street. A plus for this subject is that it used NZR wagons and ex NZR locos, making the modeling part of it easier.

To amble on to a final point, I found the other night in the library (of all places) a 50 odd page boo on the Wanganui tramway. This has a very good selection of photographs, several plans and a track plan. Its a good read and awfully tempting modeling wise. The center of town would not be easy to model, but it was quite rural in places, and had several interesting railway crossings (both over and under passes).

I think I've located chassis that will work for the trams as well. Damn my modeling promiscuity. Its time to get back to the bush tramway and get that done at least.

However, with bits of kit like this, who could resist?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Review time

Well, I finally managed to source a copy of the journal this past weekend. primarily to see if any pictures of the Lady of the house were inside. This could possibly resulted in the untimely death of the editor and me being an 'accesory after the fact'. Fourtunately its now not something that I have to contemplate.

So, whats inside. Peter Ross discusses the convention, with a stack of photos. The close up ones are brutal on the/my modeling. I must build in some sort of digital camera disabler in future. Just having another look at the winning model, and while it is beautifully engineered, it just doesn't float my boat. Some of the other models were more realistically executed (there is a beautiful Wf with nicely understated weathering). Oh, and there is a very good shoot of Michael's line side hut which won the inagural John Rappard trophy. There are some good pictures of various convention goers. I am described as being silver tongued (which is better than lead arsed I suppose). The Editor has missed an excellent competition opportunity with a particular photo on page 15 just screaming out for a caption. I should ask nicely if I can use it here.

So what else is there;
-A 3 page photo spread on the One track minds layout. Again, beautifully executed, but its just missing something to my eye. Possibly the colour pallet is a bit on the washed out side? maybe tehres just not enough dirt for me?
-An article on building Napier trams. There have been a handful of tram articles in the journal over the years, but its really not a common topic. This does show promise, especially if there is a layout on offer in future articles.
(I have contemplated building a tram layout in the past, and Napier would have been one to choose, up there with Maori hill. I must dig out the Kato 4 wheel mech and see what the wheelbase would be in several scales. OK, its 28mm, or 11' in NZ120. A bit longer than 8'6". Maybe it wouldn't look too odd...)).
-Les Downey delves further into his personal history modeling NZR.
-The UDK/UDA well wagons figure on the plan pages. S scale modelers are catered for and the rest of the rif-raf have to go to the members pages for their plans (Unless you are a freeloading bum, in which case its off to the photocopier with you).
-An article on radio controlled trucks for your layout. This goes a step further than the faller system, but if you are busy playing trains, do you have time to drive a truck as well? and what happens at the edge of the earth?
Then its to my "bette noir page' (if it was blank I could scribble layout plans on it) and the trade news and reviews.

Previous convention issues have left me a bit cold. this time round its a bit better. Possibly I think this as there are pictures of my models in it, which is a bit narcissistic. Others may have a different opinion....

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sod all hapening

Hmm, this is just the 3rd post this month, so things are slowing down (although my erstwhile co-writers are also obviously busy modeling...). I'm being distracted by wargaming currently, which primarily involving painting is much more house friendly than cutting and filing operations. GWR Broad gauge is also getting some more thought although making mixed gauge track work in 2mm scale may be a rail too far.

On actual modeling notes I have had a play with the log bogies and the Cb will push all 6 on level track. Hopefully it will be able to do the same on a slight grade. The railtruck may not be up to grades, so there will be some playing around to see if it will run. I have come up with a rough track plan based on bits of Charming creek that I like and a few other bush scenes that I would like to attempt.

On another note, Railex 2012 is on the weekend of 27th of October in Lower Hutt. The plan currently is to have a collection of MMW Modules there and running. Must get busy on this as there are baseboards to build, track to lay and wagons to complete.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Gone bush II

Another day, another jig.

I had to work out how I was going to put the axle bearings on. more importantly, how I was going to put them on parallel. I came up with this solution.

I figured that the best way to get the axle bearings parallel was to stat with them parallel. its worked for 4 sets, but as you can see this set has a wee bit of a twist.
I've also had a few false starts due to the merry heat conducting properties of bits of brass. And before anyone suggest different melt solders etc, I don't have those lying round the workbench, and to order so just slows things down. Plus its always exciting to see if you can solder one more piece on before the rest fall off into a puddle of solder.Its a mans hobby after all.
In response to Beaka's comment yesterday, here s shot of the bogies with a ruler (my special double scale one)

And after a bit of work with the file to clean everything up, here we go with the wheels in. Still have to remove the pinpoints though. A train less than 10" long. The Cb should be able to manage downhill.

Back to layout ponderings, and can anyone suggest where I might be able to get Micro engineering or Atlas code 55 flexitrack locally? I've decided to build this for fun, and since its a bush tram, (almost) anything goes as far as I'm concerned.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Going bush

Well, after the wrapping up of my current project (well, the 10 hour day parts of it), there is a bit more energy for some modeling. in the previous week my modeling sum total has been to cut 6 rails. Tonight I managed to replace 4 of those rails before I ran out of fish plates.

I then turned to the bush tramway log bogies. The prototype was OK but I was not looking to burnt fingers with the next 5. From the depths of my brain muttered a distant voice 'use a jig'. having dismissed the possibilities of interpretive dance, I grabbed a bit of plywood and made the following item. This held the pre cut bits of brass in the correct orientation tightly enough for me to solder them together.

A little bit of solder and everything went together as planned. 5 times no less. That will be enough for 3 log wagons to start with, and I don't think that the Cb will haul many more. I still have to sort out how I'm going to couple them together.

Next will be to add the axle tubes. Maybe some sort of jig might do the job....

I've also been thinking about track I did have plans of hand laying code 40 rail. However a comment over at by Mr Trackgang gave me a bit of a rethink. He is correct in that there is a lack of NZ120 layouts on the show circuit (such as it is). 20 years ago I would have had a layout knocked up in a couple of weeks probably because my standards were a bit lower. I now think that I over think a lot of things, when I should just be making stuff. I'll now see if my inner finescaler can be tied to a chair in the broom cupboard out the back for a couple of months.