Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Coments on Coments.

 From a previous post in the comments section

Making one's own track gives a far more life-like appearance - the track is where it's needed and moulds into the space rather than the space awkwardly being reshaped around limited commercial track.

This is true. there is nothing like hand laid track. However it is impossible to throw points round to see what works and what doesn't (which I do miss at ties). Its far harder to debug a pencil drawing, and rather frustrating to start again.
(and no, I wouldn't build standard point work by hand. It completely defeats the strengths of hand laid track).
There's actually quite a lot of modelling in the above plans. Paekakariki was quite close to being finished - just a few buildings in the middle of the track and some catenary masts and ballast and it could be passed off as completed.

At a very basic level yes I guess its not far off finished. However there are still quite a few things to fix track wise before the buildings and catenary go up. The turntable and associated trackage need to be fixed. Both fiddle yards need to be built, which really isn't a trivial matter,
and the station building grew like fungus.....

For me the largest stumbling block is what will I do with it when its finished. How does it get played with.At the end of the day Paekakariki was designed to emphasize locomotive movements. There is no shunting to speak of, just the shuffling of locos back and forward.When I first came up with the idea 6 years ago it seemed like a good one (especially for an exhibition). Now, maybe I've moved on.
(something that does appeal to me is Lance Mindheims idea of an "instant on" layout, about 1/3 of the way down the page here).

The size of the layout for a lone modeler is also rather daunting. I'm now leaning towards a collection of smaller layout bits, or even different scales and prototypes ( the siren sound of 2mm finescale refuses to go away).

So where does this this leave Paekakariki? In the garage packed up, and not far off the point of"make me an offer".

Sunday, February 23, 2014


With the inlaws visiting over the last week, there has been no time for modeling (but planty of time to dig up tree stumps etc).
As always I have been surfing the interwebs, and offer a few ideas for impiration. Oddly enough they are all from Timaru....
A K class loco posed in front of the Atlas grain and wool store. I imagine that the gentlemen in the doorways on the right do not have safety harnesses on....

A view out over Timaru harbour, taken from probably close to where the modern day port bypass comes off the main road. This gives me another idea (though I'm not sure how practical it is) to have a second (possibly smaller scale ) wharf in the background. the ships could be an issue as the sterns could be a very difficult shape to get right.
(The image came from here, which is a good source of pictures for postcards. Be warned that there is the occasional picture of a scantily clad lady reading a book.)

Monday, February 10, 2014

A plan emerges.

So, without further ado, the plan is as follows.

Its loosely based on New Plymouth, only mirror imaged and downsized. New Plymouth had an interesting set up, with the main station separated from the port with the loco depot 1/2 way between the 2. The layout fits the constraints of the available space.
(the following pictures are from the Turnball library (I think).

The main station sits on a curve next to the see. at the top left is the unloading yard, with a large good shed in front of that. the loading doors are covered to protect against the prevailing wind and sea spray.
The loco depot is about 1/2 way between the station and the port. Its small and modelable.  Present on shed are 2 K locos and a Wf.

The wharfs are also not particularly large. The one on the right is more interesting (and older) than the one in the center

So, using these photos as the BASIS for a layout I have come up with some modules that will fit into the room.

This has space for shunting and a short shunt to the port. The loco depot can be used to display locos not in use. The main station can also serve as a Junction and as wagon storage for an exhibition. I still have to do some thinking about how the station would fit into the car for transport.

There will still be some fiddling with the siding layout but by in large I think it satisfies most of my requirements.
Oh, and did I mention the beautiful troop station?

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Sunday night

Answering questions from yesterday morning

What's the longest train you expect to run point to point? 
Will you have digital coupler locking and unlocking to make shunting easier?

Hmm, where to start, especially when I have not quite established a track plan.
I'm also not planning on modeling an actual location per say. This raises for me an interesting question in that if I base my layout on a location with adaptions to get things that I like included.
The flip side is that people will forever be telling me that I've got it wrong (which does get on my goat). As an example I'll offer up a very nice paper model of the TSS Earnslaw. Now I could build this model and use it on a layout, but the procession of people telling me 'oh, so its Kingston then' or 'thats in the wrong place' would just force me to start killing people.

Anyhoo, the envisaged train length is about 10-12 4 wheeled wagons (or there abouts). I could decide to run longer trains but then I would not be able to get the operational interest that I want.
I can only assume that you are talking about remote uncoupling. I can only see having this on the locos (if at all). There's probably not the space even for that under most of my locos.

And these are not really things I'm worried about until the initial track plan is in place. More about that later in the week. I must admit that my initial plan does break down well into MMW modules.

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Saturday morning

Well, its raining here at La Casa Dandruff, which means that gardening duties are taking a back seat this morning.

On Waitangi day a group converged on Grant Morells place in the Wairarapa to look for lost modeling mojo. Grants layout has featured in the journal ( and the book of faces), but I may as well add a few shots.
Grant has a rather salubrious railway room off the main house

  A rarity in this country is a full NZP layout that runs well and is fully sceniced. The time taken just to assemble kits tends to leave little for the lineside items

'Logging and Booths landing'
Several other modelers had brought along items. However I believe that these are Grants and the concrete pad is part of a loco depot that's under construction.

As well as a wee bit of modeling, bollocks was talked and the borax was poked.
Most amusing site was the solution to pickup problems with Cabbages dubs A with sound. This involved being pushed/dragged around the layout by Quentins B class Fairlie
I have come away a bit more inspired than I was, and with some better ideas on what to fit into the room. The roundy roundy idea has been dropped and A point to point idea is forming. I just have to work out the track plan to provide enough running/shunting interest.

Sunday, February 02, 2014


Gardening. Nothing more need be said.
I also fear I'm on the cusp of being an armchair modeler
On the odd occasion that I have been through der room, I've mostly pondered the possibilities of layouts. Here is a rough plan of the size and shape of the room.

There are 2 4' bookcases on the right and bottom walls, and the modeling desk in the bottom right corner. the left side could be used for a fiddle yard.
Now some of you will be thinking 'build a lifting section and have a roundy layout'. I just don't think it would be interesting enough (and my woodworking skills would not be up to it). My thinking is a terminal (of some sort) on the top wall, and a through station on the bottom wall. The plan is to build MMW modules and use 600mm as the minimum radius.

In another left field thought, I'm not planning to base it on any particular prototype, but use bits that I visually like.

Thoughts, gents?