Tuesday, April 29, 2014

In the post

An interesting package today from a shop in Japan.
First up a Bo-Bo chassis. I had been interested to see what the inside of this unit looked like. The bogie wheelbase is 14mm and the distance between the bogie centers is 27.5. Wheel diameter is 5.5mm. No idea what I'll do with it yet, but I'm sure something will present itself.

Next up is a bit more left field. I have been looking at the trams and buses for a while, and when I discovered that you didn't actually need to buy the track sets, I thought 'why not'. Its designed to follow a steel guide wire under the road surface (1-2mm thick from initial tests).

It runs on 2 button batteries and can be stopped and slowed by magnets.
This could be quite interesting on a small layout.
The size doesn't hit home until placed next to the Cb.

I was very surprised when I opened the package.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Another birthday

Today the blog turns 6. Normally at this point I write some philosophical garbage, but I'm just not in the mood for that tonight.

I see that we have managed 12 posts so far this year. This tends to suggest a bit of a problem in the motivation stakes, or 'bloggers block' if you will.

'Sometimes, blogging is just soooo hard'
I have in the last few months that I will start writing a post, then wondering if I am repeating myself. This then leads to deletion and going back to whatever else I was doing. I don't want to go down the path worn by others where they continue to discuss the first loco that they built back in the 19X0's trying to inspire others (how or why I'm not so sure). Not doing any NZ120 modeling currently (that staple of many blog posts past) doesn't help much.

I do feel to some extent that I have been superseded by the next generation of NZ120 modelers. I don't believe this is a bad thing, In fact its great to see that the scale is thriving far beyond anything I expected 6 years ago. 3D printing has made the production of models far simpler as there is no need to hold stocks of parts for a kit (the classical method). I think we will see in the next few years the production of add on kits in the form of cast and etched parts to super detail the bodies. Another thing I would like to see is more on line reviews of these models along with close up photos.

On another tangent I received an E-mail today from a modeler wanting to start out in NZ120. The questions tend to be the same standard ones that we have had here from time to time. Many moons ago Greg Keay approached me about writing an NZ120 primer for the guild. I think this was going to be as part of a series for all the common scales used in New Zealand. I have no idea what happened to this grand scheme (indeed Greg has been rather silent of late. I hope that there's not a bad/sad reason for this as I'm still looking forward to a brass etched Ds top), but maybe its past time to write such a document. It could keep me out of trouble, and the history chapter is already written.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Adding a little colour

DB awakens:

You may recall a few silly expositions about paint colours on models a few years ago, and more recently, I've been agonizing over colors so that I can buy some paint and thus make some progress on a 9mm DG I've been working on for about a decade now.

Agonizing, because as Dave Turner would say, you can make colour look "accurate" and you can make it look "good", but those two are not always the same thing - sometimes our perception is skewed by a bunch of factors that were discussed in that aforementioned post. 

An embarrassing example of this in my models (and in my photoshopping) that I've suspected for a while but have recently proved:  I've tended to make my fruit salad and kiwirail international oranges too 'red'. It's my preference, but I have an inkling its not right – and I should be getting as close to "accurate" as possible and tweaking subtly from there.

Kevin Crossado for years has kindly put the British Standard (BSC) paint codes in model railway journal articles, but unfortunately those don't mean much to most people - even if you go to most professional places to go to get paints mixed up they don't want to hear about them. What you need is to be able to convert those BSC codes into something they understand.

So here's a useful website that has the BSC colors – for example international orange is…: http://www.e-paint.co.uk/Lab_values.asp?cRange=BS%20381C&cRef=BS381%20592&cDescription=International%20orange

This conveniently gives us some more useful conversion tools that let me to match an RAL colour that Resene Auto and Industrial have in their multi-volume book of paint swatches. Of course I thought this looked too "orange" and not "red" enough, so I borrowed the swatch book and ran it down to the Timaru yards in the hope of finding a KiwiRail DSG. Soon enough a pair of DFTs came through on a train and ...I was proved wrong. Despite their grunginess, KiwiRail Persimmon is Fruit Salad International Orange - and both are far orangier than I expected.

Super useful on that weblink are the RGB (red/green/blue) values familiar to many users of imaging and design software. 

From this, here's an even more useful site for modelers:  http://scalemodeldb.com/paint which lets us enter RGB values (international orange is 206/79/55) to give us the closest match in model paints!!! You can filter by brand to just pick Humbrol or Vallejo or whatever you prefer; and presto.

So since Humbrol seems to be the common brand around these parts, I'm going to try Insignia Yellow 154, Dark Slate Grey 224, and Satin Red 132 and I'll let you know how they go.