Saturday, November 14, 2015

Saturday Morning

(I'm trying to get back into this blogging business.)

A sunny day here at La Casa Dandruff, and I've already turned the compost (and that's not a euphemism for anything). I've had an email from Shapeways to say that my order has been printed and shipped, so in a couple of weeks I'll start learning about how to use acrylic body shells, and if its worth it.

Following on from the West coast binge that is occurring here at the moment, I've been pondering about how to turn the area into a layout. While there are some bits (the branch lines) that would be relatively easy to model, fitting the bits into a larger system is a bit problematic. Its had me pondering (again) the merits of creating imaginary routes and stations on the west coast. Its one of those things where its something I would like to do, but my inner historian keeps yelling at me (historians love an argument, and unlike inner finescalers they can hold their drink). I know its reasonably common in the states (simply because its so large), but in little old NZ where if it was sensible (or not) someone built a railway, so all the easy bits are taken. There's possibilities (a second route across the southern alps) but once you have a route it doesn't seem to make sense to duplicate something.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Yet More Coal

Chatter from the peanut galley over the last couple of weeks has been discussing ore modeling locations on the west coast, and the attractions of old steam locos and long rakes of coal wagons.
A list of station track plans was drawn up, and the only major one missing from the list was Greymouth.

Greymouth was actually 2 different yards, so lets have a look at plans from 1912

 The main station also contained the car yard (and the loco depot at this time, Elmer lane not being built until the 20's). This was the departure point for passenger trains south to Ross, North to Westport and east to Otira and beyond. The other Station, Riverside was used for the local trains to the Greymouth coalfields and up the grey valley.

The wharf yard was deeper than the corresponding area at Westport. The track work was far more complex as well. Looking at it from an operations point of view, the set up is to run short rakes of hopper wagons onto the quayside to be unloaded by the mobile cranes. The corresponding trackage at Westport was far simpler.

Amazingly (and/or sadly) the only thing left of the 2 yards today are a single line to Hokitika through the main station, and the goods shed and cranes on the Quay.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Q-ing Up

The Ghost of DB returns.

I'm alive! And back in Godzone for a while. Which always make me want to play trains.

Mr 0-4-4-0 is making some nice Q wagons and modules at the moment, so why not join in, as who doesn't love the West Coast in late-steam days? And besides, I remember seeing Q hoppers on a DJ hauled train leaving Greymouth in 1981so I can use them behind those locos as well.

So... I found four 10 foot Peco chassis with spoked wheels and threw them along with my modeling knife and a random selection of styrene bits into suitcase for the trip to the Capital.

Colonel Druff lent me a variety of Q plans this afternoon, and the first that caught my eye was one of the steel hoppered ones with the straight sides. Measuring up the wheelbase and converting to NZ120, the Peco is exactly right, so make one of those first I will. If you're not familiar with it, the NZ Railways Rolling Stock Lists site is a goldmine for numbers, dates, trivia and pictures for almost everything that ran on the rails in NZ.

My first task was to remove the extraneous detail from the Peco chassis - the protrusions above the flat top surface, the handbrake and brake-shoe details. I've also slimmed down the couplers as I intend to use them (shock horror) instead of splashing out on anything more realistic, or expensive. All was done here with a sharp blade in my 35 year old modeling knife which I haven't used in about two years but seems to be still up to doing the job. This little shard of firewood and a paper bag to catch the offcuts might not make EB's "Great Workbenches of the World" series, but it's doing the job.

Once this was done, I laid a flat piece of thin plasticard on top. In hindsight I should have cut a rectangular hole in it to make the top half of the hopper look like it's sitting in a real hole, but what can you do now. Other notable details on these series of early Qs are the coil spring pockets above each axlebox -yes I know these Pecos are leaf sprung, but I figured removing those might be a bit messy. I made these pockets with their distinctive circular holes by twirling a hole in plasticard with the knife point and then cutting squares out around these and gluing them in place.

A pair of headstocks and a fake handbrake lever and we're almost done. I don't have any handrail wire with me but that will come, and I'll need to add some weight to these as well.

More in the next episode... in about two years, if history is anything to go by....

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Saturday Morning

The suns up, the birds are singing (the cat got 2 yesterday so I can't imagine what they would be happy about), and the lawns call out to be mowed.
So the best spot is hiding in front of the computer.

I've started making some movements towards getting my NZ120 modeling back on track. Last night Shapeways and Kiwimodels (in that order) made some more money off me in the form of an EE Df top and an NZR bus. It will be interesting to see how the Tomix bus chassis can be shoehorned into the top. I suspect it will take some serious surgery along the lines of just what does the damn thing need to actually work. The Df should be a bit easier depending on whats been done to allow it to fit on a KATO mech. At some point I'll also have to take stock of the stock, just to see what runs and what doesn't, and what bits I have lying round.

Also I finished up some work yesterday on a few other models that had wandered across my workbench (for one of Am Fets mates). NZ12 I believe.

Friday, November 06, 2015

Two in two

A day off work (how can I have a head cold when its 20 odd degrees outside, maybe I'm just worn out?) gave me some time to do a few jobs. as well as having a bit of a sort out of the train room (clearing out all the house tools was an amazing start), I finished gluing down the track on the wharf.
This was then taken outside and spray painted, which revealed that my choice of colour could have been better.

'Blue, init"
Never mind, its a good base colour and a fair bit of dry brushing with a lighter grey will soon sort that out. Painting the rails will be another thing entirely though......

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Treading water

Well, a long time between posts (which seems to be the sentiment every time I write at the moment).
Things have been quite busy at work, and seem to be about to get even busier. Again theres no energy left for hobbies in the evenings (after the garden is attended too). Theres also no easy jobs to do, which tends to lead to the " sit down at the bench (if we make it that far), look at some bits for a few minutes, get up and turn the light off on the way out". Its just something that you can't force by timetabling modeling time.
One thing I could face doing was gluing down the track onto the wharf. I've been putting this off for months as I've been assailed by doubts about the next steps.Finally I just though "stuff it" and went ahead anyway.

'A varied selection'
It was all far easier when I had lower standards and could just enjoy making things. I was even considering taking up the shapeways free shipping week to buy a few bits to work on.......