Sunday, July 19, 2015

Branchline Modellers Forum

Hi All,
Yes I know I have not posted for ages and this is still not an update of what I have been up to.......It will come eventually, But thought I would let you all know about this:
I am helping run the next Branchline Modellers Forum here in Coffs Harbour on the 21st and 22nd November this year at Bishop Druit College. If you remember Stephen Ottaway, Well known for his superb Stephen Johnson Models Kits and the famous Branchline Modeller magazines, He is the driving force behind the show.
Details of the event are going to be posted up HERE . I advise you to be quick in registering when the time comes as we are going to be restricted to just 80 to 100 attendees. Also, Make sure you email your interest as invites will not generally be advertised. It is shaping up to be quite a good event and it will be a little different to other conventions. One requirement for all attendees is they MUST bring something to put on display. This does not necessarily have to be a model, it could be photos, plans etc. of railway related subject. The purpose of this requirement is twofold.  Firstly, it means that each attendee becomes an active participant in the event by contributing to the entertainment of others.  Secondly, that spending time looking at the resultant display, the size and diversity of which is a feature of the forum, is an important element of the entertainment on offer.  In the past, some modellers have even built small dioramas just to display at the BMF.Another attraction for the weekend will be a half day guided tour of the Dorrigo Railway Museum by director Keith Jones. If you have never been to the Museum and want to know what's happening up there here is the chance to ask your questions and look over some of the Museum priceless assets.
Be sure not to miss out on this.


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Small bit of modelling - New Blog

Sorry, not much to report. Just a heads up for a new Blog. The Author is Ben Small. He is the exhibition manager for the Epping Model Railway show. One to check out in the future.


Saturday, November 2, 2013

Muswellbrook Roundhouse - Pt. 4 Trusses

One of the best things I have found by having this blog, and I am sure that other blogger's will agree, is the amount of information that seems to come to light by fellow readers. Most of the early info I have gathered for Muswellbrook RH has been from field trips and very limited photographs. Although I was only able to measure accurately the rear brick wall section, all the other areas of the RH to be built would be from either guess work or trying to scale from poor black and white photos. One would then have to be happy with the 'near enough' result and hope that you don't get the "It was never like that" comments.

Soon after my first posting of the RH construction, I was kindly offered by fellow blog follower and Modeller Phil Colins, a full set of plans for Parks Roundhouse. Parks was, as shown from the plans, virtually exactly the same as Muswellbrook. Actually the plans state change dates for Muswellbrook. Along with the plans were a disk with numerous colour photos of the RH and service facilities. Wow! Its the sort of stuff you just dream about.......Well me anyhow. And only last week another exciting email from John Proctor (another follower), appeared with more photos showing the exposed roof trusses during its dismantling stage.  With Phil and Johns kind permission I will share some of these as the RH model progresses. Thanks again to you both.

 Both the above sets of info have been invaluable for the next stage of the RH construction. Originally I was going to copy the roof trusses from the Plans from Ray Pilgrims link and modify them slightly to resemble a close enough Muswellbrook roof profile. However with a full set of plans and detailed photos I could construct almost exact replicas of the trusses. I do say almost as I have steered away from the anal detail by leaving off the nut bolt washer castings etc. The plans show a much more complicated set of roof trusses and the time taken to build just half of them is getting a little lengthy....Yep, I'm over it!

Although I constructed the rear wall from Urethane castings I wanted the character of an old RH and felt that a timber construction was appropriate to achieve this. The inside of the rear walls will hardly bee seen from the front looking in and when weathered a brown black should blend in OK.
A list of all the required timber sizes was made up and a stock take of on hand timber was compiled. I am using mostly Capler timber purchased from Gwydir Valley and Model Railroad Craftsmen with a few in stock lengths of Northeastern. All the timber was pre stained a stick at a time using the techniques described In Garry's Modelfx blog using the Minwax stains firstly with the Classic Grey, then with the Ebony. I added a slight brown tinge to them with diluted Feast Watson Brown Japan stain. In hindsight I could have skipped the classic grey step as the coatings of black and brown seemed to covered most of this up. I made a tray at work to keep all the appropriate lengths in order and to make selection easy.

The RH roof is made up of three different trusses. The main truss runs right from the front to the back and is positioned over the centre of each of the dividing stalls sitting atop the two runs of bearers supported by the main posts. The truss also sits on top of the rear wall posts. At the front, and in between these main trusses are the inner intermediate trusses. These sit on top of the bearers that span between the main posts. At the rear are two sets of rear intermediate trusses. These span from the centre bearer to the rear centre posts. The below photo of the plan shows their position more clearly.

Three separate jigs were made to construct each of the three styles of truss. These were made using sheets of 5mm styrene with the outline of the truss scribed in using a square, scale ruler and scalpel blade. Then gluing with MEK small sections of strip styrene either side of the scale sized timbers until the completed truss jig was made. Each of the timbers were then cut to length and glued together with white glue to make up the truss. I did however find that the pre stained timber did not allow the glue to penetrate and hold real well. Some pieces came apart when removing them from the jig. I simple re glued these into position using some thick CA. I also decided to go along and strengthen the joints with the CA to ensure it does not all fall apart at a later date. I still think the effort of pre staining is worth it.
Here are photos of the plan showing the three trusses and the first set of modelled trusses in and out of the jig. Note the unique vented ridge at the peak of the roof that will be correctly modelled.


And here is a shot of Muswellbrooks exposed roof trusses. With thanks again to John Proctor for the use of this photo.

While the slow process of the truss construction continued, I set about setting out the bearers over the drawing I'd done on the temporary base ready for the trusses. The 12"x8" bearers were cut and laid over the arced lines on both the front and centre posts positions. These were held in place with masking tape while the glue dried. Small pieces of paper were layed under the joints to prevent the whole thing sticking to the base. After the glue dried I drilled and pinned, using brass wire, these at the joints leaving the pin above and below the bearer by about 3mm. This will alow me to insert both the truss, and at a later date, the posts to the brass pins making a realy strong joint. The rear of the truss was also drilled and pinned so as they can be possitioned into holes in the rear wall posts. I will not be glueing these ones so I can hopfully remove all the roof section leaving the rear wall in place. The intermediate trusses will only be glued into possition. No pins required.

   Once I have most of the roof trusses fixed in position, I will need to relocate it all to its possition on the layout so as I can postion the posts on top of the styrene formwork for the RH floor. I will be starting some benchwork shortly so stayed tuned for that.

Till next time.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Muswellbrook Roundhouse - Pt.3 - Windows

I needed to make five sets of 24' wide frames that hold two rows of the etches for the actual window frames. I knew that scratch building all five would be very time consuming so decided to see if I could cast them in Urethane. I could also supply my mate Adam with some for his Roundhouse as well and of course anyone else who wanted them. The frames not only needed to be correct in size but more importantly be able to accept the etches.

I begun by selecting the correct scale size styrene for each of the timbers. The 4 main posts sat directly on top of the wall and each of the windows sills were rebated into them. Using an engineers square, I scribed a vertical line into a 1mm thick sheet of Colourbond. Just so happened to be able to get that from Work. The MEK affected styrene will not easily stick to the steel sheet allowing easy removal of the completed frame.
I started by laying the first post along this line and held it in place with a couple bits of tape. The plans show these posts as 12"x 8" hardwood. As each of the frames will be butted together I made these from 6"x 8" giving the required 12" thick post when finished. Next was to position the lower 4"x 10" bottom sill along the lower edge of the Colourbond gluing it to the corner post. Using the window etch as a guide I glued the centre 6"x 8" post to the lower sill giving the etch just a mick hair of clearance. This should compensate for any variances in the etches and shrinkage of the casting. Using the same technique as described above, I proceeded to add the remaining two posts, centre 4"x 8" rails/sill and Top 4" x 6" rails.
Although Muswellbrook does not have any louvers above the windows like Cowra's, I added spaces for the these to the frames as well. I plan to have Andrew do a 3D print of a louver section that can be simply cast in urethane and inserted into the frame. I will just be cladding over the frame with the Corrugated iron.
To hold the etches in place, 0.020" square styrene strips are glued around the inside face of each of the frame openings. This also acts as the beading that would have held the frames on the real thing. A small piece of the 1mm Colourbond was used to set the correct distance in from the back face for the square beading. The 0.020" looked a bit bulky so thinned these slightly by scaping the surface with a scalpel blade. When the etches are inserted from the back another piece of the square styrene is glued down the centre of the etched window frame. The lower sill was also tapered away at the front edge as per the drawings. I was now able to cast the completed frame.

The below photos show the second cast frame. I destroyed the first one trying to work out how to remove it from the mould. If you look closely you can see the 0.010" styrene beading that holds the etches in place.


And here is the completed frame with etches inserted from the back. With all the etches glued in place I can airbrush the whole thing before adding the clear plastic for the window glass.

Stay Tuned.


Monday, September 30, 2013

Muswellbrook Roundhouse pt.2 - Rear Wall

The rear brick wall has five straight double brick sections 5' high that wrap around the back of the roundhouse. The distance determined during the research process revealed that they are 24' long centre to centre. The fifth stall, closest to the road, in the following photo shows that the wall extended out past the corner post by three feet from the centreline of the corner post. You can see the timber stud for the corner of the wall set back this distance. The stud would have attached to the corner post.

I did not have evidence of the corner wall of stall no.1, as at present they have removed the wall for easier access to the yard, so I decided to stop the wall flush with the outside face of the side wall. This will need to be extended 6" past the centreline of the corner post (half the distance of the corner post which were 12"x 8" hardwood).  
I started by cutting five styrene pieces the required length and height for each of the stalls. I added scale 8" to the height to allow for the concrete floor which I will pour with plaster level with the top of the rail. This was actually done on the prototype as well only the step down was done in the slab before the brick wall was constructed......A bit like a brick veneer house. Next was to laminate two long pieces of styrene to each side of these short pieced. The long lengths were divided up with the correct lengths of each of the stalls so I could scribe and slightly bend the styrene around the back wall. This would give me a gentle bend at each of the angle changes and make the whole thing nice and solid.
I lightly glued to the temporary timber base 5 pieced of 20mm square pine on the back side of the rear wall lines previously drawn and set back so the centre of the three styrene pieces (the short ones) was over the centre of the line. Once the glued had dried I could clamp and laminate with MEK each of the three pieces of styrene together.

I wanted to detail the inside of the shed slightly so anything that would stand out needed to be modelled. This included the access doors to the machine shop located behind the rear wall. The rear wall at Muswellbrook has had these access ways bricked in and the different colour bricks used makes them stand out like the proverbials. As can be seen in the lower photo the large double doors can be easily seen from the front of the shed.

Photo Courtesy of Graham Harvey from his Flikr Site.

I was able to measure these openings while at Muswellbrook so proceeded to transfer these to the wall section and cut these out down to the top of concrete level. I just so happened to have plastic double doors from an old kit that are a close match to the dimensions. Next was to laminate Slaters English Bond brick sheet to the front and back face of the styrene wall. This was done in long lengths so as to eliminate any unwanted joins.

The piers at the rear of the wall at each of the angle change positions were done by simply adding a second layer of brick sheet over the first. It scales out just about perfectly. Of course at the correct width measured from the prototype. The chamfered top edge was also modelled by gently filing along the outer face at about 45 degrees. At least the rain will run off!  Seen also is the styrene 'slab' for the machine shop. The use of styrene rather than the poured plaster was done as it will most probably be never seen.

To be able to accurately move the completed rear wall section to its new position on the layout, I added some brass pins to the underside of the wall in all the angle change positions and located right in the centre of the wall. Holes drilled in the timber base keeps it all in the correct location. When I move it to the layout I will lay the temporary sheet in the correct location and drill through the holes into the bench work. On the inside lower face I added two 8" x 6" styrene strips glued together. I will use this as 'formwork' for the slab. My idea will be to mask the painted wall and pour the slab level with the top of the styrene and railhead.
Next was to paint the wall. I have never been real confident at doing brickwork so was time to try a few ideas. I have to admit that the following technique was described to me by Peter Lewis of 'Time and Patients' that we have all admired at the shows. I applied by brush a base colour of Humbrol no.82 matt 'Orange Lining'. This a real orange colour but will tone down with following steps. Next was to add a 'splatter effect' using Humbrol no.100 'Red Brown', no.63 matt 'Sand' and no.33 Matt Black. This is done by slightly thinning the paint with Mineral Turps and using a stiff brush and a gauze or mesh strainer held over the top of the wall, and brushing the bristles on the top side of the gauze. This causes the paint to splatter in fine uneven and random spots over the brickwork. The slight thinning allows the paint to flow slightly and settle on the surface rather than landing and drying in fine spots. Using the paint in the order listed above gives a great effect. Finally, I gave the entire wall a wash of white (with just a small amount of black to turn it grey) Windsor and Newtons water soluble oil paint thinned to a tea like mixture with Isopropyl alcohol to give the appearance of the mortar between the bricks. I ran a cork block slightly soaked in alcohol over the surface just to take off a bit of the white from the face of the brick. I will also use some thinned black to add some grimy rain streaks also. The photos might explain all this dribble better.

The top edge will be painted with Floquil Concrete to finish it all off.

Till next time.


Saturday, September 28, 2013

Muswellbrook Roundhouse pt.1 - research.

As usual, I have delved into yet another project before finishing the previous. There is however a plausible excuse for this....and its the one I'm sticking to!

I have made a start on constructing the roundhouse for Muswellbrook. This is actually the first piece of construction commenced for the layout. So, here is the excuse......I was asked at the last New England convention about doing some etching for the rear wall section of an Anton's roundhouse Kit for a friend and fellow Blogger Adam Homer. A sample section of the rear wall from the kit was sent to me for measurement and inspection. The Anton's kit uses a cast polyurethane frame with clear acetate for the window glass that has lines marked with a black pen to represent the window frames. Apart from the wall section being totally out of square, The window glazing with its black lines just looked terrible!
Originally Andrew and I (AndIan Models) set about to make an etch that was able to be inserted into the Anton's frame, but after much deliberation it was agreed that if we were to spend the time on the etching artwork we may as well make them correct. After all, I was wanting similar etched window frames to the Cowra ones Adam wanted. So, a new wall section needed to be constructed to fit the correct frames.

Fortunately for me, the rear brick wall section still exists at Muswellbrook along with the roundhouse floor and turntable. As Usual, Muswellbrook roundhouse was unique in many forms and I have never been able to get detailed plans of the roundhouse. Over several visits to Muswellbrook I was able to accurately measure the rear brick wall and roundhouse floor. The below three photos show the roundhouse floor and rear brick wall section still standing.


You can see in the lower photo that the stirrups atop the brick wall are still there. These held the base of the main posts that divide each of the window frame sections. There are three sections per stall. Some simple measuring revealed that the distance between the outer posts, or centreline dividing each stall, was 24'. Some time ago Ray Pilgrim 'Bylong Blog' posted a link to some roundhouse drawings along with a link to a flickr site with images of Cowra's Roundhouse. I soon realised that the dimensions matched the drawing. I was also able to scale off the below photo of the rear wall of the roundhouse to determine the height. These dimensions were also compared to those of the Cowra roundhouse.

If you compare photos of the window frames you will see that Muswellbrook's window frames were more rectangular than that of Cowra's Square frames. Although Cowra's square window frames differed by quantity per frame, The distance between the main posts are the same for both. Andrew was now able to draw up some frames from the researched dimensions of both Muswellbrook and of Cowra's two different frames.

Cowra Windows 1
Cowra Windows 2
Muswellbrook Windows

       After waiting patiently for these to be fitted on a test etch, a couple weeks ago I finally received the samples. Before sending the sample off to Adam, I needed to make sure that, A, the etches fit the correct frames, and B, that I was able to construct the frame and reproduce them in polyurethane.
From the drawing and the measurements taken at Muswellbrook I set about constructing the rear wall. Hold Up! Not as easy as that. For me I needed to work out the exact length of the engine shed and its relation, or position, to the mainline. As the drawing did not match the roof profile of Muswellbrook's, I needed to find out if these matched the drawings also. My last trip to Muswellbrook revealed that there were two main posts along the centreline dividing each of the stalls, however they were not evenly spaced like the drawing. The middle post measured 36'feet from the rear brick wall, while the front post was only 28' from the centre post. Looking at the below photo reveals that the front post was set back from the front line of the gutter, or end of the roof rafter which explains the set back distance of the front post. You can also see that I have drawn a line roughly along were the roof rafter and lower truss beam would be and measured the angle with a protractor. 11 Degrees. Pretty close to the drawing. I was told by someone that the roof trusses from Muswellbrook roundhouse were used to rebuild Cowra's???

Next was to determine the location of the roundhouse in relation to the mainline. I wanted to make sure I had the shed looking correct when on the layout. I used Google Maps to print out a satellite view of the loco depot area. I drew a horizontal line along the mainline, then using a square, drew a 90 degree line from that, intersecting the centre of the turntable. The filled in pits of the engine shed can bee seen on the image so a line through the centre of stall 1's road was drawn to the centre of the turntable. Again using the protractor I could determine the angle of stall no.1........23 degrees.

As I have not started the layout bench work yet, I used a temporary sheet of MDF to mark out the full size floor plan of the turntable and roundhouse area using the researched dimensions and angles. While at Muswellbrook I measured the distance from the turntable pit wall to the rear of the brick wall of the shed adding on 37'6"(half of the 75' turntable), equalling 170'. The scaled out measurements of the Turntable centre, pit wall, front and mid shed posts and rear wall were marked out on a strip of styrene, holes drilled at these locations and using a small pin through the location of the turntable pit centre, radius line were marked. The five rear wall sections were marked out at 24' centres using the straight line from the turntable centre point. I now have a completely accurate plan of the turntable and shed in its correct orientation. I could now start to construct the shed.

To be continued:

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

AndIan Models Has A Blog

AndIan Models now has a Blog. From now on I will be posting details about our kits there rather than on this one.
This will also supersede the email list I started for our Bulletins which are also on the new Blog.

Check It out here.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Copping it from all angles

I have been copping a bit of curry for not posting on the Blog, so settle down guys here it is. I also received pressure about the Luffing crane. The monthly modelling days have provided me some time to set aside the 'jobs for others' and get some done for myself. I used this time to make a start on my Luffing crane, as shown a few posts back. I completed the assembly and installed a TCS M1. Wow! I was amazed how well it ran.......Like a Swiss clock! It did however have trouble with electrical pickup, even with all wheels having phosphor bronze wipers and good track work, it still seemed to stall here and there. At the next modelling day I showed the guys......they were all impressed but did comment that it was missing sound. C'mon......give me a break. The thing is that small its hard enough to fit in a normal decoder! I thought a bit about what its use would be.....Pretty well stuff all! Its too small and inappropriate for a train consist, so figured that it would really only be conveying an S wagon around the yard cleaning up junk and stuff. While doing some testing on the loco I coupled it with the S wagon I used for the recent AMRM review (April 2013) for Ian Lindsay's Compensated chassis. It sprung to mind that I could install the sound in the S wagon and permanently couple it to the loco. I am not generally supportive of this idea as it does not allow the loco to run 'light' - on its own. The compensating of the S wagon also provides guaranteed electrical pickups if I install wipers on all four wheels (coupled with the loco wheel pickups) as all the wheels will be in contact with the rails.
I begun by drilling several holes in the floor to let the sound out. I used a 20mm high bass speaker with a 750 Tsunami mounded directly behind. In hindsight I probably should have looked into something with a more appropriate whistle other than the usual K class decoder. I had one spare so ended up using that. I may end up changing it to something different later on. I used 0.010' phosphor bronze for pickups soldered to a PCB strip inside the wagon body then passed through the floor and bent to rub along the inside of the wheel with very light pressure to ensure the wheels will still spin. A sheet of styrene painted flat black was used to cover it all up and provided a top for the speaker box I created around the speaker. The decoder wires were run down through the floor just in front of the speaker box. I covered the plain styrene with heaps of 'junk' detail castings, bits of brass tube, corrugated iron offcuts, chain etc. all painted and weathered to a rusty colour. I also used some chalk weathering to blend it all in. It came up pretty good. I decided that to give the best sound affect I would couple to S wagon with the speaker closest to the loco and with the loco funnel to the wagon. It will normally run cab forward with jib trailing. Before all this can be done I needed to paint the loco.
I usually try and push my limits when I do modelling projects. For me it seems to help improve my modelling. So I guess that the most complicated paintjob for me to tackle would be black with Green side tanks and  red and buff Lining. 1052 was at one stage painted in this livery. There is some great pics in the Luffing Crane article in AMRM June 2001. 1052 is also conveniently preserved at the Railway Museum at Dorrigo still showing some of its lined green paintwork and I could access it to take some detail photos. It was also fitted with Auto couplers.

The paint job begun by disassembly of the loco and painting all its components with mirror tone etch black. I also decided to fit a cam disk to one side of the front driver witch meant removal of one wheel. This was of course done before I painted everything black. I then begun the tedious task of masking it all up for the green. I was unsure of the correct colour and due to the fact that 'it never run at Muswellbrook', the correct colour did not matter. I chose TLB's Verdant Green as used for the 38 and 40 class. This was Ideal as I for one didn't need to source it as I had some old stuff here. OK, so you historical Goo roos can tell me now the correct colour.
The red and buff lining proved a challenge. I purchased with the kit bergs lining decals to suit. These are very nice indeed but only provide plain red or plain white. Without layering the decals with a second buff line work, it was easiest for me to hand line the buff directly to the decal sheet using my lining pen. The decal sheet is provided with either square cornered or coved cornered decals. 1052 had the plain square cornered lining so I proceeded to run the buff line just inside the red using a ruler for the straights and coved styrene templates for the corners. The buff is perhaps a little thick but it seemed to look the part. I did find however that once the decals were submerged in the water, some of the pigment bled out from the red line work witch made the buff really stand out. I found too that several applications of decal set were needed to get the decals to soften and conform around the rivets of the side tanks.
The AMRM pics of 1052 show that it had the NSWGR coat of arms crest on the back of the loco. This decal was sourced from Warren at Gwydir Valley Models from some of his old stock. I hand painted the red buffers and sides of the footplate and decaled the white numbers to the front. I finally gave the model a very light weathering and added a few extra details like cab side curtains made from stained tea bags, fireman's shovel sitting on the side tank, fire irons prototypically hanging on the rear handrails and a few ropes etc. hanging from the front buffers and of course a driver. I coupled the prepared S wagon and wired in the decoder to the loco. These locos were never fitted with electrical lights but I wanted to use at least one of the light functions. One of the pics of 1083 in the AMRM article shows a kerosene lamp mounded to the rear of the loco. From the photos and the prototype at Dorrigo 1052 was only ever fitted with a lamp bracket at the front in front of the funnel. As I wanted to run it cab forward I used my 'it never run here anyway' theory and fitted one to the rear. I tried to find a casting of the one I wanted but could not seem to come up with anything, so pushing my limits again I made one up from a section of square brass bar turned in the lathe. I drilled a hole through the centre for the light and fabricated a wire handle for the top, painted it silver so it would stand out. Hey Presto! a working Lantern.
With extra pickups on the S wagon it now runs perfectly with no interruptions. See video below.

Here are the pics before I weathered and detailed it.

You will notice in the video I did end up creating a small train consist. I am calling it a breakdown train. I found a pic of a departmental CV Van in way and works cream with heavy weathering of its peeling paint. I used an Austrains CV for the van itself and created the peeling paint affect by applying Humbrol Maskol in patches over the pre weathered body. When the Maskol had dried a light application of way and works cream was applied with the airbrush. When this was dry, I removed the Maskol with the end of a small skewer by rubbing it gently along the boards. This leaves a nice peeling paint affect. I left a couple areas with paint so I can apply some appropriate decals. I still need to get one done for the side and a little more weathering to finish off.

I am more than happy with this little model. Its the only one I have ever seen run, and indeed possibly the only one with sound.

Here is the Video!

Catch up soon.


Friday, March 1, 2013

Classic Brass 25 Class for sale

Hi All,
I have a Classic Brass 25 class for sale. Its prety much New but has beed painted. Will need repainting as its a bit rough, at my standards. Has its original box. Selling for a friend. $650. Can supply photos to those who may be interested.


Friday, January 18, 2013

New Blog Check it out!

Hi all,
A good mate of mine has started a blog. Best check it out. He does some nice work and his layout will be superb.