Thursday, January 10, 2013

Moving the Riverina to the Hunter Valley.

Once or twice a week I religiously check my blog reading list for new posts from my favourite bloggers and am quite often disappointed by those who have not posted. I am then reminded of the fact that I have not posted myself. Again, seriously late at posting but better late than never. So what I have been up to over the past four months? Not a great deal as far as I am concerned. I have not done what I should have.........
Late last year I decided to start a Modelling day at my place with a few fellow modelers. Six of us get together once a month to actually do some modeling rather than talk about doing it. Now that my railway room is finished and ready for a layout, I set up some benches so as the guys can set out their work and if need be leave it till next time. One of the modelers, Alan Tarrant, who recently moved from Sydney to the area, has a beautiful exhibition layout ‘Bullenbung Creek’. Al was working on the silo for the layout at the modeling day but soon realised that he needed the layout to position some of the items on the silo. Over the course of the day the conversation come up about the construction of Muswellbrook. I have so much work built up for customers and friends that I cannot realistically start on the layout for 12 months or so. Al suggested setting Bullenbung creek up in the train room till I was ready to start on the layout. This provided Al with the layout on hand to complete his silo and till he builds his own room, it allowed me to use it for testing the many locos I have to build.......OK and to play trains! The very next modelling day the layout was transported to my place and set up in the train room. The layout ‘Bullenbung Creek’ is based on the line form Uranquinty to Kywong in the Riverina. About half way along the line is Belfrayden witch the layout is based on. Alan explained that the water tank and bridge (actually called Bullenbung Creek on the prototype) is farther apart than that modelled. So, like my blog posting says, the Riverina has moved to the Hunter valley.......Well for now anyhow. Here is a video of some trains running on Bullenbung Creek and also a shot showing the layout in the train room.

The modelling days have provided me with a chance to do some modelling for myself. Try and get some of my own kits done instead of building stuff for others. At the Liverpool exhibition this year I purchased one of Bergs Luffing crane kits. Yes I know they didn’t run at Muswellbrook but surly I can have one model that didn’t. I was also told that they are quite difficult to assemble and get running. In all the time I have been around and attending exhibitions I have never seen one actually run! I decided to use the modeling days........and a few others, to build up the crane. The assembly of the chassis is generally straight forward. I assembled the chassis on the assembly Jig, as explained in Australian Journal of Railway Modelling no 7, the same as what was done with the 57 project I posted about some time ago. This ensures all is straight, all the wheels touch the track and also allows the correct location of the coupling rods without unnecessarily filing out the coupling rods. The Walschaerts valve gear would have to be the most frustrating. Most of the bronze valve gear castings are held to the sprues with quite bulky amounts of brass and careful removal and lots of filing was needed. Just about all these parts need to be pinned with brass pins and soldered in place so as they can move about. Quite difficult to achieve as they are quite small to handle. Remember that the whole loco is about the length of an S wagon (see photos below). After lots of F’s and C’s I managed to get the valve gear assembled and working. The footplate and boiler assembly also tests ones patients. The boiler is made of three white metal castings with brass sheet wrappers for the boiler. The brass wrappers need to be firstly rolled to half round then soldered to the white metal sections. This boiler assembly is then attached to the footplate followed by the jib assembly and finally side tanks and cab. At this stage I have the model basically assembled. Just a few more pipes etc to add. I have fitted at this stage a TCS M1. It runs very well and am quite happy with the result. I have had shit put on me for not fitting sound........I’m still working on that! But it’s way too small for a speaker and decoder! I intend to base this engine on 1052 in lined green livery.

Completed Boiler assembly.

Footplate ready for Boiler

Jib and side tanks ready for the footplate

Completed chassis with full working Walchaerts valve gear.

View showing cab details.

Assebled loco less cab and a few pipes, Shows the size compared to an S wagon. I could fit the sound to the S wagon and permanently couple the wagon.
 Outside of the modelling days its work as usual. I have been working on several projects at once to try and get some jobs finished. I managed to finish off a couple review items for AMRM that I had been working on before Christmas. You will have to check out the next issue for the latest one. I have two more to do that I am currently working on. Again, you will have to wait for coming issues of the mag to check these out. I have several loco kits to build for both friends and customers. I have assembled the chassis for a 30T; again this was done on the assembly jig to ensure everything is true and correct. I don’t have pics of it as yet......Pretty boring really. I have progressed further on the 2nd loco in the order of jobs, a branchline ROD. The ROD kits are quite good however I will be replacing the direct drive motor with a gearbox and motor from High Level Kits in the UK. I have managed to get the tender assembled ready for paint before installing the sound decoder and I have the chassis done at the stage of fitting the crossheads and connecting rods. Again the chassis was built up on the jig requiring just small movement of the bearings to correctly position the coupling rods.

Here is the ROD at its current stage ready for crossheads and conecting rods.

On the AndIan Models front, things have slowed a little. We were hoping to have our four wheel water gin project ready for the Armidale convention however there were some complications with getting the last etch samples of the underframe witch put the release date further behind. There were another couple issues that arose that has still stalled the kit being released. The same issue has also stalled the revised BLV kits. Our supplier of the brass castings for both the BLV, Water Gin and not to mention the turret tender project has let us down suppling the required parts. This has forced us to dump this option and get these parts produced ourselves. As a trial, we assigned John Dersch to master and cast the brake cylinder for the water gin along with also casting in brass the axlebox with spring details, turret filler hatch and valve tap detail (from our own masters) for the gin with very pleasing results. We have now decided to have John cast the Turton Buffers for the BLV and straight buffers for the water gin from our own masters. As of today I received from Andrew the Rapid prototyped masters for both types of buffers. I will critique these before sending them to John for casting. We will also be going down this road with all the required details for the Turret tender project that many are wanting......Including myself. We have now 50 odd sets of the new multi piece BLV bodies done ready for the kits along with the same amount of water gin tanks. The casting process of the one piece BLV body proved quite costly and little difficult to cast when trying to keep fine quality of the body. So the body was re mastered into a multi piece body.  

Here is the remastered BLV body. Just a little more work for the modeler.
I have also managed to build up a sample of our 36’ riveted tank wagon underframe which we have had etched. This is looking very nice indeed. We have made several trips to Dorrigo to measure and photograph MOA 141 and the bogie acid tank wagon SUL 22 both of which have generally the same underframe and will be available as kits from us in the future. We are undecided what method we will adopt for the riveted tank. We will either make a brass master to have cast or supply the modeller with a custom decal from Archer decals for the rivets. We will be using Gwydir Valley filler hatch and tank anchor castings for the MOA tank, well at this stage anyways. There are some small details missing from the domes. The acid tank parts will need to be mastered.

Below are the shots of the water Gin at its current stage. Prety much complete. Just waiting on buffers.
You will see in the pics the brass details cast by John.

During my spare time, Ha! , I blew the dust of the Mike McCormack LFX boxes and managed to get the 2nd set of bogies finished. I have noticed a few other bloggers have started on theirs and didn’t want to be left behind. Will try and keep moving forward with these on the modelling days especially once the Luffing crane is finished . I need to get both the LFX cars built up to painting stage so I can paint the two together.
Last weekend our Exhibition layout group held our anual open day at the local showgrounds with great sucsess. Both days the crouds were unreal. Most of the day it was four deep of people trying to get a look at the displays. Along with our own layout we had Alans Bullenbung Creek on display along with member Bill Baggets U-Drive shunting layout. Bills Layout proved very popular with the kids allowing them to get hands on experience at shunting the cars into the industries. We also had memeber Alan Harris do some trackwork demonstrations on his modular layout he is building. The day was very succesfull indeed. We also had great fun putting shit on a Friend of Alans, Ben Small. Ben came up from Sydney for a holiday staying with Alan for a week and was a great help running Bullenbung Creek at the open day. Ben is the Layout Manager for the Epping Clubs Thornleigh Exhibition and seems very knologable with the NSWGR passenger cars. He has also been experimenting with the correct valve or chuff timing for a 57 using a soundtraxx decoder and custom cam chuff kit. His sample of the cam sounds terrific and sounds more authentic than the modified soundtraxx cam. Wednesday this week we took Ben to the Dorrigo Railway Museum for a bit of a look. Keith allowed us to show him around the museum. Ben was pretty much like a kid in a lolly shop. We had trouble containing the drewel! We had a great week with Ben and look forward to catching up again soon.......Maybe we will see some completed models Ben? 

Bullenbung Creek at the Open Day.

Heres Bill with crounds of people waiting for a go at the U-Drive layout.

And of course the clubs Big layout.

Hope you all had a great Christmas and all the best for a great modelling new year.



  1. Nice work Ian!

    Really inspirational stuff, especially the rivetted tank wagon underframe!

    I have been looking at the crane kit as well.....hmmm....

    Hopefully I'll get some time soon to finish off the BLV since those orange Austrains boxes have stopped piling up in the corner for the time being.....

    I think the review in AMRM of the BLV was a little unkind, also the reviewer didn't answer the question of how you get hold of a couple of 'spare' Austrains LV roofs to substitute for the roof supplied with the kit...



  2. Hey Tom, The review was good as far as we were concerned. It points out what errors there are in the kit, most of witch has been fixed in the second run. The roofs he used are the replacments for the four wheel CV van from Austrains. They supplied them with the wrong roofs! They are available from Austrains. The reviewer also rushed the model a bit I feel as he had picked it up fom us at Thornleigh exhibition on Saturday and had it finished and review writen my Monday.

    Thanks for the comments.


  3. G'day Ian.

    I wasn't aware of a roof problem with the Austrains CV?

    I knew of one with their GSV and that they were supplied with replacement roofs (this is one of the many orange boxes I have in the corner....), I was planning to use them with the folded up brass brackets in your etch.

    Re buffers, is it a question of quality and durability for using Brass over White Metal?

    I'm converting my buffers over to sprung type with Wizard Models ( buffer springing kits; Santa didn't get me a drill press (yet)so the conversion of cast brass buffers to sprung type will need to wait a little while.

    Has the Mini seen any use?



  4. Yeah, sorry I mean't the roof issue was with the GSV's. Ian Dunn used the incorrect roofs from them.
    I have always prefered brass over white metal. Mainly because the brass ones were of better quality in terms of detail. Perhaps its a mind thing as well......Brass is Brass!
    The Mini is currently going through a full respray. I was only going to spray the front end for the new engine but decided that the whole car would look better freshened up. Going to change the colour slighly as well from Indigo Blue to Marine Blue with Toga white top. Should look the part. I have the Boot, Bonnett, both doors and all the accesories in primer. Just starting on the body now.