Thursday, December 9, 2010

More Modelling

I had been doing a bit of 'modelling'  a few months ago rather than layout building - been having fun with that even though I had to call it quits for the last few months due to other commitments, hoping to get back to it after Christmas, some of the stuff I have been working on is described below.

Austrains 35 Class

Had a bit of fun with this one - fairly nice model but I wanted to do a bit of work on it along the lines of working marker lights & cab light, I asked QSI via the QSI Yahoo groups if I could access the unused functions on their standard small steam decoder as used in the 35 & they advised I contact QSI Solutions, between Gerry Pruss of QSI & QSI Solutions we managed to get the marker lights to work. For the tender I used a 3mm Golden White LED and glued .5mm fibre optics into the LED - I then drilled out the tender marker lights and fed the fibres thru these. The front lights where a bit more difficult, I ended up using nano LEDS I purchased from NGineering in the States, I had to run some wires from the tender to the loco, at this stage it they are still a rough connection, I have bought some micro connectors made by TCS from MRC in Blacktown and they will be used to connect the loco & tender together, eventually.

Whilst mucking around with the lights I also ended up detailing the model a bit more - I ran the lubricating lines from the compressor up the boiler to the cab, also from the generator to the cab, a whistle cord to the cab etc, I also modified the tender slightly to be more in keeping with what I am after. Anyways I've included a few photos showing what I have done - will hopefully get round to painting the model soon.

Walthers turntable

Mate of mine was buying a Walthers built up Turntable from the State's and asked if I wanted one, he thought it could be made into a reasonable representative of the NSWGR 75' turntable. So once the models arrived I modified my one to be more NSW like - though not perfect it's good enough for me. What I ended up doing was re-planking the deck, making a more NSW like turntable shed - actually made 3 of them as 3 of us ended up buying one turntable each, making & installing a set of airtanks under the deck - still to go is the centre arch. Like I said I'm pretty happy the way the model has ended up - some piks follow.

Ohh well, that's it for now.

Cheers Alex.,.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Layout Happenings

Well I've spent the last few months going from one project to another to another, getting some things finished & others not so finished. I'll try to cover some of what I've been upto in this post.

The Layout

I've finally gapped & insulated all the points at the frog, I used a razor saw to re-gap the gaps at the frogs and then used 10thou styrene glued into the gap to help insulate- I'm hopeful it will make a difference & help to alleviate any shorts that may have occurred due to rail expansion, as part of this bit of work I've also wired up the majority of the layout & run a limited test as wiring progressed - so far so good, I'm hoping to test the layout from go to whoa shortly. I still need to make more point motors and attach them to the layout, but I must admit if I had not made so many of them I would be using the servo motor point motors I saw in action on Rowan's Main South layout - very impressed by them, only because I have most of the components already for the remaining point motors that I won't be going down that path, though I might use the servo motors to activate some semaphore signals. I also need to clean and then wipe a graphite pencil onto the track/rail - find it makes for really good pickup quality between track & wheel.

Most of the Main line points now have point motors installed but they need to be adjusted for hopefully good performance.

I ended up using a Powerline Victorian T class to check the track - in general most things went well but there are a few things that need to be fine tuned.

We got a new fridge a little while ago & not wanting to waste the luverley packing material I ended up cutting the the carboard packing into strips of about 100 - 150 mm (4 - 6") and used them as a fascia board template ( not my idea I read it somewhere) - I'll eventually run the scenery (when I get started on it) up to the cardboard and the cut the carboard to use as a template when cutting the real fascia board. Talking about scenery I was at the modelling the Railways of NSW at Loftus and Bob Stack of the SCR was demonstrating some of his scenery techniques and I was particularly taken by the way he sceniced his embankment - basically used some white beadfoam broken into small pieces (about 12 mm - 1/2") dipped into a thick plaster mix (Bob said it had to be thick so as to not end up being too smooth) squashed into the chicken wire and sceniced from there - I was really taken with the end result - have a look at the photos below to get an idea of what I'm talking about - as where I am thinking of using it I aleady have a scenery base of blue insulating foam down I'll have to experiment

Eureka 38

I picked up my 2 non DCC 38's from Eureka a while ago ( I wanted to have working marker lights & so thought it better to get non DCC units & then install a DCC sound decoder that could handle the extra functions required to have working marker lights rather than putting in a second function only decoder) and started to modify non streamed lined 3813 to have DCC, working marker lights, cab light & running lights,the tender water filler hatch light and a new coal load - interesting bit of modelling & am looking forward to doing the same to the black streamlined 38, I also reversed the middle of the compressor to be 'more correct' - not sure if that is really worth the effort - especially as it's not that noticeable when the model is running. Anyways 3813 now had red/white marker lights front & back using DCC Concepts dual colour Red/White LEDs & fibre optics to the modelled marker lights, a SMT LED as the cab light and also a 3mm golden white LED running lights shining down onto the running gear and a fibre optic run from them to be used as step lights,I also cut out the steps in the side of the 38 cab to allow the lights to shine thru. After I had finished the mods it was time to weather the model to help to dull off the shiny wheels, after I had finished I showed it to a mate of mine who used to drive the things & another who used to do the maintenance on them & they both said that the wheels should have been a sort of oily browny black colour rather than the dusty dirt colour I had done - so it'll be back to the paint shop to correct that. Talking about weathering the model a problem that I had was that I had lightly masked off the footplate when weathering the driving wheels so as to not get the footplate too dirty, unfortunately when I removed the blue painter's tape I had used some of the cream lining came off with the tape, I tried to fix this up with a bow pen but it's not turned out as well as I had hoped - ohh well such is life. Anyways some piks follow.

Photo of 3813 showing the front marker lights (white but they can be red), the running lights over the valve gear, the step cutouts in the cab and the cab light shining on the tender front plate, the tender water hatch light can just be made out just behind the coal load in the tender.

Red marker lights, cab light, cab step light & tender water hatch lights all lit up

pik looking down in to the modified tender - new (lowered) coal plate and driver's lunch box - easier to see the mod in an unpainted state.

Similar photo to the previous but this time the model is finished - weathered & coaled - I think the effort was worth it

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Heat Wave

Last summer ('08/09) we had a few days where the mercury went over 40c, this caused the rail to buckle in the Mudgee area cause I apparently did not leave enough of a gap for rail expansion. When I got around to doing something about this the rail had contracted back to 'normal' and I thought I'd wait for another hot one to come along so I could then mark what tracks gave me problems. Guess what - no more hot days came until this summer - so what happened - nothing - I did nothing on the layout to any great degree until earlier this summer when we had a few more hot one's just before Christmas, this time I marked which tracks had buckled, took them apart and cut about 1mm of the end of the tracks in question - I had to make about 4 cuts in the Mudgee area, some more in the lower portion of the layout - Mudgee is now running OK & I'm progressing on the others. I've included a couple of photos of the track after it was taken apart but before I cut it back - you can see the track overlaps the point rails by about .5mm, hopefully the bit I have cut off the ends will have solved this problem - time will tell.

I also had a short devlop in the same area. I think that was something to do with the gaps in the points (which I cut with a razor saw) closing up and thus shorting out. I've re-cut the gaps and glued a piece of 10thou styrene in the gaps and then trimmed the styrene back to be level with the rails. Hopefully that will be it - the trains certainly seem to run OK with no shorts in this area now.

I'm hoping for another hot day or too just to see how it all hangs together. Ahh the joys of building a layout in an attic - and yes the roof space is insulated as are the walls.

Was just about ready to post this when well - we had a few more hot ones - was 40' a little while ago followed by a 38 day - no sign of any more buckling in the Mudgee area so I'm hoping all will be OK for the future - Now to finish the other areas that have experienced track buckling.

That's it for now...

long time between drinks

Well it's been a long time between drinks & I'm getting thirsty.

The layout itself has not progressed too much - too many other things to do around the house & other modelling projects.

So what has been achieved so far.

The layout now has a Walthers 90' turntable :

it's in place but not yet hooked up - but I'm about to pull it out so I can detail it to be more NSW like in appearance - I'll start by painting the pit walls white and the base more a concrete colour rather than the radial weathering the pit comes with. I'm basing this on Orange and will need to scratch up the coal stage & sand house - the barracks are too big for the space I have available but I'll figure something out. You might also notice the end of an inspection pit on the left hand side of the photo - a better photo is as below:

This is a Peco inspection/ash pit which I have modified the floor by placing 2 * 40thou pieces of styrene over the existing floor, the top piece is slightly narrower then the bottom piece and glued to it, when the glue dried I then filed the sides of the top piece to merge with the bottom piece to give a rounded off finish to the sides, I then glued this to the existing Peco floor. I hope the photo explains it a whole lot better then I have (well I have only used 80 odd words & they say a picture is worth a 1,000 words).

I've also cut the slots/gaps for the inpection pits in the roundhouse roads - used a circular saw to do that with - was a bit of fun - not very tidy bit they should be ok - thankfully they will be mainly hidden in the confines of the roundhouse - whenever that is built.

How lucky can one be - I had to go to Galong for work last November & took advantage of being down there & went to the Wagga Wagga Exhibition, from there I came home via Orange & guess what - the sand shed is still there - unfortunately my Camera's battery had died before I got there but my Phone had a good enough camera to take a few photos with - unfortunately I did not have a tape so could not take any measurements but I think I can guesstimate the sizes, ( I think the planks are about 8" wide & the vertical supports appear to be about 6" square) unless someone has the measurements that they could email me with :-)

The Mudgee portion now has all it's point motors installed in the main & goods area, the loco area will probably use the wire in tube method to actuate the points - quite like it after seeing it in operation on Rowan (Main South Line) & his dad Sam (Buff Point) layouts - probably a bit cheaper & easier to set up than the point motors.

The lower main line station ( a mix of Wallerawang and Wyong) has abut 80% of it's main line points motorised and I've almost finished making the next batch of point motors to power the remaining points in this station as well as the points in the other main line station, all things being equal this should be done by March / April, not sure what year though.

Well that's it for now.