Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas

Just a quick one to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. I have enjoyed sharing my adventures with everyone this year and in doing so have learnt a great deal along the way. I would especially like to thank all those that helped with information in regards to Picton. As Rob (Picton Blog Spot) said in his last post we were both helped out in more ways than I could believe by a very kind person via a post on the Aus-Model-Rail group. I have now enough information to keep me busy for a very long time. I do hope I can do it justice by building the models to the accuracy of the information provided. Thank you for all the time and effort you gave us.

Not alot has been happening here on Stonequarry Creek. I have been busy with work and my days off seem to coincide with rain. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks things will move forward.

I have been trying to finish off the Andian LWW I started ages ago. While still not complete I will throw up a few pics. Still to go is the rest of the brake gear, piping and a general tidy up of things. I added my own wooden deck by laminating northeastern timber on either side of some brass pieces. It has the advantage of increasing the models weight but unfortunately made the decking quite thick. I resolved the thickness issue by milling down the ends in thickness where they attach to the model. Problem solved! Along with the deck I added some brake shoes and cross bracing. Last week I gained a few photos of the brake rigging detail so once that is fitted the LWW will hit the paint shop.

Once again have a good Christmas and I hope the new year brings more time for modelling the railways.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Behind The Scenes

A couple of weeks ago I finally finished one of those annoying jobs that had been hanging around for years. I was given, by my brother a very sad but built DJH AD60. It had been sitting around in pieces, packed in a box that had once been soaked with water. Both engine units were corroded and driving wheels were seized. Who ever built the loco did a good job but they had not cleaned the flux residue off properly and corrosion was showing through the paint. Long story short I stripped all the paint of the model and cleaned both chassis assemblies so as to get a bit of movement in the driving wheels. I replaced all the leading and trailing truck wheels with new ones supplied by Al Cutmore. With the wheels turning freely I went on to improving the locos electrical pick up. There have been a few articles on improving the DJH 60 pickups but I decided to pretty much copy the Mansfield version. I added wipers to the driving wheels and fabricated brass plates to retain the leading/trailing truck wheels which also included electrical pickups. With the two chassis frames sharing the same potential the boiler unit simply provides continuity. With regards to the opposite pole, the inner and outer trucks along with the new driving wheel wipers are electrically connected. A coiled wiper soldered to the inner truck securing screw contacts a pad glued to the boiler unit with a wire linking both ends.
After painting and weathering in my usual fashion the big model has proved very successful and is one of my best running models now. 

I have added a few pictures anyway as my description is probably not the best.

Along with the 60 class I have been working on the layout. It came time to decide what type of back scene I wanted before anymore track laying continued. I have gone with a curved back scene as I think they give a three dimensional look. I experimented with a sheet of 3mm MDF. While this worked it was a little too heavy and I think after time the edges would be easily damaged. A trip down to the ply shop to buy some bending ply proved very successful. As bending ply is quite expensive the sales man put me onto a product that is made using foamed PVC. The sheets are 3mm think and are extremely flexible, light and tough. The product cuts like wood and can be sanded. So far I am very happy with it  and at half the price of bending ply makes it affordable.

While on the topic of back scenes I was discussing with Andreas Keller lighting options. He and a few others mentioned LED strip lighting. I did a bit of research and think I have found a good product. There are at least three different sized LEDs that can be used in the making of the strips. I went for a 5m roll of 5050 sized LEDs and they are very bright. They seem like a good option with ease of fitment, power consumption and weight benefits but as I have not yet fitted them properly I will have to get back to you in regards to the performance.

That's all for now,


Monday, October 24, 2011

Back In The Old Days.

Last Friday I found myself in CBD Sydney. For a while now I have been meaning to make my way over to Redfern and have a look around Eveleigh or what is left. I have always been intrigued by the great railway workshops and after reading a book on the subject was under the impression that nothing really remained. To tell the truth I was surprised at how much still exists. I realise it is only a fraction of it's once former glory but it was great to see that the workshop, large erecting shop and managers buildings are all still standing. These buildings apart from the large erecting shop have very different roles now days but I guess that is progress?

I stuck my head in the southern end of the workshop building which was completely empty. I bloke in there working mentioned it was in that building most of the Matrix was filmed! What really hit me though was the smell of the building. Inside, the smell of a century of ingrained oil and Australian industrial history makes you realise that Eveleighs demise is just a small indication of Australia's still shrinking manufacturing abilities.

On another note, after talking to both Mike McCormac and James McInerney in regards to the colour scheme carried by the HCX I built, it was agreed upon that I needed to make a few changes. I have now removed the russet from around the guards and luggage door window sections. I relined the model but I am not completely sure about its correctness. I used a 0.3 nib but still think the lining is too think. That will be it now for my Casula HCX kit as any more changes will require a re-paint. Hopefully Mike will bring a HCX out in the next couple of years! Hint Hint.

Thank you James and Mike for all the help in regards to the HCX. Your combined knowledge is priceless.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Going Around in Circles!

Righto. Things have been moving along slowly down here on the coast. As usual I have several projects half finished but nothing complete, thus nothing much to share.

I did get to the Liverpool exhibition on Saturday and then again on the Monday. During my very brief Saturday visit, due to a wedding in which we were running late for I picked up a Michael McCormac Dogbox. What can I say. I would trade all the RTR stuff in tommorrow for quality kits like these. Bring back modelling I say! Thanks Michael. I look foward to a MM HCX!

I am not sure how many exhibitions I have attended over the past years but as luck would have it, when I had not a minute to spare I ran into Picton Blogger Rob. I have been chatting to Rob on this blogger thing for a while now and I had never met him until last Saturday. Sorry Rob, Allan Brown, the guys from IMRA and who ever else I rushed past trying to make it out the door and back to the car. The missus's had me against the stop watch and like any man knows happy wife happy life. Thankyou to the fellow on the door for allowing me my fifteen minute dash. I am sure he thought I was trying to pull a swifty.

After a wedding and then a music festival I managed to make a return on the Monday. It was a very long day. In regards to my HCX recently built there has been a question hanging over the application of russet on the guards and luggage door windows. With a little more time up my sleeve I made my way back to M McCormacs stand to find James McInerney and Michael chatting. The HCX colour scheme question arose and I now have a clear answer. Unfortunantly the answer meant more work for yours truly and I have to say the model now looks like a drag queen, a little over done. Not sure about the article now James. I may have to do a repaint.

Layout wise I have been finshing off the Loco and Goods shed module. I have started on a new turntable still retaining Bruces mechanicals. Here are a few pics. Still along way to go however.

I am really at odds end with how to do the layouts backscene. I really do like the curved over backscene but having the turntable pushed back makes it a little complex. I will sought something out. I welcome any ideas.

That's it for now,


Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Planets Align!

Well I got out to the shed this weekend and knuckled down to fixing my track alignment worries. While I probably should be using dowels like most people do, I decided to re-visit the previous method employed on my last layout. I really do think the dowels are a great idea but I feel it leaves little adjustment for future alignment issues.

My method involves an 8 degree chamfered 19mm board secured to the leading module. A complementing board is attached to the adjoining module and sits on the chamfer holding it securely. Originally I had four bolts in elongated holes with which vertical adjustment was made possible. This was fine but in real life carrying out the adjustment was very frustrating! What I wanted was a method utilising adjusting screws so as to make vertical adjustment very accurate. After fiddling around all day yesterday I am finally happy with a system and have completed two modules. Vertical aligning of the track now simply involves adjusting the screws and tightening the clamping bolts. I am now contemplating a horizontal adjustment screw but this is not a must.

I thought I would ask if anybody here has used a thin foam which can be purchased from bunnings instead of cork for track underlay?. It is 3mm think and I am thinking about replacing all my cork with it.

Well once I build the other two adjusters I will get onto cutting the inspection pits for the engine shed along with the ash pits on the main lines and in front of engine shed. Should be fun watching the router fly across the baseboard eating all the track in it's path!

Next post I will elaborate a little more on the computer control panel. I fixed a few gremlins in the code tonight so the track colours properly match the controller selected.

That's all for now,


Friday, August 12, 2011

Grass Roots

Whilst testing track clearances for the dog bone sections on the layout my Uncle, Mark Hollins offered me a few of his scratch built 80ft container wagons. I am guessing these wagons will be the longest type of wagon run on the layout so there end over hang was a good tester. As I pushed them around the curved track it bought back memories of how I first started out in the hobby. My first scratch built wagon was an NQAY 60ft flat. Built from styrene it was my proudest moment and actually lasted many years until its fragile body warped and pieces broke off. This wagon however lead the way to many container wagons being scratch built, mostly by my uncle though. He has built many types all scratch built on a brass bar spanning and supporting the bogies. They are beautiful models and the hours of measuring stopped trains outside the fence of the dairy really paid off. I have included a photo of one of my Uncles completed models as well as one of my partially built NQAYs. Good times, it seems these days I can not complete anything because I am worried about the outcome before I even start!

Time warp 20 years and I have almost finished my computer control panel. All the coding is theory based, as the layout does not run but I feel it should suit the type of operation I want to achieve.
It is very flexible and can be changed quite quickly. The track colours change with block section control and coupling it with a touch screen monitor would really make it cool.

Sorry about the crappy photos. I have a brilliant camera, it's just that the idiot behind it has no idea. I just push buttons and things change colour and brightness. It's just that none of the pictures look like real life.

Well that's about it. I painted my PSM 3801the other day! Crazy I know! Well I just changed the factory colour. More on that later as I need some feedback before I make a fool of myself on the Internet some more.

Catch you later,


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Make Models While The Rain Falls

Today I had an RDO and as luck would have it, it non stop rained! This was the excuse I needed to have one more shot at glazing the HCX. I was not happy with the glazing supplied as it was far to thick and frosted making it impossible to see through! I decided to cut individual windows out of some clear styrene sheet. A million windows later I finally finished one side! Yeah! The result is ok. The styrene seems to scratch very easily and shows up when viewed through. Maybe for the other side I will cut the windows out of shirt packaging. It may not scratch up as much and if the results improve I will replace the side finished today.

Along with a few windows I finished the Z13 by fitting a crew. The LWW is still on the bench as I still have no info on its brake rigging.

I am looking forward to the Loftus convention this Saturday. Hopefully I will get to meet a few blogger's!

That's it for now. Not much to write really but thought I had better do something.

See you at the convention,


Sunday, June 19, 2011


Well I have had a little time on my hands lately as my roster allowed me a full week off! I made the most of the long weekend and on Saturday took a drive up to Sydney so as to check out the Epping show. Without disrespecting any other exhibits, my main reason for heading up was to see Bowen Creek in the flesh.

Well I am so glad I made the effort as the layout is superb! I remember being blown away by Beyond Bulliac shown at a Bowral exhibition years ago. This was once again another one of those moments yet at the same time it dawned on me that the bar has been raised just that bit higher! Thanks Andrew for sharing your work and it was a pleasure meeting you.

I have to thank my missus for pointing out the second hand store whilst at the exhibition. I think as soon as we walked along the benches she regretted it as I ended up buying a Eureka T/R CPH for $310.00. Please don't tell me Ron was selling them for $300 ha ha!

I really enjoyed the exhibition although I have one complaint. Why can't people just hold a fart until they are out of the crowd? I was crop dusted so many times! I am sure I saw a sausage sizzle and not a Mexican stand out the front of the place! Danielle thinks model railroaders must have baked beans stacked to the ceiling.

Well with the rest of my days I did some modelling. I am still working out how to glaze the HCX so it has just been sitting in the cupboard. I have finished painting 1311, all but the final clear coat. I am happy with the 13 and it runs so well. One thing I would love to do is to replace the wheels on the front bogie. They really do look like steam rollers in relation to the tiny locomotive! If anybody has done this I would love to know where you bought the wheels.

The other little project I started was the Andian LWW well wagon. Wow! This is kit building. I love soldering things together. It's so much better than using girly plastic and glue ha ha. Melting stuff, setting the bench on fire, breathing all the good fumes in, what else could be better! I have to say it is a challenging kit but very well, pardon the pun, worth it. I did stray a little from the instructions however. I built the sides and fitted them before I added all the fine detail. Although it is not yet finished I think it is a better way of building it as the sides do take a bit of heat to fit up and I didn't want to chase all the tiny detail items around as they fell off. The bogies were the worst part to build for me. I ended up soldering one side of the bolster and fitting the other side with a 10ba screw. You have to experiment a little so as to keep the bolster centred.
Still a few pieces to add but an interesting model to build!

The 10Ba screw needs shortening but I think it's better than a  fully soldered bogie.

Does anybody know how the handbrakes actuated the brake shoes? I want to add a little more detail but am unsure what they looked like in detail. Maybe a stupid question but did these wagons have air operated brakes or was the brake pipe solely connecting the rest of the train to the air?

Anyway have to go and stay up to date on the stupid debate regarding four wheel tank cars. What a load of rubbish! Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and modelling preferences. When did model railways turn into an episode of the circle? Maybe it's always been like this or maybe I have just not noticed because I was actually building model trains!

So long,


Sunday, May 22, 2011

More Painting Adventures

Hi Everyone,

For the past week I have been working on a Trax 13 class that has been sitting in the cupboard for a while. The requirement for the little tank loco comes from its prototype use on Pictons loop line hauling a mixed goods with HCX in tow. From the photos I have available it seems 1307 & 1311 spent much of their time in Picton during the fifties. As I already have a 13 numbered 1307 I thought now would be a good time to paint and number the spare, 1311. The problem with painting 1311 along with most of the class is that they are lined around tanks and cab. I have never lined a steam loco before and the task was somewhat daunting.

I have been playing around with my Graphos pen quite a bit lately and after talking with Howard Smith have found a little success with it. After etch priming the model and spraying black, I set to work on painting a few lines. Luckily Howard told me he uses acrylics to line with as they can be wiped off if a mistake is made. Well the first attempt relied heavily on Howards theory as I raced time in removing the shonky lining from an expensive brass loco. I was unsure how I was going to complete the painting task so sat on it for a few days. The second attempt involved a little more planning along with a few ruling shapes made up. I have to say that lining with a pen is very fast. I think the loco was lined in about half an hour and I didn't have pieces of decal stuck at random angles on the model.
I am overall happy with the result though I think the corner radius may be a little large?
Now for a little numbering, weathering (mainly to hide the mistakes) and to add pickups to the mech. I am looking forward to having the 13 run on Picton, one day!!!!


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Lighting and Colours

I thought I would throw up a different photo of the HCX. The last photo taken was photographed under a fluro lamp. I was looking at the HCX the other day in natural light and was amazed at how much better the Russet colour appeared.

As I don't often get home before the sun goes down I thought I would take another photo under a more natural light. Here it is. I think it looks alot better but then I could be wrong.

The Humbrol Mix for the Tuscan and Russet,

Tuscan - 3 x 100
            1 x 10
            2 x 124
            0.5 x 20

You can play around with the quantities of 124 and 20 so as to get either a more red colour or more purple colour.

I have used a similar mixture for indian red. From memory I think it was about 0.5 x 124.

Russet - 3 x 83
             1 x 26
             1 x 148

Maybe someone can have a fiddle and fine tune these mixtures a little. I tend to adjust them slightly as I go most of the time.

Anyway now all I have to do is finish the the HCX and get my 13 class running properly.

That's all for now,


HCX Nearing Completion

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Painting! What a nightmare!

Well it has been a while since I posted anything on this blog. Between tripping from north to south NSW I have found a little time in between to make three attempts at painting the HCX. The first two did not make it past the lining colour coat. I tried using a different thinner. Note to self, try painting a test piece before buggering your model. Anyway the third attempt has emerged satisfactory. I am by no means a painter. I really do hate painting anything other than dirty freight wagon grey. I bought a Graphos lining pen from EBay hoping that it would make all my lining worries disappear. After just having purchased a Howard Smith painted model it inspired me to have a go with the pen. The way he uses the lining pen is absolutely amazing. His paint jobs are just so good. Unfortunately I could not coax the paint from mine so lining with magic tape was my only option. I could not get the lining as fine as that done with a pen but all in all I am happy with the result.

I am going to see Howard tomorrow so maybe he can give me a few little tips as there are a couple of fiddly bits of lining still to apply.

Paint colours? Well I have been asking around for quite a while. I ended up using Humbrol paints mixed to create what I thought were good representations of Tuscan and Russet. I used a colour photo of a dogbox car contained within one of the "Time of the Passenger Train" books. I had what I thought was a good colour then compared that to the book. The books photo showed it as a slightly creamy colour compared to mine so I lightened it up. After spraying the model I flicked over to a photo of a new RUB set. The Russet on the RUB set was a lot darker and more like my original mixed colour. I don't know which colour is more correct. You can never really tell with photos. What I do know though is that Raileys Russet is a long way off!

I do think mine is a little pale as it does not contrast against the buff lining as well as I would have liked. As for the Tuscan, who knows? It looks ok to me but I could be colour blind!

I have included a picture of HCX 1772 nearing completion. I have a few more hand rails to add, glazing, couplers, interior, decals (god knows where they are?) and a little weathering to go.

I don't suppose anyone out there knows where I can find a set of DEAN bogies? The prototype was so fitted and I would love to have the correct bogies fitted to the model also.

That’s enough rambling. Hopefully next time I write here, in a non-literate manner the model will be finished.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Why I have been annoying people with painting questions.

As I sit here in my very lonely Cootamundra hotel room, I thought I would throw a new post on this here blog so as to fill in a little time. I am sure I have been annoying a few people with all my questions on passenger car colour schemes and humbrol paint mixes but it has almost reached the time for my to bite the bullet and spray some paint. I have a few more detail pieces to build and trial fit before I wreck the whole thing with a crappy paint job.

The HCX is a Hawksmoor (I think that's how it is spelt?) kit to which I have removed a few parts and then added a few more back. Using photos I took of HCX 1772 stored up in Dorrigo I added underfloor detailing and built up new running boards as the moulded boards to not have a gap between them and the car sides. Having almost completed the HCX I do now wish I had built a new floor as it would have been nice to capture all the bracing detail. All I need to do now is modify a set of AR bogies by aligning the brake shoes and detailing the ends. The paint job is for me the trickiest bit. I will attempt to paint it in lined Tuscan and Russet. If that doesn't work it may be bought forward in time a decade and painted Indian red.

Anyway I would like to thank James McInerney for all his help with the historical and colour scheme data. With out the help I wouldn't have known what type of HCX it was and what it was suppose to look like colour wise.

HCX almost finished. Finally!!
Thanks, now back to chasing grass hoppers out of my room.


Monday, February 21, 2011

Action in Picton

I finished painting a 32 today so I thought I would make up a train and sit in on the layout. I don't know how people like James McInerney and the like take photos of such great quality. Mine are always terrible!

If anybody out there knows of a good Humbrol brew for Tuscan as well as Russet could you please let me know. I think I will be able to change my Indian red mixture to suit Tuscan but the Russet is a mystery. I like to use Humbrol paints purely because I have made less mistakes with them in the past.

Anyway I have to get back to installing power to the shed.

Have a great day.

3208 assists train engine 5592 on to the viaduct for the battle south out of Picton.
Not sure if the Mortein building is authentic?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

RUB Cars

I mentioned in my last post that I was about to build a set of RUB cars. Well things have started on fixing the windows so as to more realistically glaze the cars. Thanks to my Uncle, Mark Hollins and his hatred for commercial flush glazing we had to think of an alternative method to glaze each car. Initial experimentation with a dremel resulted in disaster with one of the RUB car sides being sacrificed to the model railroad gods. One of our good friends who happens to own an accurate mill suggested his machine would  be a more appropriate tool. After he very kindly built a suburb jig we set about milling the back out of each window. This then leaves a cavity  in which the glazing can be fixed, sitting about 15 thou from the car side.

The whole process takes around 45 Min's per side. I am sure it could be completed quicker but every move I made on the mill could have meant destruction so I really took my time. It is amazing how hard it is remembering which way the bed moves when you turn the handle. We ended up having having little notes left near each handle as a reminder.

I have thrown in a photo of one SBS side. It is fresh off the mill and still requires a little clean up.

That's it! Now I have to build the bloody things.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Things are happening, just very slowly!

It's been ages since I have posted on the blog. Things have been progressing slowly and with a looming career and locality change  I am sure that progression will come to a complete stop very soon.

I have still been working on track laying particularly setting the track on baseboard joins. I have been using 3 x 12 mm brass bar stock as a base to secure the PCB sleepers. The sleepers are secured using 10 BA screws and then the rail soldered. It seems to be working well even giving possible fine adjustment of track alignment.

A million tools laying around but no work happening.

Right hand side return loop.

Return loop folded. Just needs to be secured to the wall now.
I was able to shuttle a train up and down the other day. I think it gave me a little encouragement as it was very pleasing to see something actually happening on the layout. I now understand why many layouts never make it to a finished state. They are huge projects and I am now beginning to realise that blogs and forums are a good means to have someone Else's ideas and experiences accessible, especially when you your working solo and perhaps wearing blinkers.

Anyway I have to get back to sanding window seals off first class RUB car sides. The RUB set has been quite involved with the milling of all windows so as to glaze them as flush as possible. More on that next time.

So long,