Sunday, 6 August 2017

Malkara 2017 Exhibition

With the layout now back at home and everything again stored in the various nooks and crannies it lives in in my apartment, it's nice to take breather and look through some photos from the weekend.

My brother and his partner very generously came down to Canberra and helped me get the layout to and from Malkara, as well as helping me to exhibit it. Shunting a plank for two days straight has it's limits, so I first would like to acknowledge their contribution; could not have done it without you. 

A number of modellers who read this blog came up over the weekend and said hello. If you're reading this, thanks for saying hi. It's always good to put faces to names in what can sometimes be a solitary pursuit outside of a club. Plus it's good to know that the entries over the last few years are helping or at the very least entertaining people!

I don't have many photos from Saturday because most of it was spent catching up with people and just enjoying running trains, but here's what it looked like just before kick off.

An addition since last year has been a custom-built signal, built by Dale Richards. You may recognise his work from many of the Epping Model Railway Club's layouts including Binalong and Bethungra. The upper signal arm is a lower-quadrant signal (for proceeding off the layout) and the arm adorned with an 'S' is a 'shunt ahead,' meaning that the train can draw ahead of the signal in order to shunt, but can't pass it. From what I've been able to ascertain so far from the guru's, it permitted moves in a yard as long as the rear of the train didn't pass the signal (and I am happy to be corrected and pointed to the chapter and verse of a better definition!).

I've added this signal for visual interest, but also because signalling is a distinctive feature which helps to establish the layout in a specific time and place. In the operations we were running, each operator would draw up to the signal, request a 'shunt ahead' path via the horn to the signalman (whichever one of us wasn't the operator at the time) and then draw ahead of the signal as far as necessary without going off the layout. By Sunday afternoon we were using this for nearly every move.

Sunday morning we reserved for some out-of-the-ordinary running. Mainly because we can, but also because these museum-quality passenger carriages spend most of their lives under my bed and deserve a run. Any excuse to get out the Southern Aurora :)

Once we'd had our fill of running those for a whole, normal programming resumed.

 As the crowds started to die down we slowly removed all of the rollingstock via shunting moves off the layout.

I felt sorry for the gentleman who rocked up at 3.55 on Sunday afternoon to only see the X200 shuffling a solitary JHG in and out of each siding until the clock struck four. I couldn't help thinking about a blog I was reading a few months ago - probably on Trevor Marshall's Port Rowan in S Scale blog - lamenting exhibitors who pack their trains up early and leave one token consist doing the rounds to satisfy the requirement of exhibiting until closing time. While the 'horse and cart' consist isn't exactly breaking this rule, I'm borderline on whether it's in the spirit of the event. As much as I would like to keep running trains, I need to get home and my brother needed to get on the road, and we still have to return to work tomorrow. I enjoy the shunting layout, though more and more my experiences are cementing in my mind the benefits of a continuous-run layout in future.

Finally, here it is, almost all packed up for another year. Mercifully, it still all fits in the back of a medium-sized car!

Next time, I'll go into detail on how I achieved the backdrop. 

For now, I am zonked. Until next time!


Friday, 4 August 2017

The night before Malkara

I didn't get to finish all of the jobs that I wanted to before the Malkara exhibition tomorrow, but there's some additions to the layout in the last year which enhance it since it's last public showing. If you're in Canberra over the weekend the show runs from 9-5 on Saturday and 9-4 on Sunday at the Malkara School in Garran. Come and say hello at Stand #3!

I'll upload the post-exhibition photos and an update of how it all went when I get a chance sometime in the next week.


Saturday, 27 May 2017

Preparation for the next exhibition

I received confirmation yesterday that Rozelle Street has been accepted into the Malkara Model Railway Exhibition in the ACT. In between when I applied to exhibit earlier this year and now my work schedule has changed, meaning that I'm going to be away a fair bit more than I had been expecting. Much like the last time I exhibited, it's going to be a series of condensed modelling weekends between now and August!

I'll save the photos of the smaller details I'm adding until after the exhibition, but for now one of things holding my attention recently has been the SDS models' JHG. Aside from being a fantastic, highly detailed model of the most modern of the 'caboose' style guard's vans on the NSWR, it also comes with working marker lights. These are controlled by a tiny (and I mean tiny - I had to gently use needle-nosed pliers), directional switch underneath the model behind the battery boxes. I appreciate the size because it is completely unnoticeable on the vehicle when viewed from either side at track height, even at the slow speeds I use for shunting on the layout. I'll probably run trains without the marker lights for the most part because you need to physically pick up the vehicle to change their direction. Still, a neat addition and probably a sign of where standards will go for future guard's van releases by the various manufacturers.

I also recently took advantage of the Auscision 86 class re-run to pick one up for myself. Much like the SDS models' 81 class I have on the way, this isn't a sign of a blog or era name change. I just like these locos and the Candy scheme is as close as I can get to my era without looking out of place. One of the layout ideas I have for the future is a Blue Mountains-themed line, and should I ever want to go down this path I figured it'd be easier to get the loco now than trying to hunt one down on eBay without paying through the roof for it. And hey, if that doesn't happen, eBay is where it will end up and I'm sure there will be a market for it.

I'm conscious of not having many "how to" posts recently, so I'm planning to use the next few months' worth of smaller jobs to provide some newer content in that regard. Until then it's going to be a little bland here.

Anyway, if you're going, look out for Rozelle Street at the Malkara exhibition and come and say g'day. It's always good to put a face to a name.


Friday, 21 April 2017


Been a bit of a while between posts so I figured it was time for an update.


First up, here's the last thing I've done recently that falls into the 'modelling' category. My granddad's hands are getting a little shaky for modelling these days, so I finished the milktainers last year in time to hand over to him to put on an OSF and start running before Christmas. As I've mentioned in other posts, the Road and Rail Resin milktainers are great little kits to put together. However, there are some elements that take more time and patience than others. I've got another two to go for myself, so I used the opportunity while my soldering gear had dominion over the kitchen table to build all of the ladder frames. Hopefully this will make building those two a little quicker when I get around to them.

New arrivals

The next few arrivals reflects what my modelling had consisted of for the last few months: plonking. In around February I received a pack of BDYs. I'm a bit light-on for open wagons in my freight wagon roster, so it was nice to receive these to provide some colour and shape variance to the traffic in the yard. Once I've collected some white EZ line, I'll add tarpaulins to this one and weather the other as an empty wagon.

Next I received two MBY motorail wagons in the livery used when run behind the Southern Aurora. Most of the wagon is die-cast, so it's already sufficiently weighted and doesn't need eight road rager model vehicles to achieve smooth running. I'm waiting on Auscision's cars to add to finish the wagon off. Getting the wagon out of the packing cradle (and back again) without breaking anything should be a category of scale modelling in itself. Needless to say, they're both staying in there until I can get them out to weather and put on the track for good.

Other news

I got married earlier this month, so most of my time since Christmas has been occupied with trips interstate to buy stuff, meet suppliers, and just generally plan and prepare everything. With the big day now passed, I'm looking forward to using the extra time for some more modelling.

I've applied to exhibit Rozelle Street again later this year and I'm waiting to hear back whether that will go ahead. As with the Hobsons Bay exhibition, I'm using it as a bit of a deadline to complete a number of detailing jobs. Looking at the list so far they all seem like 15-minute jobs, and having seen the success of Billabong Marina using a similar concept, it could be quite a useful strategy to get back into it again. We'll see.

For now though, back to shunting.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Building a shed for the meat siding

I've previously outlined the cardboard-and-paper method I used to construct the overbridge, so I thought I should close out the last of the 'how-to's for Rozelle Street with a little detail on how I constructed the delivery shed on the meat siding.

A few years ago the Australian Railway History had a feature article on the station and yard at St Leonards in Sydney. Included in the article was a single black and white photo of two TRCs waiting in the meat siding at a simple, skillion-roofed building. The inspiration bug bit instantly upon seeing it and Rozelle Street presented the opportunity to create a similar scene. Aside from the ARH article I didn't have any other reference photos of the building and was having trouble locating information about it on the web. That was until one of my many procrastinations on YouTube found this video (from 16'21") which yielded some footage of the building before it's demise. I don't know who posted the video, but I acknowledge their ownership of the content. 

(Image Credit to YouTube user tressteleg1)

(Image Credit to YouTube user tressteleg1)

The original building is a lot longer than what I had room for, but by using selective compression I could capture the main features; the doors, the painted corrugated iron, the chocolate-brown doors, and the brick stilts.

With the hard bit done, I raided the kitchen cupboard for cardboard and made an approximation of the sizes based on the wagons I had at hand and the trucks in the second shot above.

Once I was satisfied that this would fit on a cardboard floor and with enough room for a rail-side loading platform, and allow the tallest wagons likely to use that siding to fit under it, I fit the floor and tested it again. 

I then started to add the corrugated iron patterns downloaded from Scalescenes. As with the bridge, the larger parts were glued on with a UHU gluestick, with PVA applied and spread thin over the job with a toothpick for the finer details. The trees didn't make the final cut for scenery. 

The doors were cut from a specific "doors and windows" printout by Scalescenes. They appeared close enough to me to resemble what was on the building to capture the look, and make it appear believable, if not prototypical. I also added a barge board around the top to both hide my rushed workmanship and because it's subtle detail in the original building.

To finish the model and protect it from any future additions/amendments to the scenery, I gave the whole thing a spray with matte clear (available at Bunnings) from a rattle can.

All up the building took around one-and-a-half nights to build, with a lot of the speed attributed to the materials and the quick drying time of the glues compared to structures I've built from styrene and resin materials.

I highly recommend this method as a quick, easy and pretty forgiving way to start scratch-building if you don't want to outlay a huge cost in tools and equipment just yet. If you want any additional info, feel free to leave any questions in the comments below.


Sunday, 1 January 2017

New Year's update

Greetings all and Happy New Year!
The most recent development since my last update has been the addition of an IDR models X200 complete with Stay Alive and DCC sound. This came to Rozelle Street courtesy of my brother and his partner to mark a milestone birthday recently. It's a great little loco and a welcome addition to the fleet. I'm enjoying the coasting option while shunting particularly.

End of a layout

Hold your horses - Rozelle Street isn't going anywhere anytime soon. As I mentioned in this post about 12 months ago, the layout I had been working on in Sydney in 2014-2015 had been split over a few locations in storage temporarily after we moved. While doing a clean out recently I've come to the decision that it is unlikely that I would be re-assembling that layout anytime soon. The storage costs mount up over time and the branchline junction station concept wasn't holding my interest anymore. Plus, if I did put it back together I'd want to reconstruct portions of it to take advantage of lessons learned in building Rozelle Street.

In short, it had served it's purpose for me.

I put it up for grabs on one of the Facebook sites I'm active on after Christmas and am happy to say that both modules and the return loop have found a new home with a younger modeller who wants to finish the layout and exhibit it this year. It's nice to know it's gone to another modeller and gives someone a leg up.

2017 - Year of the...

Much like other bloggers have been doing in recent posts, I've been thinking about what I want to do in the hobby this year. Aside from the addition of the detail items I've mentioned in earlier posts, the arrival of the new loco has got me toying with the idea of building another layout which could support more varied operations. As I think of plans I'll share them here.

In short, this year I want to exhibit Rozelle Street again (and a little closer to home this time), and weather my cement fleet and meat wagons. Bit of an odd selection, but the cement fleet finishes a project I've already started (I think we all have this problem), and the NRY, TRC and MRC wagons provide a new challenge.

I'll add that progress and further musings here as it happens.

For now, here's to 2017!


Friday, 23 December 2016

Road overbridge

Finished work for the year yesterday and I've had some time today to sort through the 'to-do' list on the layout. So, lucky reader, I can finally detail the construction of the road overbridge.
In tracking down examples I found that most of the bridges on the goods lines in Sydney were built to similar designs. I say similar because although a number of the features are standard, such as the shape and layout of the brick sides, the bridge height, supports and width had small variances to fit into their location.

Built around the same time as the goods lines' bridges was this example at Sodwalls near Tarana in NSW. This was the photo I largely worked from to develop the bridge sides and brickwork. In the absence of plans I counted the individual bricks to work out my dimensions. A number of times.
Note the pattern changes for the last layer at the top of the bridge sides. This is called 'coping.'

So as not to waste the nicely printed brickwork sheets I had, I printed a sheet in black and white at home and devised how I was going to assemble it, and to roughly gauge whether the height would be sufficient above the wagons.

Looking from the railside on at the prototype, I noticed that the abutments sit a few bricks proud of the raised supports on the bridge. To replicate this effect, I first cut out the raised section for the bridge sides, followed by the abutments, before measuring a suitable length of cardboard to glue behind and across the whole lot, which attaches the abutments together. I also needed a packing piece of cardboard cut to size to fit between this part and the bridge sides above the abutments. The evergreen styrene I-beam will represent the steel horizontal supports.

Next I added the brickpaper. I used TX02 in brown brick from Scale Scenes in OO scale, laser printed at Officeworks. I cut the paper out with a sharp hobby knife and a ruler. For the larger sections I just used a UHU gluestick. For the more fiddly bits I squirted a small blob of PVA glue onto the workbench and spread it onto the job with a tooth pick. The hardest part is adding the coping on the top of the walls. I need a few goes at this.

I added the rollingstock back to this section of the yard again to check that everything still fit. Owing it to it being on public display straight after completion I was a little more paranoid than normal about getting it all working.

For the pylons I used various evergreen styrene shapes I had leftover from previous builds. The only new addition was smaller I-beams for the vertical supports. The bridge variant I'm building is taller than the example above at Sodwalls, so the pattern of bracing I wanted to replicate wasn't going to fit. 

Instead, I'd found a few different designs while looking at the Punchbowl Rd overbridge at the south end of Enfield yard in Sydney and elsewhere. I was comfortable that the design I did finally settle on wouldn't look out of place. The L-beam jutting off to the left will meet it's reflection in the mirror, completing the illusion of a wider bridge.

 And here's the final product. To save time I took a risk and painted the styrene in Krylon camo brown without priming it first, coating it in dullcote and applying grey pastel powders over the top to complete the structure. The footings were made from the same brick pattern with an uncoloured cardboard cap to represent a layer of concrete.

The roadway itself was simply more flat cardboard with a layer of Scalescenes' pavement and tarmac glued over the top. All up the build took just a few nights.

Hope that stimulates some thoughts of your own over the holidays. I hope to get another post in between now and the new year, but thanks for following this year and sharing your comments. I appreciate the feedback.