Sunday, July 17, 2011

More Buying and some Planning.....

The Tuesday Nighters met at Warren’s house on Tuesday, 12 July. The get together was very well attended. It was a good to see Bob in attendance as well after an absence over some time. Warren has been one of my success stories as he has turned to the “Dark Side”. He used to model HO Scale American and had substantially built a very nice layout with scenery completed on much of it. However, now he has changed to On30 and is adapting his HO layout to run the On30 rolling stock. He ran a Bachmann Forney (with sound) and also a Bachmann 2-8-0. He could not run through some sections of track as the cuttings in the scenery are not yet wide enough so he will have to do some “earthworks”. As usual the guys were full of suggestions as to how Warren might tackle this problem or that and the conversation was full of jokes and mutual friendship and respect. Bob invited us to his place for our next getogether on the 26 July.

PK delivered a huge carton to Raymond on Tuesday night which contained his order from M B Klein in the US. PK orders supplies regularly from M B Klein and others in our group tack their orders onto his. The box was rather large and we just barely managed to fit it into my car. Craig thought he might have to walk home. Raymond unpacked his carton the next night. He had purchased 3 boxes of trees (two trees in each) from Bachmann and a further 3 boxes of trees from Woodland Scenics (again with two trees in each box). There was also a flour mill which was ready made up and additional supplies of styrene and also brass sheet.

The O Scale Flour Mill Raymond bought from M B Klein and it cost only $60!!!! This Built-Up model is from a company associated with MTH Trains.
Some of the trees Raymond bought from M B Klein.
More trees from M B Klein
Raymond has been buying up from Gauge One Gallery in Sydney as well. During the week he received in the mail a 1:20.3 Bachmann 2-6-0 loco and two AMS Short cabooses. I have been pushing Raymond to get moving on his outdoor garden railway as he has so many 1:20.3 but nowhere to run them. Currently he is waiting on a set of air-brushes from the United States which should arrive this coming week
A recent re-release from Bachmann is this 1:20.3 Scale industrial 2-6-0 which was supplied through Gauge One Gallery.
Also from Gauge One Gallery Raymond bought two AMS short cabooses. This is the Denver & Rio Grande. The other is a Rio Grande Southern.
We visited Austral Modelcraft on Saturday morning where Raymond’s Debit Card got another working over. He bought an NCE SB3a power booster, a transformer pack to go with it and an NCE wireless throttle. That makes four NCE throttles we now have – two tethered and two wireless throttles.

We moved a cabinet fitted with glass doors into the shed today. It will allow us to display some locomotives and rolling stock as well as more storage in the cabinet underneath. In the long term it will have to be disposed of as it is occupying the site of one of our two helixes. This helix will be the last section of the layout to be built so the space is not expected to be needed for at least 12 months, perhaps longer.
The cabinet from our lounge room is now housed in the shed. Raymond wasted no time in filling the shelves with locomotives and rolling stock for display.
Here is Raymond's MMI K-27 No.455 which has been weathered by Ray at Austral Modelcraft. It is a real beauty.
Raymond has also progressed on his Foothill Model Works wooden gondola kit. He has built the body and fitted it to the bogies. He now has to add all the detailing parts.
The Foothill Model Works wooden gondola that Raymond has been building is progressing nicely.

I continue to consider the material requirements for the extension of the next section of our baseboard along the right-hand side of the shed. Hopefully, it will not be too long before we have the next section built, track laid and wired ready for operation. I would hope we might be able to get a small group together who are into On30 so that we can have a Tuesday Nighters style get together possibly on a Friday night which will eventually lead into a group to operate the layout. It is getting very exciting and, once we start running trains properly we hope to havethree or more operators plus a dispatcher and operate the railway to a timetable. If we can progress this next section to completion or near completion by the end of August I would like to start planning the construction of the main station and marshalling yard down the centre of the shed with construction to start in December. Here's hoping.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Some Problems Solved.....

We called in to our favourite model railway shop, Austral Model Craft as usual on Saturday morning (9/07). I took my hands out of my pockets for a change and bought two O Scale structure kits by a company called Big City Hobbies. One is a cemetery kit which includes twenty headstones, a mausoleum and fencing. The other is a fencing kit. Raymond bought two packs of Heki 20 cm pine trees. Each pack contains three trees. At $41.95 per pack, they are not cheap. Raymond also bought two boxes of Peco O-16.5 track (24 lengths).

Saturday afternoon we relaid one length of track in the depot loop to locate the track centres further apart. It appears we may have solved the problem of the K-36 and
K-37 locos touching on the end of the loop nearest the back wall of the shed.

Raymond test ran the K-37 and K-36 while we both carefully watched to see if we could determine the cause of the bogie trucks derailing. We concentrated on the K-37 running it backwards and forwards through the curved turnout. The outer track radius is 60 inches and the inner is 30 inches. I thought the problems may have been caused by the 30 inch radius of the points. The MMI On30 locos are supposed to be able to negotiate a 26 inch minimum radius and that is why we selected 36 inch radius for our main lines but even though the curved points were sharper they were still supposed to be 4 inches better than the minimum recommended radius. Was this a possible cause?

We watched the bogie trucks of the K-37 very carefully. One wheel of the rear truck would ride up on the outer rail and then the whole bogie would drop off the track even on plain curved track with 36 inch radius. What was causing this? Raymond inspected the loco on his work bench and discovered that the rear bogie truck’s metal frame was out of square. Every so often the wheelset would lock up in one of the axleboxes which would cause the bogie to lift onto the top of the rail head before allowing the bogie to drop off the track, Raymond trued up the bogie and it now appears that that bogie is tracking satisfactorily.

There are problems with the front truck on the K-37 too with one wheel lifting off the track at various times around curves and derailing. This problem is still being investigated and we have still to look at the K-36. We have also to check our other two K Class locomotives (K-36 and K-37) which are not yet fitted with decoders and so have not been run.

Sunday morning (10/07) we moved a cabinet which had been removed from the lounge/dining room upstairs into the shed. At this stage it is intended that this will only be temporary (about one or two years) as we will not really have any room for it when the last helix is put in. This cabinet is currently occupying a section of wall where that helix is to be installed. It is intended that this last helix will give us an option of continuous running but, as a general rule the layout will be operated as a point to point. This cabinet has a display case on top with glass doors and a cupboard underneath. I thought we could put some models on show in the display cabinet and use the cupboard for some additional much needed storage. Future storage may become available under the bottom deck of the layout when the lower level is built. I am hoping we can have low profile cabinets made on castors so they can be rolled out to allow access for maintenance under the layout when it is required.
Well, it turns out we didn’t manage to get the display cabinet into the shed. It was far too heavy with my wrist not being able to take the weight. They don’t call me Lefty for nothing.

I spent a pleasant Sunday afternoon running various locos backwards and for wards to try them out. We know we still have a problem with the K-36 and the K-37. Raymond is thinking through these issues. I tried Raymond’s K-28 No.470, It ran well so I don’t think we have any problems there. I also tried my C-19 2-8-0 No.345. It also ran well so I was happy with that.
Mountain Model Imports (MMI) C-19 No.345 during testing on the layout.
MMI K-28 No.470 during its test on the layout
Bachmann 2-8-0 being tried out

I then sat down at my work bench and started the second of two Porter tenders I had been making from a Boulder Valley Models kit. I had a couple of Kadee No.5 couplers already made up salvaged from one of my old New South Wales wagon kits (choke, cough, splutter). Wash your mouth out boy – we don’t talk about that funny New South Welshmen type rolling stock items here. They can’t even win a State of Origin series. Standard gauge – eeewwww!!! Once, I got over the shock of having to handle an old SRC wagon from my scrap box to salvage the couplings I did some modifications to the couplings and then fitted them to the tender deck. The remnants of the SRC went into the rubbish tip to become land fill. I then fitted a Steam Era Victorian Railways diamond frame bogie to the deck of the Porter tender. Now all I have to do is fit the superstructure and detail it.

Raymond spent a pleasant Sunday afternoon building his Foothill Model Works coal gondola. He had purchased some fine twist drills and a suitable pin vice (none of ours would hold these fine drill bits). He completed the bogies and has started on the body of this finely detailed model.
One of two bogies Raymond made for his Foothill Model Works coal gondola
A view across the goods yard with a row of MMI locos on the left-hand track - a K-37; K-36; C-19 and a K-28. They made an impressive line up.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Around the Corner We Go.....

Well we still haven’t done any scenery but we decided we should extend the layout just around the back corner of the shed by about 600 mm. This would give us a headshunt using the main line so that we could run a loco around a train at either end of the yard along the left-hand side of the shed.

Firstly we did some shopping on Saturday morning. We went to HobbyOne where Raymond bought some brushes, tools and paint. We then went to Bunnings where Raymond purchased a Bosch Jigsaw and then on to Ray’s at Austral Modelcraft. Where I bought the latest issue of Narrow Gauge Downunder magazine and Raymond bought some more tools. We then planned to start work on the small extension in the afternoon but there were other forces afoot. “She Who Must be Obeyed” mentioned that she was going over to my daughter and son-in-law’s place to look after the grandson for the evening and would not be home for tea. “You will have to get your own” she says and then made the rather pointed comment “Of course I could have looked after him here if there was a gate at the top of the stairs” she says. Oh well, I had purchased a gate to be installed some months back and never got around to installing it. I told Raymond the bad news so we spent Saturday afternoon installing a child-proof gate at the top of our internal stairs.

Sunday arrives and Raymond and I made it into The Shed. We installed another two of the double-track steel tubing on the left-hand side of the back wall. We then made some more L-Girder for this short piece and installed them. This time I used two of the 2 X 1 pine timber to make the front L-Girder rather than one 2 X 1 and one 4 X 1 which, if you remember caused Raymond some anguish in installing points. Although, this time there are no points destined to be installed on this section.

The start of the section "Around the Corner"

The brackets are in and the first L-Girder is in place.

While Raymond broke for lunch I picked out a piece of ply and temporarily fitted it in place. I then got a length of track and tried setting it out to the required main line curvature of 36 inch radius. When he returned we discussed how to cut the ply and set to it before we installed it on top of the 4 X 1 supports which lie on top of the L-Girders.

Raymond was disappointed as the track curved close to the back wall of the shed. While there was enough clearance for the big locos (K-36 and K-37) there was insufficient room for a mountainside to come down from the back wall and the track to pass through a cutting.

We discussed three options – 1) Relay the track so that the points leading into the passenger station were further away giving a greater distance from the track centre line to the wall. 2) Put a “retaining wall” along that section of the rear wall of the shed and paint a mountain scene on the backscene. 3) Relay the curve with a 33 inch radius instead of the 36 inch radius currently set as the main line radius 4) Leave the track as is but enter a short tunnel with a mountain over the track where it is closest to the wall and continue the 36 inch radius curve around further so as to locate the track further away from the wall.

Raymond decided that number 4 was our best option.

We then pinned down the track to the 36 inch radius curve after Raymond had soldered on the necessary dropper wires to the rail. He then connected these dropper wires to the main bus wires.

Now it was time to test the layout. Raymond first tried my K-36 which he had previously modified because of problems with the pony trucks riding up over the rail and dropping off the track. It ran reasonably well out onto the newly laid section but during the return run the pony trucks dropped off the track. We tried several times and each time we had the same problem. The route had been set for the inner curve of a Peco Electrofrog Point. We tried sending it into the outer loop where the point has 6o inch radius, the inner being 36 inch radius. That seemed reasonably fine.
My K-36 tests the new track section.

Raymond then reversed his K-37 down onto the new section and we noted that one set of pony truck wheels lifted off the track. On trying to go back the other way the lead drivers derailed even on the curve of the open track. Gauge too tight we thought but no it was fine. During this manoeuvre the K-37 had to pass the K-36 on the adjacent track and lo there was a short as the locos touched. There was much grumbling and colourful language. We had previously tried these locos side-by-side at the opposite end of this passing siding through the station and they were fine – there was plenty of room. Investigating further we found that the two passing loop come closer to each other at the far end but there was still a small amount of clearance. The problem was being caused by the K-37 being such a big loco that when coming forward around a curve it wants to go straight ahead and so sideswipes the other loco (which was sitting on a straight right at the end of a curve). We checked the curves on the two loops and found the inner one was broader than 36 inches and the outer one was slightly sharper initially than I had intended before becoming 38 inches as I had intended..

We very reluctantly will have to lift part of one passing loop and relay it giving us a greater space between the tracks.

I am concerned at the serious problems we are having with the MMI die-cast locos. They are not cheap and I feel we are having far too many problems with them. Precision Scale claim that they require a 26 inch radius curve. Frankly, we are having problems with a 36 inch radius curve I shudder to think what problems we would have if we were using 26 inch radius curves.

Raymond built two Pewter kits during this last week. One was a “Hit-and-Miss” engine and the other a ship’s steam winch. He intends putting these as loads on flat cars. He also started building a Foothill Model Works wooden gondola kit and hoped to continue with it this weekend but that was not to be.
Raymond assembling the Hit-and-Miss motor.
The ship's winch after receiving an undercoat/primer