Monday, January 30, 2012

Finally - Some Positive New Year Activity.....

Australia Day 26 January was the first day in 2012 where we began to make some significant progress on the layout. We made some short L-Girder sections to extend the upper deck on the left hand side of The Shed by about 400 mm. We had decided to do this so as to better enable the main line to curve around to start the journey across the back of the shed. The main line curve as currently constructed seemed to be too close to the shed wall.
The end of track on the baseboard on the left-hand side of the back wall. 26/01/2012
The end of track on the left-hand side of the back wall. You can see how close it is to the black metal bracket but there is still ample clearance, however, we want to get the track furter away from the wall. 26/01/2012

We cut the one joist required for this section and after installing the two L-Girders we screwed this joist in place. We used metal plates to join these new L-Girders with those originally installed.
The short L-Girder extensions have been fitted and the sole joist needed has also been fixed in place. You can see one of the metal joining plates on the L-Girder nearest the camera. 26/01/2012
Looking towards the current end of track. A high timber trestle bridge will link this section to the baseboard on the right-hand side. 26/01/2012

We have learnt from a couple of previous bad experiences to firstly drill pilot holes and then, from more bad experiences, decided to drill out to countersink the screw head. I need to see if I can buy some cup head style short screws when we are fitting the metal joining plates as the countersunk style screws will obviously not screw in flush to the metal plate.
The L-Girders along the back wall on the right-hand side before installation of the joists. 26/01/2012
The baseboard framework on the right-hand side of the back wall. We wanted to keep the basebaord about 300 mm wide at the left-hand end to allow access to the future air-conditioner unit which will be mounted high on the wall above this section. 26/01/2012

For the back wall on the left-hand side we cut one of each 350 mm; 400 mm; 450 mm and the last 500 mm long so we had a gradually widening baseboard width. We wanted to keep the baseboard at the centre of the shed just over 300 mm wide to allow access to the future air conditioner.
Joists fitted along the back wall on the right-hand side. 27/01/2012
Back wall on the right-hand side with the joists fitted. 27/01/2012

We now cut four joists 760 mm long and a further two 700 mm long from our supply of 90 X 20 mm pine, as a starter for the joists along the right-hand wall.

On Friday I went down at Bunnings, Browns Plains at 6.30 am when they open for the tradies. I needed to purchase some drill bits and a few other odds and ends. We didn’t get much done in the morning as I had to go out again to do some other shopping and a concrete tradesman came to look at giving me a price to lay a concrete footpath around the shed.

Friday afternoon, Raymond and I started installing the joists along the back wall. We fitted all but the one nearest the centre of the shed on the right-hand rear wall of the shed. We left the 300 mm one off pending the installation of the air-conditioner.

We then installed the joists in the back right-hand corner of the shed and the first couple moving up along the right-hand wall. At this stage we decided not to go any further pending determining the location of the points and therefore the point motors at the next station. This will be a junction station with a branch leading to a mining district.
The first few joists mounted on the baseboard framework along the right-hand wall. This section is 22 feet long before coming to a baseboard (not yet built) at right angles to the wall. 27/01/2012
Joists in the corner of the right-hand wall. 27/01/2012

Saturday morning we were off to see my father at Greenslopes and then a visit to Austral Modelcraft. I window shopped as usual while Raymond bought a couple of items. We had to hurry home as I had a builder coming later in the morning to give a quote on the upstairs bathroom. We needed to get this stalled project moving again as SWMBO was getting toey about the time it was taking. Six months so far with tradesmen letting us down by not turning up.

On Saturday afternoon we gate-crashed an operating session at Cassino. Craig had plenty of operators who were trying hard following a prototypical operating session. It looked like lots of fun. We took over one of Raymond’s NCE radio controllers to use. Raymond tested it before we left home as it had not been working properly. He opened the battery compartment to find that the batteries were leaking. This was a potential disaster for a sensitive piece of electronic gear. The batteries were expensive Duracell with a Use By of March 2017 – they should have been fine. So it goes to show you need to be careful, very careful. Fortunately Raymond was able to clean up the battery liquid which seemed to be confined to the battery compartment. I will be putting in a complaint to Duracell. Darren suggested he removed batteries from all his equipment if it is not going to be used for a while. Sounds like very sound advice. Raymond and I enjoyed a beer while listening to the conversations of the train controller (Craig) as he tried to keep all his operating staff under control.

Darren had brought along some large sheets of paper for us to use when laying out the track and baseboard on our layout.

Sunday has come and gone. I went to Bunnings to get a length of timber moulding to make a new trammel to lay out curves on the plywood we are using for a baseboard. When we came to try laying out some 36 inch radius curves we found we did not have any ply that would be useful for making such a curve as it was all too narrow. We decided that I should order some new ply from Mr Ply during this coming week.

I then spent the rest of the day doing a bit of work on the Penydarren kit.

This long week-end started out with a lot of progress but fizzled out by Saturday. However, I am certain we have regained our momentum to do some meaningful work on the layout. I should be able to order three sheets of 12 mm ply and have it delivered this week.

Now to have two blog posts in the space of a couple of days is something amazing in itself.

Friday, January 27, 2012

A Slow Start to the New Year.....

I purchased another laser cut kit late in 2011 from Banta Modelworks. This is a model of Oilton Saloon which existed in Ophir a town on the Colorado narrow gauge. You can see it's footprint, as with all O Scale structures is impressive.
Banta Modelworks Oilton Saloon.

Monday, 2 January, Craig invited Raymond and myself to go to Hobby One with him. It is not often we get such an invitation from the “Weird Geezer” so we quickly accepted. Craig was after styrene and other bits and pieces, Raymond bought a few items while I bought a simple “educational” locomotive kit of the Penydarren, the first high-pressure steam locomotive ever built. The locomotive was designed and built by Richard Trevithick in 1804. Trevithick is perhaps the most overlooked early railway pioneer. He was a prolific inventor. The kit is pre-coloured and meant to go together as is but I will paint it first and try to make it a more suitable display model.
The Penydarren locomotive kit is simple but still an interesting locomotive.

Our electrician came over on Saturday morning 7 January to prepare a quote on installing a higher capacity power supply cable from the street power box to our house. He took some photos and measurements and I discussed with him a number of other jobs around the house. I sent him an e-mail the following Tuesday listing the tasks we had discussed. He will then e-mail me a quote for the work involved.

It has been a quiet weekend as far as work inside the shed goes. I did some hand brush painting of the tender of the Penydarren kit but it really needs to be spray painted so I will have to visit Hobby One again to get some Tamiya black spray paint.

I had to mow the yard and trim around the shed, particularly around the back. Boy, the grass grows quickly at this time of year. I can see the tall grass causing some serious problems with the outdoor compressor unit for the air-conditioner. To over come this, I have decided to have a 2 ft wide concrete path put down along the left-hand side of the shed and across the back before we have the air-conditioner installed.

I spent Sunday afternoon cleaning up the barbecue area just outside the shed. It had become quite messy with a small desk from my study, The Beast (the bench saw we bought specially to cut some timber for the shed, and, at this stage, unlikely to be used again), an outdoor table and bench seat, two sawhorses and an old wooden tool cabinet as well as some twenty or so cartons of bathroom tiles for a refurbishment of our upstairs bathroom all taking up space. It is now cleaner and has opened up the space giving us some room to move when we have to saw any timber for the layout.

After placing an order with Sierra West in the United States way back early in November my two kits arrived on Monday 9 January. They are quite substantial craftsman kits and will be a challenge to build. Raymond just laughed when he looked at the kits and then looked at me shaking his head. He couldn’t help himself. I don’t think that he has any faith in me to build them. One is a Logging & Tractor Repair Shed and the other a Mill Engine & Boilerhouse.

Sierra West Scale Models Mill Engine & Boilerhouse and the Logging & Tractor Repair Shed craftsman kits

Raymond got another kit from Backwoods Miniatures (through their E-Bay Store) on the same day. This was a Log Loader mounted on rails on a flatcar. He also got another five flatcars with rails.
Backwoods Miniatures Log Loader

More items arrived from overseas on Friday 13 January. Raymond had purchased some more items from Backwoods Miniatures on their E-Bay sale site. The two items were a Snowplough and an 0-4-0VBT locomotive. This latter model looks very interesting.
The bench saw which I had bought during the construction of The Shed and only used once had become a liability. Raymond and I discussed whether we really needed it or would use it again. We decided to dispose of it and so it was sold to one of Raymond’s co-workers at CITEC. The new owner collected it promptly so we have ended up with a bit more working space in the pergola area.

Backwoods Miniatures 0-4-0VBT and Snow Plow kits

We celebrated my birthday on Sunday 15 January (a couple of days early) with lunch at the Alexandra Hills Hotel with family members. Raymond was kind again. This time he gave me a Bachmann Porter 0-4-0ST with DCC and sound. That makes a total of 13 Porters, seven of which are mine. Currently only four are fitted with DCC chips and sound. I am thinking of having a bash at a non-DCC Porter to alter its looks and at the same time to fit a DCC Decoder. This will not be easy as each batch of Porters that Bachmann produced had different wiring as well as there being differences in how they were put together. RailRoad Line Forum, an on-line fraternity of modellers from around the world but mainly based in the US, does have some tutorials on this.

On Wednesday 18 January Raymond got yet another parcel from overseas, this time from EDM Models, York in the UK. Raymond has bought stuff from them before. This time there were five San Juan Car Co. tank cars together with a Bachmann log skidder.

Raymond has been taking an interest in E-Bay of late and has bid on a number of items. He missed out on two MMI diecast locos – a K-27 and a K-36 – when his computer lost contact with the internet just before the auction closed. He also tried for an MMI C-19. Raymond was the top bidder for some days but just 10 seconds before the auction closed someone bid $1000 more than double the original purchase value. Even the seller was surprised at that one. Raymond had got to know the seller as he was the one selling the K-27 and K-36 while Raymond has successfully bid on other items he is selling.

The electrician’s quote arrived Tuesday night 24 January. I was most pleased and sent him an e-mail in return accepting not only his quote for the upgrade to the house power but also the additional electrical work around the house including additional power points in a number of places and the relocation of others.

The first E-Bay item that Raymond was successful in buying arrived Wednesday 25 January from Canada. It is a Wrightlines whitemetal kit for a Bagnall 0-4-0ST complete with an electric motor and gearbox.
Raymond's first succesful purchase on an E-Bay auction a Wrightlines Bagnall 0-4-0ST
Thursday 26 January is Australia Day and therefore a Public Holiday. Raymond and I have both taken the Friday off as part of leave owing so we have a four day weekend. We have made plans to progress the layout construction during this time. We shall see.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Some Work Over Christmas/New Year

The Tuesday Nighters came over on Tuesday 13 December for our usual convivial get-together. It was with some trepidation that I welcomed them to The Shed and I was right there were a few barbs about the progress (or at least the lack thereof) on the layout.

After some discussion as to where Raymond and I were going next with the layout, the Supreme Leader of the Tuesday Nighters (alias Craig) assisted by Darren and I think, Geoff (I was a bit bedazzled at the time) decided to help the slow progress along by doing a bit themselves. I had pointed out a corner section of the first station yard saying I was going to fill in a triangular section at the end of a couple of carriage sidings and extend one of the sidings so we could fit more cars on the siding. Next thing I know the trio had measured the timber requirements, sawn off a piece of ply to the required dimensions, fixed it in place and laid a short piece of track to the desired length. All this was completed before I could say “When will we do it?”

The small triangular baseboard section and siding extension can be seen under the yellow car and adjacent green car, built by Craig, Darren & Staff during a meeting of the Tuesday Nighters on the 13 December. Thanks Guys. You can also see some trim along the front edge of the baseboard which I installed later.

We have still not had the air-conditioner installed as there is some other work that I think should be done first. Early in December, I started making enquiries about getting a 2 ft wide concrete path down the outside of the left-hand side of the shed and across the back of the shed. The section across the back of the shed, in particular will be essential before the outside inverter is installed for the air-conditioner. The grass grows as a thick jungle behind the shed quite quickly and would soon suffocate the inverter unit so a concreted area will be important. Since it was getting close to Christmas I did not have any luck finding a contractor but will try again early in the New Year.

Early in December, I asked my electrician to give me a price to lay heavy duty cable from our street power box to the power board on the house. Again, coming up to Christmas, he has been very busy, but I hope he will come to have a serious look at the task in the next few weeks. When this and the concreting are done we will purchase the air-conditioner and have it installed.

I have painted the small HO Scale storage shed from NorthEastern Scale Models with a flat grey Floquil paint to seal it and have assembled this kit. I have a fair bit of work still to do on this kit so will see how it turns out.

Santa Claus (Raymond) was kind to me when he gave me one of the new DCC chipped and sound equipped Bachmann Porter 0-4-2Ts. I love the maroon colour scheme with the gold lining – even on the wheels. I played Santa Claus for Raymond when I gave him a 1:20.3 (Garden Railway) Bachmann flat car with a log skidder load.
My beautiful Bachmann 0-4-2T from Santa Claus

Santa brought Raymond this 1:20.3 Bachmann flat car complete with a log skidder load

Ever since we installed our two work benches in the shed in November 2010, Raymond and I have been discussing building some shelving along the wall. While we haven’t really advanced the layout construction we have now pretty much finished our two work benches.
On Monday 26 and Tuesday 27 December, I visited several Bunnings stores at Kuraby, Kingston and Browns Plains to purchase the timber requirements to make the shelving.

We installed our two work benches way back in November 2010. Since the we have been saying we need some shelving - 7/11/2010

Ever since we installed the work benches, I have been “stewing” over an area at the left-hand end of Raymond’s bench which was just a wasted “black hole”. I convinced Raymond we needed to build something for that space. Wednesday, 28 December we built a corner shelf unit specifically to go in that void and fitted it in place. We then moved both work benches about 80 mm to the left to fill the gap.

The corner unit we installed on Wednesday 29 December 2011

I had to go to work on Thursday as a researcher had contacted the Museum wanting to look at Railway Annual Reports and Working Timetables. We only have a total of three Museum staff to supervise and assist researchers and with one away in the US on his honeymoon and the Senior Curator away on her holidays, I volunteered to go in. I got back home mid-afternoon on Thursday and Raymond and I measured up the timber to make two shelf units. We fabricated both these on Friday 30 December and installed them both by about lunch time.

The two shelf units we fabricated and installed on Friday 30 December

We now discovered we had a problem as there was a 10 mm difference between the top and bottom of the two shelf units. We decided that we would need to make the middle set of shelfs specifically to fit snugly into the location available. We also discussed at great length how we could make the styrene/wood strip storage units more readily accessible. These were currently located on the very top shelf of one of the metal shelf units we had built some time ago. Finally, we also wanted to incorporate shelf units for our supply of paint spray cans and bottles and tinlets of Floquil and Humbrol paints. We finally came up with a solution where we would divide the centre unit into two halves. The desk-top alcove on the left-hand side would house the styrene/stripwood storage units while the desk-top alcove on the right would house a shelf unit for cans of Tamiya spray paint and a shelf immediately above would house the small bottle and tinlets of paint. Both these would incorporate a stepped shelving arrangement to enable clear selection of the paint colour required. The spray can storage should be able to hold 45 to 50 cans.

This took a lot of discussion, measuring and remeasuring as well as much doodling on paper but we finally came up with what we thought was a workable solution.

This final shelf unit was built and installed on Sunday 1 January 2012. The styrene/stripwood storage units fitted in snugly. Now we will have to make the paint storage units. I am quite pleased with our accomplishments over just a few days. Now we need to start building some of the many kits we have on hand and also get back to some meaningful work on the model railway.
The final shelf unit which caused us some anguish over a couple of days was made and installed on New Year's Day.

I just had a telephone call this afternoon from our friendly electrician. He is going to come and inspect the work needed for the heavy duty power cable to the house and give us a quote. Hopefully, if I don’t faint from the shock I will be able to give him the go ahead to “get it done”.