Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Some points arrive

Some of my points arrived the other day, still need to order the 5 medium radius left hand ones as they were out of stock when I placed my order.

2 sets of compound points should make installing cobalt switch motors fun and just a little bit expensive if I should go that way, I still haven't decided whether to go manual (wire in tube) or electric.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The river and banks

Like everything on this adventure, I've never modeled a river, I've seen plenty on the internet showing how to make a small meandering streams, and these look fabulous, I'm trying to make a deep river.

The shot above is upstream from where I'm trying to recreate, but I cannot get access to the actual spot, quite wide, not too deep, loamy banks with some dead flora blocking the way, up closer towards the Murray Goulburn factory, one section maintains this, while directly behind the the factory, the bank has been strengthened with lots of rock and spoil pushed into the river forming a kind of wall.

What I've done so far, is mixed some Vogel (tan/brown colour) water based paint, with some PVA glue, stirred in a mix of small Talus and Ballast to create thick "rocky ooze".
I've painted this as the base of the river, and built the rock/spoil wall by molding a bunch of plaster rocks using a Woodland Scenics mold, I attached them to the river bank, waited a few weeks and then chiseled them out, leaving a mess of small and large bits of rubble, these were cemented into place and pigmented to something I hope looks realistic, i think it's a little too dark, but I haven't "set" the colours yet, so I'll be toning it down slightly.

Next on my agenda, is to find some suitable twigs to act as dead trees, touch up the river banks and colour variety and pour some sort of water in place.  I'm thinking Envirotex, but if anyone out there who may read this knows of a better product, I'm all ears.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

It's all in the detail

Using some Mininatur grass tufts really add depth to the layout, I still have many more to go, as well as a fence line beside the bridge, but here are a couple of quick snaps with the mobile showing the effect.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Marking out the main boards

I was fortunate to have a 4 day break for Melbourne Cup.
On the Monday, I had the house to myself so decided to finally mark out the 2 x 1200x600mm foam boards with the approximate track layout.

This idea is starting to get large, 1.1mtr of bridge module, 2.4mtr of station modules and the Nestle and Milk Co-Op module (yet to be designed) will probably be 600-800mm long.

The little splotch on the boards is an N scale GY wagon.

All of the point work should arrive in the next few weeks, and now I'm tossing up on whether to use my initial idea of wire in tube for control or bite the bullet and purchase Cobalt switch machines to have electric and perhaps PC control of the points.

Added some marker lights to my Flat Top T Class with 0.3mm Fibre optic, with the headlights made from 0.8mm.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Kit building, ready to run and the novice modeler

Courtesy of Peter J Vincent, O and ON wagons at Maffra Milk Co-Op  (a future project)

I've been modeling (or is that collecting bits and pieces) for about 2 years, I read through Australian Railway Modeler magazine, admiring the layouts, the built up kits and the scratch building efforts of my peers for probably a year prior before buying my first N scale item.  The intention at that stage was to go no further than purchasing an Aust-N-Rail flat top T class body that I could stick on top of my PC monitor.

I bought this from Chris of Spirit Design, his enthusiasm for VR N scale is almost contagious, after a brief tour of his mind blowing layout, "Wallan", I was hooked.

I joined the Victorian N Scale Collective not long after that, I've learned so much in the past 2 years, I started with some T-Trak modules and a few RTR locos and rolling stock.  I needed some structures, so bought a VR permanent way shed from Spirit Design, it went together pretty easy with only my haste and poor painting skills to detract from it.

I've always liked ELs, and in particular the CFCLA livery, Rob from Aust N Rail kindly taught me the skills of soldering while running his shop at the Sandown exhibition a year or so ago, and I managed to put together a brass etch EL loco body, I notice the flaws in my workmanship, but it put me on a path to kit building.

Everything I've built up to now is looking better than the item I built before it, the quality of the kits and the thought out nature of their construction go a long way to helping me achieve something that looks like the prototype.

I was really nervous when I started on the K class kit by Phil Badger, but I got there in the end, and it has a DCC decoder to boot which makes it in the minority.   I did not start my station building kit for almost a year because I was worried it would be too hard to make, Nothing could be further from the truth, and it went together like a dream.  

I'm in 2 minds about all the products in both RTR and kit form that are out there waiting for me, The scratch building and detailing skills of some of the collective members just leaves me in awe, and I know that with me being spoiled for choice, it's very unlikely I'll ever NEED to bring myself to their level of expertise, which is a shame.
But I'm also happy that such a small market is supported by dedicated manufacturers who probably don't make as much money as they should from all their efforts.  I've had the pleasure of meeting quite a number of these people in the short time I've been involved in the hobby, such is the nature of the close knit community that is Aus N scale, and every one of them has been more than generous in speaking with me and answering any question I ask of them.

Thanks to all of you.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Researching the past

Researching an area 200km from my home is probably difficult enough, but add in the fact I'm trying to model an era (1976-77) when I was only 6 makes it harder still.

I've received a fair amount of material and assistance to help make Maffra as authentic as my meager model skills allow, much of it has been track diagrams, drainage diagrams, signalling arrangements and amendments to the track layout.  These are fantastic for working out the track layout for my modules, as well as the grades and cutting sizes in the station and surrounding areas.

Photographs help convey the feel of the place that obviously isn't there today, between the internet and the modeling fraternity I've been able to source some material that has assisted me no end.
An example of this is Rob from Aust-N-Rail, during the course of his research into Nowa Nowa, had a CD of photos from the area taken by Steve Cullen, in among those, were a few pictures of Maffra.

With permission, I've including these below,  and thanks to those pics, I now know what the river bank behind the Milk Co-Op looks like, as well as the fence lines on the floodplain.

If anyone has any photos of Maffra station and it's surrounds that they would be willing to share, I would really like to see them, I had received a photo last year that was taken on a steam special to Maffra before the line closed, sadly I lost it and the contact after a computer crash :(, I'm sure there are many more out there.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Close but no cigar

I've finished painting and assembling my basic station building structure, then I stumble across some more research material and realise that although I got all the colours right for my building, I did paint the doors the wrong colour, they were green, not red, should've realised.   Here is a 1987 picture of the station.  The most important thing is the toilet block, I was about to make something completely wrong, as a few years later on from this picture below, it was replaced with a more substantial version with a roof. (pic by Frank Jones)

Here is a shot I took a few months ago showing the guise I was going to build.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Maffra station with some detailing

Some more pics of the station building, still requires a fair bit of detailing, but the windows and signage helps paint a better picture, once the downpipes, guttering and the weatherboard toilet block are fixed on, it should look more like the real thing.  Please click on the photos to expand the size to give you a better look at the signage, these and many others to suit all eras are available from Spirit Design.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Starting on the station buildings

I've started work on the station building, still needs more work, and a toilet facility added but I'm happy with how it looks so far, I'll post up some better photos later.

Friday, August 26, 2011

I've been slack

It's been a while between postings, unfortunately there's nothing new to add, just started a new job which I hope shall provide more life, home, and ultimately more hobby time.  Just hope it provides enough income too :))

Friday, July 1, 2011

Motive Power

With the "era" being modeled set around 1969-1976 it precludes the V/Line era, which means this one shouldn't be seen, but probably will.
Series I G class (G512) body by Aust-N-Rail , weathered and fitted with an Atlas SD24 mech and DCC.

What should get a work out will be K 184 (I decided on K184 as there is photos of it with the red lining, and I liked that look), It's a kit by Badger Bits, I wish I could've built it as well as the one pictured on Phil Badgers website. Uses a MicroAce 9600 mech and a Z2 DCC decoder in the tender.

 Series I "flat top " T class, DCC and Atlas VO-1000 mech, also by Aust-N-Rail but it seems it isn't currently available

A brass etch Y class, purchased from Aust-N-Rail but made by N Scale Australia
Currently not a runner, but will utilise a Life Like SW9 mech , Z125 decoder and a custom chassis by Spirit Design, take a look at Robs blog to see how it goes together

On top of this, a number of 4 wheeled rolling stock needs to be made and purchased, These will come from Spirit Design and Aust-N-Rail.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

trial fitting the bridge

The scenery is pretty much done, I blended the edges in last night, and this morning sceniced the areas in question, It's come up pretty well so far, I dragged the module outside, fitted the bridge into position and took a few snaps.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Fixing my mistakes

Nothing like doing things backwards, made up and added the end plates.  I also made up the quintessential 3mm contoured side pieces, trouble was, in my haste to scenic everything, I plum forgot I need to blend all these pieces into one neat package.

I'm assuming as all the scenery is only a few days old, blending it all in shouldn't come up too badly, well I'm hoping so anyway.

As I walked inside after taking these shots, I thought, "I wonder what else I stuffed up".   The observent people will notice I've forgotten to drill the holes for the track power... sigh!

At least it's only a simple module, If it was the 2.4mt yard modules, I'd be very unhappy.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Second Layer

Adding some of the trees (perhaps another 15-20 to go, and still require some weathering to tone them down), side panel pieces etc, the white PVA blobs under the trees should disappear, the first colour layers of the river has been added, I envisage 3 or 4 more goings over until I get the colour definition I'm looking for, then some 3 dimensional layers, followed by Envirotex for the water.

I suspect I'm doing a lot of this backwards, and probably making it harder for myself, but, I guess we learn from mistakes, and fortunately not too much has caused a major issue.

One of the issues is, I've forgotten to add the end plates to the module, which should be perhaps one of the first things to do before scenicing, hopefully I can fit these up in the next few days without too much drama.

First layer of scenery

Using a scenery method used by Chris Pearce, the "wet on wet" method, In around 30 minutes, I've come up with the first layer of scenery, essentially just ground colour and light ground covering, but the effect is starting to take shape.