Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Some of the new 'intrastate' stuff, Pt 1...

The constant deluge of r-t-r rolling stock does make it very easy to fill up the yards with lovely models of the delightfully picturesque wagons that kept the intrastate traffic moving back in the steam/early diesel era in which Lambing Flat is set and quite a few have joined the roster since my last post on the subject some years ago. However, as long term readers will be aware, I don't like things 'straight out of the box'. Before a model will be accepted by the Traffic Officer, Lambing Flat, it has to be weathered, at least! And, while the vast majority of Lambing Flat's new stock is r-t-r, I do occasionally assemble the odd kit or two!

Below are images and brief descriptions of some of the intrastate (ie non-bogie exchange) NSWGR stock that has joined the roster recently.


As with any NSWGR layout set in the wheat growing areas of the state, lots of wheat wagons are essential. I have plenty of four-wheel RU hoppers, courtesy of the old Trax kit and the original Trainorama r-t-r version, but the more modern wheat hoppers have been neglected. A trio of Austrains WHX hoppers were acquired, two as originally delivered and one of the 'Manildra' signwritten models. On the two original condition ones, I replaced the Austrains bogies with the correct type for my period, the 2CE bogies from On Track (and the wheels, as the wheels that come with the On Track bogies are too big). I also altered the wagon number on one of them, as I had somehow managed to acquire two vehicles numbered WHX30756! They were lightly weathered to represent vehicles that have only been in service a short time, as this batch of WHX were delivered in 1971/1973, so fall towards the end of my preferred time period. First I painted the wheels and bogies black, painted the wheel faces Tamiya XF-10 Flat Brown and then 'washed' the bogies with the Flat Brown and Aqueous Hobby Color H343 Soot, I painted the brake hoses and Kadee 'tangs' flat black, then I lightly sprayed the body of the vehicle with a very dilute mix of Isocol alcohol and Tamiya XF-52 Flat Earth. Another light coat of Isocol alcohol and Soot tied it all together. Being very 'modern' wagons by Lambing Flat standards, if they are included in a train, the train is more likely than not to be diesel-hauled!



Up until the release of the Trainorama r-t-r BWH hoppers, there was only one BWH on the layout, an AR Kits kit-built and superdetailed model that I completed in the mid-1980s. A trio of Traino r-t-r BWH hoppers were acquired and weathered back when they came out and, more recently, this Powerline version has also joined the fleet. It is straight out of the box and weathered with my usual acrylic paint technique. I really should have changed the handrails on the foot walk to the correct shape, but I'm not going to live forever... It 'disappears' amongst the considerable number of vehicles that now populate the layout, so, I'm not going to mention it if you don't...



No NSWGR post-war layout would be complete without plenty of these little beauties, the ubiquitous S truck. This is just one of the fifteen Austrains/SDS 'ultimate' S trucks that have joined the many, many kit-built versions of this essential wagon on the layout. This one is from the first Austrains batch, which came painted in a very deep black, so I have weathered it to represent the condition of them when they were relatively new, with a worn interior, but a lightly weathered exterior. In the background is, from the left, an Austrains GSV modified to post-war condition, as per Ian Dunn's article, 'Modernise Your GSV', in AMRM Issue 298 (February 2013), an Austrains '1921' CW and a highly modified Camco '1947' CW kit. Next is the end of an MBC, converted from a very old Rails North epoxy MRC kit.


Here are a few more weathered S trucks from the first 'black' Austrains batch, along with a weathered Austrains CW.


This photo shows a better view of the interiors of two of the S trucks, plus a weathered Austrains SRC refrigerated van and lots of stock wagons from a variety of sources.


 And here are a few more, standing in front of some weathered SDS rail tank cars. The COR tank is heavily weathered, but the Golden Fleece version is relatively clean. Believe it or not, the photos of Golden Fleece RTCs I have seen that were taken in the 1960s show them quite clean and bright.



The second batch of Austrains S trucks came with a much greyer paint finish, so that has been utilised to represent S trucks that have been in service longer than those represented by the weathering done on the first batch. Also shown here is a Trainorama K wagon which was weathered at the same time, using my usual acrylic paint technique. Surrounding the newly weathered vehicles are some of the many open wagons on the layout, including r-t-r Traino steel S trucks, kit-built ILM D and BD, plus Trax/Casula S and K wagons and a very old Bergs K wagon (with Dreadnought ends).


Another Austrains S from the second batch, along with a Eureka RSH and Traino K wagon, with Austrains PV explosives van and MV louvred van, all weathered with my acrylic paint and Isocol alcohol method.


An Austrains '1921' CW, plus two Eureka LCH and a CCH four-wheel hopper wagons, stand in front of a rake of stock wagons, including an Austrains '1915' CW and a Silvermaz '1948' CW, heavily modified and backdated to their appearance on delivery, before the extra vertical strengthening timbers were added to the sides.


I'll finish off tonight's post with a couple of stock wagons, starting with this SDS BCW. This has had a canvas (stretched tissue) roof covering added, but otherwise is 'straight out of the box'. It is is pretty good condition, just a little grubby, which is appropriate for Lambing Flat's time period, as these vehicles were introduced in 1959, so were quite new at the time the layout represents. Weathered with my usual 'misted' acrylic techniques.


There are two '1959' BCW bogie cattle wagons on the layout, the modern SDS version shown above and this old Protype kit, constructed back in the early 1980s. Not knowing any better at the time, I had constructed it with a double roof, as per the four-wheelers. I recently took the double roof off and fitted a new canvas covered single roof, as it should be. The new roof was painted and weathered and the body reweathered to blend it all together. Not up to the standard of the SDS version, but not bad for a model for which the masters were constructed in the late 1960s...


A definite relict of the past, an Austrains '1915' CW. While most of these were 'converted' to the '1921' CW specifications during the 1930s and 1940s, at least two soldiered on until 1965/'66! (I've seen them in a video taken at Nyngan.) Weathered with the usual acrylics method.



Last, but not least, is the last of my Austrains GSV sheep wagons to be weathered. It had taken so long (the rest were finished years ago) because I didn't have a replacement GSV roof for this one (they were mistakenly fitted with CW roofs at the factory). I obtained replacement roofs from Austrains for the rest of them, but not for this one, for some reason lost in the depths of time! So, I finally got around to scratchbuilding a new roof (and modifying the model to represent the post-WW2 appearance of the '1927' GSVs, as per Ian Dunn's article 'Modernise your GSV' in AMRM Issue 298 (February 2013). It's late completion also means that it is the only loaded sheep van on the layout, as it has been fitted with some of Ray Pilgrim's 3D printed sheep. The roof was completed very conventionally with strips of timber and styrene, with corrugated aluminium for the roof itself. Weathering was by my standard Acrylic paint method, with a combination of washes and drybrushing to get the base elements, with the whole thing then airbrushed with light coats of 'misted' colour to tie it all together.

There are still quite a few to describe, but that will have to be in a future post...






Wednesday, 16 August 2017

That damned 'Pig'!


When I last mentioned 3607, my modified Austrains roundtop 'Pig' back in November 2014, all was not well, a situation that persisted for some time. It had reached the basic painting stage, as shown below:


But try as I might, I could not get the damned thing to run smoothly. It had a bind in the mechanism that I just could not find, despite completely dismantling it a couple of time and checking it very carefully and even resetting and twiddling with the CVs on the Tsunami chip. Becoming quite discouraged I consigned it to the back of the display cupboard and got on with other projects. About six months later I returned to it and spent a couple of fruitless weeks fiddling with it, all without much success (as it turned out the problems were multiple, see below), but it did make it onto the layout for extended testing and a record shot.


I could get it to run reasonably well on the workbench on DC, but put it on the layout and it ran like a demented duck with five broken wings... I even consulted the experts (thanks Marcus!), but all to no avail. 

By October 2015, a little progress had been made after a few more complete dismantling and reassemblies and it was starting to run 'sort of OK' occasionally, so I resolved to finish off the weathering and at least finish it off cosmetically. I wanted to create a fairly clean locomotive, as per this John Stormont photo of 3607 at Cootamundra in 1954, originally printed in the January 1990 edition of the RTM's 'Round House' magazine.


This photo from mid-October 2015 shows progress at that date. I used a variety of washes of gloss blacks and some sprayed Tamiya X-19 Smoke to achieve the 'freshly blackoiled' look, but as this photo shows I still had a little detail work to do to blend all the weathering together, plus fit cabside numbers, headlight and window glass, Eveleigh builder's plate and employ a crew.



A few days later and she was visually complete, representing a clean locomotive that had at least one trip under her belt. But it still wouldn't run satisfactorily!


Fast forward to April 2017 and nothing had changed, she looked nice, but was very unreliable, running very jerkily and not being a very useful engine at all, other than as a photographic prop!



Then, a chance comment on my Facebook page set me off in another direction! At last, breakthrough! After investigating, I came to the conclusion that one of the driving wheelsets was 'out of quarter' and, after swapping over the two leading wheelsets with the driving wheels in my 'spare' 36 class, I got it to run smoothly... on the workbench!

However, once placed on the layout, it was still very unreliable, despite extra pick-ups on the tender and a 'stay-alive' chip. Another month or two passed with not much change, it would run smoothly when it chose to run, but that was not often! It was very obviously a pick-up problem, but, considering the number of extra pick-ups I had added, this should not be occurring. Perhaps the standard Austrains brass tender wheels, despite much cleaning, were the problem, so I decided to replace them with some spare nickel-silver On Track wheels sets I had on hand from the original run LLV louvred vans. Being the same axle lengths and wheel diameters, they just dropped straight in and nickel-silver is reputedly a far better conductor of electricity than is brass. That part of the exercise successfully completed, I checked them for electrical continuity with my multi-meter. The electrical continuity of one side of the tender wheels was perfect, but, on the other side, nothing! On removing the bogies and checking the joint between the wire to the chip and the wipers (hidden out of sight on top of the bogie and only visible once the bogies had been removed, something it had not occurred to me to do previously!) I discovered that the connections to both bogies had broken off! No wonder the b^%$#y thing wouldn't run! A quick resolder and back on the track and perfection, it now runs like a dream! After three years of frustration, I finally have a reliable, smooth running roundtop Pig!


The District Locomotive Superintendent is now 'over the moon', as he, at last, has a locomotive that is reliable as well as pretty to help move the traffic! 

Here she is, standing in No.1 road at New Yard with a goods train, waiting for permission to depart, alongside Cowra stalwart, 5597. (The story of how 5597, a real 'Franken55', plus the scenery on 
New Yard, came to be, will be the subjects of future posts).


Monday, 31 July 2017

The 'modern era' comes to Lambing Flat: Bogie rolling stock

The Indian red diesels need something to haul, so, thanks to all the lovely r-t-r 1960s/1970s bogie rolling stock now available, it is a simple matter of pulling something out of the box, checking the couplings and wheels against the standards gauge, weathering it and putting it on the track. So easy!


Here are some details of some of the 'bogie exchange' vehicles that have joined the fleet recently.

This is an On Track Models BLF that I converted to a BLX about two years ago. I wanted a 1960s era BLX for Lambing Flat, but didn't want three of them, so I purchased a single-pack BLF from Barnes Hobbies in Newcastle and, since a broad gauge only BLF wasn't *quite* right for NSW standard gauge Lambing Flat, I spent an hour or two modifying it. First I replaced the spoked-wheel broad gauge appropriate bogies with a pair of 'bogie exchange' bogies from the spares box (from under an On Track LLV, I think), then carefully removed the 'F' from the BLF code with a toothpick moistened with Metho. When that was done I put an 'X' in its place (SEM decal sheet, I think), then covered the 'P' plates with 'X' decals from a BGB decal sheet. Then I cut some 2" x 4" timber and 'bodged up' the shunter's steps to something more closely resembling the timber version more appropriate to the period. After a couple of years in 'pristine' condition, I finally got around to weathering it, lightly, as befits my era, with airbrushed Tamiya and Aqueous Hobby Color acrylic paint. 



This is an Auscision KLY in PTC blue. It is a little late for LF's 'core' period, but I do like the KLY vans! I lightly weathered it to represent a very new vehicle that hasn't managed to acquire more than a light coating of road dust, once more with airbrushed Tamiya and Aqueous Hobby Color acrylics. However, I wasn't happy with it, as it looked a little too clean, so I came back a couple of weeks later and added some more 'dirt'. Much more as I remember them now.






In keeping with the 1970s PTC blue theme is this SDS OCY, carrying a load of RACE containers. Another one lightly weathered to represent how I remember OCYs from the 1970s. Below is another shot, this time without the containers, showing the grubby deck.




This is a pair of Orient Express Reproductions r-t-r OX SAR open wagons, fitted with tarpaulins, as the lack of interior detail does look a little strange on the layout. The vehicles themselves are straight 'out of the box', except that the far vehicle has had a red SAR logo added. The wagons were then weathered with my usual acrylic paint diluted in Isocol alcohol method and then some tarps, made from some old BGB printed foil tarps I have had 'in stock' since the early 1980s were added. The tiedowns are thread, superglued to the tarp and the vehicle. The tarps were sprayed with flat clear once they were fitted, to kill the sheen of the original BGB item. A light spray of Tamiya XF-52 Flat Earth was then 'misted' over the tarps (and the wagons) to 'tie it all together'.



This is an Austrains 'Manildra' WHX fitted with SDS exchange bogies and the black panel where the old code was added penned in with ink. The model was then sprayed with flat clear to seal the ink and then it was weathered using my standard sprayed acrylic method. I'm very pleased with the way this one has come up. Below is another shot with the yard looking very 'late 1960s'.





While not quite 'bogie exchange' vehicles, (for bogie exchange we need the GX subvariant) this pair of Eureka G wagons fill the need for high speed capable bogie open wagons on the Sydney-Melbourne corridor. Despite having been introduced in the early 1950s for coal haulage, photos of 'high wheeler' mainline trains in the 1960s show plenty of G type wagons in use and most are in pretty good condition, so these two were weathered accordingly.



Not everything new on the layout is r-t-r; the occasional kit-built model still sneaks through! This is a NSWGR BDX constructed from a AR Kits injection-moulded kit. I hadn't built an injection-moulded plastic kit for a very long time, but it had come to my attention that one major class of late steam/early diesel era rolling stock was not represented in Lambing Flat's collection, the BDX bogie open wagon. An opportune purchase at the 2017 Brisbane exhibition recently addressed that oversight and, in something like record time, the model was assembled! Of course, it isn't built as the manufacturer intended (something I never do!), but has had some extra detail added to represent the appearance of one of the 1963/1967 batch as it may have appeared towards the end of the 1960s. As I hadn't been able to find many decent photos of BDX wagons from that period while I was building it, there was a certain amount of guesswork involved and I eventually found out (after it was painted!) that the top right handrail wasn't quite in the right position! As with the rest of them, the photos I have of them in the late 1960s show them to be in quite good condition still, so it was weathered accordingly.




Of course, if one is going to run post-1966 goods trains, one should have the occasional 'red' van to put on the back. As I only had one (the Trainorama GHG with InFront Models dress-up kit I reviewed in AMRM Issue 287, April 2011), I thought it was about time I had another one, so this Trainorama MHG had the handrails and lampirons picked out in black and then lightly weathered to represent a newly rebuilt and repainted van.




However, the 'high wheelers' of the 1960s didn't only trail nice new Indian red brakevans; there were also the 1920s-built SHG vans that were fitted with new 2AE high speed bogies around 1962 to help fill a desperate shortage of brakevans capable of high speeds to run on the newly-opened 'Gauge' to Melbourne. The release of the SDS SHG/BHG brakevans gave me the opportunity to add a BHG to the collection (I already had two kit-built SHGs, so only a BHG was acquired). Unlike the other goods vehicles shown here, where I went for the fairly new, lightly weathered effect, this BHG was heavily weathered to represent the appearance of the prototypes in the 1960s. I really like the attention to detail that SDS have given to this model and I particularly like the Indian red window frames, which was so characteristic of Gunmetal grey brakevans in the late 1960s.


That's enough for now (there is a lot more to come!). Next time I will describe the huge number of new four-wheel and bogie 'intrastate' vehicles that have also joined the fleet.


Friday, 28 July 2017

The 'modern era' comes to Lambing Flat: Indian red diesels.

With all the lovely r-t-r models becoming available over the last couple of years suited to the 1960s/1970s era, it has been hard to resist the temptation and stay true to Lambing Flat's 1950s steam era ambiance. In fact, it has been impossible! Especially as I have clear memories of the late 1960s and the 1970s with lots of lovely Indian red diesels and interesting bogie rolling stock rushing past on the Main South around Harden (I lived at Young until I came to Sydney in 1977).

While the steam era will always be my first love, a bit of Indian red and some 'high wheeler' bogie vehicles have started to appear on the layout.


The oldest diesel on the layout is this Traino 44 class, which has been around for well over 10 years. All the locomotives have been weathered to represent their appearance as they were in the 1960s/1970s, a bit scruffy and grubby, but not the utter decrepitude that crept in through the 1980s. They are all weathered with Tamiya and Aqueous Hobby Color acrylics, diluted in Isocol alcohol for spraying.

The second oldest diesel is this Austrains 442, but it hasn't run since 2006, as I haven't got around to fitting a chip yet.

Another diesel that has been around for a while is this Trainorama 49, which has been backdated to 1960s condition by painting out the post 1979 yellow buffers and the post 1970s silver painted handrails on the end steps. It has just been lightly weathered as, during the 1960s, Parkes Depot looked after them very well and they were always in very good condition.

My very favourite diesels are the 421, so I was very pleased when Auscision released their magnificent model, which needed no modification other than a spot of weathering. As with all the 'working' diesels, it has been fitted with a Loksound chip, in this case loaded with the sound files sold be DCC Sound in Victoria. Not only does it look fantastic, it sounds fantastic as well!

Another shot of a beautiful locomotive.

Another loco I have a definite 'soft spot' for is the 422 class. This is another Auscision model, lightly weathered to represent a loco that has only been in service for a couple of months. It is also fitted with a Loksound chip loaded with DCC Sounds' files.

Another shot of 42201, waiting to depart 'New Yard' with bogie stock. Future posts will feature more of my bogie stock and bring the 'New Yard' story up to date.


Yet another shot of 42201 in the yard (on a different day!), standing next to another recent diesel, an Auscision 45 class, a very fine example of another locomotive class that I am very fond of. 

The 45 is a little more heavily weathered, as the locomotive is in mid-1970s condition (I was too slow and missed out on a 1960s version, they were all sold out!) 

There is also a Trainorama 48 class, but that has not been weathered yet, though it trundles around quite nicely, making suitable 48 class sounds, courtesy of its DCC Sounds-loaded chip!

Steam and diesel quite happily co-exists on the layout, as can be seen here with Austrains 3610 about to be assisted out of the yard by Trainorama 4910!

The next post (whenever that might be) should feature some of the bogie rolling stock that has recently joined the roster.


Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Two in the one year! Good grief, what is happening! Or, building a HV 'Redfern' passenger brake van.

As promised, I am making a bit of an effort to add some posts to the blog.

This one is about building this:
 This is well out of period for Lambing Flat, but I like it! 

It is a 'Redfern' passenger brake van, one of the series of passenger carriages referred to as the 'Redfern' cars, which entered service from 1884. This particular variation had a small guard's compartment at one end, a large luggage compartment in the middle and two second class compartments at the other end. They were coded HV from 1892 and the model represents the (probably) appearance of the van in the 1890s, with original paneled body and painted in the fully lined purple brown colour scheme. This particular type was built for the southern and western system (the vans built for the northern system had some major detail differences) and it looked like this until around 1910 when they were rebuilt with plain tongue and grooved siding and the passenger compartment were replaced with another goods compartment accessed by double doors similar to the existing luggage compartment. In this rebuilt form they lasted in revenue service until around 1930. Some then went into W&W service and lasted into the 1960s, at least. 

The model is constructed from a Rails North urethane kit that was only available through the annual modelling the early days of the NSWR convention under the 'Old Buggers' label. I obtained it at a convention some years ago and had started to build it, but had then put it back in the unbuilt kit drawer, where it languished for some years. For some reason (one that I don't even know!) I pulled it out recently and restarted work. It was built pretty much as the manufacturer intended, but with a little added detail.


Here it is on 13 April 2017, the body has been assembled and the roof fitted, and the chassis has been pretty much finished. I've fitted all the foot boards, using timber strips glued to staples and soldered up the truss rods from brass wire. I lost one of the buffers, but, luckily, I had some very old British buffers in the parts collection that were pretty much identical, and sprung as well! The roof has been 'canvassed' with tissue paper and extra details, such as the drawer hooks and lamp irons added. The handrails on the roof and ends have been made and fitted (the brass grab rails and door handles on the sides will be added after painting). It was now ready for painting to start.



By 6 June it had been painted and lined (the lining took a loooong time!), the brass grab rails and door handles had been fitted and it had been decaled, but the glazing and basic interior had yet to be fitted. The slightly yellow lighting makes it look redder than it actually was (see photos of the completed model). The lining was done by hand, using a bow pen and Tamiya yellow paint, except for the lines around the ventilators, which were decals from an old N scale decal set for RUB cars. The lettering came from various decal sheets in my collection (one tends to accumulate that sort of thing over 40 years or so... )

By the 19th of June, it was finished, weathered and accepted into service on the layout. Here it is, trying not to look too out of place by hanging out with some of my other 'early days' vehicles. An interesting and unusual vehicle to have on the layout and quite simple to build, though the lining was a bit of an ordeal!

Monday, 22 May 2017

It's Alive! A new post regarding Lambing Flat!

I've been really slack the last couple of years when it comes to updating this blog. I post a lot of updates regarding progress on Lambing Flat on my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/amrmjmes) which is all very well if you are on my friends list on Facebook, but not much use to anyone else! I have resolved to also post updates on here as well (and hopefully catch up on some of the other developments that have occurred since I was last active on here).

Here is the first, but hopefully, not the last.


The latest addition to the fleet, an SDS MB van, which I aquired at the Modelling the Railways of NSW convention last Saturday. It is MB25071 from the 1970s era Pack G. Straight out of box, it looks quite nice, except for the plain textured black roof. Otherwise, it is modelled as a fairly recent overhaul with fresh Gunmetal grey and nice new 'wiggly R' logo, dating it as having been rebuilt into an MB circa 1970 (25071 was an MBC in the 1969 wagon book), but the lower position of the lamp irons suggests a mid- to late-1970s time frame. All the circa 1970 MB conversions I have seen had silver painted, Malthoid-covered roofs, so I added a Malthoid roof by cutting masking tape into 3' wide strips and laying them accross the roof, trimming to length and then painting the roof with Tamiya XF-16 Flat Aluminum. I also hand-painted the wheel rims, wheel backs and axles Tamiya XF-10 Flat Brown and then washed some of my 'grime' Tamiya black/brown in Isocol alcohol weathering mix over the underframe and bogies to kill the 'plastic' shine of those items. Then I brushed on some Bradgon weathering powder to dull the sides, ends and underframe off a bit. A very quick way of turning a very good r-t-r model into something just that little bit more realistic.