Category Archives: Information

Modelling information

Jack ‘Shortliner’ Trollope – RIP – April 27, 2019

For those of you reading, who did not know Jack “Shortliner” Trollope, AKA Shortliner Jack, you really missed out on an experience. Jack was a courteous and caring man, modeller and mentor. Always giving of his ideas, and time, with many across the world of model railways.

His passion for small space railroad modelling ignited my passion. It wasn’t until today that I realised I have been in touch with him regularly for most of the last 20 years online, in forums and through the Model Trains International magazine and website. He was the person who first took an interest in my designs and got me to write several articles for MTI over the years.

His most enduring design (I think) was Box Street yard. A timeless design along the lines of Cyril Freezer’s ‘Minories’, Alan Wright’s ‘Inglenook’ and John Allen’s ‘Timesaver’. To have a layout design spoken about in that august company should by anyone’s model railroading standard be considered an honour. I’ve included an image of Box Street below (image courtesy of Carendt.com) . Click on the image to get taken to the site for a full review of Jack’s layout design. A fitting tribute to the man and the modeller.

To his wife and family you have my deepest sympathies. I’ve shed a tear, and to his memory I’ll raise a beer shortly. RIP Jack. You’ll be greatly missed. You’ll not be forgotten.

Andrew

Site seeing – oh the useful things you find on YouTube edition

I enjoy going down the rabbit hole that is YouTube, on occasion, just to see what there is to find.

Recently I came across Marty’s Matchbox Makeovers where Marty (obviously) reworks classic Matchbox vehicles, bringing them back to their showroom best. In a couple of recent videos he’s increased my knowledge on two topics that have been on my ‘get to know about‘ list:

  • The use of Brake Fluid (which I’ve always wanted to try but had been afraid of using) to take hard to remove paint off a model (in this video uses it on a clear plastic piece) and provides a fair bit of information on the types of brake fluid (who knew there was more than one – I’m no car guy…), and
  • Polishing clear plastic parts using Aluminium Paste, and in the same video he showcases a silver rattle-can paint, available from our local car parts stores here in “Straya’, that gives an outstanding finish that I have a use for in the near future.

If you’ve ever wanted to know how to use these interesting techniques I can recommend Marty’s videos. He achieves great outcomes with commonly available products (if you’re not in ‘Straya’ then you’ll have something similar available. Enjoy watching and talk to you all soon.

Site Seeing – The scratchbuilding masterclass edition

I enjoy scratchbuilding. It’s a mental as much as engineering or artistic endeavour. I recently found the site highlighted today and just had to share this for those of you unsure how to begin or for those who’ve begun but need along their scratchbuilding journey.


TamiyaBase.com

While this site deals with cars, and car related projects, the series of tutorials provide a great set of skills totally applicable to all modellers.

It includes extensive styrene tutorials in both flat and curved surface projects and there’s another outstanding tutorial on a project in brass. And this guy knows his scratchbuilding business.

There are downloadable templates, lists of tools and supplies to complete the model; in all a very comprehensive site and full of ideas for those of us interested in bettering our scratchbuilding skills. I learned a lot from reading all the tutorials.


Resources

Insight – Why am I modelling the way I do?

A recent conversation with a fellow modeller has bought me back to thinking about why I’m modelling, and what my modelling should represent. Let me explain.


I have a lot less modelling time now than I ever did before, due to my work commitment, which is driving the nature of my modelling in different (if interesting new) directions.

Among the changes I’ve had to make is in the scope of the work. Because it takes longer to complete larger and more complex projects I’m focusing on smaller easier to complete in a day projects as my primary goal. I have some large projects that remain on the table. These will be for items I cannot buy, kitbash or otherwise make out of something else.

Will this change the nature of posts that appear here on the Andrew’s Trains blog? No, I don’t believe so. This blog has always been about small layouts with lots of operational potential, and that is in line with what I am moving to in my modelling.

Weathering will continue to play a large part in my modelling, upgrading blue-box style kits to better reflect the prototype is where I found real joy in modelling as a young man. And I’m going back to that in a big way this year. There’ll be more posts along these lines to come over the next few months as I get my modelling life back in order.

With a demanding and hectic work life simplicity is my goal. Modelling simplicity likewise has to be the case. Simple projects that can be done with:

  1. tools I already have,
  2. resources I already have, and
  3. that can be completed in the time I have to give them.

This is the focus of my modelling going forward. Likewise to layout building. I have a couple of projects that I want to complete, one of which is a Supernook, a new design I’m working on now that will begin with the baseboards build before we left the USA 13 years ago. I’ll be continuing on with the US-based shunting layouts, but I’m interested in building a Australian/UK-based Minories layout soon as well.


Takeaway

I’ve made modelling a complex and often difficult endeavour. I’ve lost my love of producing models that I enjoyed building and that I am proud of. Life is short, and more so as I near my mid 50s. Time with my family and enjoying what I do is not limitless. So the time is now to make the changes that keep me happy, healed and enjoying what I do. I hope that you will stay along for the ride. With almost 100,000 unique views over the last 3 years I’m hopeful that you will stick around and see what is coming.

Site seeing – Op till you drop – Blue flag “Video” edition – August 26, 2018

In my August 18 post we looked at modelling and using Blue Flags for your operating sessions. Thanks to Charles Malinowski’s timely reminder, there’s an additional video for context.


MRR Video Series – Taking Care of Business

Model Railroader magazine has a series of videos (most are pay to play). However some of the best of them are free for you to watch. One of these focuses on the SMS Rail Lines industrial park in New Jersey.

I did try to embed their video (as they offer this as an option – like YouTube) however, it didn’t work. Instead you’ll find below the link for the video. THis will take you straight to the page and then play away.

The video is narrated and professionally shot and edited. It is really well done and shows the operations in the Industrial Park and the blue flag in action. Thanks to Charles for reminding me of the video. I hope that you all enjoy watching and learning.

Don’t forget to comment on and share this post with your friends.


Resources

Taking Care of Business: SMS Rail Lines

Site Update – the I have a bench finally edition

It has been more than 20 years since I last had a dedicated modelling room, and the spaces within which, to continuously model. It is nice to be able to leave out projects that I am working on, and not have to worry about little hands and my wife getting grumpy at me because of the mess I leave about. I’m not complaining mind. Just saying that it is nice to be able to leave out projects that I’m not quite finished with and come back to them hours, days or even weeks later without the guilt of being in another’s way.

I was lucky in finding a solid glass top desk in a local thrift store (on the cheap mind). Nice thick glass (perfectly flat and great to use when scratchbuilding) with plenty of space to build and keep the projects on (see the image on the left).

And there are several projects that I need to advance and get to completion. Among them are the following Australian outline kit building projects:

  1. GY Grain wagons from the SEM kit as outlined here in 2015

I’ve actually got about 12 of these to complete, and I’ve learned along the way with the kits that while it would be nice to include everything I originally planned, unless you build them from scratch you have to compromise. These will eventually belong to an Aussie outline small layout for exhibition. More on that later – as I need to buy some motive power (A Y class loco, or two, or three, and a T Class too if I can get my bookkeeper to authorise the purchase).

Then there are the following US outline projects:

  1. O Scale GP38-2 rebuilds (more on that here)
  2. HO Scale SW1500 rebuilds (more to come on that in another post soon)
  3. Completion of a bunch of HO scale car repaints, upgrades and so on

There are several other types of non-rail modelling projects that I’d like to finish too, including Robby the Robot, a series of BSG (Battlestar Galactica) projects, a couple of Star Trek projects and tanks, submarines, and a couple of dioramas for these said projects too.

That’s it for now on this update. There’ll be more information and write-ups coming on these projects as I get them moving again. I still have some parts to order for the O scale project, where as I’ve all the parts needed now for the SW1500s.

Site Seeing – the I’ve got a model room edition – April 1

I’ve been without a modelling space, a dedicated out of the line of fire, not on the kitchen table, leave all your stuff out, style space since the late 80s. A recent move has seen us in a larger space with two spare rooms and a space for our library.

Over my 2 week break from work I’ve gone through my boxes, trying to find all of my collected modelling tools, and I have for the most part succeeded. I’m still missing some critical stuff like my Chopper 2 and Duplicutter along with my set of beading tools that I use to cut a range of river heads. There in a box somewhere but for the life of me I cannot find the blessed thing. Same goes for the NWSL products. I know they’re there, I just cannot say quite where that is for now.

I’ve emptied my mobile toolkits (large and small fishing tackle boxes, and carry totes) to get all of my tools and bits out of the dark and onto the table – making the space look like a the remains of a tornado. So no photos yet – I do have some pride. However, in the short space of time I’ve managed to part complete three little rebuilds from Athearn BB kits, which is more modelling that I have been able to complete in quite a while.

There is a bit of work to get the room into shape. I have a list of honey-dos among them is to build bookcases for our library room. I will add to that list as I need some in my modelling room. These will serve their obvious purpose as well as a base for the switching layout that will be permanently setup in there. More on that in a couple of weeks when I find a tape measure to measure up the room and begin to design something that fits inside the house, and not in the soon to be very cold garage.

I managed to pick up a glass top work desk for $35 Aussie from a local thrift shop (similar to the image on the left). A couple of twists to tighten screws and the judicious use of my allen keys to tighten everything up and the thing is as good as new. The glass top will aid in making scratchbuilt items too.

It has been fun working with my Waldron punch sets and the Historex Hex punch sets and I have to restock all of my depleted punched out bolt heads, and circle plates (great for diesel detailing) from the different grades of styrene.

I’ll post some photos over the next week or two as I get things sorted out. All the best.

 

 

Site Seeing – the Model RR to Go edition

Good day readers wherever you may be, and whatever you may be doing. It has been a while since my last post. That’s mainly down to my work schedule being all-consuming, and the days being long and the start times being all over the clock face. Nine months into my new role as a tram driver I’ve just managed a couple of weeks off and needed every moment to recover.

While recovering and looking around for some layout baseboard design ideas today I stumbled across Rick De Candido’s Fillmore Avenue Roundhouse blog.

His section of layout concepts (click this link to open a new window) has several great ideas. He really thinks outside the box on many of his designs. There is such creativity from this space starved modeller.


POST UPDATE – August 8, 2019
It appears that Rick’s WP site has been removed. I’m trying to contact him through multiple sites to see if there is a new site for this layout. I’ll do my best to keep this post updated.

His terminal layout is something to see too, and can utilise up to 6 operators on the layout during each 2.5 hour operating session. Well worth the time to visit the site and take a long read through the many useful posts there. Thanks to Rick for sharing his passion.

Rick’s Fillmore Avenue Roundhouse layout

Unfortunately I have no contact details for Rick, and there is nothing on the site where I can post a comment to let him know that I’ve profiled his site. If any of you can help with getting me in touch with Rick would you please reply to this post?

Site Seeing – January 1 – The new Everard Junction version

Everard Junction was a great finished model railway filling the loft of Richard Warren’s home in the UK (his YouTube channel can be watched here). However, he was unhappy with several key elements to the underlying baseboard design and issues with the loft space itself  that were causing running issues due to temperature and moisture. So he took what I consider to be a brave step and decided to start again from scratch.

With the loft area now completely reworked, insulated and ready to go, the work to build the new Everard Junction (Mark II?) is underway. As I write there are four videos in the current build series with more to come. With much detail each shows what ideas and issues Richard is solving as he builds the new layout. Richard’s baseboard design shows the very serious thought he has put into the new build. A couple of his ideas will make it into my next baseboard design, specifically allowing a removable backscene within the body of the baseboard.

Click the videos below to being watching, and if you find them interesting head over to the YouTube channel and like and subscribe. There’ll be more content about the build shortly and Richard is very good at presenting his ideas and showing his working method. Now onto the videos.

Videos

New Layout Build – Baseboards

Layout Update – November 2017

New Layout Build – Backscenes

New Layout Build – Fiddle Yard

There are a heap of videos on his channel that should be watched for their ideas and his modelling is outstanding. Enjoy Richard’s work; I do.

Site update – May 23 – TSE Boxcars – additional lading and operation information added

Who says that asking for help doesn’t work?

When I wrote the TSE Boxcars page, about images I took back in 2005 in Austin Texas, I had no idea about the operational nature of the cars. Thanks to Paul, who is familiar with the cars, their loads, and operations I now can share a little more information with you.

This morning (AEST) Paul wrote the following: “Those cars came in empty. We would spot six at a time Balcones Recycling and they would be loaded with waste paper. There was about 30 of these cars that were in captured service. We would send the loaded cars out on the UP. They did not come in loaded with lumber. East end lumber is now long gone, and it has been at least 40 years since they received rail service.

My thanks go out to Paul for sharing his time and knowledge with me. One of the reasons I love the Model Railway community is their willingness to share. Greatest hobby in the world? I’d like to think so.

I’ve updated the page with the information Paul has provided. Good to know finally what they were there for, and the operation cycle they used.