Category Archives: Reports

Workshop Report – June 2021

Getting old sucks. In some aspects, it’s truly great in that you have perspective (time on the planet) to measure against. My eyesight is not enjoying its perspective. However, today my workspace has seen the light…

What’s new

Modelling later in the evening, when the space is quiet, and others are in bed and I can lose myself in the moment, is my favourite and most productive time. Of late, I have not been able to work past sunset. My original light, a sunlight fluorescent lamp, just wasn’t up to helping me see.

Thanks to the IKEA Tertial Work Lamp and their RYET (4000K) LED lamps, I now have a very well lit, energy-efficient space and better lighting for photography to boot. Here is the before and after shot showing the (very messy) space. Note that both images are untouched, exactly as they came from my phone camera.



The work lamp was only A$14.95, and the LED globes only A$8.00 a pair. Frugal as always, and yet a great outcome. So no more tired eyes for me and more modelling time after dark. That’s a major win.

Work in progress

There’s not been much in-progress work of late. That will change now that I can see. I have plans to complete the O Gauge Shunter locomotive over the next week or two, prepping her for final paint, and finishing. Then it is on to more locomotive projects including the:

  • 1/4″ O Gauge GP38-2 projects ( 2 x Weaver 2 Rail Units mentioned here on my modelling site)
  • 1/4″ O Guage EMD  F9 (2 x Atlas by Roco 2 Rail units from the 1970s) mentioned here on my modelling site

HO scale sees:

  • 2 Bachmann 70 Tonners (DCC but no sound) that need to be repainted, numbered and lettered for use,
  • some more freight car projects including more work on the Australian freight wagons that I’ve started but not yet finished, and I’m sure there’s more, but I’ve lost the plot for now and I’ll close out here.


Nothing to report for June 2021


Staying in Contact

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Site Seeing – The David Barrow fan boy edition – September 24, 2018

We moved back to Australia in 2006. So, I have to live through others when they visit David Barrow in Austin Texas, my wife’s hometown, and where we spent 10 years from 1997. Trevor Marshall visited recently and came away with a great post on the man and his layouts – including his new small (comparatively speaking) O scale layout which really piqued my interest.

David Barrow’s layouts

Hi – my name is Andrew – and I’m a David Barrow fan boy tragic…

I first remember reading about David Barrow’s Cat Mountain and Santa Fé layout in the 1980s in Model Railroader magazine. As a young man, dreaming about my large future model railway plans, David’s layouts (there were at my last count about 17 versions of the Cat Mountain) were my ideal. While I dream of those massive layouts still I took another path to small layout designs.

Recently David Barrow has followed down that rabbit hole, this time in O scale, with a new layout. You can read more about that in the second link below by Trevor Marshall.

David’s layout design and presentation skills are unique in the hobby. Not to everyone’s taste I’ll grant, yet having seen and operated on the layout once in 2005, I did not notice its minimal scenic treatment. I was too interested in the operational side of things.

Image 1: Davids Barrow’s entire O Scale layout – battery-powered and operated by radio

Once again the layout design is the centre of attention and the scenic treatment is classic David Barrow – minimalist. However, you can use the design and then scenic it to your heart’s content. Hmmm – now let me see – I have 3 boards in the garage on which that layout design would fit perfectly…

You can out more on this layout in the Model Railroad Planning 2018 publication from Kalmbach.


2017 Corio Model Railway Club show report (28-29 January)

The city of Geelong (of which Corio is a suburb) is just over 90 kilometres away from home, that’s around an hours travelling time each way in the car. I may be getting fussy in my old age. I find myself considering the costs of getting to and entering shows versus the enjoyment gained as a criteria for attendance. The Corio Club’s show is still one of the best large non-metropolitan Melbourne shows going, although I find that my fascination with the ‘BIG’ exhibition layouts diminishing, and the desire to find and watch small layouts is growing rapidly. Don’t mistake that I am only interested in small layouts. What I want to see at exhibitions are more layouts by individuals, for individuals. That is people who’ve built a layout, who can show others how to build a layout for themselves. The large club layouts are fantastic to me but I know that they are beyond my personal reach, and I am sure that when the punters who come through the door so full of enthusiasm get home, take a long hard look at the price of trains, track, baseboard, effort, blah, blah, and blah are left with a hollow feeling. That is the feeling of not being able to achieve. I’m hoping to reverse that trend with my own small layouts this year. More on those for later posts; during the meanwhilst let’s on to the exhibition report.

Exhibition report

The 44th MR Exhibition was very well attended. So well attended in fact that it was very warm inside the location and packed to the gills. Moving around was difficult to achieve, photography even more so. The site this year was larger than in previous years, moving from Geelong West out to Belmont, near Deakin University’s Waurn Ponds campus. It appeared easy to get to by public transport and by car. Well supported by the local and national vendors including Broad Gauge Models, Outback Model Company, SDS Models, Kerroby Models, Train World Pty Ltd, Road and Rail Hobbies, and many more. This year there did seem to be more vendors than exhibitors though. I understand that you need vendor support, yet I felt crowded in by vendors and struggled to see enough layouts.

One brighter note was the layout bought by, and showcasing the models of, Phoenix Models and Hobbies. Not only the best layout at the show (small of course), even though it was not listed in the program. I was impressed by the central idea which dovetails nicely with other layout ideas I’ve been working on for some time. Now let’s get into the images.

Image Galleries

There were several layouts of note. Some I’ve shown on the blog before, others new.


The first is Yendys from the ACT Model Society. A large layout imagining a section of the leafy outskirts of the Sydney are. As a Sydney boy born and bred it reminds me most of the main western line between Stanmore and Ashfield. It could just as well be the Bankstown line between Sydenham and Hurlstone Park. If you’ve ever spent any time in Sydney’s inner city by the railway you can smell the brake dust and diesel fumes the moment you see this layout.


This HO scale layout displays the area around Alexandra in Melbourne’s north-east as it was in 1947, prior to the closure of the timber tramway. The track plan is the original Victorian Railways (VR) track plan. Buildings are scratchbuilt from photos with the Broad Gauge (5’3″) VR line coming in from the left side of the layout and the narrow gauge tramway coming in from the right. Each has its own fiddle yard. You can read more about the tramway by visiting the museum’s website. If you look closely you’ll see on the model the green Kelly & Lewis 0-6-0DM of 1935 in the images.

Phoenix Models and Hobby display layout

This layout was the standout of all layouts at the show. Yet it was not in the Exhibitors program. I hope they’ll bring it to many more shows in the future. There’ll be more on this layout and it’s features in another post soon.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope that you enjoyed the layout tours. This is not all of them mind you but the standout ones I wanted to share.


Exhibition report – March 12, 2016 (Kyneton & Sandown – in that order)

Trip Detail

Wondering if we could make two exhibitions at opposite ends of Melbourne with nothing but public transport, boy wonder and I headed off early (07:19 hours) from Ballarat station on a joint VL34 – VL04 (with VL 1234 trailing the consist) to Southern Cross.

Vlocity set VL21 at Ballarat Railway Station Image courtesy of “Wongm’s Rail Gallery”

Quickly moving over to platform 12 we picked up the suburban service and headed off a few minutes later.

Sandown Park railway station is on the Pakenham and Cranbourne lines in the South-East of the city. Roughly an hour out-of-town we arrived at the gates of the exhibition at 09:55 hours.

With the crowds already building and the exhibition opening at 10:00 AM we were pleasantly surprised with how they managed to move the crowd quickly through the racecourse turnstiles; our experience was smooth and speedy.

By 10:10 we were inside and looking around. Now onto the exhibition report.


Overall I was disappointed; mainly because I want to see layouts at a model railway exhibition. I understand that vendor support is critical to the running of all shows that want to be around more than once. However, moving to an exhibition model that has few layouts and lots of vendors is not my idea of how to spend 10 dollars adult and five dollars a child, plus fares/fuel and maintenance. Unfortunately this is what Sandown is; a vendor fest. I’ve not been for a couple of years and have no intention of returning until the list of layouts are more numerous.

The verdict: If you want to buy something then you should be there. If you want to look at new and exciting layouts, I’m sorry but this is not the place to be.


  • There were many large layouts, among which boy wonder delighted in the Lego display. Big and well done. Nice one Lego lads and lassies.
  • Neil Cowie’s Northern Pacific – a basic 4 x 8 with two 6 foot wings on opposing corners. This was the first run of Neil’s layout on the exhibition circuit, and what I saw I liked. The group he is a member of will be holding an open day in April I believe. More about that in another post.
  • Leopold – while a roundy-roundy had a lot of interesting track and operational potential. The modelling was very good.
  • Finally; Ravenswood was again another roundy-roundy with excellent topography and scenery and I believe based on an actual location here in Victoria (I’m from Sydney remember).

Sandown to Kyneton

We left the exhibition at 11:30 and headed over to the station, which is a walk of only a couple of minutes. Then a suburban train back to Southern Cross (that required a little work since the train was 9 minutes down and finished at Flinders St). Due to the late running train we missed our connection to Bendigo and had to wait an hour for the next train. On time our Velocity’s left Southern Cross at 13:37 heading for Kyneton. The run down to Kyneton was speedy with few stops, but the track left something to be desired with several kinks throwing the train and passengers about.

Kyneton station is beautiful. An old fashioned bluestone edifice that says Victorian Railways from the foundation up; modernised of course but still lovely. Arriving on time at 14:39 we walked the 1100 metres to the venue (which crosses a river and beside the town’s botanic garden) to the venue.


Kyneton is not a small exhibition, nor is it a large one. Well supported by the vendors it’s the layouts that rule the show. Suffice to say that Kyneton is my preferred long-weekend model rail show. They seem to attract great modellers to the club and have a great selection of layouts every year.

The verdict: Kyneton is the go-to exhibition on the March long-weekend. If you’ve not been before I suggest that you put it in your diary and take a trip on the train out with boy-wonder and I next year.

The Highlights:

  •  Glyn Halt – a simple narrow gauge layout shown on the blog before.
  • Great Colne – a freelanced North British layout this is a work in progress, but it looks like a real cracker. I am looking forward to seeing this finished at next years show.
  • Alexandra – wow – nothing more needs be said, except that this is what Sandown should have had.

Colinsville Riverland Railroad Company – a great little whimsy, with outstanding modelling and imagination.

  • Beechy – an 0n30 masterpiece with great scenery and modelling making an eye-catching package
  • Town and Country – first seen at the Albury (Laverton) show in 2015 still a great layout after seeing it at several shows recently.

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