Category Archives: Site Updates

Site Update – Redesign underway

Hello regular visitors. If you’ve not visited recently you’ll note that I’ve redesigned the menu structure, as a start to a major redesign of the site…


Change is in the air

We’re moving from the country back into the city, I’m looking at new opportunities and trying to understand the future for this site. While I’d like to put more time into Andrew’s Trains, I need to make sure that I’m feeding, clothing and ensuring the emotional and financial survival of my family first.

My goal was to have grown Andrew’s Trains well beyond where it is at the moment. Over the last month I’ve put a lot of research into the site’s numbers to see whether it is time to put Andrew’ Trains on the back burner and work on other ventures. My time is a finite and highly valuable resource and I simply cannot afford to spend it here when the returns just aren’t coming.


Survey

To see how invested you are in the Andrew’s Trains concept I’ve created a quick survey (available here https://survey.fm/E327EDAC92673EDA). If you’re interested in Andrew’s Trains take the survey and let me know what I need to do to make this information channel a better value to you.

The Andrew’s Trains channel won’t go away. But the level of work to post and update won’t be there while I move onto other things. Let me know what you like or don’t like through the survey.


Menu Changes

I’ve simplified the menu structure to make less upper level items, and deeper menu options underneath. Everything is still there, grouped logically under either:

  • Articles
  • Galleries, or
  • Layout Designs

If you are looking for something in any of these categories please choose one of the three and drill down to what you are looking for.


Resources

Interested in keeping in touch or discussing posts, pages and ideas? Connect with us on the Andrew’s Trains page on Facebook

Evans Hollow Industrial: Build Update

Yeah. It’s been a while. Don’t worry, it’s me, not you.

So what’s been happening on the layout of late? Not a whole lot to be frank. We’re in the middle of packing prior to a move back to Melbourne (Vic not FLA). As a result I’ve been clearing, cleaning and packing, books, models, tools and so on, while still trying to fit in holiday time and work.

I’ve not been completely idle; just short of available time to write and blog and post stuff. I’ve yet to complete Part 3 – building trestles – but it’s close. For now I’d love to give you a quick update on where I’m up to: putting down cork and track laying.

As shown in previous posts the track outline, feed points, frog wiring and so on is drawn on the foam prior to lifting all of the track and prepping for cork to go down. A couple of weeks ago I got the mainline, and the spur into scrappy’s completed one day. Then sanded the entirety of the laid cork to get it smooth.

Here’s an overview of what that looks like to date:

Click on the image to go full size. The spur into Scrappy (lower right) had two separate heights of cork laid. The higher one for the mainline and the thinner one for the spur itself. They were then sanded (power) to blend them in so that the spur drops from the mainline to the spur height and on the end of the spur I sanded it right down to the foam height as I want to have the track disappear into the scenery here.

You’ll note that I’ve dug the trenches in the foam for the wire-in-tube switching for the turnouts. These will be operated by double pole – double throw switches from beyond the end of the baseboard. These will be wired from under the board and will switch frog polarity also. Some more images of this below:

I’ll sign off for now. I’m expecting an enforced period of recovery later in the week, where I hope to get more work done on the layout. I aim to be at running status before we move in late november so I’d better get my tail in gear.

Later gator

Andrew

 

 

 

 

 

Evans Hollow Industrial: Build Update

Wanted to share some photos of the new layout build. I’ve been preparing, and where I needed to, buying wiring materials to complete the major wiring. More…


The layout – as built

Here are some more images of the layout build as it stands at the moment. You’ll note that the layout is freestanding, resting on trestles (hand built with simple woodworking tools in my garage – more on that later in another post).

I’ve included the final trackplan; it’s important for me to point out that you can plan forever on screen, but while ever you don’t take the plan to the baseboard I really cannot see what I have and what I need to do to make the layout visually appealing (well at least that’s how it is for me).


Track laying

When I begin to lay out the track I print out the track plan, and using a grid marked out on the plan and layout board, begin to match up the plan to the layout.

Then I mark up the top of the layout surface (in this case 2″ blue foam) using a pencil to mark the outside of the ties. This enables me to positively place the cork where I need it to be once the track is removed, drill holes for feeds and frogs, and although not shown in these photos mark out the sub-terrain ‘rod in tube’ locations from the tie bar to the front fascia of the layout.

These markings allow me to dig out the foam before installing the cork, drill the holes in the fascia and install the tubes in place using hot glue. There’ll be a post on that too in the not too distant future for those that may not know about this switch operating method.

 


Wrap up

That’s it for this post.

I’m finding that time to write posts is really short at the moment – work is an all consuming animal as we live 120 Km from where I work – so I’m adding 4 travel hours a day to what is an already 9-10 hour day. Looking forward to moving back into Melbourne later in the year which will give me a lot of time back in my life.

I have three weeks of holiday coming up in 1 week batches over the next 6 weeks – looking forward to that and to getting more photos and posts out to you all.

Next week I’ll be working broken shifts and will be working on posts covering these topics:

  1. Layout Build Part 3 post on building Trestles,
  2. Track laying,
  3. Switching infrastructure (rod in tube), and
  4. Wiring.

I hope that you’ll ask any questions that you have either here through the comments, or on the facebook page.


Resources

Interested in keeping in touch or discussing posts, pages and ideas? Connect with us on the

Andrew’s Trains page on Facebook

Site Update – The 2018 year in review edition

Earlier this year Andrew’s Trains passed the 100,000 individual views mark. I was very pleased at that result. You can read more by clicking the link above. With the start of 2019 I wanted to review the year that was at Andrew’s Trains, and see what insights came to light.


The year that was

2018 was a good year. Of note have been that the small layout designs have been of greatest interest to those visiting. Of note:

  • Just over 32000 hits on the blog, and
  • Almost every month was bigger than the year before (which is good)

Insights show that most people are still looking at the layout designs. So that will give me the focus for this year.

The year that will be

During 2019 I’ll have a couple of projects that I want to complete. These are:

  • More modelling and scratchbuilding – kitbashing/modding – articles including completing all the outstanding/started but not finished freight car projects,
  • Updating all the small layout designs with their own pages and a written operating plan to help readers understand their design and operation, and
  • Chronicling the design and build of my own small layout (8′ x 1.5′  – 2400mm x 450mm) shunting layout, with off-board staging.

I’ll be uploading more sketched ideas, and less of the computer generated designs than I have in the past. This is simply down to time, as in I don’t have enough of it to spend on learning new software packages while not having enough time to model. With my work as a tram driver I just don’t have the spare time to devote to any hobby that I’ve had in the past working regular 9-5 jobs.

I’ll be finishing the current XAF10 Railbox series of articles and complete the build articles that I’ve been working on for quite some time for the Victorian Government Railways ‘GY’ wagon build, and any other outstanding articles completed too.

Thanks for coming back and thanks too for those of you following the channel. You are the reason I’m doing this. I love sharing my skills, tools and ideas and all I hope is that you get the bug and start to build and operate. All the best.

Andrew Martin

Site update: new tool section – punch and die tools

On one of the forums (fora?) that I inhabit the subject of punch and die sets came up. While answering the ops question about the punch and die sets I use, I thought it was time I write more about the tools I use and so with some spare time on my hands today I wrote a new section under the tools section for these highly useful, if not often talked about, tools. More below…


The tools


There’s four new pages, one master page, and one for each tool listed below:

  1. Beading tool – for making rivets and bolt ends,
  2. Hexagonal punch and die – for making bolt heads, and
  3. Waldron’s punch and die sets (plural) – for making washers, panel overlays, cutouts, and anything else you can think to use them for.

Resources


To reach each page you can use the menu at the top of the page (modelling articles > tools ‘n’ tips > Punch and Die tools > choose an option), or click from the links below:


A note on safety


When using any tool, but especially those that cut or punch make sure you are wearing eye protection at all times. Small parts can and will fly into your eyes if you are not careful. I’m not responsible for any damage to you or others from using the information presented here.

Site Seeing – Sebastopol Shops RIP Track 2

It’s officially Australia Day so I thought I’d share more work done weathering the Southern Boxcar underframe and sides. It’s interesting to see how the added brake gear (see more about that here) has become just another part of the model, and no longer seems to dominate the underframe, just as I had hoped it would.


Southern Boxcar 36188

I’m relatively happy with the work so far. There is work to be done on the patches to tone them down “just” a touch.

Beyond that though the underframe weathering is what I now consider to be just right (considering that it will be hard to see). I had to add a bright white background behind the model for it to show up.  Very pleased with how this work has come out. It looks perfectly functional, and most importantly, looks the business.

I’ve weighted the model appropriate to my needs (that’s roughly the cube root of the on rail weight). This is heavy by the ‘normal’ standards, but with the Kadee sprung and equalised trucks under them my cars run like dream.


Tasks remaining

  • Rust spots need adding on the side, especially on the sliding door (right) side of the car as this area takes a real beating in service. There’ll be less on the left side. I’ll be using Ken Patterson’s oil weathering process, as outlined in the video in the resources section below. I’ve not used this particular method before so it will be interesting to see how it works for me. I’ve weathered in oils before and enjoy them very much, this will be one new technique for quick and dirty rust weathering.
  • The roof needs to be attached to the car and I’ll be weathering it to match the side weathering. I always do the sides before I do the roof because much of the run off ends up on the car sides.

Resources

Ken Patterson’s Oil Weathering method:

Site Update – RailBox XAF10 Modelling pages updated

The modelling article on the RailBox XAF10 class cars have been updated. There is new content and the third step of the rebuild article promised some time ago. There’s more information below.


What’s happened

My last update on this project covered the addition of a short history of the class. This time we’re getting into the meat of the project.

This new page covers the dangly bits between the frame and the rails – brake rigging. This is a task focused modelling article on how to simulate the brake rigging on the model without going over the top. Thanks go out to Tony Thompson whose original post on his blog got me started on this particularly enjoyable journey. (There’s a link from the new page to Tony’s original blog post.)

Throughout the series I’ll be aiming to complete the entire project section within an hour (between getting home and dinner for example) and at the end of it have a model that you can be proud of. Here’s what I mean using before and after photos:

Image 1: The basic Athearn BB kit sans brake rigging

Image 2: Same kit (undec) with brake rigging – a subtle difference but well worth the effort

You can head direct to the page by clicking this link, or head over to the project home page clicking this link. I hope that you enjoy this new part of the project. Like, subscribe and follow to keep up to date with all the new content here on Andrew’s Trains.

Site update – Milestones, not mill stones

This month I’ve reached the first major goal I had for this blog – 100,000 individual views.


Satisfaction and thanks

100,000 individual views is not bad for a one man band. It is a joy to know that something I love so much, small layouts combined with operation, could be something that inspired so many of you to come along with me on this ride.

I’d like to thank you all for your time, not only to view, comment and write emails but for the personal lift I’ve received when you did so.

The model railroad hobby can often be a lonely thing. Working so far from so many of you, in regional Victoria, in southeastern Australia while modelling primarily US railroads would not be possible without the help of so many of you.

Looking forward to hitting the quarter million view mark as the next milestone. I hope that you’ll stay along for the ride.

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 Update – August 10 2018

Facebook has recently made changes to the way that bloggers make posts to their primary profile page. In essence this means that they broke the way that WordPress and others could post updates from their blogs.

The only option has been to create a page and connect to that. So, to continue to make sure that posts continue to appear on Facebook, and through exhaustive research and audience consultation (1 person said they had no idea either) I’ve created the Andrew’s Trains page. All the posts will now appear there (as well as here obviously) as a large part of the followers of the blog find information about this site on FB.

The devil is always in the details.

New day, new challenges, new solutions. See you all in the funny papers.