Category Archives: Site Updates

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.

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 update – Operations pages updated

I’ve completed a complete rewrite of the introduction page to the operations section. In addition I’ve added another page to the ops section to improve the information flow. I wrote the original in September 2014 stating that it would be a living document, and so it has proved.

You can read the updated intro page here. That page then refers you to the new 101 – Ops Intro page which has more information on the subject moved on from the first page. I’ve updated several of the other pages also. There is still more work to do to make a better complete article. I’ll continue working on this section during January and February 2018. More information once I complete the new sections.

I don’t expect that you will agree with me on every point in this article series on Operations. For me it is about creating the conversation, and getting people to talk and think about the subject. I hope that you will use it as a jumping off point from which to refine your own vision of what model railroad operations means for you.

Make sure to comment and share your ideas with me. I love hearing what you have to say.

Site update – Tram pictures update – A2 Class edition

I’ve updated the Melbourne A2 class page with additional photos of the Southbank assigned units.

I’ll continue to update photos as I find or take them.

Site update – Tram pictures update – A1 Class edition

I’ve finished uploading and documenting all of my recent Melbourne A1 class tram photos. You can see the page here: https://wp.me/P47pPY-hi

All the photos are of Southbank trams (with some exceptions where I’ve not driven them). There are some Glenhuntly A1 class trams that I’ve not managed to get photos of – yet.

Keep coming back as I’ll be updating photos as I can get them. And I have a bunch that I’ve yet to get on the website. They’ll continue to come up as I can get the time to upload and write them up.

 

Site Update – The end of a work era

Since 1982 I have worked in the Telecommunications and Information Technology industry. I’ve worked as a technician, technical officer, sales representative, Helpdesk staffer, IT Manager and for the last 10 years as a specialist and consultant service delivery manager. That all comes to a close today. I move on to a new career in the public transit industry as a tram driver. In some ways I’m very sad to leave behind the people and the skills I’ve learned and nurtured for the greatest part of my working life.

The IT life is not all that glorious though. I wont miss the constant stress and never-ending drive needed to keep up and get ahead of the game. The incredibly thankless tasks that you get to do all day, and often part of the night. Not for IT staff is overtime, shift penalties, and Rostered Days off. Just that never-ending all hands to the pump work ethic, and hopefully no heart attack.

Today is a point from which to look forward, not backward. Thus begins the next 15 years of my work life. This is something I’ve wanted to do since I was a boy after I rode the footplate of a steam locomotive, my Uncle Col Casbolt in charge, in Sydney’s western suburbs.

NSW 32 Class Locomotive 3325 has just arrived at Richmond (27 January 1968) –
Image courtesy of ARHS NSW – click image for page

My uncle had been a suburban train driver in the Sydney suburban network for a while then. He made the move from steam to the Sparks (EMUs as shown below) not long after this ride in the southern hemisphere’s spring of 1968 as best I can recall. (I was only 4, almost 5, at the time and hadn’t started school yet!)

NSW ‘Red Rattler’ sets F1 and W3 sit quietly in the old sheds at Redfern (image courtesy of Flying_Donkey@Flickr)

While this week has been a time of a lot of last moments, from this Friday forward I begin a life of firsts for the first time in a long time.

A Yarra Trams E Class Tram # 6015 on the Route 96 @ St Kilda – one of the routes I hope to be driving in 2017-18

I’m looking forward to the hard work and study required to be a fully competent tram driver on our network. And looking forward to becoming a part of the fabric of the city’s public transit network.

W8 Class No. 1010 (built 1955) and rebuilt in 2015-16 at Bendigo Tramway Museum on the City Circle route

I am sure you’ve noticed the volume of posts has dropped away over the last 4 months,  fear not. I’ve not been publishing much yet have been busy working away on a number of smaller projects and layout designs and expect to start building a small switching layout for my son in August. So I hope you can join me in the journey for that project.

While I’ll be working odd hours, studying hard and hoping to pass all of my written and driving exams with flying colours, I do expect to have a little more time to post on the HVL. And of course I expect to have a lot more pictures of trams, with views that I’ve never been able to get before. Looking forward to sharing. Thanks for reading a long and sharing the journey.

Andrew