Tag Archives: model

Site Seeing – Books on Operations (Real and Model)

I talk a lot about operations for model railroads. There are many reasons for this. Primarily I urge railway and railroad modellers to consider this aspect of the hobby because it allows greater play value – no matter the size of your layout space.

Today while packing for our upcoming move I got to my operations section. Two books on my shelf stood out and I wanted to share them with you. One focuses on the prototype, the other on the model. Both enlighten on their own the mysterious world of operation. Together they provide a great insight (at least to me when I was learning) and compliment each other in helping you understand how operations works.

The Railroad – What it is, and What it does (The introduction to railroading)

By John H Armstrong

Everything you ever wanted to know about railroads (*or railways for that matter) is in this book. Ans as a railroader primer, it gets you inside the industry quickly and explains the why and what in clear easy to read language.

Starting from the absolute basics of how trains evolved to using the flange, through train speeds and the reason for trains, and not individual cars, you’ll soon find that you are on the inside, rather than struggling to understand.

Keep in mind that this is only the beginning of the rabbit hole, that is the railroading industry, but what a great way to start your journey. My version covers me though to my operating period.

The newest version (which I have yet to buy – waiting on some of those books to sell!) covers equipment to procedures and marketing to maintenance.  Amazon’s blurb says: “This book is ideal for novices and experts alike. The easy-to-read narrative presents a brief history of railroading from the coal-fed ‘iron horses’ that helped build a nation to the latest generation of EPA-compliant locomotives. You’ll also find current information on new technologies such as ECP brakes and computer-assisted transportation systems. The fifth edition is a resource for anyone wanting to learn about modern day railroads. The book delves into many facets of the railroad industry including such topics as freight cars, locomotives, track, signal and communication technology, intermodal traffic, operations, labor relations, and design engineering.”

If you don’t have a copy – go get one. Simple as that. It will make your understanding of the railroad and your ability to see beyond the layout so much better.

Operation Handbook – For Model Railroads

By Paul Mallery

This book is (in my opinion) the best of the readily available model railroad operation books. Are there others out there? Sure there are. Tony Koester has one, but I feel it is merely a glossary for the better works of Paul Mallery and Bruce Chubb.

Paul Mallery’s books provides a complete handbook for running a realistic model railroad. It covers every aspect of operations, including timetables, orders, signals, waybills, communication, passengers, freight, locomotives, and MOW.

At 200 pages with a full index I highly recommend it to you if you want to put the learning from the first book, onto the layout.

Resources

The other book to which I’ve referred above for the modeller is:

  • How to Operate Your Model Railroad by Bruce A. Chubb.

I believe that this is the best of the model railroad operations books available. Getting a good used copy is difficult, very worthwhile though.

 

Site Update – October 12

I’ve created a new section for Track Plan Ideas.

This section is where I’ll be posting well thought out designs that I can’t be fussed putting into the various railway CAD programs.

Each is at the concept stage and I’ll provide an overview of the location, industries and an operating scheme for these small layouts. The first layout so covered is on the Vinson Lead in Austin, Texas.

If you’ve a moment head on over to ‘The Vinson Lead – small and simple V 1.0‘ and see if this fits your bill for a great little model layout. There’ll be more to come as I now have a new scanner (yippee!).

Site Seeing – October 10 – Hornby’s new Peckett W4 Saddle Tank

First off I’ve got to give a shout out to Oly Turner and Chris Matthews’ blog for highlighting this model; one of their recent posts bought this little gem to light. Many of you may have guessed that I focus more on the North American and Australian scene in HO and O scales than the UK. However, I have a deep love of the UK industrial steam era and especially the four and six coupled locomotives that served these industrial railways for many years.

I don’t get very excited, very often about new releases from Hornby in the UK. I am getting very excited however by the release of their new 0-4-0 Peckett W4 Saddle Tank in 4mm ‘OO’ scale. If you are into small layouts, and or industrial layouts in a small space then I think that you should be too. And here’s the reason:

What’s not to like. It’s small, well proportioned and perfect for the type of small industrial layout that most of us can afford and fit in our homes these days. They are all DCC ready and would appear to be able to fit sound – if through a somewhat small speaker.

They look like they’ll be a red-hot seller. In fact I noticed that all the pre-orders have already sold out. Here’s hoping that Messrs Hornby ramp up production and keep this item in the catalogue for some time as it will form the basis for many conversions to come.

Like to see it running in engineering guise?

You can find out more about the development of the model from Hornby.

Modelling diversions – and why they are needed

Image courtesy of: http://www.airplaneboneyards.com

It’s been some time since I modelled anything other than railways or railway related stuff. A couple of years ago at the local scale modelling club’s Annual Show (full disclosure I am a board member there) I purchased a cheap and cheerful 1:48 scale F-111E for very little money from one of the club members who was looking to offload it.

It has been a frustrating, and yet a strangely enjoyable process to go through building an aircraft for the first time in over 30 years. That it happens to be in the same scale as my 0 scale railway endeavours doesn’t hurt.

Work on this has been one of the reasons why I’ve been so quiet here on the HVL and Andrew’s Trains. I got into a bit of a rut and realised that I needed a break away from modelling and making trains for a bit; the joy of modelling went stale.

If you’d like to follow along with that build process and all the frustrations and pitfalls I’ve met along the way head on over to my other modelling site for the build process and what I hope will be a unique model at the end of the Boneyard Build.

Here’s what I’m aiming for as a model and diorama (although not sure about the paint scheme yet).

Image courtesy of http://www.taringa.net/

There’s a lot of weathering on these aircraft that I’ve noticed as I researched. And that I am really looking forward to.

Site Seeing – June 17, 2016 – The Tutorials edition

My son Ewan got into Warhammer 40K 3 years ago, and while he has been slow to pick the game up we’ve worked together to complete the models and getting them ready for paint.

Among the things I’ve noticed is that gamers are great scratchbuilders. So today I have four outstanding tutorials for you to look at – all from the same site.

Site 1: Rob Hawkins’ Hobby Blog – Making Crates

A highly creative way to make light and sturdy crates of just about any size, using pink foam (or any foam you can get your hands on). A great tutorial on how to and why to make crates Rob’s way.

Site 2: Rob Hawkins’ Hobby Blog – Pipes

It is amazing what Rob can come up with. I’d not thought to use this technique to model the pipes so often associated with our model railroads. Another great tutorial  and relatively cheap to boot compared to some of the pipe kits I’ve seen available.

Site 3: Rob Hawkins’ Hobby Blog – Stairs

Another simple to do, but hard to imagine (at least for me) tutorial on how to make stairs. With a full step by step style Rob takes you through a start to finish on how to custom make and fit the stairs for the model.

Site 4: Rob Hawkins’ Hobby Blog – Flagstone Street

An innovative use for what normally I’d struggle to use, thick cardboard. What a great idea it turns out to be. I’m looking forward to using this on some new dioramas I have in mind and for a new layout idea I have in mind.

Site 5: Rob Hawkins’ Hobby Blog – Cornfield

This tutorial is a two-for, that is you get to learn how to make stone walls and assorted stone wall pieces and you get to model the corn field. Once again some really interesting techniques and outcomes. Highly useful for those of us modelling anywhere in the midwest, or even Texas.

Site Seeing – May 14 (the All American Model Railroad show issue)

Thanks to Neil Cowie, a friend and former fellow member of the Essendon Model Railway club in Glenroy – Melbourne, I got invited down to his new club’s show today.

Site 1: US Model Railroad Club of Australia

The US Model Railroad Club of Australia are all US modellers (obviously) and model a variety of US prototype. You can find the club’s web presence on Facebook. Their show was open today, Saturday 14 May, and will be again tomorrow from 09:30 – 16:00 hours at 27 Talmage Street, Albion, Victoria. For locals it is Melways ref: 26 – F10.

The club has only been going for a relatively short time (a couple of years) but they’ve secured club rooms in an iconic (some might say landmark) building in suburban Melbourne and have made a solid start on a large HO scale club layout.

Based in the former Albion railway sub-station, one of several built around the Melbourne metropolitan railway system in the 1910s which housed large rotary converters to transform the 20,000V AC electric current supplied by the Victorian Railway’s Newport Power Station to 1500V DC to power Melbourne’s electric trains. Luckily that very building now allows them plenty of floor space.

If you get  chance tomorrow drop by and visit with Neil. Tell him that Andrew sent you. He’ll get a kick out of that I’m sure. Below is a work in progress shot of the layout.

 

Site seeing – February 26 – diesel parts arrived edition

For those of you who’ve been following the blog for a while you may know that I am rebuilding two Weaver GP38-2s. In the process of rebuilding I had come to the conclusion, due to the difficulty of getting parts help from several of the USA suppliers, that I would have to build a lot of O scale parts. Then Lo and Behold – American Scale Model Professional Services comes on the scene on eBay; more in a second.

Site 1: American Scale Model Professional Services (eBay Store – page 2)

So here’s what I bought:

GladHands

When I saw these little babies on Flea Bay I thought all my Christmas’ has come at once. Because these parts were going to be a Royal Pain in Diaz to manufacture. I can do it, but with dragging feet, toes in the dust and all, I just “din wanna”.

Not only are they better than I thought they’d be in the flesh, they appear to be far better than I’d hoped.

In addition the shipping costs were pretty good and the service was outstanding. Ordered the 8th of February they arrived the 24th February. I got gouged by the fallen Australian dollar – but that was not the owner Bill’s fault. I blame the bloody Chinese economy for that! I’m going to keep Bill’s details in my diary and contact him again when I need more parts. Hear that Bill? Done in my best Arnold Schwarzenegger Terminator voice – I’ll be back.

And yes, those are decals in there. I’ll be putting on the magnifier and taking a look at these later on. Later gator.

What I’m up to – the no trains but there is a tool in it tale

The part without trains in it

When my son turned 10 he was desperate to get into the game Warhammer 40,000. Duly noted Dad trundled down to Melbourne and quietly bought him the starter set Dark Vengeance. For a not inconsiderable sum you get some really great models (49 of them actually) all the basic rules and stuff needed to start playing.

I’d begun to get him into modelling at this stage and he’d made a couple of half-decent models. I asked him if he’d like help to get the models built and ready for paint. To his credit he said “I’ll be alright Dad” and promptly trundled off to the modelling table and began to put them together. Then things seemed to stall. I let it ride for a couple of months and then one day got the models out and asked him if he’d like some help to put them together to get this under way so he could start wargaming. Thus the problems came to light. Turns out that he followed the instructions to the letter putting the models together – using the glue supplied in the kit. And here is where the problems came to rest; the glue was woeful. It was not boy wonder’s fault. He’d followed the detail in the instructions to the letter. But the glue seemed to not want to hold and it had crystallised on the plastic. Gripping enough to not want to let go and not enough to hold the pieces together.

Warhammer_ModelsSo over the summer (since November 2015) I’ve been working away of an evening after meals to get these cleaned up and ready for paint for boy wonder. It has taken a little over two months of constant slog to undo the damage done to the models by the damned glue (think of super-glue that’s been hit with accelerator and gone off really quickly). The work to rebuild them included ‘gently’ prizing them apart, cleaning up the ‘glue’ residue, filing, shimming and doing what was needed to set arms and torso, smooth the glue damage and prep them for paint. Overall I am impressed at the quality of the models. And the acrylic black undercoat went on a treat from a car store rattle can.

The part with the tool in it

While trying to figure out the best way to paint these models I took a long hard look at my soldering station third hand. With 49 of these models to paint I needed something that would allow me to spray lots of them as often as possible without them blowing all over the place.

The_DectopusWhat I came up with was the Dektopus (left). It’s like an octopus, but with two extra hands – thus the dek bit. I am a big fan of making the tools you need when you can. And this one came out just like I wanted it to. I bought two metres of cable. Cut enough of the sheathing off to allow for a solid connection when I soldered the cable and the Alligator clips. Cut two pieces of 2×1 for the holders and two shorter ones for the stands. I screwed the long pieces back to back, drilled 10 holes in them at equal spacings, just smaller than the diameter of the cable. I unscrewed the two pieces and then placed the cable in the grooves, applied white glue, clamped it together, and then screwed it back together. Glued and screwed the ends on and left it overnight.

So that has kept me busy the last few months of evenings. Now back to trains.

Site seeing – February 03 – (the scrapped, scrap and best scrap edition)

In my previous post I discussed an industry that I am hoping to add to the layout extension when that gets built later in 2016 or early 2017.

Wolfgang Dudler MMR (who passed to the great layout in the sky on 26/08/2012) still has a great site and some fabulous videos on YouTube also. In the scrap vein I feel that his scrap industry is the model to beat when it comes to realism.

Site 1: Wolfgang’s Scrap Yard scenes

Take a look at the video and the overall impact of the scene. Wolfgang was a master model railroader for a reason.

Site 2: Westport Terminal RR

Wolfgang’s site is still up and going as of this post. I don’t know how long the site will be up so I would suggest that you head on over and take a look at the man’s modelling. It is inspirational.

Show report – January 23 – Corio

The Corio model railway club hold their exhibition each year on or about the Australia Day weekend at the tail end of January. This year it was on the 23rd and 24th of January at the Geelong West Town Hall. It is a very good location with plenty of parking locally and some great food and shopping close by. Close to public transport and easy to get to as well for those coming from out-of-town (like me).

As this is usually the first show I get to (unless i can get down to Warrnambool or Philip Island for their show at the beginning of January) my expectations are riding high and these are usually met on arrival.

This year however the show seemed to be a case of the good, the bad and the ugly.

The good

When it’s good, it was very, very good.

  1. Jackson’s Creek (Gallery view)

Jackson's Creek-01

This layout is a On30 layout showcasing the narrow gauge railways of Victoria. There were others apart from Puffing Billy though they all used the same or similar equipment to deliver their service. The presentation was outstanding. Well lit, presented and displayed (although a little more action would have kept people around a little longer) this was the outstanding large layout of the show. There are more pictures in the gallery available from the link above.

2. Murri (Gallery View)

Murri04

Based on the Victorian South West, Murri provides a very well displayed layout for big trains running through typical Victorian countryside. I particularly liked the West Coast railway set running on the Saturday morning. For such a big layout though, there was little action happening and that downgraded it from best large layout for me. There are more pictures in the gallery available from the link above.

3. Micro Layout (Gallery View)

Tucked away in the back corner of the show, was what I consider the best layout in show.

Micro01

Well presented, with a high standard of work throughout and ideal to help get people into the business of building small and interesting layouts this unnamed layout deserved much more attention from the club than it received. There were two other Micro layouts (and they’re in the picture, but they were put in the shade by this little beauty as you can see by the presentation, and the attention of the young man in the extreme right of the photo. The more you looked into the layout box, the more you got. The track plan was very simple but the level of presentation completely overwhelmed you.

What let the presentation down though was that it was not operating, and the builder was not there. The person minding the store had no idea and could not talk to you about the layout at all. Come on Corio, you have a real gem here, and this should have been shouted from the roof tops!

The bad

When it was bad, it was awful.

Rather than point fingers and show photos let’s talk about the standard of presentation. An exhibition aims to publicly display works of art, craft or other items of interest or provide a display or demonstration of a skill.

I am not sure that simply running a train on a layout is enough though. Especially when these were at very low height; which while perfect for 4 year olds do nothing for grumpy 50 year olds to whom they are of the greatest interest.

One layout in particular was very low in both height and presentation standard with cars derailing and operators not noticing. Talk about embarrassing? It was in a dark area of the hall and had no light rig to focus attention on the layout areas. I’ve seen this layout before and by comparison it looked old, dusty and tired. And not in a good way.

The ugly

I was disappointed to note the layouts at the show that were not ready to exhibit. Among the problems were layouts still being set up an hour after the show opened, very poor lighting on many of the layouts, and what appeared to be constant derailments on one of the vendor’s layouts already mentioned.

More so was me apparently missing out on a range of layouts and vendors tucked away in a part of the hall – according to the exhibition guide – that was neither signed nor pointed out by club members. That was a real disappointment when I reviewed the day on my return home.

Takeaway

Being one of the closest non-Ballarat exhibitions the Corio show is one of my favourite exhibitions and it really starts my railway exhibition year. It’s still a 190 km round trip to see it by car but normally is well worth the effort. I’ve written an email to the club about my views and while I don’t expect a response I hope that there is a change next year – for the better.

You can find out more about the club and the next show by visiting the website at: http://www.coriomrc.org/.