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).
There’s a lot of weathering on these aircraft that I’ve noticed as I researched. And that I am really looking forward to.
I know that I said that this month was all about O scale layouts that fit within the 8′ x 2′ display footprint. With the addition of a fiddle yard or other means to stage trains I feel that today’s idea should work quite well for those interested in a slightly larger area US style switching layout.
Originally Nick Palette was intending to build an O scale version of Shortliner Jack’s Box Street yard. Plan below:
After some thought and playing around Nick instead decided to use another plan, the Fort Smith Railroad. In mostly the same space. The track plan is below:
Nick who’s username on the RMWeb community is Northpoint, has been building this layout for some time now. While the Fort Smith layout plan is over the size of most of the layouts so far this April, I feel that within the context of the layout styles presented so far and with some reworking of the siding length to shrink the layout we are still within the bounds of the size of layout I envisioned.
Head on over to the RM Web link above to look through the layout build. First thought watch the video of Nick’s first operating session to whet your appetite.
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.
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.
A long time ago, in a modelling landscape far, far away… there was a UK Model Trains magazine (I cannot remember the issue) that described the conversion of the Atlas O scale Plymouth switcher; the aim being to turn it into an industrial UK shunter.
If my memory serves me well it would have been about 1982 or there about. In short order I found myself owning four of these locomotives, and set about modelling the shunter as I’d seen it a couple of years previously. Having said all of this the title of this article now becomes important because I am about to finish the project that I started sometime back in the early to mid 1980s, in the mid 2010s. Yep – that’s 30 years.
That ‘Model Trains’ magazine article suggested either:
Keeping the cab height the same as it was on the original model and raising the buffer beam height to allow for buffers etc. or
Raising the entire cab by about a scale foot and raising the height of the footplate at the same time to allow for buffers to be mounted on the end of the frame.
I chose the second option as I wanted a snappy looking locomotive and not something half thought out that I’d never be happy with. So with magazine, (I have the copy somewhere and I’ll update the article details when I have them) plasticard, liquid glue, files and a sense of adventure I started working on the model.
I left the length of the loco as it was, and raised the body height with a conveniently wide piece of plasticard stock to get the height visually right. In reality that was the easy part as you’re just adding that to the bottom of the body.
All images are Copyright Andrew Martin 2015 unless otherwise noted
In the four photos of the unmodified model note the squat nature of the body. The last photo shows the difference in height between the modified and original loco that the two 40 thou shims of plasticard give. It should be noted that the loco models that I have come with a textured surface on the footplate simulating a safety tread pattern. This was sanded down and removed prior to installing the higher floor.
Next I cleaned up the four pane windows and made them single pane. Finally I sanded down and covered over the buffing faces on the loco ends in preparation for the 3 link couplings and buffers. The only problem was that having put all of that work into the loco – it did not look right to me. It looked like a higher roofed American loco and not something that would have been made in or for an English railway, especially a Quarry railway which I’d always wanted to model (and still do). So it was back to the drawing board.
The second coming…
Unfortunately I only have photos from the second rebuild that I started in 1996 or there about and none from that first effort as it was back in the early 1980s and I don’t remember owning a camera at the time (being a poor electronics apprentice).
Before I begin any modelling project (I over think them to be honest) I do a lot of work on how the final model will look; This locomotive was no different. First was a working sketch that I scanned recently and cleaned up below. (Yes I store all my sketches of train models.)
There are some differences between the concept sketch and the final model that I’ll be completing in the next week or two – overall I’ve come pretty close to what I wanted. I’ve not bothered with the end rails and chain nor the MU stand. As the quarry locomotives were generally run individually and not in MU service in the UK from what I can gather. Additionally I took about 10 mm off the rear end of the unit since I did not want the air tank or a balcony on that end with the new look.
If it’s blue, it’s not new. The bubbly mess of plastic in the cab end of the hood is what happens when you try and speed up curing of putty with an incandescent bulb. The stove pipe chimney was the result of that and not planned. However, I did add 5mm in the front of the hood to extend the hood forward and rebuilt the front top are of the hood too as the bulky light on the original just irked me too much to live with. The entire cab roof, and rear wall was sawn out, and a plasticard cab end and roof was put in its place. This sounds fairly straightforward, until you see the amount of work that actually went into designing and building the new cab end.
Photo 2 above shows the planning and work that went into the design of the new cab. When the skin (10 thou plasticard) went on it was measured and cut in one piece to ensure that there would be no visible seams on the face of the loco. This went off without a hitch and I learned a lot out of that exercise that has helped me in my model building since. Photo 3 below shows what the cab looks like after the skin has been cut and glued in place.
Also in Photo 3 above you’ll note the
Oleo buffers (from House of O Gauge in the UK – now gone I believe). These are working buffers and work as well as they look.
The electrical conduit to the light is fine solder Super-Glued in place. The light is a square styrene section with a circular section cut into the square frame and then drilled out to accept an LED. This will go back into the cab and into the DCC board. I had thought about having a duel sealed beam set, but I liked the look of this better.
To remove the need for a rear facing horn, I cut a small slot into the top left of the cab for the horn. I’ve yet to place a horn placed on the front of the loco.
The three link couplings are also working with draw gear behind them on the front and the back. Finally the electrical junction box is a 1:48th MU cover glued on to the face.
Finally the window frames are all 20 thou and allow a 0.5mm overhang into the window space. I am hoping to get some microscope slide covers cut and put in place in all of the windows. Should that prove too bothersome I will cut out some Monitor protector plastic that I’ve saved from work and use that in its place. It will be secured in either case by Revel clear cement.
It’s getting late, so I’ll just add a couple more photos. If you have questions let me know in the comments and I’ll answer them for you.
I’m not sure if I am going to leave the running gear showing like this or turn it into a tram loco. But the tram idea has me in its grip at the moment.
The fuel filler and gauge are from a 1:48 scale add on kit I’m using on my GP38-2 rebuilds.
Small, smart, practical exhibition layouts are not as easy to find as I’d like in Australia. Most club layouts are huge affairs, requiring many willing hands, a box trailer or van, and a pioneering spirit to move from home to exhibition to home.
Site 1: “Commercial Road” – 1960s South Australian Railways (Link Here)
One such layout that just popped up on my radar on Thursday is the Commercial Road layout of Gavin Thrum of South Australia. If you’ve not come in contact with the railways of South Australia before then you are in for a real treat.
The South Australian railways are an interesting study in Multiculturalism. Originally built to English standards, and operating practices, in 3 gauges (Irish Broad at 5′ 3″, Standard Gauge at 4′ 8 1/2″, and Narrow Gauge at 3′ 6″) the states rail system was a hodge-podge of types and wooden bodies goods and freight wagons until 1922 when the state’s worst financial deficit reared its ugly head.
To the rescue rode Commissioner William Webb (of the Missouri Kansas and Texas RR) and from 1922 Mr Webb revolutionised railroading in the south.
Speed signalling, large steam engines, metal freight cars, Brill railcars, and more became the norm. Today there are still three gauges in use and lots of action through the state and in Adelaide where electrification has finally arrived (link here); Very similar to the Victorian VLocity diesel railcar (link here) that I travel in down to Melbourne. (I love electric traction)
But I digress; back to the layout. It’s a great small layout measuring 10′ 10″ long by just 13″ wide. Hop on over to his site and take a look at the images and the modelling. Really well worth a visit.
Somewhere back in a previous post I am certain that I published a basic op session. Today I wanted to update that in light of the new layout design, as there is a pretty big change to both the ops plan and the layout since I first set track on plywood.
A Modified Op Session
An op session will start where ever the previous session stopped. You should keep in mind that I am aiming to have roughly one 30 minute operating session per night, at least 3 nights per week. I’d like more but the realities of work and family mean that aiming for 3 nights is achievable.
Assuming that a full day’s work (around 90 minutes odd) is planned for say a Saturday op session here’s how the work would be done.
The yardmaster will go through the electronic system (more about that later on) and determine what cars are due to be picked up and what inbound cars are due to be setout for the day. The YM then hands the paperwork off to the switch crew and goes about his business.
We pick up with the switch crew after they’ve already travelled out to the interchange, connected on, pumped up the air and begun their return back to the Industrial park.
Train arrives from interchange
Loco runs around the train on the arrival track and moves the train over to the classification 1 track
Cars are classified according to the switch list using the main, loop and the Class 2 track
The crew checks the pickups and setouts for industries and then sets about doing the individual jobs for each customer. In cases where there are multiple customers on a spur, the job is handled as a single job
Industries are pulled and setout as required by the switching documentation
The crew then returns outbound cars to the yard, for storage while other switching goes on for other customers (if any that day)
Once all of the industries for that day are switched all outbound cars are made up into a train (blocking is not required)
The final work for the day is to pull the outbounds to the interchange
The cars are set out, handbrakes applied as needed and the air bled off
The loco crew return empty handed to the yard, carry out any further trimming of the class tracks as needed, and
Run the loco back into the maintenance facility.
Here endeth the operating session.
As I said above this full operating session ought to take up about 90 minutes. Allowing the session to be broken down into shorter, easier to achieve 30 minute mini-sessions means I’ll be more likelt to play with my layout, and get more enjoyment from it.
Between sessions the paper work will be hung on clip boards off the front of the layout ready for me the next night.
Should I want to run a longer session I can do that and simply complete the previous sessions work as a part of that.
I did some measuring on the new track plan (version 3) today and the result is pleasing (at least to me). On the HVRR we use a XAF10 Railbox car as our standard measure for cars; These car’s measure 190 mm over coupler faces – that’s right on the 54′ and some change that a real car has for door spacing if it is recorded as a 50′ car. With the numbers in hand I tried a few calculations to see how everything fit.
With measurements now completed on all of the storage and “yard” tracks our holding ability on all tracks suggests that the:
Main (at 1400 mm) can clear 7 standard cars,
Loop (at 1500 mm) can clear 8 standard cars.
Classification track 1(at 1800 mm) can clear 9 cars ,
Classification track 2 (at 1300 mm) can clear 6 cars, and
The total on-track yard capacity is 30 cars (not including the interchange as I consider the interchange loadings to be a part of this number).
I don’t want to flood the yard on any one day so I expect that the total yard occupancy at maximum will be 50% of the total – leaving me with 15 cars maximum. So that even with a full train of 9 cars coming in from the interchange I can use Class 1 & 2 to store all of the cars and leave the main and the loop free to work. More on this though below.
On the main board there are two industries:
Industry 1 is 800 mm long and can manage 4 cars
Industry 2 is 1600 mm long and can manage 8 cars
Interchange track (at 2400 mm) can clear 9 cars plus the loco. The interchange track is considered an industry also.
The trackage on the base of the L are to be built based on an article in Model Trains International #58, page 106 by Bruce Petty. While this was essentially an article on scratchbuilding the Strongheart Packing Co. there was also a track diagram included. While I cannot post the magazine article here for you, I can point you to Bruce’s website which has the same information and track diagram (link here)
The current track layout in this area bounded by East 49th and E 50th Street is somewhat different from that of 25 – 35 years ago, this is reflected in the two images here:
Image 1: Block bounded by 49th & 50th Street, and Gifford To Corona Ave
This is an overhead view of the same block as in the article, but several of the buildings have been removed; specifically Union Malleable and Strongheart Packing. Otherwise the track for the most psrt seems to be intact.
Another overhead view showing a slightly different angle that puts the article map in perspective.
I’ll be leaving building’s in place at Ingle Bros. It is a nice, generic building, plain brick that will be easy to model. It will have the two car spots as on the plan. The Chase Bag Co will go. In it’s place I’m going to put a team track. This will ensure that I can have a range of cars in that spot, and in addition give a great view of the remainder of this section of the layout.
The other buildings will be changed slightly to give that 1970’s renewal look of tilt-up concrete construction so prevalent in Texas.
Just as for the yard, I do not want to flood the industry tracks with cars. There are two reasons for this:
I like that industries are not always blocked with cars – this is also very prototypical, and
I am aiming at maximum to have industries be 50-60 percent occupied
Thus the total car numbers of the main board will be:
Industry 1 holds on average 2 cars with a maximum of 3 cars
Industry 2 holds on average 4 cars with a maximum of 5 cars
Interchange holds on average 5 cars (rounded up from 4.5) to 7 cars.
As noted earlier it can clear up to 9 cars at any one time if needed; this ensures that the interchange and the yard tracks should never be flooded with cars to stop the operations of the railroad.
The industrial park (bottom of the L) boards will hold on average 7 cars using the same occupancy rate. In total then the maximum cars in and out of the layout (should all of the occupied spots be switched on one day) would be 17 cars. Luckily that is not going to happen because these car movements would be spread over 6 days.
I am hoping the average will be in the range of 4-5 cars per session. This meets my goal of a short switching session, but with plenty of interest for me as the crew. More on this later.
I wanted to show my working (as my Math teacher always encouraged me to do) on the layout design as it evolves to meet my needs. I was not happy with the way the original design performed when I looked at the yard throat design. There was an ‘irksome’ separation between the mainline and the branchline running into the future Industrial park extension. Image 1 below, shows my attempt to fix that issue; a simplified version of the first track layout.
Image 1: Take 2 on the layout design
The throat area is the set of switches around the Interchange track and the branch out to the rest of the industrial park. In mock operating sessions the biggest issue I had on the fist design was the lead out to the rest of the industrial park had crept down quite a way onto the upright of the L shaped boards. Keep in mind here that the other boards are not yet attached to the three boards in the image.
Additionally, I wanted to have a better yard throat, that was easier to switch through and took up less space. After due reflection, the layout just didn’t look right for a small, smart industrial line with the smarts to build their own industrial park out of a couple of abandoned branch lines. Thus we arrive at version 3.
Image 2: Take 3 of the layout design
First there’s a better use of space,and visual appeal (to me anyway) with the long classification track #1, and the maintenance lead / class track # 2 being at the front end of the board.
All of it coming direct off the old main (now the interchange track). It simply feels better, and right in a way that the previous versions did not. I’ve run a quick thought exercise ops session on the new layout, and it also makes it easier to do business on the new layout. I’ll post the results of that a few days in the future once I have some other modelling work that I have to complete done.
On reflection I will be moving the switch (currently a Wye that will be replaced with a left #5) further back toward the camera to extend the run-around on both the main and the loop. This will stop just short of the road overpass and ensure that a loco can pull clear of the switch to allow the run-around move to take place. Additionally it will allow the
That’s it for me at the moment. Talk to you all later. If you have any questions let me know.
All of last week I was sicker than could be with the current Ballarat flu bug. I am almost over it just in time to see the cooler Autumn weather really kick in. As a result of the dreaded lurgy I did not feel in the mood to model or post or do anything beyond making a buck. The next few posts are a catch up from the last week and should bring me back up to speed.
With the current layout build under way, I’ve looked about for inspiration for the scenic treatment. In both the model and the prototypical sense I’ve found inspiration for the look as well as the overall design. Today’s site is a source of my inspiration. I hope that you enjoy looking it over as much as I have.
Trevor’s S Scale Port Rowan layout has been featured here before. Before this S Scale masterpiece there was an HO Scale masterpiece – The Peterboro Project. In 2006 he and a friend, intrigued by the Free-mo modular standard, decided to build a module.
Not just any module though, this was a complete layout module set, that could then be joined to other modules with like-minded Freemo modellers. While the layout itself is fantastic, the experiment did not work out for Trevor and his friend. The layout .
However, the pictures of the layout still exist, and are very worthwhile to review.