Friday, 4 May 2018

Heavy little engine

It has been a while since I last purchased a new loco for the fleet. It isn't because I have everything I want, more that the budget could not be stretched enough and I was more focused on rollingstock projects.

That changed recently with an opportunity to obtain a loco representing a class I do not have in the fleet currently. So what loco is it?

Yep a H-class. Not Heavy Harry but the other H-class that the Victorian Railways operated. In essence a 3rd generation T-class but with a few refinements for shunting the Melbourne Hump. This model is from Powerline Models and is the first modern Powerline loco I have in the fleet (when the first batch of Powerline T/H-class models came out I ended up getting Austrains ones).
I have to concede that the Powerline one is better in a couple of areas: the livery seems to be a better representation of the Blue and Gold, there is cab detail and the air hoses look more realistic. In the let downs are the chunky looking uncoupling levers, the lack of numberplates with relief and a large 'bump' provided for full T-class plates to be pad-printed on the cab sides. Still it isn't too bad and one day I may even replace the uncoupling levers with some fine brass wire.
This H joins my fleet of T-class variants which include T333 (a Bendigo Rail Models 1st series model), T345 (a Black Diamond Models 1st series model), T359 (a Austrains 2nd series model) and T377 (a Austrains 3rd series model). All Blue and Gold of course.

I mentioned in a previous post about the HD van with the brake cylinder initially fixed to the wrong side of the underframe. Here is a photo of it now in the correct position:
You can see where it was at the top of the photo. While it isn't perfect, you don't see this angle when the wagon is right side up on a layout so I'll live with it. Once again the photo highlights the grubby axles and wheels which is the extent of weathering I currently apply to my projects. Couplers are the Kadee #158 type with the snap-together draft boxes which I have come to like using. Because the beam between the brake shoes is in line with the mounting screws on the shorter wagons I leave the beams off until the model is painted, decalled and clear-coated. Once the Kadees are screwed on I then but the beams in and paint them.

Anyway that is it for this post. The next one will deal with the next project I'm currently working on.

Friday, 20 April 2018

Another Way and Works van completed

The weather has been  pretty good for painting of late. It has allowed a few things to be completed in a matter of weeks. This HD van being one of them:
Those with a sharp eye might notice something different about this van compared to the previous photos of it in an unpainted state:
Worked it out yet? No it isn't the beams for the brake shoes but your kinda on the right track. It is in fact the triple valve. When I was studying the prototype photos for the placement of the lettering, I discovered that I had put the valve on the wrong side (it is opposite to the handbrake on this wagon). However the fix was a simple one: simply pry the valve off and attach it to the correct side with a couple of bits of styrene to act as supports (the original moulded ones on the chassis could not be removed intact for re-positioning). I could have left as it was but I wanted it be be as correct as possible. I may put up a picture of the underside in the next post showing how it turned out.
Well HD106 is now ready to join the VGR roster. I still have 2 wagons to go to complete the HD fleet that the VGR currently have: one is the bogie van I have already started and the other...well I'll leave that for now until I actually get the kit required to build it. For now I have already started on the next project which will be of interest to a few followers of the current mainline steam operators in Victoria. 😉

Friday, 13 April 2018

Ready to Rock On- Part 2

Well it has taken a couple of weeks but the ballast wagon is finally finished. Just in the nick of time with the weather turning a bit poor for painting:
I opted to stay true to the prototype and code it as a VZMA rather than the original NN code. The wagon doesn't have a load yet and I opted not to put the internal braces in at this stage either because, as I found out via a friend who did some research of the real thing for me, they copped a fair bit of abuse due to the nature of the material they were loaded with.
Those with a sharp eye will note the ends of the truss rods are not exactly in the right position and there is only one simple answer for this: if I put them in the correct spot it would have restricted the swing of the bogies which, being the old plate frame type, have a bit of detail that can foul such things because of the way the leaf springs are set up. The prototype does not have such issues as it is not expected to go round the tight radius curves that model railways typically have.

Another detail that is not so obvious in the above photos is the use of disc type wheels with one pair of spoke wheels just like the real VZMA 40-L:
You can also see in this shot I like to paint the wheels and axles a dark grubby colour. One of the few 'weathering' jobs I deliberately do on my rollingstock.

Well time to get cracking on painting that HD. And maybe commence something else 😉

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

More for the Way and Works Department

No, I'm not mentioning the ballast hopper again just yet...too late 😆

No this post is about another wagon that has been coming through the works to follow it. This is yet another wagon in the HD family and another for the Victorian Goldfields Railway fleet. This time it is based on the short steel U van. Steam Era Models produced a kit for this van back in 2016 and is the most recent 'new' wagon kit produced by SEM at this point in time. It is available in two versions: one with a trapdoor at one end (the bigger U vans usually had one at both ends) or one with no trapdoors. I researched photos of the one the VGR have at Castlemaine, HD106, as well as a site visit to determine what version I would need to purchase and it turned out to be the later. Co-incidentally this wagon may have been the one that SEM used as part of their research for developing the kit so it has come full circle. Anyway I purchased this kit at Easter and decided last weekend to start putting it together:

Now I must confess something. I did the initial assembly of the underframe and the body at the local model railway club to show a fellow modeller who is starting out in kit building how I put one of these together. Well when I got it home and checked it over on my workbench it was obvious that it hadn't quite gone together exactly as intended (time to turn in my teaching card that I never had lol). However I was able to separate the parts and do some adjusting before gluing everything back together nice and square. That is what I get for assembling a new model for the first time and thinking it will go together exactly like the others. Then came the fun part of adding all the brass details. The shunter's steps are from my remaining pack of Model Etch ones so I will be up for some more in a few builds time.
So the plan is to paint and letter the wagon as HD106, pictured here:
Photo from Norm Bray's Flickr site:
So apart from a test run at the local club to check it is tracking alright, this one is ready to take it's place in the queue for paint.

Sunday, 8 April 2018

A Thank You message

Later this week I hope to have an update on the ballast wagon and the other wagon project. I though I would make this post about how the blog itself is tracking.

I started this blog a little over 5 years ago and it came about after seeing others doing the same thing and showcasing their works. In fact I had been following the Comtrain one for quite a while. I have been building model rollingstock for about 15 years now and suffice to say, my skill level and expectations on how the end result should turn out have changed a lot. When I first started I built things very basic: no brake detail and not even close to painting them the right colour but we all have to start somewhere don't we. I don't have a lot of my early stuff but if I do find any of it I might post a pic or two. I tended to make better ones then sell off the 'mistakes' to somebody else.

So I thought I would give a little insight into how the blog has been tracking in recent weeks, given the posts have been many and varied:
As you can see, things have got pretty busy. I used to just put up the main link to my blog, but this tended not to reflect the actual views of the post. So now I provide a direct link to that post and can keep better track of how many views each gets. The blog itself has had just over 21,550 views since it started. I would like to thank everyone who has been following it, whether that be from day dot or in the more recent months. It is nice to know that the work is appreciated by fellow modellers or those who are just a bit curious as to what I actually do for a hobby.

Anyway....better get back to that painting while the weather is still reasonable for it.

Friday, 6 April 2018

Way and Works completed...well almost

The good weather has allowed a couple of projects to be put through the paint shop. It would have been nice to have had a couple of them finished before Easter but this was not to be. This one is still not technically finished and I'll explain in a moment. But first here are some photos and by the way, I added those missing brake beams between the brake shoes:

So what is missing? Well it requires a stencil to denote what traffic it is to be used for and unfortunately the one I require is not produced by anybody...yet:
Which means I am going to have to put an order in with somebody to produce a set of decals to finish the wagon off to my liking. But it can be put into (limited) traffic until then anyway.

In the meantime I have started painting the ballast wagon and am about to commence 2 other wagon builds.

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

On the Narra Gauge

Well Easter is over for another year. It was a busy one helping run the local model train show here in Bendigo. Thanks to everyone who came by the way, it made the effort worthwhile.

A couple of projects are currently in for painting and will be finished in the next week or so. In the meantime I thought I would share a model that I have had for some time now. Last year I was able to obtain this:
That's right. I have Puffing Billy ( of them). This model was produced back in 1978, which makes it 40 years old this year. You will also note another familiar name on the box: The Model Dockyard. This company produced a few models in the 1960s to 1980s when there wasn't much around for the Australian railway modeller. They produced The Victorian R-class (over 3 production runs beginning in 1967 and concluding in the early 1980s), the NSW C38-class Pacific in un-streamlined condition and also the NSW AD60 Garratt. So this model is part of a very small selection of models produced in this era for the Australian market in brass.

So now it is time to see the model itself:

I have had issues getting it to run, but even as a static model it is a nice one to have. It came with a set of Alco Models numbers so it will eventually be painted. I also have a single NBH car plus a couple of NQR wagons (one a kit version that needs bogies, another is a scrach-built one by it's previous owner/builder):
I don't plan to have a heap of this stuff, but I would like to build up a representative collection of Victorian Narrow Gauge in this scale, so it can be displayed alongside my HO-scale models one day.