Monday, 12 November 2018

The E car kits...made a little easier

Now some may not see much point in doing any kit building when there is a quality Ready-To-Run version on the market. I would agree in the case of the Victorian Railways 'E' type carriages which have been reproduced in RTR form by the likes of Auscision Models in recent years (2011 actually with a re-run in 2016). They have done the AE,BE and ABE type cars as well as the CE guard's van.

Photo of the ABE car from the Auscision Models website
 They are nice models I have to admit (I have the above ABE as well as a Blue and Gold CE van) but they are not always available and the kit-builder in me would one day like to add a couple of the AE and BE cars to the roster. For many years the way this could be done was to buy the Steam Era Models 'E' car kits and make them up yourself. Now it is important to note for those that don't already know: the SEM 'E' car kits are not strictly a 'E' type car. You are given enough parts from the 'W' type car kits, also produced by SEM, to make them into 'E' cars. It is, as they say in modelling terms, a 'kit-bash'. 

So why have I done this post? Well I was asked recently if I had built any of these kits (no....I haven't) and for some help in interpreting the instructions for making up the sides. Since it may come in handy for myself in the future or anyone who wants to build these kits I have had a go at making up some diagrams to compliment the SEM instructions of how to cut and splice the sides together.

So here they are. The first diagram is for the AE (which makes the AW car sides with 6 compartments into the AE which has 8 compartments):

And this is the diagram for the BE (which makes the BW car sides with 7 compartments into the BE which has 9 compartments):

Clear as mud? It was a challenge to work out but I think it does the trick (well ok the 'theory' does). Let me know if you build any 'E' car kits this way and if they were successful (or not). Now I just have to do do my own.

EDIT 14/11/2018: I made a mistake with the original diagrams. They have now been updated.

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

A moment for reflection

Looking through my collection of photos recently I stumbled across some of my earlier build projects before I started this blog (which was 5 years ago).

Ok let's begin.
Now at first glance you may think this is a Steam Era Models Explosives P-van and you would be a point.The underframe and the decals were certainly sourced from such a kit, but the body is a different matter. I cannot remember exactly who produced it but the body is in fact a one-piece casting and represents the Series 2 vans (the SEM kit represents the first 25 made). It has different end bracing. It was painted up to look like P43 which is part of the VGR fleet. The model was built in August 2010 and still looks like this today (I need to replace those spoked wheels with disc ones one day).

Next one:
Now this is a SEM kit. It is the B-van but with a difference. I decided to have a go at making the prototype B-van which had flat ends rather than the ribbed style of the majority of the fleet. This involved shaving off the detail and replacing the end bracing with styrene strip. I was still playing around with colours to represent VR wagon red at the time and those with a sharp eye will note there is in fact two colours on this van. I originally painted it with Aussie Export 'Terracotta' in the spray can but it came out too light. So I gave the model a light coat of another red (cannot remember what shade sorry) and as a result it came out looking a bit like a tomato. I also built this model in 2010 but sold it some time ago. I do want to do another one in the future and I will be able to use the experience I gained making this one to do a better version.

Next model:

Now this one nearly drove me round the bend. It is a SEM Rail Tractor. I had bought the kit a couple of years before but it took a while to get the courage up to build it (wasn't too flash when it came to soldering things either). I had previously tried building a WT water tank and it was a epic fail (which I still have and it may get a photo on here one day just for laughs) and a QB well wagon (which I put together with super glue and it apparently is still holding together). When doing these kits it is recommended to do the WT first to get some experience, then the QB and then the RT. Well I didn't strictly do that and while the model turned out ok I would probably do a couple of things different today. Again built in 2010 and is still in limited service as, like the real ones, it doesn't haul much.

Next one:

This is a Blue and Gold Models CS-van as used on the 'Spirit Of Progress' train. Originally this kit was released by G&E Models some years ago but was re-released by Blue and Gold Models. Bogies are the Powerline ones that came out with the original Powerline S cars in the early 1990s and the yellow lining soured from VR-Enthusiast. The paint used was the Humbrol acrylic spray cans (#15 which is what I still use for VR blue, just in the tinlets these days). It does make the job of painting quicker but the cost of these cans is pretty expensive (at the time it was about $10 for a 150ml can). I could not find my photos of it before the paint went on, but the body is cast in the 'Milky Bar' Polyurethane with the doors and some detail parts being etched brass. Again made in 2010.

This is a Broad Gauge Bodies (BGB) V&SAR Joint Stock sleeping car. Cast in the 'Milky Bar' Polyurethane like the CS-van. I built it as 'Tambo' which is preserved at Maldon these days but with alterations to the lounge end (the ends with the one larger side window) to make it larger and a end platform installed. I choose to represent the prototype in colours but not form so it retains the original look, right down to the Overland signs and the mirrors above the side windows. It was fitted with a set of SEM E-car bogies when first built but recently I replaced them with a set of Auscision E-car bogies with the 'VR' lettering cast into the sideframes but have still yet to put an interior in it. Another model from 2010.

Another BGB kit. This time it is a CW-van. Same 'Milky Bar' Polyurethane as the previous couple of models. Constructed in 2010 and painted with Aussie Export red spray paint (not a bad match for VR pass red). I have been thinking about repainting this model in recent years as most of my timber cars are painted in the earlier Crimson Lake livery. I also need to make up the steps to go under the small doors at the same time...perhaps.


SEM 3-door QR wagon. This model was new for 2010 and the first injection moulded styrene kit to be produced by SEM since the L-type sheep wagon in 2003. It was built and painted in a matter of weeks. This was when I moved to painting wagons with the SEM VR wagon  red paint by brush (not recommended BTW). It came out not bad. It represents QR272 as preserved by the VGR who are presently restoring the prototype to service.

This is a Strath Hobbies MF bogie cattle wagon. The kit was purchased in 2012 and completed in early 2013. Uses SEM bogies as well as the wagon ends/roof from the 4-wheel M-van. Strath supply cast sides and underframe to make it. I had to fabricate my own side-steps from brass wire. Shunter's steps are SEM and the handbrake is from Model Etch. Painted to represent MF1, again preserved by the VGR.


Now this is an old kit. It is a Scaleways 4-door QR wagon. Purchased in 2010 I believe but not built until 2013. The model required the door bump strips to be made (using styrene strip), a couple of handrails fitted, shunters steps and bogies from SEM and a handbrake from Model Etch. It was coded as a VOWA purely because the QR code decals fell apart and I had spare VOWA ones from building the SEM kit of the 3-door version.

Last one:

This is a SEM GY-wagon. This kit was re-released in 2010 with a few improvements to the detail (the original GY kit dated back to the Broad Gauge Models days and was released back in 1982). I opted to change the axlebox lids to the round type which involves filing off some of the detail for the flap-type lids. Painted with SEM paints (before I gave up on painting with them by brush) and numbered as GY15933 which again is preserved by the VGR.

Well I hope you enjoyed this little 'throw-back' of some of my earlier projects. As you can see the Victorian Modeller has been well looked-after when it comes to kits of rollingstock for a number of years. It is important to try and keep the hobby going by supporting them otherwise they may not be around in years to come.

Friday, 2 November 2018

Chill out...the T-van is done

Well after about a week in the paint shop the T-van is ready for the road. This has been an interesting job given it required at least 3 colours to do the body/roof.
I'll start off with this photo of the handbrake end before the big reveal. I had a big 'oops' moment on this end during the building phase which resulted in the area around the handrails being absolutely swamped in super glue (note to self: when the glue does not come out the end of the nozzle do not continue to squeeze the tube, it never ends well. Better off to stick with applying the glue with a piece of wire as I had been doing). It cleaned up ok and I would have probably got away with not telling anyone. But hey we all make mistakes and as good as some of my stuff turns out, I'm willing to admit the odd fault or two.

Now I reveal to you the full model:
I have always wanted a advertising T-van. Unlike the U-van variants there were not as many. There was the Victorian Inland Meat Authority (VIMA) as represented by this model, Imperial Meats and finally Tancred Brothers. VIMA has a connection with my home town of Bendigo as they controlled the Bendigo Freezing Works at the current Mayfair Park site between 1942 and the 1970s. Therefore these wagons would have operated to these works at some point.
Photo from Peter J. Vincents site:
The VIMA lettering was found in a box of old decals I had come across a couple of years ago waiting on such a project to come up (unsure who produced them as the sheet did not come with any packaging). The re-release of the SEM T-van kit has allowed me to build a more accurate representation of this wagon with all the trimmings. It will now take it's spot in my collection of freight stock.

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Making a point

With the T-van going through the paint shop presently (and not looking too bad thus far I have to say, even without the lettering on yet) it is time to reveal the other project.

A couple of years ago the local model rail club I'm part of was donated some jigs and materials to make 'Fast Tracks' point/turnout (see this link for more information). It came with the 'fixture', as they call them, to make a #6 point/turnout, Printed Circuit Board sleepers, a filing tool to make the point frog and point blades, several lengths of Code 83 rail, laser-cut wooden sleepers and a tube of Pilobond to stick them to the point along with a helpful CD/DVD on how to construct the assemblies. I decided to make a left-hand one first and here it was early in the build on the fixture:

At this stage the frog was not soldered in place and the point blade rails were yet to be done. These fixtures make the job so much easier than some other hand-made point/turnout kits I have seen. The manufacturer claims that once you become competent you can build a point/turnout in about 45 minutes. Well since this is my first it has taken a bit longer. Thanks to there being bugger all on TV in the evenings (suprise suprise) I have spent about an hour each night over the last 4 days putting it together. Mainly with the help of the supplied CD/DVD which contains plans and how-to videos on each step.

So here is where I'm up to now:
Those with a keen eye will notice a couple of things. It does not have the timber sleepers on yet because I cannot find them at present (at worst I can use PCB ones with the suitable isolation provided). It also does not have the rails cut to provide isolation for the frog yet (it will be done once the point/turnout is fully timbered). The guard rails have been formed and fitted and the point frog soldered in place. The final one is that the point blades and the rails up to the frog are both one piece. You can build these points/turnouts this way or you can have a hinged section closer to the throwbar.

So until I find those timber sleepers I will construct a right-hand one to the same stage as this one. Then they just need a layout to go on.

Friday, 26 October 2018

Iced T(ea)

Yep there has been another pause in work. Mainly due to other things taking priority. With the weather getting better (well...sort of) for painting and a couple of projects that require finishing still this blog will start to get busy again.

Now having said that some projects need to be finished, I have snuck in a couple of extra ones. This post will focus on the first of these. A week ago I attended the Sunbury Model Railway Exhibition to help run the layout 'Town and Country' over the weekend. It was a good exhibition with at least a couple of new layouts making their exhibition debut. I was intending not to make many purchases unless it was something that I could put together reasonably quick. So what did I buy?
Yep I got myself a Steam Era Models 15ft T-van kit. This kit has recently been updated with mitered corners to join the body together, separate roof battens so you can replace the molded on ones if desired, plus a brass etch with all the bits to make up the handbrake details and the handrails.It is a big step up from the older version of the kit which dates back to the days of David Foulkes producing them as part of the Broad Gauge Models brand in the 1980s.

Seeing it came with all the extra bits I decided to make this one more detailed than one of my previous builds of the older version of this kit. Those details can be seen in the following photo of the model now almost ready for paint:
So I replaced the roof batterns with the separately supplied moldings, added chain that secured the ice hatches on the prototype and added the extra iron details to the ends as suggested in the kit instructions. The only thing still missing are the safety loops for the brake rigging which I will add before the paint goes on.

Now it would be simple to paint this wagon in the traditional VR wagon red. But that isn't on the cards for this one. I have something a bit more interesting planned for it.

The next blog post will be about the other project I've started working on and by the time that post comes around I should have something more to show of it.

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. 😉