Monday, 29 December 2014

Traverser legs completed, plus some actual modelling

Today I got the traverser up onto its legs. Most of the designs you see in this blog I’ve replicated and reverse-engineered from pictures on various people’s blogs. The design for the legs is no different, and although I can’t actually remember which of the many rail forums I saw this idea in, I’ll explain it in a little detail.

Nearly all of the components are built from 42mm x 18mm dressed-all-round (DAR) pine. Exceptions are listed further down.

As the whole layout has to be portable, I needed the legs to be removable. The legs attach to the traverser module through guides which are covered with a 3mm MDF stay. Because I built the guides independently of the traverser design, the screws holding the stays also keep the guides attached to the module.

A 150mm-long piece of 30mm x 30mm DAR timber is attached to the bottom of each leg. At the base of this timber I drilled out a depth of around 25mm and slotted in an M10-thread T-nut. A plastic furniture foot screw with appropriate thread screws into this, giving each leg adjustable height.

I also built a shelf from the leftover timber and MDF, which rests on top of the lower DAR timbers and keeps the legs braced at the bottom. My track height is around 1400mm off the ground, so until I attach some diagonal bracing to the top of the layout it has a pretty solid wobble.

For the first few days after I finished work for the year it rained. This made the humidity in the garage too uncomfortable to start the traverser legs. Determined to do something train-related, I grabbed my Columbia Models 1971 BCW and the Tamiya weathering powders I've had sitting around for a while and had a go. I've detailed this wagon as per Ray Zhu's article in the February 2013 AMRM, and made a few other additions in underframe detail, new roof made from a venetian blind and added brackets for the uncoupling levers.

I used Pack B of the Tamiya weathering powders. I'm not overly impressed with them - the sponge applicator started to degrade before I'd completed the third side. I’m still not satisfied with the roof – it needs more of a red rust colour – but the sides came out well. I shared this photo with another modelling group on Facebook, where a number of modellers pointed out that I hadn’t painted the wheels. There’s another skill to learn! As much as I’d like I can’t say the BCW is finished yet, but it’s certainly coming along. Having read an article on weathering cement hoppers with powders in Model Railroader, I'm keen to try out the 'snow' colour in this pack on my PCC hoppers along with a HB pencil to replicate the weld lines, but that's another rainy day project.

I’ve undercoated the NRY, but that’s going to have to wait until after the next round of the season’s festivities tomorrow night.

Lastly, I hope you’ve enjoying reading these pages this year. I mainly pursue the hobby outside of a club or a regular group of modellers, so your comments and suggestions have been much appreciated.

Here’s to running trains in 2015!



Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Planning perils - Or, How I learned to stop worrying and detail a meat wagon

After I finished the traverser things haven’t gone much further. The end of the year cycle at work has required a bit of travel recently and is chewing my enthusiasm to do much when I get home. Designing and building the legs is becoming a bit of a chore. Whinge whinge whinge, I live in a first world country, and my only worry is building a model railway. Woe is me.

After all that I've settled on a pretty standard design for the legs of timber with adjustable feet. The legs will secure to the modules by sliding into a sleeve built from the leftover timber I have from the rest of the layout's construction. I’m currently waiting on the feet to come through in the post, so more on that once I have something to show.

To get my modelling fix I’ve been working on building and detailing one of the re-released Sydney Hobbies NRY kits. My partner bought me a Nikon D5300 camera recently for my birthday, so with a decent camera now at hand here's the NRY so far:

The lamp hooks are from the AM models brass casting, and most of the underframe detail come from the AR kits underframe detail sprue. The rest I've scratchbuilt from leftover evergreen styrene parts and brass wire. When I'm home later this month I'll undercoat it and post a few more photos. 

An N-scale NRY was my first kit about 15 years ago, I've always had a soft spot for them. The NRY's were introduced by the PTC in 1973 and lasted into the 1980s - so it fits nicely into my era. I added underframe detail from photos I took of the wagon that was until recently sitting in Bathurst yard. (It's now sitting in the Oberon yard in the care of the Oberon Tarana Heritage Railway). I'm indebted to Rob O'Regan's site for other photos of the vehicles from the late 1970s
As is usual when you take forever to complete a kit, it's now being made in ready-to-run. SDS models have announced they are producing the NRYs in ready-to-run. Christmas list. Added.

Now to wait for the postman...