Monday, December 13, 2010

A Suspended Tale

Some time ago my first O gauge stretched out into the yard. After some time it was obvious that while the AMRA standard wheels were more than a match for the ups and downs that developed, the one or two sets of British Fine profiled wheels spent a lot of time in the dirt.
With the need to expand outdoors once again I have been very hesitant; given my change to Fine Standard wheels as the norm for my stock. There are many options available to provide flexible suspension for 4 wheelers that will hopefully return the reliability I had with the larger flanged AMRA wheels when it came to vertical deviations. All these cost money and/or extra complication. In the end I tested the results of simply deleting the brass bearings to provide some flexibility. Nothing new, been done in other scales for decades. I have a test track where deviations can be dialled in by turning screws. Wagons with sloppy derailments, dead square wagons with no slop... derailed almost every time. Result, bearings being removed from all wagons. I might well get some accelerated wear in the whitemetal W irons but I am prepared to live with that. To assist I have rounded of the ends of the axles, filled the axle holes with powdered graphite and removed most of the extra weight previously added to assist track holding.

Friday, October 15, 2010

CV 14674

Finished another CV wagon. This one made out of styrene. Roof is dried out hand wipe over planked styrene. Most other details as per S wagon. This one a little cheaper as the brake cylinder is made from scrap sprue. The lettering is printed on an inkjet printer, coated with flat enamel then thinned down by rubbing on sandpaper and attached with PVA.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Fully planked S wagon

Just completed a fully planked version of the S wagon apart from some weathering. Made from scrap ply , paper, card, tie wire, phone wire and tea bag strings.
The W irons, wheels, couplers and the K brake being other peoples work (GME, Slaters and Kadee).
The brake shoes are an experiment using tie wire and solder. The brake spiders are cardboard soaked in shellac.
Total cost - about $40

Thursday, September 30, 2010

X200 shunting its train

The scene slowly develops as details are added. In some cases only temporarily. Here we see the X200 bringing its short train to feed the local industries. Of course business is a bit slow at the moment as none of the industries have any structures yet :>)

Monday, September 27, 2010

New siding

Currently no space can be found to accommodate the existing shelving and that needed to extend the layout around the garage walls. I decided the loop may have to be placed on the outside. So, the point that was put in place to continue the loop inside at the northern end has been extended into another siding. This will provide some space for extra locations to spot goods vehicles and will add some much needed variety. Basic scenicing has been commenced in this area.

Friday, September 24, 2010


The wiring was completed at the same time as the track was laid. All points are operated by a slide switch and the frog polarity is controlled by the same device. All tracks are bonded to a wire bus located under the front of the boards. Control is DCC ( Digitrax Zephyr) and I have installed a throttle bus with several outlets available along the length of the layout. As the rains have returned after a very short pause I have taken to building some more track at my workbench inside ready for installation. My usual construction methods may be a little on the fragile side for use outdoors so I still have a decision to be made in that area. The most obvious and well tested track outdoors is Peco but I would like to only purchase one type of rtr track for use both indoors and out. It's a pity I wasn't modelling British prototype as their code 124 bullhead would be ideal.
Structures and ground cover are moving up the list of necessary jobs to be done.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


I thought a bit of ballast would not go astray down one end. Given the shed has dried out a bit and the sun is shining I hit it with some spray can grey and some reclaimed ballast from the HO and S gauge layouts; a mixture of Chuck's and my sieved dirt. It will need some more work to finish it but at least the pc board sleepers blend in without any real effort required.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Only a couple of feet of siding to be now installed and scenicing can commence. At least a train can now shuffle up and down. Despite wading in water for most of the day the bulk of the trackwork has been completed.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Points and Flextrack

A rainy weekend with only a few hours of sunshine to enable some much needed lawn maintenance has resulted in some much needed track construction accomplished.
Being penny wise I have managed to reuse much of the rail from former layouts once again. Mind you, the poor old code 100 is looking a bit wobbly after many ups and downs.
Still, I now have enough points for the baseboards as is and have some of the home made 'flex' track under way. I also had use of a Fast Tracks point filing jig and I did find it much easier to file the point blades and frog to a consistent angle.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

layout under way

I gritted my teeth and dismantled the HO layout yesterday. I have cleaned up some of the boards and have one wall with baseboards down to accommodate a small shunting yard. This is almost the exact same place occupied by my first 0 gauge layout in this garage over 20 years ago. Soon some more track construction will need to take place once again.

Monday, September 13, 2010

CV and S on wheels

These part built models were returned to me recently. These were started some time back and given to a friend when I was more involved in S scale. The recipient now has more than enough kits to keep him busy so presented them back. Thus, I have continued on with their construction. The CV is built of styrene and the S wagon from some offcuts of ply out of a skip with card, pop stick and paper details. No interior detail and top lips as it is to be tarped. So far I have added the strapping to the side of the S and the roof to the CV. Solebars, W irons, wheels and couplers were next. Both are mounted on GME W irons with a mixture of Slaters and Peco wheels.

Sometimes things happen we are not aware of. The S wagon was placed in the window sill while the epoxied W irons were left to set in a spacing jig. It seems when I drew the curtains shortly after, I brushed against them skewing the setting. So I now have a crabbing S wagon. Fortunately the vertical alignment remained in place and it doesn't rock when placed on a flat surface. A job for another day...... cost of each of these wagons will be less than $40.


I have begun to build the stock of bogies up for future models. I have converted a 3-rail Col Shepherd bogie. I converted the wheels using my cut axle method. This requires an insulated stretcher. I insulated the stretcher by replacing the metal screw on one side with a 3mm plastic one and a fibre insulator garnered from my transistor insulating supplies. Perhaps the addition of some brake shoes will help to tart these up a little more.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Lima O gauged

Here is the same idea perpetrated on a Lima mechanism (courtesy of a NSW 44 class). It might get to power a railmotor.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Motor replacement

The Hornby mech proved to be very noisy. I traced the source to a loose ringfield magnet. Unfortunately one of the plastic clips that hold it all together expired as I disassembled it. Rather than drill and tap a new fixing I decided to try one of my collection of CD loading motors I have saved over the years. It fitted to the Hornby case by use of 10BA bolts and some larger washers. The fitting of the Hornby motor gear to the 2mm CD shaft I found less than satisfactory after a couple of attempts to fill with solder and drill so I replaced it with a similar sized plastic one found fitted to another CD motor. It had 2 less teeth, so there will have been a dramatic reduction in the ratio (lessening any possible improvement in low speed smoothness). However the noise level is now satisfactory. These CD loading motors have the advantage of being very cheap (all mine were salvaged) but they are still only 3 pole straight cut motors designed for nothing more stringent than to run the CD table fully in and fully out so I didn't expect any miracles. The inside of one of these loading motors is shown above.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

X200 getting close to finished

I count about 20 items to be added externally to the loco now plus the addition of a driver and decoder inside. I will have to get on with somewhere for it to be run now.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


Here is more useful photo showing the horrors of the construction. Siderods are HO PC sleeper material ( would have used code 125 bullhead if available). They are mounted on tinplate epoxied to the wheel boss with 14BA nuts and bolts soldered on for crankpins.
The siderods have no function and are a sloppy fit; principally because both axles are driven by sloppy gear trains .
It wont compete with the smoothness and quietness of the usual Mashima and 40:1 worm gear drive but it has proved to me that it is possible to obtain a working O gauge locomotive at little expense if a suitable 16.5mm gauge toy market mech is on hand.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

X200 lives!

The loco moved under its own steam today. Pulled its first payload of 4 wagons to the the end of the test track ( 4 inches).
A few more hours to go before it is completed (siderods, exhaust pipe, sand fillers, inspection holes, brake equipment, windows, interior detailing, driver, lining, lettering, lights and decoder.....)

X200 mechanism

There has to be a use for an old Hornby S//GM/42class mechanism. I will insert the decoder when I make the siderods and finalise the mounting to the body. Cheap O gauge loco !

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Original CHG

Having been presented with a set of W irons and some 3'6" wheels I had to find a use for them. Make unknown to me, they were originally sold in the 1960's in Melbourne as being suitable for a NSWGR S truck ( something there were not suited to). Looking in my plans I found the early version of the CHG brake van was a suitable candidate.
The model cost less than $10 to build from styrene, tie wire and paper clips.
If I had to purchase the donated components the wagon would have been about $40.
Who says O gauge has to be expensive!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

X200 with buffers

Managed to make some buffers and mount the handrails correctly on their platform today.
Starting to look a lot more like an X200 now.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

X200 progress

Just added handrails temporarily to the X200. They will get a final tweak when they are in to stay.

Friday, August 6, 2010

7mm Rebirth

Changes are afoot. Having essentially achieved what I set out to do (having an operating NSWGR S gauge layout)I have decided to return to my main interest; NSWGR O gauge, 7mm scale. I guess I have never really left as I have been dabbling on and off while pursuing the other scales. Given the shortage of funds the new layout will be quite small to start. The first new loco is being built on a Hornby HO GM mech. This is taking an S gauge idea and stretching it a bit further.
The photo shows progress so far. A few 4 wheel vehicles under way (8 plus brakevan planned initially) and an X200.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Tanks a lot

The station area on the last layout was evolving as based on Otford (between Sydney and Wollongong). There was a time when there were two tank stands but only one tank remaining. This is one of a pair of stands constructed with the tank. Just needing some finer details added. Balsa, scrap wood and styrene construction. Cost - less than $5 for the lot.

Cars, Cars, Cars

While there is probably little difference in the actual detail level of these cars, which ones show it off? The difference between the HO and S Holden Monaros is even more pronounced in real life.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Recyling scrap ply

MHG Brake van. Basically ply body with other sizes of wood and card for details. Brass strip for step hangers and an old CD case provided the window glass. AM bogies and Kadee couplers provide the working bits.
Need to do the louvre impressions deeper next time as they have swelled back out!
Cost - less than $20

New use for a Triang underframe

Pictured above is half of an old NSWGR E bolster wagon. It consists of a discarded Triang underframe to which has been added Acetal type bearings (slip straight in) and a pair of American Models 3' wheels. Model body is built from wood with OO buffers and old Erg 3 link couplers.
Cost of wagon so far -less than $5. Now all I need is another discarded Triang underframe to build the other half of the wagon.

Flat wagons

Above is pictured one of a rake of 14 flat wagons I built. There is a HO one for comparison of size next to it. Cost of S scale wagon -less than $20.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

NSW S scale so far

I have I believe built the first and only S gauge layouts based on NSWGR practice. I am aware that Dr Steve Suggit had some standard gauge models of NSW locos along with a variety of other prototypes as an adjunct to his Sn3.5 QR layout. If my memory serves me correct the Mt Corrimal Railway exhibition layout was in S scale representing the 2 foot gauge private coal line in the Illawarra. The only other NSW S gauge models I am aware of are the dummy steam locos built by Leo Fitzsummons: one of Leo's models is pictured above.

I have heard a rumour of an S scale suburban tram layout on the NSW exhibition circuit but have never seen it. Information received on its existence would be greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Rosevale at Brisbane 2010

Here is a short video of the AMRA Qld Sn3.5 layout 'Rosevale' . This is a very entertaining exhibit and shows improvement each year.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

S gauge in shed

Here is a video of the last S gauge layout in shed. Left unfinished but to be resurrected another day when I have built some more stock. No commercial NSWGR models exist for this scale so it is all scratch and bash.

O gauge under

Here is a proposed O gauge shunting layout under the then existing S scale layout above. This was abandoned due to the inconvenience of switching in between the layout legs.

40 class under construction

Here is the 40 class under construction .It is based on the very good value American Models Alco Road switcher.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Bobs first page

Here will be a sample of things that have resided in my old garage and some pictures etc of things I have seen