Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A lot less legs

With the last of the steel posts having been cemented in, today the temporary wood supports were removed.
Next on the agenda will be cutting the last of the Villaboard and then some fine tuning before screwing it down.
Getting closer to track laying all the time :>)

Friday, December 14, 2012

top and bottom

Dale and I cemented some more baseboard posts in between the constant showers this week . Shaping up to be like last year ... a warm November and cold and wet for most of the summer.

Tonight I started on some Col Shepherd kits recently purchased.
Col's roofs have a series of saw cuts in them to enable the purchaser to remove much of the wood in the centre. This helps any tendency for the carriage to be top heavy when completed.

 Here is a shot of them under way.

They will be used for another FS, a BS and an MHO.... well, that is the plan!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

We have been busy

Well, when I say WE have been busy, I mean Dale has been busy and I have dutifully carried the tools and held things under instruction as befits my status.

All holes bar one have been dug, some of the permanent steel posts have been cemented in, the crosspieces and edging has been completed around the oval and about half of the Villaboard baseboard has been cut to size.
Looking forward to having it completed so track laying and scenic work can begin.

Monday, October 22, 2012

FO progress

Still some way to go but the windows have been installed. Waiting on my supply of CA to arrive to continue with adding the centre dividers.
Here is one of the four. Still couplers, buffers, handrails and some seats and passengers before it will be finished to the initial stage. Fine details can wait.


Friday, October 19, 2012

Layout progress

The steel base for the double track oval is starting to take shape thanks to the efforts of a friend. It is now on temporary wood supports. Observers will note that there will be a viewing height to suit everyone. :>)
Still a lot of work to go but the end is nearer. It will be good to have a layout once again where we can watch the trains run unhindered..... having only a few feet between the buffer stops at each end of your trackwork can get very frustrating.

Unless one had a covered area similar to a double garage then the great outdoors was the natural realm of O gauge.... often with an indoor section for storage and/or a small branch station. Who am I to argue with a proven concept?

Monday, October 8, 2012

Coupler rivets

Last night I said a bad word as my usual attempt to hold a Kadee coupler box together by creating a weld around the edges with a soldering iron failed. Of course the spring went west leading to an interesting time examining the floorside debris ( must find that vacuum cleaner again soon). It doesn't often happen but when it does it makes me wonder why the coupler box could not have been designed to lock itself.
Thoughts of finding suitable screws and wouldn't it be nice to just rivet it entered my mind once again, to be quickly dismissed as usual and then just get on with the job.
Hang on......rivets??
Sometimes the obvious finally hit me in the back of the head.
I had some plastic rod that looked about right.
Touch the hot iron to one end to form a head, wait a few seconds, insert from bottom of box in hole (one not being used to attach said box), cut off at top with side cutters, mash down other side of rod with iron until flush with top of box, voila!
You could make 2 rivets if you like but one is enough to enable attachment now or at a later date.
Why didn't I think of this years ago ?? Well, we won't go into that :>)

Photo above shows one rivet installed in coupler box and piece of plastic rod with one head formed ready to do the next coupler.The coupler is one of the new scale head, long shank couplers. Apart from the long shank the best improvement for me is the hidden spring in the head making it harder to loose.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

September ramblings

I made it to the 50th anniversary AMRA Sydney exhibition. Plenty of O scale on display so I had little time to take in the other scales.
Arakoola displayed the 2 rail with minimal flanges approach with the latest in commercial products and some very nice scratchbuilt items of rolling stock and structures.
Trainsville and the new AMRA O gauge layouts showed off the advantages of the 3 rail with practical flange size approach.
There were also some nice O scale narrow gauge layouts on display as well.
It is interesting that the most modern rolling stock was present on the 3 rail layouts... that is if a 422 and a U  set can be considered modern. Hopefully we will see the younger generations modelling what is relevant to them one day instead of trains only relevant to their grandfathers and great-grandfathers. 
Trainsville is still to my knowledge the only exhibition layout that can truly claim to be Australian made. There is little in the way of the parts used in its construction that was not produced in Australia.

Overall the exhibition organisers and presenters can be proud of their efforts.
It is disappointing however to still see the running of models from different countries on the same layout. It does nothing to improve the displaying of either model.

In an attempt to get at least one passenger train ready for the new layout I have been assembling a 4 car set of Ron Fox's FO carriages. With the addition of some tie wire and chain store jewellery chain for the end railings and tie wire, jumper wire and pop sticks for the truss rods I have been making some progress.

Sunday, September 23, 2012


One of the problems with having long rigid wheelbases in O gauge coupled with wheels with tiny flanges is the propensity of said vehicles to leave the rails at their earliest convenience. Assembling them on a flat surface such as a piece of glass might feel nice but it only works if the track never deviates in height over the length of the wagon by less than the height of the flange. Given my layout will be mainly outdoors the chances of never having such deviations is wishful thinking. Visits to other layouts with larger flangeways can also test your models out.
There are many proprietary rocking and sprung systems on the market, however such items don't really fall into this railway's budget. Just removing the bearings added some flexibility that solved some situations but didn't solve everything. Replacing the bearings in one end and adding two springs to bear down on the other axle without bearings seems to have made a very reliable vehicle. The 3 versions I have so far made stay on the track no matter the deviations I have made to test them.
These are all assembled wagons that I have been retro fitting. For my new wagons I might be able to keep the bearings on all wheels and just deepen the bearing hole downwards to allow some vertical movement.

The above photo shows the two pieces of brass wire inserted into the floor of the S wagon. Wire is either 15  or 22 thou depending on what I had in stock. In this case I melted the wire into the urethane with a soldering iron and set it with superglue. Tension is adjusted to be just enough to lift the wheels when upside down. A coat of black paint will make them all but invisible from normal viewing distance. If this suspension system proves itself over time I will have solved one of my biggest concerns since changing from AMRA wheel and track standards.


18 class finished for now

The 18 class is earning its keep. Until I equip it with a sound decoder there is little I wish to add to it for the moment. Now I have returned the pickups to my normal method it is reliable shunter.

It runs so well I look forward to finishing some more steamers.

Friday, September 14, 2012

CPH Lives!

After just 18 years since starting this model while away working in Sydney it finally moves under its own power.

It does have a driver, but no passengers yet. I guess lack of seating would not encourage much patronage.
The Athearn universals have gone hard over the decades of use and parts broke off them as I installed them. A temporary fix with sticky tape and heatshrink saved the day. I'll have to check what spares are still available.  Otherwise I will adapt another universal system to the Athearn drive trains.

 There is probably just as much work to be done inside and out to finish it as has already been done but it is a pleasure to watch it rolling up and down the test tracks.

Total cost including decoder would be less than $100 if I had to purchase all new parts. As it was I only had to buy 4 off Slaters rolling stock wheelsets and a decoder. I would never have imagined when purchasing my first HO Athearn diesels many years ago that they would be recycled into O gauge power units. 

TE wagon rake progress

Somehow I thought this was going to be quick way of getting wagons.
Here is a picture of progress so far.

So far we have used cardboard, pop sticks and some old wooden Venetian blind slats. All coated in shellac before painting.

Buffers are scratchbuilt from styrene (8 pieces per buffer)
Yard brake handles are a mixture of card and metal.
Brake hoses are just phone wire.
Couplers are American Models dummies with a Kadee 802 for each end of the rake.
I have had some Athearn Symington bogies in stock for a decade or two. They look close enough so I will equip the whole rake with them.
Some more detail to be added, lettering and some loads to be made then they will be ready to earn their keep.
Each wagon will cost less than $20 including paint and glue.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Rolling stock needed

With the construction of the outdoor layout now started there is a pressing need for some more rolling stock to be available when the loops are in. I decided on some flat wagons to start with.
First off the rank are some TE wagons. Given there were only 6 ever built I thought that was a suitable number to make. They are being constructed of card and other wood products. I have created my own kits of the basic structure and am in the process of assembling them. The wood top deck is made of some thin pop sticks available at one of the local variety stores. Each stick is approximately 12'' wide in 7mm scale so I score each stick down the centre after being cut to length.
Bogies will be Athearn Symington, perhaps fitted with some NWSL wheelsets at a later date.
They will be run as a rake so only one working coupler needed on two wagons and the rest will have dummy knuckles fitted.
While the TE's were originally created  for transporting army tanks, they were later used in general revenue service so mine will need some suitable heavy loads fitted.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

CPH mechanism

I have had a part finished CPH , started about 18 years ago (can't rush these things).
I also have had a idea to make use of some more of my HO scrapbox for some time.

The CPH needs a mech. Take one Athearn SD mech in said scrapbox, a set of Slaters rolling stock wheels, remove HO wheels, cut  back steel bearing mounts on at least one side of bogies to prevent shorts, take out the gears at each end and drill out to 1/8" , insert O gauge wheels, add pickups , make and mount new sideframes and voila.

The photo above shows the drive bogies before addition of pickups and sideframes. Photo of that stage to come later.
The wheelbase is 6'9" instead of 6'6" but I won't complain for the price.
Another set might make a 79 class mech which is 6'10" w/b.
More has been done to the 18 class and photo's to come when the couplers have been added.
I have also tarted up an Atlas F9 to vaguely look like a 42 class. I have had the model for about 18 years and have failed to find a satisfactory use for the mechanism. It has been languishing in Mount Newman  colours for some time.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

18 gets new chimney and dome for xmas in July

A new chimney and dome gifted by a friend were attached to the 18 class this week.
Certainly starts to look the part.
Some more work soon.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

FS and 18 class progress

The FS is finished for now. I might do some further detailing once it gets some brothers and sisters.

The 18 class will get a new chimney and air compressor at some stage as well as other work but at the moment it has done quite a few scale miles, now running very smoothly. The experiment of the solder filled pick-ups initially gave me a model with poor electrical contact, unable to complete a lap of a friend's layout. I  applied some powdered graphite to the wheels as a temporary fix and the model has not hesitated since.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A carriage story

Having purchased a Col Shepherd 'kit' for an FS some time back I thought I might make a start (in between work on the 18 class).

After a good deal of procrastination I decided to make the sides out of laminated cardboard rather than use the supplied ply. How to do the rivets held me up for some days until I took the easy way out and just imprinted them with a ponce wheel. It would have been a long and laborious job to push them through from the rear with a pin or dab on spots of Tarzan's Grip. From normal viewing distance the coach looks steel sided so that will satisfy me.

Still a lot of work to be done inside and out but at least I am satisfied with the methods I used and know most of the mistakes not to make next time.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

18 class body started

The body for the 18 class is proceeding. Footplate is 60 thou for strength . The rest is mainly 40 thou and 20 thou.
The boiler is a suitable piece of plastic pipe with 5 thou boiler bands.
Chimney and dome are some of Col Shepherd's brass turnings. The chimney appears to be for the original version and it is in the process of being modified to the later standard version. Both are attached with screws and still need work.
Plenty of work to go. Cab roof is at this stage intended to be removable and be the location for the speaker.

I am using the article from AMRM 1963/64 for dimensions however the porthole windows were put in the wrong place as a result of dodgy info supplied in another publication and some cut and fill was required to correct the error.