Friday, 24 August 2012

Next....Timber- Station Platform Facing Kits.


Tis Friday again...not sure where the weeks go.  Has been a very busy week here & looks like being the same for the weekend & with plenty of work in hand i can't see things changing until probably February....I guess it is a case of "Make Hay While The Sun Shines".  While on the subject of the sun shining....crap weather & power outages have been the order of the week around here with today returning to colder conditions & a wind that would blow a dog off a chain.

On a brighter note the next release is almost ready to go & will most probably appear on Ebay sometime over the weekend.  The station facing kits that we first released some 7 years ago have been revived & are being packed in between "real" work, cups of tea & blogging.  I initially had visions of breaking down this model into bits small enough to fit in a post pack box but felt that this move would compromise the integrity of the kit.  In the past we have packed & mailed the kit in postage tubes so that the main components are one piece & this allows for ease & speed of construction while maintaining the inherent strength & rigidity of the finished article.  After taxing the brain for a few nights it has been decided to stay with what works & no changes to the kit or packaging will be made.  Presently we have produced & packed components for around 25 units which should suffice for a while.

For those unaware of the details of the kit......It is roughly based on the facing located at Crookwell featuring recycled timber sheeting with square piles...although we plan to look at new timber & round piles in the future.  The kit comes with ample instructions & pack notes....some would say too many!!!....To them I say Phoooeey!!!

BTW there are some shots of the facings in an earlier post for those interested... 

Dimensions are:  575mm platform length with the two wings bringing the total to 690mm in HO......or almost spot on 60 metres overall in BIG Scale......We will be making available an extension kit.....for those where length matters!!??......just contact us direct.

While talking scales.... we originally released this in O as well as HO & while the HO version was very popular... as I remember the interest was only luke warm for the O... so in the quest for equality i will produce O on request & this also goes for other selected items from our range. those people that have contacted me off blog & have expressed a desire for a custom length facing...thank you for your interest & be patient for a week or so & i will be in touch to see if each request is feasible.....

That's about it for now... I am really starting to hanker for some work on the layout & models to begin & indeed the airbrush spat at me as i walked past it yesterday!!!....hmmm maybe next week???



Kits Being Prepared....

A shot showing the facing being fitted to an existing station....sorry about the poor quality of the shot.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Bogie Tank Wagons.... A First Look...


I finally decided to order some of the Tulloch 10,000 gallon tank wagons on offer.  I had not seen much written about them since release & figured the reduced pricing structure was too good to pass up.

It has been a long wait for modellers to have an RTR bogie tank wagon & with at least 3 manufacturers in the process of delivery... We will ultimately be spoiled !!!  

My normal MO with any model is to get them home take them apart, modify & weather as i see fit so the advertised faults did not bother me at all.  I must state here that this manufacturer should be applauded for being completely upfront about the shortcomings of this release & displayed a great deal of business savy in turning a potential disaster into a modelling coup.  With all that said i thought i would post some shots of the models that i purchased & have added some comments for discussion.

As stated i nearly missed out altogether & in the end ordered two 3 packs with each containing an Ampol, CSR & Atlantic 1950s style wagon.  I also purchased 2 single Golden Fleece units in silver.

The packaging is brilliant & to a standard we are now coming to expect.  So.... what about the wagons....

As per all releases the beauty is always in the eye of the beholder & after talking to a few fellow modellers each seemed to have a different idea on the finished model.

The first thing that struck me after i unpacked & setup the models at eye level was that the majority displayed some bowing of the underframe & on on some units a distinct upturn of the underframe between the bogie pivot & the couplers.  For me this issue will not overly worry me as i will be pulling all units apart for a repaint & when the tank retaining screws are removed....this issue may well be able to be rectified... if not then i guess the bowing could be explained as over exhuberant shunting over the years of service.  Another issue is the bogie retaining chains & while they are a great touch of detail....the majority had either come adrift at the bogie end or the underframe mounting point & i am not sure whether this scribes aging eyesight will allow me to re attach this detail.  I might just dispense with them altogether. 

The advertised walkway, ladder & shunter's post issues are evident only on some of the models.  There are some issues however with the installation of the hand grips on the domes & i have included a photo showng this point.

After handling these models i am now starting to see the point of some modellers who have expressed concern at the amount of easily dislodged detail being included in recent releases.... I do not envy the manufacturers when making that decision.

On the upside.... the paint, text, logos etc are crisp & to a high level of quality.  Underframe detail is also well served & seems complete in every aspect.  The models run feely on the track & appear to track well.... couplers seem fine...  The model certainly captures the flavour of these tank cars.... They are certainly value for money...

I hope that the main production run of these models ( utlising a new factory ) will address the bulk of these problems as it seems that the majority of issues could have been corrected during assembly & are not a symptom of bad design or something the vendor had any control over until arrival...

In summing up... i think this release has been a glimpse of the first release of bogie oil pots & i look forward to "getting to work" on these models & look forward to the next release of wagons from this & the other manufacturers.

BTW... the comments in this post are mine only & of course others will have their own always comments are welcome!!!

Ampol tank showing bogie retaining chains & underframe.

Note Underframe...

The Golden Fleece Variety....note chains & underframe....walkway issues were expected.


Underframe detail.... Brilliant!!!

Handgrip installation...some visible...others not...

Note Underframe....

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Ash Buffers...Updates & A New Staff Member...


Things have been a bit slow around here for a couple of reasons...

As stated in an earlier post, we have been successful in getting Northeastern on side & have now been given a "distributorship" with them.  In essence all this gives us is a sizeable reduction in the price  which is really all we wanted so that we could then keep our kit prices as low as possible.  It also gives us a higher level of surety over the timing of orders & that is also of paramount importance.  We had placed a fairly sizeable order with them & thisincluded some materials that have never been readily available off the shelf over here.  As we were still awaiting a large final shipment from our existing Aussie supplier & were not sure whether we would get what we ordered.... I placed the US order on hold pending the outcome.  The Aussie order finally arrived here last week ( over 6 weeks late ) & as suspected was short to buggery & came with excuses that would make Julia Gillard proud!!!.... The upshot is that we have now confirmed & paid for the US order via airfreight & we should see it pretty soon.

The other reason things have been  a bit slower is that the "real" side of the business has ramped up significantly & this coupled with a relatively minor family drama killed off my plans of attending Loftus.... ah well we will aim for next year.

On the modelling front, I am pleased to say that the Ash Buffer Kits have been completed & listed on Ebay.

Ash Buffers....Are Go!!!

The 1/64th birch ply has arrived so we can commence trialling this product for the paling fence panels & hopefully commence production next week.   It will then be time to decide on the next release .... most probably the cream shed which is basically ready to go apart from some minor production mods & the instructions...most important!!!

I will also take a look at the station facing kits & i guess the coal stage & bridges should follow.
As for the new employee.... Ah yes..."Sleeper" arrived a couple of weeks back & has certainly changed the dynamics around here...her big brother "Loco" is showing her the ropes & she has taken a shine to the all is good!!!

I should have employed her on a 3 month trial though....

Ahhhh & where is the feed dish???

The weather is showing slight signs of the impending spring ( except the severe frosts ) the days are getting longer & soon i will be able to spend some time on the layout...I have placed an order for a few SDS reduced price oil pots & these should arrive in the next day or so & certainly spark some enthusiasm for kicking over the airbrush compressor.  I have been doing some scenery bits & pieces in the last few weeks & will post as real progress is made.



Sunday, 5 August 2012

Another Way To While Away An Afternoon...

Hi All,

As some would already be aware, i grew up in Botany NSW & from a young age was eager to learn all i could about the rail, tramlines & associated history of the area.

All of the male members of the extended family lived & worked in the Botany & Matraville areas so were a fountain of info to a young enquiring mind.  Indeed up until i left Sydney 10 years ago i would meet up with my dad on an almost daily basis for a cuppa & the conversation would normally drift to some sort of local historical fact normally associated with something on rails.

Over the years i had tried where possible to collect old street directories which would be an aid when trying to pinpoint some change or other.  Little did we all know what effect the internet would have on research of any kind & the ability to view a seemingly endless supply of photographic documentation at will.

Obviously google earth changed things significantly & one can zoom in on any location worldwide & check out the current state of affairs.  This is handy for researching railway locations & checking out an unheard of location.

Now to the point of the post.... A couple of years ago i became aware of a cd available from the RTA that had a collection of photos taken from above the Sydney metropolitan area in 1943. The story behind the shots is that a firm was hired to take shots from around 2600 ft ( as i remember ) in a grid pattern to form a patchwork quilt of Sydney to aid in "road planning" etc.  This may well be the sanitised version of the project because it must be remembered that 1943 was right in the middle of the second world war....

Anyway i purchased the cd & indeed the contents were of great interest & a great snapshot of days long gone. Quite surprisingly the quality & resolution is brilliant.  To enhance the experience i had google earth booted up in the background & spent quite a number of hours looking at a shot & checking out the changes that have occurred in the close on 70 year difference.

Now to enhance things further is the advent of a government website site called Lite Maps which allows the user to not only view a google earth like interface....but includes an option to overlay the photos taken from 1943 & with the use of a slider button can superimpose one over the other & increase or decrease the transparency so it is possible to view today & then 1943 almost simultaneously.  The registration of the images is great & they do align very closely in most instances.

The program can be a bit clunky & is not as fast as google earth...but stick with it & you will have fun....afterall it is a state government initiative & creation so expect some shortfalls!!!

I have included the link....THE SITE COMPLETELY IS FREE!!!

If anyone wants a hand with getting it working the question and the solution might help someone else...

To give an example of use of this program from a rail nut perspective...i spent a couple of hours today looking at the long closed right of way of the Liverpool to Holdsworthy Line..... both now & then... It is a pity that the limit of the maps does not allow an overlay of the Camden / Narellan line....that would be interesting to this scribe.

Also don't forget to have a look at Sydney Airport then & now....And of course the Botany Line!!!

Anyway if the site is of use to some then the post has been worth it....keep in mind it is limited to the Sydney Metropolitan Area as it was in 1943....

Have fun!!!