Monday, 17 July 2017

Fine Fish

To start off with, I would like to thank James McInerney and the Australian Model Railway Magazine crew for publishing my article in the August edition currently out now. Dad rang me at 11 am to let me know that he had seen it. I hadn't told him it was coming and I think he liked the surprise. You know what it's like, even as adults, we still want to impress our parents and surprise them.

The next article is on the way.

... and that brings me back to this evening's efforts. The last update had a building for the fishing boat wharf. Here is the nearly finished item.

It's in place and I've run a few wagons through it and around it. The last part is important. The building only just fits. one millimetre either way and it will block the clearance for my VLX and MLV vans. Gluing the building to the layout will need to be done before the roof goes on as, despite my best efforts, the rear wall creeps in a bit at the bottom. However, that's a job for another day.

Since last time, the building was sprayed with white primer. The internet was searched for appropriate colours and white seemed to dominate fish co-ops with blue coming a close second. The platform was sprayed Floquil concrete. I'm beginning to run out of these paints which is a pity as they are great to use. The blue doors were sprayed with grep primer and then a Humbrol blue. This didn't seem to work out so well for me. I was given dubious advice by someone that I could spray a Tamiya paint from a can over the top of this. This resulted in much stripping of paint. Once clean the doors were painted with the Tamiya paint once more. They top of the awning was given a coat of Floquil Weathered Black.

The sign on the wall was created in Word. I got the name from and old Hornby wagon which I had as a kid - I always found the name amusing. The fish was free clip art downloaded from the internet and recoloured in Word. The right font was found by trial and error and matched to the colour of the fish. It was then printed on copy paper and glued to the wall with a glue stick. Then some details were added. The pallet was from a pack from Model Scene, the yellow trays are from Harburn Hobbies in Edinburgh (Well worth a visit if you are ever in Scotland.) and the the wheelie bin is from a pack of bins from Preiser. Poking about the place are pelicans from Kerroby Hobbies. I'm not sure that one would really stick its head into a black wheelie bin and search the rubbish but it seemed like a fun thing to do. I still have a pallet jack and a wooden hand trolley to add.

The next job will be to add some lights to the outside under the awning. I have some 3mm LEDs for that job. I also want to line the inside with bricks as you can see the inside of the building from the right hand side of the layout and it doesn't look good.

For the rest of this week, I want to keep up my 15 minutes a day. The other layout that I am working on is running well and the large building, which was in the background in the last post, has been put into position at the club. This means I have fewer distractions model wise but I have other commitments throughout the week and Saturday's 15 minute budget will be blown out by the Castle Hill Exhibition.

Here is my simple plan for the rest of the week:

Tuesday: Cut out glazing for the Bakery.
Wednesday: Black out the Bakery windows as they will show the back scene through them. Hopefully, cut out bricks for Fine Fish and paint them white.
Thursday: Glue the Bakery onto the layout. Glue the bricks to the inside of Fine Fish.
Friday: Grab a beer after work, grab a burger from our local cafe and go to the club to work on the building there.

Until next time.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Modular Buildings

Here's the fish co-op ready to be painted. I have added an awning from the Walthers Cornerstone Modular Kits. They were in the roof packs but the awning angles were with the windows. The awning roof is flat. They were meant to be sloping but they stick out over the wagons. Past experience has taught me that they need to be more than one floor up or your vans won't fit underneath but this is a single storey building as the operator needs to reach over it to access some points - a slight design flaw. The bottom part of the angle is meant to be the top which attaches to the roofing. The part that sticks out at right angles from the building has another bracket underneath it. Cut that off and turn it upside down and you have a bracket that will stick out of the wall to hold the roof flat.

However, the roof sheets are designed to fit in between the columns, the columns that I have replaced with a near enough plastic strip. They have a couple of cut away bits to accomodate the brick columns. The bit that stuck out between the columns had to be removed before they were attached to the building. I originally planned on using six angles to support the roof but after a bit of fiddling around, I realised I would need the ten planned by Walthers.

The wall behind is part of a large station building for the club on the coast. I'm still building it lads. It is made from DPM modular bits. The wall columns come with the walls, something that Walthers could learn from. The Walthers kits fit together really well but component and convenience wise the DPM kits are better, although more expensive. The building in the background came from a couple of kits with a few extra components purchased.

I've just given the fish co-op a coat of primmer so the next post will hopefully have it painted.

Until next time.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Things that slow down progress.

My fifteen minutes a day working on Billabong Marina has taken a right hammering over the last six months. The layout is over twelve months old and it's not yet finished. I have had a few distractions.

I'd like to say that the main one is work. Generally from the end of April to the end of June, I'm pretty busy with work stuff. Yet to be fair, I was a lot busier last year. That was when I introduced the 15 minute modelling workout. Perhaps I haven't been busy enough to feel the need to schedule in some hobby time.

I'm also working on a large building for the club that I attend in the coast. This thing is bigger than I thought it would be. It's being constructed from DPM modular bits and a Peco overall roof. Progress is slow on this too.

My workspace needs cleaning. There are tools and bits and bobs everywhere. Sadly, I am not a tidy worker. I have challenged myself this month to keep my desk tidy everyday at work. The group that I work with reckon that it can't be done. The train room is a bit messy too. I have spent many valuable 15 minutes or more tidying that up. Tonight was a couple of hours work while I moved a shelf and put things away. It's looking better now.

I've also had a couple of breaks. One was to Kangaroo Island and return via Victor Harbor (spelt correctly). Here's a picture.

However, the main distraction is the main layout. It goes around the room two and a half times and then comes back again. From memory, I've posted a video on this before. There is still a lot of construction to finish but I thought that I would stop. I can run an operating night or two with what I have.

But what's been happening down at the Marina?

I put up a backscene behind the bakery and stuck a continuation of the photo on the main backscene.

I'm thinking that a well placed chimney will be able to hide the bracket.

They other time consuming project is the fish co-op.

It's made out of brick. Most of these building that I have seen around are either timber or corrugated iron. I was thinking of a wooden building but I came across a couple of packs of Walthers Cornerstone Modular bits. I love these kits. They are easy to work with. My main station building on the last layout is to be constructed from these kits and the sections have been put away ready for the new layout.

The problem with these kits is that you needed four separate kits for one building. The parts that everybody runs out of are the wall columns and caps. I once rang every hobby shop in Australia trying to find some for a small exhibition layout and ended up having to order from Canada. I have some for this job but not enough for a couple of other projects. There just were never enough parts in the pack for a decent building. It was probably the downfall and the kits are no longer made.

I figured that I could substitute some Evergreen strip for the columns and caps. Part 360 which is .060 x .312" or 1.5 x 7.9mm, I found to be the best substitute.

Five sections cover most of two MRC or TRC vans but it is a tight fit. The width is narrower than it should be and I had to trim the lip off the platforms. If it is positioned correctly then a VLX makes it safely past the building but it is a tight fit.

I reckon this will be the next project to focus on for a while as there is a bit to do before it is finished.

Until next time.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Almost finished something.

Two things I have thought about today. 1. I have to get better at before and after photos. 2. BluTac and rubber gloves don't mix.

Here is the after photo of the ute at the oil depot.

I wanted to to have a truck loading at the oil depot so I cut it in two to fit. I put a couple of full drums in the back. The two closest to the backscene are half height to cater for the wheel arches. I originally cut it in two but while writing this post I thought that I could do it just a little better. The tray was removed and filled with drums. It looked okay but before all the glue tried I went back to the layout and removed the tray from the backscene. I then cut the rear of the cab off and stuck it to the tray and then stuck it all back onto the backscene once more. The ute was a Micro Metals model which I bought from the Model Railroad Craftsman in Blacktown.

Before I painted this bloke below, he was wearing all grey, just like the bloke above. I put on my rubber gloves and thought that BluTac would be great to hold him up. BluTac is great and it doesn't stick to fingers but it does to rubber gloves. It was nothing dramatic just a little awkward and almost comical. 

This chap is now placed on the layout next to his chopped up ute discussing his load, or football with the other bloke. I was thinking while I was painting his long sleeve shirt blue that maybe in Australia he would be wearing short sleeves. In the sixties or seventies, maybe just a singlet or no shirt at all. Fortunately the oil depot promotes sun safe clothing so a long sleeve King-Gee shirt it is.

I reckon I might have finished the oil depot now. The dairy might be done too. The next step is to put down some static grass.

Until next time.

Monday, 27 March 2017

Much the Same

I painted the doors again. I'm not sure if it's just me but Humbrol paints seem to be thinner than they used to be.

Other than that there is not much to report. I did however, update my other blog on the main layout. This blog started before Billabong Marina was even thought of.

Check it out here:

Until next time.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Some Painting

I have to admit that the weather lately hasn't been convenient for airbrushing when I do all of this outside. I used to be able to to do this inside but I decided to build a layout where my workbench is.

I have been able to squeeze in some painting over the last week.

The bakery has been painted. The doors need another coat of yellow and the whole thing could do with a bit of dulling down. Then the windows need to be glazed, backed with black cardboard, like the dairy, and then glued to the layout. But... before that happens I'm going to add a backscene to that side of the layout. It will be 6 cm taller but will provide a scenic divide from the top level of the main layout. I'm hoping that this will happen this coming weekend. I need to paint a backboard for the main layout too.

I was thinking of adding a platform and replacing the lower two windows with doors but I decided against it. It would mean  that when the yellow doors were open, one of these doors would obscure the loading platform and one of the doors to the platform. The wagons are shunted into the factory. If the layout is to be operated separately then the wagons can be parked in front of the yellow doors.

The other bit of painting was the oil depot.

I used Rustoleum white primer and hand painted a Humbrol brown on the doors and windows. They will need a couple of coats over the next couple of days. I should do something with the wood underneath too.

I reckon that lists are good as they can provide some goals for the week. Here are some things to do:

1. Paint the yellow doors and the brown doors.
2. Paint the ply under the oil depot to represent concrete.
3. Dull the bakery.
4. Ballast the line to the bakery.
5. Put some static grass down around the dairy and glue on some milk urns.
6. Get cracking on the backscene.

Until next time.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Argh! Distractions

I confess that I have been distracted from the marina for the last five weeks. The other layout has taken too much of my time. Check it out here. 

One of the jobs was to paint and attach some H beam onto the dairy wall to act as a conduit for the wires attached to the lights in the awning. Five weeks later and the job is done. If you look carefully, you can see the H beam. During the process the sign came off the dairy. I'll need to glue that back on.

I also primed the future bakery.

Next to add a bit more paint, find the windows that are stashed in a safe place, and paint some doors. From here the famous "Billabong Pies" as well as biscuits, cakes, etc, will travel across the state. I performed a quick Google search. The name doesn't exist so I'm claiming it.

I also primed the fuel depot as well.

Monday, 13 February 2017

Adding Some Lights

The dairy is finally glued to the back scene. It was held on with Blutac. The wooden platform had a hole drilled into it and some warm yellow LEDs were stuck to the roof of the awning. (See below.)

The LEDs were from a man in a club. He had bought a whole heap of it in a role for the club and was passing extra bits onto members. The origins are from a popular internet auction site. They take 12V as they have a resistor integrated into the strip. I originally used so single core wire from a cat 5 cable. (The stuff that they once to use to wire computer networks at work.) This wire was too stiff so I used some thin hook up wire. They aren't the best colours but all I have to remember is that purple is positive.

To cover the wire I have some plastic H beam from an other project years ago. If I paint it grey it shouldn't look too out of place. Effectively, you won't seen it from the operating position and it you can, there will always be a wagon in the way. I haven't quite finished it off yet. I'll need to paint the H beam.

While I was waiting for the glue to dry at the dairy, I drilled a few holes and planted a couple of lights.

I placed two at the marina and one on the loading dock. As they are green, they don't seem to stand out that much.

Tomorrow, I will try to glue the awning down and glue on the white tanks for the dairy. You may notice that they aren't where they should be in the image above.

Until next time.

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Back For a New Year

I do know that we are six weeks into 2017. I have had a bit of a break from the little layout for a couple of months. The layout was really a planned extension of the larger layout based on the far south coast of NSW. I reckon that I am about 12-14 months behind schedule with the larger layout due to a major change in design. I guess as a result, the larger layout has become an extension of Billabong Marina. I should get around to updating the blog on that layout too.

Here is a quick review if you are new to the blog.

I started a small layout. One the track was down, not much happened. Work seemed to snow me under and I didn't touch my hobby. I decided to spend 15 minutes a day on the layout. The result was fantastic. Better than I had hoped for.

The first benefit was that the layout progressed. The second benefit was that it gave me fifteen minutes a day where I could relax for a little bit. Some days were written off and nothing happened. Other days I worked for longer. The sense of achievement made me feel better as well.

I didn't meet all of the goals of ten weeks of this challenge. The last week of work totally smashed me. Having the staff Christmas party at my place didn't help. However, I am pretty proud of what I achieved in the nine weeks. 

What's next? I would like to carry on, but... I also want to get the mainline of the larger layout laid and trains running. 15 minutes a day will need to be shared between two layouts. Having said that, one cool weekend could see the larger layout sorted.

One thing that I did learn from last year is to make a list of jobs to do. Some of them may require other tasks to be done first but creating a job list makes sure that you don't go to the layout and wonder what you are supposed to be doing.

Here is where I am now.

What needs to be done?

First up, the dairy needs finishing.  I want to put some lights under the awning. This will require a tube to carry the wires to beneath the layout. Then the platform can be glued in place with a couple of milk urns.

Next, the oil depot needs finishing. The building needs to be painted, the baseboard need covering. and if I can, a rear of a truck to be glued where the forklift can load drums onto it.

The loading platform needs a light. It also needs a bus shelter for passengers and a sign declaring it as 'Billabong Marina'. Then the steps can be glued into place.

The marina itself needs a couple of lamp posts, a couple more people eating fish and chips and maybe a person of two in the boats. I need to find and paint the oars for the row boats too. The interior of 'Fishy Mc Fishface' needs doing but I reckon that interiors can wait a bit.

The paddock to the right of the image needs a couple of rocks and swaggy camping. The campfire hopefully will glow. It also needs a good looking coolabah tree. Maybe a squatter riding on a thoroughbred too. It won't have a fence as a fence will crowd out the area. It is a micro layout after all.

The bakery can house two wagons when it is attached to the main layout. This still needs painting and windows and doors added. It needs a loading platform outside of the closed doors.

However, before that happens, I want to add a back scene along the left hand side where the layout will butt up to the main layout. It joins on the bottom level. the next level is 10 cm higher and the top level will be about 20 cm above. A back scene will provide some visual separation. It won't go the whole length of the side as there are two tracks at the front joining the main layout. One track joins the main line and the inner track is a siding, in theory for loading wheat hoppers. I'm not sure how that will work yet but that is a larger layout problem. The back scene will need to be affixed to the top of the baseboard and have a hole for the bakery wagons to go through.

Once that is done, I could add a warehouse front on the left side to make the little harbour area more impressive, as well as a couple of smaller buildings to hide the back scene brackets.

More cobblestones can be added but the final building will be the fish co-op for loading the huge catch caught by the two fishing boats every day. This is going to be scratch built as it will house two vans inside and two vans on the wharf. It will be narrow but hopefully give the impression of a larger building. Once that is in place the far side of the wharf can be finished.

The bollards (? I don't know what they are called. The posts on the dock edge to stop the boats hitting it.) can be added. When this is done the pontoon for the ferry can be secured in place then the water added and the marina jetties finally glued into place.

Down the front on the right is a cattle yard. There isn't much to see. I'm planning on a platform and a fence with a couple of gates. A ramp would be nice but there isn't much space.

Finally, it will be onto the station. Lights, fences, signs, hedges, seats and interior details.

That's a big list but I reckon that I can make a huge dent in it during the next ten weeks.

Tomorrow's work will be stripping all the moveable bits off and returning it to its proper place.

Until next time.