Monday, October 11, 2010

Liralau's exhibition 2010 exhibition season over

Well, I think we can all say that the Noarlunga exhibition is one of the best run exhibitions around. The team of organisers know exactly what's going on and put on yet another good weekend.

Liralau didn't fair too badly either - picking up "Best Display" for the second NMRI show in a row. I'm not sure how we went in the public vote, but evidently, our peers appreciated our work, which is always a nice ego boost!

There has been a Walthers 90' turntable purchased, which will hopefully be incorporated into a working locomotive depot module (for home use, not exhibitions) some time in the future. A quick look at it, shows it looking quite similar to the SAR 85' electric turntable - it will be interesting to see what it looks like once its been painted oxide red. A two car SAR 300 class redhen set has also been purchased for conversion to the Superchook set (a one-off 300 class refurbishment which was a failure) - and after seeing Ian Wade's LokSound equipped 400 class hen, it might be our first sound equipped model.

So, after three shows in 2010, we can look at the work that will need to be undertaken over the layouts summer siesta. The main concern for all of us was the rear staging tracks, all of which are suffering and will need to be not only relaid, but the baseboards scrapped and replacements made. The Saturday of the exhibition showed very few faults, but the Sunday however dawned with a nice buckled join behind the pub - its always the worst spot isn't it?? The curves joining the staging yard to the sceniced section of the layout have a bow through the baseboards which will need to be replaced - not that i'm particuarly worried, as this gives me the excuse I needed to increase the number of roads in the staging yard from 2 1/2 tracks to 5 tracks, which once fitted with power operated points, should make for far more varied operations out the front.

With Sarah and I now hunting for our first home, here's hoping that 2011 will Liralau a new home, where it can be set up and left up - allowing us to actually use it for more than a few days a year!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Rocky River Models 720 class

Well, a post or so ago I mentioned I had picked up an IHC mechanism to eventually fit under the Rocky River Models 720 class body kit.

Having paid all my bills, and having enough spare cash, meant I could order, and thanks to David Vanderlinden, my kit was fast tracked (pardon the pun), in order to have it finished for this weekends Modelling the Railways of South Australia Convention. These kits are a relaitively simple affair made up of a polyurethane boiler/cab casting, a tender tank, oil tank, various castings for the water treatment equipment, tender underframe, bogie bolsters, bogie sideframes, booster truck and pony truck.

The purchaser needs to purchase some wheels for the booster and tender bogies, a mechanism and any other detail parts he/she wishes to install - all good.

So, I started the kit on a Wednesday evening at SARMA (this was simply cleaning up the boiler/cab castings), and then Sarah mentioned she had a heap of study to do (she's doing her post grad in Religious education...somewhat lost on me, but certainly going to help her in the long run), which meant I had a whole day of modelling time available. So at 10am on the Saturday morning I sat down to work - by 7pm, the loco was sitting on my bench, ready for paint.

I hit it with a coat of 70:30 Steam Era Etch Black/Etch Grey and picked out the bufferbeams in Floquil Oxide Red (for a weathered effect). These loco's weren't really looked after particuarly well in real life, so I wanted to go for a well weathered look.
I then spent last week weathering the loco - it looks well worn now, and will look great hauling a rake of centenary cars around the place, when I need a change from VR stuff.

All it needs now is a decoder, which I couldn't source, so I am waiting on the next batch of TCS decoders to arrive at my local hobby shop - suffice to say I converted a module back to DC operation for the purposes of test running it - which it did quite well!

It was then fitted with jewel marker light lenses and a LED headlight - all of which look fantastic - all in all a great kit, and one thats certainly enjoyable as it doesn't months of pain to get it on the track!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Piccies of the layout - Post Rebuild

Beautifully built and weathered Steam Era Models J class J532 pulls up alongside the water column in Liralau platform. This loco was kindly leant to me by a member of CMRC for the duration of the show

Y131 passes Liralau signal box while shunting a rake of hoppers through the silos. This loco was fitted with sound, and was very kindly leant to me by one of the members of CMRC. Healesville March 2010

On display at the 2010 Adelaide Model Railway Exhibition

My scratchbuilt model of H220 'Heavy Harry' passes S312 near Liralau loco during one of our shake down running sessions prior to Healesville. March 2010.

All lit up and ready to roll - the night before being packed into the van for the trip to Healesville.

S312 and A73 leave Liralau with a pass for Melbourne.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

A long time between posts

Its been a hectic few months, with the layout having its first showing at the Yarra Valley Tourist Railway/Croydon Model Railway Club joint exhibition at Healesville over the Adelaide Cup/Labor Day long weekend in March. Much to my relief the layout ran incredibly well, particuarly given it was the first time the layout had been up on level ground.

The boys from Croydon MRC really made Sarah and I feel welcome - it was a great show, and we'd love to have the layout there again. At this point, one Victorian exhibition a year is about our limit.

The layouts first showing in South Australia since rebuild was at the Adelaide Model Railway Exhibition - while successful, it highlighted a couple of issues that will need to be rectified before the Noarlunga Exhibition in October.

I finally completed another Overland car - this time an AJ class sitting car, with a new PCO van (to match the Lima Aurora car converts) also under way. A BGB Models CD Van has been aquired and will be used as SCD2, which was the spare car allocated to the Overland to replace a CO if one of the two baggage vans were out of service.

Other noticeable milestones included the completion of my first brass/whitemetal steam locomotive kit - the SAR Model Co SAR F Class Suburban 4-6-2T. I fitted this model with the Model Design Studio replacement chassis and 30:1 gear box, and a Lenz Silver Mini DCC Decoder, which fitted perfectly between the frames, meaning the chassis is now completely seperate from the body.

It took a fair ammount of time to get the chassis running right, but after moving the leading flangeless driver to the centre (not prototypical), this rectified the loco's inability to negotiate any curves. Dean Schluter also modified the springing and pivot arrangement of the leading pony truck, as it also has issues staying on the track as the loco moved into a curve. It was run in on both Florey Springs and Liralau during the Monday of the Adelaide Model Railway Exhibition , and has noticeably loosened up, but it probably needs a few more hours running in before it settles down completely - might need to purchase a set of rollers.

The body was also modified by removing the etched rivets to represent the welded tanks fitted to preserved locomotive F251 (preserved in operable condition by Steamranger Heritage Railway, but out of action at present due to a cracked firebox tube plate and low profiled tyres).

Decals came partially came from the kit, but also from a set of Microscale 'Railroad Roman' gold lettering.

I also purchased an IHC Premium Series 2-8-2 Mikado for conversion into an SAR 720 class berksire using the Rocky River Models 720 class body kit - but thats for another day!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

A new prototype and a test run

Work continued slowly this weekend, mainly due to a myriad of other things that needed to be done, and writing the Saturday off heading to Tailem Bend to photograph Great Southern Railway's new train the Southern Spirit - shown in the photo alongside...
I'm going to diverge from modelling for a moment and look at prototype operations - namely this great looking train... and our long afternoon chasing having seen this train while it was being refurbished in the days when I was working at for GSR, it really was a magnificent sight.

We headed out to Tailem Bend, knowing that 7AM8 Overland would be due through by 1545hrs - sure enough the Overdue was indeed overdue and having headed out of town toward Coonalpyn, found a good spot and waited along with 400,000 flies for about half an hour, assumed we'd missed it somehow - back to Tailem Bend, as Sarah was wanting food, and Nick and I wanted to have a look at the three "stored"GM's GWA had put aside waiting for the farmers to want their grain transported to Port Adelaide.
For those who know the Princes highway out of Tailem Bend, you will know that about 4km's out of town, the road crosses over the railway - well it was here I was travelling at 110km/h and Nick shouted at me from the back seat saying he'd just noticed the approach signal to Tailem Bend yard spring into action and a headlight appear in the distance - a quick race down to the nearest crossing and within about 30 seconds 7AM8 appeared with Pacific National liveried NR119 and a measly little consist of AMRZxxx, PCO4, BJ4, RBJ3, BJ6 and BJ10. So after waiting in the 37 degree heat for a hour, the train was past us in a matter of seconds and Tailem Bend went back to its quiet self for a couple of hours.
After stocking up on snacks, we headed off to Murray Bridge for a couple of hours to wait the arrival of 7MA9 The 'Southern Spirit'. After having a look at the stored and boarded up original series 8300 brake van on the old broad gauge branch down to the wharf and the 60' turntable which still exists, buried in the pepper trees alongside the standard gauge mainline. After dinner we decided to head upto the 'famous' Callington curve where we kept an eye on the long grass for brown snakes which I am well aware frequent the area. The ARTC train alteration notice predicted the train arriving at Petwood at 1847hrs, well by 1900 there was no sign of the train, but eventually we noticed a long silver streak sneaking down Warla bank on the other side of the valley - 5 minutes later NR85 appeared with 7MA9. Now the Train Notice said the train would stable at Balhannah, so the procession of train chasers headed off in hot persuit of the train - we headed off to Kanmantoo and Nairne via the sealed road = higher speed. Needless to say, we were well ahead of the train chasers by Nairne, and after a quick detour avoiding the long journey via Littlehampton, we managed to get alongside the loco by the time we reached the eastern end of the Mount Barker Junction crossing loop, where 7AM5 was waiting behind a solo NR class loco. We overtook the train on Junction Road, and managed to get far enough in front to stop for a quick shot. By this time the train chasers had caught up and gone to get a spot in Balhannah yard, where the train was expected to stable until 0500hrs this morning (Sun 31/1) - well it didn't stop, so neither did we - albeit somewhat confused about the last minute change in itinerary. By Bridgewater we were again alongside, and managed to get a shot near Heathfield (on the Adelaide side of Aldgate). Then onto Mt Lofty - except I had no idea where I was! Somehow, by complete fluke, I found the station carpark and raced down to the platform to find we'd beaten the train by a couple of minutes. Here I spoke with the Train Manager who advised the train was stabling in Mt Lofty due to the length of the train and the Junction Road level crossing at Balhannah being an issue. Here 7AM3 crossed 7MA9, which we photographed from the footbridge before heading to the Adelaide end of the yard to take a couple of time exposures in the fading light.

Back to modelling....I set up the layout this afternoon, as the temperature was a little cooler than expected and started preparing the locomotive depot modules for wiring - thankfully most of the existing wiring was in good condition, and having temporarily attached a couple of DCC bus jumpers from the "complete"modules, and after spending a couple of hours cleaning the track - I found I had power to all sidings (even those with insulfrog points - meaning my feeder wires were all still A-OK). So out with B72 and onto the track - first test run was over the no.2 road, back over no.3 road and then down to the end of the loco depot modules. After stuttering a few times due to badly cleaned track - well it looked clean - obviously not!, the loco traversed the newly relaid track with no problems. Then it was onto no.1 road, where I found a rather perculiar problem. The leading wheelset on the no.2 end bogie decided it would leave the track at an otherwise good track join. Having rolled the loco over the section of track in question a number of times, I found the wheelset seemed to be lifting over the rail head, with the flange eventually dropping into the dirt - after testing A73 (same mech) and S312 on the same section of track with no problems, I looked at the loco - not having an NMRA track gauge on hand, I simply turned the loco and test ran it over the same section of track - guess what - no matter the speed or direction - the loco stayed as solid as a brick sh*t house.... go figure! - The only thing I can think of it that wheelset is slightly out of gauge and when that wheelset leads the trailing bogie, the wheelset is being pushed over the rail... has anyone had a similar issue with an Auscision B class?
After that excitment (read frustration), I settled down to run some stock up and down the layout with success - one module to go - but thats for next weekend!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Update and AMRM

Another update - geeze, that makes it three updates in a month!!

By now many of you will have seen this months Australian Model Railway Magazine, which features Liralau as the feature layout - boy was I suprised when the edition turned up in the mail box - the layout looks great in the photos James' edited and used!

At any rate, work has been slowly continuing - efforts seem to be hampered by the hot weather at the moment, as at 37 degrees its simply too hot to be outside.

The loco depot modules have been merged with the new layout and the scenery added last weekend. This has seen these modules - which were starting to look quite tired; have a new lease of life. A new workshop building was knocked up and added to the back of the layout behind the fueling and sanding facilities to add some depth from the scene, which did look decidedly unfinished before.
Until next time, happy modelling.

Friday, January 1, 2010

two updates in two days

I thought I would add a few other pics of progress to date: