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!