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Sunday, March 3, 2024

Another Kit bash update and some .....

 The last kit bash I shared was way back in 2016 when the Walthers Golden Cannery kit was altered by adding a corrugated iron roof, adding and extending the loading docks and extending the cover over the loading dock.

Painting and detailing prior to the assembly were also part of the build.

These 2 pictures show new milk wagons being switched (shunted) at the Dairy spur .

For a more detailed look at the conversion check out my post from February 2016.

One of my earlier kit bash projects was for an Exhibition. The idea was to show the general public that a cheap second hand kit can be turned or changed into something new.

This is a Tyco kit and was first released sometime in the mid 1970s. They were not very expensive and can still be sort on second hand tables or at swap meets.  I purchased it second hand , already assembled.

I removed the roof, wall exhaust and formed base. I then, using white artists acrylic paint, painted over the brickwork.  While the paint was still wet I began rubbing the paint off so that only the brick mortar lines had paint in them.

Styrene is my favourite scratch building material. I cut out a base of 80 thou (2mm) for the base and the cut out the corrugated iron roof . Evergreen 4525 is the product number and looks the part for a typical Aussie style roof.

The covered awning or porch is also Evergreen 4525 and framed with suitable facia and barge boards to make the "right look" . Gutter is Evergreen 291 angle with 4' by 4' posts to hold the awning up and down pipes to finish off the transition.

Corrugated iron rusts, so after painting , I lightly weathered the building and placed it on my layout. 

Having been lucky enough to have worked for the railways , a long time ago. I felt the need to have a small building that I remember from back then. Here is Australia we call our ground staff that put the trains together or switch the various industries, shunters . They play a very important role but were often given the bare basics.

I scratch built this " Shunters humpy" from Evergreen styrene and 'pressed' tin foil in the profile of corrugated iron. Many hours were spent in these small building telling stories and having a feed while waiting for the next job.

Another signature industry on Wattle Flat is the superphosphate siding. I have been driving past Guyra in country New South Wales for over 30 years and always liked the look of this rail served structure.
As in most rural country towns, corrugated iron is used extensively and this structure is a great example. The structure has been out of use for a number of years and fences have been erected in places for animal control. These fences would not have existed if this structure was still serviced by rail traffic.

Not having any plans, only numerous photos taken over the years and my Evergreen Styrene I started cutting. The location on my layout I had in mind for the structure had to be low relief, adding to problem. 

 I made a cardboard mock up by working out the height and length, using rail wagons that were switched under the awning and from seeing when the structure was in use.

The structure is temporarily  placed to check clearance. I have used plain black styrene as the back of the structure to give depth and the rest is styrene strip and corrugated sheet. I then removed the structure and finished off the finer details , painted and then weathered to suit an operational shed.

The finished model, ready to attach to the layout and detail.

Along with the many other structures that have been scratch built or kit bashed I also enjoy converting vehicles into something that is different.
The vehicle is from one of the many manufactures producing excellent 1.87 scale trucks. You may recognise this one on your layout .

I removed the box from the body and then fabricated a head board, timber look tray or deck , tie off rails and vision mirrors. 

A combination of wire, styrene and kit spru was used to get the model ready for paint.

After painting and weathering with Tamiya acrylic paints the truck was placed on the layout. 
There are hours of work on this on particular vehicle that mostly goes unnoticed on a detailed layout.

I could share more and will do in future posts but I think you have had enough.

Thanks for reading.

Remember it is the journey , not just the destination.

Happy modelling.

Saturday, January 13, 2024

Long time between updates


2024 has arrived and yes , it has been a while. 

The blog I started over 10 years ago was meant to follow the progress of my journey, building a branchline HO scale layout.

The focus has always been towards operation and am happy to say that the ops session held on the 13th January went very well and was a great way to kick off a new year.

The opening photo is the scene you see when first entering the room. The layout is operated as a point to point style, linear design. A combination of open air and hidden staging give the feeling that trains are 'going somewhere'.

There are 2 peninsulas, with back drops that prevent operators from seeing over. Radio NCE throttles are used to control the movement of trains in a 'sequence style' program.

My pre-ops preparation program involves cleaning the track and vacuum. Wheels on locomotives are checked and cleaned. I am lucky in that the  room is air conditioned, carpeted, insulated and lined with dry wall. This keeps the layout easy to maintain and a pleasure to work in. Sometimes the crew lounge is too comfortable and nothing gets done , but I digress

Regular and visiting operators are updated on any changes to the layout or operating instructions after the usual arrival greetings, refreshments and nibbles have been undertaken.  There is always something new to share or discuss and here we see visiting operator Aaron Stinton from Sydney, New South Wales showing the developments in his signal project.

Briefing over and operators waste not time in checking their paperwork and getting the trains underway. Trains are operated under a 2 person crew, engineer and conductor or as we call it in Australia , driver and second person.  In this scene, the Grain train is about ready to depart Wattle Flat yard.  The crew of the mixed goods train are waiting at the 'Home signal' and when 'clear' will enter the station precinct , allowing the Grain train to depart.

Operators rely on the instruction sheet and the X2010 or Train Consist Form. This form lists the car (carriage) numbers for each car and where each car needs to be switched (placed) and if there are any cars that need to be pulled. Sign on locations, date and time, engine number along with operators name are all recorded.  I record all the jobs that each operator completes in a log so I can allocate different jobs each ops session. The information is also handy for anyone working on their MMR , AP program.

The other end of the layout, North Gulgong is where the branchline enters the mainline. Aaron and Geoff are working another mixed freight that arrived from the Sydney (hidden staging) via the west due to track closures (maintenance). The fore ground is still to receive scenery and leads to the open air staging part of the layout representing Newcastle and the more direct way to Sydney. 

Craig to the left is operating the Rail Motor and has stopped at the station. Employees depart here and walk to the Feed Mill complex for their respective shifts. Brendan is in charge of the Grain train and about to switch the silo track on the opposite peninsular.

The relaxed pace of sequential operations , I feel allow for the crews to enjoy and get a feel for what they have to do. There is no need to rush. The 2 crews are working their trains. There is plenty to think about but more importantly enjoy each other company.

Each crew works at their own pace. I typically ops session last 2 hours and then we break for crib and then we run again if operators are wanting too.

There has been a lot of changes from when I last posted and am very happy to say that the layout is 'earning a keep' and providing me and my operators with plent y of enjoyment.

Take care and in future updates I hope to share more of my journey.

Remember this hobby is not about the destination, but the Journey.

Big Daz

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Ballast siding photos

Well just a small update as I was lucky enough to find the photos for the cutting and shaping work done with the foam insulation board.

The Masonite facia is in place now and the profile is cut to represent the hills and gullies I want in the scene. Large sheets are cut and glued and then weighted down. I use an acrylic based no more nails as it dries quick and does not eat the foam. I cut the foam with a large bread knife and a hacksaw blade.

The carving and filing are underway. This is a very very messy job with static electricity causing the foam shaving (little balls) to go everywhere and stick to you and everything else.
I went to Bunnings and brought a cheap shop vacuum and it worked a treat. 

When the cutting is finished I then used a panel beaters bog filler file to carve the hills and gullies. By far this is the worst as it creates an almost powder like material the goes everywhere but at least the shop vac picks it up.

The above shot shows the cutting that the ballast is cut from, is starting to take shape. I will then cover it with paper towel dipped in watered down white glue.

Until next time , Happy Modelling.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Kit Bashing

An area in the hobby I really enjoy is taking an American kit and trying to make it look Australian.

My recent project has been the Walthers Golden Valley Canning kit as shown below.

I commenced construction like any other kit by removing the flash from the parts I intended to use.

Prior to attaching the windows, doors and frames I airbrushed them with Tamiya acrylic Buff XF-57 to give the kit a different look to the others.

Prior to assembling the walls, which are a nice scale looking brick, they were brush painted in a light grey / white mix of the same brand of paint and while the paint is still wet, I then wipe it off . This leaves the paint in the grooves of the brickwork or more commonly known as mortar lines. I liked the colour of the bricks so when all the walls were done I then painted the columns a concrete colour Tamiya XF-19.

I forgot to take a picture of the walls during painting. After the walls had dried I then installed the frames, doors, windows and glass work.
I then assembled the walls as per the instructions.
The kit comes with a loading dock for trucks and one for the railway however I wanted the railway one to be the full length of the building. After attaching the truck loading dock, again as per the instructions I used Evergreen Styrene to construct a dock / platform. I used styrene similar in size to the other one already so as both would not look out of place.

I used the standard construction method of turning the deck upside down and then glued the joists down first and then the bearer. Once this was dry I then glued the assembled dock / platform to the side of the assembled kit. The posts were then cut and added to support the bearer.

In the above photo you can see I have had to extend the corrugated awning over the platform and the extra I needed is actually also in the kit as a spare, just needs to be cut to length bonus!!!

I now followed the instructions and attached the awnings, simple. By extending the awning you are 1 awning bracket short and as my layout is operated at eye level, I thought I should scratch build one as there should be four for the truck bay and 5 for the railway.
I used Evergreen Styrene of the same size as the existing brackets, using one of the others as a template and then glued it in the middle of the other 4. You could skip this as the 4 brackets that come in the kit will hold up the awning with no problems at all.

The photo above now just needs the roof, facia, barge and gutter along with a few other bits and pieces.

Now the roof that comes with the kit is the standard Board and Batten style (I think that is what you call it)  that seemed to be popular with a lot of the Walthers kits but sadly nothing like "Down Under".

I buy the large sheets of Evergreen Metal Siding item no. 14525 which comes in a sheet 610mm by 305mm and is great for cutting large roof areas as it reduces waste.

I then use the roof that comes in the kit as a template and mark out two roof halves, cut and then glue them on top as per the kit instructions.

I then add the ridge cap and the barge boards  followed by the facia and then the gutter. I use 10 thou Styrene for all bar a length of rod to simulate the ridge cap. the gutter is some angle styrene and then the barge is trimmed flush with the gutter.

I then painted the corrugated iron roof with  the Sky Grey XF-19 quickly with a 10mm wide flat brush ensuring that the white can slightly be seen in places, which gives a nice aged roof look.
I then paint the barge, facia and gutter the Buff colour I used on the windows and doors.

In this low shot you can see the nice awning bracket detail. I need to add the down pipes that come with the kit and then blend the building into the scene. Tuffs of grass around the posts and rubbish will make the scene.

While I take great joy in these projects they are a break from layout construction for when it gets too hot or cold in your train room. I hope you enjoyed my journey and get something out of it.


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Progress has been happening.

Well it has been a long time between posts.

I am currently on holidays and thought it a good time to read some blogs and catch up and also reflect on my progress. I have really enjoyed every ones progress so much that it has given me the push to start updating my blog. Well at least try anyway.
I have been busy and have captured the progress, however I have just been uploading my results through Facebook.
In hindsight it was a lot quicker but I needed a more progressive approach that is easier to follow. I still struggle with blogger but prefer the ability to scroll through previous posts, adding to the inspiration.

November was my trip to the Armidale Convention and like usual had a blast, this convention is a fantastic way over a relaxed couple of days to catch up with like minded people and see what everyone has been up to. I can't speak highly enough of this type of interaction and as so have only missed one in all the years the convention has been run.

Anyway back to Wattle Flat and the reason you are reading this.....

Having finally sorted out the issues with the ballast siding it was time to commence scenery formwork.

Like the other parts of the layout my preferred option is to carve polystyrene foam as it is lightweight, easy to obtain and is easy to carve to suit the gullies and ridges I wanted. The down side is the mess and lots of it.

Well I am unable to insert pictures in this space for some reason.

Anyway with the mess cleaned up I am ready to move on to the next phase.

Hopefully the photos will come soon. Until next time............

Sunday, January 18, 2015


A Very Happy New Year to all.

Today was so hot that l spent it in the air conditioned train room and seeking some much needed inspiration from following bloggers.
It does not take long for the time to get away and "time enjoyed wasted is not wasted time".

My last post spoke of the operation session and l am pleased to say there have been more and more are planned.
In order for the sessions to have commenced, l had to sort out the dilemma with the ballast siding and with the help of Rowan from Glenn Innes and others mentioned earlier l finally settled on the present design and am happy to say it has been well received.

The track to the right of picture is the main line and then the empty road is the receiving road for the empty ballast wagons and then the loading road.
There is a siding in front of the loader that is for receiving various loading associated with operating a quarry.

Over the last few months l have not acheived much, hence the need for inspiration.

Just a quick update.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

4 years and 4 months

On the 3rd of May I had the pleasure of inviting experts in there chosen field to come and partake in the first official operating session on Wattle Flat.

I commenced construction in January 2010 and hence it is fitting to celebrate "4 years and 4 months" with a blog update.(It has taken me a month fighting with blogger to finally post this.)

The Brisbane Model Railway exhibition was held on the same weekend so the invitation for drinks and a sausage sizzle was to commence from 17.00hrs to allow everyone time to arrive after the show.

Cheers, the first official session

There was plenty of food and drinks all round and as it turned out a rather cool evening, we quickly retired to the train room and the details and trains were assigned.

I have liked the idea of a two man crew concept as it allows for one to concentrate on the throttle and driving the train and the other carrying the X2010 and preforming the shunting. The crew can then bounce ideas of each other as to how there going to perform each shunt and of course change positions on the return trip if they choose.

As I mentioned in a post from last year, I have gone away from the car card idea in favour of a modified, for my purpose, form X2010 just like the NSWGR used. I would like to thank Ray and Colin for there input and making available the type of paperwork they use. Thankyou also to Shelton and Geoff for there input.

My version is taken from the original and I just remove the bits that aren't needed in the model form.

X2010 form for train 15

The form has listed on it all the info needed for the operators along with instructions to help them.

During and after the session it was pointed out that I need to add more information in the instructions portion of the form. Point taken.

As there were 6 of us I let the fellas team up themselves, which meant Craig was stuck with me or as it turned out on his own!! Well done as he had the unfinished paperwork and had to rely on my instructions to make up his return train. I hadn't planned on getting that far through the session

Craig has the role of driver and shunter as he works No109 Goods

This job (109) arrives from Sydney (hidden staging) and shunts the various sidings at North Gulgong.

While Craig was busy with 109, Brendan and Geoff  had there hands full with No.19 . This job from western destinations via Dubbo and arrives at Goolma where it needs to reverse and then make its way to the Mill at Gollan. The first job is shunting the meat works at Goolma.

Geoff and Brendan shunt the meat works siding at Goolma

If you are a bit lost here, let us stop for a minute and take a quick history lesson.

In my version of events, North Gulgong was constructed to prevent the need for major bridge construction over the Cudgegong River when the line was built to Maryvale. After leaving the main the line makes its way to Mebul Rd ballast siding and then on to Goolma.
Goolma is a junction station where the line either heads through No.5 tunnel to Spicers Creek and on to Maryvale and Dubbo (hidden staging) or continues through the modelled portion of the layout and onto Wattle Flat.
The photo above showing the track heading to the top of the picture is staging for Maryvale Dubbo.

Geoff and Brendan shunt the mill

No. 19 has reached the end of its journey, arriving at Milling Bros sidings. Here the remainder of the train will be shunted into the various roads and exchanged for loading or empties.
Milling Bros is a private siding and the loco is not allowed within the confines of the complex so the crew will need to think about how they place their wagons to ensure they are in the right spot. The return loading and empties form No.20 .

Paul and Greg shunt Wattle Flat

No. 15 arrives at Wattle Flat with loading for the fertilizer, co-op, fuel, goods shed and loading bank.
The grain siding also needs to be cleared and empties replaced.

The session ran for just over 1 and half  hours and only 3 trains were run and at times there was only the sound of locos running while the crews thought about there next move.

As mentioned the feed back was inspirational, with plenty of laughs, great company  and the culmination of a 30 year dream has finally been realised.

To the fellas that attended, I thankyou and look forward to the next one in June.