Thursday, 31 October 2019

Applying Decals, Weathering and Preparing an N Scale Gopher Models 42 Class

I have just taken a short break from working on Narellan to prepare for the final Model Rail Exhibition for the year. The Exhibition I will be attending to will be hosted in Wagga Wagga this coming weekend. I have the privilege to operate on my friends N Scale layout of Gunning for its first ever Exhibition.

This blog will be more focused on modelling on applying Decals and weathering on 2 lots of N Scale NSWGR 42 class diesel locomotives.

With Auscission Models announcing recently that they will be releasing  NR Class Locomotive Ready to Run with DCC Sound option in N Scale, at this current point of time, N scale not just for NSW, but for most of Australia still requires a high level of railway modelling effort if you wish to have the desired models of locomotives and Rolling Stock.

Please note that this the first time that I have to apply decals and have weather locomotives. Hopefully this will encourage others to do the same.

Gopher Models N Scale NSWGR 42 Class Locomotive
Last year, I acquired myself 2 lots of Gopher models 42 class locomotives, which indeed look very nice especially for N Scale. They seem to run smoothly and are powerful units. However, there is one catch with this particular Model. In fact, not just with the 42 Class, but with the other range of Gopher Models product that you will need to apply the decals for the loco number. This is a good option for those who would like to have a particular number in their collection and are willing to go to effort of numbering their loco, but not so attractive for those who just want a fully completed numbered model, though there are folk out there who are willing to number the model as well as installing DCC chips into them for a small cost.

My first subject, before the decals get applied

It is not uncommon to see these models run unnumbered on layouts that are both at clubs and at exhibitions, possibly due to the to the fact (like myself up to this point) the owners of these models have yet to gain the courage to apply the decals to reflect numbering to what they desire.

How easy or hard is to decal these models? Read on from here.

Applying Decals to my 42's
After looking at these models for more than a year and a bit, I decided to finally venture into applying the decals to my 42's.

Please note, that there are several other methods that can be used here, but I have decided  the following method based on the feedback from those who have successfully applied decals to their models.

Basically for this process, I needed a container with water in it, Gloss Clear Coat, Micro Scale Micro Sol (used for softening and setting the decal on the surface of the model) and Clear coat (Semi Gloss/Satin or Dull Coat) to be applied at the end. However, within this process, I planned to weather my locomotives and will be applying a clear coat finish after the weathering is completed.
Tweezers to get the decal out of the water in the container and for decal placement to on the model.  And two clean paint brushes, one to help position the decal on the model and the other to apply the Micro Sol onto the decal.

First step is to apply Maskol on all Windows of the model to protect them from the Clear coat and weathering.

Apply a Gloss Clear Coat on to the model which will help aid the decals to stick to the when they are applied.

Then carefully cut out the decals that I desired to place on the model. For my first model (which was in its earlier livery) I decided to decal it under the number 4206. After sourcing some pictures of 4206, I determined what decals that are needed to be applied.

I initially took the approach to apply the decals that are low risk to be accidentally mis-handled such as the front light number boards and the loco numbering at the rear, then applied the remaining decals. It is worth pointing out, from my past observation, decals can still be easily damaged if they have not have a decal set solution or a clear coat applied.

It is worth pointing out that I found that if the decal was not moving when trying to position it, I just applied more water on to the decal which allowed movement to happen again.

After applying each decal, I applied Micro Sol onto the decal. One thing I would like to point out with applying Micro Sol onto a decal, I found that if you brush it on (as instructed on the bottle) the decal it often moves it out of the area that you have placed it and as the softening the decal is occurring the movement of the decal can cause it to crumble up normally resulting in the decal being destroyed when moving it back into position. I later found that just using the brush to applying the droplets of the Micro Sol solution onto the surface of decal worked well which eliminated the need to bush it on directly, hence keeping the decal in position. I have found also by using a cotton bud patting it down just outside of the area if the decal soaks up the solution which seems to suck in the decal into the model. In some cases, you may notice that the decals may look like it is blistering. Don't get worried about this, it will settle and it will set into the model nicely after a short period of time.




Result after the all the decals got applied on 4206


Weathering 4206
The next step here is a first for me, which is weathering a Locomotive. I thought it was about time to step up the mark on weathering. I did seek some advise before hand on how best to do this. Again, after looking at some photos I found that the roof would would be black from soot and the lower area of the Locomotive would be mostly be an accumulation of dust. I decided to keep the center of the Loco looking clean. 

I decided to only weather using only 3 colours, which in this case was Model Masters Flat Black, Military Brown and Natural Grey. All paints that I have used are Enamel Paints.


Weathering or Decalling, Maskol should be applied onto the windows first. 

I started with weathering the roof section first. I decided to get a card cut to the profile of the area of the Cab to provide a protection to the yellow paint, but allow for a bit of over spray to hit that section to allow for a bit of a transition between the weathered roof to the cleaner area of the loco. I felt using masking tape would not allow the weathered to no so weathered to transition well.

Made use of a card where it protects the yellow paint, but with an unsteady hand allow for some black paint to settle on the yellow paint. above the cab.

Roof now weathered

For the lower section where the bogies cow catcher and fuel tank are located, I did a light spray of Military Brown and then a light spray of Natural Grey. Instead of masking the lower section of the model, I made use again of the card to protect the area that I did not want to hit with the paint, but again with holding the card against the model with an unsteady hand allows to the uneven transition where the dust stops to the area that will be left unweathered.




Lower section of the model now weathered

The Final Process of Clear Coating
To now complete this whole process, I decided to use Model Masters Semi Gloss Clear Coat (Over Coat on the Can). This seals the decals on the model which eliminates the risk of the decals accidentally being removed when handling the model. I decided to use Semi Gloss for now, but have the option apply a Dull coat to have a weathered paint job look if I desire to do so later on. I did not touch the model for a day to allow the clear coat to dry. Once dry I removed the Maskol from the window. Task completed.

4206 is now ready for the final Clear Coat finish

Completed 4206 on my Clubs Tarana Layout

Austerity Livery 4205 Also Completed But With a Slightly Different Approach
I did 4205 in the same process, except that I found in my research that the Austerity Liveried 42 Class Locomotives (4204 & 4205) had black cow catcher and yellow roof covering the area where the cab section was. Not that I found that to be an issue, but I did find some photos that the soot and grime that accumulated over time on the roof cover that yellow roof area and found that the grime stopped around the area of where the yellow that is presented on this model. So it was an easy decision for me to do a heavy weathered roof to cover up the area of the Cab that lacked the yellow paint. For the lower part, I used flat black on the cow catcher as around the lower perimeter of this model. Then applied to the Military Brown and Natural Grey.


Completed weathered model of 4205

My Final Take On Decalling and Weathering
I will first cover the decalling process. The ideal circumstances would to have these models pad printed with the numbers at the factory, but I do like the idea that a few Model Rail Manufactures provide in their runs a few unnumbered locomotives to allow the option to decal it with the desired number. And I have in the past purchased unnumbered locomotives for this exact reason.

Decalling these models was not an easy task, but certainly not impossible. My suggestion would be to try and decal a cheap kit and get use to the process before trying it out on these models as a little practice before hand will allow you to decal these locos with a high degree of success. One thing to point out, if you only have one Loco, you will need to be spot on with decals as there are no additional decals incase you fail applying one or a few of them. If you have a few of the same class of the models, then you would have enough supply of decals to complete numbering your locomotive.

As for weathering, I found easy as you do not need to be an artist to apply it. Best advised that was given to me, which I followed here is to do it in small steps at a time check how you are progressing and decide if you proceed to weather further or stop where you are. I certainly have now the urge to do this with my other Locomotives as it does reflect a mini version of the real thing.



Sunday, 20 October 2019

Painting and Weathering Narellan's Line Final 3 Line Side Structures Plus the Sydney Model Train Expo

Since my last blog update, steady progress has been made on the Coal stage, Office Hut and the Out House. I was hoping to get all of these line side structures completed and weathered before posting this blog, but felt that it would be best to leave that to another blog as I did come across an issue with one of my weathering tasks, therefore I will need to carry out a little more research and experimentation on.

On the October Long Weekend, I also attended the Sydney Model Train Expo which was hosted out at its new venue at Sydney Olympic Park at Homebush for the full 3 days of the event. More of Sydney Model Train Expo later in this blog.

Coal Stage
Corrugated Iron sheeting has been added to the model plus the cross bracing detailing on the front of the Coal Stage. This model has also been painted with a bit of a weathered look effect applied. Still a little more weathering to be applied, but intend to do this once the model is ready to be permanently fixed to the layout. So far happy with outcome of this model.










Coal Stage almost completed.



Office Hut for the Coal Stage
All that was really left to do with the Office Hut was to paint it, weathering it and glaze the window.
I could not find any photos that that clearly show what the colour was of this structure, mainly due to the fact it would have been overshadowed by the Coal Stage.

One thing that could be worked out is that the Office Hut seemed to not have been as badly weathered as compared to the Main Station Building and the Lamp Shed. This is probably because it may have been protected by the neighbouring Coal Stage, but certainly seemed to have received a good covering of Coal dust.


Office Hut for the Coal Stage all primed up ready for its paint job

I decided to Paint the Office Hut in Humbrol Mid Stone (Colour Code 225), which is the same colour as what I painted Main Station Building and the Lamp Shed.


Paint job completed with a little bit of the dried brush of Model Masters Rust Enamel paint on the roof for the rust effect

But then, I got way overboard with the weathering of the Office hut. In fact replicated the effect that I achieved with the awing of my Glenroy Pc1 Station Building where there was a nice blistering paint effect. Even though it was something that was perfect outcome for Glenroy ended up something that I did not want for the Office building. Basically, this was caused by too much paint thinners within the black paint I used to apply a black wash which in turn caused the paint job to blister. 

Thankfully, not too much effort will be needed to repaint the Office Hut, but will be doing some experimenting on other weathering methods to get the coal dust effect right for this model which will also need to be further apply to the coal stage. 


Paint blistering effect caused by too much paint thinners 


Paint job stripped back and the painting process stating from scratch


Out House
As mentioned in my last blog the few pictures of the Out House showed that it was surrounded by some thick landscaping that almost blocked it from full view. This is good as I was not fully satisfied of the outcome of the paint job, more so on the under coat colouring where I feel I could have added more grey colour to it. I have applied the rock salt weathering method before applying the top coat. I have used again the Humbrol Mid Stone 225 as the top coat colour.







Painting task from start to finish. Rock salt weathering method applied. Rock Salt removed approximately 4 hours after the top coat was applied.

In a normal circumstance, I would have stripped back the paint work and have started again, but as I do intend to heavily landscape around the Out House where only a part this structure can be seen, I decided to leave paint job as is.

Sydney Model Train Expo
Since the announcement earlier on in the year that the Sydney Model Train Expo was to move from its traditional location of Liverpool Whitlam Center over to Sydney Olympic Park at Homebush certainly stirred up a lot of talk over the last several months.

As much as I loved going to the event when it was Liverpool in the past several years, the last 2 years have shown that the interest from facility was more focused on how they can expand their own day to day business with other Sport and Recreational areas such as a squash court and a gym areas, which has in effect been forcing the downsizing of the space that was made available to the once a year model rail exhibition, which would have compelled AMRA NSW to find another location to suit this event.

This year, I was involved in running two layouts at this event across the 3 days.
The time came for the event and I did see a few challenges encountered by those coordinating event and with some of the exhibitors, but fortunately no epic disasters were seen. Issues that can be learnings which will hopefully help streamline for a smoother running event for 2020. But certainly, the new venue at Olympic Park in Homebush provided a lot more floor space compared to what Liverpool could have provide now.

In all, it was a good show, a country mile better compared to last years show at Liverpool. From my point of view, it was good to see that there was a good mix of Australian and International themed layout and seeing some of the classic layouts appearing at this event.

Even though it did not seem to drag in the crowds making their way to the NRL Grand Final, however Saturday and Monday seem to have drawn in a good number of crowds to this exhibition.

To close this topic off, well done to those involved in making this event at a new venue as a success given the challenges that they encountered. Hopefully we will get to see this exhibition return at the same venue in 2020.

Bullenbung Creek a classic NSWGR themed layout

O scale 13 Class Locomotive traveling through Arakoola

Auscisions Exhibition Announcement of the upcoming NR Class locomotive in N Scale. Could this see a start for a bigger following in Australian N scale?

On a closing note, I have noticed this recognition from of fellow model rail bloggers and along with them I do want to give an honourable recognition to the Layout Passing Time. Certainly a great option for a layout if you do not have a great area of space to run a layout or have a large vehicle and a trailer  to transport a large layout. Certainly, he has proven you do not need a large layout not to just run your trains or impress the paying crowds at an Exhibition. I do hope to see Passing Time at a few more events as well as seeing a few more layouts produced from this railway modeller in the future, as Im sure his next model rail project will be as good or even better.

Great impact with detail in the scenery with Passing Time.


Sunday, 22 September 2019

Narellan The Final Three Line Side Structures Progress

After a bit of break from working on Narellan after getting a good part of the project completed within the first 6 months when I started it. I have recently managed to get the momentum back on working on the final stages in completing the last of the remaining Line Side Structures, which consists of the Coal Stage, The Office Hut for the Coal stage and an Out house (also known as a Water Closest).

Narellan Coal Stage
I have model only a part of the Narellan Coal Stage which is going to serve the purpose of acting as a scenic break for the Camden End of the layout. I felt it was important to reflect that this structure was once in existence. Unfortunately, I have not been able to source any plans for this Coal Stage, therefore I had to do a fair bit of reverse engineering work to come up with the result of the final structure. One thing worth pointing out with the Coal Stage that was once based at Narellan, is that over the last several years of the operation of the Branch line to Camden, the coal stage seemed to have received several modifications. This consisted of the extension of the roof section. Steel Framing was placed around the structure, my guess is to either strengthen the structure or repair a structure that may have been failing.

The Coal Stage version that I have constructed will be mostly in its original form.

As for the reverse engineering of this coal stage, I looked at other similarities of coal stages on the NSWGR Network where plans still exists, it seems the one based in Narellan was rather unique in several ways. The Narellan Coal Stage was purposed to fill up coal tracks (Such as CCH, S, K and BCH truck) so it can be transported via rail, where as the others in the state were there to fill up locomotive tenders or coal bunkers.

Early Stages in the construction of Narellan Coal Stage

Before I started the construction of the Coal Stage, I was in the thinking that it would be a straight forward build, but after obtaining more photographs from the NSW ARHS Resource Center, I found myself needing to make serval modifications to what I have already constructed. Therefore I have made several Changes.

First re-modification attempt

Second re-modification attempt after further research was conducted

Where Im currently at with this build

At this current stage Im happy how everything is piecing together with the Coal Stage, giving me the faith that even though it is only a portion of the structure that is being modelled here, it will work well once completed and placed on the layout. Just only a few items to do to complete this model.

Office Hut For The Coal Stage
This structure could have an offical name for it, but I will term it the Office Hut for the Coal Stage.
This structure is very similar to the Lamp Shed that I constructed in the first round of Line Side Structures that I constructed, therefore I went off the profile of this structure. Currently, this model is ready for another prime, then paint and a few other minor works to get this one completed and placed onto the Layout.

 Early stages of the construction of the Office Hut

Approximate location on the layout where the Office Hut will be placed 


Model of the Office Hut all primed up ready for the painting

Coal Stage and Office Hut assuming their position on the layout

The Out House
So far, I have been though a few hundred of photos of Narellan and ironically, only a very few show the Out House to be in the scene. One of these interesting shot I found on the Graham Ahern site (https://www.grahamahern.com/standard-gauge?lightbox=dataItem-iyy0gym6) shows a good part of the Out House within the under growth. Perhaps other laboratory facilities were available near by and may have been more preferred. Certainly considering placing some thick landscaping around the Out House once if is fixed to the layout as I think it will get a bit of attention when this layout is at exhibition.
Fortunately, there are diagrams that I have been able to source on a typical Out House to the likes of the one that was once based in Narellan.




Construction stages of the Out House, Door and Glazing are yet to be completed

My Closing Note
Over the next month I will be continuing to work on getting Narellan finished to be ready to take it to Exhibitions in 2020. 

I will also continue to work on some of my N Scale Locomotives and Rolling Stock to hopefully get them ready for an upcoming model rail exhibition.