Thursday, 23 December 2021

Seasons Greetings 2021

It's that time of year again where the Festive Season has began and we are about to conclude 2021.

Certainly has been a year with ups and downs, but hopeful 2022 will deliver.

Merry Christmas

I would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas, a safe holiday season and the best wishes for 2022.

Some mysterious Elf figure who thinks it is appropriate to block rail corridor at Jindalee

Have I missed a Blog?

Since my last blog, work, family and getting sorted for Christmas has been making me busy that I have not been able to find any time to work on my current model rail projects. The best that I could do is run a few a laps on my N Scale Layout of Jindalee. Hopefully, after Christmas, I will be able to get back into the routine of Railway modelling.

One of my recent short running sessions on my Jindalee Layout

Until Next Time. Seasons Greetings.



Saturday, 20 November 2021

Belated October 2021 Update

Here is a bit of belated bog post for the Octobers Update which I decided to included some of the activity for November. This has been mainly due to lifting of the COVID restrictions in the state of NSW catching up on those things outside of this hobby that has been keeping me busy of late. But I did get some railway modelling done.

Muttama Stock Yard Ramps Update

I have managed to make a little more progress on the Stock Yard Ramps with almost all 3 Ramps being completed. My progress was hindered due that I did not have any supply of a particular type of styrene strip which has been sold out at most places. However, at the end of October, I was able to get the required styrene strips that were needed to hopefully complete this task before the end of this month.

On the Positive, it seems that the difficult parts of the Stock Yard Ramps has been completed and just the minor detailing parts left to complete. 

3D Printing Project NSWGR Ac2 Building

This 3D Project I would not have attempted to draw up and put the print via Shapeways, but now that I have my own 3D Resin Printer, I can print anything on demand for a small cost.

Some time ago, I stumbled across the plans for a 15 Inch Panel Ac2 Precast Concrete Building that was for Warrell Creek and Colombatti. However, Colombatti never got its Ac2 building. I though this will be a good 3D Printing Project to work on see the results of how a larger and more complex structure would work out via the Anycubic Resin 3D Printer.

The drawing took me over 2 weeks to produce, the challenge was mostly with drawing up the roof and the Finials. but the rest of it was simple. 

Printing it was not much of an issue, but once the print was done, despite the wash and curing process the 3D Printouts after a while did curl up. I was able to straighten up again by pouring hot water, but eventually it does curl up again. Hence, one of the main reasons that I do not build these up straight from the 3D printer. There is probably a solution to solve this, but at this stage of the game, I'm still consider myself a novice when it comes to consumer Resin 3D printers. However, I can at least workout if the model is worth casting up or not. In this case, I determine it was a goer for sure.

Certainly, some learning experiences have presented themselves from this build, but will certainly be carried over in my next project.

3D Printed Rail Central Pc1 Conversion Kit

I utilised the 3D Drawings from the Ac2 Building to extract the gable, corbels, Fibro Cement Tile Roof, Roof capping and Finial. I decided to test out this kit to model Hazelgrove Pc1 Building that was once based on the Oberon Branch line as it did not need much modification. In the end, I decided to super detail the Kit to try and present a convincing model of the real thing. Here are the pictures that leads up to the end results.

Rail Central Pc1 Kit with the 3D Printed resin casted conversion kit.

Gabel replaced

Roof construction work in progress

Internal detailing done with the corner post replaces with my scratch built modified styrene corner posts to replicate the slotted ones that were on the 15 Inch Panel Pc Buildings.

Most of the finer detailing completed with the model getting ready to be painted up.

Pc1 Building conversion completed with the heavily weathered paint job.

Something To Look Forward Too

After almost 4 months unable to visit a Hobby Shop, one of the first trips I took was to Casula Hobbies to top up on railway modelling supplies, where Joe was very enthusiastic to demonstrate his factory sampled 19 Class Locomotive. The factory sample with DCC equipped sound was impressive and Im certainly looking forward for mine to arrive. Well, I think a 19 Class Baldwin Tender working parallel my Pc1 with the conversion kit would make for a very nice combination.

Casula Hobbies preproduction model of the 19 Class.

Friday, 1 October 2021

In Housing My 3D Printing

I have been meaning to purchase a 3D printer for a while now. I have been holding back for a while to see how the various 3D Printers that are available to the consumer market are progressing in their development. And finally, I bit the bullet and acquired myself an Anycubic 3D Resin Printer. Here is what I have been up to over this past month.

My First home produced 3D Printed project compared to the real structure.

Justification In Getting My Own 3D Printer

Up until now, I have been sending off my 3D Drawings to Shapeways to produce the 3D Printouts. I have been satisfied with the 3D Printed products that Shapeways have produced for me. But the main challenges faced is the cost of the Print as well more to the fact that if the model looked good as a drawing, the printout may not have produced what I hoped for. For example, the 3D Drawing of Muttama Curtin for the waiting room entry looked good as a drawing but not as a 3D print. Which meant a corrected reprint at Shapeways was needed which came at a cost where the postage was going to cost way more than the print itself. Luckily, I was able to combine a Shapeways order with one of my model rail friends which reduced the postage cost in getting the corrected model posted to me. This is not the first time that this scenario has happened to me. Furthermore, the costs in getting 3D prints done through Shapeways have been much higher since I started 3D Printing Models a few years ago due to several factors such as, Shapeways increasing their overheads and not having special deals on a regular basis, GST being added onto imported goods and the AUD Dollar being weaker to the US Dollar. But the most expensive overhead is the postage. Hence, having a 3D Printer that can be used even to do test prints to see how they turn out and if  they have turned out well, then it would eliminate some unnecessary costs.

Its Finally Here

After seeing an Online Deal and taking into account that anything that has electrical components in them are said to be going to be up to 25% more expensive in the not too distant future due to component shortages, I decided to purchase the Anycubic Photon Mono X with the Wash and Cure Station Plus.

Resin 3D Printing is a new deal to me and thankfully I had a helpful source to guide me through the methods on how to print on a Resin Printer. I decided to print off my first 3D Print that a specifically drawn up to be printed on this particular 3D printer. First, print failed, not because of a bad print job, but the resin prints are brittle and were breaking up when I was removing them from the build plate. This issue was simply resolved by pouring hot water over the models on the build plate which have made the resin material flex a bit and with a hobby knife with a chisel type blade and a Stanley knife blade, I was able to remove the 3D prints without breaking them. 

In my opinion, the Wash and Cure Station is a must as the 3D prints do need have a decent wash in order to clean off uncured resin residue and the model will also need to go through the curing process to fully cure the model. Also uncured resin can make a mess if not cleaned properly and it is highly advised to avoid skin contact.

Doing the First test Print before my first print.

The Wash and Cure Plus Machine shown here doing its curing activities.

First NSWGR Resin Printed 3D Model The Royal National Park Signal Box

When waiting for the postage of the 3D Printer, in that time I decided to draw up in kit form the Precast Concrete Signal Box that remains at the Royal National Park. Not only it still exists in a derelict state, it was within my LGA so I was permitted to venture out there. Therefore I was able to determine and confirm measurements to make up this kit as close to prototypical.

The Royal National Park Signal Box as it is today

Now for the Print and a partial test build. I used Super Glue to build this model from the printed material. As the print do not consume too much resin, I did do duplicate prints, one for a test build and the other to use for casting if the model worked out.

From the build plate to the simulated build

Prints turned out ok. I did need to make a few minor refinements to the model to make it work out. This Printer has saved me cost of prints and postage from Shapeways. Money saved can be used for making moulds to cast this model. 

Making  The Royal National Park Signal Box As A Flat Pack Kit

The final prints came out in ok state, meaning the non scenic parts of this model did not print out ideally to my expectations, but the sides of the model that had the detail turned perfectly well. Therefore I decided to bypass Shapeways and get straight into the making moulds to cast this model Kit.

Moulds made and first lot of polyurethane resin has been poured in.

First run of the main body of the Signal Box and the roof castings done.

Using styrene strip to join the the corners up, this was glued up with Super Glue.

I eventually printed out and casted the base portion of the Signal box. Notice how the styrene strip threads through the base which is very helpful in lining up the base of the model.

Primed up ready to be painted up, but still pending the roof section to be completed.

Model Painted and completed.

3D Printing via Resin Printer Versus Shapeways
As mentioned earlier, the key parts of this model that are visible have turned out extremely well via the 3D resin Printer and no effort was needed in cleaning up the detail was needed. In fact no print lines at all was a great outcome for this 3D project. However, resin printing I found do seems to warp a bit. This is an issue faced with seasoned users of 3D Resin Printers. I have found that the Resin Prints can bend flat into shape via heating them in hot water or a hair dryer and flattening out on the base with double sided sticky tape before casting them does work out well. Which it did in this case.

However, there will be occasions that the resin printer may not be able to deliver a satisfactory print but would prove that it would workout well via a Shapeways print. Lets face it, consumer based resin 3D printers are a fraction of the cost compared to the Shapeways 3D Printers and further to that point Shapeways is a professional 3D Printing Service (along with their competitors) and they do deliver a nice print with a sizeable range of 3D Printing materials available. If I was to go to Shapeways for this print as is, it would be indeed a costly exercise, but everything would be in near perfect form. Only criticism with a Shapeways print, is that you need to clean the model and do a bit of light sanding to remove the 3D printed lines. 

Example of a Model that I have done in the past that made for a better model via Shapesways is my CC1 Precast Toilet block. Prints well via Shapeways but not so good via my Resin 3D Printer. But, at least it can be test printed via the Resin Printer to see if it good to go through as a Shapeways print.

At the time of writing up this blog, I did upload the various parts that was needed to make up the Royal National Park Signal Box via Shapeways. Quote via Shapeways would have cost me around the $250 AUD mark to print out which also included postage. To bring down the price, I would have needed to draw up a more completed building in fewer parts to try and reduce the price which I would guesstimate to reduce the cost from one third to half of the cost. Either way, the Royal Nation Park Signal Box Project has been cheap to printout and cast out as a polyurethane model and can be reproduced on demand at a very affordable price.

However, for example, my NSWGR CC1 Gents Toilets are best available via my Shapeways store to the scaled model solution. The good thing about Shapeways is that you can put your 3D Prints to market, which I have for my NSWGR CC1 Gents Toilets.

Here are the links to mine and Ray Pilgrims Signal Branch 3D Branch shop on Shapeways. The reason I mention this is that it is likely that Shapeways will have the Black Friday and Cyber Monday at the End of November. This may be a good time to get your prints done at a discounted price. It may be one of the very few sales that Shapeways has in the year for 3D Printing materials that are needed to print in fine detail in HO and N Scale. Maybe the best time where multiple purchases can be made under the one postage by other 3D modellers. Not so much my store, but Rays has a very comprehensive range of NSWGR Line side items and parts to enhance some of the NSWGR HO Scale Locomotives details which is worth looking at.

Ray Pilgrims Signal Branch

My Store

As for other activities for the Month of September. I have done a little bit to my Stock Yard ramps for my Muttama Layout Project which I will give a more detailed update on in my next blog. 

Until Then, Stay safe.

Friday, 10 September 2021

NSWGR Precast Concrete Platform

This post will be dedicated to a kit that I recently produced. Last year, I wanted to do a 3D Printed Model of the NSWGR Precast Platform for a working Diorama type layout which was best done as a 3D print out produced from Shapeways.  However, the down point of this approach is that the cost to make the standard short length of this platform would be very high and the longer length version would have almost been doubled which would have been very questionable if it was worth doing this project at all. Therefore, I got the 3D Prints on certain parts of the platform and created a casted model kit out of them.

The following is an instructional steps on how I produced this platform, Instructional steps on how to build up this platforms and a bit of historical background on these platforms.

Just appearing form the undergrowth is an intact Standard Short Length Precast Concrete Platform which is one of the few remaining items of Windowie Railway station (On the Kunama Branch).

Development Of The NSWGR Precast Platform Kit

To address the challenge of preventing this model to exceed reasonable costs, but also could be easily reproduced for other projects. With also the flexibility to make desired lengths and be able to be profiled also to be a Curbed Platform (like the case at Robertson Railway Station), I have 3D drawn up and got printed several different platform parts to be able to construct a Platform.

The Platform Ramp ends and various size sections of platforms that have printed out in Fine Detail Plastic by Shapeways.

These parts have been made to be able to be casted and produced into not just a simple kit that someone at beginner level and beyond can build up, but ends up being completed into a solid neat looking item that can be placed on your Layout. 

Building the NSWGR Precast Platform Kit

My first build of this platform took me one night to assemble, paint and to weather it up. 

What is needed are the casted up platform pieces, a ruler (Preferably a Steel Ruler), Super Glue, (Optional) Styrene strip (Ideally anything above 2.5 mm x 2.5 mm styrene strips), Primer, Paints and weathering items (what works best for you to your method of painting and weathering). I will share the details of paints and weathering methods that I used for this platform build. 

Also a file will be needed to remove any exceed flushing from the casting and remove any obstructions that may prevent a flush connections between the platform parts.

I used Loctite Gel Control Super Glue that I got from Bunnings to join the Pieces of Platform together and to glue on the styrene strip on the back of the platform to assist with holding in the Pieces of Platforms together which also makes the platform rigid. Styrene strip does not have to be used, but without it you can run the slight risk of the platform breaking apart when moving it around when fitting it onto your layout.

The Ruler helps allow the platform pieces join together straight and square to one another.

My First Cast job that I have done on my own. I have done this a few times before under supervision of someone who makes castings on a regular basis.

First Standard Short Length Precast Concrete Platform built up.

Primed the Platform using Tamiya Primer.

I will be using SMS Paints IJK Deck Tan as the base colour and Mig Oilbrushers Bluff, Medium Grey and Black for the weathering. I will be using a soft bristled brush and cotton bugs to apply the weathering.

SMS Paints IJK Deck Tan applied.

With the Oilbrushers, I dabbed on each colour and blended them on the model. I applied the lighter colours of oilbrushers on first and the black last. With the black, apply it to where the joints and grooves are.

Oilbrusher paints being blended into the model with a soft bristled Brush. Cotton Buds were also used to help blend in and remove and unwanted excess weathering. With OilBrusher paints, the good thing I like about them when it comes to weathering, they will take a few days to dry up allowing for plenty of time for any touch ups if needed.

The completed standard short length Precast Concrete platform.

The completed standard long length Precast Concrete platform.

I have not at this point been able to fix in place the Platform in place. Therefore, a pictorial steps on how to fix to fix it in place will not be available for now. You will notice that I have placed in some extended lengths on the vertical supports for the platform. For my layouts, I normally use the use a layer of 7mm thick Portugal Cork as a noise suppressant and it makes for easier track laying plus other advantages. I would drill holes where the posts extended out as one means to keep the platform anchored in place when fixed into the layout. If your layout does not have a layer of foam or Portugal Cork, you can use a pair of pliers or track cutters to trim off. Track level (top the track level) should be approximately be around the first lower line of the platform. Drainage holes would normally be covered with the ballast. 

I use off cuts of Portugal cork to make up my platforms mound and I would use Liquid Nails to adhere the platform in place.

Will These Kits Be Made Available For Sale?
Sort quick answer is yes. However only a small run of these platforms will be for sale in kit form. The reason is that it does take time and effort in casting these models and with the lockdown still ongoing in Sydney plus the fact I just wanted to do something a little different for a short time to have a break from building up my model rail project of Muttama. I wanted to experiment with casting and see how many platforms that I can be casted before the rubber moulds I made starts to break. The end result is I have produced more than what I needed and happy to part with the excess platform parts to go to a good home. Basically, most of the casted up platform bits have been produced have turned out very well and not only that, the polyurethane material is for one very robust and ready to paint up as soon as it is assembled.

There will be a Kit for the typical standard short Rural platform which will be in total length of 67cm and the Typical Long Rural Platform 83cm (which will be an extension pack option sold with the Standard Short Platform Pack). 

These platforms will go well with the Casula Hobbies Rail Central Pc Station Building range mostly with the Pc3 Station Building kit.

Completed short and long Rural Precast Platform.

I will be initially going to some various Facebook Model Rail Buy swap and sell groups to sell these kits. 

Historical Back Ground On The Precast Concrete Platforms
The following I'm happy to be stand corrected on as I have only done very brief research on this topic. On the Bombala Branch, it seems that Bukalong and Bombala Railway station platforms were the earliest example of Precast Concrete Platform on the NSWGR Network. However, it must have been possible it was experimental as this style of Precast Concrete platforms have not been found elsewhere.

Could the Precast Concrete platforms at Bombala and Bukalong be the first proof of concept Precast Concrete platforms to be rolled out on the NSWGR Network.

The Westby Branch line seems to have been the first recipient of the Standard Precast Concrete Platform (the one that has been modelled here) back in 1925, with Burrandana and Westby stations being provided with this standard of Precast Concrete platform. However, in saying this Windowie Station was provided with this standard of Precast Concrete Platform, which is unusual to the fact that the Kunama (or better known as the Batlow Branch) was put into production in 1923. Was the Platform at Windowie the test case before rolling this standard of platform out or was it a replacement platform to its original platform?

Where On The NSWGR Network Could Be Found?
I have so far found the following Mainlines and Branch Lines to have these Precast Platforms

Westby Branchline - Burrandana and Westby Railway station
Talaga Branchline - Strathaird station
Broken Hill Mainline - Some stations
Kywong Branchline - All stations
Naradhan Branchline - Appears to be all stations
Burcher Branchline - Appears to be all stations
Boggabilla Branchline - Appears to be all stations
Unanderra - Moss Vale Line - All stations except Mt Murray

It is also worth noting that there may have been several Suburban Stations and Rural stations that may have had their original platform replaced by these Precast Concrete Station Platforms. 

Best source of information for station location research is from the various Facebook NSWGR groups that show historical photographs and website

Friday, 3 September 2021

HO NSWGR Exhibition Muttama Layout Build Plus More August 2021 Update

Another month in lockdown mode, but focus has been more made on getting the house sorted, especially the outdoor choirs which I have been taking advantage of the recent warm weather. Progress has been slow but steady on the Muttama Exhibition Layout build, but got distracted on another pending small model rail project which I will touch on later on in this blog.

Muttama Stock Yard

Unfortunately, there are no plans that could be found for the stock yard that was based at Muttama and the few photographs I have found for Muttama only shows a not so clear distant shot of the stock yard ramps. From what I could find on the Track Diagrams for Muttama, there was a Sheep Race and a Cattle Race based next to the Goods Shed. I needed to workout what would be an appropriate Sheep and Cattle Stock Races that I can construct for Muttama that will fit in the remaining area of the Loop siding.

Building the Stock Yard Races for Muttama

The other month, I was provided with several plans of Stock Yards that were based at various locations in NSW. The long story short, they all varied in designs. I managed to find something that I felt would be suitable, which was the Stock Yard Races for both Sheep and Cattle plans for Corowa. Basically, they were more appropriate as both Sheep and Cattle Races were narrow in design compared to other locations and would be make this an easy fit into the limited space that I have left to place the stock yard races. Now to present you with that infamous Railway Modellers Licence to explain how it is going to work out from here on in.

Scale down Plan prints to fit in the stock yard into the Loop Siding. On the right is a Sheep wagon and on the left is the Cattle Wagon.

As stated from the above arial shot of my Stock Yard, what I have determined the final distance between the Cattle Races and the Sheep Races was determined from having a Cattle Wagon and a Sheep Wagon coupled up and be positioned to where each of the doors of the wagon meet up. From the plan, both the lower and Upper Sheep Races matched where the doors were on the Sheep wagon. Unlike the plan, I will be using the Upper Sheep Race on the right and the Lower on the left when facing the front. This approach allowed to free up some reasonable space between the Goods Shed and the Stock yard races. 

I'm not following any particular building method here, just making it up as I go along, however what I have done is set the actual plan to HO scale so that it can be used as a Template. Below are the progressive photos on the construction of the Sheep Races which are still in a work in progress at the time of writing this blog.

Still need some more work to be done on them and as other detailing parts are yet to be made up. Hopefully I can get a lot more progress done in September.

NSWGR Precast Concrete Platform

Late last year, amongst with other 3D drawings, I thought to draw up the Precast platform and got it printed through Shapeways. The plan is to use this Platform for an upcoming Diorama Layout project. To do a full print of the Platform would have been done at an extreme cost for what it was really worth, therefore decided to draw up and print up parts of the platform that the 3D Printouts can be casted and reproduced for a lesser cost. 

Recently, I have been able to make the moulds and casted up the platform, built it up, painted and weather it. I have to say, I was very impressed with myself on the end result.
I will be intending to do a dedicated Blog for this Precast concrete platform project in the very near future.