Thursday 21 December 2023

Been A Long Time Between Posts December 2023

Certainly, over the last couple of years my regular updates came down to monthly and then once every three months down to only a few a year.

This has come down to being busy at work and home life being chaotic as well. I did get some little bits of railway modelling done on the side, but did not find the time put a blog together up until now.

I have all of sudden found myself a on large break which should allow me to power through in completing my HO Layout of Muttama. I guess will start from where I left off from last time.

The messy construction site of Muttama

Rethinking My Approach to Muttama

I guess it all started with me having a feeling that something was not right or out of place with Muttama and just by a random read up got me thinking. After reading up time table instruction for the Cootamundra to Tumut Branch for passenger trains, it noted that trains needed to stop and allow for several minutes at Muttama to allow the Gate Keeper to close the level crossing gates for safe passage. 

This got me rethinking on a few items which is as follows:

1) Should I put crossing gates on the Level Crossing instead of the Level Crossing Signs?

2) The Rest House, what was its purpose for being there in the first instance? My thoughts are that the Station building may have gone in the 1970's and that the Gates got remove and replaced with Level Crossing Signs and that the rest house may have been purposed as an admin office for the goods yard that was being still utilised until the closure of the Tumut Branch Line. 

3) Do I need the Rest House as the pictures that are around when the Rest house existed shows the Gatekeepers Cottage in a bit of a run down state?

The above led me to conclude to not to include the rest house as I will have more aiming for steam era to steam to diesel transition era running to be factor in. Furthermore, I felt for that part of the layout was looking too crowded items and that having Level Crossing gates will help fill in area with something more appealing to look at. Therefore, I have decided to not include the Rest House building on the Muttama Layout.

Muttama Layout now cleaned up minus the Rest House structure

Cleaning Up Muttama Layout

Over the last year, miscellaneous items have been placed on the layout which has been congesting the looks of the layout and at the same time clouding up my thinking on what needs to be done next on the layout. Therefore a clean up was carried out which has helped me better asses what remains left to do to get Muttama completed. Seems not much left to complete.

Getting Work Back in Motion Again

After the assessment, I determined that I needed to complete smaller items such as the seating and Office Furniture for the Station Building, water tank stand for the water tank for the Gate Keepers Cottage which  have managed to build up and to have them ready to be primed and painted in the very near future. 

One of the seating supports that I scratched build which I made a casting mold for

Bench for the Station Masters Office has been constructed and fitted in place

Seating in the Station Building is now taking shape and will be soon completed

All of the smaller items are now in a work in progress state

Level Crossing Gates

I will go into deeper detail on the Level Crossing Gates as soon as they are completed as it has enough content just to do a blog topic on its own. However, here is a preview on what to look forward too. I have progressed further than what you see now. 

Level Crossing Gates currently under construction. But will this be the end product?

Finally, I would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a safe and enjoyable holiday period. Hopefully I will be back in full form in 2024 with at least a few more blog updates than what I have provided this year.

Thursday 4 May 2023

2022 Review, What Is Planned ahead For 2023 Plus Summer 2023 Review

A Very Belated New Year Model Rail Post

Over the last year updates have been a few months apart compared to the regular monthly updates. But 2022 saw the end of one Job and a start of a new job. Certainly, the new job has involved a new routine which took a little bit to get use too, but I'm glad to say, that I gradually getting back to the routine of my Railway Modelling efforts. It may be not as much time commit to it compared to previous years. But certainly what has been little nibbles here and there are now starting progress into much larger bites in progress.

Oberon Railway Station in N Scale

Reflecting Back In 2022

Model Rail Exhibitions

As NSW and rest of Australia started to regain a form of normality after COVID, a few, but not all of the regular Exhibitions returned. Forestville was the first Exhibition of the year where I had the opportunity again to Exhibit my HO Layout of Narellan. It was again well received, but the down side was that some of my Austrains 30 Class Tank Engines encountered some issues which I plan to soon address. Either way, it was great to see friends that have met through the hobby after 2 years of absence of Exhibitions and other events.

Narellan also made it to the Epping Model Rail club Exhibition at Rosehill Racecourse, which Narellan made another appearance. I do recall being in continuous conversations with numerous people discussing the work that I have done on Narellan with many commenting on how well it presented itself, especially being a smaller sized Layout. Unfortunately, I did not get the time to have a good walk around and have a look at other layouts, but certainly it was good to see some of classics that have been exhibiting for many years and new layouts being on display.

NSW sadly had only a few Exhibitions comeback, with indeed a gap for the 2nd half of the year with no real exhibitions. I do give a huge kudos to those clubs who took the risk in 2022 in getting their Exhibitions back with the program especially in uncertain times.

Victoria on the other hand seem to have a massive calendar in the way of model rail exhibitions, in which I managed to addend a couple myself, such as Diamond Creek and the AMRA Victoria Caulfield Exhibition. Diamond Creek is where I assisted Rob P in his new Victorian N Scale Layout of Gunnadoo and did a trip down as a paying member of the public to the Caulfield Exhibition.

The final event of 2022 was the N scale Convention which was held a Goulburn Racecourse in October last year.

Model Rail Projects

Plans For 2023

Im not planning for anything big this year other than to get Muttama completed and ready to exhibit in 2024. I am also looking at getting some of the locomotive and Rolling stock kits that I have accumulated over the the last few year built up and completed in throughout the year. Initial focus will be on the models that will be either relevant for my Narellan, Jindalee and Muttama Layouts.

I know that does not sound like a big plan for the year, but at this point of time it is going to be hard to predict the free time that I will be able to spend on the hobby. But, Im not ruling out a project or two that I may get started on.

Ok, now onto my Summer 2022 to 2023 updates which for the first time in a long time has shown some activity.

Summer 2022 to 2023 Updates


Fencing for Muttama is almost completed, but with only a few loose ends to tidy up and some touch up work to be carried out on the fencing. 

Work was also focused on getting the precast concrete footings for the rest house created, painted and  installed on the layout. I used Liquid Nails to fix them into the layout.

My research on Muttama has also established that there is a precast concrete fence posts with a metal pole fencing that was placed around the Rest house. Remains of that fencing is still in place today at Muttama.

I decided to scratch build the fencing by using styrene strips and tapering the tops of the fence post to model the actual look with a file. And drill holes on the fence posts to allow threading of the styrene rod which will represent the steal pipe fencing. I will leave the task here for now as it will need to be one of the last items to be installed on the layout when the back scene board gets installed onto the layout.

Only a small volume of work was done on some of my model rail projects. Mostly, focused on getting Muttama gradually worked on.

Precast Concrete piers for the Rest House have been placed and fixed into the layout. The concrete Piers have been Manufactured from Styrene Strip

The perimeter Fencing Precast Concrete Post that have been built from styrene strips are being positioned in place.

The perimeter fencing currently a work in progress.

Rest House perimeter fencing constructed but will be one of the last items to be placed onto the layout. For now it will remain in the double sided masking tape base until that time comes to install it on the layout. Indeed, It should look a bit more straighter than what it looks now.

The back scene board can be finally revealed. I have decided to use another Haskell Backdrop, which is Bonnie Doon, both the A and B (B being the inverted picture) versions.

Excuse the mess on the Workbench, but here is the back scene picture being put in place.

Muttama Railway station now has a back ground scene.

I was on a good roll with Muttama, but needed to draw some attention on a N Scale Project that members of my model rail club was involved with which is the Oberon Extension of the N Scale Exhibition layout of Tarana.

Oberon Pc3 Station Building and CC2 Precast Concrete Water Closet and Lamp Shed

I was requested to help produce the Pc3 Building and the CC2 shed for the Oberon Extension. I only had a limit time schedule to complete these models and basically it was a case that I had to be spot on in each step in producing these models in order to have them completed before the Oberon's first appearance at the Forrestville exhibition. Lets see how that ended up.

Models have been printed and going through the curing process.

Both the Pc3 Station Building and CC2 Building primed up ready to make a pinky seal cast.

Resin casted Models done.

Partially completed models sitting on the partially completed Layout.

The progress of the model at this point where the roof had to be scratched built.

The nearly completed Pc3 Building.

Pc3 Building 95% completed on the Oberon Layout at the Forrestville Exhibition.

Unfortunately, all did not go to plan. Basically, the Roof capping and Finials 3d Print out did not work too well, which meant I had to scratch build the roof capping. However, I was able to cut off the Finials and was able to add them to model. The results worked out well, but the fact that I had to divert form the original plan meant that the CC2 model missed out on getting completed. There are still a couple more items and a little bit of touch up work needed to be done to the Pc3 Building for Oberon to be declared 100% completed, but at least I was able to get the most important item of the Oberon Layout completed in the form that it can be exhibited. Its next showing was at the Canberra Kalleen Exhibition which I will cover on in my next blog.

It should be noted that Tarana and Oberon N Scale layouts will be exhibited at this weekends (6th to 7th of May 2023) Rosehill Exhibition.

On a Final Note, Oberon Station will be celebrating its Centenary for the Tarana to Oberon Branch Line. One of the Planned Events to Celebrate its Centenary will be held a Model Rail Exhibition which will be hosted at the Malachi Gilmore Hall in Oberon during the October Long Weekend.

Tuesday 3 January 2023

Spring 2022 Update

First of all I would like to say a belated Merry Christmas and wish you all a Happy New Year for 2023.

Well that is a different type of update for me for an update, as it has been a bit too infrequent of late on the updates than what it has been in the past.

This has been a combination of factors, work being the main one, which has got in the way of some good progress on the various model rail projects that I have been working on. To sum it up, the spring period has been more of nibbles rather than bites, but it is at least small steps towards completion. Here is what has been happening.

Muttama HO Exhibition Project

Muttama is now the prime project that I'm been keeping focus on mainly due to the fact I do want to be in the position to commit Muttama for upcoming exhibitions for 2023.

Muttama has only got a whole lot of small items to get done in order to get it completed to the point that it can be exhibited.

One of these smaller tasks is to complete the fencing. At the time of writing this post, 95% of the fencing work has been completed with a few refinements need to be made to get it looking right. Placing wired fencing is by no means a fun task to do, but necessary that helps filling areas of the scenery that would have otherwise looked plan. As this is a fiddly task, this also takes time to do especially when I had to thread through ezy wire through the wooden fence post and for the case of the barbed wire fence the modification of addition support posts. But I know that the end result of the fencing will certainly worth it in the end.

Some more fencing work completed.

Once I have finished off the remaining fence work, I will plan to install a couple of gates. More on that hopefully in my next blog.

Goulburn N Scale Convention

I was fortunate at the last minute to get myself to the N Scale Convention at Goulburn back in early October. This Convention was a three day even which started on the Friday and concluded on the Sunday, but due to my busy work schedule, I was only able to commit to the Saturday and Sunday of this event. I should also make not that this my first N scale convention that I have attended.

On the two days of this event, which was held at the Goulburn Race Course, which well facilitated many N Scale Layout Displays, some stores and several clinics made for an eventful weekend.

The highlights of the weekend were some of the presentations, some high quality N scale layouts. It also hosted a N Scale modelling competition, which I had to say that there were many entries put forward which is an encouraging sign that that there are many out there willing to make the time to scratch build either a Line side item or a Locomotive especially in N Scale. At the same time I was disappointed that I did not go to the effort in scratch building a model in N Scale to enter in this competition. Maybe something I need to plan ahead for the next event.

Some of the N Scale layouts on display at the N Scale Convention

Auscission Display of their upcoming N Scale products some soon to be released Models

Just Running Trains For The Fun of It

I have had Narellan setup in the garage over the last few months. One thing I can vouch for, is that I spend more time in building layouts than sitting back and relaxing to run some trains. As I do have a small collection of trains both in N Scale and HO scale, many of my HO collection my may be out of place when I have a running session on Narellan, it is good to sit back and relax on those few windows of rest and relaxation time. All I have to say, it was a pity that Camden line did not continue existence until the 1980's. Even though I would like to keep a strict criteria of prototypical running at exhibitions, I do have to enjoy on what I have worked hard for.

Sunday 25 September 2022

Belated Winter 2022 Update

Yes, it has been a while since I done a Blog post, but I will explain soon what has been happening. But glad to say that I am gradually getting back into the routine with my Railway Modelling efforts.

Running session on my Jindalee N Scale Layout

New Job

Well, as mentioned in one of my previous post that I had some challenges ahead of me on the personal front. In December last year, I was made redundant after many years working for my now previous employer. 5 months into 2022, I was in search in finding my next role. I had to say it was an interesting experience which came along with a few frustrating set backs and was certainly a full time job looking for a job which resulted the hobby of Railway modelling having to take the back seat. 

Fortunately, I was formally offered a Role in May which I accepted.

I know that this diverges away from the topic of Railway Modelling, but it had an impact to the time that I could spend on this hobby along with the uncertainty of what I could actually set as a budget on the hobby moving forward. Furthermore, there was a change of routine needed in adjusting to a new role. 

One thing for sure that I did realise from this experience, even though I enjoyed my last role, it was a job that came with high pressure and can be at times very stressful. I found over the years that railway modelling was a good way to destress myself and exercise my problem solving skills to the challenges that this hobby does put present itself with.

Moving Forward

Im finally getting set into my new routine when it comes to work and working out the time that I can put aside to commit to the hobby. Furthermore, I have been a bit deterred from working in the Garage due to the cold temperatures. But now as it is warming up, I am now finding myself gradually getting back working on my Model Rail Projects. 

Resuming Work On Muttama

This is a project that I should have completed a while ago, but I am in sight in completing this project. It is now down to getting a lot of the smaller items pending completion to be finished. My approach now is to try and work on something at least a 1 hour a day to eventually get Muttama completed. I'm hoping to have this project completed to the point that it can be presentable to be exhibited by the end of this year.

E Z Line solution for the wire fencing.

Just on almost a couple years ago when doing my first lot of line side fences it was suggest to me to consider using onigo boingo wire as it would present a better wired fence look when compared to the craft wire that I got from Spotlight. Unfortunately, I could not find any onigo boingo wire anywhere, but after a few inquiries, I was recommended to get a product called E Z Line. So the first task in a long time on Muttama is to rewire the existing fencing and install the E Z Line alternative. This has so far been a far better solution than what I had in place previous.

The E Z Line fencing solution result.

Removing the craft wire that I used and replacing it with E Z Line has made it into a more convincing looking wire Fence Line. This was simply done by super gluing the E Z Line onto the existing wire, which threaded itself through the holes in the fence post when I was removing it.

I have also decided to also change my original approach with some of the Fence Lines just to provide a bit more of an inconsistent mix. I decided to get a Couple of packets of the Woodland Scenics Barbed Wire fencing which I have placed on the road side. Certainly saves a bit of time (or in my case make up some lost time) in placing in a fence.

I thought to modify the fences to make it more like the road side fencing similar to what is there today.

The roadside fencing adjacent from where the goods siding loop is at Muttama.

First stages of modifying the Woodland Scenics Barbed Wire Fencing.

More wooden fencing posts in place to be eventually fixed in with some E Z wire line to be threaded through. Also working on getting the Gate Keepers Cottage into its final place.

Well it is good to be back into the routine in railway modelling. As for those cold nights in, I have been working on some 3D Drawing projects which are now in the process of being 3D Printed.

3D Printer getting set up for the next lot of 3D projects that I have been working on over the last year.

Looking forward into updating you all soon on some further progress.