Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Small Retaining Wall Build

 Back again!

When I first started drawing 3D signals that were available through my Shapeways Signals Branch shop the range was initially in the sintered nylon powder previously called White Strong and Flexible and now called Versatile Plastic by Shapeways. The signal detail parts were in Fine Detail Plastic. At the time I bought enough signals to signal my BYLONG layout. It was later that I redrew the signals for the Fine Detail Plastic and then Lost Wax Brass. So, I have been building my signals but upgrading them with fine ladders and wire handrails, etc. They don't look too bad at all, at least from a normal viewing distance.

I have been working on a triple bracket lower quadrant signal for my Wollar station yard on and off for some time in between making brass NSWGR signals for other modellers and I recently decided I had better finish it.

Here are some recent signals made from my range of locally produced lost wax brass signals.

Contact me by email at rpilgrim@bigpond.net.au if you wish to know more information about my range of signals or about ordering from my range, either signal kits or made up signals.

I cut off the existing crank-style mechanism and replaced it with a triple linear servo base as the under baseboard location of the signal was difficult to access. The linear servos were being driven by Tam Valley Singlet II servo boards that also have a DCC accessory decoder. The Singlet II boards were going to be mounted just under the front of the layout for easy access with one of the LEDs on each board being extended to the fascia. The reason for the visible LEDs was to show the position of the three arms as the actual signal could only be seen from the side. In doing this I also had to source some longer servo cables which I did through the Model Railroad Craftsman at Blacktown NSW.

Now, the location for the signal required the removal of some scenery from a low embankment in a box shape so I decided to draw up and 3D print a three-sided retaining wall made of sleepers and rail.

I had previously drawn a long retaining wall made of sleepers and rail for my layout so I modified that to suit.

Here is the retaining wall temporarily in place after trimming the scenery to size.

And here is the final placement of the retaining wall after painting the vertical rails with an old rust colour and using black powder on the grey plastic for the wood sleepers.

A nice afternoon's work I think.

The signal has had the throw of the signal arms adjusted and set by the Tam Valley Singlet II boards and it has been screwed in place. Unfortunately though as can be seen from the last photo above, I have to remove it and glue the large painted cast-iron brackets under the bracket platform, too excited to get it in place for sure.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

A Recent Visitor to BYLONG

 A few weeks ago my BYLONG layout had an interesting visitor, the engineering sample of the Casula Hobbies Z19.

The model ran very smoothly and is geared down to a very respectable low top speed typical of the prototype. I didn't measure the speed but it appears to be no more than about a scale 40 mph. Slow speed running at DCC speed step one was impressive as well. The detail level is fantastic!

I have the Baldwin tender 1957 with cowcatcher and sound on order for my Cassilis branch line. The branch line is not fenced so the cowcatcher is needed. My Wombat C30T is the current branch locomotive but it doesn't have a cowcatcher, something I may have to remedy in the future.

Friday, December 18, 2020

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

 OK, one post all year and this one is the second, slack! The current worldwide situation seems to have changed my focus to things other than model railways. At the start of the COVID-19 problem, I thought that this would be a good opportunity to get back to my layout but I have done basically nothing, not sure why. Although, I have made a number of signals for modellers and that certainly took me away from some hobby projects that I was interested in doing. I did make a start on a new project recently and I had another one on the go towards the end of last year, but they can wait until the new year for a post.

Anyway, I hope that everyone has enjoyable and safe Christmas and New Year celebrations.

Here is an older layout photo but one that I really like. Bylong station yard has a few more signals these days.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

At last, Another Post!

To say that 2020 has been an interesting year would be an understatement!

Bush fires and COVID-19 have certainly kept us occupied and focussed.

Unfortunately, I can't blame either or both for my lack of blog posts. I haven't managed to get any work done on the layout at all although I had great expectations of achieving a lot.

The reason comes down to that other 'small' interest of mine, my Signals Branch hobby business.

I really like designing 3D models and I keep having ideas about what would be fun to do.

Anyway, for an update of what I have been doing please hop over to my Signals Branch blog to find out.

Here is a teaser or two.

There are a lot more photos of other new signals and information on my Signals Branch blog.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Wishing All a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

The Cassilis Goods is waiting for the signal so it can make the last run out along the branch before Christmas.

Best wishes from Ray and Christine

Monday, November 11, 2019

A Fun Week of Modelling

Back Story

About a year ago I finally bought a Wombat Models Drumhead Smokebox C30T with the 6 wheel tender when there were very few left. It was a bit of an on the spot decision.

My problem was that I wanted/needed a bogie tender version for my Cassilis Branch and Wombat hadn't announced an intention to do the bogie version at the time.

So my idea was to pinch the tender from one of my Eureka Models D50s and replace it with an etched turret tender as I had both a Lloyds kit and an Andian kit.

After launching my new Australian made brass NSWGR Lower Quadrant signals recently I decided that the time had come to attack the C30T. Email me for information regarding ordering (rpilgrim@bigpond.net.au).

The first step was to open up the 6 wheel tender to remove the 8 pin tender/loco connector that I would use on the sound decoder in the D50 tender. I had saved some wiring information for the 6 wheel tender/loco connector that Gerry Hopkins had posted some time ago on a Facebook group for reference.

Wombat Models C30T 6 Wheel tender Wiring by Gerry Hopkins
The sound decoder was a 21 pin Soundtraxx Tsunami 2 Steam 2 which was nice and small. Then the issue was identifying the correct wiring to connect the 21 pins to the 8 pin tender/loco connector. I used a 21 pin diagram I found in the ESU Loksound 4 Manual and cross referenced this with both Gerry's wiring for the C30T 6 wheel tender/ loco connector and the Tsunami 2 decoder. I made up a table including the correct wire colours to ensure that I didn't get my 'wires crossed'. I used an ESU 51967 21MTC Adapter Board to plug the decoder into and solder the various wires to the 8 pin tender/loco connector.

I removed the QSI Titan, speaker, etc. from the Eureka Models D50 tender for later inclusion in the etched Turret tender.

I also wired in a TCS KA2 Keep Alive and a Model Railroad Craftsman Micro Boost 'sugar cube' speaker with 13 x 17 x 7 mm enclosure that I have had for a few years. All components were held in place with some 'BluTak' (actually orange).

A rectangular hole was cut into the front wall of the D50 tender below the small floor section for the wires to exit the tender. The connections between the C30T and the tender were pushed into a space below the C30T cab at the rear of the chassis.

One thing I do with loco/tender connections either wired through or with plug/socket connections is to use a 2 mm button die (available from JayCar 11-2019) and put some threads on the tender pin and then use a nut to retain the loco connection bar to stop it from coming off the pin when handling the model. The pin was unscrewed from the tender, held in a pin vice that was then held in a bench vice and the 2 mm die was then used to cut about 2 good threads onto the lower end of the pin.

Keeping the loco and tender together retains the connectors in the rear of the chassis so that they don't get caught between the loco and tender.

The nut and the plug/socket can be seen in this photo
Now, the C30T bogie tenders came from D50's originally but the rear wall of the coal bunker area was moved about 18 inches forward to make room for the two air tanks and a larger tool box. Incidentally, the brass C30T does not have this moved rear bunker wall, it is still modelled in the D50 position.

The rear wall is actually on a separate coal load casting in the Eureka Models D50 tender. I carefully removed this casting so that I could cut the wall off it. Be aware though that this casting seems to be of the slippery plastic not polystyrene so is  a bit difficult to cut away. As can be seen from the photo below I cut vertically down through the coal load flush with the inner side of the wall using a Xacto fine modellers saw.

Coal load with rear wall and small tool box removed

Rear coal area wall cut off
I then used some 1/4 inch by 20 thou. Evergreen polystyrene strip for the sloping coal bunker floor and and glued the wall and coal load in place as per the photo below. This piece of floor on the prototype is sloping as the original coal bunker floor was not changed.

Part of the coal load cut away to allow the wall to be placed

By this stage I was a couple of days into the re-build and it was time to do something about the two air tanks and the tool box. I took about 3-4 hours to draw up the three parts and then it took two runs of 3D prints to get them to fit mainly due to the large air tank sloping floor under it. Now I was making headway!

At this stage I decided that I wasn't too interested in bending up the piping that goes over the side of the tender from the air tanks but I knew that not all (but most) had the piping like that. I had a Tim Arnot photo of 3036 in Broadmeadow loco depot in 1966 which showed the pipes going through the tender side above the water tank part. Another undated photo by A R Astle on a mixed near Sandy Hollow indicated that 3036 would be suitable for my Bylong line.

3036 at Broadmeadow 1966-09-12 - Photo by Tim Arnot

3036 on a mixed near Sandy Hollow - Undated Photo by A R Astle
I printed a C30T funnel and steam dome (available in Fine Detail Plastic or Raw Brass from my Signals Branch Shapeways shop) and replaced the supplied funnel and dome.

As the supplied whistle was a poor representation I used a Protype whistle I had from way back in the 1980's when I did a Z13 etched brass kit. I also had a generator from an Austrains C30 that replaced the supplied one.

Lastly I added a pair of locomotive jacks from the Stephen Johnson detail parts range to the front of the footplate next to the smokebox.

I mounted a cut down Kadee No. 16 coupler on the front of the loco using a piece of Kadee No. 5 box lid as a spacer and screwing into the mounting of the hook buffer section.

The coupler fouled the front bogie so I cut off the front bogie protrusion (same as the rear section - see photo) and put a fine screw to hold the top and bottom of the bogie together.

I also added some sheet lead to the underside of the bogie, front and back of the pivot as added insurance.

Next came numbering. It will be noted that I managed to remove the last two cab side numbers and I did this with Easy Lift Off and a wooden toothpick by carefully rubbing just on the existing 'painted' numbers. I added brass numbers to the cab, yellow numbers to the rear of the tender and small white numbers to the buffer beam. Note, I didn't attempt to change the front buffer beam from timber to the correct steel version, maybe some other time.

I hit the C30T with some flat grey/black paint followed by matt clear to finish. I will weather it at some time but not as bad as in the 1966 photo.

The print layer lines aren't really visible from the usual viewing distance
Here is a video of the C30T hauling a test load both down grade and upgrade on my layout. If you listen to the sound it makes you can see that the chuff drops away when going down hill but chuffs loudly when climbing near the end of the video.

The load behind the C30T is actually 50 ton over the maximum allowed for a C30T on a 1 in 40 grade which is what the ruling grades are on my layout. So the Wombat Models C30T pulls more than the prototype.

The load in the video was a train from my Cassilis branch line which is flat so load wise, all good. Also, the CV and PV in the load are old whitemetal Protype wagons on first run Austrains S truck underframes.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Post AMRA Exhibition Brass Signal Update

Well, I sold all 24 brass NSWGR HO lower quadrant signals over the three days of the weekend exhibition and would like to thank all those who showed their interest.

I had eight operational built and painted signals and sixteen signal kits.

Brass operational and painted Right Hand Bracket Signal

Operational built and painted brass signals

Sixteen signal kits ready to go - Note the brass signal post, signal parts,
mechanism with hardware and the cast brass ladder
My little stand on the Eureka Models stand - Thanks Ron
I did note that the use of a timber stand meant that I was asked a number of times if the signals worked as the mechanisms could not be seen, a learning thing. Next time I will have a perspex stand.

I can accept orders by email for large or small numbers of signals and will be able to supply the signals with a choice of signal arm lengths. The signals I have in this locally produced line are 27 foot post single arm, 23 foot post single arm, left hand bracket and right hand bracket. So if a bracket signal is required with a 39 inch main line arm and a 36 inch arm or alternatively a 30 inch arm for a loop then this can be ordered and accommodated.

Email me at: rpilgrim@bigpond.net.au for more information or to order.

I also had a number of requests asking if I was going to produce N Scale signals, 7mm Scale signals and Upper Quadrant signals.

The N Scale signals will definitely be looked at and do look possible.

Unfortunately however, the 7mm Scale signals would be too tall for the casting equipment.

Upper Quadrant signal kits are available in the Gordon Box brand at Casula Hobbies or from the advertisement in the latest Australian Journal of Railway Modelling magazine (Issue Number 12 page 47).

The next few HO brass signals will be a timber post Distant signal, a 23 foot steel tube post single arm signal and left and right bracket steel tube signals.

23 Ft Steel Post Signal - 3D Render

Steel Post LH Bracket Front - 3D Render

Steel Post LH Bracket Rear - 3D Render
I will endeavor to introduce more signals as the brass signal order uptake increases.

The cost of doing each signal locally is not small so the more unusual signals such as the under-slung type, Werris Creek platform starting bracket signal and some others will likely have to be ordered from my Signals Branch shop.