Thursday, June 16, 2011

An Interesting Challenge

Well, I didn't have much time last Saturday for a quick trip to the Epping Exhibition but managed to sneek in almost 2 hours between 11:00am and 1:00pm. I had a big weekend ahead of me with family flying in from Townsville for a BBQ on Saturday afternoon and into the evening and a christening on the Sunday. I really wanted to get there to pick up the latest Australian Journal of Railway Modelling, check out the Austrains 4 wheel oil tankers and Anton's OZ KIT 3 stall NSWGR roundhouse kit (and the layouts of course).

I thought that Geoff Knott's scenery clinic was sensational and teaching the kids and others how to do it was a great idea. Bowen Creek was back and what a great layout. I wanted to catch up with Andrew Campbell and Ian Millard but they didn't seem to be around each time I passed, sorry fellas, next time. There were a number of other interesting layouts as well but others have covered the exhibition well so I will leave it alone.

First AJRM was a delight, especially so when I found reference to my Bylong layout and this blog. I think Brad may have a rather inflated view of operations on Bylong. We do operate and I try to build in as many aspects of the NSWGR as I can without getting to the difficult bits. I think a balance needs to found between the 100% prototypically correct operations and enjoying yourself. Of course there will always be those who strive for the ultimate in any endeavour, me I'm an 80% plus man.

I checked out the Austrains 4 wheel tank cars but was disappointed to see that the Shell version was not available due to difficulties with obtaining permission from Shell. I was also concerned about the poor detail on the chassis, particularly the axle boxes. Now I know that these are the Austrains Basix range but it isn't any harder to get the axle box looking correct, the cost of the die doesn't change with extra detail. I have since found out that the tanker is about 86grams in weight which is way too much and would potentially have caused me problems when banking trains from the rear up the grades on Bylong. I can't afford to have the wagons jakknife and derail as at one point there is a 1200mm drop to a concrete floor for about 2400mm on a 100mm wide roadbed inside a tunnel. It could be difficult to reduce the mass as it will be inside the tank I guess and opening it up without damage could be problematical. When banking it is best that all wagons are of a similar mass in ratio to their length and I use the 2 grams/foot of body length formula which works well to give suitable prototypical train lengths for our model NSWGR steam locomotives. On this basis the wagon would be about 20 ft so 40 grams is the mass I would be after. It can be difficult to get this amount of weight into an open wagon like an S truck. I am currently doing a survey of models that are or have been available and will publish when I have it together.

I also checked out Anton's engine shed and decided that it should work nicely with the 75ft turntable of his that I have installed at Wollar. So $285 later I headed for home. I did take a few photos but will not post any as they just didn't work, exhibitions are not the place to take good photos.

Now, the challenge.

I opened the kit on Sunday night and spread out the parts, very impressive bit of casting in polyurethane. After a little while the penny dropped! This kit was made for the turntable alright but with the track arrangement as per the prototype which is 60 ft from the edge of the turntable pit to the front of the shed and my tracks were shorter due to a lack of space!

I pondered this for a couple of hours and came to the conclusion that I could extend the existing tracks about 50mm off the rear and could get the shed front 50ft from the pit. OK, so far so good, this kept the back walls the correct width (which would be impossile to change anyway) but the front post spacing would have to be thinner due to the closer placement. I worked out that I could thin down the openings between the front posts and still manage to make it look OK.

Monday morning came all rainy and wet so with nothing to do I sat down and started. The instructions need some work requiring a bit of careful interpretation and the supplied proof sheets of photos weren't much better as they were a bit muddy and needed to be bigger (maybe when Anton gets his web site working again he could make the photos available for downloading). After a careful read and study I began and followed the instructions as best I could keeping in mind that I was changing things. I couldn't use the floor pieces or the supplied inspection pits and these are used as a base to build off!

I carefully worked out the placement of the lower wall pieces on the layout and Super glued them together with a piece of balsa across the front opening. I now had a semi-rigid 'base' to work from.

I followed the instructions after this and everything proceeded very well. After about 10 hours work I had the frame as in this photo.

I managed to find a few photos of this shed style and the Lithgow shed photos below were a bonus as the end wall and some stalls had been removed and there are pictures of the inside (EDIT: The pictures are from Graham H's flickr site, I hope you don't mind Graham - Thanks Darren for the link). I also found some inside shots of the Cowra shed on the Intranet.

When I studied the Lithgow ones I saw the suspended lighting, now here is a challenge I thought. Needless to say the shed construction has paused while I work out the lighting, nothing would look better than to have the inside lit with the dropped lights as per the prototype. So this is where I am at in the build so far.