Saturday, 11 September 2021


Latest update

It's been well over twelve months since my last blog. It's just easier to update on the various Facebook groups, but then the posts are hard to find down the track.

Since my last spiel in May, 2020, progress has included:

  • June 2020
    • Christened Roy's BBQ
Molly waits expectantly for Chef Roy to provide a treat

With Roy, David & Mr X
    • 4304 sound chip fitted and mods done to split up the marker lights

  • July 2020
    • 5595 returned to service by Gary Gentle - including fitting of non-sound chip
    • Boat shed emptied ready for renovation
    • Social weekend with the "Beyond Bitumen" crew, accompanied by Hoges
Gunzel412 at Carcoar
  • August 2020
    • farewelled the 2016 Outlander, welcomed a new one
      • the last duty of the old Outlander was to pick up a layout acquired for cannibalisation for parts to be used on Weddin Jct
Collecting "Merriwa" from Gary's place, with a car trailer hired for the purpose because my 8'x5' box trailer was too short
  • went chasing C class in the snow with Hoges
C/C/BRM/C at Wallerawang
  • September 2020
    • Boat shed renovation completed, allowing stripping of workshop
    • Alison & the kids visited for a few days
  • October 2020
    • Road trip to Lightning Ridge & Pokataroo with Glenn Ryan, Richard Lane & John Gray,  then on to Brewarrina, Cobar & "The Overflow" on my own

The new Gunzel412 at the Lucas Bridge on the Castlereagh, between Gilgandra & Mendooran

"Glencoe", former Lucas property on the Castlereagh near Gilgandra

With John Richard & Glenn, "on location" at the film set for The Goddess of 1967, Lightning Ridge. The building was destroyed in a freak storm in December, 2020.

Sheepyards Pub

Our convoy at Pokataroo

How's the serenity? Kayaking on the Barwon at Brewarrina

LBK84, on Cato, south of Narran Lake, east of Brewarrina

LBK84, on "Cato"

LBK84 on "Cato"

Between Brewarrina and Wave Hill

Girilambone, under restoration

Girilambone loading gauge

Tourist shot

B61/4532 approaching Nyngan with a ballast train

Near Nymagee, en route to "The Overflow"

At the gates of "The Overflow" - mission accomplished!

Mens' quarters, "The Overflow"

Chasing coal trains on the Ulan line

Chasing coal trains on the Ulan line
    • turned 50 - a great day out aboard "The Picnic Train" to Kiama with train & work friends - and received a Eureka 5096 in recognition of the big day!
      Aboard "The Picnic Train" ready to depart
  • November 2020
    • "Beyond Bitumen" postponed from March and May finally eventuated, joined by Hoges & Phil Howchin
    • Phil in the pilot's seat, Hoges "calling the road"

      At Lucas Lane, Coolamon
      Beer o'clock at Ettamogah
      Called in at Pete's Hobby Railway on our way home

      Kev welcomed us aboard & fired up a CLP for a bit of V16 fun
  • December 2020
    • cleared some space in the shed to store Alison's furniture during her transition to a new home in South Australia
      • luck the layout building had not commenced!
    • Alison & the kids stayed for a couple of weeks to try to simplify their entry to SA by moving out of Greater Sydney
      Kate busy with my 50th birthday gift from the Polish contingent
  • January 2021
    • Family moved
    • Repaired the silo from the Wyong club layout
      Repaired load-out chute
    • Did some gunzelling in the upper Hunter
    • Independent FR994 completed - my "Corona Challenge" project
    • Scratchbuilt interior for FR994

      Interior for FR994

      Interior installed in FR994

      Underframe detail of FR994

      Roof detail of FR994

      Basking in the sun

      Basking in the sun

    • Repaired the underframe of HCX1187 & replaced a missing door handle
    • Making replacement door handle - after first repairing the jig!

      New handle installed in HCX1187

      Reinforcing beams for the floor of the HCX

      This'll stiffen it up!

      Clamped overnight while the araldite set

    • School train worked by 3250, comprising FR994/HCX1187 running on "Upper Hunter"
    • 3250 with the school train at Branxton

      School train crossing the Paterson River

      School train at Woongarrah
  • Fitted a CTRL-P replacement tender underframe to ARM 3806
Disassembled, and noise-suppression cap removed for DCC conversion

Painting the underframe & bogies

Components for extra pick-ups

Preparing bogies for securing of pick-ups

Drilling the tender weight for additional pick-up wires

CTRL-P tender underframe drilled for pick-up wires, rubbing blocks removed

CTRL-P tender bogies with extra pick-ups fitted

New underframe ready for detailing

Adding brake rodding to tender underframe

Painting the pick-ups to disguise them

Painting the buffer-beam

Threading the pick-up wires through the underframe & weight

Re-assembled tender underframe
    • started work on the necessary mods to give it marker & headlights, following Gerry Hopkins MMR's technique, with some additional insights from Chris Lord & Michael Hobson
    • One white and one red SMD LED fitted for tender marker lights, with 1k ohm SMD resistors on the PCB strips

      Fitting fibre optics for the tender marker lights

      Shortening the smokebox weight to make space for the headlight & marker light SMD LEDs & fibre optics

      Drilling the smokebox door for the headlight and marker lights. Ultimately, the markers were replaced with Kerroby white metal ones

      Drilling out the tender markers for the fibre optics
    • A great Australia Day catch-up with mates from the NSW School Railways Clubs' Assoc at Roy's
      With David, Matthew, Mr. X and Roy

      Still playing with trains!

      My Minimodels four-car sets at Bradfield

      Chef Roy turned on a suitably-themed pav for Australia day

    • Made a start on breaking up "Merriwa", a bit of a shame to undo the work of other modellers, but that was the reason for its acquisition
      • The John Holland crew has been busy dismantling the yard at Merriwa
      • Had I not decided on a junction station and stuck with my original plan of a branchline terminus, things might have been different...
    • Ferry gunzelling
  • February 2021
    • removed the dodgy reed switch from 5096 that was causing continual decoder resets
5096's tender, with offending reed switch removed

5096 running on Upper Hunter

Heading for Ray's Gap

About to attack the helix
  • more work on the lighting for 3806 - surface-mount LEDs and resistors etc
Ozzy headlight & smokebox door wheel, Kerroby marker lights fitted

Bi-colour SMD LEDs fitted to rear of smokebox door

Bi-colour SMD LEDs attached to rear of smokebox door, with short pieces of fibre optic inserted through the drilled-out marker lights. Golden wight SMD LED fitted to headlight, which ahs been painted with a silver paint pen for reflective purposes

1k ohm SMD resistors prepared for headlight & marker lights
  • won a prize as the best Michael Portillo look-alike at a fun BBQ hosted by Matt & Genevieve
With Matt, Gen, Dom, Hoges & Polish Richard, and our Portillo alter-egos, complete with Bradshaw's guides
  • March 2021
    • attended the inaugural running session at Dave Xuereb's "Holsville & Coronavale Railway" - great pizza, once again Mr X!
A foreign interloper lurks in the yard
  • April 2021
    • joined the layout tour organised by my local NMRA members
    • visited Alison & the kids in Victor Harbor - first excursion outside NSW in eighteen months!
      • managed to get a bit of steam action while there
One horsepower tram approaching Granite Island

Rx heading towards Port Elliott

Rx arriving at Goolwa
  • May 2021
    • spent a day with the boys from the Guildford MRC photographing their model of Goulburn
    • Chased 3801 to Mt Victoria aboard an ex-PTC Atlantean double-decker
    • The Cade

      Top deck view at Blackheath

    • took 5595 for a run on Paul Morcom's Picton & Goulburn layout
5595 with a down goods at Picton
    • Completed the 2021 "Beyond Bitumen" event with Hoges & Phil
Approximately 20 creek crossings in a very short stretch south of Tamworth on Day !


The Water Diviner, Barraba

Leaving Armidale on Day 3
  • June 2021
    • another operating session at Mr X's place - and more pizza!
      • he was working on extending the mainline run onto the central peninsula
What a crew!
  • July 2021
    • more progress on 3806, fitting detail parts from Ozzy and Kerroby
Ozzy cylinder cocks

Ozzy regulator

Ozzy regulator linkage

Ozzy regulator, turbine & regulator linkage

Ozzy tender filler light, after modification to shorten it to match the conduit

Threading the wires to connect the chip in the tender to the various lights and speaker in the engine
  • August 2021
    • managed to get the speaker & chip fitted to 3806, re-assembled and load Chris Lord's sound project
Reducing the height of the weight to accommodate the speaker immediately below the funnel
    The thinned-down weight with polyester tape applied for insulation

    Speaker acquired for an Auscision 48, but surplus to requirements, cut down to fit into the smokebox on top of the weight
      • stripped out the workshop ready for renovation
    Inside the workshop, facing south, before stripping the lining

    Inside the workshop, facing north, after stripping the lining from the walls. Layout room to the left

    Inside the layout room, facing east, after stripping the lining ... termite mud everywhere, but no active ones seen - so far!
    • September 2021
      • finished the handrails on SHG22589, added the toilet glazing

    Guard's end

    Passenger end

    The Wyong District MRC operating sessions are in abeyance again due to the lockdown, but we're hopeful of resuming on a capped / rostered attendance basis as things ease. Following images from are running sessions earlier in the year, including "International Day".
    3004T goes for a spin at Barrington

    3250 drops downgrade and over the Paterson River with an NCR set in tow
    3004T with a pass at Woongarrah

    Strange bedfellows at Branxton Loco

    Peoples' Liberation Army arrives in Barrington

    Big power in the form of a QJ 2-10-2 passing Barrington

    The QJ has departed Broadmeadow yard and heads for Branxton

    SMR 22 with a rake of empties

    Miscellaneous modelling has included more truss rods for Roy's DUB Set 63, and repairs to the pick-ups on one of his Minimodels single-deck power cars, as well as completing detailing on my RUB set 140.
    Ozzy turnbuckles - ends drilled out for phosphor-bronze wire

    Turnbuckles soldered to phosphor-bronze truss rods

    Truss rods fitted

    Truss rods fitted

    Pinning a broken pick-up on one of Roy's single deck power cars

    Scratchbuilt headstock / gangway floor (right)

    Fitting scratchbuilt headstock

    Sydney end buffing plate fitted

    Comparison between diaphragm springs before and after fettling to fit

    Diaphragm spring in place

    SBS interior

    RUB Set interiors going through the paint shop at the Miranda Car & Waggon Works

    Well, it's taken a while to actually get this post done - including investing in a new laptop, as the work one now has too many impediments to personal use installed by Corporate IT - such as blocking access to post to FB and Blogspot!

    Hopefully the lockdown will soon be over so we can get back to layout visits, exhibitions and bricks & mortar hobby shops!

    Stay safe, stay well, get vaxxed.

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