Monday, September 21, 2009

Track Plan

I have finally got around to sorting out the track plan, It is based upon a single level plan that appeared in Model Railroader. It fits perfectly into my space and there is room for a helix up to the second level without exceeding the space I have avaliable. I have also decided to construct the layout in a domino style inspired by Mark Lestico and his Cascade Sub so If I have to move the layout I will not have to destroy it in the process. This is the outline of the bottom level at the moment with the upper level to come at a later date. The track plan will not be the same all around the bottom deck but will be similar. The loop up the helix to the top deck will be on the outside and the track down will be on the inside of the helix.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Wiring and DCC

I have made a two part video to help people with the instalation of a T.C.S decoder into a Life-like GP60, hope you like it.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Painting and Weathering

Here is a tip I thought up the other day when I found some foam blocks for another project, I cut a notch out of the top and use them to hold models for airbrushing. It gives access to three sides of the model and you can have two at once or with a larger square design you could have four. While you are waiting for the paint to dry you just pick up the foam and start painting another set of models. The foam also catches alot of the overspray, creating less mess and fumes.

The other is a milk frother for stirring paint, I got mine at a kitchen shop but have since found cheaper ones at Ikea for $2. Mine cost about $7 and fits into most model paint jars with no problems, don't worry about the froth bit because the paint is thicker than milk it wont froth up.

Saturday, April 25, 2009


I have spent alot of time thinking about how I can construct a sturdy two level layout in a modular form that wont have to be destroyed if I have to move in the future. I have come up with a domino type of construction with independant supports from the floor and not the walls. The top level will have a maximum width of 17 inches which is more than ample for N scale and the bottom deck will be about 28 inches in width. This will allow me to easily reach the back of the top level without my body touching the bottom deck. I did most of the measurements today with a mock up of the layout deck supports. The photo below shows how the top module will be attached to the support brace which is two 40x20's glued and screwed into a L dirder shape to make a straight and strong support. The deck supports are 12 mm ply cut 80 mm high with 20x40 mm stringers on the bottom. The stringers are screwed to the supports and limit the movement of the deck supports as well.

This photo shows the top deck supports which are 17 inches apart, being a test rig there was a little movement due to the clamps but with my weight tugging on it it was very stable. I think with more supports and vertical braces the movement will disappear on the modules and the addition of 12mm ply for the top deck will eliminate the horizontal flexing.
This photo shows how I worked out the deck heights from the floor and the height of the backdrop on the top level, Iused a variety of buildings and rolling stock to get it right. The top deck will be 148 cm from the floor and the bottom will be 98 cm.

The project named Alisha was finally delivered about a week and a half past the estimated completion date by my construction partner on the 30/06/09. Having been an enthusiastic participant in the project in its initial stages once firmly established my partner lost enthusiasm for my continued effort to get the project underway when it was well and truly obvious construction was near completion. Even though project delivery was smooth my partner has chosen at this stage to cancel the second and third option at this stage.

The photos show the garage as it is today as you can see I have painted the walls and started to clean the floor for painting. The above photo was taken from the door to the yard at the back of the house. As you can see there is a bit of work to do to put in the ceiling and close in the space. The photo below was take near the garage door you can see the temporary shelf brackets I installed to work out the height the decks are going to be. It is my intention to have the room finished in a few months to provide a comfortable space to build and operate the layout.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Building a Spray Booth

First I built the "Booth" out of cheap MDF wood 600 x 600 mm square with a hole in the top towards the rear for the exhaust fan.The exhaust fan and vent kit.
I then installed the prewired 16w fluro light on to the front skirting board then screwed the board into place.

I then mounted the fan unit.
I got some sticky velcro dots to hold the prefilter over the vents face plate.
It may not be pretty but it does the job and cost about $125 to build.

Monday, March 9, 2009


While I wait for construction to begin I have been detailing and weathering some of my models to enhance their overall apperance. The boxcar above has recieved a little bit of dust and grime around the wheels and a spray of dullcoat.
This G.N hopper car has got some spill stains added to the roof and sides and a spray all over with dullcoat.
This well car has recieved some graffiti decals and some dullcoat.
I wanted to have a milatary train for a while now but suitable modes are hard to find and expensive. On a trip to Thailand I found many of these models by Dragon from their pocket army series. The two above are Bradley I.F.V's and cost 45 Baht each.
Same wagon but this time two M.R.L.S in desert comoflage.
A Abrams tank on a flatcar, I know that a more prototypical situation would be two such tanks on a DODX six axle flat but they are a bit hard to come by. I think overall that when at war the army will use any wagons avaliabe to transport equipment.
A Kato SD45 with plough,hoses, sideshades and decals added poses, I love the way these things run like a Swiss watch.
Last but not least a bulkhead flatcar with a plate steel load and weathered.