Tuesday, August 3, 2010

What's new

G'day and sorry for being a bit slack but I have been busy on several projects that are not rail related mostly to do with the yard and garden but some of it is moving the model club to its new home. The angry midget who lives with my wife and I also celebrated her first birthday recently.
I have nearly finished the layout room I am just waiting for my tax return to get the funds to replace the old garage door with a sliding glass door.
Oh yeh I need some lights too.
I also managed to pick up this really usefull tool (shown below) on ebay, made by Proses Model Railway Accesories it uses magnets to hold kit walls so yo can glue them. You get four in a pack and they even have cut outs so yo can glue around them.

Angry midget with her grandfather on her birthday.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

How to put a Digitrax DCC decoder into a Kato SD70ace.

I put together a short video on how to install a Digitrax DCC decoder in a Kato SD70ace.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Stripping Paint from Models

I have been looking at a few forums about the best way to strip paint safety from models without damaging any details or the plastic. I decided to do some tests on some old atlas rolling stock, one caboose in isopropal alcohol and the other in pine o clean.

The brand I used is 64% alcohol but a mate tells me you can get stronger stuff from over the counter at the chemist. The pine o clean is a household cleaner and comes in several variations but I used the original, I don't think it is anything like pinesol in the U.S.

I found that the alcohol will evaporate if you do not put the model in a air tight container when soaking the model the pine o clean not so much.

After soaking in alcohol some of the thin paint came off with a light scrub with a toothbrush but after a few days the thicker paint would not move. The plastic showed no sighs of damage but after five days some of the thinner edges were a little soft. The pine o clean softened the paint after a hour but the thicker paint would not move just like the alcohol, but I took the caboose out after two days because the plastic was going soft.

The photo below shows the results of the alcohol on the right and the pine o clean on the left.

I picked up a product at the Brisbane Train Show from EFD Simply Glues called X55 paint stripper that is claimed to be safe for all plastics. They are on the net so look them up if you need to do some paint removal. I talked to the owners and was assured it was safe to use on Kato models because some forum talk suggests Kato plastic reacts differently to other plastics.
The photo below shows the cabooses and a hopper after ten minutes in the x55 and a scrub with a toothbrush in warm soapy water.
A bit more of a challenge is this old bachman hopper below with thick paint, the second photo shows the results after twenty minutes and a scrub with a toothbrush.

Some of the paint is still there after a rub with a toothpick but not too bad for a very heavy paint job. The detail is unharmed but I did do some damage with the dremel when I tried moving the last of the paint with the soft rotating brush.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


I have been doing alot of small jobs for the past few weeks that don't take up too much time so I do not get too bored and my wife does not get angry with me. The photo below shows some of the wagons I spent an afternoon weathering, at the moment I am on a covered hopper and mechanical reefer buying cycle. I have all the coal hoppers I need so all I am chasing now are wagons for the way freight to switch industries with.
From Tropical N Scale

Below you can see the progress on the flour mill and and one of the two pipe loads I constructed both are not finished yet but the loads only need to be tied down. The mill needs a bit more work then I will construct the out buildings.
And finally the layout room, most of the sanding is done and the trim has been fitted.

Friday, February 26, 2010


My dad and I put up the ceiling sheets in the garage with the aid of a lifting device I rented for the day. It was well worth the $55 I spent and saved a lot of lifting and swearing. It will take a bit more time to fill in the gaps and cornices before I can paint the ceiling but at least the project is underway and the room looks great. So far it has cost about $320 in materials but it increases the value of the house, that's what I tell my wife anyway.

A little late but here is Pha and Alisha on Christmas morning with something every little girl wants for Christmas, when you press the smoke stack the whistle sounds and it chuff's along the floor about two meters playing music. It has encouraged her to start crawling too chase after it

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Doing the ceiling

Dad and I have started doing the ceiling in the train room, my dad has never seen the pont in my facination for model trains but none the less he is giving me a hand with finishing the room off. He is retired now and it gets him out of mums hair for one day a week. The battens are up and I will be picking up the ceiling sheets tomorrow, thank god for nail guns.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


The last week or so I have been assembeling a Walthers G.E.O Roberts Printing kit after a false start painting the brick work I just painted the exterior one colour because of the time and difficulty.
The kit goes together really well but when you glue the sides together you have to file away some of the interior window mouldings to get the sides to fit together properly. It will be a flour mill on my layout with silos and loading area for the bulk hoppers and boxcars for bagged flour.
I have also been thinking about the theme of the layout so I have decided to model a fictisious subdivision of the Southern Pacific. To add to the mix it will not be overtaken by Union Pacific. It will be named the Boyne River Subdivision after the Boyne River near my home here in Australia.

Monday, February 1, 2010


Due to a tropical low dumping almost 250mm of rain in the last two days I have done some indoors work on the planning of the layout. With the plans I had made I put an outline down on the garage floor to test clearances and was surprised by a few things. I have redesigned the peninsula to extend less than before to give 75cm of room between it and the other side of the layout. I have also made more room for the helix by extending the layout by 50cm on that side.

This is the new plan I drew up today a little bit different but the width of the shelves in the same, below is a photo of the markings on the floor I used to test some clearances.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

N scale digger and crane (nearly)

On a recent trip to Rocky (Rockhampton for all you non Queenslanders) I spotted these models in 1/150 scale in one of the cabinets of the Capricorn Model House, for such a small scale they have great detail and just look at the cabs. The first one is a Komatsu excavator that is fully adjustable and has two sets of rams (one long, one short) for different boom heights. The image below has the short rams attached an as you can see looks great on the flat wagon.

The photo below is the self propelled crane that comes in two separate configurations I chose the one with the extended boom the other model has the boom retracted.

This is the box the models are packed in, the one catch is you don't know which model you have until you open the box.

Ok here it is with the boom assembled you even get a little red hook if you want to string up a load, for a height comparison I have added a Walthers grain silo. I love this model its bloody awesome.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Track Plan Top Level

I have got around to sorting the top level out, it will be 43cm wide for the entire length with a 120cm wide perninsula in the middle of the room. Once around that the line heads to the helix down to the lower level. The line up will join the top level on the left of the entry so I will need two lift sections (top and bottom levels) to get trains across the gap.
Due to the construction method there wont be many large geographical features on the top deck, I will leave that for the bottom deck where I have more room to play with. The track plan will be developed when I draw in the supports under the deck. I could have used more of the space for the layout but I wanted plenty of room for people to operate the layout.