Wednesday, 14 September 2011

The Kawarren Project...

As I mentioned earlier, one of my main modelling interests is in Victorian Railways narrow gauge operations, primarily the operations of the Beech Forest line, or "The Beechy".  One of the points along that line was a stop called "Kawarren", located about 20km from Colac.  From a modelling perspective, it was an interesting point along the line due to the unusual shape of the goods shed there (with the added on covered loading side), and the way it was a meeting point for a 2'7" horse tramway (pictured above) that delivered lime from the nearby lime pits, as well as a couple of other timber tramway lines converging as a delivery point for loading to the narrow gauge line. 

I have intentions to bring this part of the Beechy to life as a future exhibition layout.  I am not setting any deadlines on this one though, as I have several hundred gum trees to make, as well as all the locomotives and rolling stock.  I started with what will likely be the only structures on the layout, with the goods shed and mallee shed ("station" of sorts), and have built them into a diorama, which is about 50cm x 50cm.  One of the other reasons for doing this diorama was to also have a testing piece for the gum trees I'd been making.  They had previously just been on storage boards, so it was nice to see how well they worked on a proper scenic piece.  I'll upload a couple of quick pics of the diorama now, but there is still a fair bit of final detailing to add to the scene (such as NQR 203, as in the photos above, and some more stuff stored around the shed, like wagon tarps and misc goods).  It will remain as a diorama for some time, but is intended that it will eventually become the focal point of the future layout.  The figure is one of the MK35 guys that I mentioned in a previous posting, with the horse one of Ian Lindsay's fine castings.  It was a fun and challenging one to build, since as a stand alone structure, all the attention was going to be on it, so I detailed it as finely as possible.  Where able, I have tried to match the boards to the photos (as far as split or broken pieces, from the two sides of the shed that were visible), and have finished it with a peeled paint which I was able to reference from a 2 second grab on some archive film footage of the line.


Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Workbench update...

Right's a few shots of recent/current projects from my workbench.  First up, I got around to putting together my rural church kit, which was one of the most recent offerings from Outback Model Company
 This quaint little structure will tie in perfectly with the small township I will be modelling on my Triple Creek home On30 layout. Was able to get the kit together fairly quickly and trouble free, with the longest process preparing and aging all the weatherboards pre assembly.  I was aiming for an aged, but not delapidated structure.  The timber would have taken a bit of sunburn from the Aussie sun, but still have some osrt of proud presentation to the community.  Also on the cards from the same manufacturers is a small rural schoolhouse (still just a mock up), which will go hand in hand with the church on my layout, since many churches also ran the local school.  There are still a few parts to complete with the church, such as the front steps, but these will be installed on site once I develop the landscape for it on the layout. 

Also underway on the bench are a number of VR narrow gauge rolling stock, as offered by Ian Lindsay Models.  These are very nicely cast reproductions of the 2'6" wagons run on the likes of the Beechy, Gembrook (Puffing Billy) and Walhalla line around Victoria.  So far I have assembled 2 NU vans, a NT and a NH (both of which there were only one of in their class). The wagons have been primed and await further painting and finishing, assembly of the white metal fox trucks, and finally some couplers. 
With the exception of the NH van, I am intending to paint these as some of the rolling stock that was in use on the Beech Forest line in the 1940-50's.  The bulk of my rolling stock collection will consist of the common NQR wagons, with  a variety of loads, such as potatoes, lime, timber and general goods.  Also to join the fleet will be a number of NBH passenger cars, to run the odd tourist special on the line.

Another of the small projects that gets picked up when in the mood, or when I get a short burst of modelling time, is adding some life and colour to the figures that will populate the scenes.  Here's a few of the local's that I've been finishing off lately.
Mainly a collection of Phoenix and Buffalo Landing figures, which I enjoy for their quality of casting and nice details in the facial features.  I also recently picked up a number of the 1:48 figures on offer by MK35, which I have yet to start painting, but have started to assemble and prime.  Often I have a selection of these figures to pick up and tinker with when modelling at exhibitions, as they are handy little jobs to complete while the glue/paint dries on the main projects.

Thought it might also be interesting to add in a recent photo of the current state of the modelling room.  Believe it or not, underneath all that is actually some working track.  Until I get around to introducing some landforms and scenery shape, its all too tempting to use what ever flat surfaces I have as work storage spaces.  My kids keep asking if they can come in and drive a train.  If they can find a spare couple of feet of track that isn't covered over with "current projects", I'll let them come in and run a train. There's a small space about 6" square down on the bench which is the common workspace, and so far, I don't think I've lost track of where anything is.  This is actually still a clean should see under and above the layout space.  Like I about 10 years to clean this room up!

Monday, 12 September 2011

ol' "Dolly Varden" On30 layout

Hi again,
Still just getting a few things established and adding some colour around here.  Thought I should also add a bit of a feature on the most recent exhibition layout that I built (along with John Hunter).  "Dolly Varden" was our joint effort in building an exhibition layout, on a subject we both had a fair passion for, and building it in a way to be a memorable model.  We both shared similar modelling styles, beliefs and interpretations, and often exhibit together anyway.  We both wanted to put our hands and hearts into a bigger project, and "Dolly" was the result of that.  It started of as a bit of a chat, and turned into a monster that took roughly 2 years to build.  We had a great time exhibiting her, and it was very well received by the viewers at exhibitions.  We were pround to have the layout feature in both Narrow Gauge Downunder magazine, as well as the Logging Mining & Industrial Annual, by Westlake Publishing. 

When we were done with showing Dolly (we always knew she would only go on tour for around 18 months, since we prefer to keep building new things, plus would rather display new creative efforts, rather than the same tired old layout year after year...), she "retired" to Florida, to sit beside the Sundance Central, as part of the museum that Dave Revelia was establishing.  There were several months of emails, crating up, and finally packing into a shiping container, so that the layout could make the 6 week journey by sea to the other side of the world.

Before she left our shores, I made this short video of the layout in action at one of our local model railway exhibitions. 

And here's a few pics of the layout before she was packed and shipped...


The "Thurogoods" diorama...

I thought I'd put some of this one up for a bit of colour in the blog.  A couple of my good modelling mates, in John Hunter and Laurie Green, started their own kit manufacturing company, Outback Model Company, a little while ago.  Their first kit was a cool warehouse piece, which I did a fairly extensive SBS build of on one of the forums (following this link to the build thread has a heap of SBS techniques and stuff for those that are interested).  I had a great time building the kit (actually one of the first times I've really built a whole kit, since I would normally scratchbuild my stuff).  I was really happy with the finished result.  It was displayed a number of times at regional railway exhibitions around my home state of Victoria, before the diorama made the trip across to Florida, to go on display in a sort of modelling museum/centre, established by Dave Revelia.  Here's a few pics of the finished diorama...



Hi there,
I get asked often enough what I'm up too on my modelling bench, so thought it was about time I did some type of web bloggie diary sort of thing....

Given that my life is particularly busy with work and a young family, my hobby time is naturally limited (often not til quite late at night once the dust has settled).  I tend to run a number of projects at one time, with each one added too when time permits.  I find I get a better result from my modelling effort by breaking up the time dedicated to each project.  That way, I don't get bored with working on the one subject, and it gives me a chance to come back to somehing with fresh eyes, to see where the next steps must lead.

I am lucky enough to have a cosy spare room at home, that will eventually house my home layout.  I said cosy...its only a standard 10'x10' spare bedroom, with some benchwork mounted around the walls, and my modelling bench built in below that (see the blog title image).  Despite being small, I am in no hurry to complete this project.  This room should keep me occupied for atleast the next 10 years, since each idea I have for this room will essentially be a new mini project, and because its a home layout, I don't have the deadlines like I have previously set myself with exhibition layouts.

Here's a quick snap of what will greet you as you enter my little hobby den.  I know, there's crap everywhere (actually this is an old shot, and there's easily twice as much crap in there now!).  I just needed to get the benches in and establish the place first, and as things start to get organised a bit more, the crap will be hidden below the layout behind curtains.  There is a suspended valance/roof system over the layout (mainly supported from the walls, but there are also cables anchored into the true ceiling to assist with minor roof sag) with storage shelving above, so no doubt there will be, you guessed it, some more crap stored up above.  Some heavy curtains to hide everything distracting from the layout space will be my saving grace...

I guess since my modelling time is so broken, I imagine this blog will get updates as progress happens.  For example, I currently have a number of rolling stock items I'm building, a scratch/bash version of G41 underway (VR narrow gauge), a large sawmill build, a mini layout and a bush box diorama underway out in the shed etc etc...maybe each month, expect a updated report of where each piece is up too.

I'll sort out a few initial postings of some older projects just to get the ball rolling with the blog, so maybe a few diary entries in the coming days.  After that, we'll see what happens...