Thursday, 21 April 2011

Fun and games on the way to Hobson's Bay...

I'm off to the Hobson's Bay exhibition in Melbourne over the Easter weekend. I go down every year, as it is a very good exhibition for getting content, especially new model releases, for AMRM. I usually score a Gallery as well, and occasionally a layout feature or other article, so it is AMRM money well spent!

This year's exhibition is not too well timed from my point of view though, as it is right at the end of the magazine's 'cycle' (normally we would be going to press on Friday) and we could only extend the deadline for a week, otherwise the on-time delivery of the mag would be affected. That means that I am going to be very busy next Tuesday and Wednesday (we 'assemble' on Thursday, do the final proofreading on Thursday night, then it all goes to the printer on Friday), trying to get as much content for the News section processed as possible - there is going to have to be some 'prioritisation', I'm afraid!

So, of course, with everything so tight for time, something else was bound to go wrong...

Between taking the photos of Greg Hunter's layout (see post of 5 April) and setting up to take some 'news' photos on 12 April, I somehow managed to seriously scratch the lens of my lovely Panasonic 'work' camera! It appears that it can be repaired (for a price...), but in the meantime, with Hobson's Bay coming up, what was I going to do for photographs!

Luckily my old Fuji camera, which I used for magazine photos between 2006 and 2008, was still upstairs somewhere, relegated to use as the 'family' camera. It doesn't produce pictures that are quite as good as the images produced by the more modern Panasonic, but beggars can't be choosers...

I wonder if it still works...

Luckily it did, once I had charged up the batteries, and I then had to give myself a 'refresher'. While doing so I had to take a few 'test' images, and what better to photograph than my workbench!
Here is the 'Lambing Flat' workshops in all its messy glory! There is the usual clutter of tools and other bits and pieces, but there is one thing that I find particularly useful... so useful that it hasn't been changed or replaced since I built it back in the late 1970s. I refer to my 'test track', which is simply a piece of 2" x 1" timber with a section of Peco code 100 track stuck to it and a Kadee height gauge on one end. That simple 'tool' serves many purposes, beyond the obvious of checking Kadee heights and ensuring models actually roll! It is where I keep the models I am actually working on, I can attach a 12v power supply with alligator clips to test locomotives and it is also a very useful painting stand, as can be seen from the 30 years of paint build up!

While I was doing my 'refresher' I also photographed the chest of drawers that I use for material storage on the other side of the room...
This structure has also been around for a very long time. The three drawers hold most of my supplies of building material and unbuilt kits, while the 'cover' once served as layout support for Lambing Flat back in its original location back in the Burwood days. Where the shoebox and Dremel box are now once served as the Lambing Flat fiddleyard. There were two aluminium runners running fore and aft on top of the chest of drawers, on which one of my plywood-built model boxes used to rest. It could be pulled in and out for access like a drawer. In those days the flour mill section of Lambing  Flat used to rest on top of the cover, where the buildings are now, and a train would be set up on the mainline, using models from the sliding box, run into the station, do its shunting, then run out again and be returned to the box. This arrangement was adopted because there wasn't enough space for a conventional fiddleyard where Lambing Flat was originally erected in my tiny two-bedroom semi in Burwood. Oh, and the buildings are models that I have constructed over the years, but which have not, for various reasons, found a place on the layout proper.


  1. Hi James,
    You are taking me back to the "Narwood Hills" days and I still remember "Lambing Flat" in the unit at Bexley.

  2. Ha! Yes... the old Narwood Hills days :o) Would you believe that the descendants of that group are still meeting regularly at Peter Neve's place, though as far as I can remember, I'm the only original member who still puts in the (occasional) appearance! There are some photos of the older versions of LF at Bexley North in the previous post; I'll have to see if I can dig a few more out... ;o)

  3. James,
    thanks for the shot of your workbench. If I had one, I reckon it would look the same.

  4. It looks remarkably tidy and almost organised and you know what that means...!

    Your story reminds me of my prize Cannon which took a fatal dive off a coal hopper at Thirlmere the day before a weeks field work.

    Hope to see you at Hobsons Bay

  5. James

    Good to see quality equipment there on the workbench in the form of an old Craftsman Models paint bottle.

    Ray P

  6. Iain, you are closer than you think... ;o)

    Ray, I not only have empty Craftsman Model paint bottles, I still have a couple that have usable paint in them!