Monday, 30 May 2011

Prototype File - NSWGR FS/BS cars

The release of the Austrains NSWGR FS/BS corridor cars has been welcomed by many modellers, but for those who would like to add a little extra detail or weathering, it’s not as easy as it once was to get suitable prototype photos to aid that endeavour.

Delving into my photo collection in response to an enquiry from Ian Phemister, I dug up the following photos I took in Sydney yard in 1985 (in those days I was an SRA guard, so getting photos like these was not much of a problem!)
A Tuscan red BS in Sydney yard in 1985. Even at this late stage this BS still had the lampirons in the high position (the railways had started lowering lampirons in the 1970s, to make it safer for staff to attach the lamps). The Austrains model has them in the lower position, correct only for some cars from the mid-1970s on, but as Ian shows in his blog, it is quite easy to reposition them. The 'candy' FS to the right has the lampirons in the lower position and, as a consequence, the end handrail moved to the side of the vehicle.

The same BS, showing various details, including the lining on the doors (missing from the Austrains model). Even at this late stage, carriage sides were faded, but not filthy, as they were regularly washed. The photo has faded a little (and was originally shot in the middle of the day) but it can be seen that the lining colour was buff, a creamy yellow, not the virulent chrome yellow one sees on far too many models! 

The interior of an FS compartment. The interior timberwork was varnished, over the light coloured timber fashionable in the 1930s when the cars were originally built. Second class seat cushions were a dark maroony colour. The floors were covered by a light brown Linoleum.

The interior of an BS first class compartment. On some cars, the lower panels below the windows had been replaced with new timber, painted cream with brown trim. The first class seat cushions were a dark green colour.

The corridor of a BS.

I trust these prototype photos will be of use to those who may wish to further detail their Austrains FS/BS cars, or even the old Trax/Powerline versions.
Ian has already done some work on his FS/BS cars, the results can be seen on his 'Muswellbrook and Merriwa Railway' blog. It still amazes me how much good weathering improves a model!
Until mine turn up, I'll just have to make do with a couple I prepared earlier...
Back in the early '90s I detailled a couple of Trax S cars for Lambing Flat. This is the FS finished in post 1954 Indian red with buff lining. The Trax/Powerline models were pretty basic, so a lot of extra detail went into them.
This is the BS first class car. They have both given many years of service to the passengers using the cross-country line through LF, and are much preferred by the HO people to the rough old 'dogbox' carriages that make up most of the trains on the line!

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

5303, a frail favourite...

I think we all have locomotives that we are very fond of, but which, for various reasons, don't quite 'measure up' when it comes to running smoothly and reliably. My best example is this model of 5303...
A model of a NSWGR Standard Goods locomotive, 5303 is the only kit-built locomotive I have ever got around to finishing (my main focus is rolling stock, operation and the overall 'look' of the railway). I am quite happy to use modified and weathered r-t-r locomotives (brass, back when I 'got serious' in the 1980s and plastic r-t-r now). However, I have acquired a couple of kits along the way, but this loco, which started as an FSM whitemetal kit that I originally purchased in the 1970s, is the only one that had actually entered service on Lambing Flat. I originally constructed it in 1992/93 and it ran (sort of) till around 1995, when it finally gave up the ghost and refused to move (its last faltering steps were accidentally captured on video by Bruce Norton, who was visiting at the time!) While it looks quite nice (I had added quite a lot of extra detail, and altered it to represent one of the 'drumhead' smokebox locomotives with 'standard' boilers, as most of them appeared in the 1940s, during the transition between the original tapered boilers and the more familiar 'built up' smokeboxes of the 1950s/60s), it never ran satisfactorily, thanks to its rather 'agricultural' design of chassis and rather indifferent assembly of same by yours truly! (I've never been brilliant at mechanical things!)

It's another if my models that have languished in the showcase for the last 15 years or so, as my couple of attempts to get it running again have been abject failures. I would rather like to get it operational again, as it is the only 53 class I have completed (I missed out on the Classic brass 53, I haven't yet built my '40th Birthday' DJH 53 and the long promised Traino 53 appears to be a few years away still!) and the 53 class were the mainstay of the Blaney-Demondrille line from which Lambing Flat takes its inspiration. So, taking a leaf from the 'real railways' book when a recalcitrant locomotive proved impossible to repair locally, it has been sent away to 'workshops' for specialist repairs (Geoff's 'Hollywood Hospital'!) The current turn-around is quoted as around two months, so I will just have to wait! (I've already waited 15 years; I think I can wait a little longer!)

In the meantime, I'll just have to admire the photos I took of her before despatch and dream of once more seeing and hearing the clank of a 53 class trundling along on Lambing Flat!

Friday, 6 May 2011

From the vaults-3: Lambing Flat under construction 1985

I have gone even further back with this shot!
This photo (scanned from a print) was taken in early 1985 and shows the second module under construction. The first module (the mill section) was completed in time to be shown at the 1984 Modelling the Railways of NSW convention at the old Rockdale clubrooms of the Australian Model Railway Association (the last one to be held there). I am pleased to remember that the mill module caused quite a stir when it was shown for the first time!

By the time this photo was taken construction of the second module was well under way and I set this scene up for a bit of fun. The module itself was constructed from plywood and the scenery was pretty much finished before I started tracklaying. The handlaid code 55 points were constructed 'on the workbench' as a unit and then transferred to the layout. When the position of the points was finalised the plain track was constructed to link them. I hadn't finalised the trackplan when this photo was taken and the station arrangement subsequently constructed was slightly different to this original idea. The layout was originally located in the sunroom of my tiny two-bedroom semi in inner-suburban Burwood (Sydney). When my first child came along in 1991 it was moved upstairs into the newly converted loft space, where it resided untill we moved in 1999. Both my children could climb the loft ladder before they learnt to walk!

The train in the background was modelled on full-size construction trains seen in old photos. The MLE flat wagon conveyed rail, the S and K trucks carried sleepers and other stores, while the construction engine, Trax brass 1248, has a water gin attached, to allow it more time in the section. The van also conveyed the workers to the worksite.

Locomotive 1248 is another that has not yet been fitted with a DCC chip and so is not currently in use.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

From the vaults-2: 5184 in 1992

Had another rummage in the 'vaults' and turned up this scan of a print I took in the backyard (natural light) at Lambing Flat's original location at Burwood. In those days, before I had decent lights (and learnt how to use them) I would take sections of the layout out into the backyard and photograph various scenes in natural light.
This scene shows Standard Goods 5184 crossing a trestle bridge on the newly built 'north curve' section in late 1992. The section of the layout was constructed to connect the turntable end of the layout to the 'Cowra' fiddle yard when the layout moved upstairs to the loft at my old place in Burwood. This section is no longer part of the layout, mainly as the 2ft (600mm) curve needed to fit the layout into the loft was just a little tight for some of the rolling stock. I was quite pleased with the way the scenery turned out however, so I may incorporate it in the current version of the layout 'one of these days'.

Steam locomotive 5184 is a Mansfield brass model to which I had attached a kit-built FSM whitemetal Turret tender. It is not currently in service on Lambing Flat as it doesn't yet have a DCC chip. It may reappear soon, as I have a Tsunami 'earmarked' for it, but haven't yet got around to fitting it.

The trestle was scratchbuilt in timber to NSWGR standard drawings.