December 2, 2011


.......Because quite frankly if I have any skill in modelling it's a gift from Him.

November 24, 2011

I am no fan of cameos but....

I have completed the cottages for Faith St recently, seen above. Don't worry too much about the white wall at the front of the layout, this will be directly attached to the fascia. It's just my opinion however I reckon cameos on layouts can be way overplayed, and in many cases their absence is the best path to a realistic scene. However in the interwar period there is one entirely Australian and appropriate cameo that I cannot avoid. True of many generations both before and since, a group of children playing cricket in the back lane with improvised stumps and field is too hard to resist, hence the below scene in the lane between the houses in Hope and Faith streets.

November 6, 2011

Raw Cottages & the Why and the Where

As shown briefly in the last update the first houses for Faith Street are to be a single storey terraced pair of cottages. The location defines the style - the cottages are directly opposite Qualmann's Warehouse, and as the warehouse is bluestone it pre-dates these cottages. It is unlikely that moderate-to-expensive houses would be built directly opposite such a location with its noise, traffic and industrial use. So these are humble workers cottages, not the more expensive houses seen in Hope St. One block makes all the difference! For the prototype I searched through my pictures from my trips to inner east Melbourne but didn't have any suitable candidates, so chose the following located in a similar area but in this case in North Fitzroy.

Picture: Picture Victoria

The descriptive by Picture Victoria is very direct, for the date of the photo, 1948, they are labelled as "poor". The materials are simpler, they are lighter on the decoration seen in Hope St, and they are'nt big - there are four houses in the block above. This fitted the bill for the location. nb. the building still survives at 177-183 Rae St. Must drive past one day! It's funny how times change, I reckon these would make a great place to live, particularly so close to the city, and so do many other people judging by the value of these kinds of properties today.

So to the model....As mentioned in the last post, construction is primarily styrene, with some other materials for detailing. I only have room for two cottages, and here they are shown initially "in the raw" but on their future location in Faith St, and two closer pictures. As can be seen, in line with their being more modest housing, the land space is smaller than Hope St also. The side the two first pictures are taken from deliberately is plain and flat as it will butt up and adjoin the fascia, thereby intimating continuation of the building.

Next step is painting/weathering and embedding with appropriate gardens/yards.

October 8, 2011

Business as usual & developments in Faith St

D4 277 assembles the down afternoon goods in Melbourne Yard....

......and is seen later on rolling the unusually short consist upgrade into Glenburn.

Earlier in the day, around the lunchtime off-peak, 1100 preceded the D4 on 21a goods to Ringwood, here seen humming through Glenburn while a two car swing door set accelerates from the Up platform Melbourne-bound.

I've started the next building for Faith St, this one being two of a wooden three cottage row. Build is mostly styrene at this stage. Front above and rear view below.

September 19, 2011

A Colour Blind Spot.

Readers of the Blog will know one of the challenges I have faced is ascertaining colour in this era before widespread colour photography. I have made it a bit of a passion to try to the best of my ability to render all aspects of "Glenburn" whether it be Swing Door stock, buildings, people's clothes or anything else. I have researched and coloured to try and best replicate how things may have looked. However I have recently discovered one rather large oversight. Wagons. A long time ago when I built "Cudgewa" a colour was recommended to me for goods rollingstock of the very late VR era which I was then modelling. It worked well and I used it thoroughly. When I started "Glenburn", it did'nt occur to me to check whether goods wagon stock was a different colour. References in old literature to "wagon red" did'nt challenge my assumption, nor did the lack of VR paint records for the period. However there are colour pictures around at the early end of colour recording (generally early 1950s) that show quite a different colour to that of the later era. I saw many of these but it never registered. It was a modelling blind spot for me. Funny really, given the effort I went to to ascertain every other colour! Recently the penny started to drop and I corresponded with a couple of experts on the matter who very kindly and comprehensively advised on what colour the stock should be. The colour is Deep Indian Red, weathering fairly quickly to a mid chocolate brown. So, I have started the long process of repainting 36 goods wagons into variations somewhere between the relatively newly painted stock that looks like this:

To a more weathered colour like this:
 There will be variations in between these two colours (and perhaps one or two more weathered) because in that era before the good colour holding paints we have today, paints really did'nt hold colour as well.

To illustrate the difference, here are two examples in the previous (incorrect) livery:

So, the process begins, and slowly the pictures in the "Rollingstock" page will be replaced with the new versions. And while I'm there, it's opportune to upgrade the stock where necessary such as the removal of those oversize handrails on some of my early builds - an example if one were needed of how our modelling improves, and we push ourselves to better standards, these were Ok several years ago.

August 23, 2011

I'm board!!

A bit of amateur carpentry with thin ply sets up the layout for the next stage of growth. Always surprises me how a bit of simple work seems to make a layout look more finished, even though it is very unfinished! The gap in the backdrop is to allow the passenger sidings, seen below in use between suburban runs, pre-backdrop:

August 14, 2011

It's not over 'til.....

  Qualmann's Ware/Store house is pretty much complete now, however the major sections aren't attached nor is it fixed into the layout pending quite a bit of surrounding work (including backscene, rear scenery, fascia, overhead wiring, signalling the siding etc. etc....!) that needs to be done. Good enough for a picture, though sans wires means the siding needs to be worked by steam.

August 12, 2011

Protection & Delivery.

Work on the Qualmann Warehouse precinct continues....The private siding serving the Warehouse joins the VR at the point visible here, which then joins the Dn main. As such, with wagons regularly stabled there, it needs the protection afforded in these situations. The above picture shows the derail arrangements, and also the backs of both the "End of wire" inverted star (a scale 50ft from end of wire per specification, for when the wiring arrives....), and the "Engines must not pass this board" sign which is immediately prior to the warehouse, below. I have'nt decided yet whether this derail is controlled by hand lever or from the box, hence the absence of this detail. My thanks to Phil Dunn for diagrams of the derail, and information from the VR Enthusiast forum regarding appropriate protection arrangements in suburban areas.
Beyond the excellent kits provided by the US maker Jordan, pickings are quite slim for interwar road vehicles, particularly trucks. Some exceptions were the excellent models made some years ago by Roskopf, a small German company. These models respond well to a bit of work, and look the part for the more traditional truck types of the era. While they have been out of production for quite a few years, they are still available from some of the 2nd hand sellers in Europe. The picture below shows the delivery truck following detailing (repaint, flush windscreens, removing one set of rear wheels, decalling, weathering) which will be parked outside the warehouse, with a comparative of an unmodified Roskopf truck.
Here she is "hooning" down Glenburn Rd at 30mph heading for the warehouse.

August 5, 2011

Err Houston....we have a problem....

Anything wrong here? The two lines on the right of this shot are the Up and Dn main, here passing the yard (I haven't named it yet as it serves several purposes) on one of the unscenicked sections of the layout. There's a wee gap on the Up (furthest right) line! I had a point there which I had suspected was a bit iffy, and while testing it out as an access point for some more stabling found it was definitely iffy. Fixed down, there was nothing to do but wrench it out and I took a fair section of the straight also, as this wasn't my best laid track. Murphy's Law dictates any work of this kind always has to be in the least accessible spot, and hence that's a 600mm reach across the I thought it pertinent to empty the yard before attempting the replacement. Once my stock is on the layout I prefer not to touch it too much, so rather than lift it, I ran it all to the other end of the layout which explains why what looks like a major signalling overun problem has occured in the shot below. No doubt VR has arranged a replacement bus service as no-one is catching a train at Glenburn today....

July 30, 2011

Something to Ware...

Whereas Hope St was residential, the next street closer to Melbourne, Faith St will be predominantly commercial. The first building for the street is the Qualmann Warehouse, which has been commenced . The building fascia is formed from the frontages of the Faller "North German Warehouse" (kit picture above) suitably modified, with body built out in cardboard and Noch stonewalling. Where appropriate, the building will be clad in corrugated card. The step design, visible in the pictures owes itself to placement bridging a rise in the layout height across the plan. Much more work to go before she's ready to place on the layout, will post updates as she progresses.

July 20, 2011

Faith, abridged.

Have laid the roadwork for the next street on the layout, Faith St, and as the line is still elevated another VR girder bridge is required, again a modified Atlas girder as per Hope St though slightly longer to bridge the broader commercial street here.It also again has the typical VR brick and bluestone abutments. The omission of one of the Up side pillars is temporary pending decision on the scenery option taken over there. Presumably laid down at the same time, Faith St has the same bluestone edge pavers broken by a couple of driveways for the Qualmann Pty Ltd Warehouse which is still being built....This section is the final elevated road before the landform rises up to track level and beyond. Much building of buildings now to be done to fill this void....

July 3, 2011

Blue & Gold on 37a.

Before I get going two notes:

1. The weekend afternoon goods is generally allocated to the Steeple Cab, however she's in for replacement of her marker lights to something more prototypical, so I fitted hooks to the Boxcab and brought her out as substitute. She's still blue & gold as I have'nt yet screwed up the courage (nor had the time) to repaint her in the era appropriate black, so please overlook this!

2. The Saturday afternoon Dn Goods on the Healesville line around this time was number 37. I have chosen 37a then as a resemblance, rather than modelling that actual goods, given "Glenburn" is built and run on the same basis.

So to the goods....given it was the boxcab's first "production" run I took some pictures along the way......

While suburban pass runs are slightly less frequent on the weekend, the Goods still needs to keep her heels moving, but not as fast as this shot of her having just left the boundaries of Jolimont Yard would indicate - for most of the trip East she'll be limited to 20-30mph.

Having arrived at her first shunt location, Qualmann Coolstores just outside Burnley, 37a has drawn up clear of the siding and is here shown pushing the consist back into 1 Road, from which she will drop/pick up wagons in accordance with the Rules for the siding, with numbers of wagons exchanged defined by drawing random cards.

Having completed her work at the Coolstore, 37a is on the way again, here seen passing one of the suburban yards between Burnley and Glenburn with the changed load.

The cards at the coolstores, having fallen heavily on this run, 37a only was permitted to drop a single short T van, however gained four vans, bringing her load up to 11 (=12) wagons + brake, she is here slowed by the bank running Dn into Glenburn station, holding the speed slow to prepare for her next work just beyond the station.

Once again the cards have fallen heavily with a complete replacement of the wagons dropped in the yard last weekend, with 6 (=7) of her own. Here 37a's E is shown pushing the new wagons into Glenburn Yard, having marshalled the removed wagons into the consist as her first working for the siding. Fortunately she's well protected in this move by Glenburn's signals (imagined........must get to them!).

Having left the sidings behind, 37a builds up speed for the remainder of the run out to her terminating point at Lilydale.

Owing to the changes at the sidings, 37a now has a completely different consist from that she left Melbourne with under an hour ago, with the only original member of her consist apart from the boxcab being...
...... Z21 wobbling along on the rear.
After some smooth but not fast running, here's 37a having arrived at Lilydale, stabled between suburban electric units awaiting their runs back to Melbourne. And so ends a fairly typical run for the weekend Dn afternoon goods. After crib, the crew will run around, place the van on the opposite end of the train and await a path to scurry back to Melbourne.

June 18, 2011

Polychromatic finale.

The last open space in Hope St was big enough for a couple of terraces, so I built this pair to a typical Melbourne style. As can be seen in the "in build" shot above, the base building is double-bracketed styrene (I don't know this materials' real name - two ribbed sheets with seperating strips, often used for keeping papers flat). This is then overlaid with brick sheet, card and wood with putty to form where needed. Wall details are cut/shaped brickwork. Roofing is Superquick finished slate with a wash of dark brown to get it closer to the usual colour. Outbuildings and fencing are also scratchbuilt in wood and card. Painting includes representing the polychromatic brickwork that is such a feature of these terraces across the older suburbs of Melbourne, I chose one of the more "standard" patterns, not wanting to overplay the building's role in the street, but some of the prototypes showed excellent artwork in their application of various coloured bricks. I also decided to illustrate the use of better/finished dark brickwork for the frontis, with standard building brick for the remainder of the buildings. Windows are a combination of spares from the box and Grandt line, chimneys are modified Ian Lindsay. These two finish Hope St, might have a bit of a break before I start the next street......