December 31, 2013

Recent visitors & To rest

I have been honored to have a few more visitors to Glenburn lately including Jonathan Milne from Canada:

John is one of, if not the most gifted modellers of the Victorian urban scene. I only became aware of his work when he reached out a few years ago regards Glenburn as he had grown up in the area and recognised it. John was a commercial artist working mostly in card for his career and his capabilities to work the medium are borderline unbelievable. It was great then to have the chance to meet him and catch up on urban modelling matters when he was in Sydney just before Christmas. Coincidentally an article on John's current layout "Moorabool Street" is in the current Australian Railway Modelling Magazine:
If you do not have it, and are interested in either Australian urban modelling, or just sensational modelling, I recommend the article.

During December Iain Stuart, Peter Ennis and I again caught up for the 3rd (or is it 4th?) meeting of the like minded VR modellers in Sydney. Keeping with tradition Iain brought his newly acquired Auscision 280hp Walker which ran beautifully smoothly straight out of the box around the layout and provided a sight perhaps of Glenburn in a later time (above). Peter brought his Trainbuilder H220 similarly for it's first run and I was quite looking forward to a shot of it with a suitable load strung out on Glenburn bank. It was not to be, suffering a catastrophic valve gear failure within just a couple of feet of its' start. A sad moment indeed for us all and hopefully next time we reconvene Trainbuilder will have repaired/replaced it and we can give this another go.
Ok, Phew - Nearly six years of building, approx.40 sq. ft of scenery, 65 pieces of either scratchbuilt or kitbuilt rolling stock, 98 layout posts, 50 rolling stock posts, five web pages, three published articles, a VMRS presentation, a couple of "how to" yarns in forums and plenty of other on-topic and non-specific rambling in forums both real and virtual ago............I started work on my Inner East Suburban layout, or as it has become known "Glenburn".

It is now time to rest.

Thank you for your interest in the layout to date. I don't know how long the rest will take, but it will end.

For now...........

End of the evening peak, Glenburn Rd, September 1934
[Photoshop image alterations to picture above: Darken, add light effects, smudging]

December 3, 2013


.......Because again this year, make no mistake, if I have any skill in modelling it is only because it's a gift from Him.

November 17, 2013

Tayming the inner Creggan

I grew up mostly in Ringwood East but early in 1983 my family moved closer in to the city to Balwyn. Realising the city wasn't far away, one day I went for a ride just to see how far I could get toward the city, weaving my way through the backstreets where possible to avoid heavy traffic. From memory I didn't make it the first time, but I did the next and many times afterwards, it becoming a regular Saturday or Sunday afternoon ride generally ending up at Spencer St station to watch the train movements. I still have a map marked with the route I usually took. Along the way I rode up a path and came across what for an East Ringwood boy seemed an apparition, a house of such interest, detail and fascination that I couldn't help but always pass by this place and stop there on my way to town. Here's the "house", "Tay Creggan"....
Picture: Google Street view with enhancement

Later I was to find it was actually an ex-house being near-completed by the gifted architect Guyon Purchas and passed through some hands before being purchased by the Baptist Church and made into their Stathcona Girls school. Today it is Heritage listed and recognised as an architectural item of some merit, built in the Arts & Crafts style of which I am very fond. None of these base facts means too much to me though. Rather Tay Creggan is a symbol of those times in life when you are confronted with the reality that there is an impressive and entirely different world that you knew nothing about and that you might aspire to get closer to.

So......thanks for staying with me, there is a point to all of the ride and this experience had a lot to do with why I model this section of railway. When it came to finding an appropriate building for one of the far corners of the layout, Tay Creggan was a not unsurprising choice. Given the distance from viewing and place it occupies though, this is not a building in the sense of the others that now inhabit Glenburn:

Construction is basic - cut and bent card mounted on styrene sheet:

While the fascia (incomplete above) of the building approximates the prototype, the shape of the building is entirely dictated by the space it occupies:
The building straddles one and a half of the Suburban storage sidings and as such has been kept narrow and indeed has only as much of the second side as will clear the pantographs. This will work on the layout though, as the typical viewing position is not that above (I was standing on my step ladder), but rather that below:

Work on Tay Creggan continues with roofing, detailing, weathering and myriad other tasks remaining to be done before final emplacement on the layout, however this view gives an idea how it will eventuate. Once I have completed this far corner I could probably turn my mind to finally starting to scenic the yard in the foreground including covering the ermmmm inspection pit....

October 27, 2013

The Box - Goodbye Femininity!

Regular followers of the Blog and my rabitting on elsewhere will be aware that the presence of a real (black) boxcab E Class on "Glenburn" has been some time coming. Finally I took the plunge and backdated it in details and via a repaint from the effeminate blue/gold (see: to the incomparable all black.Hence I got a bit carried away with photographing it's first revenue run......

October 1, 2013

Welcome Phil Dunn & a couple of his models

One aspect of modelling an earlier era such as with "Glenburn" is there is only a limited number of people that are actually able to contribute accurate information for it. Unlike the 70s/80s where every man and his dog seems to have an opinion or recollection, for the 1920s/30s there have been less than a handful who have been able to contribute expertise, so I am very thankful to them for their help and am happy to be able to call them friends. It was therefore great to be able to host Phil Dunn who dropped in for dinner and a session on "Glenburn" recently. Looking across Glenburn, Phil's hand is throughout much of the layout rolling stock be it information he has provided for kits, for the Precision Scale Models RTR, or for many of my own scratchbuilds. Readers may be aware Phil has been a long time proponent of VR and its accurate modelling and author of numerous articles that have become referenceable. Passionate about providing the most accurate information on his subject matter, Phil has been involved behind the scenes of much of the manufactured output of Victorian models over the last two decades. As far as I have seen where he is involved, to the extent the manufacturing process has allowed, the models are right, and this is a great service to modellers of the VR. Thank you Phil!

With Phil Dunn in the "Cudgewa Room"

Phil was also kind enough to bring along three different versions of PSM's recent A2 Class so "Glenburn" had the rare chance to run some of these VR standards and that, given the rarity of the PSM models, provide scenes that may never be repeated here.


September 14, 2013

Running to Stand Still.

I realised I haven't included too many shots of regular operations on the layout recently so here's some pictures taken over the last week or so of regular running, nothing special here.

Two pictures of D4 277 serving duty as yard shunter, here waiting to push back into the yard for more work.

A city bound Parcels Coach hurries past a D1 on a long No.17 Dn Goods.

An up City bound swing door set crosses 1100 outward bound on No.21 Suburban Goods.

1100 is later seen about to  shunt Qualmann's siding.

An E train headed by a typical M-AM combination rockets out through the suburbs.

A D1 at speed on a short Dn Goods.

Up Parcels Coach pauses briefly at Glenburn opposite the Goods elevator.

Two pictures of an E class pushing hard on a long string of wagons shunting into the Main Yard.

A city bound goods passes a Tait set on a Dn Passenger paused at Glenburn.

Z van trailing one of the goods workings.

August 18, 2013

A short lived idyll, Charity Street and a "Mustard Pot".

For me, modelling doesn't get much better than this -  A project underway, a cup of tea close at hand, a few evening hours free ahead and some good Test cricket (in this case The Ashes) chattering away from my old radio that my Dad restored. Something about valves makes it all sound right. The combination is just brilliant, wish I could bottle it. It could only have been better if Australia was playing better, on this night they were, but not for long.....

Fortunately the modelling presses on, and in this case as can be seen in the two pictures above, I have extended some of the scenery to an overbridge that I actually started building a year ago before realising there was a whole lot more work to do before it could be emplaced. The abutments are not equal and that's a factor of it's location which might be divined by the second shot wherein it bridges both the scenicked section and the "hidden" suburban stabling. The unusual shape will probably make more sense once I have built the next section of scenery, for now, trust me, I know what I'm doing.....I think......Anyway, this latest of "Glenburn's" streets needed a name, and I had been tempted to extend the previous thinking of Hope St and Faith St to name this Love St (per 1 Corinthians 13:13 for the ecumenical readers), however a discussion on the Victorian Railways forum had David Foulkes of Steam Era Models and Geoff Baxter of Hollywood Foundry noting Charity might work. Now, without the excellent products of these two people, Glenburn would be at least less and possibly not exist at all - Steam Era Models kits and parts are widely used throughout my rolling stock, and all suburban units are powered by Bullant or Steam Era Beetle mechanisms. So, as a thanks to them both, this is the Charity Street bridge.

As I mentioned above, there's quite some scenic work to go to complete this section however for a change of pace I took on the two vehicles to populate it with. Both are European models, modified to varying degrees to match local prototypes. I'm a bit pleased with the Yellow Cab (apparently "Mustard Pot" in their day). I had seen yellow cab looking vehicles in paintings of the day, and a little research showed there to be a good reason for this being the case. The previous Mercedes was thus changed a bit to better resemble one of the Fiats that were imported in the early 1920s to form a Taxi fleet in Melbourne. I skimped on the wheel covers which works at viewing distance on the layout but my quick work-around is way too obvious here. If you're interested, some more detail on these Yellow Cabs is here:

For the bus I referenced a few pictures from here and there of buses in the era in Melbourne, including those included on the brilliant "Cavalcade of Transport" mural now at Southern Cross station, and a real boon for modellers of this era.

July 27, 2013

Some welcome visitors.

It's nice to be able to host other people's models on "Glenburn" for a spin across the rails. Peter Ennis and Iain Stuart dropped over again recently bringing and interesting selection of rolling stock. Peter is an excellent scratchbuilder and my average pictures don't do his work justice. The below are pictures of some of the items Peter brought:

 Two rare birds, the KM and IS, both of which were one offs.

Peter's J very nicely converted from an American kit

Peter's short Z, YZ and variations on the ZF here

Some nice tarpaulin work simulating the less commonly modelled oversize load. My basic camera failed to properly capture Peter's NN, a delicate and very nice rendition of the prototype.
By his own admission Peter is a fan of vans, and here is a bit of VR brass history, the one-off bogie ZZ produced some years ago by Precision Scale Models on the left, and a McBees (I think?) brass C van on the right.
If you're interested, "Glenburn" does occasionally host other prototypes, some of which can be seen on my "Other HO Modelling" page:

June 13, 2013

A bit more polychrome, and some print

The second house up the cutting was generally based on that next door to the previous in Yarra Grove, this time having the polychromatic brickwork that is a feature of many older houses in Melbourne. The house was built up in Walthers styrene brick sheet with styrene, wood and etch detailing, the slate roofing again being approximated via Superquick sheet suitably weathered.

The picture below shows it now installed on the layout in a larger yard appropriate to this more wealthy area. My jury is still out on whether the tree at the fence is too large for this spot though I'm warming to it.

Completion of catenary through this area has opened up some new angles for photography also including that below.

As mentioned before, I detailed the build of this section of scenery in the Victorian Railways Forum:

While the layout is only about a 1/3rd complete, I was fortunate to have the layout featured in the June issue of Australian Model Railway Magazine (AMRM) as the first of three installments covering it. All I need to do for the other two installments is actually complete those sections!

Picture: Australian Model Railway Magazine

The AMRM team have done a great job of photographing and producing a diagram of the layout so I recommend it if you are interested in "Glenburn". AMRM has been kind enough to allow the layout to have some aspects covered by a couple of other articles to date if you want to read further:

* Victorian Railways in the Inter-war Years (mid 1920s-mid 1930s) - AMRM #285, December 2010

* A Double-layered Layout Room - AMRM #292, February 2012