Category Archives: Locomotives

Well, I’m still here..!

Hi all,

Apologies for the lack of posts since April 2022. Here’s a brief catch up.

Bogie Ballast Plough

I completed the assembly and detailing of the Stephen Johnson Models bogie ballast plough kit.

I got it to the point where it received a primer undercoat, but that got stripped off again as I wasn’t happy with the finish. It’s currently still sitting on the workbench.

UP Staging Yard extension – Part 2

Work commenced on removing the existing turnouts at the other end of the Up staging yard to accommodate some new 3-way turnouts to complete the lengthening of these yards.

All the turnouts were removed and the PCB sleepers and rail salvaged. Two new 3-way turnouts were built.

New source of XPS foam for scenery

Ever since Bunnings ceased stocking the Knauf XPS foam sheets, I had spent time trying to source a replacement. I contacted a few suppliers but most wanted exorbitant shipping costs to Port Macquarie. I eventually found a building supply company near Canberra that could ship unlimited sheets to me for only $85. So an order of 25 sheets (2400 x 600 x 30mm) was placed just prior to Christmas. The cost per sheet came to $28, and as these were double the size of the old Knauf ones, they ended up being about $4 more expensive. I can live with that. Having replenished my stock of foam, I can now resume scenery work between Doughboy Hollow and Ardglen.

Spline prep at Ardglen for future turnout controls

One of my goals for this year is to continue tracklaying through Ardglen and onto Pangela. For this to proceed, some cutting of the spline at the turnout locations was necessary.

The locations in the main area of Ardglen were quite straightforward. This involved removing a section of spline with a router down to a depth of approximately 6mm to accommodate a piece of ply. Once this was glued in position, the remaining spline underneath the ply was cut away. Extra supports either side of the cut-out are also installed where required.

However, the turnout leading from the loop extension into the ballast sidings required a bit more thinking of how to get the router in there, considering I had already laid track on the mainline.

So a plan was devised to support the router over the mainline track using some old melamine shelving that I had. This did the job well.

New motive power arrives

In the last week, Auscision Models delivered their ALCo 44 class locomotives. I had pre-ordered four of these Mark I type. Another superb model. Looking forward to weathering these beasts.

As I mentioned above, I hope to complete a lot of work on the layout this year. One of the first jobs is to complete the ceiling panel and backscene prep over Ardglen for the sky blue paint. Then I want to get back into some scenery foam installation around Ardglen and where the tunnel will start. Once a few of the turnouts for Ardglen are complete, I can also commence tracklaying through Ardglen, through the future tunnel and onto Pangela.

That’s it for this update.


Track cleaning

An interesting article in this month’s (May) Model Railroad Hobbyist online magazine on keeping wheels and track clean.

Go to Page 9, “Publisher’s Musings”.

Some time ago, there was a thread on the MRH Forums on this same discussion, and I purchased a graphite stick and have been using it occasionally on the short section of track between Chilcott’s Creek and Kankool. I have yet to actually “clean” the track with a track rubber or similar since the initial application of graphite, and locos run perfectly on it every time, most often with months between runs.

First 442 class weathered

It’s been a while between posts.

Work on the layout has been sporadic at best. My order of Auscision Models 442 class locomotives arrived in late February and one entered the weathering shop almost straight away.

Once again, Auscision have excelled themselves with this model. They are a superb runner with excellent detail and equipped with the latest Loksound V5 decoder.

Weathering involved my usual techniques of a black oil wash and Pan Pastels, although this time, the body was nearly exclusively done with the wash, with the pastels used only for highlighting.

I also completed weathering of 4821, which was the dreaded “stuff up” late last year where I mistakenly washed the body in metho prior to weathering. It has turned out pretty good.

Coupler pockets

A little thing that always bugs me is how the rectangular shape of the coupler pocket protrudes un-prototypically through the pilots on the Auscision Models 45 and 48 class locomotives. It is most likely the same on their other models as well.

All my locomotives have buffers, so the coupler pocket is nearly hidden, but on models without buffers, I would think it sticks out like the proverbial!! I also replace the Kadee type coupler with Sergent couplers, and being that bit smaller, they tend to make the coupler pocket more visible, even on buffered locomotives.

When I was weathering my 45’s, I trimmed the coupler pocket back to the shape of the curved castings top and bottom by eye, but soon realised I needed some sort of jig to make the job easier. I have now fashioned a tool to hold the coupler pocket to allow shaping to the correct profile. The pocket is secured in place and using a razor saw to remove most of the plastic, a sharp scalpel blade is then used to trim it back to the brass profile.

The pocket is then flipped over and the process is repeated. The front edges are touched up with red and silver paint and refitted back into the locomotive.

Resurrecting 4821

I recently made a start on weathering 4821 since I made the dreaded metho stuff up.

I started with an all over black wash and have started to apply some pastels, starting with black on the roof. I think it will turn out OK.

Lesson learnt

A few days ago, I learnt a valuable lesson in this hobby. If in doubt, ask the vast knowledge base out there before doing something stupid.

I was prepping another Auscision Models 48 class locomotive for weathering and had decided I would wash the body/footplate in readiness for a dose of Dullcote. For some reason, I had it in my head that methylated spirits would be OK, so I proceeded to apply it with a soft brush, washing it over the body. To my shock, as it dried, it left a white haze everywhere. It had reacted to the paint.

After posting a photo of the results, I was given a few tips to try to resurrect the disaster. The tip that proved successful was to use general purpose thinners applied to the surface sparingly with a microbrush or cotton tip. I think this method essentially has removed some of the paintwork which has in turn removed the haze. As you can see in the photos, there is still some white in areas that were difficult to access, and the paint surface is no longer pristine, but I’m hoping an application of Dullcote and the subsequent weathering will hide this.

Lesson learnt.

Just for fun

First 48 class weathered

Similar method used as for the 45’s, but more black wash used on the body this time to highlight the details and to get into all the nooks and crannies.

Photos aren’t the best – taken on my phone.

48 Class – A first look

The Auscision Models 48 class.

Straight out of the box, the model is superb. Auscision have once again lifted the bar. I chose to disassemble a non sound unit.

Removing the body is not an easy task. The couplers and body mounting screws are removed easily enough, but then it gets tricky. The hoods/cab sub-assembly is attached to the running boards by six ‘clips/lugs’ that have been moulded along the bottom edge of the hoods. This whole assembly then fits onto the chassis with the lugs going into recesses in the main chassis girders. I was a bit disappointed in the way these lugs are designed, as the main chassis girders are quite prominent below the running boards, and these lugs consequently are also very prominent.

By using a small screwdriver blade inserted behind the lugs, and after much poking and prodding around, the body was finally released. I will fashion some pieces of brass strip that can be inserted behind the clips, all at once, to hopefully make body removal easier on the next one.

Once removed, the lugs were the first things to go, being snipped off with a Zuron cutter. The left over lugs were then cleaned up, along with the inside of the hood mouldings. The running board sub-assembly was then glued to the hoods/cab sub-assembly using MEK. I also found that some of the clear tape inside the hoods that was holding the lighting wiring in place, was enough to prevent the body from slipping on and off easily. The tape was trimmed away from the hood sides and just left attached to the underside of the hood roof.

The sideframes were very easy to remove. They are of a similar design to those on the 45 class. Using some styrene strip, small pieces were cut to size to fill the gaps in the main girders. These were superglued in place. Small pieces of styrene rod were also fixed in place to continue the piping across.

Initially, when test fitting the body back onto the chassis, I thought there was something fouling behind the pilots. I found that the plastic girder mouldings were protruding ever so slightly past the ends of the diecast part. These were filed back.

As mentioned above, this unit was a non-sound version, so a Loksound Select decoder was fitted and a new speaker enclosure fabricated from styrene to suit two sugar cube speakers.

The next task will be to mask the cab windows and dullcote the body in preparation for weathering. The chassis and sideframes will be given a coat of Krylon Camo brown, again in preparation for weathering.

New motive power

Latest motive power to arrive are the Auscision Models 48 class locomotives.

I have had 11 of these on pre-order since 2015. They are a superb model. Only issue so far is that I was sent one incorrect number to what I had ordered, but a quick phone call later, and the incorrect one has been returned by post today with the correct one to hopefully arrive late next week.

I plan to pull at least one apart in readiness for weathering, with the rest going into the cupboard.

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