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SRman last won the day on March 14 2010

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    Melbourne, Australia

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  1. The LSWR D.1541 brake vans turned up from Kernow Model Railway Centre this morning. I pre-ordered two quite a few years ago, one in LSWR original livery and one in Engineers' BR grey, which I particularly wanted because it has 'Return to Three Bridges' on the sides - I used to live just around the corner from Three Bridges in the 1960s. For comparison, I have included my Smallbrook Studio resin D.1541 brake van, bought before the Kernow models were announced, but started after that, and still not quite finished, awaiting the weight inscription on each side and the roof gutters and stove pipe chimney, plus lamp irons to be added. The Kernow model is much crisper, and dimensionally very slightly smaller, but the Smallbrook one is still pretty good, I think, and I can say I put it together. It was filling a gap at the time I bought it and a few other brake van kits from Smallbrook.
  2. No, but there are modellers of Queensland Railways who use TT gauge track (i.e. 12mm gauge), and others who use HO/OO track. You could look at Wuiske Models of QR locos, because some of theirs found their way to Tassie, particularly the English Electric powered units. They aren't cheap, but may give you some ideas and starters. Wuiske tend to offer a choice of either gauge for their models.
  3. I would stick with the better brands. They can cost a little more but are worth it for the better control charactristics and for robustness. The brands I am thinking of are ESU, Lenz and Zimo, all of which have some overload protection built-in. There are several budget Zimo decoders selling for around £20 each, and they have a full set of CVs and functions available. If you are looking at sound, Hornby's TTS decoders are very inexpensive, but you get what you pay for. Having said that, the diesel ones are not bad at all, and there are a few available at reduced prices - I paid £25 from Kernow Models for a TTS class 60 decoder. Hornby's decoders in general are not very robust, though, and I really don't like their standard decoders; any of those I have tend to get relegated to lighting functions in unpowered vehicles, such as DMU trailer cars. I would not recommend using any Hornby decoders in Heljan diesels unless you like to see smoke coming out (that only works once per decoder, though! ).
  4. What seems to be a fairly common problem with recent Heljan and Hornby small locomotives is soft and/or brittle electrical pickups. This is made worse with Heljan's locos because they allow rather excessive amounts of sideplay on some or all of the axles. With that in mind, I decided to do something about this with both of my Heljan class 07 diesel electric shunters, after adjusting the existing pickups for the umpteenth time, only to find they have lost contact with the wheel backs again afer a short running session. The leading wheels seemed to be the worst. My solution was to solder an extra length of phosphor-bronze strip at a reverse angle to extend the reach of the pickups. The photo shows this better than I can in words. Th one in the pic (right-hand end) has been given an exaggerated crank for clarity. Similar problems have been observed on Heljan's classes 05, 14 and 1366 pannier tanks, while Hornby's B2 Pecketts also exhibit the same problems. As every one of these apart from the teddy bear have very short wheelbases, effective pickups on all wheels are crucial to good, reliable running.
  5. More appropriate than the B12 impulse purchase for my Southern area layout, my Rails/Dapol SECR D class 4-4-0 arrived today, pre-ordered some time ago. After a quick test on DC, I fitted a Dapol Imperium Next 18 decoder and put it on a lightweight train of period stock. It runs quite smoothly, but hesitated a couple of times on points. I think the traction tyres are interfering a bit with the automatic polarity detection and switching. I will be swapping the traction tyred wheel set out later as I don't have a huge amount of suitable passenger stock and what is there is light and free rolling (my entire SECR passenger stock is in the photos, although I will be acquiring some of the Hatton's four and six wheel coaches in due course). There is a set of wheels without traction tyres in the box, complete with a tool to undo the crank pins. This locomotive, with its open cab, is crying out for a decent period crew. There is a firebox glow with a gentle flicker as well, activated on F0. There have been online comments on these locomotives showing a slight discrepancy in the heights of the valances/running boards where they should line up. Looking at my photos, mine doesn't seem to have this problem, but I will check it on level track later. The fix is apparently quite easy, involving a small spacer over the tender body fixing screws.
  6. Beaten to it by David: I was going to mention the Queensland Railways tri-Bo electrics myself. There were a few variations from different manufacturers, some for the coal lines between Blackwater and Gladstone, and some for more general use on the main north-south line. My photos below show members from all three main batches, although there were actually five number series with sort of master and slave versions of the coal locos using their locotrol units, visible behind the middle pair of locos. This was on the Blackwater line. They were quite ugly locomotives, in my opinion, with almost no style whatsoever. The patchy paint schemes didn't help, possibly emphasising the lack of any sort of coordination in their shapes. And for the record, 11637 is a model of one of the Swiss Re6/6 locos from Lima. This has a central can motor wth flywheels driving the outer bogies only, with the centre bogie being fully floating.
  7. Unfortunately, the original is long gone. I only have the tender left, and that was converted to a snow plough.
  8. Way back in the last century, as a teenager, my first large steam loco was a Triang B12. Fast forward to the last few years, and Hornby released a rather nice, but expensive new super detailed model of the B12. I wanted one purely for the nostalgia, but wasn't prepared to pay full price. Saw one on Amazon, which was still a little dearer than I wanted to pay, so I put it in the shopping cart and left it there. A few weeks later, the price suddenly dropped significantly, so I bought it on the spot. 61576 turned up on the doorstep this morning, and after a quick test on DC, was fitted with a Zimo MX600 decoder. I also fitted the detailing parts while I had it on the workbench. It runs very sweetly and smoothly, and has had a bit of a trundle around the layout, so I am very happy with the purchase. So how did a B12 find itself on the Southern Region? Well, when the Eastern Region was loaning various B1 and V2 locomotives to cover for the temporary withdrawal of the Merchant Navies, it goes like this: Shed master: Hello Eastern, the other Southern sheds like your B1 locos. Could you send us a B-1-too, please? ER manager: Sure, no problem. (To the Shed Master: Hey, Fred. Send the Southern a B12, will you?).
  9. I have lettered and numbered the LSWR D.1541 10T brake van, using the number of a preserved example on the Bluebell Railway. I started to add the tare weight as well, which goes on the lower right of the sides, but my hands were too shaky today, and I gave up in disgust. There are a couple of bare resin patches where I scraped off paint blemishes, and these and the handrails will be touched up before I varnish everything. Also in the photos is the 13T Medfit wagon, on which I have overpainted the green triangles with a better shade of green, which means I'll have to "restore" some of the rust again.
  10. Interesting that the roof has changed colour here. It really does appear as if it was painted a different colour, but it could just be extreme weathering.
  11. It is on a slight incline but the point itself is flat (i.e. not bowed or arched). The problem showed up with short wheelbase locomotives only, but with four different locomotives, so the problem was with the point electrics, not the loco pickups. As I said, it worked perfectly if the loco entered from the toe end, any road. It was only if it entered from the heel end via the first "division" with two frogs activated by one frog juicer, and only going to the left-hand branch that the problem manifested itself. All the other 3-way points worked perfctly with the same setup as I originally had with this particular point, and at least one of the others is also on a slight incline - the incline is produced by my deliberately not having any underlay for part of the engine shed yard, also to cater partly for the slightly different overall height of the bullhead track against the code 75 flat bottom points.
  12. Fun is what it should be all about.
  13. I had a small win today. I pulled out the 3-way point leading to the turntable and goods shed because there has been a repeating glitch with the polarity switching of the left hand frog. I tried a better frog juicer from Tam Valley (previously using Gaugemaster examples), but that oscilated between polarities, but only when the loco approached from the heel end. Behaviour when the loco entered from the toe end was perfectly fine. I resoldered every piece of wire bridging the rails towards the heel end, then added more bridging wires across the crossing "vees" at the toe end, including one where I pared away the sleeper webbing. I then added a fillet of solder into the "vee" in the middle of the point, just to be sure there was maximum electrical transmission where it was needed. After replacing the point in its location, and screwing the wire ends back into the various terminals, using the Tam Valley dual frog juicer, I ran the Heljan 07 shunter through from the heel end into the siding. It hesitated slightly where I had previously had the problem, but it continued through the point to the siding without prodding or poking, or any other assistance. On a completely different track (pun intended!), I have had a Smallbrook Studios resin LSWR D.1541 brake van on my workbench for quite a long time now. It has received a great many coats of satin white paint on its roof in that time, and the rest of the painting was all but complete, so it was really awaiting the fitting of handrails and transfers. Handrails have now been done, and were painted brown shortly after the photos were taken. If I get a move on, I may actually have it finished before the Kernow models arrive on my doorstep.
  14. It was a bit plain. As Neil said, Triang made it look much better with white (or sometimes grey) roof and white stripes. I believe I read somewhere that Brian Haresnape had some input into the colour choices, with the golden ochre essentially being Stroudley's Improved Engine Green, and the blue was supposed to be a Peacock Blue but the final shade used was darker. I also bought a repainted Hornby super-detail class 31 in a lighter blue (possibly electric blue) with grey roof and yellow panels. Maybe not accurate, but it looks really good in this livery. It was a worthwhile purchase at a reasonable price (with a couple of minor problems declared) as it also had sound fitted. Photos for your interest: the Triang 2nd blue version (the first was plain blue with eggshell cab window surrounds), followed by the eBay purchase.
  15. I have done a little further painting and weathering on th Medfit wagon. Posed here with a Dapol B4 0-4-0T, which is also fitted with the Hatton's 3D printed loco crew. I do like these figures.
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