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Motivation modelling-wise, particularly Australian (though that's the subject for another topic if/when it reaches a suitably advanced stage), has suffered from a severe dip over the past several months after what felt like a somewhat world-shattering event of a personal nature earlier in the year. But, as with all issues and setbacks, the only thing to do is to keep carrying on and get back to some semblence of normal. So slowly back into the modelling we get. 


Having started at a new university this semester I've decided I may as well try and make the most of my time there, one aspect of which is making the most of everything that I have access to as a result. Nicely, this includes student access to the AutoDesk library of programs. Having never really gotten my head around Fusion360 in my earlier design phases, and being so used to SketchUp after some thousands of hours designing in it, but with limited experience in getting 2D CAD to work nicely for me, I decided to try out AutoCAD.


At the time I was at my families second house down the West coast of Victoria, in Warrnambool - I've been between there and Melbourne since we took posession of it in late May. Unfortunately, we got hit with a 1 week that turned into 3 week COVID-19 lockdown, and so I was left with the house to myself for 3 weeks, the remainder of the family having been in Melbourne. With plenty of time, nothing to do, and a very empty, incredibly creaky house, I decided I may as well dig out my drawings and try out AutoCAD. After a day or so getting used to the program (designing the following carriage, realising I'd done it all wrong, and scrapping it to start again) I decided to draw up a rather neat little carriage that is believed to be the first bogie passenger carriage in Victoria, a Melbourne and Hobsons Bay United Railway Company carriage that was absorbed into the VR fleet in 1878. Build date is unknown, and when it entered service with the Victorian Railways it was classified 1AA. In 1888 it was reclassified to second class, becoming 11BB. With the 1910 recode this became 11B, it was withdrawn from passenger carrying service in 1940 and converted for use as a Way and Works workman sleeper carriage, before finally being withdrawn and scrapped in 1957. It's a shame that having lasted so late such a historically significant carriage was scrapped, though compared to the scrapping of all 4 famous S class pacifics some 3 years earlier I doubt it even made it onto the radar. The length, width and wheelbase of the carriage are known thanks to the VR line drawing. The height is approximated based off similar vehicles of the period.image.png.adcf078a492f8620cf952b44dcfe84cb.png

The sides and ends are designed as a double-etch, to be folded and laminated to give strength to the mostly half-etched outer sides. The not insignificant clear space on the etch will be taken up by another project that's currently going through the SketchUp design phase, as it requires more close attention than a carriage. After some messing about checking, double checking, adjusting, and then triple checking measurements, and reading documents on etching to confirm that half etch lines were in the right place etc, I got the body to a point where I'm happy with it. The point where the sides have the half-etch onto the body is regretfully poor, having no full width etch to form the second border, though hopefully having the inner etch laminated on will help this, along with a good steel ruler. Worst case I come back and design it with the floor as a separate piece and the sides and ends using tab and slot. I then turned to the 3D design aspects, the roof and chassis. VR standard 4'10" wheelbase bogies are available as brass cast kits, of which a set was purchased, and these will be assembled in due course, so the bogies are set. 


The roof design is a pure guess, though is based off a photograph of M&HBURC carriages in storage at Flinders St in the 1870s. As they all had the same style of construction, I'd say it's a not unreasonable guess that this vehicle would be the same. As can be seen in the background of the above image, I also drew up the sides in SketchUp to put together a 'complete carriage' to see how it would look when it's done. 


I'm going to have to find a suitable source of lining transfers, as I very much do not fancy attempting to line that all out by hand. With (at the time) no extra etching projects to fill the remainder of the sheet I put the design aside, though hopefully it'll see the light of day soon. 


Some (semi) kitbuilding up next. Having some time ago done a print of half a dozen of my wooden I wagon bodies. With no chassis, and work being sporadic between lockdowns, they sat untouched in a drawer for some time. Just before our latest lockdown (which by my count ended just over 2 hours ago), I made the trip down to Trainworld to purchase some underframe kits for these and some 6 wheel carriages; 3 of each. The first chassis was quickly assembled (they're nice and fast to do), and attached to a body. Having adjusted the body to be the correct width and length last year, there were a couple of things of note when attaching it to the body. 1) the chassis needs to be slimmed down. Not by a whole lot, and there's a roughly 1mm strip along the edge of the 10'6" chassis baseplates that's thinner than the rest, so easy to run a scalpel along each side to trim it down, and then a quick file of however much is left that needs thinning. 2) I need to thin the chassis baseplate before attaching it to the chassis. The body is the right size. The chassis is the right size. What isn't the right size is the fact that the chassis is designed to fit inside later era open wagons which were wider, and which had bodies that covered the sides of the floors. On the wooden I wagons the floor planking is noticeable between the solebars and the bottom plank of the body. Which is evidently thinner than the kit chassis floor. The height difference can be seen here when sat next to a Precision Scale Models brass I wagon that I purchased off a friend a at the start of the year, and collected in April. The price of the brass wagon would have paid for 5ish litres of 3D printer resin, but I've wanted to have one of them specifically for quite some time. 


The printed wagon is awaiting buffers as I have none, though what I have to show next may result in a fix for that particular problem. 

As the difference is only about 1mm or so, a bit under, I'm happy to live with it for this wagon - I'll just make sure not to put it in a train with other recent 3D prints. My plasticard scratchbuild, done a couple of years ago, was done on top of the same chassis with no thinning involved, so it'll happily sit with another one in a mixed train and nobody (else) will be any the wiser...


The following can't be described as prototype modelling, so those who came here for rivet counting (in some cases literally), look away now. 

For some time now a couple of friends and I have discussed various possibilities for the development of the Melbourne suburban network (and regional, though predominately suburban) in the early years. They started out as a 'what if this company didn't close when it did', or 'what if this line had never been built and a different company used a different route', however over time have evolved somewhat into a hypothetical scenario where the Victorian gold rush started around 6 years before it did in reality, and as a result the railway network was being developed earlier - 1854+ becoming late 1840s. Having been reading/re-reading through some excellent threads on pre-grouping modelling on RMWeb over the past couple of days, in particulary Chris P Bacon's 'Sandy, GN &LNWR', and 'MikeOxen's Broad Gauge Blog', it inspired me to turn these thoughts into something a little more solid. So, to start with, 4 basic carriage types and a 'standard' 20' underframe with 12' wheelbase were drawn up, covering a combined luggage and brake van, a 1st class carriage with solid roots in early Stockton and Darlington coaches, and 2nd and 3rd class coaches that, despite starting out with an intention of attempting to make a British carriage with minor local influence, ultimately turned into coaches that look suspiciously like about 50% of the VRs fixed wheel carriage fleet. image.png.0432c957da16ed7444a75031f9372f8c.pngWith the basic designs done I added some colouring, the GER inspired blue, with red window frames, gold panelling, light grey roofs and black underframes of my 'Melbourne & Yarra River Railway Company'. Seen from L-R are the 3rd class, 2nd class, 1st class and luggage/brake van. To get a better idea of how this fictional universe would look after some discussion with the more invested of the friends who I've discussed this with, I also painted them up into his 'Gipps Land Railway' livery of teak and charcoal. image.png.19226619fbf4a973d181948396bf57a0.png

Now, all this hypothetical talk and fun designs (I mostly just wanted to do the 1st class car with the ornamental panelling) is very well and good but not particularly relevant for this part of the forum. So, having had its first use since about February last night for the non-Australian project, the small printer (an AnyCubic Photon Mono, which I couldn't recommend enough after the following results) was once again called into use, to do a print of one of the 20' chassis, along with a 1st class body, and a luggage/brake van body. To say that I was astounded by how well the prints came out is an understatement. For context (see following photos), the thin part of the leaf springs on the chassis comes out at 0.3mm tall and 2mm wide. Getting into fine etching tolerances for the equivalent. Pre-printing I was very unsure as to whether the springs would print properly, and slightly uncertain on how the buffers would come out. Turns out that my concern was unfounded.


Hard to see with all the clear resin, but that's a very neatly printed out 0.3mm thick leaf spring after a quick metho bath. No issues could be spotted with the springs, nor with the buffers - hence my comment earlier regarding I wagon buffers. Obviously not going to be as strong as the cast brass ones, but even if I come up with a 50/50 printed-metal option - possibly printed buffer shanks and a turned head+shaft made possible by a Unimat 3 modelling lathe I have on long term loan from a friend. Also hard to see but the two carriage bodies came out nicely too. It looks as though the tumblehome on the 1st class car is slightly warped in the following photo, though no visible deformities were spotted when I looked over it while taking the photos. It may be that daylight and an undercoat says differently, if so I'll adjust the thickness for extra strength and have another go. Unfortunately my phone camera doesn't seem too fond on focussing on what I want it to at the moment. 2064131766_MYRR3D4.jpg.d8511ad011785f8e69b9c43a7ec95287.jpg

And last but not least the luggage/brake van and the full print.



The resin printing isn't infallible, though in my experience 9 times out of 10 a problem is caused by either the wrong settings, poor support design, or poor design in general. The non-Australian print suffered from a partial-failure along a bufferbeam as I managed to forget all my previous experience doing the exact same thing, and didn't make sure to put supports in corners. Not something that's in any way groundbreaking, but it can be something as simple as 2 supports in the right place that can be the difference between having a nice sharp, crisp print, and having something that looks like someone dropped a soldering iron on a resin cast.


Because I for the most part strongly believe that if it's worth doing it's worth doing well, these and an accompanying item that'll have to wait for a later date to show (though a couple of corners are visible in some of the digital images earlier in the post) are designed for EM gauge to represent true Victorian 5'3" broad gauge. 


At the rate my motivation for things is coming and going at the moment it could be anything from a couple of days to a couple of months before the next update, but I thought I've done stuff so why not show it. As always thoughts, comments, questions about any of it are welcomed, whether about the kitbuilding, designing, printing or just general modelling related. 



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