Foundry Roof

Over the past two or three weeks I’ve been making steady progress on the Stoney Creek Designs foundry kit that I wrote about here in my last post.

This photo shows the progress I've made on the foundry building that I've been working on. It's a nice little building kit and has been a real pleasure to assemble although I've found it a fairly expensive exercise.

This photo shows the progress I’ve made on the foundry building that I’ve been working on. It’s a nice little building kit and has been a real pleasure to assemble although I’ve found it a fairly expensive exercise.

Being of US origin the kit is of course nominally 1:48 rather than the 1:43.5 scale proportion I work to but I don’t mind that the building is a slightly smaller proportion in this context. I have a tendency to deliberately place objects at the front of my layouts to mask unrestricted views of the track and having a building of slightly smaller volume allows for this effect without the building overwhelming the scene. This building has a wonderfully interesting set of roof lines mixed in with industrial smoke stack and I like the way these hard geometric lines will break-up and disturb the natural undulations of the river banks and tree canopy that sit adjacent to this scene. I have replaced the original tar paper roof of the brick office part of the building with a small peaked corrogated pitched roof but aside from that the building is pretty much straight out of the box. There was a tall industrial chimney on the banks of the Hunter River that Morpeth sits on not too far from this spot and as I doubt I’ll be able to reproduce that particular very tall chimney, the smaller one included with this building had a lot of drawing power for me. It gives this part of the layout a nice industrial flavour without chimney having to be an item I need to remove from the scene for storage which is what I would have to do if I tried to model the tall chimney from the mill. The mill is the next building on the to do list for this part of the layout.

I’ve followed the instructions for this kit quite closely in both the construction sequence and the colouring of the components. Like any kit the parts to this do need to be assembled but I’ve found that this isn’t the main task in the construction of this building. What has taken the most time has been preparing and colouring the parts. The instructions specified a range of colouring media that I had not tried before and because one of the reasons I had for building this kit was to learn some new modelling techniques I spent a good deal of time tracking down the colouring media specified in the kit’s instructions. Two types of colouring media that were new to me were Pan Pastels and Vallejo Air air brush paint and I spent a lot of time and money searching and buying both online and at my favourite hobby shop.

Vallejo paint should be available at any well stocked hobby shop and I picked up the colours I wanted from Hobbyrama in Brisbane, which has a fantastic range of paints. What I like about the Air range of this brand is that you can place the paint straight in the air brush cup and use it without thinning. Coverage is good and I like that it has a nozzle incorporated into the bottle thus making it easy to dispense. I’d read about Pan Pastels in the past but I had hesitated to buy any because wherever I looked they always seemed to be extremely expensive. I wanted about 8 or 9 colours and I simply couldn’t seem to get the colours I wanted at a reasonable price. You can get kits that bring the price down quite a bit but these always contain colours I knew I wouldn’t need and some outlets were selling the individual colours for as much as $34 per small pan of colour! I kept searching this time and the best outlet in terms of range and price I found was an art supply shop (combined with a newsagent) in Adamstown, Newcastle, NSW. You can find the link in the list on the side of the main page of my blog if you’re interested. The pastels are a very interesting product and deserve to gain a good following in the model railway community for the weathering of buildings and rolling stock if the prices are brought down to a reasonable level. I bought a few of the individual colours at $11.60 per pan and the kit set I bought was for rust and dust so most of the colours will come in useful. These pastels are extremely flexible and easy to apply and control is much better than I’ve had with products like Carr’s and Bragdon weathering powders. They can be applied and then rubbed off with a standard pencil eraser to get different effects and the range of colours is excellent. But the price! Ouch! The mortar lines in the building above were done with a colour from the Pan Pastels range.

Generally speaking this has been an enjoyable but quite expensive exercise so far. I bought quite a few products that I haven’t actually used and I purchased some items online and paid quite a bit for postage because that’s the only way I could get my hands on them. When added to the not inconsiderable cost of the kit it would have been a lot more cost-effective to build something from styrene from scratch, but I probably wouldn’t have learnt so many new techniques or had half as much fun.

So it’s a balance…

New Buildings

I’m aware that the posts on my blog have been few and far between recently, however I could never see the point in posting about nothing and progress has been such that there has been little to write about. I suppose I could write about the refugee crisis or politics but there are enough blow-hards already holding forth on topics like that. Let’s stick with something really important, trains🙂

I’d planned on posting about my struggles with the wiring of the 2nd and 3rd modules but I was enjoying myself too much to take time out and actually write about it. I seem to be in a minority when I say I really enjoy wiring: it’s logical, neat and has a specific end point. The more artistic sides of our hobby do seem to have a certain “never-ending story” quality about them. The main aim of the re-wiring was to finish the electrical standardized connections between modules, install some block detectors to allow for some auto operation (to let a rail motor or a small loco to shuffle back and forth) and to run wiring up to the places where wires need to cross between the 3rd module and three other modules. Everything went well until I got close to finishing the job and discovered a short that only appeared when I tipped the layout section on its side. As you might expect with a modular layout, I do the wiring with the part of the layout I’m working on tipped back on its side so that I can sit in a comfortable chair and fiddle with the internals to my heart’s content. So tell me how a short-circuit isn’t apparent when the layout is down and sitting as it would be viewed in normal operation but appears when the same module is tipped on its back and being worked on? Almost as confusing as a friend of mine who discovered he had electrical continuity when he stuck two multi meter probes in some plywood. It turned out that I already knew about this short but the solution only occurred to me after I’d undone three night’s work by disconnecting all the wiring I’d laboriously installed in the earlier part of the week. It turned out that some rail spikes were coming into contact with the cross members of the brass bridge on this section of layout. I duly pulled all the pins out of the track that had any chance of coming into contact with the brass, re-connected the wiring and found the problem was solved. Obviously this problem was only apparent when pressure was applied to the track under the correct circumstances such as when it was pushed back on its side. I wasn’t likely to run trains when the layout was on its side but I had noticed that the same short appeared when I pushed down on the track on the bridge when the layout was in operational mode so it could appear later.

So onward and upward. The first thing I did after I installed a plug point for my DCC system and tested 2002 across the track was to change my mind about the church I wrote about in a recent post. There was nothing wrong with this as a building or with the kit it was going to be built from but I’d changed my mind and that was all there was to it. “It’s my party and I’ll whatsit whatsit…” if you know what I mean. What I wanted in this space was something more Morpeth and when I went looking at my old photos of the prototype I found exactly what I was after.

This photo is of a small corrugated iron shed I took about 10 years ago on a visit to Morpeth. The skillion roofed section sits above where the traisn used to run along the shefl cut into the river bank.

This photo is of a small corrugated iron shed I took about 10 years ago on a visit to Morpeth. The skillion roofed section at the back sits above where the trains used to run along the shelf cut into the river bank.

What I was after was something that looked right in the context of the river, the right-of-way and the combination of brick retaining walls and fences that sit along this part of the line. I found that this shed fitted the bill perfectly, not just because it sits within spitting distance of the line where the model would sit on the layout (in other words this is the building that sits on this part of the real line) but also because it had the right mix of roof lines I’m always after and the rusty corrugated iron is just so right for this part of the world.

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This photo shows the original Northumberland St station building. The rusty shed that forms the subject of this post can be seen through the smoke produced by the 20 class locomotive.

This photo shows the original Northumberland St station building. The rusty shed that forms the subject of this post can be seen through the smoke produced by the 20 class locomotive.

This photo was taken from the walking track which is formed by the old railway right of way. The stone steps on the left are represented on the layout by the steps that are on the front on the old Northumberland St station building that sits in the corner of the layout. I can't get a much more approariate structure than this.

This photo was taken from the walking track which is formed by the old railway right of way. The stone steps on the left are represented on the layout by the steps that are on the front on the old Northumberland St station building that sits in the corner of the layout. I can’t get a much more appropriate structure than this. The Northumberland St station building is long gone but by chance the building that stood next to it survives today (well it was still there when I last visited).

So nix to the church and work commenced on the new rusty corro shed.

This photo shows a progress shot of the rusty shed. It's basically just a styrene box. I've turned the struture 90 degrees to the way the prototype sat in relation to the right of way to make better use of the site.

This photo shows a progress shot of the rusty shed. It sits next to my model of Northumberland St station but it’s been shifted onto the other side of this structure. The shed is basically just a styrene box. I’ve turned the structure 90 degrees to the way the prototype sat in relation to the right-of-way to make better use of the site.

This is what's now in place on the layout. Nothing spectacular but then it's really only a rusty red background shape. A high level of detail isn't required with this structure.

This is what’s now in place on the layout. Nothing spectacular but then it’s really only a rusty-red background shape. A high level of detail isn’t required with this structure.

I got the building finished and installed, reinstated the wooden fencing and added a bit of ground cover and foliage to cover any gaps and to blend things in a bit. After this work was completed I had to decide what came next and settled on the building/s that were to sit on a site at the front of the module.

Originally I’d set this site aside for an oil depot scene but when I decided to install a “minimalist” oil siding on module 2 there seemed little reason to use this space up just to add tanks and other depot paraphernalia. So I decided that I wanted to industrialize the site with a suitable building or buildings. I have a couple of weaknesses when it comes to this hobby: one is human figures and the other is building kits. I have a half-dozen US sourced building kits that I have purchased over the years, all of them unbuilt and sitting in a cupboard. The most recent of these are a Mount Albert Scale Models kit “Stanley Storage” and a Stoney Creek Designs kit “Wiseman Foundry”. I have ummed and ahhed about these kits for a long while because not only are they not the correct scale, they are also very “American”. It’s quite possible US-based modellers might laugh at me for saying this because if anything these kits are actually “hyper-American” being very vernacular and even caricatures of real buildings. But they’re extremely appealing and full of character. I’ve wanted to have a crack at building a Fine Scale Miniatures kit for years but these are only produced in HO so I’ve never really got any closer than looking admiringly at photos of the kits in magazines, however I decided that with this particular spot on the layout that I’d put my partisan Aussie prototype modellers hat to one side for once and give my modellers licence a bit of a run. My excuse for this is that this corner of my layout is small tribute to Geoff Nott, George Sellios and John Allen. Three of my modelling heroes.

I began the building process by following the instructions that came with the kits and set out the components for the foundations first to check they will fit my site. As it turned out they wouldn't fit to my satisfaction so I extended the base by about 220mm and dropped this about 15mm at one end to give the flat gound a bit of variation.

I began the building process by following the instructions that came with the kits and set out the components for the foundations first to check they will fit my site. As it turned out they wouldn’t fit to my satisfaction so I extended the base by about 220mm and dropped this about 15mm at one end to give the flat ground a bit of variation.

I’m very impressed with the fit and quality of the components so far. It turns out that the Mt Albert kit was produced in conjunction with Stoney Creek so the way the instructions are presented in both kits is very similar. One major difference is that the main building components for the stone and brick sections of the buildings are resin in one kit and plaster in the other but this is no problem, I’ve worked with all of these materials before. So how am I going to get these structures to fit into an Australian scene? A lot of the roof material supplied will be replaced by rusty corrugated iron, there will be awnings added over doors and loading bays and the more obvious US features that scream Nth America (such as a large water tank on the roof of one of the buildings) will be removed or replaced. Once I’ve buried them into the bank, shrubbed up the surrounds and installed a lot of Aussie style fences and junked up the yard you’ll barely be able to tell they’re Yankee structures. Well that’s what I’m telling myself now🙂

Morpeth MkIV

I’ve been referring to this version of Morpeth as Mk IV to myself through such things as labelling the folder where the photos I’ve been taking have been stored on my computer. It’s far too complicated to outline the details of Mks I to III here. I’ve made reference to the earlier layouts and iterations of these layouts on this blog but I wouldn’t bother trying to hunt these posts out, that’s all ancient history now. What is worth mentioning is that I did a lot of work on Morpeth in the lead up to the Aus7 ExpO which was held in March 2014. I worked on the layout quite intensely in the lead up to that show and once I arrived back home the layout sat essentially untouched for a time before I decided to try installing it at home as a semi-permanent layout. I made some damaging changes to Morpeth Mk III to get it to fit and then personal circumstances led me to selling the house I as living in at the time. So these half-implemented plans went from being planned changes to planned damage. As a result of moving house I packed the layout in its dedicated trailer, towed that across the range of hills that separated me from my old home about 100km away and there it sat, inside the trailer while I built my Z20 class locomotive and put some rolling stock kits together.

Now you might ask why it’s taken me so long to start working on the layout again, especially as it was approximately 75% complete in March 2014. It would only have taken a good push along for another 12 to 18 months to get it “finished”. This is a very pertinent question. Perhaps the most important thing stopping me from pushing straight on with finishing Morpeth was the June 2009 issue of the Australian Model Railway Magazine magazine which has a very nice photo of my previous layout, Queens Wharf on is cover. I’m very proud of this cover as it was the first that featured a layout built by me, so proud in fact that a framed copy of it hangs on the wall above my workbench. Now while I’m proud of having my layout on the cover of what I consider to be Australia’s premier model railway magazine there is something that grates with me and it’s that at the time the photo was taken I didn’t own a steam locomotive that could be used in the photo. As such the 32 class steamer that does appear was borrowed from a friend. Now there’s nothing wrong with the 32 class (thanks for the loan Paul) and I actually don’t have a problem with someone else’s loco appearing on my layout in a photo on my first and hopefully not my last magazine cover. However I do have a problem with the fact that I hadn’t yet built a steamer of my own that could have been used. Not because I couldn’t build one but simply because there always seemed to be other things (both modelling and life things) to be getting on with. At the time the cover appeared I made a promise that no layout of mine would ever appear in public again without at least one steam loco built by yours truly gracing its rails. I had to make an exception for the Aus7 ExpO in 2014, it was initiated and organised by the O-scale modelling group I happen to be president of. 2002 was and my 19 class loco are the result of that resolution to build some steam locomotives.

So we get to 2014-2015 and I’m implementing a plan to install Morpeth at home as a “semi-permanent” layout and just after I chop 150mm off the end of one of the modules and rearrange a couple of the buildings’ locations personal circumstances lead me to come to a full stop! In the house move I also managed to drop a desk lamp on one of my buildings doing a pretty thorough job of rendering it back to its constituent components; some paint, a large decal and of a pile of plaster chips and dust.

I have a bit of a weakness for building kits and this was the original brick building that sat on the bank at the rear of module 3. It started life as a Donetown Deco building marketed as Archie's Bar. On my layout it first of all became a billboard for Rosella tomato sauce and then it became a pile of plaster chips after I dropped a desk lamp on it!

I have a bit of a weakness for building kits and this is an “in progress” shot of the original brick building that sat on the bank at the rear of module 3. It started life as a Downtown Deco building marketed as Archie’s Bar. On my layout it first of all became a billboard for Rosella tomato sauce and then it became a pile of plaster chips after I dropped a desk lamp on it! After it was damaged I decided it couldn’t be saved and I tossed it in the bin.

This past few days I’ve reached a bit of a milestone in that I’ve managed to get back to where I’m not just fixing planned damage on Morpeth but actually starting to make some genuine progress toward finishing the layout and getting it ready for a public showing. One of the biggest changes I’ve been planning to make is to turn my train turntable from its original purpose into a 4th scenic module. This module appears on the plan I posted a couple of days ago and it consists of a 2mX600mm slab of river that will eventually hold a long wooden trestle up on which will sit a ship model I’ve had stored away for about 5 or 6 years and onto which I have been dying to get my hands!

This photo shows the train turntable in the process of being dismantled. I've already removed the table and other hardware and soon will move onto cutting down the sides and installing a solid table of 7mm plywood which will serve as the Hunter River's surface.

This photo shows the train turntable in the process of being dismantled. I’ve already removed the table and other hardware and soon will move onto cutting down the sides and installing a solid table of 7mm plywood which will serve as the Hunter River’s surface.

The change of use for the module in the photo above is not that the turntable didn’t work, in fact anything but: it was a remarkable success. However it was big, unnecessarily big in fact, and required one full parking slot in the trailer that houses Morpeth. In thinking over what I wanted to do with the layout and what possible redesign work could be carried out on the train turntable, I made the decision that I could make better use of this module as a fully scenicked entity and that a new slimline train turntable could be made and fitted into one of the 100mm high utility slots at the bottom of the trailer rack. I have convinced myself that I can make the train turntable work in a slim form, all I have to do now is make it. That will happen further down the track.

Peter and Phil, two very hard working friends of mine dropped by on Wednesday last week to give me a hand on re-purposing the turntable module I was a little worried I wouldn't get everyting done on the two days I had available for this work but with their help we got the whole job done and even had time to dawdle over a cafe lunch. Thanks guys, I never would have finished this on my own.

Peter and Phil, two very hard-working friends of mine dropped by on Wednesday last week to give me a hand on re-purposing the turntable module. I was a little worried I wouldn’t get everything done in the two days I had available for this work but, with their help, we got the whole job done and even had time to dawdle over a cafe lunch. Thanks guys, I never would have finished this on my own.

The work was carried out at my partner’s home in her double garage as I don’t have the space to carry out such work in my abode. The only problem with working in her shed is that there’s no power or lights in the shed so taking decent photos is a bit of a challenge. The work went swimmingly and by the end of the day we were able to pack the new module back in the trailer ready to be hauled back over the range.

While you have to squint and squeeze your imagination really hard to see it this module will eventually come to represent the Hunter River. Module 3 can be seen in the backgroundat right angles to the re-purposed turntable module.

While you have to squint and squeeze your imagination really hard to see it this module will eventually come to represent the Hunter River. Module 3 can be seen in the background at right angles to the re-purposed turntable module.

Over the past couple of days since arriving home I got some wiring upgrades done on the station module before I packed it back in the trailer. This is the module with the Shell Depot on it that I posted about last week. While some track needed to have wires reattached I also wanted to cut some rail gaps and install some NCE BD20 block detectors that I plan to use in conjunction with an NCE Mini-panel to allow a couple of locomotives to shuttle back and forth on the layout. The plan for this is that I would like to be able to have the option to have something moving on the layout automatically to take the pressure off the operators at exhibitions. With block detectors and a bit of basic programming I should be able to have a small tank loco shuttling back and forward on the pier and a railmotor doing the same thing from the fiddle yard to the station. Spending 3 days moving trains back and forth on a fiddle yard to terminus layout gives you a new appreciation of tail-chasing layouts.

So today I swapped module 2 for module 3 in my workroom and got to work looking at what I needed to do to complete this module before I could move on and get to work on the pier and ship models, to say nothing of the yet to be built slimline train turntable.

I have been aware for the past 3 or 4 weeks as this stage in the layout work approached that I would need to start by finding a replacement for the brick building that originally stood on the bank a the rear of module 3. I've decided that the Outback Model Co kit of the small country church would fit the bill. This photo shows a a test of the kit in the same spot after a bit of judicious scenery "remodelling".

I have been aware for the past 3 or 4 weeks, as this stage in the layout work approached that I would need to start by finding a replacement for the brick building that originally stood on the bank a the rear of module 3. I’ve decided that the Outback Model Co kit of the small country church would fit the bill. This photo shows a test of the kit in the same spot after a bit of judicious scenery “remodelling”.

I’ve lived all over the state of NSW in the past 30 years and I’ve seen at least 5 or 6 examples of the church that is represented by the Outback Model Co’s kit of St Agnes’ church. After taping together walls of the kit with low tack blue masking tape I plonked the resultant box in the space left by the previous building. It is perfectly sized for this small space: very Australian and very appropriate for this space.

This recently repainted chuch is just one example of the St Agnes' kit produced by the Outback Model Co. It fits the site perfectly when this was made vacant by the damage to the previous building.

This recently repainted church is just one example of the St Agnes’ kit produced by the Outback Model Co. It fits the site perfectly when this was made vacant by the damage to the previous building. This example is situated in Nevertire in central west of NSW.

Thinking Through A Rail Siding

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been steadily working on the refurbishment of Morpeth’s scenery. About two years ago I had made the decision to install both of my modular layouts Queens Wharf and Morpeth into my train room. As neither of them had been designed as permanent layouts and did not fit into the available space I had at the time I made some modifications to both of them to fit them in. While I was making these changes I took the opportunity to reverse some decisions I’d made early in their development. One of these was to move a scratch built engine shed on Morpeth from its position in front of the station to a far more logical place down the line in the engine servicing facility. The result of this change was to leave a hole in the scenery about 45cm long by 150mm wide across the lines from the station platforms. See my previous post for a photo of this hole.

Personal circumstances resulted in the plan to move the layouts into the train room being abandoned however I decided to move on with Morpeth’s development as an exhibition layout.

While I had made the decision to move the engine shed to a more “logical” location, the move also resulted from my dissatisfaction with how much the engine shed had screened the view of the station. I’m all in favour of strategic view blocks on layouts to make the viewer see the layout in the way the builder intended, however the engine shed was a step beyond controlling the view to almost overwhelming it. So in being presented with an opportunity to fill the new opened space for an industry siding I didn’t want to repeat this same mistake by allowing the newly installed scene distract from the overall station scene.

This plan is the most recent development of Morpeth's plan. It takes into account the changes I made to the original plan in trying to get it into the train room of my old home. The engine shed's new location is on the far left and its replacement Shell Depot is located across the rail lines in front of the station.

This plan is the most recent development of Morpeth’s plan. It takes into account the changes I made to the original plan in trying to get it into the train room of my old home. The engine shed’s new location is on the far left and its replacement Shell Depot is located across the rail lines in front of the station.

I’ve spent about 6 months thinking about what sort of industry I should install on this siding. It had to be small, low and out in the open air with minimal or no buildings if I could get away with it. I’ve considered most options but an oil siding was always likely to win out because, while there was never an oil deport at Morpeth, I have some nice yet-to-be-built kits for oil tank cars and I also knew that I could model the siding for such an industry in a minimal space with a bit of chain link fencing, a patch of sand and sign.

This photo shows the way I've filled the empty space left by moving the engine shed from this location. The fence is brass rod and  plastic fly screen wire. I Photo-shopped the sign from a Google search and printed it onto paper on a colour laser printer.

This photo shows the way I’ve filled the empty space left by moving the engine shed from this location. The fence is brass rod and plastic fly screen wire. I Photo-shopped the sign from a Google search and printed it onto paper on a colour laser printer. The oil unloading piping is some code 100 rail and 2.5mm brass rod painted sliver. The only really challenging aspect of the whole scene was turning up some small brass “valves” on my lathe. These have some ModelOKits 19 class release hand wheels soldered into their tops.  

It’s taken me a couple of weeks to gradually fill this scene in. The fencing I was planning to use had been sitting unused after it was removed from Morpeth MkI over 12 years ago. Of course when I actually came to try installing this fence in this new location only about half of it was any use so this required the manufacture of some more that was appropriate for this location. The sign and the outlet piping are made up following the lead of the articles that have appeared in AJRM over the years and from Google searches. It was far more common for small, regional oil dept sidings like this one to have the piping on the outside of the fencing but I like the enclosed look of having the pipe inside the fence. The only other addition was the installation of a sleeper over the end of the siding to prevent wayward wagons from rolling off the end.

I would have liked to pose the above photo with an oil tank wagon I built many years ago but after searching high and low I couldn’t seem to lay my hands on it. I did find lots of other missing stuff that I hadn’t seen for a while though🙂 I visited a friend’s place yesterday and asked him if I happened to give him the wagon. He said yes. A senior’s moment? Probably but at least I had some vague memory that I’d given it to him so I’m not completely without hope!🙂

 

A Z20 at Morpeth Station (Finally)!

I’ve been working on a Morpeth based theme for something like 16 years. The Z20 class tank locomotive was ubiquitous on this short branch line, in fact I know of only one photo that shows a different class of locomotive on the line and that was a C30, another tank locomotive of the NSWR that at a casual glance is a very similar looking locomotive. The point I’m trying to make is that I’ve been working on a series of layouts in a range of formats based on a branch line that essentially only had one class of locomotive that ran on it and for all those years I haven’t had a model of that class of loco. I do now. To put this into some sort of perspective, in that 16 years I’ve built two separate versions of the station building and platform you can see in this photo. This is number 2.

This the fist photo I've taken of my newly completed Z20 sitting at Morpeth station. The passengers have been waiting for 16 years for the train to arrive.

This the fist photo I’ve taken of my newly completed Z20 sitting at Morpeth station. The passengers have been waiting for 16 years for the train to arrive.

Now everyone brings to their modelling a different set of beliefs and principles when it comes to what they will and won’t run on their layouts: some people are happy to run just about anything that has wheels others won’t run a locomotive on a line that depicts a particular spot that never ran there on the prototype. Now I’m fairly flexible with what I’ll run on my layouts, as long as they’re the correct scale and are generally speaking of a NSWR origin (and not too ridiculously large) locomotives that never ran on the Morpeth line get a run and even those that weren’t even running till after the line was torn up might make an occasional appearance. However I do have one bug bear about prototype running that has caused me pause a few times over the years before I built 2002. Locomotives run on Morpeth that never ran to the real location however I’ve always felt less than comfortable with this without at least one example of the class that was synonymous with the line, namely the Z20 class. I consider this informed consent: I’m ok with the non-prototype locomotives running on the layout as long as I know they didn’t run there and that I also know what did and I have one example of that class running on the layout. Having 2002 is the fulfillment of a 16 year journey and having a photo of the loco in front of a station building made by myself with a station name board with the word Morpeth on it has resonance for me. This photo is my hobby.

This module has sat untouched for most of the past week as I’ve been busy with work and life but I managed to do some track laying tonight.

This photo shows the gap in the scenery where the engine shed once stood. I've installed a short length of track here to extend the siding and this is now wired up so I can move onto filling the gaps.

This photo shows the gap in the scenery where the engine shed once stood. I’ve installed a short length of track here to extend the siding and this is now wired up so I can move onto filling the gaps.

The hole in the scenery left by the relocation of the Morpeth engine shed sits on the front of the module in front of the station. I spent some time tonight wiring up the new length of track (just over 400mm long or 17″) and cleaning the track on the module and testing the loco. This is the first time in over three years that I’ve run a train on this section of the layout and the only work needed is to fill the holes in the scenery and lay down some new ground cover. After I’ve done this I’ll install a bit of fencing and some pipes and this siding will become a minimalist fuel siding. Once that work is done this module will be placed back in the trailer and out will come module 3 to take its place in my workroom. Module 3 is the scenic heart of the layout and it needs at least three new buildings, a lot more trees and shrubs added, a creek/river bed completed and a concrete culvert that leads onto a curved pier that runs onto a module that I haven’t actually built yet.

I’ve set in my mind that I’m going to offer to take this layout to an exhibition in Sydney or Brisbane in 2017 but it’s got to be finished before that happens. I’m pretty sure I can get the basic infrastructure done in time but the models take me a long while to build and the goods shed, while largely complete, needs a bit of work to get it where I want it. The new scenic module will be formed by the base freed up by recycling my train turntable module that I believe I can reproduce in a much slimmer form so it can sit in a small slot in the trailer which will allow me to build the pier as a fully completed unit with ship in situ. I plan to have the pier wired up and locomotives will run on it but at exhibitions I’ll utilize a shuttle module that will allow my Manning Wardle to shuffle back and forth on its own with a wagon or two in tow. I’ve also been thinking about how I can make the ship model rock up and down gently as it sits next to the pier and how I can light the module as it sticks out from the main layout at right angles, thus making a lighting rig that doesn’t intrude too much into the scene a real challenge. Lots to do…

This photo shows and early stage of construction on module #3. Things are much futher along than this stage but I think this gives a good overall impression of the bones of this section of the layout.

This photo shows an early stage of construction on module #3. Things are much further along than what can be seen in this photo but I think this gives a good overall impression of the bones of this section of the layout. I”ll move back to working on it when I’ve filled the hole in the scenery on module #2. Looking at this photo I’ve remembered that brick building you can see behind the loco is a Downtown Deco structure that suffered a fatal accident when I was moving house the last time. A desk lamp fell on it from the top of my work bench so I’ll need to find a replacement for it when I come back and start to work on the module in a few weeks. Make that four buildings I have to construct…