Sunday, December 26, 2010

Loading Docks Scenery

DISCLAIMER I intend to stock the MiniNatur products

Well today I tried out the "MiniNatur" products which are distributed in Australia via Orient Express in Adelaide, and available in hobby shops across Australia (If they choose to stock it).

I used 717-24 Short Tufts late fall, 717-23 Short tufts early fall and 737-23 Karst tufts.

First I finished the base around the loading docks using grout colour. This has a nice range of colours and gives a bit of texture. Over this I applied the Tamiya Diorama Texture Paint "Soil Effect" (this stuff is expensive, but a little goes a long way and has good colours and texture). This is the end effect.

I then added the various miniNatur products.

This looked really good, but I wasn't happy with so much dirt showing, it looked too much like the outback, not Nowa Nowa!

So I then ran more white glue around and sprinkled on Woodlands Scenics Fine Turf "Earth" to act as the forest litter, and a little bit of green... this is now looking really good!

Now to build a few trees :(



Loading Docks

I spent a fair amount of time researching the loading docks, including finding the plans... but the plans did not match the photographic evidence!

There were two loading docks, one built for APM with the second built for the VR when they pulled their original loading platform down. The APM plan shows it was originally built of timber... but the photo evidence from the 70's shows a concrete beam with track posts, which is what the VR plan shows. The VR plan shows the retaining wall "wings" angled back, whereas the photo evidence doesn't show this...

What I have surmised, and modelled, is that when the VR one was put in the APM one was also rebuilt of the same materials, and as they were doing them at the same time they built them the same.

So using the plans of the APM one and photos that I have I drew a plan in Corel Draw, which I printed out, and then built using 60x40thou styrene strip and 30x20 strip for the verticals.

I cut the verticals first, and put on a dab of superglue to hold them in position. I then glued the horizontals on using the Tamiya extra thin liquid cement.

Once dry I placed the finished model in water and soaked off the paper.

I test fitted it to the layout to check for size. Referring to plans and photos to get the positioning right.

 I gave it a light sand then painted the base colour of Tamiya white with a touch of buff added. the verticals, which were old rails, was painted a suitable rusty brown. Then I used the Tamiya weathering powders to give it a suitable dirty look.

Referring to the photos shows that I had made the bank at the back too high, so out came the saw to fix that!

The docks were then glued in with liquid nails, which was also used to "back fill" the docks, and to add a skin over the styrofoam, which is tough and flexible when dry. I made the road from styrene sheet, sanded back to create a camber.

It is looking a bit like the real ones :)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Point Motors

When we planned Nowa Nowa the original intention was to use manual points using piano wire from both sides.

Then I "found" my box of Peco point motors, and the plan changed... I have used of previous layouts and was pretty happy with them. Plan B involved fixing the Peco motors to the points, which was going to require the foam to be cut out. Subsequently the plywood was cut away where the points were so we could cut the foam out, and to save a bit of weight...

The problem was this would leave large "holes" under the points which would be noticed, and detract from the layout...Plan C then involved attaching the Peco point motors to the foam with just a small hole for the wire to go through....

I became increasingly unhappy with this approach for a number of reasons, including getting them to attach (I was beginning to really regret cutting the plywood away...), the operation of the motors them selves, and reviews of other products...

Enter the Cobolt!

Having seen the website, read the AMRM review, and talk to people who had used similar products I became increasingly convinced that I should at least give these a go. While sitting in my hotel in Orlando, USA, early one morning suffering from Jetlag I decided to do it, and ordered a 12 pack and associated bits...

Now the decision to cut away the plywood really started to haunt me...

First I tried fixing using the double sided tape directly to the blue foam. This held pretty good, and after leaving for 24 hours it was holding well... until I started to muck around with the points...

So now I have attached with the foam, then run a bead of "Liquid Nails". I'll report on how it goes in a few days :)

I have also done one where there was still plywood, this is how I would recommend it to go :

I am a bit concerned about how well the motors are protected on the module when it is moved... time will tell... I may have to add a bit more protection underneath.


December Holidays!!!

After spending most of the last 6 weeks away from home for work, including 2 weeks in the USA, it is great to be home, and now on leave for almost a month!

I have recently bought a 12 pack of the DCC Concepts Cobolt Point motors, I have installed two so far with some photos and observations to come.

I have also received the test shots of the AZ and BZ pass cars in N scale, photos to come :)

I have a lot of modelling and projects to catch up on and I'll try to keep people informed as I go along.


Monday, October 4, 2010


In between looking after kids on school holidays, catching up on chores, working in the garden and doing orders  I've been working on one of my other modelling obsessions... T-TRAK!

I love T-TRAK for its simplicity and easy of use for getting new people into N scale, the fantastic KATO track, its extreme modularity and the camaraderie that has grown up around it in Australia where we have a very active group.

I have "pushed" the T-TRAK limits a number of times now, making wider, longer and more "prototypical" style modules. And now I think we (for again Phil and Ashley have helped out) have built the ultimate module... until the next one!

Being a country lad I have always been intrigued by the busyness, intensity of train operations, and all the detail of the city. This suits T-TRAK really well! I have been going through suburban track diagrams for a few months getting a feel for the network at various stages of development

Recently when I had the flu I was on the Micro Layout site looking at traversers and train turntables for “Nowa Nowa” and randomly looking at layouts and ideas when I came across “Gumstumping”

Paul at “The Buffer Stop” in Melbourne often has his version at shows... then a thought hit me, this concept is similar to how “Victoria Park” just north of Collingwood in Melbourne was... and I could probably do it on T-TRACK.

Out came the plans (courtesy of Mark Bau’s excellent site

and I downloaded Anyrail ( and made the following plan:

I needed to fit within a 5 module area and I wanted to maximise the “Gumstumping” effect so added an extra switch back under the main running lines.

I then built and tested it over a period of several weeks to arrive at this final design.

Now to start on the scenery!

I will have it at the Wagga Wagga show in November.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Y oh Y...

One of the most requested models in N scale is the VR Y class. An excellent etch has been available for a few years from N Scale Australia, but unfortunately there was no suitable mechanism. A few enterprising people have kitbashed/rebuilt mechs to work, most notable Paul Blake, usually using the LifeLike SW9/1200 mech.

Then the other day Chris Pearce from Spirit Design sent me the following pictures, using the concept that Paul Blake developed but laser cutting into plywood...

Chris sent me some pre-production samples to play with.

The first one I built as per his design above which features two layers of plywood and the plywood brackets and quickly had it running. The motor requires the worms to be moved/removed and the flywheel needs to be removed then added on again (a NWSL puller is essential for this). Hard wiring the bogie's to the motor improves running, and a decoder can easily be fitted (will do that next). Fitting a Y class etch to the mech was very simple as it rests on the plywood top and the side skirts hide the plywood. It looked great running, but I felt the mech was a bit high (a common problem with N scale).

So next I modified the design so that the second layer of plywood was cut down so that it fitted inside the body, while the body rested on the lower layer. This dropped the body by about 1mm. I also cut the ends so that you didn't have to keep removing the couplers when you pulled the mech out. This photo shows my two mechs.

Here is a closeup of the modified mech I have highlighted in red where I cut away the second layer so it fits inside the body. The timer on top of the motor pushes the motor down so the worms engage the gear towers properly, otherwise the motor tends to lift and you loose power.

Here it is fitted to an undercoated body.

It works really well! You get to see through the grills as well. It happily pulls a small train, I plan to add more weight though, there is room in the hood and the cab.

While aimed at fitting DCC into the Lifelike SW9 it is interesting the use of an Atlas slow speed motor, NWSL wheels and Kato brass worms. This would be good if you can find old LL mechs, all you would need then is the bogies...



Saturday, August 7, 2010

20ft station

In between doing tax and getting ready for the Caulfield show I had a bash at a Spirit Design 12ft portable passenger station. As usual the Spirit Design kit went together nicely and really looks the part.

One of these was used as the yard office at Nowa Nowa:
This is how the model looks at the moment:

The model was undercoated grey, then painted with Tamiya XF-21 Sky, and XF-7 Red with white for the barge boards.

Needs some weathering and noticeboards.


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Van Goods Shed

One of the question I was was the construction type and general layout of the vans good shed which stood next to the water tank near the road over rail bridge. Photos like this one have it in the scene, but not in the centre of the screen...
Today though Gavin (who has a stack of Nowa Nowa, Orbost and other photos at:

Put up the following pic:
Taken in 1986 it is a great shot and really helps with the shed, the water tanks and a lot of details of this end (most people took photos from the bridge, so details at this end of the yard are scare). Other interesting things are the rock fill under the bridge, the grassy slope (we have modelled it to steep) and of course the water tank.

Another project  I can now start on when I get time.

Gavin has also posted a great set of photos of the Goods Shed... it looks like I'm now going to have to make a new one now :( as i have enough things not good enough that I'm getting unhappy.

In some ways I'm regretting having constructed as much as we have, based on the scant information at the time. But previous requests had meet with little info. Having a layout to show helps people to understand what is being done...


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Waygara Sawmill Sidings Nowa Nowa Part 2

Well info and photos are really rolling in. The post yesterday triggered a memory in Darren French and he sent me the following photo taken on 28-03-1987, just before the line closed:

The train is seen heading back to Bairnsdale, Nowa Nowa station is behind it, with Boggy Creek just around the curve.

He also indicated that Tostaree closed in 1978. The Sawmill at Waygara operated to the end though... pictures to come on that later!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Station Plan

Here is the plan of the station area:

 Here is the Waygara siding plans:

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Waygara Sawmill Sidings Nowa Nowa Part 1

While looking through the videos linked in the YouTube post below there were some great shots of the shunting at Waygara, but also an interesting movement from Nowa Nowa back the other way towards the township itself. I thought this was strange, I knew of sidings at Tostatree and Waygara, which are towards Orbost, but I knew of no sidings the other way.

then while looking for info on loading docks info that Gunzel has sent me I stumbled across some correspondence from APM in 1972 indicating that they had taken over the infrastructure of the Waygara Timber Company, including:

Timber mill site - Waygara
Timber storage and crane site - Waygara
Private Siding - Nowa Nowa
Loading Platform Nowa Nowa

Information on the loading platforms in the station yard being a current point of interest I read further.... and got more and more confused, until it finally all came together...

There were two more sidings in the Nowa Nowa area that I had no idea about!

In 1965 The Waygara Timber company indicated that it was amalgamating 2 of its four sawmills (The main one being at Waygara itself, another at Sardine Creek, which shipped out through Waygara and the Tostatree and Nowa Nowa mills which were to be rebuilt 1/2 mile north of the Nowa Nowa station.)

They requested the VR to build a new siding, at about 203 Miles from Melbourne, basically where the main town is, i.e on the other side of Boggy Creek from where the station is. This would help to relive some of the presure then being felt in the main Nowa Nowa yard (with smaller saw millers, the outwards limestone, inwards super all using the small yard).

These new sidings faced "down" towards Orbost on the nth side of the main line. Each siding was to be capable of holding 3 trucks, for a total of 6 trucks. These were shunted by a movement from Nowa Nowa (if you look at the videos one shows 2 T's departing with 3 wagons, crossing Boggy Creek).

This sawmill was an impressive contributor to traffic on the line, producing around 2000 million super feet of timber (9500 tons annual), of which 10% of the production was sleepers for the SAR.

In addition to the plans for the siding a plan for a loading platform was approved in 1966 and subsequently built.

In 1967 the siding was completed and placed into service. It was a very busy and profitable online business for the VR!

Now I need to look for info about Waygara and Tostatree sawmills!



Saturday, July 31, 2010

You Tube to the rescue!

 I was sent these You Tube links:

And I stumbled across the following:

I hope to post some stills from these, there are some fantastic information in there for the Nowa Nowa layout, and a sawmill location, Waygara, which we were thinking of doing as a separate module... now we have some pics!
Some of the info gleaned is the construction of the shed next to the watertank at the road overbridge (Horizontal overlapping boards) and the construction of the old portable station, which was relocated to the yard. Some photos of G wagons with check lettering as well!

While a bit "late" (1986) most of the info is really good. Some photos of interesting shunting moves too (double T's with wagons before and after the locos).

Also the long bogie VFTX all had 1-2 G wagons in between, due to the sharp curves?

Some photos of CP guards vans as well, which is good as I'm about to release one in N scale :)



Thursday, July 15, 2010

Loading Ramp Info

Thanks to Gunzel we now know more about the loading ramps, and even a plan for one of them... reading between the lines it looks like they were about the same, the first built in 1958 the second in 1971. When work eases up a bit maybe I can build them... anyway here is the info, rather than searching for the comment, again a big thank you!

In 1931 a high loading platform was built on the up end yard neck by Cameron and Ramsay (the western one as shown on your diagram), it was then removed in 1934. In 1936 Tuck and Ramsay erected a platform on the same site. In 1943 a second platform was erected by the White Rock Lime Coy. Pty. Ltd., later Industrial Lime Pty. Ltd. on the up side of the existing one. In September 1953 this platform was taken over by APM.(1)

Due to congestion in the yard due to large increases in timber and sleeper traffic the back road to the rear of the goods shed was built and this required the cutting back of the existing two platforms in order to maintain clearance. A new high loading ramp was proposed at this time but it was resolved to trial operations with the new siding only at first.(2)

The trial proved unsuccessful as far as APM was concerned. Therefore a new high loading platform was built towards the down end of the new back road siding for the use of APM and they surrendered their interest in the platform at the neck of the yard. The new platform was completed in1958. The former APM ramp was then available for use by all consignors.(3)

Due to high ongoing traffic and the decay of the wooden ramps at the neck of the yard a second high loading platform and accompanying siding was built branching off the back track in an up direction in 1971.(4)

(1) VPRS 421/P0 1128 Messrs. McRae Brothers – Representations to the Commissioners on tour at Nowa Nowa relative to the re-location of two high loading ramps
(2) Ibid.
(3) Ibid. The plan for this ramp 488/57 is also available in VPRS 4986/R1 2 302A
(4) VPRS 421/P8 3 71/1296 Nowa Nowa - The Chief Traffic Manager recommends the provision of a high loading platform at an estimated cost of $8,400.00."

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Construction Part 2

Quick update, very busy at work :(

Have added some more pictures to the construction page, here is one :)

This picture shows the completed ballast, using Simply Glues "Simply Road Base - Clay" with an airbrush of Tamiya Dark Sand. The goods shed is a Spirit Design one on a scratchbuilt platform.

The area around the goods shed, and indeed a lot of the yard area needs to now be bought up to rail height using "Pollyfilla" mixed with tile grout for colour and texture. More to follow when I have time.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Jumping Ahead

While I intend to go back and document what has happened, here are the latest construction photos. I've had the last few days off so have been getting a bit done.

This shows the layout complete, with the basic earth colouring done (using Oche coloured grout mixed into the Pollyfilla), the side valance fitted and painted to match Colourbond "Wilderness". A modified Spirit Design goods shed sits on the scratch built platform.

The scrubby end takes shape.

A train on the layout, first look at a scene to match these photos...

Will aim to get the angles better next time... better finish the etches for the Series 3 T class as well...

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Operations Part 1

The following is in response to a request from John.

Nowa Nowa is located in the steep forested hills of East Gippsland on the Orbost line.
(Image from Google Maps)

Operationally Nowa Nowa existed due to two main products, sawn timber and limestone. These two commodities lasted until the line was closed, but other items were shipped as well. From Harry Grosvenor via Peter Hair we have the following in 1977:

A.P.M (Australian Paper Mills) Pty Ltd (Rocky Camp via Buchan) - Limestone
Buchan Marble Quarry - Dressed marble
Murray E.F. Pty Ltd - Stone crushing
Nowa Nowa Bee Farm - Honey and beeswax out, boxes in.
Rocky Camp Quarry - Limestone
Sawn Timber (from at least two mills in the area).

The rock was shipped out in "O" wagons an G/GY type wagons:
(Note I think the Limestone went in the O wagons and the crushed rock in the G/GY types, but I don't know for sure)

Here is a scratchbuilt version of an O that I have done

From two loading points, this being one :

Photo around 2008-09

Photo from Tony Lamplough late 1970's

Photo from Harry Grosvenor in the 50's

I'm still trying to sort out the second loading point. Any help appreciated!

Researching Nowa Nowa

Thanks to Peter Vincent, Darren French, Harry Grosvenor,Tony Lamplough and the Train Hobby  books "Country Railway Stations" series we were able to put together a reasonably complete picture of Nowa Nowa.

Initially the picture sources covered each end of the station, such as this from Peter Vincent:

Other photos tended to be taken from similar locations, leaving the left side to the back of the goods shed un photographed.

What you can tell though is the two water tanks, the two gangers sheds, a small vans shed next to the closest water tank, and of course the goods shed. We already knew that the passenger station was long gone.

Thanks to Darren French we received a collection of plans that covered various phases of the station layout. Interestingly these often didn't match up well to the photographic evidence, as some were "plans" not what was built. The best of these is below... which gave us a great picture of the layout of the yard, however doubt remained in regards to the sidings behind the goods shed, as we had no photographic evidence to back it up...

At this point we began construction (to be covered in another post) then Tony Lamplough provided some more pictures which confirmed the sidings at the back, then this one...

The Red arrow shows where the old station went to! The green arrow points to a second loading point. We knew of one near where the photo was taken from, and we had two marked on the plan, but until this picture we couldn't confirm it, a single photo that was pure gold!

At this point our primary research was complete, and construction was underway...

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Nowa Nowa under construction

Over the last several months Phil and Ashley Hillebrand have been helping me out on a new N scale model of Nowa Nowa in eastern Victoria.

I've been wanting to do this for a long time, and as I was recovering from a major operation I had some time on my hands... So we started :)

You will notice in the pictures that Phil and Ashley are doing most of the work, as I was still very stiff and sore I did the management, recording and brew making!


A new blog!

I've been thinking about doing a blog for a while, mainly to record progress on a new module "Nowa Nowa" which is under construction, but also to record other things as a compliment to my shop website