Contrary to general opinion and going by my own experience, palm trees grow very quickly after planting, as can be seen in this photo. It may have something to do with using white glue as a fertiliser.... I couldn't say.
We have a terrible fire season here in Australia, mainly from the middle of January right into
March. During that time I usually pack away my more valuable locos, rolling stock and built structures to a safe place. When the danger appears to have passed and I return everything to the train room, there is usually is a big mess.
It occurred to me that, instead of putting away most of the boxes into the cupboard, I might
like to have their contents displayed in a nice cabinet, where they would also be protected from dust.
I had some wood grain flooring, which seemed most suitable. I bought a 1200mm x 600 mm x 3mm clear sheet of perspex and built the cabinet around it. It has six storage spaces and I'm very happy with it.
I thought it was time I had another look at 'Molesworth' (my version :-) ). I lengthened the
platform as much as I could, changed the pitch of the roof and added the fence. I found a pack of Atlas picket fences which seemed good enough to satisfy my (modest) standards. As they were
all meant for level ground I had to disassemble a length and glue it together at the appropriate
angle for the ramp. I found a white metal kit of a 1000 l water tank with stand. The pack didn't have the tap it should have had, so I had to make up a passable one. Downpipes have yet to be added.
I also finally got around to ballasting the yard, which apart from the main consist of an
extremely short passing loop, only just long enough for a DERM.
At the Warrnambool show I had bought one of Outback Models' country cottage kits, which
off and on took my butterfingers a good two days to put together. It is a very nice kit, but I haven't finished with it yet and it is not in the right position. Not happy with the roof either - will redo it.
There is also a scratchbuilt garage for it . The whole area in the foreground of this scene is yet to be landscaped...
I at last managed to do a little work around the farm. I placed the homestead (farmhouse to
anyone who doesn't live Downunder!) on a rather small level area, a little too small in hindsight.
Never mind, I still hope to place a shed or barn somewhere near the house.
Between house and road I always intended to have a dam (pond) for the stock. It again turned
out a little smaller than I had hoped for, but I really don't have the acreage.
I fear that the sheep and cattle may wander off, get run over by trucks or otherwise disappear without trace, as I haven't constructed any fences anywhere... they are on the top of my list of
projects to be done - in the meantime I can only hope they like the grazing well enough where
Some more work was also done at the level crossing on the Alexandra road.
It may be of interest to also look again at the approach to Yea, as some work was done there,but
the area is still being improved. Again, no fencing yet...
Finally, once more, the yard at Alexandra... well, the rail fans will just keep taking photos. :-(
There are a lot of details yet to be added - gutters, downpipes etc., etc. Then there are bigger projects, such as Yea Station. Alexandra platform needs its picket fence mended.
And, and, and ...
Enough for now.
A very Happy Christmas to everyone
and a Healthy and productive New Year,
with a lot of fabulous and satisfying Model(l)ing . Walter.
Crew were walking around in mud, puddles everywhere when it rained... it was high time to ballast Alexandra yard.
I mixed a few different colours from my supply of gravel, until I was satisfied that it approximated
the look of an old yard. I will still apply oil and soot here and there - and a lot of weeds!
I used Woodland Scenics cement, but I could have used diluted white glue - much cheaper...
I can't be certain, but I'm guessing that there still was a little livestock traffic in 1975, so I decided
to give Alexandra some stock ramps and holding pens.. They may have been larger than what I have space for and they would have been fairly dilapidated by then . Well - I can do dilapidated.
Old butterfingers had quite a difficult time with them, but I'm reasonably happy with the result.
A very close friend of mine with a farming background maintains that sheep and cattle would
not have been loaded into 'L' and 'M' wagons at the same time, but even though she is pretty gorgeous, I'm ignoring her...
I did have quite a time finding the Preiser Friesians ( I can never tell Friesians from Holsteins, someone please tell me ...)
By the way - the sliding door on the cattle ramp needs repairing already :-), it lies in the grass at the moment . The clumps of sheep, intended as loads for the 'Ls' will be replaced for the pens by Preiser
animals, which are quite finely crafted.
I think the pens will have to get some watering troughs...
Sometimes it is seemingly little things , wrong decisions, that grate and eventually need to be rectified.
When I first started construction of this layout, I decided, because it wasn't very deep, the points would be operated by push rods, housed in aluminium tubes. That was o.k. and eventually all 18 were
fitted and worked well. I had , however, fitted the piano wires with wooden beads from Spotlight and failed to recess them into the fascia. This wasn't too bad in areas with no traffic other than operation,
but was a damn nuisance where people crossed the room, brushing against them, as it was a major thoroughfare in the house.
The solution to the problem wasn't that difficult: I simply fitted a 25mmx12mm strip of pine
to the top of the fascia, thus protecting the push rods. I also came to the conclusion that the
wooden baubles were quite unnecessary and simply bending the end of the wires into a hook
made the push rods perfectly workable. They even became almost invisible under the strip, yet
were easily found.
At the other end of the system, a little loop attached to the Peco points did the job, painted in
the appropriate rust colour. In the other aisle, where there was only operator traffic, I left things
as they were . I'm happy with the result.
One day recently, I took a good look at Station Street, Yea, and it occurredto me that everyone needed a helicopter to get in and out of the place. This would be rather expensive, so I decided proper
road access might be a good idea, to say the least...With a little(actually, a lot of ) tweaking, there was
just enough space to put in a level crossing.
Also, it was time to tackle the pub, as a warm-up for that scary project - the station. So, I busied
myself over the past few days, intending to do the lot : The pub, the level crossing and chain-mesh
fencing around the tracks. My daughter supplied me with some curtain material, but I had to drive to
Jaycar in Bendigo to get a few brass rods and styrene. The pub, by the way, was largely done by
gluing scaled-down photo prints onto card stock.
There is a lot yet to be done around this area. Clearly, for one thing, those sheep need to be kept
off the road. But I am making progress.
This being the month of Mo-vember, when we are all doing our bit for men's cancer research,
I realized that I was unable to grow a m(o)ustache, because I have been wearing a beard since about
1965 - the cool trendsetter that I am...
Then my mind wandered - it often does these days - and I was thinking 'mutton chops'. From
there it was only a short step for me to go out and buy three of the new Ozrail L sheep vans,
of which the Victorian Railways had over 1400. They were used for sheep and sometimes pig
transportation, until1986, when those dastardly road transports finally won out.
These 4-wheelers were quite a sight in the prototype, but for the models before me, the word
cute seems to have been invented. I nevertheless think they are some of the finest r-t-r models ever
produced .... just my opinion, of course. They will do sterling service in the hills of Yea, Cathkin and
Alexandra. Only for another few years though.....
There will actually be a sheep loading ramp at Alexandra, but this location is more photogenic.
Yesterday I redid the Station Street area at the Railway Station (being a Grumpy Old Man I
refuse to call it a train station). Anyway, the branch was abandoned before we had ' Train Stations".
I redid the photo murals after taking new photos, removed some unsightly power poles and
some of the more modern trappings around the primary school from after 1978. I also decided to
eliminate one somewhat obscured red brick home next to the church. My apologies to the
people living there, but the strip turned out just a little too long. So sorry, but you don't exist.-
Take it up with the photoshop people...
I roughly cut the strip along the (very cloudy) sky and after applying the photo mural, which
was made up from six single shots, I painted the sky to match the existing. However, it turned out
that the lighting system, which otherwise was doing a great job in illuminating all my failures,
foibles, as well as the odd success, was now doing its worst in highlighting to the extreme the cut
top edge of the photo backdrop, even though it is made of very thin card. I tried dusting it with sky
blue pastel powder - without success.
Finally, I thought, if you can't beat them - join them. Yea is surrounded by hills, so why not
make it a range of hills. We really dare not call them mountains around here, so everyone relax.
For those of you out there, who might ask, why didn't you carefully cut out the whole scenery
and stick it against the existing painted sky, I have to say : Make yourself a nice cup of tea and
have a good lay-down... it will pass.
Finally I added a footpath made from thicker card, which turned out to be quite acceptable.
What with preparations for a major European holiday and other issues taking up my modelling time,
it occurred to me that I had not been very active on the layout recently... although my enthusiasm
had been fired up by Pelle Soeborg's articles in Model Railroader. The realism he achieves
In any case, not having produced much lately, I nevertheless thought it might be a good idea to take a stroll around the layout and take a few snaps.