Thursday, 21 July 2016

Austrains FS Carriages - Review and Upgrade

Hi all,

I fairly recently purchased a pack of Austrains FS carriages in Indian Red livery.

These carriages are very nice out of the packaging, are well weighted and run very freely.

The beauty of these carriages in real life though is that there was many varieties and modifications done to them over the years and into preservation.

Given this, I thought I'd customise my carriages to represent more of a 'preserved' look, more specifically the look of the carriages used by LVR on their Picnic Train tour that I was lucky enough to go on back in December.

I have found that that unless you are modelling a specific carriage, anything goes in terms of details and modifications as long as it achieves the look.

The Model:
Straight from the box.
Out of the box the models are very well presented. I'm no rivet counter, and being 28 have not had the experience of travelling in these carriages with the exception of tour trains. 
In terms of performance they are very well weighted and roll freely. I haven't had a chance to run them around the layout but they are sure to perform well.
A massive elephant in the room for me though (I havent read about it anywhere else) is the spoked wheels in the 2AN bogies. Modellers and experts more familiar with these may know better, but from research I cannot find any record of spoked wheels being fitted to these bogies. 


As mentioned they look great out of the box, however there are several improvements I feel can be made.
First and foremost is the wheels; I can't stand the look of the spoked wheels. I replaced these with Auscision 36" Finescale wheels 10.5mm diameter x 25mm width.
Another improvement is the roof. The torpedo vents are quite good, but the roof is moulded smooth, with no 'mathloid' seam lines.
To do this, I removed the vents by gently lifting them with a pair of small snips. The quite freely come away from the roof, and stored them to ensure they don't get lost.
10mm Tamiya masking tape strips installed onto the roof.
This process is quite tedious, and there are several alternatives, including using a teabag. I preferred the tape option however as I think it produces a good look and is easier that cutting teabag material to size. 
One this is finished, I reinstalled the vents. The vents on both ends are for the toilets; I have seen photos of these being the torpedo type as well as the fletner type. As I had some spares around, I installed fletner vents to the ends, and reinstalled the torpedos through the remainder. A dab of glue on the underside is all that it took.

After the vents are reinstalled, note the fletner vents on either end. 

A last minute decision was made (after checking my spare parts box) to change the Austrains 2AN bogies with AR Kits 2BS. I've noticed many of the preserved carriages have the 2BS type fitted, and I'm not particularly fond of the 2AN as installed (Bergs are the only ones who have gotten the 2AN 'right' in my opinion, though I haven't seen Casula's latest).

AR Kits 2BS bogies, primed but not painted.
Compare the pair.
Before painted I added a few extra pipes under the wagon for the air lines and between the brake cylinder and air tanks. I also added a handbrake chain, air hoses and changed the couplers to Kadee No.153 'short' shank scale heads, and trimmed the pin beneath,

After painting the roof and bogies, and adding some weathering to the under-frame. 
In painting the roof, I first applied Tamiya XF-15 'Flat Flesh'. I didn't add tape or a 'mathloid' material to the ends as from photos the ends usually have a 'step down' in them anyway. Once dry I masked these off and painted the remainder of the room Aqueous Hobby Color H77 'Tire Black'. It's critical to ensure the sides of the roof are properly painted in this process. 

Once this was dry I removed the masking and lightly added some more Tire Black to the ends, just to give it a bit of a more 'dirty look'. 

I painted the bogies a plain black colour, and coated the new air lines and chain in black as well. 

For the weathering, I mixed some Vallejo 'Sand Yellow', 'Dark Earth' and 'Gray' until a nice grimy colour was formed. I then lightly went over the bogies and underframe until I was satisfied with the look. I've found that the preservation railways tend to keep the bodies quite clean, but the under-frames will inevitably end up grimy. 

FS 2010 in company with 3526 and a NVFF van.
3265 and 3526 lead a newly upgraded FS 2010.
Next will be the other FS carriage from the pack. I'm hoping Austrains or SDS re-release the BS and BSR carriages in the near future so I can have a proper 'heritage' set going with the above steam locos. 


Sunday, 22 May 2016

On Track Models 82 class and Austrains 81 class with a cement train; DCC + sound fitted

Hi all,

Long time no post; I made this video compilation of 8215 and 8155 hauling some cement wagons around my newly finished (in terms of tracklaying) layout.

8215 is an On Track Models loco from the second production run. It is fitted with an ESU Loksound V4.0 DCC sound decoded, with the custom sound project by DCC Solutions.

8155 is an Austrains loco. This has had the paint job modified by lowering the yellow and white bands along the bottom of the loco, and weathered to show its use. Again the loco is fitted with an ESU Loksound V4.0 DCC sound decoded, with the custom sound project by DCC Solutions.

The cement wagons are the NPRY type (all three batches) by SDS Models. The last wagon I have weathered. 


Sunday, 6 March 2016

Video: North-bound Pacific National Superfreighter

Hi all,

I've just started up a YouTube account so I can upload the full videos I've taken. There is a few to go up, but firstly I'll share the one of the Pacific National Superfreighter led by the two NR class and G class through Meadowbank. 

The bells on NR12 was a real treat. I've known that they have bells installed but only used during shunting etc.

Anyway check out the video:


Saturday, 5 March 2016

North-bound Superfreighter 24 February 2016

I was lucky enough to be getting off at Meadowbank just as a North-bound Pacific National super-freighter was about the pass through. 

The line-up was interesting, with consecutively numbered NR12 and NR13 leading G537 still in Freight Australia colours. 

The consist was the typical collection of containers and other items loaded onto flat wagons.

NR12 powering into Platform 2.

NR13 Trailing

Not a great shot, but G537 behind the NRs.

TS Lines container on a RQSY-type wagon.

RQJW-type Wagon.

RQSY-type wagon with Cronos container.

A load of reinforcement mesh on a flat-pack.

Toll tautliner container

Breeze Logistics reefer container

Toll auto-racks on a five-pack RRAY wagon

Auto-racks and reefers.

Another RQSY wagon.

More of the five-packs. Their lower height allows them to carry the larger 9'6" containers.

Two Rand reefers bring up the rear.

...On an RRYY wagon.

Not the best photos as I was using a simple 'point-and-shoot' work camera which is really not made for trainspotting. But was an entertaining few minutes nonetheless. 


Monday, 8 February 2016

Sydney Bound Freight 12 March 2015

There was plenty of opportunity to train-spot around Broken Hill.

This Sydney-bound freight came rumbling through the town before lunch:

NR67 leading.

A true Big Dirty Freight Train...

Profile shot.

NR93 as second unit.

The weathering on these locos is fantastic.

Single well unit RRWY 6002-B.

Five-pack container flat RRAY 7180-R.
More platforms of RRAY 7180-R.

Classic NSW PTC-era 60' flat, RQSY 21857-X.

2CM bogie of the RQSY.
80' RQJW 60044-T.

Another 60' flat, RQBY 21915-L.

RQJW 21958-U.


Thursday, 4 February 2016

4502 and 4528

A quick post to add for Broken Hill; sitting alone on the edge of the yard were a sad looking 4502 and 4528. I believe these were to be refurbished as part of the 45s class, but it never eventuated. 

At least the environment in Broken Hill is not aggressive like near the coast, hopefully preserving them until such time as they see service again.

4502 (front) and 4528 in grey.

Both locos abandoned on the outskirts of the yard.

4502, all things considered the paintwork isn't in that bad of condition given its age.

4528, again the lack of aggressive electrolytes in the atmosphere helps to preserve the locos.

Sadly, the likelihood of these locos returning to any form of service is remote; there are already two 45 class (4501 and 4520) in preservation, plus a number still in service (in some form or another) around the country, plus others that are in a similar situation as these.

Still we can always hope to see these ALCOs back in action one day...

Monday, 1 February 2016

Pacific National Coal Train, Meadowbank 12 December 2015

Another bit of trainspotting!

Whilst waiting at Meadowbank station back in December, a North-bound Pacific National coal train came rumbling through.

A typical consist of 4 x 82 class locos and the NHFF/NHSH type hoppers on the back.

The photos show the difference in appearance of these wagons, from the weathering effects to the extent of graffiti.

8240 on point.

Still looking good 20 years on.

Side shot.

Second unit 8214.

Followed by 8212.

And again.


8211 brings up the rear of the loco lash-up.


NHSH wagon three-pack.

Same pack.

NHSH 42815 H.

NHFF 42824 on the right.

NHFF 42778 E.

NHFF//NHSH, possibly NHJF.

NHSH 43036 at right.

NHSH type.

Interesting to note the new handbrake wheels applied to some (most) of the wagons now, replacing the four handle handbrake 'spider' typical of NSWGR/SRA rollingstock.