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Topics - Mark Dalrymple

Scratchbuilding / Flotation mine 2022 build challenge
December 29, 2021, 08:23:24 PM
Hi guys.

Well, we are having our next modelling get together early in January, and as I need to get a project ready for this - I thought 'what better than the new challenge scratchbuild?'  For this I will be attempting to build a model based on an article in the Jan and Feb issues of the 1964 railroad Model Craftsman.  You can find a heap of info here, including a link to the plans and a small picture on the cover of the Feb 1964 magazine.  Thank you so much for all that helped with this.   

My model will also be based on two photos that appeared a decade later (I'll put up the magazine issue when I locate it - I have photocopies in a folder to work from) from when Jock Oliphant built his own version of the mine from these plans.  Jock's version differed in several ways, most notably with the addition of a barn over the lower tracks.

The plans were pretty good, but quite complex.  They did not feature a floor plan - which they really needed!  It took quite a bit of study and head scratching to work on exactly what was going on in places.  I drew my own floor plan, blew the elevations up to 200% and then went about building a mock-up.  For this model I felt this was REALY necessary.  I would have made several mistakes on expensive modeling materials (rather than cereal boxes) otherwise - I still might!  This mock-up took some considerable time to build and so I would estimate it will take in excess of 150 hours to build the actual model - not including the headframe.

I used plastic irrigation pipe I found lying under our pine hedge to cut the circles for the three flotation baths.  This pipe was exactly the same diameter as that used in the plans (nice fluke).  I used mu hand mitre saw to make the cuts.  If you check out the photo on the cover of the magazine in the link above you will see these baths are suspended on frames of differing heights and there are decks protruding half way across them from the small gables rooms. These make quite a dramatic scene.

Next up will be to mock in a bit of scenery and add a couple more details - a copula and two stacks.  Then I will need to choose cladding materials, doors and windows, roofing materials, stripwood and colours.

More soon, cheers, Mark.
Kit Building / Jock Oliphant - Flotation mine
December 19, 2021, 08:03:18 PM
Hi guys.

As I move into the Shadowlands part of my layout I've been thinking about the different mines I would like to build.  Top of that list is Jock Oliphant's flotation mine.  This featured in a 1974 model magazine with two photographs.  In the short blurb it mentioned that Jock based his mine on drawings published in RMC (railroad model craftsman).  It doesn't mention which issue. I would love a copy of these plans, or failing this the year and month of the magazine issue to help me track a copy down.  Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers, Mark.
Kit Building / Help with a starter DCC system
November 14, 2021, 03:49:23 PM
Hi guys.

Thanks in advance for any help and advice on this age old question!!!  Also - please fell free to move this question to a more appropriate place - but I really couldn't fine one.  I figured here it would get the most views.

I will be moving to DCC sometime in the not too distant future.  I've tried to do my homework so as not to ask the same old questions - but forgive me if I ask a few.

My Shadowland and Tellynott layout is in HO scale and is (will be) a mountain layout with a port town.  The mountain part will have the usual bowel of spaghetti track layout with fairly sharp curves and steep grades.  The room is approximately 10m x 6m (32' x 19').  One day it would be nice to have our 2fatpossums group operating the layout - which would mean 5 trains running at one time.  This would be the maximum, and typically I would probably do well to run 2.  Three members of this group use NCE, along with several other friends living nearby, so I have decided that this is the manufacturer I will go with (after reading several threads suggesting the huge benefits of doing this -using the same system as your friends/ fellow modelers').  As Shadowlands will be a mountain layout with scenery to above my head, and I intend to walk around with a train, switching as I go, I need the system to be untethered.  I'm guessing I could operate Tellynott (the port) with a tethered throttle, but can see this being a bit of a pain.  Locomotives will mainly be geared, although these are still generally still to be decided.  Some brass which may prove problematic?  The layout is set up in our barn, on our 11 acre block in rural Canterbury, New Zealand.  Let me know if I have missed anything of importance.

My latest plan can be found here: 

(also on page 50 is work on a model of a model, which should help with visualization)

If using the NCE radio system - has anyone had problems with interference from electric fences?  The TV and radios all seem to ok, but there is the ongoing audible 'crack, crack, crack' when using the landline phone.  There are multiple properties surrounding us with electric fences, so tracking down the problem and getting it fixed would be near on impossible.

Is there any great advantage to buying the: 

Powerhouse pro 5amp wireless system (plus power supply)

over the: 

Power cab, and then later adding a program track auto switch, radio base station, SB5 smartbooster and a CAB06r?  (I'm assuming I could also send my power cab back to get it retrofitted for wireless operation.)

The pros and cons I can see are:

Buying the more expensive system would likely mean I would get stung with 15% GST.  Probably not so by buying the power cab and later add-ons in two separate transactions - although shipping would be more.

Starting with the power cab would mean I could be up and running for a much smaller initial outlay (although tethered).

By starting with the power cab and later buying a CAB06r I would end up with two throttles (is this right?  can I still use the power pro as a cab if taking this route and using with the smartbooster? - It would be nice to have a spare cab for visitors.)

If I bought the Powerhouse pro I would have wireless from the outset.

Sending the power pro throttle back for retrofitting for wireless use would be time consuming and costly - indeed the shipping would probably be almost as much as the $102 it costs to have the work done - maybe more!

OK - I thinks that's it!  I am a beginner and not very savvy when it comes to anything electrical or computer based, but I'm hopping that my friends with NCE systems will be happy to help.  Putting on modeling weekends and serving up nice lunches several times a year certainly helps! 

Cheers, Mark.
Hi guys.

Since its now mid morning of the new year here in NZ, I thought I'd get started on this years winter build challenge.
If you've been following my Tellynott and Shadowlands thread you'll know I recently bought myself a second Fountain Brewery kit with the intent of mingling the walls and creating a couple of different looking kitbashes.  This kit has four gable walls that are all different, as well as a front and back that are different.  Half of these walls have arched windows and half have squared windows.  For my first kitbash I used the walls with arched windows, and so I felt that another large kitbash in a different shape and using squared windows would look quite different.  The Fountain Brewery kit was made by Magnuson models, and later by Scale Structures.  I ended up with one of each.  What I didn't count on was walls of quite different sizes!  The Magnuson walls are significantly smaller than the Scale Structures walls - by some 1/4" in height, and 1/8" in width.  This caused some issues that I struggled to solve, so in the end I felt it necessary to make a mould of a single gable wall and make three castings to be used as part of the bash.

I always make a half reasonable mock-up of any kit I bash, as I find this necessary to check that it will work in my cityscape.  The town of Tellynott is on a steep slope, with many curving roads at grade.  I like both the look and the challenge of this.  In fact, when designing the roads in this area of my layout I photocopied a road map of Lyttelton, a nearby port town with very steep terrain, and used a section of this on my plan.  As this was a lot of the inspiration for this part of my layout, Tellynott takes its name from Lyttelton, of which it is a an anagram.  For my mock-ups, I generally scan and print the walls, cut them out, and then attach them to a cardboard 3-D mock-up.  I start with a site plan along with surrounding elevations.  Things are checked regularly by placing the mock-up in situ as I build, and changes can then be made if necessary - which they almost always are!

Photos 1 and 2 - show the mock-up in position on the layout.  The small gable one story section at the left end of the structure will likely be scratchbuilt out of timber.  So too will the covered stairwell, which I think will help disguise the two rectangular front walls being identical.

Photo 3 - shows the two boxes including images of the original kit design.

Photo 4 - shows the walls I will likely use laid out.  I will also use City Classics spare side and back walls at the back of the structure as well as 1.5mm sheet styrene.

Photo 5 and 6 - show the difference in wall height of the two back walls of the kit.  There will have to be a bit of consideration and tweaking to address this issue moving forwards.

More soon, cheers, Mark.
Hi guys.

Was considering buying this kit.  Does anyone know what kind of windows the Scale Structures version has?  Are they metal, or lines drawn on the glazing?  If the later, has anyone found a Tichy or Grandt line window that works?  If so what one?  Also - would be keen to get the dimensions of the walls (not sure if the ones given on the Scale Structures site include protrusions such as the stairs etc).  Any other information would be good, such as how it went together, quality of castings...

Thanks in advance, cheers, Mark.
Kit Building / 2020 build challenge - wharf and cannery
January 01, 2020, 06:27:48 PM
Hi guys.

I've been preparing for this 2020 challenge for a few days, casting plaster so it was cured enough to work with and planning.

For my Shadowlands and Tellynott layout I've been working with mock-ups towards the right end of the layout, which is where you enter the room.  My plan is to get as much of the urban area mocked up so that visitors to the layout in Easter at our convention get a better idea of what I am trying to achieve.  I thought a completed diorama at the very forefront of that first vista would be a good idea.  I've been toing and froing between canneries and a gas works for some time, and have finally decided that a low relief gas works in the background giving some substantial height near the backdrop, and a cannery complex in the foreground  and mid-ground, in front of the gas works, would be the best of both worlds.  The foreground and mid-ground canneries complex will be joined by a covered walkway which will transverse the Tellynott yard at its end and hide a mirror underneath making the yard (and layout) appear larger.  Think Great Divide on John Allen's layout.  Jacksons Bay (probably to be named Slack Jon's Bay - I stole an 'l' from another name to get my anagram), the locale on which my layout is set, had a whitebait cannery (apparently much of the work in the early days was done at night under candle light, as the sand-flies were so bad during the day), along with waters abundant with fish.  In my story, all of these resources were tapped into, and by 1932, a tumbling complex of additions on and over the water, had developed.  I'm taking a lot of inspiration from Monterrey's cannery row on this one.  I need to be able to see the yard behind the foreground cannery, but with it being so close to the layout's edge, I can see over a fairly substantial structure.  The wharf being lowered by about an inch from the track height helps a bit, and I'm happy going up to about 5" in height.  At the right end there will be a tower of sorts, from which the walkover will depart, and there will also be a walkover (although uncovered) connecting to the main structure, to give a snapshot view to the scenery behind.

Now I'm waiting for my drawing board/ light box to arrive which I bought for Christmas (hopefully it will arrive Friday) before I can draw up a plan and elevations, but I was itching to get started. So I used google earth to find the plan of my scratch-build and tried to size things from there. I used the old framing perspective trick on a print of the structures front where you draw lines at the top and bottom of the picture following the perspective lines and drawing vertical lines at each end and then bisecting this trapezium with diagonal lines to find the center.  You then draw a vertical line and where they cross your top and bottom perspective frame lines and this is the center of the frame and where you start your next diagonals.  In this way I was able to split the front of the structure into 32ths and get a fairly good idea of sizes.  A google earth photo helped clarify things.  I am, however, happy to change things to suit my site and requirements.  I drew up a plan to determine the position of the retaining walls (which do not always correspond the the walls of the structure above) and I made up a quick mock-up of part of the structure to check size in relation to the rest of the layout and then went to work distressing and weathering strip-wood and making wharf castings.

The next step for me was to start on the wharf retaining walls. I had spent some time working out the dimensions of the site on my layout. The track is 57mm (2 1/4") above the baseboard. I cut a section of the poly/ ceiling tile base which is what sits on top of the baseboard out and cut a piece of 2mm MDF (the same size an shape as the removed piece) to act as a diorama base to build on. I then glued on some 30mm timber to create the lower wharf height (and give the 2mm base some strength and keep it straight and true), cutting this to the shape of the wharf, but allowing room for the plaster retaining walls. I used three different molds to cast some walls - one of my own to create the poured concrete retaining walls, one, also poured concrete, but with posts as well as shutters, and one of stone. The castings of my molds needed to be filed to 45 degrees to create external corners. I also used up some old castings left over from a previous build. A lot of this will be largely hidden under some of the various timber wharves, so I cut and pasted a bit. I used Spackle to fill gaps as needed.

Photo 1 - Quick plan showing the general shape of the cannery and wharf. The front of the paper cutout is the front of the layout. The large ruler sits where the front track will be.

Photo 2 - Quick cardboard mock-up. The diorama is 24" long, 6" long at the left end and 8" long at the right.

Photo 3 - The retaining walls glued in position. I used CA on the 45 degree joints and 5 minute epoxy to strengthen. The castings were glued to the base and 30mm timber with Selleys quick grab.

Photo 4 - showing the retaining walls from above.

Photo 5 - This photo shows the two different wharf heights.

Photo 6 - And here is a close up. I stained the concrete castings with 'Golden' titan buff followed by a light leather dye/ isopropyl alcohol mix.

More soon, cheers, Mark.
Layout Tours / Shadowlands and Tellynott
July 04, 2019, 05:24:25 PM
Shadowlands and Tellynott

"From the sea for as far inland as the eye can reach, nothing is to be seen but the summits of these rocky mountains which seem to lay so near to one another as to not admit any valleys between them."  Captain James Cook describing Fiordland on his voyage of discovery in 1770.

Jacksons Bay was as far south as one could go along the West Coast of New Zealand before these sheer fjords made the terrain impassible.  It was beautifully located, with the steep slopes of bush clad mountains falling to the coast and enclosed by the southern heads and northern bluffs falling right to the Tasman Sea.  The brave men who attempted to make a life in these stunning but harsh lands were known as 'the far downers'.

As the gold rush of the 1860's gained momentum, the potential of Jacksons Bay as a future hub of the West coast grew.  It was seen as the only real port on the west coast of the South Island and the nearest to Australia, as well as being close to Haast Pass, the lowest pass across the Southern Alps.  The site was surveyed in 1874 and a report sent to the minister of immigration singing its praises, but also stressing that the wise choice of settlers and the construction of a jetty running into deep water were paramount to the settlements success.

Photo 1 - map showing the surveyed plan of Jacksons Bay (Arawata).  A note was added to the map stating that roads may have to be altered slightly to accommodate changes in grade!   

More soon, cheers, Mark.
Scratchbuilding / Windows
March 09, 2019, 03:30:22 PM
Hi guys.

I am starting work on a large area of my layout with around 100 residential houses to build.  Many of these houses are quite unique with a large variety of windows and doors.  My questions are these:

Who manufactures HO scale windows?  Tichy Train Group, Grandt Line, Campbell Scale Models, Scale Structures Ltd...???  I guess I'm really looking for quirky, unusual stuff.

Is there somewhere online to obtain the dimensions of these windows???  Tichy and Grandt line both give these - but I searched for ages yesterday trying to find dimensions for Scale Structures windows.  The mind boggles as to why you wouldn't go to the trouble to put these up - when scratch-building you often need a particular size.  There seems to be quite a bit here which may be useful from SS - although rather expensive - ornate arched windows, 2-story bay windows, dormer windows etc.  Anyone used these? Opinions?

And one very specific question - does anyone have a SS Tall 2 Pane Victorian Round Top Window they could measure for me?

I guess one further question would be has anyone scratch-built arched windows (with facings for clapboard)?  Any how to threads?

Thanks in advance, Mark.
Kit Building / Correct building methods - links
October 07, 2018, 10:55:35 PM
Hi all.  Please post any links to ANY area of prototype building that may be helpful in our endeavors to make our models as realistic as possible by following prototype practices.  Please note I found it necessary to start a new thread as the one Tom started immediately when off on a nail hole tangent.  That is NOT its purpose.  My intention is to create a thread where anyone can find prototypical information quickly and easily.

Here's a link to information on all sorts of correct building practices.

Here is a link to historic house paint colours

Please add as you see appropriate.
Hi guys.

This build is based around the main structure of DD's Burgess manufacturing.  I few years back I bought a big box of 'boneyard' castings from Randy off ebay.  Some of the walls are pretty good, some not so good.  For this reason they were cheap.

Below is what I chose to use.

Photo 1 - Front wall.

Photo 2 - Right side wall.  This wall was very warped.  I cut a small amount off the height, both top and bottom, to line the window openings up with the front.  I cut some length off too.

Photo 3 - Left side wall.  This wall was too short.  I used an off cut from the right wall with the warp filed out and turned backwards, spliced onto the bottom of the left wall.

Photo 4 - Ruler showing the warp in the right side wall.

Photo 5 - A view of the front and right wall.  I lined the top part of the wall up vertically with the front wall and will do 'a bit of a thing' with the bottom.

Photo 6 - A view of the front and left wall.  You can see the splice.  I took a photo a while back of an awesome wall in Dunedin and hope to both find that photo to post here - and do something similar on my model.

More soon, cheers, Mark.
Hi guys.

Here is my entry into the 2016 build challenge. 

It is half of a diorama I am working on for a demonstration at our Pioneer train show next month.  I wanted to show how I went about finding inspiration from prototypes and manipulated and spliced these inspirations into a design for my model railroad - Tellynott.  'Tin shed and friends' is a block of four different New Zealand prototype structures spliced together to make a pleasing group of shops on a sloping street.  This group of shops will be balanced by a larger industry nearby, and part of the same diorama.

More soon, cheers, Mark.
Dioramas / C. L. Innes Aerated Water Manufacturer
October 05, 2015, 05:02:27 AM
Hi all.

After working frantically on Fault Lines over the last little while, I have decided to move over to a diorama I started some time ago for my Tellynott home layout. My intention is to enter the diorama in the structure section of the NZ model railroading convention next Easter. I wanted something with some New Zealand interest, something that used a variety of materials, was based on a NZ prototype, and would fit on my layout - both physically and mood wise. It also needed to be within certain physical parameters in order to be able to be carry on luggage in case I fly to the convention. A BIG ask! However, when searching random sections of the library's non fiction section, as I am inclined to do from time to time, I stumbled across a book entitled 'Aerated water'. Within it was a large section on the 'C. L. Innes brewers, bottlers and aerated water manufacturers' factory in Hamilton, including several photographs from different angles.  It was one of those times when you see a collection of pictures from different angles and go Wow!  I have to build that!  Interestingly, some months later, I found an aerial view of Hamilton and discovered a wonderful massed hodge podge of roof lines and types meeting at different angles and heights.  I scanned the picture, enlarged the area, located it on a street map using surrounding features to help position it, went into Google maps street view, and discovered it was the very same C. L. Innes Aerated water Manufactures!  The aerial view was so cool that I may well end up building this model twice!

I have 'flipped' the order of the structures horizontally to fit the site on my layout and have rotated the large corrugated iron structure at the back by 90 degrees. The two brick structures at right (one will be plastered) will be half relief to fit between the road and the backdrop (the road curves past parallel to the backdrop as it passes the last building at the right, whereas at the left end it is 8" or so away from the backdrop). The road is on a curve and the buildings will be angled slightly to fit this. I have also added one story to two of the structures.  The structure(s) must be 'pertaining to railways' in order to be eligible for the Easter competition so I will add a lower section at the back of the weatherboard structure at the left end and add a loading platform on an angle with a rail siding (this I may remove at a later date as the track passing at this point is actually a main line). Apart from these slight changes, the sketch is actually very close to the original. Its nice to be excited about a new project!

Picture 1 - my sketch of the diorama.

Picture 2 - shows the plastic frame work that the buildings will sit on. The levels were a bit tricky as I had to make clearance for the curved track that runs underneath.   The idea is that when it is finished, the whole industry (sitting on the plastic framework) will just lift off the diorama and onto my layout.

Picture 3 - I started the far end (modern addition added in 1930) with a DPM M T Arms hotel kit. I cut and spliced and filed out all the window openings to fit Tichy Train 6/6 lite windows to help achieve the 'factory' feel.

Picture 4 - shows the main bashing completed with one window in place and a nice new art deco front door in place. (The city of Napier in New Zealand was rebuilt after the large Hawke's bay earthquake in 1931, and almost all of the buildings are built in the art deco style - so I think this door should fit just fine for my 1930's time frame.)

Picture 5 - For the second masonry building I attacked a 'Gruesome casket' kit. This pic shows the windows in place (wooden framed as in the prototype) and a large sliding door. I made up a fancy top piece (and will do the same for the first structure). The walls will be painted to resemble cut stone, and I have a nice pic of a structure in Temuka (an hour and a half south of where I live) as a guide.

Picture 6 - Colouring will be based around the colour scheme used on the aerated water book front cover. This is the only colour used in the book, and I'm guessing some research was put in to establish the original colour scheme used by C. L. Innes & co. Ltd. Regardless, I think I can make it work, and its one less thing to decide.

More soon, cheers, Mark.

Layout Tours / Fault Lines - the layout build
July 03, 2014, 09:40:05 PM
Hi all.

I'd like to share my current small layout I am building to display at local train shows in the coming years.  Its been on-going, but with major gaps interspersed, for over three years now.  Some of you will have seen this before.  I'll briefly get you up to speed, then get back to building!

Well, after our Feb 2011 earthquake I felt the need to build some bench work (a bit of therapy!  I later found out I was by no means the only modeller who did this.) After seeing a rehashed version of John Allen's original layout in an edition of MRR, I decided to try my own hand at something similar. I particularly liked the way a view divider was placed long ways splitting the layout into two uneven sections. I further complicated things by reducing the layout down to a size that would fit under a single bed (all be it a high one). The final dimensions were 6' by 3' 2". I am using peco setrack and points with the smallest radius being 14 and 5/8".

The gradient is 4%, apart from the spur leading to the highest point on the layout (where the mine will be), which is 5%. I like to confine myself in as small and difficult space as I can.  I guess I like the challenge of creating something believable in as smaller space as possible. I think its also a neat idea to make an HO layout that could slide under a single bed (it is housed in our garage on the top part of a bunk).  I guess I see this project as the sort of thing a father and son could build together without the need for any extra space. The central backwoods town part of the layout has my version of a combination of two shunting puzzles that I found online - timesaver and Inglenook. The original combined plan was done by Jack Trollope. I'm trying to do this layout on a budget, and all the timber was scrap or leftover from work.  This layout will also give me an opportunity to practice techniques on first before trying them on 'Tellynott' (my home layout).

Image 1 - the plan.
Image 2 - the bench-work taking shape.
Image 3 - the backwoods town side of the layout - mocked up with some structures.
Image 4 - the mine side of the layout and a view of the layout on the bunks.
Image 5 - a close up of the mine side at the left end opposite the mine.  One of my goals is to investigate just how smaller width of isle space I can use to make a believable mountain scene.

More soon, cheers, Mark.

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