New Zealand

Garden-Rail at its best





Home   How to Find Us Contact Us  



From the Workshop  

Scroll down to access required Topic

Quick Note!

Just a quick note I have changed my brand of paint as VHT is close to $20 a tin so have gone to Rust-Oleum @ $12.00 a can from the local Bunnings Store. There Primer range has a great choice of colours with White, Red Oxide, Grey & Black which will cover the while range of Railway items. I have found that it covers very well & is less prone to run unlike the VHT. Or maybe I have become more patient!! They also do an extensive range of top coats which I have used in my White pass Bachmann Coach kits, they came up a real treat.  

New Mode of Power!

F72 has recenty under gone a bit of an update power wise, had been thinking of a way to run two trains on an open day at once, with the only answer seeming to be one battery with one track power I ordered an onboard unit to convert one loco to Battery. The F was choosen due to it having its wheels machined to the correct size & being diecast finish they tended to dirty up pretty quick. A La runner wagon was choosen due to the fact there was no room in the loco, so all the batteries & electronics are in the one place with a couple of wires heading to the motor. It has worked out rather well as when building future locos I can have them wired up for track or battery & using the same battery wagon. Below; Shots of the electronics installed in the runner wagon. 

To hide all of the electronic gear I made up an insert of 2mm styrene with shaped poly-styrene painted black with PE pipe Re-Grind glued to it. Looks like coal & it's uv resistant!!

Below; The end result, F72 on a short goods.

Light Up Wood!

I thought this was going to be a simple build but it proved other wise, this was one of those things it had to look right not piled in a nice tidy heap. The easiest way I found was to cut the desired length & split with a meat cleaver to get a nice control. Once all your pieces are cut stretch out some cling film & place your first layer down, on top of that run a bead of PVA down the sides 10mm in from the edges. proceed laying the 2nd layer, I found dropping them from about 50mm high got a good effect. After about 4 or 5 layers mix up a 50/50 mix PVA & water with a drop of dish wash & run over your wood pile. Let it dry for 2 or 3 days & repeat the process until you reach your desired height. The one pictured is the larger of 2 at the loco with plans of making one 3 times as long & twice as high. Forgot to mention is that doing it on the cling film you can peel it off & place the wood heap any where you want on your layout.


Simple Wooden Windows!

Above; Step One. Make a simple 3 sided jig (top-side-bottom) put your pane spacers in to where you want them, in the pic it is the 3 pieces of styrene. Cut a top & bottom, 2 sides & 5 window horrizontal pane pieces. The pane pieces are a craft stick same size as a match stick. Where all the joins are drill an over-size hole in the jig so when gluing the excess goes down the hole with it not sticking to the jig, it makes getting the frame out alot easier!!! Assemble & glue into place, clamp the 3 jig sides then push a straight edge piece of timber up against the 4th side & weight it til it dries. I left mine over night so I could go onto the next step while another one was in the frame jig. ( so I got one window finished in 1 hour each day)

Above; Step Two. The vertical pane pieces are all done free hand with what ever spacing required as pictured, all this was glued on a flat piece of aluminium. The outside casings are glued onto the frame with a sill glued onto the bottom. I haven't given any measurements as each set of windows for certian buildings are all different so what ever the project there will be a window for it!



Corrugated Iron/Styrene!

I got a set of alloy rollers 10 to 15 years ago from a fellow modeller who was going out of G so got them out & modified them to take 0.5-0.75mm styrene. I cut the sheet about 3.5 inches wide & about 300mm long so it goes through the rollers easily, while rolling apply a little heat from a heat gun/hair dryer to soften the styrene a bit. Once it passes through once turn it over & pass through again. Once you have a large corrugated sheet place between 2 flat surfaces & apply some weight to keep flat, once 10 or 15 minutes have passed you can cut your sheets to size by cutting down the corrugation to the width you require then square off the ends as no matter how careful you are it may come out the rollers with a bit of an angle. Once cool I have found that it stays true to its new shape & is more robust then the can option. But having said that this method is for an indoor building ,but I do have a steel girder bridge that is painted styrene & has been out side 12 years. This is my preferred method as I can glue the sheets together & know that they will stayed glued as well as pinning them. Below Left; Passing the styrene through the rollers with the heat gun providing heat. Below Right; Cutting the end of the sheet square.



Boiler Washouts & Hand-Rail Stanchions!

Above Left; To the top of the picture is a standard small split pin, now we have to get the eye of the pin to a more rounded shape. The way I do it is squeezing below the eye with pliers then pushing a piece of the to be handrail in the eye & crimp again below the eye with pliers, last but not least tap all arouund with small hobby hammer to achieve the finished result. Above Right; Boiler wash-outs are made from pop-rivets, remove the stem of the rivet then machine (or file) the head as thin as you need it. drill a hole bigger then the existing hole 3mm deep to form a step for the false bottom to sit on. Use a hole punch to cut out false bottom & glue in place, cut a piece of hex or square to glue on the false bottom in the centre & there you have it a boiler wash-out!!! 

Below; A close up of the front handrail detail!!

K-Line Irrigation in 1:24

It was only a matter of time that I bought my work home with me!!! I work for R X Plastics which make the K-Line Irrigation system & is my job to process & make up the orders so thought why not model them. I started to look around for something the right size & ended up in Spot Light in Christchurch. I purchased a bag of 20 wooden beeds now off to the workshop! Below Left; Had to machine off 4mm top & bottom then machined out the centre, glued a 1mm styrene bottom on the pod then drilled the side holes for the pipe to go through. I used black hat elastic for the pipe as it can sit in any configeration on a display. Below Right; The finished result, these was on the club layout at the show with a 4 wheeled motor bike at the front to look like they were being shifted, surprising how many commented,on them!!   



No2 Bridge gets Attention!

The walk way on No2 bridge has finally done its dash, it was untreated plywood so has lasted very well, at least 7 or so years! This time I used black plastic which I cut into strips, I had to pin the strips as well as glue them for extra strength. I then weathered them with some brown water based paint to take away the plastic look! 

Below Left; A before shot of the damage time has done! (not to mention the new puppy who thinks she is a train) 

Below Right; The finished result, time will tell.

Simple Electrical Box!

We recently upgraded our main control system for main line heavy train running to the new Aristo-Craft Train Engineer which I might add is fantastic with great control of your trains. We needed a small electrical box to house the reciever, so down to the Warehouse we go & bought a self sealing click clack box for a couple of dollars, job done! Below; A shot of the finished result up & working.



USA Trains Turnout Fix-up!


USA Trains make a fantastic turn-out, AFR has 4 of these in operation in the shed on the mainline, 2 years ago a screw worked loose so pulled up 2metres of track either way of it to get access to the under side & replace the screw. Thinking this was a one off problem no other precautions were taken. 

Nearing the end of the September Club Day run I noticed the same problem had occured again this time a different turnout at the oppisite end of the loop, New Zealand Rail fish plates save the day as I just needed to slide them back to release the join to lift out the turnout to access the underside & the screw was replaced.

So the problem was to stop this happening again, I could not glue them with anything as it has a jumper wire running to it, so I came up with the spacer idea.   

Above Left; The 2 red dots are where the screws are positioned, I thought if I made packers high enough to just touch the head of the screw it would stop them un-screwing. The packers (Orange Dots) are made from scrap styrene & all 4 turnouts had different height packers so do each one seperartely. Above Right; A side on shot of the packer in place, it is secured with a good supa-glue & pinned into the base board as well.

In theory this should work, but if nothing else it has high-lighted a small problem that can be fixed before installing this great product from USA Trains.


 F72 Chassis Re-Build


In May 2010 the Bachmann chassis of F72 finally gave up the ghost after a running life of ups & downs of reliability. It was decided to have ago at building our own chassis, this is a first for the AFR so the methods used could be totally different & quite basic as I have used bits from scraped locos & materials that I have obtained from different sourses ;-)


Above Left; the chassis is constructed out of 32mmX30mm aluminium door channel. Above Middle; all the axle holes, power pick-up holes etc have been drilled & the bottom runners (the curve pieces) have been cut off. 4mmX4mm spacers hve been added these were drilled & tapped with machine screws with the heads filed off. Above Right; a clear view of the underside with spacers in place.


Above Left; close up of the crank pin, these had to be added as the wheels were only spoked with-out crank pins. This was done by filing a slot in the pin & slipping over the spoke with a collar to hold in place while the glue set.  Above Middle; motor & wiring are all in place. Above Right; under-neath shot showing the bachmann pick-ups in place, the bearings used are nylon so will be interesting to see how the wear!

Above; F72 on its test run after major work on her chassis, I am very pleased with the result as this is my first attempt at chassis work, but time will tell!!

Ashburton`s Model Train Show Email Layout Controller Webmaster

2009 - 2018 - ashrail.com - ashrail.co.uk - ashrail.co.nz