Sydney STA

Sydney STA
Sydney STA fleet for layout

Thursday, 27 September 2018

Quarter acre block

Growing up in the suburbs of south western Sydney, I remember it was dotted with rows and rows of fibro houses. These were sitting on a quatter acre block representing the Australian dream. I wanted to model this but found many Australian model houses were based on country prototypes  and did represent the L shape floor plan fibro houses I remember.
Above: The completed fibro house in its natural setting in the western suburbs of Sydney

I bought a book a couple of years ago called Fibro Frontier this was fascinating reading of the humble fibro house. I also did a bit of research found various pictures of the quaint fibro houses. A company that was found making fibro houses was Vandyke brothers who had a factory in Punchbowl in the 1940s and 1950s. I was able to source a product brochure from the Caroline Simpson l.ibrary which also provided details of various variations of the L shape fibro for me to base a model.
Above: Vandyke Brothers Product Brochure extract

The model builds
After a search I only found one kit that would be suitable this was a cardboard kit found on Ebay.
The kit was easy to build with the garage the most enjoyable. I decided to reinforce the walls with balsa wood and foam board and substitute the cardboard tile roof with a plastic roof tiles from Kibri.
Once I built the model I was disappointed that the house was overscalled and appeared to be scaled as 1/76 OO gauge instead of 1/87.
Above: Kit open and ready to build

Scaling down
In order to scale it down i had to trim the floor and walls about one third. I also shrank the floorprint by about one third. Additional details such as porch, guttering and scenery were put in place to make the scene.

Below you can see the difference in scale of the garage against a Hanovale made 1/87 garage. 

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Serving Golden Service

One of the things I remember as a child are Australian brands that are no longer seen one of these is Golden Fleece. Golden Fleece was a brand of petrol with service station dotted along the major highways and small country towns. I always yearned to stop there to get food: a hamburger, fish and chips or a pie before the spread of the American Fast Food giants. 
I wanted to model this brand on my layout by including a Golden Fleece Oil siding. 

Starting point
Many of the oil sidings have now been decommissioned and demolished. However, whilst at the Canberra Railway Museum in Fyshwick a couple of years I noticed the old Shell Oil terminal whilst riding on the Diesel railcar. After the visit to the museum, I was able to locate the address where it was an took additional photos through the closed gates.

Above: Photo of the Shell terminal rail siding at Fyshwick (Taken 27 July 2014)
Modelling Options
I had a corner area of my layout that was going to be the site of the oil siding. I searched the internet for a number of options for a depot that would be suitable and found the Walthers Interstate Fuel and Oil Depot.  
Above: Kit opened and ready to build
Measuring the site
I made a number of changes to not only ensure that the kit could fit in the space but to Australianise it.  I made the depot building as a low relief and removed the roof to not look like a quonset hut. Various tries were made to determine how it could fit in the space. 

Above: Oil depot area to be modelled
The tanks were also painted and weathered to give it a used look and coloured white as in the prototype. 

Adding Scenery
The final touches to give it some realism was to make Golden Fleece decals for the tanks, adding a concrete slab, appropriate warning signage, adding trees and then used the LJ model factory fencing which are no longer produced. 
For the first time I purchased one of the Haskell Australian backdrops to give the area more depth. Although I did feel it gave a too much a rural feeling.

Another view of the oil siding with the low relief shed and appropriate Golden Fleece livery vehicles which were built separately.

Sunday, 3 June 2018

Valiant by Shapeways

Modelling the 1970s requires 1970s model Aussie cars.
 One of the difficulties of modelling the early 1970s section of my layout is the lack of 1970s Australian cars. Weico which are now no longer produced manufactured a Holden Kingswood HQ sedan, one tonner, ute and Monaro in white metal. Road Ragers have also just started to produce some of the muscle cars of the 1970s including the Valiant Charger RT, Ford Falcon GTO, Ford Falcon Coupe Cobra however, most of these are not family cars such as sedans and station wagons that were on numerous on the streets of Sydney. 

After discussing with a friend I decided I might as well get the model make up myself .
I decided on the Valiant VH Sedan.
Above: finished Shapeway Valiant models made into a Valiant VH Regal and Valiant VH Regal 770
 The underdog , the Wog Chariot
One brand which I had a stigma whilst I was growing up in the 1970s was the Chrysler Valiant. It was referred to as "Wog Chariot" or "Greek Mercedes" because wit as perceived to have a following by Australians of Italian or Greek descent. 
If you were a true Australian, you had a Ford or a Holden. We had a Holden Kingswood and were proud of it. However, now an Adult I remember the Chrysler dealership near my house in Belmore and wanted to have Valiant VHs for my layout and on for my car carriers.

If you don't find it make it yourself
So I either had to wait until a manufacturer makes Valiants I wanted or substitute some of the other American prototype cars to simulate the valiants. After chatting to a friend who was able to get some a locomotive made in 3D printing by using a 3D software drawer in India, I decided to seek this option.

Sourcing photos
Although I found photos on the internet of the Valiant VH, I needed good straight side, rear and front photos. I joined a Chrysler Valiant appreciation group on Facebook to seek an owner who would share their to take photos of these views of the car.

Above: Valiant VH Pacer one of the many variants of the Valiant VH when released

3D file to Shapeways production
With the aid of my friend who sent the photos to a 3D drawer in
India he was able to prepare a file that I would be able to upload to a 3D printer to produce. I checked out Shapways created a shop to get it produced but also share it so others could buy it

Link to page on Shapew

I initially bought 6 cars one made from Frosted Ultra Details and the other of Transparent material.
Here are photos of the 6 cars in various stage of painting and finishing.
After seeing the 3D model the only thing I didnt like about it was the wheels and tires. I cut most of these off the model in order to use aftermarket wheels from Busch and Wiking etc.
I hope to be able to get other car models made such as the Valiant VH Station Wagon and Chrysler by Chrysler CH Hardtop just need to find owners who will provide photos.

Saturday, 28 April 2018

Fifty years of Finger lickin' good

Today 27th April 2018 marks the 50th anniversary that KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) opened its first store in Australia in Guildford Sydney's western suburbs. I was only just over a year old and wouldn't remember it. However, I had fond memories of going to KFC as a young child in the early 1970s and always wanted to have a KFC outlet on my layout.

My KFC diorama as a tribute to 50 years in Australia today

Opening of Guildford store - Source:
Childhood memories
Most times we would visit  KFC on a Sunday or Saturday late afternoon as we lived during the weekdays at Bondi Beach where my parents had a restaurant and then go back to our family home at Belmore over the weekend. There was no M5 motorway in the early 1970s so my dad would drive to Bondi via Homer St Earlwood, where we would ask if we could go there to pick up KFC and we would eat in our light blue Holden Kingswood station wagon as there were no tables and chairs  back then. 
My favourite  menu item was the snack box with potato and gravy as well as the coleslaw. I remember they also had roasted BBQ chicken but we were never fans and enjoyed the original KFC with 11 herbs and spices a time before the hot and spicy. 

Modelling my memories
If you go around most train shows you will bound to see the Life Like KFC kit built on a layout. Whilst the kit is great as the first version of the KFC store and is still widely available, the one thing I did not like was the carpark and footprint which did not resemble anything in Australia.

Above: Opened kit ready for building and kit bashing.
Instead of building the kit as is I had reduce the size of the back kitchen in order to fit in the space I had on my layout.
I also added both interior and external LED lights. The carpark was enlarged to what I remembered it at Earlwood and I also made the bucket rotate. 
The rotating bucket is a source of trial and error and I have installed one motor but the rpm appears to fast. I have tried to slow it down with resistors but it did not help. I have ordered a 3rpm motor so hopefully that would look more realistic. 

Above is the finished model with all lights lite next a competing fast food outlet that never last. 

50 years on KFC is not the same as I remembered it the servings are smaller.  I still like the mashed potato and gravy and the coleslaw but feel disappointed after having it. I just have to yearn for those good old times. For those wanting to live the past here are some old KFC commercials on You Tube
 First Australia KFC TV AD
Mid 1970s KFC ad

Sunday, 1 April 2018

Groundhog day - revisiting the lighting

It is has been over a year since the lights have been working on the layout and it  was only finally finished yesterday evening. Below is the finished lighting with the added detail of a newspaper stand and added detail of figures.

Back to the wiring
Last year, I had a friend who electronics inclined view my layout and looked at the electrical wiring of the lights etc. I have a mixture of LEDS and bulb lighting installed , But both were supplied by AC power using a Tyco transformer I had lying around. 
However, he advised that the LEDS should be powered by DC and not AC. Using AC will reduce the life of the LEDS and they will flicker. He suggested purchasing a AC-DC rectifier which was about a dollar from Ebay. 

Above: Ebay rectifier.
He also tested the LEDS for voltage and suggested that the LEDS should be wired in two in series with a maximum of 10 LEDS per recifier. I had 25 LEDS on the Petersham (Wardell Section) of the layout. 

As I had to pull up platform and footbridge I decided to improve the wiring placement as well and include a newspaper stand.
Morning News
Before the internet commuters use to purchase the morning and afternoon newspaper. In Sydney we have the afternoon paper The Sun. I remember my mum, purchasing it. As I had set my station in the 1950s a newspaper stand would be appropriate. As I did not have a lot of space on the footbridge I needed a very narrow breath kiosk.
I found a Metcalfe OO/HO laser cardboard kit in Hobbyco in Sydney CBD as the basis of the newspaper stand.

Above: Metcalfe 00/H0 Platform Kiosk
Learning from previous mistakes I decided to test the wiring prior to installation on the layout. Below is the footbridge and ticket office.

After many months of wiring testing and installing three rectifiers which hold 24 lights between them the layout, the layout is now looking good for night operation.

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Arts and Crafts

In high school, we had a subject in Year 7, Art and Craft it was never that interesting until the last semester were were able to do model making. At the time I was into military WWII model making in 1/72 scale and built a Matchbox Wellington bomber flying over an airfield.  Whilst I have ditched the military modelling, I continue to enjoy is railway modelling .

One of the interesting aspects of railway modelling is researching the topic and  its history. I wanted to model an Australian residential building that was part of the Sydney landscape that included a bay window. 

I had been searching for ho buildings with bay windows but only found the IHC Homes of Yesterday and Today series to be the only one that may still be available. These kits are based on the Painted Ladies Cottages in San Francisco with the clapperboard look and narrow width. I did not find these kits available easily. 
Above:  IHC ho house kit 

And Find
Two years ago at the Epping Model Railway show in Sydney in the secondhand stand, I had found one of these buildings built up.  Since then it has been lying on my shelf until recently. 
I wanted to add an apartment on my layout that would be able to feature the front of this kit. 
Above: Start of the cut up the sides, rear and roof were scrapped.
A discussion with a friend as well as reference books being lent provided me with ideas for the building. 
I stumbled upon the architectural style Federation Arts and Crafts Federation Arts and Crafts
By cutting up the front and extending it's width made it a more grandeur building. I also added a high pitched roof and a circular window feature.

Above: Building prior to painting, Roof tiles are made from Noch self adhesive rubberised tiless that I purchased years ago whilst I was living in Switzerland.

Apartment  - Federation Arts and Crafts style
Below is the completed Apartment next to the Art Deco apartment. Both which are on Trafalgar St Wardell.

Friday, 9 February 2018

Sharpening my skills

My third building that I modeled along Trafalgar St, is another small business which is located at number 311. This previously housed the offices of Annandale Saw Works. An internet search has revealed that they were established in 1950 and had their office their even a a couple of years ago with contemporary paintwork of the building then the brickwork of the 1950s. According to the internet it has since moved to Villawood in Sydney's West. Today the offices have seen better days and houses a printing office

Completed Model

Above: Completed model based on photo as 1950s photo per my previous blog The little tram that could

The completed model was built using the Hardware Store Smalltown USA kit and various DPM modular wall system kits

Steps to build
I chose the Smalltown USA Hardware store as the basis of the facade of 311 Trafalgar st because it had three large windows for the first floor. 

So based on this front facade I cut the ground floor level off and then used various DPM modular wall sections to make up the ground floor consisting of a street level large door opening and a semi-circle door entrance as well as modifying the shop front sash window. 
Below is the start of the building facade, a bit rough that at least it provides the basis for the front of the building. 

Painting and weathering. 
I used a cream tone house paint that I had as the basis for the mortar and then used various shades of brown to represent the brickwork. Based of the photo I tried to used less dark coloured brown. basis as the foundation of the mortar 
As stated previously, signage really assists in setting the scene for the model as well as assisting in setting the time period with period fonts and period businesses. I could not read the wording on the original photo per previous blog post as to what was written before and after the words of "Annandale Saw Works"so I used my modellers licence and included the year it was established and a 1950s phone number using 2 alpha characters and 4 digits LU-2346. The decals were homemade using the Testor decal kit and my  inkjet printer.

As it stands today
The building still stands but has seen better days with graffiti on most of the building. This was taken in 2012.