Sydney STA

Sydney STA
Sydney STA fleet for layout

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Since 1939

Its been a while since I last posted my update. Life and family has taken time out from modelling. Behind the scenes I have working on a number of projects on my layout however only one was able to be completed to a stage to be presented on this blog.

First Building on Trafalgar St
To give more realism to the main road on Wardell was to add some buildings. It is notable that almost all of the buildings along Trafalgar St are still standing there today from the 1950s.  This provides me with the advantage that the field trips provide a useful resource to be able to model the buildings. The first building that was decided to be modeled was the McCallum  and Sintered office building. 
The McCallum building has been its offices in Petersham since 19391. A photo by Noel Reed shown in a previous blog  was used as a basis for building the prototype. 
Above: Completed model of McCallum and Sintered Alloy Offices, excuse the poor photoshopping of the backdrop. 

Modelling Steps
I Kitbashed  two street level overhead door and two shop front shop facades for the ground floor and four 1st storey rectangular window facades to make the front of the building.. These were painted in appropriate period colours and weathered. 

I believe that advertising and signs really provide the look for the period of the buildings. As there is no commercially avaliable decals for the signs were made using clear decal paper and my HP inkjet printer. I used the period photo as previously mentioned as the basis for the knowing what words were written on the building. However due to the fact that the photo was not clear I had to use some modelling licence.
Above: Printed decal signs for McCallum building with other signs also printed on the same A4 sheet.

Above: Decals applied using decal solution and then clear coated
Completed model
For added detail I decided to include an interior of the 1st floor offices which is not shown. As you can see from the photo I took back in 2012 although the colour of the building has changed the structure is still intact. 

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Hurry on down to Hartee's where the burgers are barbecued!

Growing up in the Canterbury-Bankstown area in the early 1970s, I remember the ads on the TV for "Hartee's", the new burger joint where the catch jingle was "Hurry on down to Hartee's, where the burgers are barbecued" sang by a cowboy. I always thought the burgers tasted better than the latest food chain McDonalds. But they just disappeared overnight and my local Hartees restaurant on Canterbury road, Canterbury was no longer there and was soon replaced by McDonalds.

It has only been the result of the internet that I have finally found the fate of Hartees but more of that later.

I decided to rekindle my youth and model the Hartees that I remembered in the early 1970s.

Above: Finished model of the Hartee;s restaurant

Basis of restaurant
I purchased a Fast Food Restaurant cardboard from Kingsway in the UK which I asked the supplier to reduce to kit from 00 gauge to HO scale. I started to build the kit as per instructions but found the kit a little large and it needed to reduce the kit by a quarter. 

Above: Original size walls of the Kingsway model

Above:cut to size to represent Hartees
Building Roof
I attempted to use the stock roof that was included in the Kingsway kit but it did not represent the roof for Hartees so a custom built roof made of cardboard and paper mache was used.

Retaurant Signage
Restaurant signage examples were sourced from the internet. As Hartees was based on the American Hardees who part owned the Australian operation with Kelloggs, I was able to find some colour Hardees photos as Australian sourced photos were in black and white. I used word to mock up the signs and then pasted them on styrene.

The most useful source that I found on the internet was from flickr which had a black and white ad from "The Leader"newspaper advertising the grand opening of the Hartees store in Kogarah 

Hardees as they were in the US in the 1970s and still going strong

The Final Fate
For those of you who wanted to know a whatever happened to Hartees or like me was too young to be able to know about the news at the time the blog the Past Lives of the Near Future has some interesting reading on Hartee's.

 If Hartee's continued today it will probably be Hungry Jacks however instead of having barbecued hamburgers we are getting "The burgers are better at Hungry Jacks.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Torn between choices

As the new year of 2017 commences everyone has anticipation of new things to look forward to. I wanted to commence something new to spur some enthusiasm again into completing my layout. 

Torn - Choice of two different approaches
I was torn between either completing a full double track around the room to enable continuous running of trains or starting the 1970s scenery section of the layout. 
In the end, I half completed the full double track which ended when I ran out of flexitrack around the fiddle yard area and lost momentum  so ended up starting to commence the 1970s section again. 

New 1970s section
I have yet to name this section of the layout but it will have scenery items that will bring back memories of my childhood living in Belmore and travelling along Canterbury road during the early 1970s. 

The section measures 1800 mm long x 600mm wide. 

Track layout
This will consist of double track with Peco code 75 with a oil siding in the corner of the section. Track had been laid in previous months so what was needed was to paint and weather the track and ballast the sleepers.

I found a supplier in Blacktown, Austech that supplies extruded polystyrene which is denser than the normal polystyrene. I bought a couple of sheets a  few years ago. This will be used for the embankments where the track will be raised about street level. No more gaps are used to cover holes where there were joins between the polystyrene.

Above: Start of the embankment section of the 1970s layout

Rail and sleeper weathering and ballasting

I applied rust acrylic paint along the rails and nail heads with a light grey paint for the sleepers to remove the black plastic look.  This is where you can spend time weathering and detailing the track that can make a difference between a toy train and realism. I will probably need to do some more dry brushing with different shades of greys and browns to get the right look. 

I used Chucks Ballast - Martin's Creek fine on my previous layout and also on Wardell section of the layout. This is also used in this section applied on with a plastic spoon and a mixture of PVA glue with water and dishingwashing liquid applied to the ballast using an eye-dropper.

Above: Oil distribution section of the 1970s layout. with ballasting of sleepers commenced. 

I originally had the backdrop board already screwed on to the baseboard but found I needed to remove it to correct the underpass road that would represent the Arnotts rail bridge at North Strathfield. This made the layout detailing more accessible so I could access the back of the layout. I will probably won't reinstall it until after I have completed the scenery

Still alot to do
There is still alot to do with the scenery in the meantime I have been also been building some of the structures for this section. If I could complete the scenery in 6 months that would be fantastic.

Lets see. 

Saturday, 31 December 2016

Power on the Bridge

Work has commenced on developing a new area that will incorporate a 1970s section and fiddle yard. In order to for the trains to reach this new area a lift off bridge has to be built so that trains can go around the room and also that inside of the room can be accessed.

Test Run
Below is a test run of the CPH railmotor going over the lift off bridge with the safety zone in operation.

Safety Zone
In order to avoid any mishaps of locomotives still moving if the lift off bridge is up a safety zone is in place about 40 centimetres before this is an isolated section of track and only powered when the lift off bridge is down. A microswitch is installed near the hinge of the lift off bridge which triggers when power is made to the positive wires on the bridge


Wiring diagram
Sample wiring diagram found on the internet was used as the basis to complete the wiring for the safety zone and microswitch.
 Track Alignment
As the baseboard legs and shelving is movable a sawn connector rod and metal plug is use to align the bridge with the non-attached baseboard


I have been enjoying learning and doing the electronic side of building the layout. There is still some refinement and further testing to do but I am happy with the result

Happy New Year and until 2017



Monday, 19 December 2016

Christmas 2016

Thanks for everyone's support during the year. Hope to have some new exciting development in 2017

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Retrofitting lighting

After my post in August with the installed working street lights, I noticed that the platform and footbridge lacked any lighting. I decided that I needed to fit led lighting to both the platform light fittings and the footbridge. This took a bit of time and was quite difficult but I am happy with the results.
Above: Wardell station at dusk

Platform lighting
The platform light fittings are  Uneek double scroll top lights that are made of white metal and are solid with no actual light fitting. I purchase 10 warm white mini LEDS from a supplier in China from ebay and glued these to the top of the light fittings two for each light fitting. For Wardell station I used 8 LEDS two for each station lamp post.

Removal and reinstall
The most painful and tedious part was to dismantle my previous work such as the footbridge and station and platform. This is so that the I could drill holes in the baseboard to accommodate the lighting wiring to go the the AC power.

Footbridge lighting
The footbridge is quite a fragile structure and many parts had to be reglued. 
The other difficulty was installing lighting on the footbridge and footbridge stairs. I purchased a different set of LEDS for this.
The light fittings on  the footbridge were made from painted wire with plastic no stripped away.

Wiring for the footbridge and stair lights was also difficult as there was so many wires but limited space to hide them. I decided to use cut a terminal block into 2 ways so that all lighting wires would go into the terminal block and then only one set of lighting wiring would come from the footbridge to
the AC power .

Now that I finally finished the lighting I am looking forward to run some trains again!

Another view:Night Seen Wardell Station

Sunday, 30 October 2016

On the Wire

Finally after several months of procrastinating and attempting to complete some of the finer details of the layout such as tram overhead wiring and the telephone poles, I finally completed it. My tramway system looks complete with overhead wiring.

Below is a photo of the screen looking on Crystal street bridge.

Technique for the telephone poles and wires
 The tram poles and telephone poles were a combination of bamboo sticks and Rix Products Railroad telephone poles.  I really like the Rix Products as the telephone poles are a taller than the Atlas branded ones. I also made some modifications so they would look more like the prototype in Sydney in the 1950s.

The telephone wires were made from 0.440mm gauge wire from Mitre 10.

Technique for the Tram overhead
I tried many attempts trying to use super glue to glue etched brass overhead fittings together to the wire without much success. The holes in the etched fittings were too small to put the brass wire through. I decided to do without the overhead fittings and just solder the wire together.  After my old soldering iron died I decided to purchase a new solder iron with temperature control and also a new helping hands.

This assisted the job quite a lot. Also by adding further frogs to the overhead for curves the structure became stronger.