Sydney STA

Sydney STA
Sydney STA fleet for layout

Sunday, 22 November 2015

The First and the Last

61 years ago today marks the day the last trams travelled along Crystal and Trafalgar St Petersham. The day was Sunday, the 21st November 1954 1.  To mark this date, I have built my first Sydney tram, a R1 class white-metal kit by Weico, now no longer in production.
Above is the completed Sydney Tram R1 Class heading towards Balmain on Crystal St Road bridge.
A photo of R1 Class number 1998 heading towards Balmain in 1954 is shown in the link below

Building the kit

I have found building White metal kits difficult at times. White metal needs strong glue. I use two part epoxy to do this but it takes 24 to 72 hours to dry so the parts need to be held together for a long time in order for the glue to cure. Also if the proportions are not correct it may also not cure correctly.

I made the kit per the instructions and then painted it in parts before gluing the whole thing together, i.e. the end drivers cabins painted separately from the main passenger section. I have temporarily used the trolley poles that came with the kit but will replace them later using ones that can be are operational. Although power will not come through the overhead wiring, the original trolley poles were not robust enough.


 I had some green livery paint that I had when I built the Sydney Regal IV resin bus and used this for the green paint. I had a postcard of R1 1979 as a guide for painting. My cream paint that I previously used for the bus had already hardened so I had used Humbrol 74 plus a hit of matt white.

Interior was chocolate brown while the lower part of the body and bumper was the same acrylic brown I used for the road bridge without any mixture of black. I think it was dulux crimson russet.

To simulate the black painting lines on the tram body, I have used the technique of painting a thick black band on masking tape and then using a sharp knife to cut long thin lines. I then apply the masking tape on the tram.

I have found this method effective and used it on my previous bus models.

Motorising the tram
I purchased the motorised kit that was available by Weico for the R1 Class to run the tram. The motor is from Bowser Manufacturing. Wiring is simple with all both bogies having pick up. The kit came with one of the two of the universals not with the correct size and as a result broken part of that incorrect universal. I used gaffer tape to mend this. It did work but after a test run required more padding of the bolster to level the motor with the universals to have it straight so that the motor will run smoothly.

I also decided to paint the wiring and motor black to hid the fact that there was a motor in the tram body.

Above is the motor and bogies attached to the underfloor before painting the motor and wiring black.
Advertising and Decals
I wanted to have side panel period advertising on my tram. I sought old photos of trams from books and the internet to locate advertising on the side of trams, as those R1 class trams preserved do not have any advertising apart from the small advertising on front of the trams and used a computer and printer to make them.

 With the decals, I found a website  that does Sydney tramway decal numbers for trams. It appears that the decals are more catered for earlier trams that later numbered trams as there is not sufficient number of 9s in the decal sheet. I will likely need to get another sheet in order to do more R1 class trams.

What's next?  
Whilst I have just completed my first tram kit,  I still have a few more kits to build in the cupboard. 
“This is what the Lord says—
    Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord Almighty:
I am the first and I am the last;
    apart from me there is no God"
Isaiah 44:6.

1. David R Keenan, The South-Western Lines of the Sydney Tramway System, Transit Press, 1992