Wardell Station welcomes you

Wardell Station welcomes you
Wardell Station late 1950s

Monday 18 September 2023

It's a Wrap!

The last few months have been busy with little in the way of modelling. I have been preparing to pack up and get ready to relocate to the US. Due to the size and the possibility of the layout not surviving the shipping I have decided to put the layout into hiatus. 

It is unclear how long we will be in the US but will take my rolling stock, locos, unfinished kits and my modelling tools. Unfortunately, I will not be able to take my paints and any other hazardous materials so I will need to start from scratch with supplies when I get to the US. 

I decided to cover it in order to protect it from dust.  I plan to continue updating this layout in some form in the US but that is day for another post. 

Adios for now!

Pre Photos

Post Photos

Tuesday 25 April 2023

Anzac Day 2023

Today is the 25 April 2023 which marks a day of remembrance for those who fought and died for Australia’s during the wars. I woke up prior to dawn to attend the local ANZAC dawn service with  hundreds of others in the community. It was great to be part of this service and remember history.

My passion for history including modern history of the Two World Wars dates back to when I was a teenager when I had a great history teacher. As a result, I incorporated this interest with the interest in modelling and during my teens I modelled many a Airfix and Matchbox 1/72 scale model tanks and armoured vehicles. 

Bringing the military modelling into the layout 

Fast forward to today, since building my layout,  I sought to incorporate military modelling in my layout. I included my first military modelling back in April 2020,  https://innerwesthoscale.blogspot.com/2020/04/from-hiatus-to-isolation-work.html. and still wanted to do more. 

Apart from the SDS NSW TE Flat wagons with Centurion Tank loads, there is very little of  military rolling stock commercially available. This means I needed to research and find what were the prototype miliary loads that would show some variety and were used by the Australian armed forces that  I could use as a load. 

I already had a Wiking Land Rover and more recently acquired a Roco Saladin Mark 1 armoured vehicle  both which were part of the Australian army vehicles. I also really liked Half-tracks and had a Matchbox Battle Kings M3 A1 but after some research I didn’t find that these were used by the Australian army during WWII.

White Scout  M3 Car

Above: Completed, painted and tarped White Scout  M3 Car on a NSW KF flat wagon on military train.

After some research on the internet and searching Australian military vehicle museum collections, I found various armoured vehicles in which to model (Army Museum Bandiana, Wodonga) https://armymuseumbandiana.com.au/. With the advancement of 3D printing, I found on Ebay various armoured vehicles that could be modelled, in lieu of a Half-track, I found a suitable alternative, a White Scout M3 Car. One built up version readily available is the Artitec M3A1 White Scout Car. However, the cost is quite prohibitive over $60 AUD and it is already decaled up in US army livery. 

Painting and Detailing

Rather than painting it in army green I decided to paint it in desert camouflage, including a tarp. The painting of desert camouflage was achieved by painting the whole vehicle in a dark green colour and then upon drying covering the whole model in masking tape and then cutting the camouflage shapes in which to paint the light desert tan colour. 

The tarp roof was made using foam and then topped with tissue paper with diluted white glue to give it a tight look. It was then painted a earth brown colour. 

Above: 3D print of the model prior to priming and painting. 

I found a photo on the internet that used as a reference for the load. 
Above: White Scout truck on a KF flat wagon.*


* https://www.records.nsw.gov.au/image/17420_a014_a014001313

Thursday 13 April 2023

The Forward Look


Above: Finished model of the Chrysler Dealership on "King Street" on the Wardell layout. 

Modelling our Obsessions 

Apart from trains, my other obsessions are classic cars, buses and trams. My favourite era of cars are the 1950s and 1960s as a result beside my collection of HO Scale locomotives and rolling stock, I also have a large collection of 260 HO Scale vehicles. I am also fulfilled a life long dream of owning a classic 1950s car, despite the fact that is is original and requires a lot of TLC and time. 

Any chance to model a diorama or building that can display my vehicles is a bonus. 

Background and Research

I wanted to model a dealership in the 1950s and me being a Chrysler fan I wanted to model a Chrysler Dealership. Dealerships in the early to mid century were positioned in the cities and inner city suburbs, where they were a lot smaller in land size before the highways and open sprawl of suburbia My model of the dealership had to represent that. 

The other notable observations of dealerships in the 1950s is that they sold a number of different brands. Dealers that sold Holdens also sold Chevrolet and  Vauxhall. Chrysler  dealerships also sold the French Brand cars, Simca, Plymouth, Desoto and Dodge,
Below are examples of photos of Chrysler Dealerships, I have found on the internet. 




Modelling the Dealership

I was looking for model building that represented a early to mid century car showroom. After searching the internet, I found a card kit made a supplier in the United Kingdom, Kingsway Models
https://www.kingswaymodels.com/. This is a OO 1/76 scale kit and I requested the supplier if they could shrink the kit to 1/87 scale. 
Above: Opened kit before construction

The kit is a low relief kit that comes with various signs. However, the signs represent British names and had to be replaced with white card and new signage made. 
Above: the original built kit before customising


In order to Australianise the building and also represent a Chrysler Dealership, I needed to have the correct signage. I had some left over model letters from a Heljan shopping centre kit and and cut out the letters and painted each of the Chrysler brands in alternative red and blue colours. 

I also wanted 1950s neon signage and found a sign that would of hung outside the dealerships in the 1950s and made the sign using a couple of layers of 0.75mm styrene sheets. 


In the mid 1950s, Chrysler Australia was finding it tough to compete against Holden and Ford. In an endeavour to make the cars more model looking, the Forward Look program was released in the USA but also across the globe. The cars were more sleeker and sharper styling such as tailfins and more appointments in interior and accessories. Australia reduced the number of models and released the South Australian built Chrysler Royal AP1 in 1957 which differed to the Dodge Royal. 
Although the Chrysler Royal was well appointed and had plenty of power with the V8 option in didn't sell as well as expected. It wasn't until the introduction of the Valiant that Chrysler Australia sold well. 

For my dealership, I used the following models:

Inside the Showroom:
Manufacturer            Brand                    Model                            Year
Norev                         Simca                   Aronde  P60                 1958
SAI                            Simca                   Vedette Beaulieu           1959
EKO                          Desoto                   Diplomat                      1957
MadaboutCars           Dodge                   Royal                            1957

Outside the Showroom:
Manufacturer                    Brand                    Model                            Year
Classic Metal Works          Dodge                  Meadowbrook              1950
Oxford Diecast                  Chrysler                 300  Convertible         1961
Classic Metal Works          Desoto                   Sedan                          1950
Oxford Diecast                  Desoto                   Suburban                      1946

No HO scale vehicle is available for my vehicle so I will need to get someone to do a 3D print in lieu of that I have made a billboard on top of the dealership to spruce the "latest" Australian Chrysler model. 

Wednesday 1 February 2023

Run of the Mill

The main building feature for the Newtown section of the layout is the large flour mill and the accompanying silos of Crago Flour Mills. The modelling of the silos has already been detailed in July 2019 Blog Post so after over 3 years this section of building is way overdue. 

Above: Frontal view of the completed kitbashed Crago Flour Mills

Background and Prototype

The Crago Flour Mills siding and buildings has been part of Newtown since 1896. It was a working flour mill until 19881 so it would be appropriate that this would fit my period of 1950s as an operating flour mill and siding with hopper.  Various fields trips were made over the years to view the flour mill from across the road and whilst on the local suburban train to get an idea of the area and building size and features. 

Above: Photo taken from a moving suburban train taken in September 2015. The mill has been repurposed as art studios and the silos as apartments. 

Above: Siding Diagram of Crago Flour Mills sourced from ARHS.

 Modelling the Siding and Flour Mills

In the prototype there a quite a number of sidings that were part of the mill. However, due to space and the fact I did not find a source for the sidings diagram until after I laid the track I only have 2 sidings. Modelling of the Crago Flour Mills was the most difficult challenge as there was no ready made model of the building so scratchbuilding or kit bashing was necessary. My modelling skills are not as professional to tackle a scratch build and I would require detailed architectual drawings to do a thorough job. Instead I opted to do a kitbash and search for various buildings kits that have curved window buildings and large rectangle windows to give the look of the Crago Flour Mill 

The Models & More Bradbury building laser cut kit fit (no longer available) the bill whilst the DPM rectangular window design bulk pack was able to give the look of the 3 storey building. The Bradbury building facade required alot of plaster/polyfiller to raise the level of the walls I also need to fabricate the curved brick sections that are raised around the windows. Brick plasticcard was used to layer over the plaster to represent brick rather than the wood look of the kit. 

Above: Plaster was used to raise the level of the Bradbury building wall facade in order to sit proud  rather than indented as the kit.
Above: Brick plastercard glued on after the plaster.
Above: Open kit of the DPM Designer Bulk pack 

Roofing was made from model corrugated iron sheets and the loading dock was made from a spare peco station platform facade. 

Detail and scenery

Even though there is a siding area there is still a large amount of work to detail and do scenery to bring the models to life. One feature that is timing consuming and tedious is building the chain link/factory fencing. I used a combination of LJ Factory Fence and Gates Kit (no longer available) and Walthers chain link fence to create the fencing around the siding area which at the time of writing was still in progress. The use of metal or plastic posts gluing wiring framing onto the posts with super glue and then cutting the fabric mesh "grill" was a test of my patience. 

Other details I have added include 5 Ton Crane, woodland Scenics ground cover using a mixture of colours and a signal box and working yard lights.  I hope to post more photos in the near future but I am glad this build is now or less complete.

1.  P 176, John Oakes, Sydney's Forgotten Sidings, 
Redfern, NSW; Australian Railway Historical Society, NSW Division; 2017.

Saturday 1 October 2022

On Her Majesty's Service

On Friday, the 9th of September I woke up to hear the news that Queen Elizabeth II had died. The world was in shock of the news although she was 96 years old it was still unexpected that she had died. 
She was the longest reigning British Monarch reigning for 70 years. She represented stability and provided reassuring presence in era that is constantly changing. She had enduring admiration across the world as she served her duty as Queen with integrity, resilience and humility. 

On social media, various tributes of the Queen Elizabeth II were posted with archive photos of her at various places where she made a Royal visit, at famous landmarks and posing in from of trains. 

The Royal Visit 1954
Queen Elizabeth II ascended to the throne in 1952 after the death of her father King George VI. She was Queen at the age of 261.
In 1954, she visited Australia and it was an event that drew one of the largest gatherings across the country approximately 70% of the population of 8 million people. Cities and countries were adored with colours and decorations. Sydney Trams, locomotives (40 Class) and carriages were repainted or decorated to represent the Royal train. 
As my layout is set in the 1950s, I thought it would be appropriate to honour Queen Elizabeth II with a diorama of how she would of paraded around the streets of Sydney in a motorcade in 1954. 
I purchased a Preiser QEII and the Prince Philip intending to use them somewhere on the layout at a later date, however her timely death meant it would be appropriate to model a tribute to her. 

Above: A Tribute to the Late Queen Elizabeth II on her Royal Visit to the inner suburbs of Sydney 1954

National Day of Mourning of Queen Elizabeth II
The funeral was televised on the evening of the 19th September 2022 at 8pm, Australian Eastern Standard Time. It was formal but a solemn time of reflection of who the Queen represented and her legacy as I watched on the big screen. Australians received a full public holiday on the Thursday 22nd September where there was a funeral service to mark the Queens contribution to Australia over the past 70 years.
After hearing the service I spent the day reflecting and quietly modelling but that will be reserved for another post. 

RIP Her Majesty QEII. 
Above: Funeral Proceedings of the Late QEII

1.  Collis, Ian. Retro Sydney, Sydney, Australia. New Holland Publishers, 2013, p 76

Thursday 7 July 2022

Cornering the Scene

 It has taken me over 6 months to finally complete the far corner section of the layout where the Newtown road bridge stands and leads out to King street. 

Above: Looking south along the Newtown bridge. Early afternoon on a cloudy day

Concept and ideas

I basically started with a blank canvas but needed tall buildings or structures to fill in as much as the sky as possible. 

As this was a retail strip a set of shops rather than a factory or industry was needed and I wanted the illusion of the tram going out towards the horizon.

Right: This is a photo of the area to be modelled with the tram tracks along the street yet to be paved.

Buildings used:

I had a couple of buildings that I had built and used from my previous layout Bilby beach, a pub and I thought I could use that instead of selling it or discarding it. Rather than use the front I placed it with the rear facing towards the front of the layout so that I could include a painted advertising (homemade decal) on the rear. 

The other building I had was the Heljan drug store. I really like the Heljan Court House Square Series. These buildings although aimed for the US market are really good as early century Australian city buildings with a few modifications such as excluding the external fire stairs and repainting as well as changing the store type. Mine will be a typical corner store. 

I found ideas from Trove to search for corner stores that were typically seen around inner city Sydney before the advent of supermarkets. 

Other buildings used was to make another art deco apartments which I purchased from the Epping Swap and Sell meet some years back. I had used part of the building for another section of the layout so this was the remaining section. I really like the use of the bay windows so I wanted to have this feature stand out in the layout. 


The final touches to the scene was to add lights and billboards. To Australianise the signs I used the Blairline "Make your own sign"to make a Penfolds Wine sign. The same that use to sit on top of the buildings across from Taylor Square along Oxford street https://www.flickr.com/photos/29029178@N03/31052122238 

And Finally to give it more attention I decided to purchase one of the Miller Engineering animated billboards and try to choose a billboard that would of appeared in Australian cities. I chose the ESSO "Tiger in your tank" 

Here is the animated night scene

Monday 9 May 2022

The Catenary Wires

It has been a while since my last post but all has not been stopped. Slow progress has been made with the Covid lockdown restrictions being remove over the last few months meaning less time to do modelling and more time with family and other commitments. 

I thought I provide an update on the catenary work that I have been doing since there was much interest on the Facebook Group- NSW Electric Multiple Unit Modelling Group. With the large range of Sydney suburban electrical rolling stock and motive units available I think it is appropriate that if these are on the layout that catenary wire is present. My 1950s Sydney layout Wardell needs to have the catenary wire to provide the realism. 

Below is my complete catenary gantry  representing the early style of catenary overhead used in Sydney when electrification took place in the mid 1920s.


Most of the commercially available catenary overhead parts and supplies are from Europe mostly Sommerfeldt and now Peco. These represent the European prototype such as Germany and Switzerland. Southern Rail Models in Australia previously produced overhead stanchions both double and single track (Inside and outside) which provided a more modern look. All of my 1970s section of my layout, "West Wardell" and the area around Wardell Station uses these models. These are now no longer produced unless Southern Rail Models do a rerun of them. 

Above: Unopened pack of Double Track Overhead Stanchion by Southern Rail Models

Overhead Wires

Sommerfeldt have different length wires which can be purchased individually to be used for catenary wiring. I found on Ebay a couple of boxes of  Lima Golden Series overheads that were 33cm long (24 in a box). I purchased these years ago before I had my layout to provide the overhead. These are a bit thicker than the Sommerfeldt brand but more sturdier. To enable the wire to cover different lengths such as at turnouts and crossovers I just trim the wire on each side or cut it at the appropriate length.

Modelling the early Sydney catenary gantry

My basis of the overhead gantry used in Sydney during the early part of the 20th Century was a photo from Bergs promo of their U-Boat order form. I searched Ebay and google to find an appropriate model of the gantry that would represent this photo and found a laser cut one on Ebay from a UK supplier. I bought a pack of ten but these just sat in box of to-do-list for quite a few years. 

It wasn't until I was doing the double track section of my 1950s Wardell layout that I intended to work out how I could use these. After discussions with All Aboard in NSW I bought some Sommerfeldt insulators (#305) and extension for crossspan (#166) and cut these into lengths to provide support for the catenary wiring. I also used some of my off cuts from my Lima Golden Series catenary wire and held it together with super glue. To finish it off I painted the insulators white.