Sunday, May 14, 2017

A model of an MSA Garratt locomotive of the WAGR

For the past eight months or so I have been working on a model of the WAGR MSA Garratt steam locomotive. None of the MSA Garratts were preserved and there are only three of these locomotive models in S scale (1:64) in existence.  I decided that I would do them as a kit so that others in the AMRA WA S scale group would have the opportunity to have one to run on their layouts.

At this stage I have decided that the models will be supplied in an assembled, ready-to-run, but unpainted form.  The brass and white metal detailing parts are supplied with the kit but must be added by the modeller. This enables me to retain my sanity and allows the modeller to personalize their kit. One reason for going down this path has been that I initially planned to do only 10 but have taken orders for 20.  So hopefully 18 members will be happy but the bad news is that the order book is now full.  It is a hobby after all and for me to assemble more than 20 has the danger of making the task a painful chore.

The patterns of the 11 major body parts of the MSA were made from styrene and then cast in Urathane using molding rubber (Pinkisil. ) The locomotive model uses the bogies, motor and flywheel from a Mantua model of a Mallet, articulated locomotive.  The finished locomotive model (MSA 491) was painted using an aerosol can of Testors matt black. It’s marvelous what a coat of paint will do.
Model of MSA 491

Rear view of MSA 491

Two photos of the MSA from the RHWA website

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Side Door Carriages - End Detail

During my recent AT / AS carriage project, I found I wanted to produce some extra detail for the ends of these Side Door type carriages. The intended detail I was looking at was mainly the switches used for the lighting in the cars as can be seen here in the picture below. This would add to the basics we normally add of Vacuum Pipes, chopper plate etc.

These master switches were operated by the long handles each side of the box by the guard when required for lighting the cars in night time use. This eliminated having to go into every compartment to turn lights on or off - The guard would reach in between cars whilst checking his train and activate or deactivate in one action.

But whats that Plug thingy above the switch box for ???

Now this seemed like a simple subject to begin with, however it actually was surprisingly difficult to find much photographic evidence of this detail on carriage ends - of course this detail was rarely photographed as often it was jammed in between two carriages so not seen unless the end of a carriage was captured like this picture of an AT captured by Geoff Blee.

 Written evidence of course is even less so available, although the Carriage Book "Bible" did elude to some information regarding coupling of Carriages into pairs during the war to share the use of one Generator. This just added to my research as now there was an explanation for that plug connection of some sort, one end of which can be seen above the black switch box.

But its too short to connect to another car!

Whilst I had a couple of pictures showing the switch boxes and the short dangly male type plug, there was even less evidence of the other end or what plugged into that male plug to reach the next car.

Fortunately this picture below (the only one I have found) came to light from the Rail Heritage WA collection of a two car suburban at Claremont station showing what appears to be about 3 - 4 feet of cable attached to the end of the car and left to dangle. This of course gave enough cable length to be joined across to the next car. At last a photographic answer to my problem.

So, now I had two items of interest to add to the ends of my AT cars and with that knowledge I eventually got down to making a pattern for the parts which looks like this.

Now as you can see its quite delicate in places but it is castable and needed to be as I had a few cars to use them on. So what is on there is two types of switchbox positioning - centred or to the side, as I had found there was a variable of course. The other two items are the short male plug and the long jumper line and plug.  The parts do need to be carefully cut from the casting flash and applied to the ends of the carriage as required. Once the carriage is painted they can then be picked out in suitable colours to highlight them.

Here below is how the Switch and Cable details look up close on my models. I feel that this detail has added just that little bit of extra appearance value to what would otherwise be a very bland carriage end.

These parts will become available soon!