Thursday, May 19, 2011

Changing direction

April and May is always a quiet time of year on the Bogong & Geehi. The general manager & chief engineer is usually sitting on a tractor planting his crops in the hope he might make a dollar.

The long hours on a tractor mean I don't have much time to any modelling at all but it does mean I have plenty of time to think. It can be very useful time, thinking through problems & trying to develop better solutions.

It has been nearly 18 months since I decided to make the change from On30 to On3. On the whole the change has been good. I  am enjoying the better running qualities that comes with larger models and it is nice to see all those engines that sat on the shelf for years running again. There has been some issues too. Getting my head around the amount of room it takes to turn one of those locos around is a bit of challenge.

One of the biggest and on going issues though has been the "appearance" of  Rio Grande trains in Australian scenery. While it looks OK it doesn't look quite right. One of the reasons I left On30 was that all the locos I wanted were kits which I don't have the time or skills to put together. At the same time I had a collection of On3 locos sitting on the shelf. When I bought them I had been going to model the Rio Grande but I didn't then have the space. Today I have the room and as it is my all time favourite railway so it seemed a good idea to model it but in Australian scenery.

When I began this railway I had a couple goals that I hope to achieve. One is to realistically model the Australian landscape. I want a railway that runs through the farms and forests and small country towns that you find in the foothills of the Snowy mountains were I live. The other is to model a freelanced railway that looks like it could have existed and that was where I was falling down. The issue has been nagging me for quite some time and it is time that I resolved it and started having some fun.

A corrugated iron roof added to a San Juan boxcar kit
What to do though? I could go back to On30 but then the issues that had led me to change were still there. I could put up with American trains in Oz scenery but I haven't got used too it in 18 months I'm probably not going to. This is where the tractor driving comes into it - what if I was to modify the Rio Grande rolling stock to look more Australian? You can see my attempt to modify a kit to make it look like it belongs. Even though I still have plenty of work to do to complete the kit it does look promising. As a bonus a bit of research showed that most of Australia's 42 inch gauge railways such as in QLD, WA, SA & Tassie have the same loading gauge as the Rio Grande.

I can see the Bogong & Geehi using my Rio Grande loco's pulling trains of Aussie waggons looking just right!

Cheers, Murray