Welcome to New Zealand Rail 120, Lewis Holden's blog on modelling railways in New Zealand. I'm now modelling in 1:87 (HOn3.5). For NZR plans see the Plans page, or the NZ120 Facebook group.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

GSW 10ft container

Thanks to Mr Amateur Fettler, I acquired the plans for those classic NZR 10ft containers, the GSX class.

Here's my attempt at replicating one in NZ120 scale:

Now on Shapeways.
Classic NZR... can't remember where I stole this from sorry!

Another one for the queue of models to order...

Sunday, November 30, 2014

HLC coal containers part II

A while back I made up two of Darryl Palmer's HLC coal container kits in 1:64. They're pretty good kits but have sat abandoned on my workbench... I'll get around to painting them up to sell them off.

Meanwhile, I've knocked up this 3D model in 1:120 scale:

From Shapeways
No great detail I know...

Thursday, November 27, 2014

HWT Mk II containers in action

Found these pics in Rails while looking for something else (isn't that always the way?) the other day - they show the Mk II HWT containers being unloaded at the old Port of Whangarei back in 1997. The port and the service are sadly no more, but here's an idea of how the system of tipping containers worked:

Monday, November 24, 2014

Hatuma Lime containers

Hatuma Lime has been a big user of rail since their works at Hatuma in the Hawke's Bay opened.

Hatuma's old logo, stolen from the interwebs.
These days they're using 20ft containers with removable canvass roofs - you can see a short rake of these containers on Google Maps. Some clearer pics below... but first two other shots. About 20 years ago Hatuma were using 1/2 size 20ft containers, cut in half, and mounted on PK class container wagons. Here's a pic from Rails magazine (remember them?) in the 1990s:

They also had this cool looking unloader thingee (and shed) in Marton. The unloader is still there but apparently it's not serviced by rail anymore, which is a shame.
Hatuma Lime unloader at Martin.
And now a more modern shot:

Modern containers being pushed into Hatuma's works.
Photograph copyright Kieran Chisnall.

...and another:
Shunting the PK wagons with lime containers at Hatuma.
Photograph copyright Kieran Chisnall.
Pretty straightforward design. Standard 20ft container without a roof. Here's what I've whipped up:

Will add this to the GT order I think...

Sunday, November 16, 2014

GT class car-carrying wagon II

I've received four Type 16 bogies from Trackgang Products for my IA wagons - more on that shortly. The GT class wagons used a smaller type of Type 16 bogies, but using a bit of modeller's license I'm sure no-one will notice. Forget I even mentioned it.

There's bogies on the plans...
Anyway, with the bogies I can get an idea of the little measurements that aren't on the drawings (e.g. the space the bogies have to move within the chassis) and complete the chassis design. The next problem is the couplers.

I'm not sure exactly how much clearance these things will need, so I'm going to leave a decent gap (5mm x 3mm) for a coupler to be added in. Coupler pockets are designed for Microtrains couplers. I'm yet to see how these will go around corners, I suspect they'll need a wide radius though.

Here's what the chassis and shell look like, rendered:
The chassis is a separate piece, as you can see it's upside down for printing. There are stands on the ends of the chassis (the round things) you'll need to cut off, and four pieces of the undergrubbins that are supporting the sides for the printing process.

Other than that it should (fingers crossed) just slide into the shell, which has supports already in it to fit the chassis.

Now to order a print...

Monday, November 10, 2014

Decal ideas - NZ Shipping Corporation

NZ Shipping Corp container in Victoria, Australia.
The NZ Shipping Corporation containers were a common feaure on container wagons from 1973 when the corporation was formed until the 1990s when the brand disappeared (the company lives on though as the "New Zealand Line Limited".)

Their logo, which looks suspiciously like the Air New Zealand koru (interestingly, it dates from about the same era - Air New Zealand started using the koru in 1973). Here's a clear pic of the logo from the NZ Line website:


Found this in my collection of pics... not sure who took it. Shipping Corporation was brought out by P&O in 1989...

Saturday, November 1, 2014

DSG 3249 in NZ120

DSG 3249 in the flesh. Note the white
patch where the NZ Rail logo used to be.
From NZR Rolling Stock Lists
The DSG class seems to be a natural choice for my first loco in NZ120. The heavy shunters have been around since the early '80s, and are solid performers. I chose 3249 because it was one of the first DSGs to have shunters refuges added (in 1994) and was of course New Zealand Rail branded until that unfortunate name change in late 1995.

I purchased a Shapeways body (available on Peter's store here) in Frosted Ultra-Detail or FUD. FUD is a vastly superior finish to what I've seen in the past with the "White Strong & Flexible" option. It's worth paying more for. The only criticism I've seen others make of FUD is that it's a bit "brittle" but I'm not sure why this is a problem for a loco body though.There are no moving parts after all.

Peter recommends using a RS3 chassis as it fits perfectly in the shell. After selling some more of my 1:64 models (some partially completed 56ft carriages) I purchased a Bachmann N scale RS3, with DCC from Model Train Stuff. Peter said the RS3 fits the DSG shell perfectly.

This is true but...

The RS3 I bought had a DCC board on top, meaning the Shapeways shell doesn't sit right:

So I'm not sure exactly what to do now. I can remove the side sills, but the bogie contacts connect to these. I could file down the top of the RS3 chassis (by about 3mm) and put insulation tape on the DCC board. This would be a pretty delicate job. Thoughts?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Module idea...

I reckon I should make a movable, pass-through fiddle yard, aka a traverser.

Maybe not this complex:

Maybe something a bit simpler, like this example from Aus:
Picture from David Bromage.

 And another close-up shot from Armchair Modeller Downunder:

The track appears to be soldered on to PCB. The locking mechanism seems to be two standard brass door bolts, with a aluminum plate with holes drilled at the right distances.

I reckon two MMW module plates with draw runners would do the trick. The only question is how long to make it...

Friday, October 17, 2014

GT class car-carrying wagon I

The GT car carrying wagon was introduced in 1988. They've just been withdrawn and scrapped. I've always wanted one, but in 1:64 they're a whopping 39cm long. Even in NZ120 they're pretty long - 20cm.

I'm going to make this as a semi-kit set in two parts - the shell and the chassis. So far I've designed the shell for two of the versions of the GT - Mk I (technically drawing 2) and Mk II.

From NZ Railways Rolling Stock Lists
Mk I shell.
I've guesstimated how these were put together, as the NZ Model Railway Journal June 2007 edition has drawing for GT-4 (the one with rounded edges). The Mk II version (which was actually only one wagon):
Mk II shell

There's still the chassis to finalise (I need to get some Type 16 bogies and couplers) so the models won't be available on Shapeways until that part is completed. Another project could be to build the car-loading ramps for the wagons.

For now here's some pictures of GTs in service during the 1990s. One GT (GT75) did receive Railfreight branding:
GT with "Railfreight" branding. From the staff mag "Express"

Here's some more shot from a video I found:

Monday, October 13, 2014

Video o'the Week

A scene which is sadly now part of history. Fascinating though - Ravensdown CF class wagons being unloaded at Utiku:

Saturday, October 11, 2014

IA class container wagon build II

Another one of those jobs I haven't got around to - assembling an IA class container wagon from Mark's Model Works (MMW).

It's a very easy kit to put together. Just follow the instructions and fold the 90° folds
90° and the 180° folds by... you guessed it.. 180°

I managed to break off one twistlock and the brake wheel. These can be added (back) on when I solder the underframe to the deck.

Still need to get some bogies and couplers to complete the model.

Two of my HWT mk I containers on the wagon.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Monday, September 29, 2014

NZ120 30ft bridge span

3D render of the model.
A quick knock-up design for NZ120 based on drawings kindly provided by Mark Andrews: a 30ft steel-plate girder span. This isn't one for rivet counters - mainly because the rivets are all wrong!

As my budget allows I'll buy a few. I'll need at least two to span the gap on my Micro Module.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Video o' the week

...found on YouTube. The NZ Rail bit starts from 5:23:

Some pretty cool shots of Railfreight and New Zealand Rail branded GT wagons, RoadRailers, delivery trucks and DSGs.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

NZ120 Micro module V

Bridge missing...
So, the election is now all over so it's back to normal transmission. I managed to get out on Saturday (because as a candidate there's nothing you can do on election day but sit in the corner and chew off your nails) and visit both Model Crafts and Hobbies in Wellington and Mack's Track in Plimmerton to spend up large (i.e. vouchers from my birthday).

At Mack's Track I purchased some MicroTrains Code 55 flextrack. It looks roughly compatible with the Atlas Code 55 track used on the modules.

The next step will be to work on the 30ft steel bridge beams and their supports. Sounds like a job for 3D printing...

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Sawmill - woodchip silo I

Further to my ultra-rapid prototyping of a HWT woodchip container Mk1, I've got further random thoughts on a wood chip silo. Here's a prototype:

Managh Herman Sawmill, at Kauri north of Whangarei. Photo by Darryl Palmer.
I could see HWTs being loaded under this...

First attempt at it
Now available. I haven't ordered a test print yet...

Sunday, May 18, 2014

NZ120 Micro module IV

Clamped, glued and screwed.
More progress. I've added blocks of wood 6mm below the top of the module ends, cut four lengths for risers and two more lengths to connect the risers. It's fairly light. As suggested to me I screwed the sections together before the glue sets.

Next step is to attach the length connecting the risers... as time allows!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

NZ120 Micro module III

Another small step... I've now glued (or "No More Nails" but we all know it's actually glue) two lengths of 1200mm timber to each module end. The "front" one is set 6mm back from the edge of the module ends to allow 6mm MDF to be attached to it. The next step, once the glue sets, is to screw the lengths to the module ends. I'll do the usual risers to support the track bed.

Friday, May 9, 2014

NZ120 Micro module II

Here's my rough plan for my first module (TM) based on the bridge just south of the Ohau crossing loop which is itself south of Levin. It's 1.2m long (so should fit in the car), and has a bridge in the middle of it.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

NZ120 Micro module I

Add caption
Sorry for the lack of updates. I've been busy with other distractions. I'm slowly selling off my 1:64 models and kits I've collected over the years but never got around to building up. Oh well. Keep an eye on TradeMe for things that I'm selling.

Meanwhile, a few weeks ago I acquired two of Mark's Model Works Micro Module End Plates (TM, or MMWMMEP for short). I finally got around to gluing the short section of track between the two notches tonight. Progress!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

IA class container wagon I

One for folding
I've acquired two of Mark's Model Works IA class container wagon etches in NZ120.\

IA class wagons have type 18B bogies, which as far as I know aren't available other than potentially off Shapeways:
However following a thread on, it seems that they won't be able to be ordered for some time yet. Nevermind - I'll just have to get cracking on putting the kits together!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

HWT wood chip container III

Test prints (in NZ120) have now arrived:


And they look good. They'll need to be cleaned off before painting but I'm pleased with how they've come out. I've now allowed them to be purchased on my Shapeways store.

Now to fix the NZ120 version of the LWD tank.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Thoughts on defecting scales

So, my living and working arrangements are likely to be changing this year, which is highly frustrating as we only moved into our house two years ago and I finally got a garage to build a layout. That means the work I've done so far will have to be disassembled and possibly reassembled when we find a new house.

At the same time I've started to see the appeal of NZ120. For example, train lengths. Despite making the passing loops as long as I could realistically, the trains I can run are limited in length to the point that they don't look realistic. Then there's the cost - NZ120 is far more cost effective than larger scales. There is also, for me, the ability to do more with 3D printing. Putting together the HWT woodchip container model the other day I realised that 3D printing words much better in a smaller scale.

In addition, the Free-mo standards looks pretty good. I could build module(s) able to be transported.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014