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.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Doesn't matter, I've got (a) PK

Classic 1990s advert...

Anyway I've been working on making a PK class wagon via 3D printing for a while. PKs are basically shorter standard UK class intermodel (i.e. container) wagons. Introduced from 1980 they're essential for any 1990s model. Although now coming to the end of their working lives (the introduction of the new IP class may be fatal) you can still see upgraded versions about - e.g. PKK and PKS.

I've created one in 1:120 scale for 3D printing - this time with a few differences:
Playing around in Tinker CAD:

The idea with this 3D Model is for it to be able to be cast using RTV and Epoxy resin. So there's no enclosed spaces as such (although the end pockets for the couplers will need to be filled in). I've never done this before so it'll be a bit of a learning experience! This model is fairly basic as a result, additional details (e.g. the shunters stanchions) will be added later. I've not ordered a print yet but will do so in the new year. You can get one here

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Video O'the week

Here's one from Woodville by EJ Videos, note the Hatuma Lime containers behind the DX:


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Hatuma Lime containers II

Wow, this one has been over a year in the making...

Containers in the flesh on a UK wagon
...checked the original post and it was back in November 2014!

I really need a PK class wagon for them to go on. I've got a UK (just received from Shapeways).

GSX containers II

Print arrived a few weeks ago but I've finally cleaned it up and painted it:

Awful close up.
And then I dirtied it by weathering it...

GSX, GSW and LSC containers on an IA wagon.
GSX containers are available on Shapeways.

Sunday, November 29, 2015


Another quick progress post to show I'm still alive... managed to get some time this afternoon to start working on this. It's the first of four corner modules.

Behind it is the traverser module and the single-track bridge module (the first I built). Both have single MMW end plates, while the corner modules have one and two track end plates.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

PFC bulk flour containers

Darryl Bond over at Motorised Dandruff has built a pair of these containers, which NZ Railways Rolling Stock states were first introduced in 1972. They're similar to Peter Bryant's Bulk plaster containers. They were later put onto UK container wagons and classified UKP:

UKP with two bulk plaster pods, Wellington, 1987. From Flickr.
However the bulk flour containers were significantly different in design...
PFCs at Ngauranga, from NZ Railways Rolling Stock Lists
Here they are unloading at Ngauranga from an old Rails magazine:
PFCs being unloaded at Ngauranga. Must make a gantry model next...
Here's a plan I found in the "Rolling Stock Operational Wagons" book:
Plans from the Rolling Stock book.
And of course... in NZ Rail colours:

Darryl Palmer photo.
So I've whipped this up:

Just waiting for it to be ready for sale...

UPDATE: now available for sale - US$25 for normal detail plastic and $35 for FUD.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The Able Tasman DC 4346 part I

DC 4346 in Tasman Forestry Ltd colours, c. 1991. Picture from Rails.
One of those oddities of the 1990s were locomotives DC 4346 and DF 6133. Both were painted in a one-off livery for one of NZ Rail's biggest customers, Tasman Forestry Ltd (part of Fletcher Challenge, remember them?). Apparently this was a thing NZ Rail tried to convince more of its big customers to do. Sadly the DC and DF were the only two to receive the livery and traveled all around the countryside, not just on Tasman related log or paper pulp trains. Tasman itself no longer exists post break-up of Fletcher Challenge and DC 4346 was repainted into Tranz Rail blue (boo!) and then KiwiRail red/grey. DF 6133 was reborn as DFT 7307, now DFB 7307, and in KiwiRail red/grey also.

I recently purchased one of Peter Bryant's DC class shells. Since I've always wanted a DC and DF in Tasman colours combo, I thought I might as well start with DC 4356. The 3D model itself is pretty good, in this version Peter's removed the handrails and there's an option for the different style of rear lights (i.e. shroud or no shroud). The model has the tell-tale pocket on its cab sides for ye olde tablet exchanger which the DC class originally had - luckily DC 4346 retained this pocket, even though the tablet exchange equipment was removed. After the usual clean up with acetone (i.e. nail polish remover) and dishwashing detergent, it was off to the paint booth for a primer spray:


I've got some decals from Trackgang Products. Russell has previously built models of DC 4346 and DF 6133:

Main colour is Humbrol # 10 Gloss (chocolate) brown. Gotta get me some of that. Next I need to acquire a chassis (I brought a SD7 online... but it turned out to be in HO scale!).

For lights I've decided to experiment with sort of fibre optics. I was looking for those fibre optic Christmas trees you can get if you can't be bothered putting up lights every year, but I found these instead:

Add caption
Apparently there is some fashion trend which involves putting these in your hair. Not knowing anything about fashion, I can't verify this. But they do look idea for making those tiny lights you can't fit into a cab...

The instructions were clear not to use them improperly. So I pulled it apart and took out the strands.

I wired up a 1.6mm red LED plus a 1k Ohm resistor on a 15v DC feed:

Red LED inside the shell.
Two strands were then pushed through the reversing light holes in the short hood of the loco. They look brighter in real life...

These are only single strands remember. The main thing for me is that I could use this technique in future to make ditch lights.

Next the chassis. I purchased an Atlas SD-7 from Ebay:

Not a huge amount of modification required, the fuel tank being the main problem. There's a thin copper plate that goes on the bogies to connect to the chassis which I'll remove and solder wires directly to the bogie contacts (to prevent and shorts thanks to DCC).

There seems to be a 5mm gap between the top of the chassis and the shell - will make use of this to stow the decoder and lights.

More soon...

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Static grass

Finally got around to making a fly-swat style static grass applicator.

I used a cheap fly-swat from Mitre 10, removed the mesh and replaced it with $2 shop metal sieve soldered to the connection for the wire mesh. The other wire was connected to a longer piece (the red wire you see above) and to a nail which is driven into the module, once PVA is painted on where the static grass is to be applied, e.g.:

Pretty happy with the results, although in this scale it's much harder to see the grass standing up.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Still alive

I'm still here... we had an arrival in our house which has meant less time for modeling, so I haven't updated the blog as a result.

Anyway, I'm still alive and plodding along, last week I picked up four more sets of module ends from Mark and managed to assemble them this arvo:

That's two doubles and a triple. I'm going to convert the triple to single-track (Mark already converted one to single track) to connect to my two existing modules.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

DSG on two modules

Today I tested my traverser module with my first MMW module. It worked, so I made a video!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

LSC containers II

Along with a DC class loco print (more on that later!) this arrived from Shapeways the other day:

All the right parts.
The model was cleaned using acetone and had a quick primer spray. I then glued the ends of the container together and painted it Tamiya X-3 Royal Blue. The ends were painted the same silvery colour I used on my GT class wagon. The frame remains primer grey as this seems to be a close match to the pictures I've seen.

The finished product.
You can buy the model here from Shapeways.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

LSC containers

I've always wanted one of those Speights containers pictured on Motorised Dandruff:

Speights LSC container. Stolen from NZ Railways Rolling Stock Lists
So I knocked this up:

As you can see I've designed this so that the tank can be painted separately (so I can add the Speights decal basically) and the ends added separately. I've ordered one and put the design up on Shapeways.

Traverser part III

A bit more progress today. I've added two MDF strips at either end of the module, and purchased a PCB board. It's fibreglass though, I'm a little worried about cutting it as I've read that it gives off nasty dust...

Next steps are cutting the PCB and soldering the track ends to it, and adding the flex track. Then to wire the thing up...

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Traverser part II

Have made good progress on my traverser module this weekend. Unfortunately there's a bit of a bow in the plywood so the track isn't 100% level. Still to be added is the fixed pieces of MDF at either end and the bolt barrel locks - and of course the tracks! I've worked out I should be able to have eight tracks on this module, at 1.2m long that's a decent length of train in NZ120.
Sorry for the blurry pic - for some reason it looked ok on my phone!
Next steps are to add the MDF, solder the end rails, attach the plywood board to the sliders (as you can see I've got Quikgrips on it at the moment), add the barrel bolts at either end and the piece of wood they slide in to.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

More Modules in the Works

...or, a lame attempt at working MMW into a title.

After another bout of selling stuff off, I've finally got around to getting the NZ120 house from Shapeways on my first module:

Little House on the Module
As you can see I've carved out a flat area from the polystyrene. I'm going to wire the house with lighting so drilled through the MDF board.

Meanwhile I'm slowing working on the traverser module...

The idea I'm working on is that the two drawer sliders (the white things in the middle) will be attached to two cross-beams, which will have the opposite side of the slider on them to the storage track plate. This will allow the storage tracks to slide backwards and forwards so that any one could be the main through track. A barrel bolt at either end will hold the traverser in place.

Kind of like this one.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Rubbish truck diversion

Bit of a distraction this week, painting up an old 1:64 model I bought from the Warehouse years ago to look like a Waste Management truck. I'm selling it on TradeMe now:

Sunday, May 17, 2015

NZ120 Micro module IX

Getting there. I've now added a proper backscene. This was printed by a local printer here in Upper Hutt, Print Big. I'm quite pleased with the result:

The trick was to match the backscene with the module's landscape.

A short train on the bridge - hope no-one notices the lack of couplers.
The module is almost there - there's lots of little bits and pieces to add (e.g. more trees, fences, and possibly a house in the left hand corner) but otherwise it's about 90% finished.

The module as at today.
I'm tossing up whether I should make a corner module next or a traverser. I'm thinking a traverser as that means I've got storage space for rolling stock...

Sunday, May 10, 2015

GT class car-carrying wagon III

A few pics from this weekend - I painted my GT wagon car-carrier:

The print straight of the box. Underframe is in front, shell behind.

Shell and underframe getting a coat of grey primer.

Shell getting a coat of silvery-aluminium like paint. It's pretty hard to work with.

Underframe (plus an IA wagon) was painted matt black.

The two re-united with two bogies (stolen from the IA). Looking good so far!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

GSW 10ft container in the flesh

Finally painted my GSW container model, I'm pretty pleased with the result. Only issue is there's no little plate to put the class name/number on, or one for the NZ Rail logo... oops!

Monday, April 27, 2015

NZ120 Micro module IIX

I've now got the piers in place and painted, painted the river bed and laid down some of the riverstones. Next step will be weathering the bridge, and putting the fake water (Woodland Scenics realistic water) in place.