Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Alignment Pins

These were made to make sure the rails aligned every time the modules were put together. Ian had assisted with Rodney James' layout Exeter, and was impressed with the reliability of them. They are simple to make and can be done in a short time.

You will require 10mm brass angle and 6.5mm brass rod. You will also need a 6.5mm hss drill bit, a ream and flat file, masking tape, solder, flux, blow torch and a hacksaw.

  1. Cut matching lengths of the brass angle and clamp together to form a T shape making sure the top is flat and true.
  2. Drill two holes through the facing brass.
  3. Test fit the rod, ream out the hole as necessary making sure not to let the hole get to large. It needs to be a snug fit.
  4. Now of coarse you only want the pins to solder to one piece of brass or else you will never get them apart. Place a piece of masking tape between the facing brass and slide the rod through the holes between 5-10 mm.
  5. Add flux and using the blow torch solder the rod in place keeping the rod as square as possible.
  6. Cut the brass rod flush at the back and file smooth. Tidy up any over run solder between the two faces and your done. Now you just need to drill and fit. I suggest small counter sunk holes and use small brass wood screws.
As you can see in the top photo that this can be used using flex track and reliably realigns the track everytime the modules are reconnected.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Now there’s not much there, so a simple unattended crossing loop and goods yard with basic facilities was the format. We used 3rd Planit for the design stage and although it requires some time to learn, the program is well worth it.

Four scenic  modules were constructed at 1300Lx450Wx500H. Why the odd sizes? Well they fit into a ute I had which I no longer have. TIP, don't design things to specifications which can change! Two end modules where later built at 1000Lx450Wx500H which were to house traverse's as this was to be a point to point layout which was later disbanded and return curves were fitted. Man does this sound like a government operation or what!  To save on weight 20mm square steel tube was used to build the frame. This also meant we could use 16mm square tube welded in one end to easily locate the modules together. The legs do the same thing only into 25mm tube welded  vertically in the corners of the modules.  The whole thing then pins together for a total length of 7.2 meters and can be assembled in around ten minutes.
Each module fully sceniced weighs less then ten kilos. This is due to the high density foam used as road bed and scenic area. I wouldn't use this again for road bed as its not perfectly flat and is a bit on the noisy side.
The foam is actually two sheets laminated together giving an overall thickness of 50mm. Timber was then formed at each end for protection and to fit the track alignment pins. More on these next time.


Location and Time

With the discussions on what we wanted to achieve well underway it was now time to set the basis of the layout. This means the when and where. The time was easy, mid 70's to early 80's. We conformed to diesel era for the simple reason of wheel exchange as steam wheels are still a problem in P87. Mike McCormac has done wheels for a 30t, he assures me it ain't easy and is commercially unviable, but it can be done if you are more than competent on a lathe. Anyway, we knew we could source stub axles from North West Shortline (NWSL) and we could do it quickly and effectively.

Train-O-Rama had just released the 47 class and I was keen on Branch lines so where do we go. My Grandparents lived their lives in Cowra and I had spent a lot of time walking the yards there, in particular the Eugowra branch. Then I discovered there was to be a line from Canowindra to Gregra, planned and funded but never built. This was perfect, it meant we could do what we liked (within reason) as long as we followed NSWGR practice. Google Earth was employed and we followed directions as to where the line would most likely go, there it was, Bowen Creek. Nothing more than a name but just what we wanted, so it was adopted.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Bowen creek is a concept layout built by Andrew Campbell and Ian Millard to discover the possibilities of Proto 87 modelling.
The layout started in January 2006, and slowly developed over the next three years. As with any new idea things took time. However with the layout nearing to Exhibition stage I now have more time to spend goofing off on things such as this Blog site. I don't promise regular updates but when the mood strikes me I will endeavour to go through the trials and tribulations that we went through building this layout. It certainly isn't for everyone but I hope you will enjoy it and maybe get something from it. 
What is Proto 87 (P87)?
P87 is a set of track and wheel standards scaled down exactly from the prototype. It's funny that a lot of people don't consider the layout as an accurate model. I can spend hours looking at a great layout even if there are not any trains running. I like detailed track and surrounds as much as any detailed locomotive. A detailed hand built NSWGR point built to NSWGR standards is a work of art in my view and is something the ready to run manufacturers have yet to get close to being right. 
Hence, Bowen Creek was born and some of these ideas were to be attempted.
  1. Lightweight Frame complete with ease of assembly.
  2. High density foam track bed and scenery base.
  3. Hand laid track and full detailed points.
  4. Seamless backdrop.
  5. Lightweight Lighting.

So there's my opening post. I will start with track design and location in the next post.

Happy Modelling.