Posted: April 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

Where have I been these last ten months or so? What have I been doing? Has ModelRussia died?

Firstly, ModelRussia hasn’t died, it just got shelved. I’ve actually been earning money writing software for various embedded platforms (see my other blog and real life also intervened with the court battle I’ve been involved in. Don’t worry, I’m not being sued, this isn’t a last gasp…!

To the contrary. I recently saw the Roco New Items catalog for 2012, and scheduled for production in 2013 is a model of my “most favourite” diesel electric locomotive in the world, and possibly the most numerous, the ChME3. This spurned my interest in Russian modelling again, and I started looking around.

Now, I haven’t been walking around with my eyes shut, thats for sure! I quickly picked up two packs each of Marklins two SZD wagon packs – both have a Kesselwagen, where one has a low loader (Niederflurwagen?), and the other has a gondola loaded with coal. Of course these need the wheels changed to work on a DC system.

I also have a Brawa wagon pack lined up – two more Kesselwagens, and another gondola, this time without load. The distinction of this pack is the gondola has both a screw-hook coupling, on one end, and an autocoupler (or centre buffer coupler) on the other end. This is so trains in Finland can pull Russian trains: Finns use screw-hook, Russians use autos.

I’m getting these five packs for cheap, which is good, and will help a long way to assembling a Russian mixed freight, arguably the best type of freight train. Over the coming days, I’m going to be revising the list of links – the South African links are now redundant, don’t ask me how that went, grrr. Needless to say, I’ve found more Russian links, and I’m more than happy to post them for the community.

I’ll also be getting photographs from my humble layout – simply put, I dropped DCC when I learned the true cost, yes, you can get prototypical operation and other benefits, but replacing a decoder every 10 – 15 years? Especially when the control electronics are like an average computer, three years is a long time.

Another reason is the sharp drop of people enjoying the hobby of model trains now. I was once asked why I don’t simulate my layout on my computer (MSTS or Trainz) and I said, simply “I like the real thing.” Thats not to say my layout is going to be a recreation of the real thing, its something for me to enjoy. If I want to run Swiss trains next to a TU2, which as I’m sure everyone is aware never happened in real life, then thats my problem. No one else owns my layout but me.

The next reason is, we’ve invested alot of time examining mechanisms and frames. Roco rate pretty highly, HAG and Marklin Hamo are the best (neck and neck, both have their good points and weak points) where Piko is down near most Australian stuff. Thats not to say I’m not getting a PacNat 90 class built from brass on an Athearn mech.

I simply love trains. I think they are the best thing ever, even if the New South Wales Government – since Nick Greiner! – doesn’t think so. I personally think more can be done in our little corner of the world to put more freight back on trains, and loosening the stupid restrictions ITSRR have on things would go a long, long way. But hey, I haven’t done rail safety in four years, but I still hear ITSRR are the arrogent so and so’s they’ve always been.

So, since I love trains, and have so since a very young age, I plan to model them. And yes, a little bit of city planning and the like there too. I’m getting some kits, I have some clear ideas on a container terminal, and a lumber yard, the idea is the container terminal is an “open access” thing, and the lumber yard trans-ships wood from narrow gauge (H0e) to standard gauge.

The fact I’ve been looking, and noticing, things over the last ten months or so has allowed me to hit the ground running in terms of whats available at the moment for Russian modellers. Of course, eBay is a good, not so trusted friend, thats able to dig up all kinds of bargains, and helped me “re-find” a couple of the online stores. But a bit of judicious searching and emailing has helped too.

The last component of this story (so far!) is the fact that spare parts are reasonably easy to get, if one knows the part numbers. I spent a whole evening looking for the part number for Roco brushes. We were told they existed as a spare part, no number. When we called back, they wanted a part number, which we weren’t given, so there was no order placed. So I tracked the bastard down, almost literally!

Just today I bought two Volvo log skidders, and a built up lumber sawmill from Model Power – probably not the best detailed, but you tell me when the Walthers one will be back in stock…! – and I plan to have small “scenes” on my layout that have their own little baseboard, and tell a little story that makes up the whole picture.

So yes – re-imagined. Who would’ve thought looking at a new items catalog thinking “Boring, boring, seen it before, hang on a second…!” would’ve rekindled the fire in me?



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