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Claus Ellef
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I, Claus Ellef, have built model railways since early childhood in Denmark. As a son of an railway employee and living next to a main railway line it is to no surprise. So far I have started – but never fully constructed – four model railway layouts. The last one was rather substantial but ended up been abandoned for around 20 years. My spare time was instead spent with a heritage railway. In 2014 it was finally dismantled. I put the buildings and rolling stock in storage. The tracks were donated to a local railway club.

The reason for the above decision was a move to Australia with my Aussie wife. Being a train and tram enthusiast the journey from Denmark to Melbourne went by rail trough Russia, Mongolia, China and South-East Asia. The only flight was from Singapore to Darwin. The whole journey is recorded on http://www.payne-ellef.dk

Before leaving Denmark I had already considered getting back in to modelling. This time it had to be a portable lay-out, not occupying to much space and related to our new home town, Melbourne. So the obvious choice was a lay-out with a trams. The result is 'Wombat Creek Tramways'.

Wombat Creek is a H0 (1:87) scale model of a fictional town situated somewhere in the Victorian Goldfields, Australia.

The time is 1963. Geelong wins the VFL Championship against Hawthorn (109– 60). John F. Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas. ValentinaTeresjkova is the first woman in Space. The men behind The Great Train Robbery get £2.6 million from a Royal Mail train heading from Glasgow to London.





The town consists of several buildings. The “Wombat Creek Bank and Gold Exchange” is a prominent building in the town centre. You will also find several other commercial buildings; among them the daily newspaper“W.C. Chronicle”(colloquial known as the "Toilet Paper") and “Wombat Creek Brewing Company” (Famous for the “Wombat Bitter”). “The Big Nugget Gold Mine” is situated at the Western outskirts of town near the small Chinatown. The War Memorial is in a small park along East Street.

The town’s mayor Alfred Campbell together with his son David Campbell owns several businesses, including the bank, the pub and the newspaper. AC/DC basically run the town and make most decisions on behalf of the rest of Wombat Creek’s residents, who, on the other hand, are too busy with their own businesses.

The mayor’s latest initiative is Wombat Creek Tramways. Wombat Creek doesn’t really need a tram system, but AC reckons tramways will improve the town’s reputation. Partly because of limited funds the tramways' construction and rolling stock depend heavily on second-hand requirements from other Australian and overseas tramways.


After two years of modelling, phase one out of three is coming along. The tracks are down and most of the buildings (kits and scratch builds) are in place. The kit buildings stem for some part from my old Danish lay-outs and the scratch builds are inspired by real buildings in Victoria Victoria. Due to the fact the trams mainly run in direction I have chosen to build an analogue lay-out. Only shunting into the depot requires the power supply to be reversed.





'Wombat Creek Tramways' have their own web-site, wct.payne-ellef.dk. On the website I show the latest progress in writing and photos. I also – with great in-frequency – put out issues of the 'W.C. Chronicle' with news-stories from Wombat Creek. The last article was about the Seekers' concert at the 'Mug Punter Hotel'.



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Very good, Claus.  You certainly have embraced the Ozzie vernacular.  I haven't heard the expression "mug punter" for donkeys' years.

Let's face it; all punters are mugs.  You'd hafta be.  :lol:

Nice layout.  Looking forward to more installments of the story.  :cool:

Cheers

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:hi Claus, welcome to the club.

Interesting looking tram layout, looking forward to hearing more.



Ed



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Hi Claus,

Welcome.

When are AC/DC performing at the Mug Punters? Do all the muggins in town use the hotel for a punt? Sounds a chancy place to be.

Nigel

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Welccome to the club Claus. :Welcome

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Hello Claus,

Welcome to the club.

Jeff

Claus Ellef
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Hi Nigel,
Unfortunately AC/DC will not perform at the Mug Punter Hotel. In Wombat Creek time has come to a stand-still - the year 1963. In Wombat Creek AC/DC refers to the mayor Alfred Campbell and his son, the editor of W.C. Chronicle. The only performing and singing they do will be at the local watering hole 'The Wombat Cave'.



Last edited on Wed Jun 5th, 2019 10:55 am by Claus Ellef

Claus Ellef
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Hi Max,
Many of the shops, businesses and venues in Wombat Creek are named with a bit of a twist! The dentist is dr. Molar and the local GP is dr. Paine. The interesting fact is, they do excist in real life. Just try to google.

Below is a few other examples of appropriate names.



The Bell Brothers use the slogan 'Best in the Ground'. They did consider 'Heaven or Hell - Ring Bell'!
The painters at the brewery are busy repainting the big sign for 'Wombat Bitter'. Well, two are not so busy painting. Instead they are testing the local brew! If the logo looks familar it is not a coincident. VB - Victoria Bitter - has been inspired to do a similar logo (or perhaps it is the other way around).

Cheers,
Claus
http://www.wct.payne-ellef.dk

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Hi Claus

My late uncle Charles was an optician/optometrist.

He had a sign C.WRIGHT on the wall of his shop.

Fair dinks.  :cool:

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Good day Claus, very nice layout, I build card trams have considered building a diorama sometime, your layout looks very clean and organised, well done.

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Great work. Well done

Cheers
Evan

Claus Ellef
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Two new houses are been constructed along the East Street. The are designed as 'fibro-houses', which later will infamously known for the use of asbestos cement as a wall material. I have adapted the history behind the designs from the following website: http://architecturebulletin.com.au/autumn-2015/a-home-for-every-taste-the-nsw-small-homes-service/


The Small Homes Service was instigated in Victoria by Robin Boyd and The Age newspaper in 1947 and later introduced in NSW. The Sydney Morning Herald and Home Beautiful lobbied to establish a service along similar lines to that established in Victoria. In New South Wales building costs had doubled between 1939 and 1946 and building materials were very hard to get. There was up to a two-year wait for bricks in some areas with no brickworks.

In September 1952, designs from the Victorian service were published in the Sun Herald. The aim was to raise the standard of home design. Designs were in brick (S/B), brick veneer (S/BV) and timber (S/T). The total number of designs in September 1956 was about 40.

It was among the timber house series that the more modern designs could be found. Despite considerable effort by Bunning to promote modern architecture the public seemed to prefer the more conservative designs.

While the New South Wales service overall may not have been viewed as a success, the regular publishing of designs had an impact. The combined living-dining area ‒ initially the result of the need, in the late forties and early fifties, to plan houses in a compact manner to meet official size restrictions ‒ became widely accepted. Living areas opened onto paved terraces. Designs contributed to the idea of informal living for which Australia is now known internationally.





The designs of the two houses in Wombat Creek are S/T 632 and S/T 663. I found the designs on a website from https://sydneylivingmuseums.com.au/post-war-sydney-home-plans-1945-1959 . The picture shows an original advertisement from 1956. The designs may be compact but they still take up a fair part of the to 'blocks of land' next the tramway depot.

Instead of using the infamous fibre-cement 'Durabestos' I will use cardboard as the main building material. I will try to keep to the colour scheme as seen in the advertisement. So far the walls have been cut and glued together. Next steps are to glue thin strips of paper over the 'gaps' along the walls and to apply some coats of paints.




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Lovin' this! You have to have a wombat featured somewhere, a bill-hoarding, a 'Wombat Soup' perhaps?

Doug

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Hi Doug
Thank you very much for your comment. I certainly going to feature a wombat somewhere on the layout. It will probably have to wait a few years when I get to the more rural part of the tramways.

Claus Ellef
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Hi,A photo shows the slow progress on the fibro houses. The walls have been painted in colours close to the ones in the add. The green is a little darker, though. The window frames are cut from a white 0.4 mm styrene sheet.



Last edited on Thu Jun 13th, 2019 10:28 am by Claus Ellef

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Hi all,


The construction of the fibro houses is slowly progressing. One of the features of the houses is the rather larger windows allowing a lot of light into the interior. Unfortunately the windows also allow you to have a good squeeze into the houses!


I usually don't model the interior of the buildings with the exception of shop windows, which are fully decorated. In the case of the fibro houses I find it necessary to put up wall paper in the lounge rooms and hall ways.


So I have been on the internet to find good pictures of 1960's designed wall paper, curtains and doors, They have all been through Photoshop before being printer on ordinary paper. The outcome is visible in the photo.



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Hi again,
2 weeks of holidays enables me to start on a major project at Wombat Creek Tramways. This time it is the long waited tram barn at the depot. The 'foundations' and the floor were put in place a long time ago. Now I have the time and materials to erect the building.






The model is inspired by the former Victorian Railways' tram depot in Elwood. Between 1906 and 1959 VR operated a broad gauge tram line between St. Kilda railway station and Brighton Beach railway station (VR also ran standard gauge trams between Sandringham to Black Rock and Beaumaris). In March 1907 a fire destroyed the barn and the entire fleet, but both the barn and the fleet were rebuilt later the same year. To read more about the Victorian Railways' tram lines go to http://www.hawthorntramdepot.org.au/papers/vrtram.htm
The new barn in Elwood was clad in corrugated iron and featured some very distinctive inward leaning windows, which will be the main feature of my model.






In real life you will attach the wall to the already placed posts and beams, but I have taken a different approach. I have put the walls together, cut out openings for the windows and attached the posts and beams to the finished wall. Instead of working from the inside and out, I have worked from the outside and in!






All the posts are slightly longer than the walls allowing them to stick into pre-drilled holes in the foundation. Which allows me to move the building from the layout – giving me easy access to the building itself and the interior.






So far walls and windows are finished. Since the ends of the barn will be quite open for glances of the interior I have modelled the window frames on both sides with the help of a white paint marker straight onto clear plastic. It works quite well.






Next step is the rafters and the roof. This time I will do it the 'proper' way around – first getting the rafters up and later lay the roof.


What has happened to the fibro houses? Well, literally the are both in the shadow of the barn! But both houses are progressing well. Whilst I am waiting for paint or glue to dry on the barn I work on the houses. They are both under roof and just need gutters, downpipes and supports under the carports.



Last edited on Sat Jul 6th, 2019 01:11 pm by Claus Ellef

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That is coming along nicely! Looking forwards to the next set of pics

Claus Ellef
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Hi all,

A couple of pics to show the progress with the tram barn. Putting the rafters together was a bit 'fiddly' but I think, they came up all right.  :lol:





I have no idea how the double-decker tram turned up in Wombat Creek. The only Australian city with double-deckers was Hobart, but they didn't look like this one. Well, the tram is used to make sure, it is possible to run a double-decker tram into the middle road of the barn.

Last edited on Tue Jul 9th, 2019 08:32 am by Claus Ellef

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I'm enjoying this Claus.  :thumbs

I love your sense of humour - as Max said, you've picked up the local vernacular extremely well.  I particularly like the vision of  AC & DC running WC ....................... :lol: :lol:

Claus Ellef
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It is hard to believe 2 weeks of holidays are almost gone. It has been a race to finish the tram barn. The weekend will be spent at the Melbourne Tram Museum and at the 'footy'.

Well, I almost got to the finishing line. The barn is up and running. Compared to the original there is a few adaptations and compromises (sounds better than 'mistakes'). The barn needs bit of weathering to remove the shine of the corrugated iron panels. Rust will be added to show some ageing.




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Just discovered this layout and I really love the way it's firmly planted in time and space in 1963 Australia.The tram barn is amazing and I love your shops and bars etc.It's going to be great to watch this one develop.What's the origins of your trams???
Cheers,John.B.

Claus Ellef
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georgejacksongenius wrote: Just discovered this layout and I really love the way it's firmly planted in time and space in 1963 Australia.The tram barn is amazing and I love your shops and bars etc.It's going to be great to watch this one develop.What's the origins of your trams???
Cheers,John.B.

Hi,
Thanks for the nice words from John. Since my last photo I have done a bit of weathering and 'rust' on the barn. The rolling stock is mainly made up of three Bachmann Brill trolleys. They have been bought on Ebay for a reasonable price. They aren't really of Aussie design but not too far from the Adelaide H Class. But as you can see a new tram has arrived - a Melbourne W6 class. It is from Cooee and un-powered. I plan to scrap one of the Brills to motorise the W6. It doesn't sound too difficult but apparantly it is not straight forward to dismantle the W6. I'll keep you informed.


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Bachmann in the USA still has powered and dummy Brill trucks in the spares section.

Nigel

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The weathering of the barn has really brought it to life. It looks fantastic!

Last edited on Sun Aug 4th, 2019 08:19 pm by TeaselBay

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BCDR wrote: Bachmann in the USA still has powered and dummy Brill trucks in the spares section.

Nigel

Thank you, Nigel. I have visited Bachmann's website. It is cheaper to scrap one of my Brills, which was bought for that purpose anyway.

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TeaselBay wrote: The weathering of the barn has really brought it to life. It looks fantastic!
Thank you!

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Lately I have been tinkering around the two fibro houses. The 'garden' at the blue houses is mainly made up of grass – very long grass. The residents are not gardeners!
The grass is made with 'teddy bear' material from 'Spotlight', hairspray and a small and cheap spray bottle with diluted green acrylic paint. The result is not too bad – only a few clumps of grass. I still need to add a couple of gum trees, a garden shed, a Hill's hoist and a few more 'surprises'.



It is a bit hard to photograph the street side of the fibro houses, but with a mobile phone on 'selfie setting' it looks like this:

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Work around the Fibro houses has continued. A wooden fence has been erected on top of the bluestone wall along the tram barn area. The garden around the green house has been laid out. As seen on the photo the owners of the green house are better gardeners than the neighbours. The lawn is nicely cut and lined by blue-stones. The garden beds are ready for planting. The concrete slab for the garden shed has also been poured. The tree in the corner is a wattle – probably needs a few more flowers to give it the right yellow colour.


At the back of the tram barn Ray Knott, the local joiner, has loaded his Volkswagen full of left over wood from the construction of the barn. A water tower (yes – the real barn in Elwood had a very distinctive water tower) and a shed for tools are next on the 'to-do-list'.

The tank wagon is a more than 40 years old Jouef track cleaning model. And no – it doesn't advertise the well-known beer VB – Victorian Bitter. In Wombat Creek the only beer to drink is WB – Wombat Bitter!



Last edited on Thu Aug 15th, 2019 09:40 am by Claus Ellef

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Hi all,

The angle may be awkward but the photos shows the latest additions to the gardens around the two fibro houses – the garden sheds. The family in the blue house are not gardeners, so the lawn has only been mowed in a short strip (explanation will follow) and the door of the shed has fallen off the top hinge. The garden around the green house is much neater and the garden shed is well maintained.
Perhaps you have noticed the red dot in the grass. A Victorian icon – a footy (an Australian rules football). In fact, it is a grain of rice painted red!

Last edited on Thu Aug 29th, 2019 08:28 am by Claus Ellef

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A night time view of Victoria Street

Saturday August 24 I went by train to my volunteer work at the Melbourne Tram Museum. At Caulfield Station I spotted a sign advertising the nearby Model Railway Exhibition. Fortunately the museum was not very busy so I decided to leave early and visit the exhibition. I was presented with some very fine layouts in both HO and N scale, but my interest was also caught by the different stalls selling model railway 'goodies'.

A bag of 'Clump-foliage' became the first purchase. Nothing special, but something I need for my gum trees. The bargain was three 90 degree crossing for Atlas for just 60 % of the normal retail price. Pretty good, even I couldn't find a fourth one. The crossing are needed for a future extension of Wombat Tramways. A stall had different LED streetlights for sale. Not something I had in mind for the time being but the price was okay. So I ended up buying a set of three for $10.

Back home I had to wait a week before finding time to install the lights. They came with resistors attached so I have hooked them up to a 9V battery. I am quite pleased with the result, so I will order some more online.



In day light the scene looks like this

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Lunch time

All trams are out and running and it is time for the an employee at the tram barn to enjoy his lunch. A close up on the newspaper reveals it must be early October 1963. The front page informs the readers, Geelong has won the VFL Grand Final.


Last edited on Tue Sep 10th, 2019 10:13 am by Claus Ellef

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Claus Ellef wrote: Lunch time

All trams are out and running and it is time for the an employee at the tram barn to enjoy his lunch. A close up on the newspaper reveals it must be early October 1963. The front page informs the readers, Geelong has won the VFL Grand Final.


 
Is that a good omen for 2019 then ? :mutley

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Sol wrote: Claus Ellef wrote: Lunch time

All trams are out and running and it is time for the an employee at the tram barn to enjoy his lunch. A close up on the newspaper reveals it must be early October 1963. The front page informs the readers, Geelong has won the VFL Grand Final.


 
Is that a good omen for 2019 then ? :mutley
I hope not! I follow the Tigers!

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It's a six, but...


The kids in the blue house have been playing a bit of 'backyard' cricket. It is hard to figure out how they could bounce a ball and run in the long grass, but they did. In fact one of the kids batted for a six. The ball went over the back fence and – by closer inspection – through one of the windows (second from the right) in the tram barn. No wonder they all have done a runner and left the stumps and bat behind.

Last edited on Fri Sep 13th, 2019 08:42 am by Claus Ellef

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Claus Ellef wrote: No wonder they all have done a runner and left the stumps and bat behind.


England cricket team, please take note :lol:


Ed

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Yes Ed - we're good at that ........................... doing a runner, I mean !!

Is the broken window painted on Claus ?

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Petermac wrote: Yes Ed - we're good at that ........................... doing a runner, I mean !!

Is the broken window painted on Claus ?
No, I dilled a very small hole in the plastic window .

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Quiet times at Wombat Creek Tramways


It has been rather quiet around Wombat Creek in the resent weeks. The reason for this is the manager's (read my) holidays in Taiwan. After arriving into Chiayi by 'bullet train' (top speed 298 km/h) it was time to explore the Alishan Forest Railway a 2ft 6in narrow gauge railway. Along the line the track winds in and out of 10 tunnels in a way, no railway modeller would even think of!
I have attached a few photos showing the 'layout'. More photos can be found on my Flickr page.












Last edited on Mon Oct 7th, 2019 08:28 am by Claus Ellef

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G'Day Claus, that has been a fun and enjoyable read, I love the fact that you have given life to your layout with all the stories and information. It sounds like a fun place.Robyn

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Wombat Creek Memorial Park


It has been a while since I have posted on the progress of Wombat Creek Tramways. Holidays in Taiwan and work have taken up time, but some construction has taken place.



A new bandstand – or rotunda – has been erected next to the Memorial. It is modelled after the local bandstand. It is not exact copy. E.g. the railings are different. In fact they are made from left-overs from the Heljan Brewery kit.


At the moment concrete footpaths, nicely moved lawns and garden beds with mulch (made from used the content of used teabags) make up the parkland around the bandstand. Later I will plant some bushes, shrubs and trees and perhaps place a few benches. Interestingly you will hardly ever find people using a bandstand, so I may consider not populating the area.

After completing the bandstand only one major feature is missing from this part of Wombat Creek (I will eventually draw a detailed track plan) – a water tower next to the tram barn. Why the tram barn in Elwood had a very prominent water tower is a bit of a mystery to me. Perhaps it served a nearby powerhouse. I will enquire at Melbourne Tram Museum.


Last edited on Thu Nov 7th, 2019 07:02 am by Claus Ellef

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Nice bandstand Claus.

Are you going to have a band playing in there ?

Claus Ellef
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Petermac wrote: Nice bandstand Claus.

Are you going to have a band playing in there ?
Maybe on Australia Day 😉

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Diesel locomotive 56 and Scrubber no. 1

Most tramways will have scrubber cars and Wombat Creek Tramways is no different. 'Real' tramways will convert old trams into scrubber cars but Wombat Creek has no surplus of old cars, so I came up with another solution – a diesel locomotive and a tank wagon. I know it is not a solution, you will find at an Australian tramway, but it will serve the purpose here in Wombat Creek. The tracks will be cleared of dust!


On a holiday in Austria some 40 years ago I bought the Kleinbahn locomotive. It has not had a lot of use being in storage most of the time. The wheels and gears had become stuck but a dose of WD40 made it running again. The number '56' comes from a small Victorian shunter, V56, with the same wheel configuration and an almost similar look. It was once used to shunt Metro trains through a washing complex. And yes, the gauge is not right! You may think the colours are the old VR livery, but it is not. They symbolise Wombat Creek with the blue being the 'creek' and the yellow being the gold.



The tanker is an old Jouef track cleaner. The decals on both the locomotive and scrubber are home-made and printed on an ink-jet printer. The first attempt didn't do too good. I chose to print without a background colour (transparent) which made the decals very visible. The second attempt with a blue background is far better but not perfect. The colours could have been a bit brighter, but perhaps they have faded in the Aussie sun! Another 'issue' was the white print in 'Scrubber no. 1'. Of course 'white' on a printer is 'no ink', so it turned up transparent. Well, that was sorted with white paint before the decals were attached.

Last edited on Sat Nov 30th, 2019 06:32 am by Claus Ellef

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Christmas in Wombat Creek

Everybody in Wombat Creek is busy getting ready for Christmas, but the council workers have managed to plant some mature bottle-brushes along the back of the Memorial Park.



A closer inspection reveals the shrubs are made from sisal rope, brown paint and Woodland Scenics foliage and flowers.

On behalf of all the people – young and old – in Wombat Creek: MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Petermac
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And the same to you too Claus - hope you have a great Christmas and that 2020 is kind to you.

Oh yes, nearly forgot - the bottle brushes look great - nice idea using the sisal.


TeaselBay
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Looks great. I love the band stand, can imagine a brass band playing there. 
Chris

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The Wombat Creek Tramways' controller

I haven't done a proper drawing of the lay-out, as it stands at the moment. Since all tracks are down there is no real purpose for a drawing, so I'll give you a photo of the control panel instead.



Obviously the black lines are the tracks. The reason for three tracks going right to the left edge is the tramways will eventually be extended depending on time and room. The necessary points and crossing are in storage.
The red push buttons control the points. Three points are still not connected and one points is unfortunately very unsteady.
The black push buttons control the power to the tram-stops. The tracks are under constant power and the trams will come to a stop, unless the black buttons are activated.
The slide switches are normally one, but they make it possible to stop a tram between stops.

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Thought is worse than reality

Around six months a finished the two fibrohouses. Well, almost finished the green one. The roof over the entrance didn't get its supports,which are set on angles. I considered that to bee too 'tricky', so the project ended up in the 'too-hard-basket'. But the fact is – thought is worse than reality.


Over the summer holidays I have done quite a bit around Wombat Creek and couldn't no longer avoid the green fibrohouse. And of course – the job was done in about 30 minutes. A length of balsa wood, six pieces of green stem wire, super-glue and some Woodland Scenic for the flowers did the trick. It is a little difficult to photograph the house in situ, but I think it came out all right.


                 

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