Again, another distraction has slowed progress on Philip's Creek. This time, it was the threat of a partial ceiling collapse in the garage that motivated this interruption. The genesis of this problem was a piece of poor design detailing when the our house was constructed about 15 years ago. The consequence of this was that water leaked into the garage roof space periodically and damaged the ceiling gyprock. While I had taken action to mitigate future leaks, part of the ceiling was significantly water damaged and was gradually sagging under its own weight. The last thing that I wanted was the ceiling falling onto the car or, even worse, the corner of Philip's Creek that I had just completed.
It was time the 'bite the bullet' and fix it. But as anyone who has done this type of work will tell you, the level of dust generated is significant, so some preliminary protective work on the layout was necessary. All of the locomotives spent the last few weeks in the house and I draped some drop sheets over that part of the layout closest to the damaged gyprock. All of the rolling stock was either hidden under the drop sheets or moved to the far reaches of the layout where I thought any generated dust would not reach. WRONG!
The drop sheets worked but by the time I had finished sanding the joints between the gyprock sheets, a layer of fine white dust had settled over any exposed part of the layout, and everything else in the garage for that matter. It wasn't quite a winter wonderland scene but there was an obvious 'whiter shade of pale' to paraphrase the old Procal Harum song. A significant clean-up was necessary.
This process took the best part of a day. The photo opposite shows the early stage of this activity with the red vacuum cleaner just visible on the lower right. Each wagon and carriage got a few blasts of compressed air as did anything else that could be lifted off the layout. I vacuumed what I could from the scenery and the track got a vacuum and a good work over with the track cleaning tool. I was pleasantly surprised at the lack of damage. Only one telegraph pole required repair. Trains started rolling again on Tuesday.
However, the time was not completely lost as I managed to complete a few small modelling projects. One of these was the construction of a Uneek yard crane for Kingston Plains. This has been combined with an old Weico model of a Ford F100. Wikipedia suggests that this version was manufactured for the Australian market around the late 1950s. After at least 10 years, any self respecting farmer would have done something to improve its carrying capability so I thought it was reasonable to replace the small cargo area with a larger tray.The inspiration for this scene is a photo in Volume 4 of Wheatley brother's book, Railway Portraits, showing two large tractor tyres on the platform of Merriwa station in 1969. The problem for Fred is to decide if his suspension can handle the weight of these two wheels.
Number plates have yet to be added to the Ford and the backdrop behind the Kingston Plains module is still a 'work in progress'!