What an opportunity

Bufo Marinus

Cane Toad. © PJ Croft 2015

Hey, close female relative of mine. Here’s your chance to find yourself a new husband. You and Tony Abbott would make a great couple. You both believe you don’t need to ask anyone or talk to anyone before taking action. Tony awards knighthoods, you throw bombs. You’re both supremely arrogant. You’re both ultra-conservative. You both deny the truth. You’re a man hater, he’s a woman hater. You’d complement each other. Great match.

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I made the first steps to starting to build the model railway yesterday. I bought two “blow mould” folding tables to rest the baseboards on, and a 2400mm x 1200mm sheet of 9mm thick MDF, plus some dressed pine to be the stiffeners.

The large sheet of MDF was far too big and heavy for me to handle and I was thinking of buying smaller sheets to join up, at a substantially greater cost, but the guy at Bunnings said, “Save money, I can cut it [the big sheet] for you.” So he cut it into three 1200mm x 800mm sheets in no time flat, about 5 minutes. Cost – $24.75 versus about $36 for three separate sheets. No charge for the cutting. I didn’t see him do it but he must have a large table saw there. Brilliant.

I’ve started to realise just how big this layout will be. Baseboards 2.4m long are big enough, but I plan to have two of them joined end to end, totalling 4.8m! Add 1.2m where they form the L shape and the length grows to 6m. That’s big. In my lounge room! I do have the space, but it’s going to be hard to handle. I’ll be making the baseboards in 1200mm x 1200mm sections bolted together so that it can be moved out, if I have to.

I need to do some precision cutting and I think this finally justifies buying one of those small diameter hand power saws, even a battery operated one. I’ve been admiring them for several years but (showing great restraint!), couldn’t justify it. Now I can.

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Time now to start ordering some track and rolling stock. About $330 for 63m of flexible track, plus 23 sets of points at avg. GBP9.75 ea = $345. That’s $675 for track alone. Add a loco at about $150 and a controller at about $600 and we’re talking serious beer money. Oh well, I’d just waste it on books and CDs otherwise.

I’ve seriously tried to find a good source of these components locally in Perth or within Australia, and I’ve given up. There’s one source called DCC Concepts in Naval Base WA, of all places, and they even manufacture and export items. But they don’t cater much for N gauge and they are seriously more expensive than ordering on the internet from the UK. The traditional place is Stanbridge’s in Mt Lawley, been there for decades, but their web site is useless and I’m not going to just drive there only to find they have no stock or don’t stock things. Australian model railway retailers are bloody hopeless. Complete amateurs. It’s far easier to order from a big UK retailer who will send stuff here with no problems.

One good thing is also that we overseas customers don’t have to pay the UK’s VAT, so that’s 20% off their advertised prices. Nice. That more than pays for the freight.

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