Monday 11 October 2021

Wagga Wagga Station Awning – 1


An exercise in Black magic. Corel Draw

If I thought that finishing the styrene construction of the main Wagga Wagga Station was the end of the difficult part, I was kidding myself.  The station veranda, and platform awnings have added another degree of complexity.

Wagga Wagga station - east end roadside veranda in 2019. Just look at all that lacy ironwork


As I have stated earlier, I needed to improve my styrene scratchbuilding techniques before I embarked on the Wagga station model.  So, I started with less ambitious projects – the kit bash of the Tumbarumba Station, the lamproom/toilet block for Ladysmith, the Wagga Wagga signal box, and the Bomen station.  Apart from the lever frames in the signal box, everything could be made from basic styrene strips, and sheets.  And the projects were of steadily increasing complexity

The Wagga Wagga station is a continuation of this increasing complexity , although the Victorian era ironwork would be a challenge, as styrene shapes would not be able to be used

Either I build the station without the ironwork, or try and find an alternative.

A model Railway hobby is best shared

Fortunately, in my NMRA group I have access to the experience of Ross Balderson.  Ross needs no introduction from me, his modelling skills speaks for itself.  In 2018, I explained my problems over the Wagga Wagga station to Ross – asking his advice on using my copy of Corel Draw (I am a novice with this software)  My  thoughts were that one could import images into Corel, and those images could then be manipulated, and the results printed onto clear acetate, and cut to fit.

Anyway, Ross dismissed that idea, and said the best option would be to actually draw the patterns into corel, and then get them etched.  And, then he offered to not only do the drawing for me, but arrange to get them etched.

I could not believe my luck.  I readily accepted. 

Slow and steady.

There was no point in arranging the etches early.  The Wagga Wagga station was still well in the future.  I suppose, that it took another 2 years from Ross's generous offer, before I enough of the Wagga station constructed so that the basic dimensions could be measured.

Ross, true to his word, asked for detail photos, as well as dimensions of the model, and prototype.

The Eastern roadside veranda.  The pole details can be seen, as is the ironwork, and decoration on the woodwork above the ironwork

Armed with tape measure and camera, I developed this plan.

A bit confusing, as it shows measurements from my model, as well as some real dimensions of some features.

I emailed the plan, with a lot of detail pictures to Ross.  Ross then beavered away on Corel, and then emailed me back  small  etch mask for me to check dimensions 

Artwork from Ross.  He had drawn extra side ends, but that was easily corrected.  Note that Ross had added a fold line  - that not only matches the protype, adds strength, and a 3 dimensional effect.  Ross's experience shines through.


I printed the drawing, and it was extremely close.

Armed with this knowledge, Ross continued with the rest of the artwork/drawing

At the next NMRA meeting (beginning of 2021 - Covid restrictions were not that bad for an outside meeting at a home environment), I brought the Wagga station with me, and all the parts of the drawing were checked with the actual model of my station.  We picked up one error, and it was mine.  The 23.2 cm dimension on my plan was out by 2mm – should have been 23cm exactly.  That error, although small, was enough to throw out the platform awning.  Fortunately, the error was easily corrected with Corel Draw.

Ross then populated the future etch with items for his N scale Newcastle layout, and some HO detail items for me.   The price of the etching process is based on the size of the sheet, not what is on it.


Across the planet.

I am indebted to Ross’s contact, Phil Badger – BadgerBits.  Phil uses a UK based etching company.  I knew the process could not be rushed, I had more than enough to continue with in the interim.  It was late in September, when Ross informed me that he had the etch back, and was removing his items.  The postal service was quick, and I had the etch a few days later.

My picture does not do the etch justice.  It is gorgeous.  Approx A4 size.  Ross had previously snipped off the N scale items he needed, although he left me with a few bonus goodies, like a platform trolley, and multiple sets of workbench tools

Starting the construction

First step was to measure the etches against the station.  Spot on.  There is some brass material to be removed from the end of the etch to make it fit snuggly against the wall, but nothing that the Dremel could not handle.

I removed the first etch, polished/cleaned the brass  with a track rubber (the only thing track rubbers are good for),  and then folded it over

My long etch bending tool - the first time used.

The fret on the tool.  The large grey object is like a ruler, but has a very sharp knife edge to lift the etch

After folding - the etch rests on the styrene floor that I make in the next step. Note that I have filed notches for the wall blockwork. 

After folding, I lightly sweat soldered the sides together


The sloping floor for the veranda is made out of styrene.  The floor is hollow.  The floor was then trimmed to accommodate the wall blockwork.

2 halves of the floor.  The spacers are 0.080square, and 0.080x0.100 thou styrene strip.  The slope is cut from 0.040 styrene.  The top and bottom is also 0.040 sheet styrene

The poles were made from brass, with a styrene base

Some of the raw material for the poles.  I didn't buy these especially for the project - I had them "in stock".

A how-to guide flowchart on the poles.  The first one took me well over an hour to make, the third one about 20 minutes.  There are 21 poles on the Wagga station

NB The poles, or columns should be tapered, and fluted – this was a step too far.  The 1/16” diameter  of the brass tube is very close to scale at  half way up the actual pole  For completeness, the actual pole has a 40cm circumference at the top (approx. 12.5cm diameter), and 49cm (15.4cm) at the bottom of the fluted section. The octagonal base is 83cm circumference



Proof of the Pudding is in the eating

Locating the etch on the floor gave the locations for the poles.  Thus marked, I then reamed out the hole in the pole base styrene, as the floor was sloping slightly, and I didn’t need a solid fit for the poles as that would have them at angle.


I then loose assembled the etch, and poles onto the floor – then checked how things looked with a camera.  Well, my measurements were correct – the bottom of the etch brackets extended to the same height as the number of wall edge blockwork on the prototype. 

Held in place by gravity.  The post locating tab fits loosely into the 1/16" brass tube, although it is not required at the gable wall end, and will shortly be removed.

Next step was to fit the edge etch.  Folded like the main veranda etch.  This part required a lot of brass removal, with regular trial fitting so as to not remove too much material

Soldered to the original at 90 degree angle, once again, test fit.

Lastly (for this blog), I soldered the fret to the poles with 144 C degree solder.  By choosing a lower melting point solder, my original soldering would not desolder.

The fret is not quite sitting right - it should be a bit closer the middle of the gable end blockwork. This was a bit disappointing, but I believe correctable in the next stage. 

A good start.  I think the etch has really captured the feel of the prototype.  I have sent my pictures to Ross, and he is also well pleased that the etches have worked well.  Was that ever in doubt?

Next time - The veranda roof.