Thursday, 19 November 2015

A visit to MTB


Model Train Buildings is a uniquely Australian laser-cut kit building manufacturer run by Stuart and Mardi Walker. Operating from a huge workshop beneath their home at Coolum Beach on Queensland's Sunshine Coast made it possible for me (on the left) to make the short trip up the coast to drop in for a cuppa and get an up close look at how Stuart (on the right) creates each of his scale kit masterpieces.

The Austrian-built, German designed trotec laser cutter makes quick work of each kit piece.

Countless hours of research, measurements and converting plans to digital file from historic railway diagrams and photographs, ensure that each scale kit building becomes a masterpiece in miniature. So to see how Stuart turns a drawing into a laser-cut kit, I got him to produce a NSWGR G-2 Goods Shed kit in HO scale which I will erect in the station yard on Philden. As the room filled with the soft smell of burnt wood, I watched as the trotec cutter converted the G-2 digital file into a hundred bitty pieces in just over a few minutes. As Stuart explained, working with MDF sheeting to create the inner-core structure of each building kit, ensures that there is no warping to the end product, and to complete the laser-etched detailing for each wall panel and detail part he uses only the highest quality birch timber.

A finished example of Model Train Buildings G-2 NSWGR Goods Shed.

While Stuart bagged up the finished parts for my G-2 Goods Shed, he showed me a completed model he had already painted and put together. Once painted, the laser cut kit really does bring out the fine detail of a standard design New South Wales Government Railways corrugated iron goods shed.

The side detail of the G-2 goods shed captures that Australian railway design beautifully.

Not content to leave with just the G-2 Goods Shed in hand, I also bought the small NSWGR Neath Signal Box kit Stuart had available to construct beside the railway station platform on Philden. The real Neath is located on the former South Maitland Railway near Cessnock in the Hunter Valley, and the article I wrote of my visit to the actual signal box can be viewed here. Although Staurt has plenty of larger signal box kits available on his Model Train Buildings website, the smaller size Neath signal box will lend a unique element of charm to my railway station at Philden.

The 4 stall NSW Roundhouse building is high on my wishlist, if only I had the space.

Before I could say my final goodbyes however, I spotted another of Stuart's completed models he had already painted and assembled, this time a 4 stall NSWGR Roundhouse. Fitting a turntable and 4 stall roundhouse on a small bookshelf layout like Philden would normally cause a problem, so for now it just remains on my wishlist. Oh well, if circumstances change, I guess that will just call for another leisurely drive up to Coolum and another long lunch with my wife at the Coolum Beach Hotel. And of course another cuppa with Stuart and Mardi of Model Train Buildings!

Visit Walker Models and Model Train Buildings website here.

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Thanks for taking the time to visit Philden. I hope you'll book a return ticket soon. Cheers, Phil