Thursday, 11 July 2019

Marbelup Models Catalogue

Marbelup Models is currently not accepting new orders for any of the models listed.

A few existing models are available for sale.  See the list of models in stock for immediate delivery.

Locomotives (Narrow Gauge - Sn3½ Scale)

•  Westrail DB Class Loco Project Instructions
(work in progress)
• WAGR/Westrail D/DA Class Loco Instructions
(work in progress)
• WAGR R Class Loco Instructions
• WAGR RA Class Loco Instructions

4-Wheel Wagons (Narrow Gauge - Sn3½ Scale)

• WAGR CXB 4-wheel sheep wagon Instructions
• WAGR DC 4-wheel Van
• WAGR FD 4-wheel Louvre Van Instructions

Bogie Wagons and Guard's Vans (Narrow Gauge - Sn3½ Scale)

• WAGR QMC Car Wagon
• WAGR RB Open Wagon Instructions
• WAGR SXT bogie sheep wagon Instructions
• WAGR VD Bogie Louvre Van Instructions
• WAGR VDR Bogie Freezer Van Instructions
• WAGR VG Bogie Covered Van Instructions
• WAGR WMC Iron Ore Hopper Instructions
• WAGR WMD Hopper Wagon Instructions
• XM Ballast Hopper Instructions
• XW Wheat Hopper Instructions
• WAGR ZBA Guard's Van Instructions
• WAGR Clerestory Roof Guard's Van Instructions
• NH-ENH-QA-HA-AHAF Hopper Wagons Instructions

WAGR/Westrail Standard Gauge Wagons (HO Scale) - HO WAGONS ARE NO LONGER AVAILABLE

• AQNY Container Wagon & AZKY (HO Scale) Instructions
• WBC Guards Van (HO Scale) Instructions
• WF/WFW/WFDY Flat Wagon (HO Scale) Instructions
• WOB Iron Ore Wagon (HO Scale) Instructions
• WSH Ballast Hopper (HO Scale) Instructions
• WW AGWY AGSY Wheat Hopper (HO Scale) Instructions
• BHP Iron Ore cars (HO Scale)


• Sheep Loads for CXB/SXT
• WAGR Water Columns Instructions
• WAGR Relay Cabin
• Bogies for WMC/WMD Instructions
• Bogies for XM Ballast Hopper
• Bettendorf Bogies and NG Bolsters Instructions
• Roofwalks for DC Vans
• Iron Ore Containers (HO and S Scale)

XW/XWA Wheat Wagon Assembly Tips

Parts List

  • Couplers - Kadee #148 or #158 (see below)
  • Kadee #262 coupler boxes (supplied)
  • Fixing screws - 2-56 x 6.35 mm (¼") long, 4 required
  • Brass wire - 0.4 mm, 0.6 mm. 1.0 mm
  • Wheels - 12 mm disc with 26 mm axles, 4 wheelsets required
  • WMC/WMD Bogies including brass bearings, available from Marbelup Models
  • Paint and decals

Removing Support Structures

Carefully remove the support structure from the wagon.  It is suggested to use a sharp knife to cut the supports away from visible areas.  Take particular care around the brake wheels, and the door operating mechanism.  Note that the brake wheels have guards around them to protect them during production and shipping.

Once the majority of the support structure has been removed, carefully go over the wagon and cut away the small supports which typically extend from one part to another including, for example, inside the coupler housing.  An Exacto type hobby knife with a sharp pointed blade (Exacto #11 or similar) is quite useful for getting into the nooks and crannies.  

Go over the model and smooth off any remnants of the fine supports, especially in the visible areas.  A sanding stick or small file can be useful for this.

There are two temporary supports for the door operating mechanism which are intended to be removed.  If desired, these can be left in place until the majority of the assembly has been done.

Supports for Door Mechanism - to be Removed.

Bogie and Coupler Mounting Holes

The mounting holes for the couplers and bogies have been printed at 1.8 mm diameter to suit 2-56 screws.  

Due to the difficulty of tapping blind holes, the 3D print includes vertical grooves in the sides of the holes to help the screws cut their own threads, so tapping the holes is not required nor recommended.  If the screw does not cut its own thread easily, the hole may require cleaning out with a 1.8 mm drill bit, but take care not to drill right through.

The maximum depth for the coupler mounting holes is 7.25 mm.  Using a screw which is too long will damage the top surface of the model, so check the screw length and trim if necessary.

Note: An economical source of 2-56 screws in various lengths is Little Bird Electronics.


The XW is designed for Kadee "whisker" couplers using Kadee #262 draft gear boxes. Two options are available, depending on user preference for correct S scale coupler height or the commonly-used HO standard coupler height.

Both options use Kadee #148 or #158 couplers.

For HO standard coupler height, the coupler mounts low down on the end sill.  This is the default option. When assembled, the centre of the coupler should be 9.9 mm above rail height, which can be verified with a Kadee #206 HO coupler height gauge.

For correct S scale coupler height, remove the sections of the model as per the picture below, to provide a higher mounting platform.  If desired, the surplus "frame" below the couple box can also be trimmed.  When assembled, the centre of the coupler should be 12.2 mm above rail height.  The coupler height can be checked using a Kadee #206 HO coupler height gauge with a piece of 1 mm thick styrene sheet placed between the rails and the coupler height gauge.

Modifications for correct S Scale Coupler Height
The draft gear boxes supplied with the #148 or #142 couplers do not fit as they have a different mounting hole position.  The #262 draft gear boxes, which are available separately, are narrower and have been used because they allow details such as the brake hoses to be positioned close to the scale distance from the wagon centre line.  Also, the #262 draft gear boxes are easier to use as the lid snaps into position.

Wire Details

There are a few details to be added from brass wire.  The following sequence is suggested:

Door Mechanism

Door Mechanism Wire Details (viewed from underneath)

Secure all the wire pieces in position with superglue.

Corner Handrails

The corner handrails are simply straight wire, glued into the vertical groove in the 3D-printed support bracket.

Corner Handrails - 2 required

Roof Details

Roof details including roof hatches (4), roofwalk supports (5) and hatch bumper (8) are supplied on a separate sprue.  If desired, the curved portions of the upper body can be smoothed (by scraping or filling and sanding) to remove the stepping due to the 3D-printing process.  This should be done before gluing the roof details in place.

An alternate version of the model is available in which only the roof hatches are printed separately.  For this version, the roofwalk supports and hatch bumpers are printed as part of the body.  This simplifies assembly but some stepping will be apparent on the top of the body, as it is impractical to smooth the curved portions with the small details present.

Roof Details.  Note correct orientation for parts.

Etched Roofwalk and Steps

Folding Corner Steps
Folding Roofwalk and Ladders.  Check orientation before folding!

Detail of Roofwalk Folding
Ladder Attachment Point

Work Stand

A 3D-printed work stand is available which supports the completed wagon upside-down, without damage to the roofwalk components, for use when fitting bogies and couplers.


If required, additional weight can be added by gluing lead shot or small pieces of sheet lead in the cavities at the ends of the hopper.

Cavities provided for adding weight (both ends).


Either enamel or acrylic hobby paints can be used to paint the finished model.  The sample model was airbrushed with Model Master enamel "Gelb RLM 04" (yellow) over Model Master white primer.  

Sunday, 30 June 2019

D/DA Loco Assembly Tips

Please Note - This is a "work in progress" with the idea of recording information while I am working on the construction and testing of the development models.

Update - June 2019.  The design of the DA loco has been amended to suit the ViTrains mechanism, as used for the DB models, due to the unavailability of further Hollywood Foundry mechanisms.  Refer to the Supplementary Instructions for details of the changes.

Parts List (Preliminary - subject to change)

In addition to the 3D printed parts, the following parts must be obtained separately by the modeller:
  • Brass wire for handrails, etc. (0.4 mm, 0.6 mm)
  • Air hoses - e.g. Detail Associates #6206 (Vacuum brake hoses are included.)
  • Handrail Knobs (4) for uncoupling levers - e.g. Markits 1.5 mm(short - available from Railwest Models.
  • Handrail Stanchions (optional) - A-Line D1071.  Limited quantities available from Marbelup Models.
  • Wheels - 12 x Northyard 401N - see below.
  • Bogie drive mechanisms - see below (Hollywood Foundry)
  • Motor - Mashima 1833D Flat Can (double shaft, 2 mm diameter, includes fixing screws) (Hollywood Foundry)
  • Drive shaft(s) - 1.5 mm diameter, e.g. K&S #9862 (5 x 300 mm lengths per pack)
  • Universal Joint set for 1.5 mm shafts (Hollywood Foundry)
  • Flexible coupling(s) for motor end(s) of drive shafts (Hollywood Foundry).  
  • DCC decoder and speaker (both optional)
  • Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) for headlights 4 x 3 mm (sunny white) and optic fibre (2 mm)
  • LEDs (red and white) and optic fibre, if operating marker lights desired
  • paint as desired
  • lead or other weighting material
  • Kadee couplers #156 ("scale") or #146 (normal size)
  • Kadee draft gear boxes #262
  • Fixing screws for body, couplers and fuel tank e.g. Kadee #256 - 12 holes are included correct size (1.8 mm) ready for tapping 2-56.
  • Fixing screws for speaker M1.4 x 6 (slightly longer is OK) - 4 holes are included correct size (1.1 mm) and screws should make their own thread, tapping shouldn't be required.  Suitable screws are available from DCC Concepts - Part No. DCS-PHB156 or in assortment DCS-PHBSet.  Although described as 1.5 mm, the DCC Concepts screws are actually M1.4 thread.
  • Fixing screws (optional) for bogie sideframes - self tappers, 1 mm dia. x 3 mm long (8 required).  Suitable screws are available from DCC Concepts - Part No. DCS-PH103
  • Decals - Westland Models are developing decals for the original green WAGR livery and may also offer decals for later liveries.


The correct size 15.7 mm wheels are available from Northyard in New Zealand.

Each loco requires 12 x 401N wheels, as illustrated in the following extract from the Northyard Catalogue:

Contact Northyard direct via email: for a quote for the wheels.  The current (December 2014) catalogue price is NZ$1.80 per wheel.

Hollywood Foundry Drive Components

It is up to the modeller's individual preference whether to fit two drive bogies or a single drive bogie plus a dummy bogie.

Drive bogie specifications: G16.5/B29.8+29.8/W15.7-110/22:1DUALBELT/NOBOL
Dummy bogie specifications: G16.5/B29.8+29.8/W15.7-110/NOBOL

To order the above bogie configurations, please use the special order page on the Hollywood Foundry web site and copy and paste the above codes into the Product Description field.  

The modeller should purchase the wheels from Northyard and send them to Hollywood Foundry in conjunction with each order.

The current (February 2016) pricing for the required Hollywood Foundry parts is:

Drive bogie - $91.30 (same price as Bullant In-Line 3-Axle)

Dummy bogie - $52.80 (same price as Bullant 3-axle Dummy)

Motor: Mashima M1833D - $31.35

Universal Joint Set for 1.5 mm shafts (set contains parts for 4 joints.  1 joint is required per drive bogie, but it is recommended to purchase 1 set per loco to allow for some "spares".) - $4.19 per set

Silicone Tubing - used for flexible coupling between motor and drive shaft(s).  Supplied free by Hollywood Foundry if requested when ordering other parts.  Tubing will fit both 2 mm motor shaft and 1.5 mm drive shaft.

Total price for two drive bogie configuration is $218.14 (plus approx $10 postage)
Total price for single drive bogie configuration is $171.94 (plus approx $10 postage)

Please not that the above prices set by Hollywood Foundry and are subject to change.

Bogie Pivot Assembly

Note:  Prior to assembling the Hollywood Foundry bogies to the underframe, place each bogie on a flat surface (glass is ideal) and check that the bogie doesn't rock from end to end.  Some bogies have been found to have the centre axle set a fraction of a millimetre too low, which means the outer axles don't properly contact the rails and could cause derailments.  If you are unlucky enough to experience this problem, contact Hollywood Foundry for repair or replacement under their Lifetime Warranty.

The underframe is designed for a nominal thickness of washers/packing of 1 mm between the top of the bogies and the mounting surface on the underframe.

The Hollywood Foundry bogies are supplied with two plastic shouldered washers, a formed phosphor bronze spring, a flat steel washer and an M1.4 machine screw.

For assembly to the 3D-printed underframe, it is recommended to discard the flat steel washer and upper plastic shouldered washer.  This should result in the correct loco height from the rails and the phosphor bronze springs (at both ends) should minimise side-to-side rocking of the loco while allowing some movement to cope with uneven track.

Secure the bogie with the M1.4 screw provided, but don't tighten it fully so as to allow some for and aft rocking movement of the bogie as well.

To check the loco height, fit the underframe and body together, with couplers attached, and check the coupler height against a Kadee HO coupler height gauge.  Be aware that the 3D-printed underframe is somewhat flexible on its own, and relies on the rigidity of the body to keep it straight and level.  The top surface of the footplate should be 26 mm above rail level.

If the loco sits too low, a spacer should be cut from styrene and added above the phosphor bronze spring (or glued to the bogie pivot on the underframe).  The spacer needs to be large enough, e.g. 8 mm square, so that the phosphor bronze spring is effective in minimise rocking.

If side-to-side rocking is still a problem, Marbelup Models can provide details to fabricate a mounting plate from brass sheet and wire which can be fitted to the top of the rear bogie, to provide a "3-point" suspension.  Marbelup Models is also experimenting with a 3D-printed version of this mounting plate which is printed in high-detailed stainless steel at a cost of approx. $16.

Drive Shaft Assembly

Brass rod 1.5 mm diameter is suitable for the drive shaft(s).  The required length is approx 72-73 mm.  Check the exact length required from your model.  Allow some "end play" in the universal joint at the bogie end to accommodate movement of the bogie on curves or uneven track.

Hollywood Foundry have published an instruction sheet on the basic assembly. One end of each shaft requires a "flat" to be ground or filed to accommodate the male end of the plastic universal joint.  Grind or file a flat on the shaft with a minimum length of about 2 mm.  The depth of the flat should be 0.3 mm, so that the measurement over the remaining shaft is 1.2 mm.  Don't force the joint onto the shaft if it is very tight, as it may split later.

Hollywood Foundry can supply silicone tubing (free on request with each order) for the motor end of each drive shaft.  The tubing is sufficiently flexible to fit both the 1.5 mm drive shafts and 2 mm motor shaft.

The drive shaft for the front bogie of a loco with both bogies driven must pass through the "tunnel" in the speaker housing.  One technique is to attach the drive shaft to the motor before installing the motor, then pass the drive shaft through the "tunnel" to engage with the universal joint on the bogie and, finally, fix the motor in position with the short M2 screws provided with the motor.  The rear drive shaft can be attached to the motor last, as there is no "tunnel" to get in the way.

For a loco with one powered bogie, it is suggested to install the powered bogie at the rear to avoid the "tunnel" and leave the cab free for interior detailing, if desired.


The suggested couplers are Kadee #156 ("scale" head) or #146 (normal size head).  These are both "long shank" style which avoids the problem of the "glad hand" on opposing couplers from fouling the cowcatcher.  The choice between normal and "scale" size is up to the individual modeller.  The suggested draft gear boxes are Kadee #262 which available separately in packs of 10 pairs.  Kadee suggest assembling the coupler so that the main part of the draft gear box is on the bottom and the lid is on top.  The draft gear boxes simply snap together.  

If the coupler height is a little too high, a styrene spacer can be added between the couplers and the underframe.  The bottom of the coupler opening in the end sill is only 0.5 mm thick, to allow it to be easily cut or filed if a deeper opening is required.  If a spacer of more than 0.25 mm is required, it may also be necessary to trim the bottom flange from the Kadee draft gear box to clear the top of the cowcatcher.

DCC and Sound

The underframe is specially designed to accept a 23 mm square high-bass speaker (Soundtraxx 810129 or equivalent) if a sound decoder is to be installed.  The speaker faces downwards on a "sound duct" which has a "tunnel" through it for the front drive shaft.  

The underframe speaker mount include four holes, nominally 1.1 mm diameter, which are suitable for M1.4 fixing screws, 6-8 mm long.  Ideally, the holes should be tapped with a M1.4 thread, but the screws can be inserted without tapping.  (DCC Concepts sell suitable screws - part number DCS-NB14x6 or as part of an assortment DCS-Nbset.)

The recommended sound decoder is the Soundtraxx Tsunami EMD 645 Non-Turbo.  The Tsunami "AT" style decoder model 828048 is suitable and slightly cheaper than the TSU-1000 style model 827109.

Note: The above links are for the SoundTraxx web site.  SoundTraxx do not sell direct but their products are available from many retailers.

Body Preparation and Details

Take care when removing the support structure from the body, especially around the cab windows to avoid damaging the vertical dividers between the windows.  

Once the body has been "cleaned up", it is also necessary to remove the two temporary braces which link the fixing posts near the centre of the body, as highlighted in yellow below.  These have been included to protect the body during production and shipping, and must be cut away to provide clearance for the motor, etc.  These can be cut with a fine-toothed razor saw or a cutting disk in a rotary tool, as low speed.  

The eight fixing holes in the body shell should be tapped with a 2-56 thread.  If necessary, clean out the holes prior to tapping using a 1.8 mm drill bit.

If using dual drive bogies, there are areas marked on the lower, end wall of the cab which need to be cut out to provide clearance for the front drive shaft and bogie mechanism.  These are highlighted in yellow in the image below.


Starter holes are provided on the body for three handrails which can be formed from brass wire (e.g. 0.3 or 0.4 mm).  The started holes should be drilled out slightly larger, e.g 0.05 mm larger than the wire size.

One handrail is inside the recessed step nearest the top on the left side of the loco, next to the radiator grilles.  The spacing between the holes is 3.5 mm (centre-to-centre).

Photo by G Stallard
The other two handrails are on the roof, adjacent to the recessed steps.  The spacing between the holes is 8 mm.  Photos indicated that the bends in the top handrails should have a radius of approx. 1.5 mm.  Radiussed corners can be formed by bending the wire around the shank of a drill bit, or using special pliers with round jaws.

Photo by G Stallard
Starter holes are also provided on the end walls of the cab for the long handrails which run along the side of the loco - see below. 

Long Handrails on Underframe

The 3D-printed chassis incorporates holes approx. 0.6 mm diameter to house the vertical handrail posts, typically cut from 0.6 mm brass wire.  

One option for the handrails is to solder each section of handrails from 0.6 mm brass wire.  Marbelup Models can supply a PDF template for the handrails on request.  

Note that the end walls of the cab have starter holes for the horizontal handrails.  Assuming 0.6 mm wire is used for the long handrails (and shorter ones at the front of the loco), it is suggested to drill the holes in the cab end walls slightly larger e.g. 0.7 mm, so the handrails are an easy fit.  Ideally, the handrails should be trimmed so that just enough extends into the holes (e.g. 0.5 mm) so they they appear to be attached when the loco is fully assembled.  If the handrails extend too far into the holes in the can, it will be more difficult to disassembly the loco.

Use of A-Line Handrail Stanchions

An alternative, which is potentially easier than soldering, is to use preformed steel handrail stanchions available from A-Line (Division of Proto-Power West, USA).  These are available from various online hobby shops and/or eBay.  (Marbelup Models has limited stocks of these stanchions available at $15 per pack of 35 stanchions.)

A-Line Handrail Stanchions
Although these stanchions are intended for HO locos, the two longest sizes are sufficiently long to be trimmed to the correct length for the D and A.  The A-line part numbers are D1071 (long) and D1071 (extra long).  The stanchions should be trimmed at the bottom to a length of 18.5 mm, measured from the top of the "loop".  For the handrails on the end platform, the stanchions should be trimmed to 17.5 mm.  After trimming, file off any rough edges from the cut end.

The holes in the 3D-printed chassis should be carefully drilled out to accommodate the stanchions (suggested drill size: 0.75 mm  - test on some scrap plastic first).  Carefully insert each stanchion vertically into the drilled hole, taking care to align the loop perpendicular to the sides of the loco.  It is also suggested to orient all stanchions the same way, e.g. with the open side of the top loop inwards.  Make sure the bottom of each stanchion is level with the underside of the running boards.

Once the stanchions are installed, 0.6 mm brass wire can be threaded through the line of stanchions to complete the handrail.  Some custom bending will be required at the ends of the loco and where the height of the handrail varies.  The PDF template may be useful for this.

Once all the stanchions are in place and the long handrails threaded through, check that all the stanchions are vertical and make any necessary adjustments.  Then, the brass handrail can be secured to each stanchion with superglue and, if desired, the stanchions glued into the holes in the running boards.  Note that the short handrails in front of the cab should not be glued as they may need to be removed prior to separating the body and chassis, e.g. for maintenance.


Four horns are included as part of the 3D-printed underframe.  Carefully remove them from the underframe, leaving the spigots attached to the horns intact as much as possible.  Only two are required, with two spares.

(Alternate horns can be source from detail parts suppliers e.g. in brass, if greater robustness is desired.)

Starter holes are provided for the horns on the rear wall of the cab (right side) and on the front wall of the cab (both sides).  Early photos show the front horn on the right side of the loco (as pictured below) and later photos show the front horn on the left side of the loco.  Consult photos appropriate to the era being modelled to determine correct horn placement.

Drill out the starter holes to suit the diameter of the spigot on the back end of the horns.  Carefully trim the unwanted spigot projecting sideways from the horn.

Photo courtesy of Rail Heritage WA.


The holes provided in the body shell for headlights are nominally 1.8 mm diameter, but typically slightly undersize due to the 3D printing process.  The headlights should be 2 mm in diameter, so drill the holes out to 2 mm taking care not damage the thin surround around the hole.

(The holes are deliberately undersize because the thin surround would not print otherwise, as the minimum detail thickness is 0.5 mm. and the outside diameter of the surround is 2.8 mm.)

One method of lighting the headlights is to use a short length of optic fibre together with a 3 mm LED (Light Emitting Diode).

The D and DA locos had "sealed beam" headlights for which "sunny white" LEDs are a suitable approximation.  (Many older locos had larger diameter headlights with replaceable bulbs which tended to have a more yellow appearance, similar to "golden yellow" LEDs.)

Note: Incandescent (filament) lamps are not recommended due to their high operating temperature which may damage the 3D print material.

To attach the LED to the optic fibre, 3 mm black heatshink tubing is recommended.  With the use of a hot air gun, the heatshrink tubing will shrink to form a snug fit over the optic fibre.  However, the hot air may well be hot enough to melt the plastic optic fibre, so the trick is to shrink the tubing over the shank of a 2 mm drill bit, them slide the drill bit out and slide in the optic fibre.

Typical steps are:

  1. Cut heatshrink tubing to length, e.g. 8-10 mm.
  2. Hold 3 mm LED in a small vice by its legs, with the clear lens uppermost.
  3. Push the cut length of heatshrink tubing over the clear lens of the LED.
  4. Hold the shank of a 2 mm drill bit inside the heatshrink tubing while applying heat from a hot air gun.
  5. When it has cooled, withdraw the drill bit and insert the desired length of optic fibre.  For the rear of the loco, you will probably have to feed the non-flared end of the optic fibre through the curved hole provided (from the outside) and attached the LED with attached heatshrink tubing on the inside.
CAUTION: Do not used the hot air gun or other heat source to shrink the heatshrink tubing in close proximity to the loco body or other 3D printed parts as they may distort due to the heat.

For the dual headlights, it is simplest to wire the two LED in series as this reduces the wiring and avoids the need for two separate resistors.  A resistor of around 2K2 (2,200 ohms) is a suggested starting point for LEDs powered from DCC decoders.

A "conduit" has been provided in the roof of the cab to allow the headlight wires to be fed through into the short hood.

Marker lights can also be drilled out and illuminated if desired.

D/DA Loco with ViTrains Mechanism - Extra Instructions

As of June 2019, Marbelup Models has modified the design for the DA locomotive to suit the ViTrains mechanism, as used for the DB locomotive, due to the closure of Hollywood Foundry and unavailability of their mechanisms.

The changes made are:

  • ViTrains drive bogies and motor used, from their UK Class 47 model.
  • Coupler height changed to correct WAGR scale height, with option to fit Kadee #149 offset couplers to match Kadee HO scale coupler height (same as for DB loco).
  • Coupler draft gear boxes changed from Kadee #262 (narrow type) to #242, which are the type supplied with all Kadee whisker couplers.  The wider #242 box allows greater coupler swing on curves.
  • Provision made for brass strips (6 x 1 mm) to reinforce the underframe and support the weight of the motor and (weighted) fuel tank.
  • Extra thickness added to the attachment points for the fuel tank, to minimise the risk of stripping the screw threads in the underframe. 
  • An additional "parts sprue" which includes a rectangular frame to fix the motor in position, 2 drive shafts and packing pieces for adjusting coupler height (in 3 thicknesses).
  • A cutout is included in the rear cab wall to provide clearance for the ViTrains bogie gear tower.
Note that these changes also involve changes to the body, fuel tank and bogie sideframes, so it is not possible to retrofit the ViTrains mechanism to an existing model built for the Hollywood Foundry mechanism.

Underframe Preparation and Coupler installation 

Refer to DB Assembly Instructions, the only difference being the use of #242 coupler boxes.

ViTrains Mechanism Assembly

Refer to DB Loco ViTrains Instructions.  Note that the drive shafts supplied are slightly shorter than those for the DB and are not interchangeable.

Brass Reinforcing Strips

The reinforcing strips are cut from K&S item 9843, each pack containing 3 x 300 mm long strips, of which only 2 are required.

Location of Brass Reinforcing Strips
The strips should be cut to 180 mm long.  Recesses are provided in the speaker support enclosure (just behind the cab), and in the support "saddle" for the rear drive bogie.  The strips should fit neatly in the recesses, but shouldn't be a tight fit.  Don't force the strips into position if they are tight, as this could fracture the 3D printed underframe.  Instead, file the top of the strip slightly until if fits.

Position the strips so that the front end of the strip extends about 6.5 mm in front of the speaker support enclosure.  In the photo below, the strips can be seen through the unpainted body.  The strips are white in colour, as styrene strips were used to test the fit pending purchase of the brass material

Photo of Test Model (prior to fitting of correct bogie sideframes)
When the body is attached, the strips will be held in position but it may be useful to secure the strips to the underframe with glue (e.g. superglue or Pliobond) or thin double-sided tape, so they stay in position until final assembly.

Thursday, 6 June 2019

Marbelup Models - Available for Immediate Purchase

After an autumn stocktake, the following models are available in stock for immediate purchase:

Sn3½ Scale

  • SOLD - 1 x DB Locomotive kit Sn3½ scale... $410 
  • 3 x ViTrains UK Class 47 mechanism for DB Locomotive... $140 each
  • 1 x ZBA brake van... $140
  • 1 x CXB Sheep Wagon... $95 (sheep also available).  
  • 1 x SXT Bogie Sheep Wagon... $195 each (sheep also available).
  • 2 x DC vans with plain sides and doors... $75 each
  • 1 x DC van with T&G side, plain doors... $75
  • 5 x WAGR Water Columns, extended version... $15 each
  • 4 pr WMC/WMD bogies... $22 pr
  • 3 pr WBC bogies... $28 pr
HO Scale (clearance, no longer in production)
  • 1 x WOB iron ore wagon... $40
  • 1 x WOB iron ore wagon in polyamide material with broken step... $20
  • SOLD - 3 x BHP Golynx iron ore wagons in polyamide material with broken step... $20 each
HO Scale Bogies
  • 18 pr Tichy #3009 bogies with Intermountain brass 36" wheels... $10 per pair
  • 3 pr Tichy #3009 bogies with Aucision metal 36" wheels... $10 per pair
  • 4 pr Kadee #569 roller bearing bogies with 36" metal wheels... $16 per pair
    Both the Tichy and Kadee bogies suit WAGR and BHP ore wagons, as well as WW and WF wagons
  • 9 pr Kato 31-602 Barber S-2 roller bearing bogies with 33" metal wheels... $10 per pair
Note:  Postage cost is additional - typically $10 but $20 for DB locomotive.  This section will be updated when items are sold or new items become available, so check in from time to time to see what is available. 

Saturday, 11 May 2019

Marbelup Models FAQ

Are the 3D-Printed Models Long Lasting?

Because the "Prime Gray" material which is used for most of the 3D-printed parts has only been available for only four or five years, the long term durability and stability of the material is unknown. The manufacturer (3D Systems) claims that the material is "tough" and "durable".   Marbleup Models has 2-year old printed parts which are in perfect condition.

i.Materialise suggest avoiding exposure of models to sunlight or other UV light sources, which can cause discolouration.  The material does soften at temperatures of 47C or above, so also avoid leaving models in hot cars and other places where high temperatures may be experienced.  If interested, you can read more about the Prime Gray material (trade name Xtreme) at or 3D Systems web sites.

Do you sell "Ready to Run" models or complete kits?

No, Marbelup Models DOES NOT offer an assembly service, nor do we offer a complete "kit" of parts.  We just sell the 3D printed parts.  It will be up to the individual modeller to obtain the other parts required to complete the model, and to research prototype plans and photos to ascertain placement of detail parts, colour schemes, etc.

What level of modelling skill is required?

A degree of modelling skill is required to produce a finished model.  Typically, the modeller must remove support structures from the 3D printed parts, assemble the major parts, fit wheels/bogies, couplers, and detail parts, and apply paint and decals.  Online instructions are available for each model with more information on construction and what other parts and materials are required.

Are special paints or glues required for the 3D-printed models

No, normal hobby paints, both enamels and acrylics work fine.  Some modellers have reported that some brands of superglue don't work well with the 3D-printed material.  Selleys Quick Fix Single Shot works well.  It is available in packs of five small tubes from hardware stores.

Why are the models in S scale when HO is more popular?

Since about 1980, railway modellers in Western Australia have been using Sn3½ scale to model the local narrow gauge rail system and there is now an active community of over 50 modellers.  Initially, Sn3½ was chosen because it allowed the use of many HO parts such as wheels, locomotive mechanisms and track.  Sn3½ was and still is popular in New Zealand and many parts can be obtained from there.

The 1:64 scale means that the models are about 30% larger than HO models, giving the correct "narrow gauge" look.  The larger scale also allows more detail to be included in the models as many of the models were and still are made by hand or from basic cast resin kits.

Although HOn3½ has become more popular in recent years, particularly for modelling the Queensland narrow gauge rail system, Sn3½ remains the most popular scale in Western Australia for modellers of WAGR narrow gauge.

From mid-2015 to early 2019, Marbelup Models has produced some models of WAGR/Westrail standard gauge rolling stock in HO scale to allow modellers to obtain some authentic HO scale model to run with the L class diesel locos being produced by both Haskell Co and Southern Rail Models.  The HO scale range is no longer available and no new HO models are being contemplated.

Where can I find more information about modelling Western Australian railways?

The WASn3½ Blog is a good starting point.  It has links to many other sites with relevant prototype and modelling information, photographs, etc.  

The Australian Model Railway Association (AMRA) WA Branch also has an active S Scale Special Interest Group which meets monthly at the AMRA clubrooms in Bayswater, WA.

There is also a "Western Australian Model Railways" group on Facebook.

Where is Marbelup?  Are you based there?

No, Marbelup Models is based in Perth.  Marbelup is a townsite near the south coast of Western Australia about 16 km west of Albany.  It lies at the intersection of the South Coast Highway and the Perth-Albany railway line.  Although designated as a townsite, it never developed into a town so the name remains for the locality.  I chose the name for my Model Railway around 1997 and decided to use the same name in 2013 when I started Marbelup Models.

Why is the date on the Marbelup Models Home Page up to several months in the future?  Is this a mistake?

No.  Blogspot always displays the most recently-changed page when someone "visits" the address.  Manually setting the publication date a couple of months ahead ensures that the Home Page displays by default.

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

QMC Car Wagon

The QMC car wagons were converted in 1963 from the earlier QMB wagons.  The WMB's were used to carry car bodies only, which were fully assembled in local (WA) factories, whereas the QMC's and later QMD's carried complete cars.  Photos indicate that the wagons were mainly used between Kalgoorlie and Perth and were often included on the Westland passenger train as well as freight trains.

The narrow gauge car wagons were made redundant after the standard gauge trains started running right through to Perth, and some were converted to QMG long, bulkhead flat wagons between 1970 and 1973.

At 70 feet (in the old measure), this series of wagons was the longest of all narrow gauge wagons.  The WA Wagon Pages have further information on the prototype wagons

As no detailed drawings appear to have survived for these wagons, the QMC model is based on a simple outline drawing and photos, although detailed photos are also scarce.  One of the few photos to show details of the wagon is in the Weston Langford collection although this may actually be a QMD wagon which had fork lift pockets on the upper deck which consisted of four separate panels.  A photo of the later QMG wagon confirmed the overall structure of the steel truss underframe.  The outline drawing indicates there were only ever 2 QMC's but there were a maximum of 23 of the very similar QMD's in the late 1960's.

Because of its length, the model is made in two sections as the standard 3D printers could not make it in one piece.  When fitted with the recommended Steam Era Models passenger bogies (available from Railwest Models), it will negotiate curves down to 700 mm radius.  Kadee long shank couplers are also recommended to allow sufficient coupler swing.  The model does have considerable overhang, particularly on the inside of a curve, so increased clearances may be required for curved platforms and other structures.

The model cars depicted in the photo by are Biante and DDA Collectibles.  Despite being 1/64 scale, the model EH Holdens were about 0.5 mm too high to fit in the lower deck, so four of the DDA cars were "lowered" by dismantling them and cutting deeper slots in the plastic chassis for the axles.

FD 4-wheel Louvre Van

The FD vans were very common on the WAGR system, with a total of 1000 being built between 1953 and 1955.  Most of the class remained in use until the 1980's.  Refer to the WAGR Wagon Pages for more information on the prototype.

FD Models, unpainted and painted (except for the roof)

The model depicts the van in "as delivered" condition.  Various modifications were carried out during the life of the FD vans and Marbelup Models may produced later versions if there is sufficient demand.

The photo below, from Rail Heritage WA, shows an FD van in close to original condition.

The body of the FD has been printed in one piece.  The print orientation has been chosen to optimise the definition of the louvres, which will result in some visible stepping on the roof, which can be smoothed off by scraping and/or sanding.  As well, the modeller will be required to remove the support materials from the 3D printing process, and add various details such as handrails, from brass wire (not supplied) as well as W-irons, wheels and couplers.  For more information, please refer to the Construction Tips.

DC 4-wheel Van

Like the FD's, DC's were very common on the WAGR system, with over 700 being built between 1953 and 1954.  Most of the class remained in use until the late 1980's, primarily carrying grain which was loaded and unloaded by roof hatches and end doors, respectively.  Refer to the WAGR Wagon Pages for more information on the prototype.

The model depicts the van in "as delivered" condition.  An optional version is available with "flat" diagonal braces on the sides.

Various other modifications were carried out during the life of the DC vans, including replacement of sections of timber paneling with plywood.  Marbelup Models may produced later versions if there is sufficient demand.

The photos below, from Rail Heritage WA, shows a DC van in close to original condition and one with the "flat" diagonal braces.

The body of the DC has been printed in two pieces, with a vertical join which is conveniently hidden by the roofwalk.  The print orientation has been chosen to produce a smooth surface on the curved roof which will require minimal finishing.  The modeller will be required to remove the support materials from the 3D printing process, and add various details such as handrails, from brass wire (not supplied) as well as W-irons, wheels and couplers.

The roofwalk for the DC has also been produced on its own, for use with kit or scratchbuilt DC models.

CXB 4-wheel Sheep Wagon

CXB Sheep Wagon after added detailing and painting

The 3D-printed model includes:
  • Floor detail include double floors on upper and lower decks
  • Roof including rain strips and downpipes
  • Detailed axleboxes and springs
  • Brake shoes and vacuum brake cylinder 
  • Vacuum brake hoses
  • Brake lever
  • Shunter's step
Most of the photos show the model after detailing, but prior to painting.  The grey parts are produced by the 3D printing process.  As always, click on any of the photos to zoom in.

To complete the model, the modeller will be required to add:
  • Wheels (12 mm diameter 4-hole or disc, 26 mm axle length)
  • Etched brass W-irons (available from Railwest models).
  • Brass bearings (e.g. North Yard 2 mm diameter, pinpoint)
  • Couplers and fixing screws (e.g. 2-56). Recommended couplers are Kadee #158 with #262 draft gear boxes.  Note that the #242 draft gear boxes, supplied with the #158 couplers, have a different mounting hole location and are also too wide to clear the brake pipe.  If preferred, Kadee #148 couplers can be used with the "full size" knuckle rather than the "scale" knuckle.  Both the #148 and #158 are "Whisker" couplers.
  • Self tapping screws for fixing body and W-irons - 1 mm x 3 mm pan head, 6 required per wagon. (DCC Concepts DCS-PH103).
  • Brass wire (0.4 mm) for horizontal rods in body sides and doors, upper door guide rods, end handrails, and brake rod.  3 lengths are required per wagon.
  • Glue, paint, decals, etc.
The model consists of two unequal "halves", with a vertical join running end to end.  This will allow access to the interior for painting and adding a load of sheep, if desired.

The two sections are 3D-printed on their sides, which results in a good surface finish on the roof and outside surfaces.

For help with assembly, see the CXB Construction Tips.  For information on the prototype CXB's, see the WA Wagon Pages.