Warrenheip Gully – Eureka Street Walk

This one is like many of the other walking routes I can use in East Perth. I can make it as long or as short as I like by taking the relatively short walk down Stawell Street and down past the little shopping center (where you can buy relatively good hamburgers) to the entrance to the Warrneheip Gully path. Heading along to the west, there are six cross roads before you get to Main Road where you can turn either to the right or left, south to York Street or north to Eureka or other streets and paths to head for home. This gives a lot of options for the amount of exercise I with to indulge in and the kind of landscape I want to look at as I go.

The nice thing about this particular walk is that it combines some nice natural aspects on the way to the west along the Gully path and then some interesting architectural variations coming up Eureka Street on the way back. Eureka Street, like many streets in this part of Ballarat, conveys a sense of the continuing history of the city with some buildings – usually cottages – dating back to the late 1800s, some more modern buildings and quite a few reconstructions and renovations. It is also interesting that there are the remains of quite a few shops along Eureka street but most of them are now closed, only the corner store and the cupcake shop surviving on the north side and the Italian restaurant and the take-away pizza place on the south side.

Towards the top of Eureka Street I cross the road to walk through Eureka Park, taking in some of the memorials to the 1854 event, the failed museum, the pond, the swimming pool complex and the back of the hall, and thence home.

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An Armstrong Whitworth Argosy in 1/144

Those of us of a certain age (and beyond) may remember seeing the big old Armstrong Whitworth Argosies sitting on the tarmac at Essendon Airport. They were purpose designed freighters with a pod fuselage based on the idea that if you could open them at both ends it would be quicker and easier to unload and load them. (This fad has since passed and all freighters these days are either civil versions of military cargo planes of civil airliners converted to carry freight.)

Argosy a

Just about the only air route in Australia on which air freight was profitable for airlines was across Bass Strait from Essendon to several airports in Tasmania. At one time there were three freight airlines flying this route but it didn’t last long, partly because the competition drove down prices and sent two of those carriers broke, and partly because the major domestic airlines could carry a lot of freight in the holds of their 727s and DC-9s. One of the companies to go under was Brain and Brown, which imported an Argosy for the service, registered VH-BBA. However, the more well financed IPEC drove Brain and Brown out of business and then bought that carrier’s Argosy, which ended up flying in IPEC colours.

For some years now I’ve been badgering poor Peter of Hawkeye about decals for an IPEC Armstrong Whitworth Argosy. Every year when I’ve gone to Expo I head first for Peter’s stand and ask him when the Argosy decals will be ready. Every year so far he has replied ‘Soon’. However, the other day my years of badgering paid off when I got a phone call from Peter saying that the IPEC decal sheets were almost ready, being printed in 1/72 and 1/144, and would I like to try a set, gratis. I was unable to refuse his kind offer.

This left me in a quandry. I have acquired two kits of the Argosy in 1/144, the Welsh Models resin kit and the Mikr Mir injection moulded kit. Neither of these was cheap, but then I suppose that kit manufacturers are liable to make more money from Bf109s and P-51s than from kits of lumbering old cargo planes, so the law of demand and supply kicks in, and we should count ourselves lucky to have even these two options.

The imminent arrival of new Hawkeye decals for the IPEC Argosy forced me to make a decision; which kit I would use. The obvious choice is the Mirk Mir kit which is a magnificently engineered thing with a detailed cockpit (for 1/144), a full interior of the freight deck, tiny little transparencies for the windows and detailed undercarriage bays. The molding is very crisp and the kit comes with masks for all the transparent parts, a nice little set of etch details and a decal sheet for quite a few different civil options.

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On the other hand, the Welsh Models kit is simplicity itself with the major airframe comprising only six parts including nicely detailed wings and nacels moulded in one part and the two tail booms and horizontal stabalizer moulded in one part. For all that simplicity, the molding itself is very fine and precise. There might a couple of little details that could do with some defining, but nothing serious. However, there is no liglhtly engraved surface detail, no windows and none of that lovely interior detail that the Mirk Mir kit has.

Argosy c

On the other hand again (modellers could often do with at least three hands) the engine nacels on the Mirk Mir kit are split right down the middle and getting the leading edges on the air intakes around the propellers on them to come out looking good would be a real test of skills. The propeller blades do not look particularly realistic and do not look very robust, and I’m not a builder of interiors on such small models.

More importantly, as I often like to misquote from some long forgotten movie, ‘A modeller’s got to know his limitations.’ My limitations do not run to tiny little windows and, while the prominent vanes around the top of the fuselage may be a little over scale on the Welsh Models Argosy, I know that I would make a complete hash of trying to apply all those tiny little etched metal vanes with the necessary precision and, just as importantly, not knock them off during the modelling process. I’m sure that somebody out there has made an absolutely outstanding model of an Argosy from the Mirk Mir kit, but I know deep down that I don’t have the skills to achieve that level of outstandingness. In the end I decided that I had less chance of making a mess of the Welsh Models kit, and that’s what I decided to make. Besides, the Welsh Models kit is for a -100 series Argosy and the Mikr Mir kit is for a -200 series, but since VH-BBA was a 100 Series I decided to go that way.

The Welsh Models kit proved a real bugger to make, even with its few parts. Mainly the problem was that the wings, the fuselage and the booms and tail were all different sized where they joined up. Only a millimeter or so, but that’s a significant difference in 1/144. Already I was beginning to think that I may have made the wrong decision.

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Having overcome those problems, and with the Hawkeye decals in my hand, it was time to get on with painting the model and applying the decals. By this stage I was disspirited. It turned out that the yellow I planned to use was too deep in shade after three coats are applied even though it looked just right when I applied one coat over a white base. It also seemed to me that the tail pylons were a little too low on the wings so that the yellow did not come down as far on them as it does on the real things. After contemplating this problem, and facing the problem of sanding back this yellow, doing all the remasking and finding a better yellow, I decided to press on with things as they were, muttering to myself that most people wouldn’t know the difference and I’ll probably forget about it too, I hope.

The issue of the pylons sent me back to the Mikr Mir kit which I had decided to put aside in favour of the Welsh Models kit which was, by this time, not looking like the best choice. One of the most difficult problems I’d had with the Welsh Models kit was in achieving the right angle where the wings and pylons met, and this was built into the Mikr Mir kit. (Fortunately for me, the angle of that junction built into the Mikr Mir kit was about the same as I’d achieved with the Welsh Models kit.) It also occurred to me that the best solution would have been to use parts from both kits, in particular the Darts and the upper fuselage of the Welsh Models kit. By then, however, it was too late.

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The first test of the Hawkeye decal sheet was the thin black lines that run along the fuselage and pylon sides. This is nerve wracking process requiring a great deal of patience, very steady hands and a lot of very harsh language. I imagine that this project will be a lot less nerve wracking for those making the 1/72 kit than this 1/144 one and this might be a reason for making an Argosy using the Mach 2 kit (but don’t quote me on that). As I’ve already noted, the pylons on the Welsh Models kit are not quite as they should be so while the length of the decals is right-on they are a couple of millimeters too high where they come up under the tail planes. This is easily solved with a sharp blade. Similarly, the decals that go on the fins are a couple of mm too long for this kit, again easily solved.

I should note that, as usual, I gave your decal sheet a coat of Tamiya clear varnish before using them, to give them the gloss needed to match the surfaces they were to be applied to and to give them a little extra strength. This proved most useful, I think, in all the decal pushing around necessary to get the black line decals to go where they should. However, before giving the decals that clear varnish I cut out the decals for the anti-dazzle panel and radome and gave them a coat of matt varnish.

Having spent about three hours on that, I gave the decals a dose of Micro Sol and retired for the night. They looked pretty good the next morning when I started applying the window decals. To give myself a guide about where to place the windows I scanned the instruction sheet and reduced it to the size of this model (88 percent as it turned out) and stuck it onto the model as a guide to where the place the decals. I also used it as a guide to placing the rear door. Again, this is fiddly work, but I think the end result looks pretty good. Unfortunately, the instruction sheet did not include a drawing for the location of the windows on the other side of the fuselage. Using some kind of logic known only to modellers, I thought that the windows would be the same on the other side of the fuselage so I printed out a flipped image and used that as a guide. Later I discovered my logic was flawed and windows were not the same on both sides of the real thing, even though they are on my model.

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After that, everything went reasonably well. The decal sheet, when it is released, will be a good one. I pointed out some problems with the instruction sheet, but they won’t effect the decals themselves. But, as with all models I expect, when you’ve finished it you know where all the faults and problems are, and the parts that would be better with just a touch more work. Here, however, poor memory and poor eyesight are a boon and this model looks very nice to me a few weeks later.

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Models for March

This was not a very productive month with a few project being finished off from earlier weeks.

The Compass A300-600 was made from a combination of the 1/144 Braz Models fuselage and the rest from the Revell Beluga kit.  The decals were from Hawkeye, as usual for Australian airliners.

A300 aA300 b

The Yokosuka R2Y1 is the Fine Molds 1/72 kit made straight out of the box.

R2Y1 aR2Y1 b

The 1/72 Sud Aviation Vautour IIB was also made straight out of the box, though be warned that the undercarriage legs are too short and need radical surgery to bring them to the right length.  The metallic finish is the result of airbrushing with about five different shade of AK Xtreme Metal aluminium which I then buffed up with Micromesh.

Voutour aVoutour b

Toe models that I made earlier are the ancient 1/72 Matchbox Handley Page Halifax B.I and the Matchbox Hawker Tempest F.2.

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Tempest aTempest b

Yarrowee Creek Walk

This is a pleasant and relaxing walk. Usually I don’t go as far as I did on this occasion but cross over the creek at one of the earlier bridges. This time, however, I had some time to spare and I was interested to see what was further along the path. I was tempted to go even further but already the walk was starting to tire me and I still had to walk some distance to get home.

One of the things I find interesting about many of the walks around East Ballarat is the juxtaposition of the natural and built environments, and the changes evident in the buildings in different parts of the town. It seems that the walk up Stawell Street to the creek is mainly through an area built from the 1960s with a few buildings from earlier years dotted among the newer houses. Coming back from the creek along Princess Street we pass through some of the earlier working class areas to reach and cross over the railway line. I have no idea what the big new building is that has recently been opened in Gent Street, a school and apartments perhaps, but it juxtaposes the older weather board buildings on the other side of the street. Dyte Parade runs along side the railway line on the opposite side from Scott Parade and has an interesting mix of houses. The old public school and the community garden on the corner of Queen Street are a nice touch of variety, and then it’s on to the Bunny Track and home.

I’ve recently been reading a new book on Ballarat and goldfields history which includes a chapter on the way in which the city’s natural environment was destroyed in the 1850s by alluvial gold mining on the surface which turned Ballarat into a moonscape. After the surface gold had been mined and deep leed mining began, turning Ballarat into a permanent city, the people began replanting the city. This means that almost all of the natural environment dates from the 1860s and later. It is very enjoyable to walk through all the same.

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York Street Walk

I try to avoid walks that do not involve footpaths because old knees and ankles do not appreciate the additional work and protest later. Still, the walk up Eureka Street and then up the rougher ground of Fussell Street to the top of York Street is almost worth it for the houses that have been built at the top of the street and the views back to central Ballarat the street offers.

Usually, however, I walk down Stawell and Kline Streets, past the little shopping center and the entrance to the Warrenheip Gully to York Street, which is only a hundred yards or so further on. Then I go along York Street to Queen Street and then up to either of the four main ways back towards home; Warrenheip Gully, Eureka Street, Specimen Vale Creek or Victoria Street. On this occasion I walked on a little further to Otway Street and then up to Hopetoun Street, which made a diverting change with some interesting small houses and many garage doors. The short walk down Rodier Street is always pleasant, leading as it does to the Specimen Vale Creek walk, and home.

There is little in the way of natural beauty or variety on this walk but I find the varieties of architecture and settings that people live in interesting.

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Humffray Street Walk

Humffray Street is named after one of the leading lights of the Ballarat Reform League which played a key role in the politics on the Ballarat diggings in 1854. His street is one of the main entrance ways into Ballarat if you are coming from Dayleford way or coming off the freeway that bypasses Ballarat to the north so there is a fair amount of traffic on it at peak periods (what passed for peak in Ballarat).

It is usually an interesting but relatively short walk; leaving by the back gate and heading up Barmoral Drive. This time, however, I decided to take a peek into the little court that runs off to the right from the roundabout. I’ve walked past it hundreds of times but never thought to have a look in there. It is a pretty little corner with little cottages, but all the architecture is of the same vintage so it is not visually interesting.

From the entrance to Balmoral Drive we head up to Victoria Street, pass under the railway bridge (seeing the train running in to the Ballarat Station) and then up Water Street a short distance to the Caledonian Primary School on the corner with Thompson Street and up it to Humffray Street with the church on the right hand corner.

Usually I turn left and walk down to Russell Park, down Stawell Street North, over the footbridge and home. This time, however, with my camera in my hand, I thought I’d turn right and walk up to the Brown Hill shops which were, so I thought, not too far up the road. I was wrong, it is a fair walk. By the time I’d got that far I thought I might as well go all the way to take a photo of the freeway intersection where it crosses over Water Street. After that, it was simply a matter of walking back along Humffray Street to Russell Park, turning into Stawell Street and heading for the footbridge. At this point the battery in my camera ran out of power again. I enjoy looking over the houses on the street to the north to the hills and landscape beyond, and some of the photos reflect that.

The additional walk turned out to be quite interesting, taking in the Brown Hill pub, the Brown Hill swimming pool (which gets mentioned in the news occasionally when the council wants to close it) and the Brown Hill Reserve. I’ve driven past these landmarks a few times before but never had the opportunity to look at them in a more leisurely fashion. I also crossed the Warrenheip Creek, which I had not known of before. As I walked back along the street I saw that there is a path alongside the creek heading north. Had I had a map with me I might have taken it because I later found that it goes only a short distance before linking up with the path that goes alongside the Yarrowee Creek which then flown down to central Ballarat. This path would lead down to the bridge over the creek in Stawell Street and then continue along beside the creek on a walk that I was planning to photograph on a later walk. On another occasion, perhaps. (I’m also told that there is a further walk along Yorrowee Creek that follows its course up towards and under the freeway, which sounds interesting but further than I care to walk in the morning.)

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Specimen Vale Creek and Warrenheip Gully Walk

This is perhaps the most picturesque walks in East Ballarat. It follows the valley of the Specimen Vale Creek down to Main Road and then back up the Warrenheip Gully, with a short diversion to York Street to see where that walking track led.  The Warrenheip Gully track ends with a fence, probably the boundary of the Wildlife Park, so I finished off by walking up to Eureka Street, down to Stawell Street, and home. The walk goes between the three main east-west roads in the area; Victoria Street, Eureka Street and York Street which are on the ridges that define the two valleys.

On a normal walking day I would cut across using one of the intersecting streets, usually Queen, Ottway or King Streets, to shorten the walk to the free time I have, and it is rare that I would carry out the entire walk in one go. On this occasion, however, the early morning weather was very pleasant and I wanted to encompass the pleasure of these two valleys in one occasion. There is, as usual, a variety of vistas and architectural styles, reflecting the diverse history of this area since around, I would guess, the 1880s.

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