THE STARTING POINT
Departmental drawings are the usual starting point for a project. These can usually, but not always be found and recovered from official archival sources. If the prototype of the project still exists then the official drawings can be supplemented/verified by hands-on examination and measurement. The official drawings are not always exactly the same as how the prototype item turned out.
Once sufficient drawing material is available photographic back-up can be added. This can sometimes be made up of hundreds of photos to assist the drawing process in China or, as in the case of The Commissioners Train, as few as one photograph is supplied because as in the case of The Commissioners Train only one photograph of the train in service is known to exist. As the three cars being modelled utilised standard 72’6” 12 wheeler underframes and all three cars still exist although in a heavily modified condition, the lack of in service photos is not a major problem.
The drawing and photographic material supplemented by other written material are put together to make up the Drawing Package. This is forwarded to the factory in China so that another set of drawings can be made. When Eureka staff first visited China these drawings were used by tool makers to produce the individual tools for the injection of the parts to be assembled into the final model. These days the drawings are used by the computer to directly drive the tool cutting process with very little human intervention. Such advanced tooling making could probably be carried out in Australia or other Asian countries such as Thailand at similar or less cost than in China. It is not the tooling cost that makes it uneconomic to manufacture RTR model trains outside of China.
It is our intention here at the Eureka to chronicle the production of this project on these pages as the Commissioners Train project develops at the factory in China over the coming months.
We will also do our best to answer any questions or comments received.