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Model Railway Clubs of SA, Part One

One of the best ways to bolster your skills in the hobby and make a lot of new friends at the same time is to become a member of a model railway society. Many of these also have shared clubroom or exhibition layouts upon which members can run their trains, which is especially useful for modellers who have rolling stock but lack or have too small a layout of their own.

Should you join one? It is not essential to be in a club to be a better modeller, plus some people prefer to do their own thing and excel at it. That though it can be of much benefit- not only will you enjoy the social aspect of it but also with any luck learn a great deal in the process. As aforementioned, most clubs have their own layouts upon which members can use to run their own rollingstock- a big plus for those who have no layouts.

There are around a dozen clubs in SA most of them within the Adelaide greater area. We are lucky to have clubs who offer great variation in their field of expertise, whether this be concentrating on promoting the new DCC format or restoring and running classic tinplate trains, meaning there is a very good chance there is a club to fit your chosen modelling fields.

Here we present an examination of each and what they specialise in.



The largest of the clubs in SA (though not quite the oldest) with well over 100 members, formed in 1957. SARMA is a club with a broad brief, though at exhibitions they run trains of the South Australian prototype they welcome modellers of all interests. Members mostly model in OO, HO or N scale though there are those who also model O, G and Narrow Gauge scales.

The club owns two exhibition layouts. First the  large HO scale ‘Strathburn’ which is entirely digital. The smaller N scale ‘Mt Joseph’ layout employs the modular T-TRAK system and is designed to be easily expanded/made smaller (this layout will also be made at least half DCC in the near future). Added to these is the N scale ‘Kemptown’ which is designed to be driven by the public at events, and the ‘Golden Grains’ HO layout which is permanently mounted at the Adelaide Showgrounds. A permanent clubroom layout is to be constructed, pending the completion of clubroom expansions in the near future.

SARMA is located on the corner of Balmoral and Lyons Rd, Dernancourt. They meet every Wednesday night for modelling and clubroom work (except the 2nd Wednesday of each month which is a General Meeting night where club business is discussed).

For further information visit the SARMA WEBSITE or email the secretary at


The largest model club to the South of Adelaide, they have have been going since the late1980s when they were known as the Reynella Model Railroaders. The club is primarily a HO and OO scale one with a large clubroom layout and exhibition layout ‘Paradigm’ though a new one, ‘Lakeside’ is under construction. Unusually the club’s layouts are wired to use both DC and DCC meaning members can run either type of train.

Their clubrooms are situated suitably on the former site of the Reynella Railway Station, next to the Reynella Interchange. The club publishes a magazine ‘Right Track’, holds regular swapmeets and its own Biennial model railway exhibition.

They are open on Saturdays from 2:00 pm, Tuesdays from 7:30 pm and Thursdays from 2:00 pm.


 or their website.



Started in 1983, SANGS is another large club. They specialise in modelling and promoting N scale and all of its different standards. SANGS is a regular exhibitor and has four exhibition layouts:  Generica, Portland, Bannon Fields & Greater Portland (the latter being the largest N scale layout currently on the SA exhibition circuit).

The club also regularly displays modules of the ‘T-TRAK’ standard and its members are among the most active N scalers in Australia.

After having clubrooms for years at Semaphore the club now has a home at  118 Fletcher Rd, Peterhead, Cnr Tim Hunt Way.

They can be contacted at or see their website.



There we have the end of Part One of the club listing. We have started with the larger clubs so as to ensure the smaller groups are given their space.



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Some Suggestions for your toolbox

One of the often overlooked parts of getting started in the hobby are the bits and bobs that are used for the various tasks you will perform, whether it is cleaning track, putting together a kit or repairing parts that have dropped away.

Here we suggest a few useful tools that most modellers will find useful in their starting kit, though we readily admit that everyone is different and what we recommend others may baulk at.

  1. CA SUPERGLUE– a good all round Cyanoacrylate (CA) super glue is one of the most useful items in your box. Many people recommend cheap 2 dollar shop superglues (the ones in the little tubes) or hardware shop ones like ‘Tarzan Grip’ and find them adequate. However these glues can often be far too stringy, slow setting or lack the ‘gap filling’ ability of CA. ‘Roket’ brand CA superglue comes in several different varieties and is perfect for the regular kinds of tasks you might perform as a modeller- putting together kits, re-gluing handrails in onto a loco or fixing a part. There are also Card and foam glues available.
  2. MODELLERS KNIFE– one of the tools that you cant do without. A good quality ‘medium’ hobby knife is readily available and thoroughly useful for the delicate and careful cutting need whether your cutting styrene or parts off of a plastic sprue. Avoid the temptation to use a supermarket Stanley knife- while these are adequate for some tasks they are often too big or don’t cut as precisely.
  3. STEEL RULE: A steel ruler will greatly aid your modelling efforts. Aside from being much more durable than plastic ones, these can be acquired with scale measurements for HO/O/N scales so as to help you convert your sizes.
  4. LONG NOSE PLIERS: Very useful if you plan to do any soldering (they act as a heat sink) and of course are good for getting parts in and out of awkward spots, picking up or holding things such as track nails.
  5. SCREWDRIVERS/MINI SCREWDRIVER SET: The screws on models are often very small so a good set of mini screwdrivers (especially if they are magnetic) will come in handy.
  6. TRACK RUBBER: A must have. One of the most common faults on model railway layouts is buildup of dust or dirt, one of these will help get your track clean at the start of a running session. We can also suggest ‘Track Magic’ fluid which is excellent for cleaning not only the track but also the wheels/pickups of your rolling stock and any electrical connections.
  7. SIMPLE POWER TESTER: This can take the form of a small bulb with two wires attached which will allow you to see exactly whether or not your track/electrics has power flowing through it. This takes a lot of the guesswork out of wiring and helps solves layout power issues faster.
  8. BALLAST SPREADER: These little box like devices are loaded up with ballast and then pushed along the track grooves spreading ballast along the way, in a much neater fashion then trying to do it with a spoon. It tidies up much easier as well and you can get the hang of it quite quickly. Will make the task of ballasting your first layout much less daunting.
  9. SELF HEALING CUTTING MAT: Protect your workbench and give yourself a good surface to work on. Many cutting mats also have grids on them which helps you glue or cut straighter. A glass tile is also a good work surface.
  10. MICRO PIN DRILL: For making the smallest of holes in your models.
  11. NAIL FILES/METAL FILES:  The cheap emery boards are excellent for filing plastic and some other materials and are cheap enough you don’t have to worry about using them. Metal files are a must- as these come in a variety of shapes (round for making round holes, with corners for making 90 degree angle corners) they will make many jobs much easier.


There are further obvious tools that you can have such as tweezers, rasps, soldering irons and Dremel multitools to name a few. Why not tell us some of your tools that you find indispensable?


Next in our series we will take a look at Adelaide’s’ model railway clubs- should you join one and what is out there?

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Getting started in Kit Building

Have you thought about trying to expand your modelling ability or layout content by having a go at constructing a kit – but are worried you may not have the ability to put it together correctly or baulk at the cost (and the possibility of breaking or ruining an expensive kit)? This is an understandable state of affairs. With the fine detail and availability of modern ready-to-run/plant rolling stock and buildings there are many modellers who consider it unnecessary to take the plunge and have a go.

Nevertheless kit building can be a rewarding experience, will help you individualise your layout and rolling stock and will help bolster your confidence and modelling skills.

Here we present a selection of brands whose products are perfect for the beginner to kit building and won’t break your wallet either.






These are among the best kits for a beginner, mainly because unlike the others they are supplied ready painted and require only assembly and the occasional use of a black marker pen on the edges where white card is exposed.

Although many modellers believe card is not a viable modelling material Metcalfes kits turn out well detailed and with an impressive presence- they have been used on some of the best exhibition layouts and reward the careful builder.

You can easily build up your suburban scenes with terrace houses, factories, even a brewery, and all sorts of railway related buildings such as stations, platforms and signal boxes. Metcalfe has an extensive range in both HO/OO and N scales.









These kits have been around for a long time and are still a great way to get the hang of kitbuilding. Both buildings and rolling stock are present in the range and are straightforward to assemble, made from plastic and inexpensive. One of the highlights is the fully painted Stanier coach kit, which is already decorated for you and needs to simply be put together. Useful layout accessories such as unpainted people, powerpoles and gates are also among the multitude of available kits.

There are several kits for static diesel and steam engines also and there are kits available to also motorise these! Many modellers got their models of ‘City of Truro’ and Stephenson’s ‘Rocket’ via these kits and they still hold their own when built with care.






For the Australian Outline modeller (more specifically those who prefer SA or Victorian types) these two examples are excellent starting points for getting the hang of kit building.

SAR Model Co produces the ‘Red Hen’ railcars as well as 800, 850 and 860 trailer cars, all of which are made from plastic and very easy to build, as well as easily motorised in case of the Railcars (several versions of the kit come with power unit supplied). They also make a thoroughly useful building kit, the ‘ATCO’ transportable which has been seen all over the country since the 1960s. If you are looking for a simple building to try then you cannot go past these as there  are literally only five pieces to glue together.

Steam Era produce very well detailed plastic kits of Victorian rolling stock. Though not all of their kits can be recommended for a beginner the majority are straight forward and look superb when finished. A simple evening project is one of their 4 wheel wagons, which come with everything you need except couplers (and glue of course) to finish them.


Hopefully this short guide will whet your appetite and convince you to make a start in kit building (or else make a dent in your backlog sitting in your kit drawer).

Next in the series will be a suggestion of a good modeller’s toolkit for the starter. It can be easy to overlook or go too far in acquiring tools when getting started so we will guide you through a few ‘necessities’ and others to simply make your modelling easier.

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Welcome to Junction Models

Junction Models has been one of Adelaide’s premier Model Railway Specialists for over 20 years.

Our Website is currently under reconstruction, please look back regularly for updates, new arrivals and the functional new online shop.


We are located at

Shop 4/449, Main North Rd, Enfield SA 5085

Ph: 08 8349 7464


We are open from Tuesday to Sunday.