Update 22nd April 2013
Let's turn to the orecars.
These 100 ton bottom bombay type orecars numer about 102. When gogoled I counted three rakes of 32 cars - 96 in service. And a few at the workshops, and a few off track, that's a lot cars to make.
Using googlmaps I had got a full 32 car rake and a roug measurement. And found the orecar would be about 6cm in length. So a full sized rake was about 2M long.
Well to make a lot of these was a daunting propsition. For a while I had looked at the American clyinderical hoppers as a basis for aking a master, end platform alterations, reducing the length. So I logged to Railage for some fun and found a tread about a 3D printed loco, decided to follow the link to the shapeway site - to see what they were talking about. In a box for related items I noticed a NZ hopper that loked a lot like the weipa orecar.
I decided to contact the designer to see if it could be reduced to a Z scale size. The model he has was TT scale. Well the designer was as helpful and willing to help, and I cannot thank him enough. Not only did he alter the model to look more like the weipa wagon, he reduced the scale. Now that was a great event as in one swoop he made the whole layout possible. And he did it in stages too, altering his model toN scale,then the end platform cover, then to Z scale, then the bottom doors and a center sill. He even shaed the file as well.
I ordereds one N scale version, then when done the 4 z scale models as well. When they arrived, the Z scale ones are tiny ! So I ordered some Microtrains bogies. They measure about 6.8cm with bogies, 32 car and loco is about 2.17M If I decided to limit the train to 20 wagons+loco it is about 1.67M Ithought that is still enough to represent the rain, and also impact on layout size as well as how many orecars I'll need. For $11 from shapeways per wagon, then cost of bogies, paint, cutom decal, It is big money.
How to save money? Well using the shapeways as a master to csst is one idea. But I have no casting experiance, and frankly do not want to try. So I gave a orecar to two cottage industry casters who may help. I have emailed a third as well. At the moment no feedback yet, as it was always a long term request with no rush!
I have two still with me and I'll use them to experimen with. The N auge one though bigger wil be used for glueing and painting trials. I also have to try mounting bogies as well.
I would like to thank Simon Lister who designed these orecars and altered his own creation - lots of work involved to do that, and to endure my few questions and requests.