Saturday, 19 October 2019

The edges of reason

Just as a coat of primer can really bring together a modelling project and make it look 'as one', a unifying coat of paint around the edges of a baseboard can make it look much more complete.

Matt black, from a Wilko water-based paint, has been applied in two coats and hides the bits of filler, nail heads and some of the differences in material in the surrounding edge of the desk-sitter test track.

Other jobs completed or underway are the buffer-stop posts at the ends of the sidings (furniture dowels filed square on the top section and let into holes in the frame) and super-gluing the majority of the track in place so that the pins can be removed as they are too long and poke out below the board. Shortened pins have been retained in the point and around the magnets.

Phase 1 of construction will be completed once the electrical connections to the board are installed. Then I can think about what, or indeed if, scenic treatment will follow...


Sunday, 13 October 2019

Surround and around...

The desktop test-track has been in the workshop this week being fitted with timber surrounds to give it a neat look and hide that it is a bodge of corkboard bits and timber. The end result is a medley of 44x4mm pine strip on the front and right edges, 3.5mm ply at the rear and left back, and similar thickness MDF in the left hand front corner.

Why the piecemeal approach? The original intention had been to use thicker 5.5mm ply as per my dioramas on the rear and left ends with the pine strip along the front (there is a limit to how narrow a strip of ply I can cut!). As the 5.5mm ply is too thick to allow a phono socket to screw in place I used the MDF for the piece where the sockets will be located.

After this piece was fixed in place the decision was taken to use thinner ply on the rear surround so the MDF remains in place despite offering no real advantage (although the drilled holes are probably a lot neater). The thicker ply parts had actually been cut and test fitted in place before the change was decided, hence the title of this post!


Sunday, 6 October 2019

KISS - Keep it Simple, Shunting

After weighing up the options for the new desktop test-track outlined last time, I opted to keep it  simple, with the two siding, 4-4 capacity version. This keeps everything very simple and actually looks quite spacious. Using materials recovered from the previous version the track has been laid and the point wired for frog polarity switching via a slide switch. Other wiring is a temporary setup until the fascias etc are added to the board.

MicroTrains uncoupling magnets have been added to both of the sidings. Having experienced issues in the past with the standard length of the magnets matching wagon length making it tricky to re-couple beyond the magnet, I have followed Michael Campbell's example and split a magnet in two by holding it in a vice and giving it a (less than) well aimed tap with a hammer. The resultant less than perfect edge will be hidden as and when scenic treatment is considered. Yes, it is likely to become a scenic test track over the coming months...

You may notice that not all of the track pins are fully tapped in place, officially this is to allow for track adjustment during testing, however there is also the small issue of the board thickness being a couple of mm less than the length of a Peco track pin!



Saturday, 5 October 2019

One man's junk... Another man's treasure!

I picked this up at the Sheffield exhibition today for a couple of quid...

I think it is 1/45th or 1/48th scale. I've no idea of the source but looks like a useful supply of parts for 'junk' scenes and I'm having the resist the temptation to plonk the cab and bonnet straight on a Kato chassis as an instant O9 locomotive!


Thursday, 3 October 2019

Desk-Sitting - Again!

I have been spending a lot of time recently considering what the next project might be. I've been weighing up various ideas but nothing that has grabbed me as feasible at the present time. Space is still the major factor, along with it being less attractive to be in the workshop in the recent weather conditions. So I've revisited the desk-siting test track concept again, last publicly considered three years ago...

I thought that I had shared the origins of this board here before but cannot find it - it was last years attempt at a desk-sitter using corkboard technology and a bolt-on fiddle stick, but not learning the length lesson from Up-cycle - too much needed to be cleared out of the way to use it! Here it is in original form...

The track has been lifted some time and the board used for the recent tight curve research and Greenwich coupling tests. As rebuilt I have retained a very short extension piece, only 1 1/4" but that is enough to bring the usable length to 25". The extension is fixed in place and could either be boxed in within the backscene and fascia boards or just left hanging out! The extra length allows clearance for a 3-3-2 inglenook with loco+2 behind the first point or loco+4 behind the second.

Alternatively, there is a one point option with 4-4 in the sidings and loco+3 behind the point and perhaps a bit of allowance for an odd longer wagon.

I'm torn between the schemes, the first could be made to work as a shed scene but as a wagon-shuffling scene the sidings look short compared to the simpler plan. The alternative might be a boxfile project but the appeal of a single board is strong. Hmm...


Saturday, 28 September 2019

Railway Mania - Making a Scene

Whilst this isn't a series that I have been following, I was intrigued to watch/listen to this podcast episode featuring an interview with Gordon Gravett.

The link to the episode on YouTube is here. I would recommend getting a drink prepared (hot or cold to choice) and sitting through the whole thing.

I've been a fan of Gordon's work since Llandydref appeared in the Railway Modeller and subsequently seeing it at exhibitions. I do seem to recall stumbling through this statement when he was viewing Shifting Sands at Burton one year...


Saturday, 7 September 2019

Greenwich Couplings for 009

When I started my 009 project 'The Old Quarry Line' the idea was that it would be largely RTR based to take advantage of the new products coming from Peco, Minitraine and Bachmann. This had been diluted by the chance winning of some Meridian Models kits courtesy of Narrow Planet and then the need for a brake van, which I converted from a Dundas kit. Both of these had received the Peco style coupling but I was becoming a little unhappy with these on such small items of stock. Also, I wasn't too happy with the Bachmann couplers poking out of my WD open wagon.

As I was ordering a few pieces from Narrow Planet, including a cast brass brake handle for the brake van, I added a pack of Greenwich couplers with NEM pocket fittings to the order, and a pack of magnets. An hour or two of bending brass later both the WD and van were fitted with couplings and ready for testing.

I reconfigured my test board from the 6" curve experiments to include a point and two sidings to test the couplers and magnets. Satisfied I then curved the diverging line to 4.5" radius to mimic the 009 layout. I had feared the couplers wouldn't uncouple but the bogie mounted coupler on the WD open tracks very well and the brakevan isn't too bad (and they work equally well the other way around).

Pushed back over the magnet into the curve they re-couple as well as expected (especially with my slightly ham-fisted assembly!)

What I haven't really been able to do yet is test them fully around the circuit, I have a feeling there might be an issue with the loops but that could be resolved by going to a single loop per vehicle, we shall see...

Although I have stuck rigidly to MicroTrains couplers in O9 they do have issues with coupling on gentle curves let alone anything this tight, so I'm keeping an eye on this experiment from that perspective too as part of any future layout planning. Although the Greenwich couples are more time-consuming to assemble they are just about as fiddly as MicroTrains!