Tuesday, 23 December 2008
The picture shows some of my stock out being measured. That reminds me I have a fair bit of work to do to get the stock ready for the exhibition! Some of it still has DG couplings rather than the Microtrains couplers I now use, and some of it is overdue a visit to the paint-shop, never mind the usual fettling to get things running properly! In addition I have a few wagon and coach kits to build! But back to the point, I plan on making a couple more 30cm train cassettes, a couple more loco cassettes 0f 9cm, and perhaps one of 12cm. I know that small loco's are required for this layout, but maybe I'll run my Double Fairlie or L&B Manning Wardle sometimes, just for fun! Anyway having 3 full length trains, 5 or 6 loco's, and a shorter train or railcar, available in the fiddle-yard should be plenty for this layout!
I recently took the layout along to the Sussex Downs 009 group clubnight, where folks gave much encouragement. It even ran pretty well, which is amazing because usually the gremlins appear as soon as spectators do! However I was pressed to give a name for the layout, after all it can't be the "Alcove Layout" in the Exhibition guide! So I have come up with the name "Awngate" - it's an anagram of "Wantage", which of course was the inspiration for the station plan and building.
So, that's all for now, a Merry Christmas to all!
Saturday, 29 November 2008
It was quite a fiddly kit to put together and it got a bit wonky in the process, but it looks OK and if anyone asks it's had a hard life! The cab roof is not fixed yet, but it's ready for painting.
Thursday, 30 October 2008
The reason behind the reorganisation is that we are expecting a second child in April - and that of course means the spare bedroom will be required! There will be more sorting out, decorating and DIY to come I'm sure! It also means that the deadline for the Sussex Downs members day (7th March) is more important, as after that I'm likely to have less modelling time for a while ...
The second picture shows the advantage of having the layout so accessable, that working on it is so easy, even just an hour or two at a time. Here the layout is slid forward and the lighting beam removed, to make it easy to work on. I've recently formed the gravel and cinders yard areas made from layers of sand and painted them with acrylics, then formed the the contours of the small parts of land not rail, buildings or yard, with polyfilla/powder paint and newspapers over the polystyrene. As shown in the photo the first layer of grass scatter has been applied too, so the scenery is really progressing.
Saturday, 25 October 2008
Friday, 10 October 2008
Mike Beard pointed out that the cobbles should run parallel to the tracks, however being a cramped and oddly-shaped site this would have been very fiddly to arrange, plus the track is not quite straight. However the cobbles are parallel to the buildings and those between the rails parallel to the rails, I think it looks OK. And I took great care to ensure the surface is just below the rail tops - even outside the rails! They were painted grey with enamels and then given a couple of washes of green/black acrylic, wiped away to represent dirt between the setts.
Both pictures show the completed backscene, using Townscene backgrounds. Some of the foreground buildings are mounted on card and stand slightly proud of the backscene proper. Any edges are blackened. They do seem to blend well with the buildings as I had hoped, although the town is looking larger and more important than I had envisaged!
Sunday, 14 September 2008
The most obvious is the lighting. This consists of two 30W tungsten strip-lights inide the pelmet, as shown in the photo. The ply wasn't thick enough to screw in to, so I stuck them in place with a hot-glue gun. The tin foil (pre-crinkled to diffuse the light) reflects the light and prevents the wood getting too hot. I left the lights on for several hours and the ply was just warm to the touch. They are wired to an in-line connector so the mains lead can be removed, then to one 3-amp fused plug.
The lighting may be simple, but is very effective as the picture below shows. Tungsten light gives the impression of a bright, sunny day, but that matches the blue sky! Othe progress that can be seen is that the ground contours have been built-up, at the back using card to raise the houses and yard areas, and with expanded polystyrene at the front of the layout. I also carved drainage ditches into the cork beside the track. Although essentially a flat area, the subtle changes in level are important to avoid the flat-board look!
On Saturday I went to the Worthing MRC show in Lancing. You can see some pictures here: http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/campbellsonline/2008_09_Lancing#
There were some good layouts, some average and a few looked unfinished. Trade support was the usual Hornby and toy cars etc., no Squires this year, but I did manage to pick up some odds and ends - chimney pots for the station, some second-hand books, and another Townscene backscene. This has some house and shop-fronts that will enable the backscene to come together, so that is my next job.
Sunday, 7 September 2008
Wednesday, 27 August 2008
I recently bought some tiny (2mm diameter x 2mm long) Neodymium magnets off the web (www.first4magnets.com). These are very powerful for their size - but not powerful enough! I hoped to place them in the ballast between the sleepers but the field is not strong enough. Bigger magnets would work I'm sure but would be harder to hide, plus the postage rather prohibits experimenation.
Still I have made some progress by painting the rail sides - I'll need to give the sleepers and ballast a wash of dirty brown too, but I will have to touch up some of the ballast first. Now I just need to clean the rail head!
I have also made a start on planning the townscape on the backscene. I have some Townscene town-scape prints which need cutting around the skyline and pasting onto the sky. The photo below shows them mocked-up (not properly trimmed!) to see what works. I'm not sure how best to stick them on, avoiding bubbles as I had with the sky. Pritt-stick, wallpaper paste, or spray adhesive?
Wednesday, 30 July 2008
There have been other distractions in the meantime, not least a weeks holiday in Wales back in June. We took rides on the Ffestiniog (of which I am a member and used to volunteer many years back), and the Padarn at Dinorwic, we also took a trip up the Great Orme by cable tram, though as you can see from the photos I managed to snap a few other lines in passing.
Thursday, 24 July 2008
Well, finally the wiring was completed last week. There were a few teething problems, the main one being that I had forgotten to cut the copperclad on the sleepers at the baseboard edge! Other than that a point motor going the wrong direction, and a couple of forgotten wires, were easily fixed!
Monday, 14 July 2008
I didn't get many pictures of the trains - as I was too busy holding on to an excited little boy - but I did get some pictures of the model railway show, they are on my photopic site:
If you are intersted, the Amberley website is http://www.amberleymuseum.co.uk/ - and my friend Steve got a good set of pictures which you can find here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/fairlightworks/sets/72157606139230217/
Progress on the layout is being made - I have just about finished the wiring and had a loco move under it's own steam (electricity) the other day. Update soon.
Tuesday, 10 June 2008
The first photo shows the fitting of the point motors and uncoupling magnets for the micro-trains couplers I use. For these the magnetic field has to be accross the track, and I have found that a pair of cupboard-catch magnets works well. They are available in bulk from B&Q or Homebase etc., and are easily dismantled to get the magnets out. These are stuck together and glued into an oblong hole I cut into the baseboard before laying the track (the holes were covered in paper and the track layed over the top).
The point motors are SEEP - with a built-in accessory switch I will use for the point frog polarity. I simply glue these to the underside of the board using Bostik, ensuring the operating rod is through the tie bar, the travel of the point motor is parallel to the tie bar and that the range of travel is cental to the point motor (important for the switch to operate). Here I have stuck the point motors to pieces of thin corrugated card stuck to the board, partly as the plywood was uneven where it had been drilled, and partly hoping to reduce noise - we shall see!
The second picture is the control panel I have just made. For such a small layout it is suprising how complex the wiring is! There are 7 point motor switches (silver), 4 main track feeds and 3 further isolating sections (with coloured caps to match the diagram). I was concerned that I would not fit them all in the space I had cut out of the front of the baseboard - but fortunately they just fit. The panel is an offcut of metal sheet from the scrap bin at work, drilled on a pillar drill in a lunchtime! The diagram is drawn on a computer (Word, nothing fancy) and printed out, stuck to the metal with Bostik. Finally a layer of clear plastic (the bubble pack from a Wills kit) is laid over the top, and the switch holes cut out with a scalpel.
I wanted the panel to be recessed into the cut-out in the baseboard, and it will be held there with a couple of M4 bolts, however access behind the cut-out is very difficult because of the board bracing! Still, it will look good.
Now I have started the actual wiring, so the next update should be when that is finished. I won't have much time in the next couple of weeks though, so progress may be slow!
Friday, 23 May 2008
Finally I have laid the rest of the track! So what, you might think, nearly 9 months after starting this layout I have laid some track. Well for various reasons it seemed better to have the major buildings defined first, and anyway finding the time to do noisy jobs like cutting track without waking the baby isn't easy!
The first picture shows the fiddle-yard entry track. This was laid from the station entry point, accross the board joint and the "cassette terminal" in one piece. Strategic placement of copper-clad strip between the sleepers stuck down with Bostick (some track pins may follow) should keep things solid. Once everything is stuck and soldered in place I cut the rails at the board and cassette joins with a slitting disc in a mini drill. I'll explain the cassette fiddle yard another time but it is the same design I used on Pen-Y-Bryn Quarry.
The rest of the track was stuck down onto a layer of PVA glue, with track pins to hold it where required (later removed). "N"-gauge granite ballast was sprinkled on to give an initial covering, later further ballast was added to the sleeper tops and diluted PVA dripped on with a pipette in the usual way. Actually it's the first time I've ballasted this way, most of my layouts have featured the track buried in ash/mud etc. rather than ballast!
After vacuuming off the excess and picking any ballast away from the rails, points, sleeper tops etc, the result is below. One point had stopped working - to my horror - but it turned out the spring had popped out of the slot in the tie-bar, with a bit of work I got it back together.
This last picture shows the wrinkles in the backscene around the corners, fortunately I think I will be able to hide them behind buildings.
Tuesday, 13 May 2008
The buildings need some finishing, and when I get chance I will finish laying the tracks, then we should really see some progress!
Monday, 7 April 2008
I think this could make an interesting micro-layout - probably in a larger scale to allow for the small locos and wagons, perhaps O-14? The farm buildings could frame the scene, with sheds for the wagons to go into, and the line continuing through the gate-house arch to the "rest of the estate". The trackplan would probably need a loop and a couple of extra sidings to make it interesting!
Sunday, 30 March 2008
UPDATE: Steve Fulljames has published more photos on his site - well worth a look
Work on my layout has been progressing, I have painted the station buildings and am putting together a Metcalf Models factory. I will publish some photos shortly.