Sunday 30 May 2010

Another Sound Distraction

So here's one reason I haven't posted much about my own models in the past few weeks. As you may have seen from the "About Me" section I am involved with the sound system at my church, and over the last couple of years we've seen some welcome improvements and upgrades. As a result there was some surplus kit, so it struck me that it might be possible to put together a basic PA system for a side-hall and for occasional "portable" use. OK, I didn't have everything needed - a couple of bits came from e-bay, like the flight-case rack. I guess that covers the portable bit!

Another e-bay bargain was a "Zone Mixer", an odd choice perhaps but it has the minimum of knobs and buttons. The settings are mostly internal, so just 6 knobs for 6 inputs plus a volume - perfect for use by anybody! A surplus CD/DVD player (and previously from a charity shop) is the main source of sound, a colleague at work helped me turn some offcuts of aluminium into brackets to attach it into the rack.

The rest of the space at the front was filled with a grille, and a panel of sockets: 3 microphone inputs, 2 stereo inputs for external sources (the final one being the DVD player), and outputs for video, left and right channel sound. The job of wiring up was quite familiar to me, not unlike model railway wiring! The system will be plugged into sockets on the wall running to speakers, although portable speakers can also be used, hence the jack sockets.

Inside the back cover of the case I attached a 4-way extension lead and ran the lead out through a hole, making plugging in straightforward. The amplifier is also in the rear of the rack, which not only leaves space for the panel of sockets at the front, but keeps the amp knobs out the way. Only the front cover needs removing for operation.

Well it works OK in my lounge, but we've yet to install the speakers in the intended room to try it out for real. And please be assured I'll try and return to topic for my next post ...!
Posted by Picasa

Saturday 15 May 2010

Temark Valley at Sompting Show

Fellow Sussex Downs 009 group member Mark Holland (builder of Spirit of Welshpool) was showing his first layout, Temark Valley, at the Sompting Model Railway Show, so I had volunteered to help out. Mark says that he did everything wrong building this layout - the corners are too tight, gradients too steep, clearances too restricted, the baseboard is large and had to be braced to make it strong enough for exhibitions ... but it is an attractive layout and great fun to operate. The narrow gauge line leaves the yard across the canal from the standard gauge, and one branch dives through a tunnel to a halt, while another winds up to a quarry with interesting shunting challenges!

There was a good selection of layouts at the show in a range of scales and themes, although N-gauge is clearly popular with the organising club. You will find some photos
here. This super little layout in 0-16.5 caught my eye, very nicely modelled and just shows what can be done in a compact space. (The builder (Brian Taylor) was also responsible for Pelporro in G-gauge.)

There was even a Thomas layout for the kids to operate, up to 3 at a time. My lad loved it, and spent ages playing!

Posted by Picasa

Sunday 2 May 2010

A day out in Bognor

On Saturday I took the boy over to Bognor for the second "SWING" (St Wilfreds Industrial and Narrow Gauge) show, having been last year and heard on-line the layouts that were to be there I had high expectations - and was not dissapointed. Perhaps as a fan of all things narrow-gauge and industrial in railway terms that should not be a surprise, but there were 11 superb layouts (not a dud one there) in this small, friendly show. A good range of scales and themes too. OK I had seen about 3 of them at other NG shows recently, but all were worth seeing again. The hall felt a little less crowded and cramped than last year, which was no bad thing and I suspect due to better planning and smaller layouts rather than number of exhibits, I also understand numbers were slightly down. But it was a great show of layouts and well worth a trek accross the county! Here are a few pictures, see the whole set here.

I enjoyed all the layouts so much it would be hard for me to pick a favourite, however perhaps the most impressive layout in terms of modelling was "Selsey Town Station - 1925" in 0 scale by Keith Smith. I understand this won best layout and it is easy to see why. Not only was the modelling of the unusual loco's and stock (including the Colonel Stevens railbuses) carried out to a high standard, but also the scenic work, and it had really captured the character of the Selsey Tramway (that was not too far from where the exhibition took place).

The first photo above is Nick Pidgley's "Touchwood", his first layout in 0-16.5 scale. Having seen my cassette fiddle-yards in action he decided to try it in the larger scale, using the pipe cover for double 22mm diameter pipes rather than 15mm as I used in 009. As you can see below it does work, he has also fitted his fiddle yard with neat shelves for storing cassettes, and had a good idea of using "T" section plastic pushed into slots at the end of the cassettes to prevent stock from escaping.
Tom Dauben's "Dunbracken" layout was also at the show, now featuring the same cassette system - I really should have patented that idea!!