Here We Go... The Layout

Armchair Modeller
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Re: Here We Go..........

Postby Armchair Modeller » Sun Aug 11, 2013 11:21 am

With giant man-eating killer hedgehogs still running amok in the garden, it has definitely been a good time to stay indoors and do more track laying. The carpet fairy kindly donated a few sleepers to the cause. I also managed to find a complete, unused pack of PCB sleeper strip in a corner of the modelling room to keep me going. As a result, almost all the plain track has now been laid on scenic boards 1 and 2. All that are left are the loco shed road and a short section of main line track at the baseboard end, adjacent to where scenic board 3 will go. I won’t lay this final section until I have the trackbed in place on board 3, to make sure I get my levels correct. The loco shed road will include an ash pit and an indoor inspection pit, so is really more scenery than track. I will therefore leave this for later.

In the photos you can also see the fiddle yard trackwork, which was laid many moons ago.

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I did some remedial work on my track jig before I made this new trackwork. Unfortunately, my earlier work showed that the guide for the rail position was slightly skewed, making some of the sleepers stick out quite noticeably towards one side of the track. I can remedy the problem on the existing track fairly easily, but it was important to correct the fault before I carried out any further track building. I am very happy with the results on my latest track.

I am very pleased with the result. Now it looks like it might end up looking like a model railway! Although the track plan is altered somewhat from the Wantage original, it still retains some of the atmosphere and quirky features, including the odd curves in the line to the gasworks and the tight curve of the main running line around the site of the loco shed.

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Board 3 is a bit of an afterthought at this stage of the layout’s construction. It is really for stage two, when I convert the terminus into a through station. It will be much easier to get the trackbed laid now though. In fact, I am tempted to incorporate board 3 as stage 1½ . I won’t be able to run locos round trains in the station until it is complete. I have not included it in today's photos.

I still have to add the inside part of the etched chairs on the plain track, which will take a little while. Then, I have the dreaded task of making the insulation gaps on the plain track – it already has been done on the turnouts. Once these have been tested, I will add fishplates at the real and imaginary rail joints. I can then wire everything up.

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Hopefully by then, the killer hedgehogs will have cleared the garden of all creepy-crawlies and moved on, leaving the lawn clear for me to put the layout up in the open air to take some decent photographs.

I do love the baby hedgehogs, really! They come out occasionally for snacks in the daytime, as well as at night. I have a managed to take a few great photos of them, including this one fast asleep in a corner of the lawn.

Hedgie-Hog.jpg

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jayell
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Re: Here We Go..........

Postby jayell » Mon Aug 12, 2013 9:16 am

Whilst looking at lathes on e-bay I came across this image, it could be your dome being created :D
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not really dome making but you get the idea ;-0
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Armchair Modeller
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Re: Here We Go..........

Postby Armchair Modeller » Mon Aug 12, 2013 9:44 am

Nice of you to keep my problems in mind, John! That does look like a good solution, but at what cost? I do have a small lathe, but no indexing attachment, or tool to actually make the grooves.

I probably forgot to mention - the dustbin idea has been binned. I found some corrugated aluminium sheet that should fit the bill admirably. My first step though will be to modify the chassis - once I have plucked up the courage. Only if that is successful will I move up to the bodywork.

I have decided to get the track up and working on boards one and two first. That will take a while and is best done in the summer when daylight is good. Stock construction is an ideal occupation once the days get shorter and there are long, dark evenings to fill.

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jayell
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Re: Here We Go..........

Postby jayell » Mon Aug 12, 2013 10:05 am

Armchair Modeller wrote:Nice of you to keep my problems in mind, John! That does look like a good solution, but at what cost? I do have a small lathe, but no indexing attachment, or tool to actually make the grooves.


The lathe was made in China, 'improved' in Germany and sells complete with the indexing plates and milling attachment (but not cutting tool) for £2500 or thereabouts so it would indeed be an expensive solution :o

John

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Re: Here We Go..........

Postby Armchair Modeller » Mon Aug 12, 2013 11:09 am

Progress in the last few weeks has made me feel a little more optimistic again about the layout’s prospects, after a few months of relative inactivity.

As a rest from track building, I decided to rescue scenic board 3 from the garage and attach it to the layout again. I constructed this board at the beginning of the year. I had laid most of the trackwork on the fiddle yard side, before I temporarily ran out of rail and put it into store.

Scenic boards 3 (and eventually 4) really are a big leap in the dark, turning the terminus into a through station. There is no possible reference to the Wantage Tramway at all.

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I decided a while ago that I wanted the scenery to contrast markedly with the flat-earth panorama on the first part of the layout. So, the scenic part of board 3 has been built on the open-frame principle with no proper baseboard top. Some of the scenery will go down well below rail level – even more so when I get to the final scenic board, number 4.

After temporarily attaching board 3 to the rest of the layout, I added the trackbed. This is a piece of 6mm ply. I had to take great care to make sure that the track would line up smoothly with the existing trackwork on board 2. Here is a photo, with the 2 turnouts temporarily in place. It would have been aesthetically more satisfying to lay the main tracks in a nice smooth curve through the station. That was not possible, as the train shed requires a short straight section where the track passes through.

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The end and "public" side of this board will be landscaped to cut much of the framework away. I didn’t have the confidence to do this until I was absolutely 100% sure where the trackbed would be located. The trackbed will be trimmed too. The end of this board will be the start of a bridge over a river, as I mentioned a while back. There will be one more baseboard to build, plus the second sector plate before the layout is complete. I have still to get my head around how to construct the final board.

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This board will now be put aside again for a while until I have the trackwork up and running on boards 1 & 2.

I feel like I am crossing the Rubicon, moving from my original vision of a quick test track into what may well become a layout for life. The die is cast - or alea iacta est, as they say.

I only realized this as dusk descended on Sunday night. It may have been pure coincidence, but I suddenly noticed that bats were flying in crazy, tight circles all around my back garden. It all seemed very melodramatic!

Knuckles
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Re: Here We Go..........

Postby Knuckles » Mon Aug 12, 2013 9:57 pm

It's all looking very promising to me. :)
I'm rubbish at baseboard building but yours look solid to me.
May I ask; how long is your fiddle yard and what is the max length train you can hold in it? (Based on a pacific and typical MK1 coaches for example. Loco plus 3 coqches = 4 item train etc.)

I'm still planning the 'biggy'!

Keep up the good work. Looking forward to more updates. :thumb
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Re: Here We Go..........

Postby Armchair Modeller » Mon Aug 12, 2013 10:27 pm

Knuckles wrote:It's all looking very promising to me. :)
I'm rubbish at baseboard building but yours look solid to me.
May I ask; how long is your fiddle yard and what is the max length train you can hold in it? (Based on a pacific and typical MK1 coaches for example. Loco plus 3 coqches = 4 item train etc.)

I'm still planning the 'biggy'!

Keep up the good work. Looking forward to more updates. :thumb


Thanks Knuckles - good to hear from you again :thumb

My baseboards are pretty solid - they probably look worse than they are because I tried to be ecologically sound by using recyclable materials as much as possible. I haven't used sophisticated joints though - in that sense they are a bit on the crude side, but I'm not doing this to show off any woodworking skills! Most will be well hidden anyway in due course. One key thing is to get the boards to join together well. I used good solid metal patternmaker's dowels. I also use a generous depth of wood for the ends of each board, so that when the boards fit together they don't yaw. I got the tops flat by assembling the boards upside down on a flat surface. I didn't worry too much about getting the undersides flat - you often need to pack the undersides anyway, unless the floor is perfectly flat.

The sector plates and the fiddle yard sidings at the back of the layout accommodate trains about 36 inches long - plenty long enough for the sort of trains I envisage running. I'm not sure how that equates to pacifics and mk1 coaches, but with a bit of heavy shunting I am sure I could fit really long trains in if I had to :)

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Re: Here We Go..........

Postby Armchair Modeller » Wed Aug 14, 2013 12:32 pm

Contrary to previous reports, I decided to lay the loco shed road after all. It took very little time last night, so I am really pleased in the end that I did it.

The outline of the loco shed can be seen drawn on the baseboard surface. It will be a tight squeeze for locos - just like the original. This is a tramway, not a railway, so no catch points are required on the exit from the loco shed. The irregular sleepering is deliberate, honest!

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I placed an ash pit outside the shed, more or less where the one at Wantage was.

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My revised track plan leaves it perilously close to the main line, but most locos will be very short, so should not form any obstruction. I assumed there would also have to be an inspection pit inside the loco shed - hence my other excavation, further from the camera.

Following this minor achievement, I have decided to try very hard to get the track all up and running on scenic boards 1 and 2 by the middle of September, the first anniversary of me starting the layout - no point in being defeatist ;)

One minor piece of track I forgot about altogether is a siding coming back from scenic board 3, going behind the train shed. In order to lay this, I have re-erected board 3. This will also enable me to finish laying the plain track under the train shed and over the baseboard joint.

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Re: Here We Go..........

Postby Armchair Modeller » Fri Aug 16, 2013 3:48 pm

A couple more evening's work and the main line track across the baseboard joint is almost laid. I won't be doing any more until late this evening and have a busy weekend ahead, so I thought I would show some photos now.

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I have done a bit of work trimming the trackbed on the far board (scenic board 3) - and also the side and end of the baseboard itself to match the terrain. The left hand track is in place. The right hand track is still half-track, waiting for the second rail to be soldered on. The turnouts at the far end are not stuck down - they are very much part of stage 1½, so will not be laid for quite a while yet. The carpet fairy seems to be on a work-to-rule, so I am now using short sleeper offcuts to make up the numbers. These will be lengthened in-situ with further offcuts to make full-length sleepers.

The second photo shows the right-hand main line track in close-up. I overlapped the rails to make the correct alignment of the new track easier to achieve. This also shows the older main line track, soldered together before I realised my track jig was slightly out of alignment. The sleepers are definitely not central to the track - unlike the newer ones at the bottom of the picture. The problem is easily corrected. It just means a bit more work :(

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The final picture shows just how much I have removed from the baseboard frame on scenic board 3. I felt uneasy about doing this work until I knew exactly where the track was going to go.
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Needless to say, I will add supports under the trackbed before laying the turnouts permanently. The scenery gets very complicated here though - so it will need a bit more thought before I take the plunge. It may even be well into next year - though I have made decisions like this before and quickly broken them!

Someday I may pluck up the courage to show you the bridge I am modelling, but not just yet. :?

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Re: Here We Go..........

Postby Knuckles » Sat Aug 17, 2013 9:24 am

Didnt realise you har two more posts. I see what you mean by the track being offset slightly, On my first bit of track I built I had a similar problem due to using a template print out at 97% the size. That 3% buggered it up!
I think we need to swap names because at the moment I'm in the modelling armchair alot and your 'knuckleing' down and making progress. ;)

Using sleeper halfs saves gapping later I guess.

I thought there was a carpet god? I think Will first mentioned it / him and sadly I've accidentily made a few sacrifices to it / him myself. But you mean to say we have a greedy carpet fairy too now!!??
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Re: Here We Go..........

Postby Armchair Modeller » Sat Aug 17, 2013 7:57 pm

Knuckles wrote:Didnt realise you har two more posts. I see what you mean by the track being offset slightly, On my first bit of track I built I had a similar problem due to using a template print out at 97% the size. That 3% buggered it up!
I think we need to swap names because at the moment I'm in the modelling armchair alot and your 'knuckleing' down and making progress. ;)

Using sleeper halfs saves gapping later I guess.

I thought there was a carpet god? I think Will first mentioned it / him and sadly I've accidentily made a few sacrifices to it / him myself. But you mean to say we have a greedy carpet fairy too now!!??


My problem was that the track template I used to make the track jig was drawn with 9ft sleepers, whereas I cut the sleeper strip as 8ft 6in sleepers. I only realised when I soldered the second rail onto the first pieces of plain track, when the sleepers had already been glued to the baseboard. It s relatively easy to correct though. I have been using up the short bits of PCB because it seems a shame to waste them.

As for who is best at what, we all go through hot and cold phases of modelling - and some stages of building a layout are much more straightforward than others. I am sure the relative rates of progress will be reversed in due course ;)

My mum never told me that fairies don't exist - though she did once say that Father Christmas is a myth, apparently. :shock:

Meanwhile, I laid the rest of the main line rail last night and started on the inside halves of the chairs. I will be cutting insulation gaps along the inner edge of the chairs, to make the gaps less obtrusive.

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Re: Here We Go..........

Postby Knuckles » Sun Aug 18, 2013 10:16 am

I guess it's an easy mistake to make regarding sleeper lengths. Never mind.

I think we all go through modelling phases and gears. I must have a Princess regulator within me somewhere. All or nothing. Incidentally I do come from the heart of the LNWR and LMS, Nuneaton. :shock:

With the insulation gaps why not just smudge some filler in there?

My mum never told me that fairies don't exist - though she did once say that Father Christmas is a myth, apparently. :shock:


I've gone from believing in him as a boy, to realising it's a pack of lies, to...sort of believing in him again. Seriously, but only this time I'm convinced he's the devil in disguise. I mean that in sincerity rather than jest also. Can go into it in detail if you like, but I guess people will quickly whinge and say keep it in PM. Up to you! :thumb

As railways go I've never been that interested in tramways, mainly because any tram other than a steam tram looks a bit like a DMU...or a 'bus on rails. Sorry if I just offended anyone! I actually like some DMU's though, so I guess I'm contradicting myself somewhat. Anyway, point being. Yours is looking more like a railway than a tramway, and whatever the finalised theme, I'm interested. Old tramways have trucks...and I like trucks, wheeeeooo.

It's always interesting, fun, and dare I say it, to some degree exciting when someone has a progress thread and updates are often.
Keep it up. :)
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Re: Here We Go..........

Postby Armchair Modeller » Sun Aug 18, 2013 8:10 pm

Thanks Knuckles :thumb

I will explain the insulation gaps in the sleepers in due course. I certainly hope to give regular updates, though the work I need to do in the next week or two might be just too boring, even for you ;)

No progress over the weekend, I am afraid - I was at work on Saturday and out walking in Derbyshire all day today.

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Re: Here We Go..........

Postby Armchair Modeller » Wed Aug 28, 2013 11:42 am

10 days since the last post, I was beginning to have withdrawal symptoms - so here's another brief tome.

I am still adding the inside half-chairs to the track. These little blighters are well versed in the principles of entropy, refusing to stand upright, falling off the sleepers etc etc. Progress is slow! I am managing about a foot of track an hour - slightly more on a good day, so it will be a while yet before they are all in place.

Thinking ahead, I decided to make moves towards getting a little more motive power up and running for track testing. My only working loco, the Model Rail/Dapol Sentinel, is a bit slow and maybe a little delicate for really brutal trials!

I bought a sadly neglected Bachmann Class 20 very cheaply on eBay a little while ago. I now have the wheels to convert it to P4. This is the sort of loco I can run quite happily at high speed to weed out all the track imperfections. Otherwise, there is really no place for a large loco like this on my layout. I am sure though that it will come in very handy for clearance trials when I start the scenery. It will also be a very useful reserve loco for when the more frail kit and scratch-built locos all fail ;)

I should be able to get the Class 20 chassis up and running in minimal time. Once I am happy with the track, I will then turn to stock building, something I planned to do earlier this year - but it never took off, due to other distractions, like daydreaming, modelling fatigue, walking and hedgehogs.

The conversion of my J72 chassis into an EB Wilson loco is likely to take a while - though I now have a suitable stovepipe chimney, courtesy of Alan Gibson products. My Nonneminstre shunter also needs to be finished. I have recently invested in a Judith Edge Ruston 48DS kit, which arrived remarkably quickly. This looks to be a very good model for a beginner, as more or less all the bits, including gears and wheels come with the kit.

So, it' s back to chair laying for the time being............... :shock:

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Re: Here We Go..........

Postby Knuckles » Thu Aug 29, 2013 6:28 pm

I am managing about a foot of track an hour

Switch to the method I do and it's a whole lot quicker. ;) Having said that, I've only tried this one method, so I cannot say on other techniques. I suppose they all have advantages and disadvantages.
I am sure though that it will come in very handy for clearance trials when I start the scenery

Don't forget to fit a snow plough to the front with low clearence! That way you can 'brush' up all your stray flock powder and bits. (This is a joke, ignore me :D )
something I planned to do earlier this year - but it never took off, due to other distractions, like daydreaming, modelling fatigue, walking and hedgehogs.

As I said in another thread, I have this problem. I spend 90% of the time planning, thinking, dreaming and calculating...and not much else. Actually starting things is the hardest for me, in all areas of life. I know about modelling fatigue too, sometimes it starts to feel like work, and then it's a chore more than a relaxing things.

I like hedgehogs. They are cute. Plus, I'm an Enchidna, which is similar to a hedgehog, sort of.
This looks to be a very good model for a beginner, as more or less all the bits, including gears and wheels come with the kit.

If only if only if only kit manufacterurs would sell a kit with all the bits, I'm sure they would secure more sales. I know we have options and preferencies for parts, but what's wrong with selling the kits without (as they often do) but provide an option for all the other bits aswell? DJH do this, and it's something that I highly respect. However, so far it's only a 00 option, which is useless for most of us.

So, it' s back to chair laying for the time being............... :shock:


Looks that way. Crack on! :D :thumb
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Re: Here We Go..........

Postby Armchair Modeller » Fri Aug 30, 2013 9:34 am

Knuckles wrote:Switch to the method I do and it's a whole lot quicker. ;) Having said that, I've only tried this one method, so I cannot say on other techniques. I suppose they all have advantages and disadvantages.


I like to look upon speed as relative - it may take a bit longer than some other methods, but in relation to constructing the whole layout, the extra time is really quite small. I reckon a few more hours work and adding the inside half-chairs will be finished. I did think about glueing them - or at least the ones away from the baseboard joints, which would have been a lot quicker - but decided to persevere with the soldering, as it makes a better job.

Knuckles wrote:Don't forget to fit a snow plough to the front with low clearence! That way you can 'brush' up all your stray flock powder and bits. (This is a joke, ignore me :D )


....I may already have planned something like this, so it may be more serious than you think (kind of) ;) If I pluck up the courage, the Class 20 will also have some major modifications to make it more accurate - like the cab, footplate, end steps, buffer beams etc. Watch this space!

Knuckles wrote: I spend 90% of the time planning, thinking, dreaming and calculating...and not much else. Actually starting things is the hardest for me, in all areas of life. I know about modelling fatigue too, sometimes it starts to feel like work, and then it's a chore more than a relaxing things.


Starting things is rarely a problem for me - I think it is the curiosity, fascination and adventure of trying something new - like exploring a new world. It's finishing them that I always find difficult. Once I have worked out how to do it, the novelty has worn off and completion becomes routine; it is no longer so interesting. Sometimes it just doesn't turn out as well as I had hoped. By then, I will have thought of something else that sounds much more fun........and the cycle begins again :D

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Re: Here We Go..........

Postby Armchair Modeller » Sat Aug 31, 2013 11:16 am

An herculean effort last night and this morning completed the inside half chair marathon. I was so pleased, I decided to lay the final siding on the layout - something I had previously decided to delay for a while. I have also cut through the rails at the baseboard joints.

Here are a couple of photos I took whilst I was waiting for the glue to set on the sleepers for the new siding. These will probably be the last images before I separate the baseboards and start work on wiring the new track.

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The turnouts nearest the camera are still loose - the baseboard they are on is part of stage 2 (or maybe stage 1.5), so I am only doing what I have to on this board for the time being.

The next step will be to double-check the track gauge, just in case the rails moved slightly when I did the final soldering. I shall then be able to separate the boards and begin preparations for wiring the track on the scenic area.

I feel really pleased to have progressed so well! :D

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Re: Here We Go..........

Postby Armchair Modeller » Sun Sep 08, 2013 10:19 pm

Work on the train set continues very slowly - work and walking seem to be eating up almost all of my spare time.

The baseboards have now been separated. It is much easier to work on each board individually for the electrical work.

I have managed to cut and test all the insulating gaps in the copper on the sleepers on the first two scenic boards in the last week. I will fill the slots as part of the scenic work in due course. Many of the sleepers will be buried under ballast, litter and other unmentionable things, so it makes sense to do it then. Looking at photos of impoverished railway companies' tracks, I should also add a lot of cosmetic battering and wear to make the sleepers look old and neglected - definitely a job for later!

Next, I will be doing the wiring, which should not be too difficult. The DCC bus wires are already in place from wiring the fiddle yard tracks many months ago. It should just be a case of adding wires from the bus wires to the new track, plus wiring up the Blue Points. Then, everything should be ready for testing.

I also hope to get P4 wheels fitted to my Class 20 chassis this coming week. I am using Alan Gibson wheels - largely due to their immediate availability. The Class 20 will be my loco of choice for the initial track testing.

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Re: Here We Go..........

Postby Armchair Modeller » Sat Sep 14, 2013 5:39 pm

Progress has virtually ground to a halt this week. Apart from work and walking, other things like chasing bats at the local reservoir have rather got in the way of things. It it was of course Friday 13th yesterday - definitely a day to avoid any modelling! :shock:

It is the Heritage Open Day Weekend this weekend too, so I seriously doubt if I will reach my objective of getting the layout running by the first anniversary (the 16th).

Still, ever optimistic, I have now checked the new insulation gaps in the sleepers for conductivity. There was one mysterious short, but a sustained spell of 16v AC soon taught that little sliver of copper a lesson, wherever it was. ;)

Good news with the Class 20 though - I quickly got the chassis up and running in P4 using Gibson wheels. I would have preferred Ultrascales, but like many people I can’t afford to wait a long time – especially as I need the loco urgently for track testing. I did take the precaution of putting a small taper on the ends of the axles and the inside of the wheel axle holes before assembly. The only thing that really took any time was finding some suitable material to extend the pick-ups, so they reach the metal tyres on the new wheels.

I have grossly overambitious plans for the next few months on the stock-building front, once the layout is wired and the track has been thoroughly tested. Even if I get a small proportion of that done, it will still take up a lot of column space. I am seriously thinking about splitting off my stock-building stuff away from progress on the layout by starting a new workshop topic. Otherwise, things could get a bit disjointed.

Overall, I suppose I shouldn't feel too bad about what I have achieved in 12 months. Getting 4 baseboards, all the track on scenic boards one and two built, plus most of the fiddle yard track up and running is not too bad for a lazy, disorganised, daydreaming armchair modeller like me. Mind you - with 15 turnouts (including the fiddle yard) I could have built a major main line terminus, rather than a pale imitation of the Wantage Tramway. Converting main line RTR stock would have been a doddle, compared with the scratch-building and major adaptations I have let myself in for ;)

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Re: Here We Go..........

Postby Knuckles » Sat Sep 14, 2013 10:26 pm

I'm on my phone at the moment so probably won't type too much. When I typo alot, I'm usually on my phone.

I'e been reading your updates and regret noy commenting sooner, but with more uploads and more to reply to I kept shying away somewhat. I do appologise for that and hopefully will have something more substantial to say soon. Suffice to say for now at least, you've done loads in one year, a lot more than me too. Your layout is coming on great.

I think now your lesa of an armchair modeller and more of a real one. Personally I think I'm often one because I spend a lot of time reading model rail mags or watching Right Track DVD's. Sometimes modelling mentally seems more like work than relaxing exciting pleasure, so I have to be in the mood to do it, but being a bit of a think er I find myself often looking at the modelling desk rather than using it. If your moving onto wagon building what type have you in mind?
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Armchair Modeller
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Joined: Thu Jan 06, 2011 7:34 pm

Re: Here We Go..........

Postby Armchair Modeller » Sun Sep 15, 2013 7:03 am

Hi Knuckles and thanks again for your comments :thumb

The stock building will be mainly locos, for the moment. I need a change after all that trackwork ;)

I do have some wagon kits to finish, but they really are a very low priority for now. Passenger stock is likely to get attention before them. I am afraid that I see wagon building as a rather uninspiring necessity, rather than something to relish.

Knuckles
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Joined: Fri Nov 18, 2011 9:15 pm

Re: Here We Go..........

Postby Knuckles » Sun Sep 15, 2013 7:21 pm

Conversely I love wagon building. Coach building numbs my brain.

Maybe we could team up; I build your wagons and you build my coaches! :D

Also I just noticed this thread was moved to the workbench area. I'm not sure if it's a good idea I have one because I'd need two or three. I like to keep threads organised into subject content as I think I've shown. One for wagons, one for the layout etc. EDIT: Just looked, each name has space for several threads - in that case it might be ok, but then what of the other catagories?? Unsure.

I miss track building. The small amount I did was very rewarding and fulfilling, especially when you get it to work. I need to wait until the big layout commences though, probably not for a good while though.

On to loco builds now then? :)
“He who dares not offend cannot be honest.” Thomas Paine

http://www.shapeways.com/shops/sparksho ... eationsscc
Mostly offering Loco kits & bits in 4mm.
SCC Photon Resin Prints Price list
download/file.php?id=19320

Armchair Modeller
Posts: 1113
Joined: Thu Jan 06, 2011 7:34 pm

Re: Here We Go..........

Postby Armchair Modeller » Sun Sep 15, 2013 8:00 pm

Knuckles wrote:Conversely I love wagon building. Coach building numbs my brain.

Maybe we could team up; I build your wagons and you build my coaches! :D


That is an interesting idea, but I really want to gain experience in everything, so I am determined to do my wagons in due course - but probably with gritted teeth. ;)

Knuckles wrote: Also I just noticed this thread was moved to the workbench area. I'm not sure if it's a good idea I have one because I'd need two or three. I like to keep threads organised into subject content as I think I've shown. One for wagons, one for the layout etc. EDIT: Just looked, each name has space for several threads - in that case it might be ok, but then what of the other catagories?? Unsure.


Yes, the idea of the workbench is to group all the work of one modeller under one heading, with the ability to set up as many topics as you like. Rob suggested this to me this morning and by the time I had got home from a very wet and windy walk from Hayfield to Hope, it was all set up.

Knuckles wrote:I miss track building. The small amount I did was very rewarding and fulfilling, especially when you get it to work. I need to wait until the big layout commences though, probably not for a good while though.


Track building is so different to anything else in model railways - especially when you build everything yourself. I find it very meditative and relaxing.

Knuckles wrote:On to loco builds now then? :)


Yes, I have several things lined up. I decided it would be best to do a sort of batch build - rather like with the trackwork. One of the problems us beginners face when starting up is reaching critical mass - a layout and enough stock to run on it. Hopefully, a concentrated effort will help me towards this goal. I have tried to choose a small range of different types of kit, so I can work out what works best etc.

I wll probably make a mess of the first few, but that is all part of the learning experience :D

Armchair Modeller
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Re: Here We Go..........

Postby Armchair Modeller » Mon Sep 16, 2013 10:35 pm

So, a year has passed – and 15,000 views (wow!) since I started this topic off. For my own benefit I decided I ought to do some kind of review.

Apart from the track plan, I have not said much about the overall concept. Looking back, the plan has not changed greatly since I began work on it 12 months ago, which is quite unusual for me. One early change was my rejection of a silly idea for the fiddle yard. I also cropped the layout beyond the small loco shed, fairly early on. Then, I swapped a couple of turnouts around. The overall effect was to reduce the length of the layout by several feet. None of this really changed the character of the layout, though.

The biggest change was the way the layout evolved in my mind from a quick, experimental test track into a serious, long-term project. It only slowly dawned on me that this seemingly superficial concept might actually be a reasonably good idea. I still feel that way – and seriously doubt if I could have found any other idea more interesting for me to tackle in P4.

One disappointment was finding out that C&L plain track is narrow to gauge, resulting in me building rather more plain track than I had originally envisaged. Also, the relative lack of progress in the first half of this calendar year was unfortunate – though there were a few very good reasons for some of the delay. Modelling fatigue and daydreaming made up the rest.

On the positive side, the Styrofoam baseboard tops, Masokits track, plywood track bases and other novelties (for me) all seem to be working very well, so far. Any problems I have come cross, like the banana-shaped sector plate have been sorted quite easily. One or two, like deciding on a stretcher bar design took ages, but we got there in the end!

One big challenge now, other than finishing everything off, is to work out a coherent story for the layout. Early on, I was subconsciously assuming that I could just cobble together a few items of stock, do something vaguely like Wantage and get something finished quickly, before dreaming up a more long-term project. Now this is THE long-term layout, I have the awkward task of creating a believable story to go with it – along with consistent stock and scenery. It was never going to be an exact copy of Wantage, but the deeper I think about it, the more I want to give the layout a real character all of its own. I think I am nearly there, but it is too early yet to spill the beans.

Once the wiring is finished, which should only take a week or two, I plan to make a serious start on stock building. On the locomotive front, I already have a Model Rail Sentinel shunter and a Bachmann Class 20 chassis converted to P4. I now have several loco kits to put together. Some wagon kits are part-built. I also need some passenger stock, as the tramway will predominantly be a passenger line. There is also the scenery to tackle on the first two scenic boards. This will all be quite a novelty for me in 4mm scale.

After another 12 months, will I be able to say “Veni, vidi, vici”, I wonder? (I came, I saw, I conquered). It will probably be far too early to say that! This project is likely to take a few more years, I would imagine – even to get the first two scenic boards and a basic range of stock completed. I don’t want to rush it. Enjoying the journey and the experience of learning how to build everything are very important to me.

I am certainly glad that I decided to dip my toe in and see what P4 was really like. I thought about it for a very long time, but never had the courage to try. In retrospect, that is very sad!

So, on with another year I go……….!

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Andy W
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Re: Here We Go..........

Postby Andy W » Tue Sep 17, 2013 10:28 am

I think, Mr Armchair, you've ben incredibly brave tackling such a large project as your first attempt. You should take pride in the fact that you have had so much success. I think two personal factors are vital when judging the success of a project - other than does it run/work; is it accurate etc. They are 1. did I enjoy building that, and 2. have I learned anything in the process? Great achievement.
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