Here We Go (2)... The Layout

Armchair Modeller
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Re: Here We Go (2)... The Layout

Postby Armchair Modeller » Sat Dec 05, 2015 5:29 pm

OK, been demob happy since my recent holiday in sunny Scotland. There was heavy rain almost every day, but I was exploring museums and art galleries most of the time, so the weather didn't really matter. I was staying within a stone's throw of the former site of the Bennie Railplane. Now that would make an interesting model!

Regarding couplings for the passenger stock, I decided I needed to do a lot more work on a design before I could even begin to contemplate Rob's kind offer to produce a pattern and a mould. I got hold of some cast brass couplers by Precision Scale Co on Ebay. I also ordered some of the Shapeways ones I mentioned in an earlier post, in FXD.

Here is a close up of the PSC ones

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and here, the Shapeways ones

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Initial thoughts are that they would be very difficult to convert to automatic operation, but I would happily use them between stock in fixed rakes. The brass ones look superior to my eye, with a slightly rounded face which matches photos of similar real life ones on American trolleys and the like.

Out of curiosity, I also got some Fox bogies from Shapeways at the same time - this time in FUD. They bear a moderately close resemblance to the bogies I need for the bogie passenger trailers. These are exquisite, with some very nice spring and rivet detail. The wheelbase more or less exactly matches the bogies on the Wantage Tramway's bogie car - but the springing is different. This seems to be the same 'Fox' as supplied bogies in the UK. Otherwise known as the Leeds Forge Co, they had an operation in the USA too. These bogies are for HO and are designed for 33" wheels - around 10mm. They have a recess for axle bushes and appear to take standard OO/P4 axle lengths. If I needed loads of these bogies, then Shapeways would be well worth considering, but with my own design to match the UK tramways style. I only need 6 though, so scratch building may be the easiest option.

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The FXD on the couplers was a little disappointing, to be honest. Detail on the couplings is very sharp, but there is a slight, but clear 'sandpaper' finish all over. The FUD on the bogie sides looks noticeably smoother., though the unimportant bits in the middle look rougher than the couplers.

Where this leaves me on couplers is a bit unclear. The PSC brass couplers look superb, but I must have automatic couplers, at least for the ends of fixed rakes and on locos. For that, a better attempt at disguising the DG couplers seems the only real option at the moment. Maybe I just need more time to think things through?

Armchair Modeller
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Re: Here We Go (2)... The Layout

Postby Armchair Modeller » Wed Dec 09, 2015 12:01 am

Back with the layout, I began planning the size and shape of the final scenic board - and decided the whole of what was left to build was going to be too large and cumbersome. Looking again at my original inspiration through photographs, I concluded that something based on Wantage really does need to be compact and hemmed-in to retain the intimate atmosphere!

So, instead of this...

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I have redesigned the right hand scenic sections (stage two and stage three) to fit on one board, something like this...

Neversay-New-Version.gif
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The change saves a good 4 feet in length. I have recovered most of the track from the Stage Two baseboard including all the pointwork, so only plain track and one new turnout for the fiddle yard are required to be built. The new scenic baseboard itself will hopefully get built over the next few weeks. I have provisionally put a small turntable in the fiddle yard to turn small railbus-type vehicles, but may yet use the 'hand of God' instead.

The new sector plate is intended to be the same size and shape as the one at the left hand end of the layout, to make storage and transportation easier. The track will not be quite be the same though, so they will not be interchangeable. I cut most of the wood for the new sector plate when I built the first one.

Armchair Modeller
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Re: Here We Go (2)... The Layout

Postby Armchair Modeller » Fri Jul 01, 2016 8:47 pm

I am afraid the candle has gone out on this project. Too ambitious and too many problems for the amount of time I can spend on it! After a great deal of careful thought, I have decided to give up on it. Sometimes I have to learn things the hard way. The work was not wasted though. I have learnt a great deal.

I am about to start something much smaller and simpler - though still a little quirky (I hope!). Here is the track plan...around 2 metres long for the scenic section. I can use my existing fiddle yard.

neversay1.jpg


The pointwork on the left will hopefully be a true 3-way with all the blades more or less in the same place. The pointwork on the right will probably be unusual too - if all works out to plan - not to mention the stock, signalling and pretty much everything else, really. Much will still be experimental, which is where the fun is for me - but on a smaller scale it should be more achievable.

I don't expect too much progress over the Summer, but thereafter I should have more time. I will start a new topic with a fuller description when I have made a decent start.

See you then! :thumb

Knuckles
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Re: Here We Go (2)... The Layout

Postby Knuckles » Fri Jul 01, 2016 9:05 pm

Blimey, welcome back fellow modeller. I thought someone strapped you to your armchair.

Shame about giving up but if it is the best choice then all the best to you. You had a lot of the track already down though, did it cause a lot of problems that were hard to cure?

Looking forward to seeing your progress either design. :)
“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
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Armchair Modeller
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Joined: Thu Jan 06, 2011 7:34 pm

Re: Here We Go (2)... The Layout

Postby Armchair Modeller » Fri Jul 01, 2016 11:00 pm

Hi Knuckles - if I had been strapped to my armchair I might have got more modelling done ;)

Seriously, I have been doing some modelling recently, but not in 4mm scale.

Nothing really wrong with the track at all - that worked fine. The main problems included mental blocks about the scenery, especially after I made the decision to shorten the layout by omitting the viaduct at one end. Even then, the whole thing would still have been too big - too long and too wide - to keep assembled for any length of time.

There were lots of other little niggly things, but I could have lived with them. I was a bit disappointed with the foam baseboard tops, for example, which caused several complications. I will definitely use more conventional materials this time. I should have had a bit of superelevation on curves. Maybe flat bottomed track would have been more appropriate for a light railway. The pain of trying to invent a new coupling system. The backscene couldn't be very tall or an operator wouldn't be able to see the trains on the scenic section, etc etc etc. Individually not very bad, but add them all together and satisfaction starts to dip.

On the plus side, there were lots of positives, including the conviction that I can do P4 successfully. Also, the idea of a freelance light railway-cum-tramway still appeals very strongly.

So, the new one will be a smaller layout that I can keep erected for longer periods of time - maybe even semi-permanently. I will use predominantly wood for the baseboards. I am looking at several options for the rail, including smaller section flat bottomed rail. Stock will have buffers and conventional couplings..... and so on. I don't want to give away too much just yet though. ;)

Knuckles
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Re: Here We Go (2)... The Layout

Postby Knuckles » Fri Jul 01, 2016 11:21 pm

Ooowkeeey, thanks for the reveal. :)

A lot of people like foam underlay and a lot don't. My baby layout has foam underlay in (baby update if you look) and I quite like it for various reasons but when I eventually get around to the big plan I fear it will be a bad choice. Many seem to like gluing sleepers fast to the board and I can never decide what to do, seems you may be thinking similar.

Inventing your own couplings - why ever? I'm intrigued! I sort of have with my modified Dinghams but that is no scratch build just a chosen way of tweaking them.

Looking forward to seeing your posts.
“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

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RobM
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Re: Here We Go (2)... The Layout

Postby RobM » Sat Jul 02, 2016 6:44 am

Armchair Modeller wrote:I don't expect too much progress over the Summer, but thereafter I should have more time. I will start a new topic with a fuller description when I have made a decent start.

See you then! :thumb


Looking forward to your revised project Richard………..Ever thought about joining the SGWers, it got me kind of sorted after scrapping a number of over ambitious previous attempts.
Rob
http://www.robmilliken.co.uk
Updated December 2016

Terry Bendall
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Re: Here We Go (2)... The Layout

Postby Terry Bendall » Sat Jul 02, 2016 7:43 am

Armchair Modeller wrote:I am afraid the candle has gone out on this project. Too ambitious and too many problems for the amount of time I can spend on it! ... Sometimes I have to learn things the hard way. The work was not wasted though. I have learnt a great deal. I am about to start something much smaller and simpler - though still a little quirky (I hope!).


Such things happen. :( Leaning in this way is not easy but most people will have had the same experience.

There are many different ways of achieving effective layouts and there is a temptation to look at a range of methods of working and perhaps explore newer methods of doing things. I tend to be quite conventional in the way in which I do things because I have found that they work although that does not mean that I will not look at alternatives. Others will explore new techniques and will be able to use them successfully. How much of that success is down to prior knowledge and experience is another matter. My view is that those who are new to model making may find it better to keep to conventional techniques that many people have found to work.

On your plan, it might be better to build a convention tandam turnout rather than deal with the added complications of a three throw turnout. My copy of British Railway Track states the following about three throw turnouts - "They should only be used in siding work when the space is so restricted that no other arrangement is possible." It might be better as well to use two conventional LH turnouts at the right hand end of the layout perhaps with the second being curved.

Armchair Modeller wrote:Much will still be experimental, which is where the fun is for me


Of course, but perhaps there needs to be a balance between experimenting and doing something that works and is successful. Just a thought. ;)

Terry Bendall

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Noel
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Re: Here We Go (2)... The Layout

Postby Noel » Sat Jul 02, 2016 9:55 am

Armchair Modeller wrote: The backscene couldn't be very tall or an operator wouldn't be able to see the trains on the scenic section, etc etc etc. Individually not very bad, but add them all together and satisfaction starts to dip.


Operation from the back is conventional for exhibition layouts, but there have been layouts at exhibitions operated, quite successfully, from the front. If it's just for your own pleasure at home, operation from the front is surely the best option? That way you get the best available view of the layout and no height restriction on the backscene.
Regards
Noel

Knuckles
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Re: Here We Go (2)... The Layout

Postby Knuckles » Sat Jul 02, 2016 10:31 am

It would be a faff but I'm sure if the control box is designed with D connectors or whatever ghen you could switch the box and backscene to either side.
“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
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Re: Here We Go (2)... The Layout

Postby Armchair Modeller » Sat Jul 02, 2016 10:42 am

Noel/Knuckles

Many thanks for your helpful comments. Unfortunately, my old layout was peculiar in that there was as much trackwork behind the backscene as in front of it. A very tall backscene would have caused problems whichever side of the layout I operated it from.

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

Re: Here We Go (2)... The Layout

Postby Armchair Modeller » Sat Jul 02, 2016 11:34 am

Terry Bendall wrote: Such things happen. :( Leaning in this way is not easy but most people will have had the same experience.

There are many different ways of achieving effective layouts and there is a temptation to look at a range of methods of working and perhaps explore newer methods of doing things. I tend to be quite conventional in the way in which I do things because I have found that they work although that does not mean that I will not look at alternatives. Others will explore new techniques and will be able to use them successfully. How much of that success is down to prior knowledge and experience is another matter. My view is that those who are new to model making may find it better to keep to conventional techniques that many people have found to work.

On your plan, it might be better to build a convention tandem turnout rather than deal with the added complications of a three throw turnout. My copy of British Railway Track states the following about three throw turnouts - "They should only be used in siding work when the space is so restricted that no other arrangement is possible." It might be better as well to use two conventional LH turnouts at the right hand end of the layout perhaps with the second being curved.

Armchair Modeller wrote:Much will still be experimental, which is where the fun is for me


Of course, but perhaps there needs to be a balance between experimenting and doing something that works and is successful. Just a thought. ;)

Terry Bendall


Many thanks for your ever helpful advice and comments, Terry. In other circumstances I would agree completely with your point of view. We probably begin from different starting points though. Your very laudable objective is to complete a layout. Mine is to mess around, trying different things out of sheer curiosity. If I ever complete a layout, it will be a miracle - but the journey is what is really matters to me. It is a bit like taking a trip from London to Glasgow. You would probably take a train or a plane and be there in a few hours, mission completed. I would want to make the most of the journey by exploring all sorts of places en route - even at the expense of time and many more miles. I might give up by the time I get to the Lake District or maybe even Anglesey, but would still feel I had achieved something worthwhile. ;)

With the new design, I am trying to cut down on experimentation (point taken in advance - sorry for the pun!) - the 3-way turnout is one of relatively few leaps into the unknown on what will otherwise be a work of fairly conventional construction. The 3-way is effectively on a siding, as the running line terminates on the loop. I have contrived things such that there would be little space for anything else. I have already done some experimental work on tiebars etc. I will be building the 3-way remotely from the layout, so I can test it as I go along. If it doesn't work out I can still do as you suggest by constructing a tandem turnout instead - though that would mean making the layout a bit longer, or sacrificing scenery beyond the end of the line. I will probably do the turnouts before I build the baseboards, just to be on the safe side.

Please don't think I am ignoring your advice, Terry. I do find it very sensible and thought-provoking. Many people modelling in P4 could probably benefit from less idealism and more pragmatism, as you imply.

Armchair Modeller
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Re: Here We Go (2)... The Layout

Postby Armchair Modeller » Sat Jul 02, 2016 11:44 am

RobM wrote:
Armchair Modeller wrote:I don't expect too much progress over the Summer, but thereafter I should have more time. I will start a new topic with a fuller description when I have made a decent start.

See you then! :thumb


Looking forward to your revised project Richard………..Ever thought about joining the SGWers, it got me kind of sorted after scrapping a number of over ambitious previous attempts.
Rob


Thanks Rob. Unfortunately, this one will not compress into 4ft 8.5ins, so I could be a member in spirit, but not in body. I doubt if I could compress it further without losing some of its appeal - most of which is still in my head. 2 metres, plus a 3ft fiddle yard is about right for me, I think.

I do take the point about small projects being best for one-person layouts like ours. There seem to be a few incredibly focussed individuals who are able to complete very ambitious projects (though often with help), but I am not one.


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