Newbie Questions

Help and advice for those starting in, or converting to P4 standards. A place to share modelling as a beginner in P4.
Rob Healey

Newbie Questions

Postby Rob Healey » Wed Aug 27, 2014 10:46 am

This is my first posting so hello to all from a new member and hope I’ve posted this in the right bit. I’ve been busy reading as many posts as possible on the site to find out about the world of Scalefour and believe (I think) I’ve made the right choice. It started a while ago with one of my sons asking me to build him a layout (he’s 32 now) after we got reminiscing about when he was younger and he had a Hornby doubler rounder to muck around with.

We decided to give it a go and as we were starting from scratch, try and build the layout to scale four standards but as yet I’m still researching what’s involved and the right way to go about it. I've found the forum very helpful in that respect.The likes of New Street and other layouts have been an inspiration on what can be achieved especially when it come to detail.
Unfortunately I do need to ask a couple of newbie questions of you good people if that’s okay.
I have a spare bedroom available 14’x9’ so opinions on what would be best given the space either to try and fit a tail chaser or should I just concentrate on one wall with an end to end or L shaped detailed layout? I have a couple of plans for either.
The prototype will be blue period 70’s Diesels which I’m familiar with having worked on some of them years ago.
The other question is, I’ve been looking at what’s involved with the re-wheeling of the modern RTR market with the chosen prototype and don’t think there should be much of a problem (in theory at least) of putting P4 wheels in so have started to buy a few loco’s to get me started. I’ve ordered a set of wheels from Ultrascale (six month wait on them apparently so time to sort out the base boards?) for a 08 shunter to see how I get on, will also get a set of coupling rods from Brassmasters. I’ve also got a couple of Bachmann 37’s to convert which are very nicely detailed. The question is concerning a couple of Lima 31’s that I recently purchased. The driving wheels work off the motor via gears directly on the back of the wheel I know Ultrascale do a P4 conversion set for this loco but was wondering before ordering if there will be a problem with the gear wheels meshing ? Would it be possible with the Lima's to just remove the original motors altogether and fit something like a Mashima motor with a separate gearbox driving off the center axle and conventional pick up from the back of both bogies? Sorry if these questions seem to be a bit dumb but I'm still in the learning curve. Now for the electrics................... (smile)

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Guy Rixon
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Re: Newbie Questions

Postby Guy Rixon » Wed Aug 27, 2014 11:53 am

Hi Rob, welcome to the forum.

Roundy or end-to-end: your room size is (IMHO) just at the point where you still have a choice. A minimum radius of 48" is recommended for P4 track and you can just do this, at least for a single track. Similarly, you can fit a reasonable end-to-end in 14 feet if you don't need extremely long trains.

Your running line would have a curve of about 4 chains scaled. Main-line stock might look odd on this curve and you might want to mask it with scenery; but that hides a large fraction of your total layout. Have you considered a U-shaped layout, with fiddle yard on one side of the U? You could complete the circuit with a long siding or industrial branch, laid to 4' radius. For test running all trains can loop; for realistic operation main-line stock runs only on the U. (Where in the room is the door and how would you bridge across the doorway?)

There is a consensus that one should start with a small, probably straight layout - see the Standard Gauge Workbench part of the forum - and progress later to a larger layout. My take on that is to build as the small layout a fragment of the larger layout I want eventually. So you could defer the straight/oval decision for a while.

BTW: are you really building to Scalefour (exact scale) standards or to Protofour (P4: close to scale but subtly tweaked in areas such as flangeways)?
Last edited by Guy Rixon on Wed Aug 27, 2014 1:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Rob Healey

Re: Newbie Questions

Postby Rob Healey » Wed Aug 27, 2014 12:47 pm

Thanks for the welcome Guy and sorry for the confusion.Yes It will be built to P4. The potential for a U shaped layout is definitely a possibility as you suggested as the door is at the far end of the room so wont interfere with the permanent baseboards. If I was able and decided later on to do a single track radius roundy then I could fit a temporary removable baseboard for the circuit but at the moment the U shape has given me some further ideas. Cheers.

Andrew Ullyott
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Joined: Fri Aug 08, 2008 2:31 pm

Re: Newbie Questions

Postby Andrew Ullyott » Wed Aug 27, 2014 5:08 pm

Hi Rob
Welcome to the wonderful world of P4.
I'm going to be doing a 'starting in P4' demo at this year's Scaleforum, so if you can get to the show at the end of Sept, come and have a chat. Hopefully I can show you the answers to some of your questions. Conversion of RTR diesels/electric locos is quite straight forward but as with all things, the more you do yourself the cheaper it generally is.
In the meantime, there are plenty of modellers on here that'll be only too glad to help. Don't worry about asking questions. We all started somewhere!

Philip Hall
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Re: Newbie Questions

Postby Philip Hall » Wed Aug 27, 2014 5:58 pm

Hi Rob,

I agree with Guy that 48" is a good minimum radius for P4 but is is possible to go down a bit, say 3'6" particularly if you are using RTR diesels. However, it is true that it will look an awful lot better to have a larger radius, and it will also be easier when building things. Sidings can go down to 3'0" if needs be, say on the inside of your running lines.

Good luck with your new project!

Philip

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Andy W
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Re: Newbie Questions

Postby Andy W » Wed Aug 27, 2014 6:54 pm

You'll probably find your learning curve is very steep, so it's a good idea to work on a small project first rather than a magnum opus. That way you can make mistakes and move on. These days making mistakes is seen as something akin to murder, not being afraid to make them is the best way to learn in life not in P4.
Make Worcestershire great again.
Build a wall along the Herefordshire border and make them pay for it.

Tim Horn
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Re: Newbie Questions

Postby Tim Horn » Wed Aug 27, 2014 7:49 pm

Hi Rob,

If you can get to Scaleforum next month then you will find lots of people to chat to and help you on your way. I'd personally go for the round the room layout, I've done some test curved boards at 3ft 5inch radius curves for the centre track. The biggest problem you may face is buffer/coupling locking, depending on what you choose for couplings that is!

3ft radius inner curve 6mm MDF Lite Pack TJH02 31st July 2014 Copyright Tim Horn.jpg
3ft radius inner curve 6mm MDF Lite Pack TJH02 31st July 2014 Copyright Tim Horn.jpg


3ft radius inner curve 6mm MDF Lite Pack TJH05 31st July 2014 Copyright Tim Horn.jpg
3ft radius inner curve 6mm MDF Lite Pack TJH05 31st July 2014 Copyright Tim Horn.jpg


As for the Lima stock, the old pancake motor is OK for running for what it is, you do need to replace the gears on the inside of the new wheels though either by cutting off the old ones or replacing them with Ultrascales sets which do the job just fine. Extra pickups and weight would benefit the old models too.

Cheers
Tim

DougN
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Re: Newbie Questions

Postby DougN » Thu Aug 28, 2014 8:02 am

Tim if I was living the uk I would certainly be buying a full round of those boards.... Cost a bit much to post to Australia. :o

This is exactly the idea I was having for home use... When I get around to it, that is...

Doug
Doug
Still not doing enough modelling

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Noel
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Re: Newbie Questions

Postby Noel » Thu Aug 28, 2014 10:50 am

Rob, I've got a Lima 31 with Ultrascale conversion wheels - it was literally a change the wheels and run it job, done in a couple of minutes. I agree with Tim Horn about the extra pickups and the indifferent standard of the motor. So far as replacing the motor is concerned, I don't think there is anything available in kit form to help you do this, and I would think that it would need a functional brass inside frame, with the Lima frames used purely cosmetically, so you may wish to leave this for future consideration. If you do want to do this, the Ultrascale conversion set is possibly not worth getting, as it is designed specifically for the drive train and electrical pickups used by Lima.

Noel
Regards
Noel

Alan Turner
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Re: Newbie Questions

Postby Alan Turner » Thu Aug 28, 2014 11:42 am

You can get replacement motors.

Try http://diesel-trains.co.uk/shop.html as a starter.

regards

Alan

Rob Healey

Re: Newbie Questions

Postby Rob Healey » Thu Aug 28, 2014 12:45 pm

Many thanks people for all the help and advice appreciate it. Tim those boards look great and reasonable so may be in touch sometime in the future as soon as I've finalised my track plan ;)
I'll be at Scaleforum on the Sunday to pick a few brains along with a shopping list so hope the traders attending don't sell out of everything on the Saturday. :mrgreen:
I do have some modelling experience having built quite a few O gauge loco kits up until a couple of years ago before the flux got to me so hopefully I can transfer some of that prototype knowledge to the smaller scale but never built a layout as such only a O gauge test board so really looking forward to it.
Thanks again.

nigelcliffe
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Joined: Mon Jul 21, 2008 8:31 am

Re: Newbie Questions

Postby nigelcliffe » Thu Aug 28, 2014 3:26 pm

Alan Turner wrote:You can get replacement motors.

Try http://diesel-trains.co.uk/shop.html as a starter.



Though do make sure that any replacement is tested thoroughly, and a refund can be sought if not satisfied. The Suffolk & Norfolk group tried a replacement motor in a Lima bogie chassis (I cannot recall the supplier, but they made similar claims to those made in the link above), and the end result was dreadful, almost uncontrollable with the controllers we use on the layout.


- Nigel

SHurst

Re: Newbie Questions

Postby SHurst » Thu Aug 28, 2014 4:01 pm

This looks very much like what use to be marketed as "Model Torque" and distributed by InterCity Models of Porthleven.

The proprietor of Model Torque passed away in late 2012 and the company ceased trading around Christmas 2012.

I have personally used two Model Torque replacements in Lima models (GWR Railcar and Class 47 ) and found the difference in performance to be quite amazing - nothing at all as poor as described above. Having said that both pickups and excessive slack in the Lima gears need to be checked.

If this is the same product - and it sounds like it - then it can be very useful for a quick conversion of such Lima models

Simon

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Allan Goodwillie
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Re: Newbie Questions

Postby Allan Goodwillie » Mon Sep 01, 2014 10:45 am

A cheap and quick alternative is to use a set of carriage wheels and small lengths of brass tubing to enlarge the diameter of the axles. Cut the brass tubing lengthwise to allow for it to expand around the axle and force the axle through. Cut off the original gear wheels carefully from the original wheels, refit them to the back of the carriage wheels. The carriage wheels will need shorting to the axles using fine wire ( N/S or Phos/Br) -make sure they are set correctly for the original pickups to work. That's what I used to do in the days before deisel wheels were available - still have a couple of locos running on them yet after 35 years - still with the original pancake motors as well. Did all the work in converting class 33 to a class 26, an enjoyable exercise at the time.

Purists will be horrified with all this :evil: :o and in these days when you can buy pucka components people forget that some of us did not have these long ago and had to improvise and get things to work. :thumb

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Allan Goodwillie
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Re: Newbie Questions

Postby Allan Goodwillie » Tue Sep 02, 2014 10:42 pm

Here is a photograph of my first class 26 rebuilt from a class 33 with all the correct details including see through grills made from brass fretting and potters seive material for the grills - I was teaching ceramics at the time. Multiple corrections were made to the bogies as well as the body and specific to the first 10 of the class. There were not many diesel locomotives running in S4 at the time and all my friends thought I was a bit daft bothering to model a few of them. The photograph was taken on Dubbieside around about 1978 I think. It makes me realise that this particular board has been altered quite a bit since this photograph was taken in black and white days. :D

img032 (2).jpg
The loco has not changed - maybe one or two details have fallen off over the years.


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