Sunday, September 25, 2011

Slow weekend

Not much has happened modeling wise in the last week. I've been out to the Man-sion several times but have not had the drive to do anything. probably because the jobs are not overly fun. Wiring up the loco depot trackage doesn't spin my wheels too much at the moment, nor does laying card to bring the level of the yard up higher so I don't have to waste a stack of ballast.

At some point I will have to sit down and compile a list of 'jobs to be done' with 1/2 an eye on the convention next year and the plan to have an 'operating' layout by that stage.

In other news the hunt for wagon wheelsets continues with feelers being out out to Dapol to see if they make anything usable that they are willing to sell. Also, who else is off to Railex in November or Pokaka a weekend later?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Up to the minute shots by our roving Otago reporter Mike H.

A test train with 2 of the new AK carriages. The first built by the railways since the second world war.

Monday, September 19, 2011

DCC; learning curve not leveling off yet

Well, I eventually got out to the shed in the weekend. one short job was to reprogram a couple of the chips. when I first had a play with them I set levels for acceleration and deceleration. While this was nice on the short track, on the layout it had a few problems. The Ed's don't pick up from a particularly long wheelbase and so stall from time to time. Now, if muggins sets the acceleration rate, when the power is interrupted the speed resets and starts again (this is why you need stay alive in sound equipped locos). This is not ideal at all, so I reset the acceleration rates to zero, but left the deceleration rates. This has solved most of the Ed running problems.

I was also using the digital camera to investigate some of the track work problems that I have found. I then realised that i could try to take some low angle shots of the locos.

'You would never see this in the journal.'

'Hmmm, wiggly...'

Hmm, it does look like crap at the moment up close. If you think your models look bad, here is real life warts and all

Readers will have also noticed that now if you click on a picture for a bigger view it goes to a separate slide show. No, I don't have any idea how or when it happened, or how to change it, so it's staying for the moment.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Cabbage does it again....

Am_Fet writes:

Things have been exceptionally quiet lately, and save for the fleeting visit of our NY based blog author its just been work and sleep basically. I was thinking the other day that I hadnt heard from Cabbage recently either...turns out hes been busy as well; Just look what turned up in my inbox on Friday:

"Its an Nz120 UK made up of only 2 etches" he stated. "Get a leave pass for Sunday and you can have a look at it". Who was I to turn down such an offer?

SO! Here it is in all its glory, an NZ120 UK in etched brass. It is deigned to be assembled WITHOUT SOLDER (all will be explained!). First, the etch:

The underframe is in one piece and folds up concertina fashion to provide the beams, side sills and twistlocks while the triangular supports fold down as well (one day I should learn wagon nomenclature):

The twistlocks can then be folded up into position, and quite easily too...Cabbage was doing about 1 a second using a "fold and crimp" action:

(And is that a handbrake lever I can see there?)

The last job is to take the deck (with shunters handgrab!)and fold the headstocks UNDER the beams, thus holding the whole thing in place. Of course, you could solder or glue it, and being underneath you could do it as badly as you wanted and no-one need know. :

Note this is still very much in the prototyping stage so could still be miles off (depending on what Cabbage's workload for his own stuff is), but he thinks it could be in the $15 range to produce. Still to be worked out are the bogie mounts and couplers, plus I believe the IA is getting drawn as well.

Possibly the most exciting thing I've received in my inbox this year....

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Saturday Morning

Well, another morning here at Schloss Dandruff (I must fine a suitable Germanic font for that).

Not much modeling or thinking going on lately. I did a couple of 1 hr sessions out in the Man-sion during the week, but that was just installing power feeds and check rails, which from a blogging point of view is about as exciting as watching paint dry (however if there are those of you out there who would like live commentary on paint drying drop me a line. I think we can get help for you). I have been thinking about other projects on the layout though, and its occurred to me that I have not done any building modeling for over a year. something I need to sort out I think.I came across this picture last night which reminded me of the plan from almost exactly a year ago.

'Local spots of interest'

I've made a start on the base for the water tank. though I've made it a very tight squeeze between the main and loco depot tracks. The rest are just on hold waiting for that to get started.
At least they will all be cheap (the car had an expensive trip to the car hospital last week, which has left me wondering how I was able to drive it. it was making awful grinding noises though). I've just noticed that I have not included the signal boxes so that will ahve to be done as well.

I've also been musing (to myself) recently about the path not taken. Paekakariki is a project that does tick all the boxes, but in hind site maybe I would have had more fun building some smaller layouts instead. I've had a few ideas for small country stations that would have been interesting to build (and one day might actually get built). The flip side of this is that I would not have been forced to learn how to make track as if I only needed 3-4 points I would have brought PECO or Atlas(with some mutterings as I've never really liked the look) and I may well have not bothered as they woudl not have been challenging enough. With a large project the common problem of not finishing it is pushed so far out that it no longer becomes a problem. The flip side is that there are times when despite ones best efforts it appears that no progress is being made.

I might get out to the shed this afternoon, but there is beer to be bottled as well (which really needs to be done) and then the summer beers need to be put down as well. The weather is not good enough today to garden at least...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Back from the dead... Broken River Quickie

DB Says:

Did I miss much while I was away?

Something strange happened over the weekend. It started with us deciding to replace the takeout-food-stained carpet in the TV room and the sickly green carpet in the main bedroom and the train room.

This would mean having to actually clean up the train room which (as you may have noticed) for the past year has been barely enter-able. Which I duly did.
Holy crap! It's clean! Love that carpet.

And while I'm moving out all those lengths of wood, wouldn't it be an idea to throw one of them up along the wall and bung some track down onto it? Then we might actually be able to run a few trains around in the near future.

So I duly screwed some of this to some of that to add strength and height, and cut some thin backboard in half and screwed that in and put some brackets up. Thanks to the power of mechanised drills and saws, I had assembled and installed this lump of instalayout foundation in about 10 minutes.

The last two shots are from standing height level and illustrate the benefit of having a stepped baseboard to lift the trains up a little. I have some spare thin backboard, so I might make a taller one to replace this one which is only about 10 inches high overall.

Not bad for a minimal effort!

Friday, September 09, 2011

On tour; Northwards

Well, its been quiet-ish this week as the Schloss Dandruff household has been on tour to areas north, and more precisely where the locals seem to like their hillside's smoking and egg sandwiches (judging from the smell).

'Would you like your hillside smoking or non-smoking'

On the way back south we detoured round the back of the mountains. I'd just like to comment that unlike the South Island, where mountains really know how to be mountains, the ones up here couldn't really seem to be bothered.

At Tangawi, the lady of the house spotted a train, and even more, I was allowed to stop and take a photograph.

Further south of Waiouru I stopped again. While waiting I took this shot of one of the overhead tensioning poles.
'Just cos its interesting'

This photo shows that Its very hard with an old style digital camera to take good photos.

'It's just push the button and hope really'

Following the train further south with cries of 'We're train chasing, baby' were met with looks from the passenger seat normally reserved for errant socks in the living room.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Starting the scenic modeling.

Well, with the track all but done (and admittedly, that turntable is a pretty big 'but') its time to look at some of the small scenes that I can start working on to get back into the scenery side of things. Another consideration is that the terra forming arts have taken a few leaps forward while I've been off playing with toy soldiers, so I've got a few things to catch up on. Apparently sanded pinex spray painted with a light brown colour no longer cuts it.

So, first area to be selected is the loco depot water tank and surrounds. This had a couple of grounded wagon bodies and a collection of oil drums lying round. I have cut out the foam rubber at this site and will be cutting out a piece of MDF so that I can work on the detailing away from the layout at the bench.

The van body is supposed to be an Xa, but I have yet to make any of those just yet, so for the moment the W will have to do.

Monday, September 05, 2011

How not to do it

Dragging heavy wagons round tight corners doesn't work very well, especially if you speed up to quickly.

The modeler should have done a better job attaching the bogies as well.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Now with improved light

The photos of the layout re-taken during the day so you can actually see what is going on.

Thats a bit better

Trackmaking XXXV; Is that it?

Yesterday afternoon I sat down, added the tie bars and completed gaping the PCB sleepers. I then placed the points in place on the 3rd modules to see what they looked like.

Looking at the module I decided something was still missing. The space for the turntable will stay for a while, but the tracks through the loco shed are quite glaring in their absence. A quick 25 minutes with the tools and the problem was solved.

Apart from the turntable and some short pieces at the end of sidings, that's actually about it track wise. Not sure I'll be able to go cold turkey from it, so I may have to do some other small projects to wean myself off.

So, what does the layout look like at the moment. Here is the picture from the north end looking down the length of the station.

And looking from the south end.

'Yes, I have been playing trains'

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Saturday morning

Which is in danger of become the only blog post during the week.

This afternoon should see the completion of the last 2 points for the layout. This then leads to the largest stumbling block left at the moment which is the turntable pit. I'm not sure how deep the 70' pits were, but my guesstimate's would put it at about 4' give or take a bit. This should be able to be cut out of 5mm plywood using some modern technology thingy, and 2 layers will be about right with a bottom sheet to mount the mechanism. All contractors interested can tender to me by E-mail. (UPDATE. hang on, just found a plan for one on the hard drive collection)

Apart from that, there is a vague sort of feeling that I should be getting back into making some wagons. I need to do some for the Fell loco museum layout before I start getting visits from men in black suits carrying baseball bats. There are some thoughts lurking in the back of my brain about buying some more rubber and resin to do some casting. There is also the seriously stalled Ew project which I've been re looking at. I may have found as new way forward with the mechanism which I'm happier with, but will need to spend some time on it.

Apart from that, I've got nothing. feel free to talk amongst yourselves, or go and do some modeling.