Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Due to the upcoming festive season and the necessary preparations, I shall not be posting now until the new year. Have a great time and see you all in 2007!
Friday, December 15, 2006
I've been having some thoughts about the time of year I should model Rhyd Ddu in:
- Winter - bare trees, dead bracken, full streams, but few trains(!) See image below of tracklaying on Pitt's Head straight...
- Autumn - notoriously difficult to model leaf colour correctly and convincingly (sorry for the poor attempt at finding an autumn pic, which also shows the lack of Autumnal images of the area I've collected too!)
- Summer - too much growth and heavy blobby green bracken coverage as shown in the foreground below...
- Spring - a nice balance, not too much growth and a mix of dead and new colours....
So, I'm thinking Spring then.....oh dear that will mean another trip to Wales, the Welsh Highland and Rhyd Ddu is necessary, what a terrible problem!!
Sunday, December 10, 2006
Happy Christmas and a wonderful new year (one year closer to 40 glorious miles of narrow gauge heaven in 2009)...
Saturday, December 09, 2006
Monday, December 04, 2006
- A number of narrow gauge layouts were there and relevant images are available on my fotopic site: http://colin-lea.fotopic.net
- There were also a number of innovations there that were interesting: Hornby DCC, a sniff of a new Bachmann DCC system coming soon, smaller DCC chips than ever (and at £10) and various sound modules etc for DCC. As mentioned before Rhyd Ddu is being wired in such a way as to make DCC conversion as easy as possible, but will be conventional DC for now.
- But....I hear you say....surely he has some criticisms.....
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Blakecaster - a good example of the application of too much detail.
A Leek and Manifold coach (unfortunately in LMS livery, not original, but nonetheless rather nice!) on 'Pity Me'
Ouzel Thorn - very nice!
A lovely 7mm model of Linda
Ouzel Thorn again and why it didn;t get 10/10 - where's the check rails???
Sunday, November 26, 2006
So, after the poor turnout at Wirksworth, was this any better?
Firstly, the traders were first rate: squires, eileen's emporium, langley, Bill Hudson books, totally trains (of Ross on Wye) etc etc Very good turn out for a relatively 'small' show. The refreshments were excellent and certainly much better than we experienced at York recently (the sandwiches had run out at 12:30!). No such issues here, decent hot and cold snacks/meals and a good selection of drinks/crisps etc.What about the layouts then? Well, these were pretty good too, excusing the odd bit of shocking green grass, misaligned bridges etc. From the classic layouts that have done the rounds before - Ashbourne Midland, Narrow Road etc. to the newly exhibited DCC layouts, the range was good.
Any narrow gauge... I here you ask...? Well, there were the following:
- "Pity me", a 30 year old 009 freelance layout that had a variety of Vale of Rheidol, Leek and Manifold, Ffestiniog, Talyllyn and Snowdon Mountain (motorised 'Thomas' plastic engines) stock. A bit of a rabbit warren, but not too bad, and considering its age, it was pretty good. The Leek and Manifold coaches were particularly good 7/10, but 8/10 when the L+M stock was running.
- "Blakecaster" - A decent, if slightly over detailed 7mm narrow gauge layout. The Virtual NG exhibition describes it as :
"Serving a large country estate and village of Blakecaster that is isolated from the outside world by the infamous Patchway Bog, Blakecaster has no road connection to the outside world and the only connection is by the narrow gauge railway which was laid across a narrow ridge across the bog. The period modelled is the late 1960's when steam is rapidly disappearing from British railways and even on the narrow gauge, diesels are beginning to appear."
There was a huge amount of detail and to be honest, this did actually take away from the railway, which is a shame. 8/10
- "Ilfracombe East" - a 009 layout (again quite old) modelling a fictitious branch off the Lynton and Barnstaple to Ilfracombe. This had some lovely stock, but was marred by some shocking scenery that looked like someone had poured fluorescent green paint all over the fields. Suffice to say, there were layouts nearby that put its scenics in the shade big style. 6/10
- "Ouzel Thorn" - On 2 1/4 - a superb little narrow gauge layout based on a fictitious location in Lancashire. Just superb, great stock, excellent scenics and the only adverse comment I have is the lack of check rails on the bridges. Else super, 9/10 and the narrow gauge winner for me!
Other narrow gauge exhibits included a demonstrator who had a lovely selection of 009 stock ad 7mm models of Moel Tryfan and Linda.
A grand day out was had by all!
(pictures to follow later in the week)
Thursday, November 23, 2006
This fine ale is brewed only at Christmas using a careful selection of darker malts and aromatic hops to produce a full flavour and body, subtle bitterness and a rich ruby colour.
Just ordered some bottles for Xmas! Bring it on!
PS sorry for the slight diversion from normal 009/WHR posts, but it is kind of related to the FR...
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
outer frame of 70mm pine, 4ft x 2ft. attached to the inside of this frame are battens of 34mm pine with two struts, creating a kind of shelf. Onto this shelf is nailed 3mm hardboard (shiny side up). On the two upper edges of the 70mm pine frame, some strips of 9mm ply are attached to act as the base for spur sidings one end [made live by push-to-make switches] and the common exit (to layout) on the other side. The actual traverser is created as a box of 34mm pine with a piece of 3mm hardboard underneath (shiny side down) and 6mm ply on top. Thus the traverser 'floats' between the two shiny sides of the hardboard and there is just a 1mm total height difference between the traverser and the board top, which can be sorted by a bit of cork underlay...
Monday, November 20, 2006
I also picked up a punch set, 3 for £2.48 - mustn't grumble! These will be invaluable in the tiresome job of finally tacking down the track. The pins are placed now, but need driving in the whole way as I wanted to make sure of the track alignment alongside the platform.
I also started the station shelter late yesterday, but found the wills sheets difficult to cut accurately as they are pretty thick, so some more practice and perhaps a sharper knife is required. To be honest I was a bit tired too, so I might try setting aside a few hours and doing this properly some point soon. Finsihed one side with a cut out window though, so some progress was made.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
This could well be a good base for the wild upland grass around Rhyd Ddu and provides the long strands that I've been looking for. Alternatives could be old-style carpet underlay, Noch static grass (mega expensive) or a huge mix of woodland scenics coverings interspersed with longer strands of field grass.
Well Noch static grass might be expensive, but this stuff is pretty heavy on the wallet too, so I suspect I'll try it on the lower lying areas of Fridd Isaf before using it around the station. An image of the Fridd Isaf area taken at the weekend is below...
What are your views on long grass - any other ideas anyone out there? - if so, please use the 'comments' section at the bottom of this post to give us your ideas...
Monday, November 13, 2006
Sunday, November 12, 2006
Thursday, November 09, 2006
Sunday, November 05, 2006
- A number of extra feeds were soldered in place on boards 2 and 3.
- 4 x 8mm holes were drilled in board 4 ready for the control panel and the M8 bolts. assembled with washers (2 on bottom, 10 on top - to allow for the panel to slope down) were put together.
- A couple of bits of cork were cut away.
- Almost all the rest of the holes in the baseboards were drilled ready for feeds.
- The buzzbar on board 4 was split into 4 pieces ready to take various feeds.
- We ran out of wire! More was ordered.
Saturday, November 04, 2006
The winner, was Claire's tree:
All 5 point motors were screwed down, their switches attached and tested and the pins cut off to the correct length at track level...
All baseboard joins were soldered and tested with a bogie coach.
The first D connector was assembled and used between boards 1 and 2.
A number of feeds were drilled, soldered and run back to chop blocks, ready for wiring back to the control panel.
All switches (point levers, sections and isolators) were installed on the panel and many holes were drilled ready for LEDs and LED holders were put in ready. Unfortunately, due to a late change of mind on one isolating section (added for extra operational flexibility), we were one isolation switch short...
Also... the DIN plugs for both controllers were wired up and a couple of track issues were also sorted. Holes for all feeds and frog feeds have now been drilled too.
Tomorrow morning will see more feeds being put together...
Monday, October 30, 2006
Add to these the Din connectors for plugging in the walkabout controllers, the D connectors for connecting wires across boards, the point indicator board and various 5mm and 3mm LEDs and we have all the bits for the control panel, apart from the actual panel itself....
So everything's set up, buzz bars are in place and I even widened the holes in the point bars to take the point motor pins today. It's already for the wiring weekend, this weekend. David and Dad are coming to lend a hand, I'll be spending the rest of the week drawing up wiring diagrams... Bring it on!
Sunday, October 29, 2006
- The control panel box has been screwed together and painted with 2 coats of matt white emulsion. This is now ready for the addition of the coloured strips to show the track diagram and then the drilling of the holes to take LEDs and switches.
- Cork was cut out such to mount the two water tower bases at the Beddgelert end.
- 4 pieces of OO track were glued to the bottom of the baseboards to act as 'buzz bars'. I did this using my new glue gun, which takes a bit of getting used to, and the glue dries mega quick!
Saturday, October 28, 2006
However, I have decided that the next steps should be to get the control panel ready for an intensive wiring weekend before layout work stops for the winter (and I try and get some coaches built!). Thus, I hope that tomorrow I can do the quick bits of woodwork required plus the drilling of the necessary holes... but first let's see how the night goes!
Friday, October 27, 2006
I want to post today on my emerging plans for Rhyd Ddu's hidden sidings. My feeling is that to keep interest going on the layout, the siding should be able to 'rack up' a number of trains ready to go. This requires a number of sidings, each of which a similar length (garratt + 6 coaches is my standard at 3 1/2 feet). All of this points to cassettes, a sector plate or a traverser.
The necessary baseboards for all these 3 options are actually quite similar, what I am keen to do though is to create a system that is reliable, easy to construct and extendable in the future. My feeling is that cassettes are a bit of a faff to make and that a scetor plate is actually only a less flexible version of a traverser. Indeed, there may well be more than one output from the layout side of the hidden sidings, perhaps into a stabling siding, also not in the public view. Long-term, it might also be nice to extend the layout from the other end of the hidden sidings too.
Another thought is that trains will mostly end up with the loco at the wrong end of the train when they stable in the hidden sidings. Therefore an easy way of moving locos to the other end of the hidden sidings needs to be included.
So...what's the plan?? To allow mulitple outputs from the hidden sidings (both ends), a sector plate is really out and cassettes are indeed a bit too fiddly for me. Thus it look like a traverser, but I have some concerns over using the traditional design where the traverser floats on kitchen drawer runners. Why? - because of the big gaps that are created either side of the traverser that stock could fall into (ouch!).
Thus, I am proposing a slightly different design, where the traverser will 'float' by having highly polished surfaces between the bottom of the traveser and the baseboard top. The traverser still moves easily, but the gaps are gone. At either side there will also be short spurs where locos can be moved onto other traverser roads using push-to-make switches, separate to the actual layout.
So it's traversers here we come....
Thursday, October 26, 2006
However, coaches are a different matter...but this is the plan: red is got kit, amber is part made/in wrong livery, green is complete and grey is 'no kit bought yet'
WHR set 1 - brake, saloon, open, pullman, 23 and B wagon
WHR set 2 - brake, saloon, saloon, open, 24 and B wagon
Works diesel + 2 x B wagons, ancilliary other wagons, coach 1000 and ex SAR brake van
FR 1870s heritage train - bugs 2 and 5, ashbury 10, iron bogie 15, bowsider 18, curly roofed van
FR 1930s heritage train - van 2 (ex No.10), bugs 1,3,4, quarryman's coach, iron bogie 16, bowsider 20
Quarry Hunslet+ slate wagon train and van 6
FR modern set 1 -106(David's),105,104,14,37,26
FR modern set 2 - 116,121,122,103,11,22
So, lots of work ahead this winter to start putting these sets together. Watch this space though...
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
This is an ex South African Railways, now WHR B wagon. There are 8 on the WHR at the moment, although 2 are on the FR for use holding coal now that locos are being converted to coal again (Earl of M and Taliesin being the first converted). These are clearly striking and interesting wagons (and sizeable too) and 2 have also been converted into bike wagons to carry bikes (making a nice link with the local Beics Menai hire in Caernarfon). For more info go here: http://www.bangor.ac.uk/ml/whr/wagons.htm Therefore they are a must on my 009 model of Rhyd Ddu. But no one produces a kit for it....well that is until now...
Earlier this year I managed to get drawings of these wagons from Marcus Ingram at the WHR and passed them to Allen Doherty of Worsley Works in the hope he could produce something in 009... Well this weekend at expo narrow gauge the B wagon 009 kit is launched - £13 for a kit with bogies and all bodywork - not bad eh! Allen produces lots of other FR/WHR kits and his site is here http://www.worsleyworks.freeserve.co.uk/NG/NG_Index.htm
Finally, a quick advert for an item I'm selling on ebay to raise funds for Rhyd Ddu (A Corris/early Talyllyn 'Tattoo' loco (no.4)- a good runner, nicely painted and a snip at the moment - see http://tinyurl.com/yfqohd
Monday, October 23, 2006
Above, is my first and other 009 layout... It's called 'Nant Gwernol' and a fairly accurate model of the Talyllyn Railway's Nant Gwernol terminus, except that it includes an 'extension', nominally to link to the Corris Railway (which there were once plans to do so) and a slate quarry on a second higher level (where one never existed, the quarries were further up into the hills). There is also an extra siding running to a Dolgoch Falls style water tower [in reality this would be in a ravine!].
A lot of progress was made as can be seen in the photo, but the slate quarry area never really got going (although I had drawn the plans for a scratchbuilt dressing mill) and FR/WHR interests took over from Talyllyn.
From the start of the Rhyd Ddu project I was in two minds as to whether I should rob this layout of parts to help with the costs of the new layout. Well, I managed to avoid robbing anything that is visible to the viewer i.e. track, points etc.
However, today I removed the 4 point motors for use on Rhyd Ddu (to save time, money and some soldering). The other reason for doing this is that I have long admired the modratec ground frame system (pic below) and would love to have one of these on my layout. The reason for not using one on Rhyd Ddu was because you can't use it to power point motors via DPDT switches. Well, on a small one-board layout like Nant Gwernol, the alternative 'wire in tube' method is a lot easier to install and maintain.
So, the point motors and peco switches will be recycled to use on Rhyd Ddu and the other equipment such as the CDU will be sold on ebay. A sad day taking apart bits of one model, but at least it's for a good cause and that I have an alternative plan for the layout long-term....
Sunday, October 22, 2006
- £4 to get in was expensive frankly.
- It was spread across 3 halls across the town, which was just about OK, until it started raining!
- Similar exhibits were not grouped together
- A number of layouts were plain shocking and were no better than a hornby box set placed on a flat board with some shoddy scenery.
- Almost all the trade stands were identical - model shop stands selling OO equipment.
There was a clever little 009 layout made in a violin case, a decent 7mm NG layout and some excellent American and French continental layouts.
One way of considering how good an exhibition was, is to conider how much I spent (or could have spent) and how many layouts that were there, that I would have liked to own. Well, I spent £5 (and didn't want to buy anything else) and there was only 1 layout I would have liked to own. Oh dear!
Next year I hope there will be some better traders...tools, scenery etc... and the bad layouts are expunged...
Saturday, October 21, 2006
I also received some excellent news from a WHR e-group member a spot height from the top of the Fridd Isaf rocks! [see post yesterday, when I had thought this was impossible]
Tomorrow is the Wirksworth show, so will be there hunting for bargains!
Summary of the future plan:
End Oct - installation of all track, point motors and tidying up of all cork edges around track
Nov-Jan - complete paper wiring plans plus complete control panel (can be done indoors during the cold months, rather than the garage)
Feb-Mar - complete base scenery formers, newspaper, cardboard straps and modroc.
Easter - visit Rhyd Ddu to complete scenic research
early Summer - complete the rest of the board wiring and start scenery.
worth a look - a youtube video of the Welsh Highland on the approcahes to Rhyd Ddu! The 'layout' starts at 2mins 35secs in!
Friday, October 20, 2006
It has been confirmed that no maps with spot heights of the fridd isaf rocks exist and thus heights will have to be estimated. I have some photos of these rocks with people stood on top, and their height (a nominal 6ft?) can be used to estimate the actual height of the rocks.
Also today heathcote have confirmed that multiple motors can be used with the points indicator board discussed yesterday.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Also today some excellent LEDs arrived from Hong Kong (via ebay). They came in a kit with resistors, shrouds and steel surrounds. This has mean't a step forward for the control panel and extra planning was done today on this. See below for an image:
The LEDs will be used to denote whether track is switched to controller A or B, or indeed off. The final piece of the jigsaw is below:
and this is how it works:
A point position indicator board from heathcote; it remembers the position of the points and displays this via LEDs. Each board powers 4 points; but I have 5! However, two of my points work together at the entry to the yard and so I'm hoping I can get away with one board... I await a reply from the nice people at heathcote....
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Now the shop pictured above is a bit of a love-hate kind of shop. I'll tell you why.... Firstly, a few weeks ago I dragged the very pregnant wife across Derby, through a rather unpleasant underpass to find this shop. This was a Saturday at about 3pm...I found the shop..........and it was closed!!!! On a Saturday! I now find that the shop is intermittenly closed when the owner is at exhibitions. Which is a bit silly really.....! If I wasn;t so persistent, I probably would have given up and kept on using gee dee in Nottingham.
However, I'm not one to be put off that easily, so today Dad and I attempted a further visit. Yes it was open, yes we found an easy parking space without necessitating a further navigation of said underpass and yes...it's a wonderful shop. Full of woodland scenics, wills, peco etc. - simply very good, bits of 009, all the major model railway equipment required for any gauge and decent prices too...
So, overall, its excellent, if it would be a little clearer about its opening hours!
Purchased the rest of the peco 009 points, a further peco point motor and the first (of many I suspect) bag of ballast (woodland scenics granite mix). When I got home, I glued the final piece of cork in place (hooray Rhyd Ddu is corked!) and laid out the yard quickly to check the positioning of points. So, soon, phase 1 tracklaying should be complete, with just a few soldered joins to complete and some final cork removal before we move on to wiring!
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
This shot shows the point indicator on the loop points. These light to show that the points are set 'wrong road' i.e. the automatic sprung points have been set the non-normal way. The FR/WHR system is for right hand running through stations, so this light shows if the points are set for the left hand platform. So how do we get this top work on the layout? Well, the points won't be sprung, but set using peco point motors, I already want one switch to change the polarity at the frog so I need a twin microswitch .... voila below... which uses one switch for the frog and the second for LEDs on the panel, but it's the same idea really...
Anyway...progress today has seen the cork stripped out (by chisel) for the platform. which now sits nicely in its gap between the cork for the track bed. Track was then laid out to the south loop point and the final bit of cork laid underneath. The 10mm hole for the point motor pin was also drilled and first ideas for the yard track layout were tried out.
Tomorrow, my parents are here so might not get much done, but the cork will be dry and the yard plan can be sorted and laid out ready for tracklaying.... Will post some pictures when the track is properly liad out and nailed down...
Monday, October 16, 2006
The above shot clearly shows the wiggle, which moves left and right from the loop point onto the platform. Why am I telling you this (apart from the comedy headline?), because this has been laid today, along with the track along the north side too and the board joins between board 2 and 3 (to be soldered tomorrow). Then the platform was positioned, marked and the cork beneath it cut ready to be stripped out tomorrow (I started stripping a bit today actually). I also drilled a 10mm hole for the point motor of loop points north.