Tuesday, December 18, 2007

and on, and on and ariston

Quick update:

- DCC research is going strong - looks like it's a goer...more soon (looks like dynamis pro has the edge at the moment due to the wireless controller system, extra function buttons, consisting ability and controls). A good site I have found is www.wiringfordcc.com to explain how wiring is different between DC and DCC - the good news is that most of what has been done already would have been required anyway - phew!

- Soldering of carriages has seen obs mess car 1000 improved (this wasmy first ever soldering project - it shows!), the WHR(C) Pullman body was finished, FR 26 body was finished (yes all the 14 fiddly window vents too!) and FR 111 (driving trailer) chassis was finished.

- The WHR ex SAR brake is also coming on - but the addition of 0.7mm L shaped angle is almost impossible with a standard soldering iron, so I will have to bow to Dad's resistance soldering kit. (He has done one side very nicely already, but then we ran out of angle)

- I have also taken the time to watch some modelling DVDs - woodland scenics and painting/lining being this week's essential viewing.

There may be a chance for more modelling over Xmas, but then I know that I will most likely receive a number of rather interesting books too...so modelling may just lose out (temporarily that is).

Happy Xmas one and all!


Monday, December 10, 2007

Birthday, bracken, underlay and a surprise U turn in prospect?

Hi all,

Right time for a super update, much has been happening...

It was my birthday at the end of November and this was of course a source of new kits to make up. FR 104 and a bug from Chris Veitch, Hudson bogie wagon, class D dropside and FR granite wagon from Parkside [needless to say all the plastic kits have already been made up and parts of the etched brass have been prepared too)... then there was Warley (a review will be coming soon...). At the show I picked up a load of painting materials (including that important LNER Doncaster Green for grass colouring), brass angle for the B wagons and SAR brake, more carriage wheels, 10BA nuts and bolts, 145 deg solder [I had run out!] and some new tools etc

The rest of the weekend was spent at Mum and Dad's...and that's where the mega surprise came in.... As you can see below, I was presented with a backwoods kit of Russell as my present. Except, it wasn't a kit...it was near enough made up! Unbelievable!!!! Dad had even managed to get the buffer beams right - the original style with curved ends, not the cut-outs that have adorned the loco until now (it's back to the original shape for 2009).

The detail is there for all to see - just beautiful. We need to add the sandpot between the chimney and dome (best to wait and see what the real one looks like first) and toolbox at front. Otherwise it's ready to paint.

Now I have been searching for the old style 'hairy' carpet underlay for a while now. Green scene sell it but at crazy prices (£2 for 14" by 7" piece and that's 1999 prices according to their very regularly updated(!) website) and the same is true of ebay when you add the postage costs from the one carpet shop I could find that would supply it (we're talking £50 ish for a roll). There are only 2 suppliers that even Barry Norman knows of...well actually one now as Gaskells just went bankrupt. The one supplier is in Burnley, where I happen to need to go on business every now and again. So I contacted the factory and asked if I could pop in. No problem they said...So I did just that and called in. They were very friendly, showed me round the factory and then took me to a pallet of recently woven rolls. I asked (with some trepidation, thinking this was going to be way expensive and I'd have to ask for some off-cuts or something - how much?). "Oh I can let you have a roll for a fiver mate" said the guy. So I got a roll (see image) for £5 - that's £5 for probably enough to do all the layouts I ever build! So if you want some, get down to Ratcliffe's in Burnley - top guys!

The next piece of good news this week is the problem over how to model bracken appears to have been solved. Up to now it would have had to have been either woodland scenics blobs - which just don't even come close to the correct texture, etched brass frets (oh come on who has time to solder up bracken - I've got enough locos and carriages to do!) or the plastic busch ones that come in packs with rather pointless red mushrooms that I don't want and cost crazy amounts. Then I found this stuff: maybe the photo doesn't do it justice but the sizing is perfect.

and finally...I may be about to perform a huge U turn..... Yes maybe its time to embrace the wonders of digital...why I hear you ask:

- save loads of wiring
- should give better running when track is not perfectly clean (you're not trying to get 2v to the engine for slow running through dirty track. Rather that work is done in the decoder).
- is now much more affordable thanks to Hornby and Bachmann. Decoders are less than £10 each for 4 functions and there are point decoders for £25 (4 points) and controllers for about £50 now.
- decoders are now of a size that they can fit inside 009 (N gauge effectively) engines
- you are driving the engine directly, traditional forms feel like you're driving the track!
- double heading and inertia/momentum are possible
- other functions such as headlights (well if I'm going to light the platform, I might as well have a couple of locos with lights) and even sound are possible without the drawbacks of the traditional system
- If I ever (when this layout is done) use the empty side of the U shape to create an FR layout, the controllers can cope with multiple engines running in multiple places

Anyway, for now I have purchased the below book to learn more over Christmas and then I'll make a decision. Luckily, very little wiring would have to come out as a result of a decision for DCC, so now is the time to make the change...