Sunday, April 27, 2008

It's all good.

As promised, a video of the first test train on Ffridd isaf is available here:

You will be pleased to know that the train made it:

- Around all the curves (tightest is 12 inch radius transitioned)
- Up all gradients (approx scale gradient of 1:40 in places)
- Within the dynamic envelope, although a couple of places were tight and need some slight changes in the modroc to make them less so.


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Derby show review

Not much narrow gauge at this show, so I'll start there... This is my mate Martyn's fine collection of locos - note the FR/WHR Kerr Stuart 4415 in grey and the Turtles - nice!

and a 009 layout in a pizza box - that's style!

Burcroft Colliery - DCC in OO gauge modern image. They used NCE Power cabs.

Moorton Bottom Yard by Paul Windle. I've commented on this before - it's fantastic apart from the bridge to nowhere coming at you on the left hand side below. It just looks odd to me.

Loughborough Midland - cracking station building, but blue platform faces - blue??

An N gauge layout in a suitcase - cracking stuff.

I was looking for some Larches (Like you do) - some bloke tried to sell me this, but it's just not a Larch mate.
ZTC decoders - how small can they get?

Port Foxdale (Isle of Man railways) - very nice if somewhat packed in!

Sea moss trees (see through!) - I must have a go at some of these for a few strategic locations.

Red Rocks railroad - what a layout 10/10!

Some extremely clean ballast - they must clean it in between trains you know! This is Yarborough, great stock, nice layout but come on lads, just a little weathering on the ballast would help immensely.

The traders were pretty good, venue was central but thus expensive to park and get in. Can't comment on the food as we took our own (wells Greggs).

More progress

Some progress on the actual layout:

The corner piece has been finished off with some overlapping modroc to give a good edge.

My ballast choice has been decided - woodland scenics grey, but a home mix of small and medium particles (more small than medium). A test piece was completed below:

Milliput was used to fill the gaps on my recent white metal Conway Castle kit. That is seriously weird stuff - two parts that you mix together into a putty - way weird!

A 2+1 seating section was made up and will now be posted to a resin moulder to create the internal seats for my FR/WHR cars.

My Lyd2 kit 'Eryri' is coming along nicely:

I finished off the random base in the far corner of the layout and painted it with acrylic burnt umber. The rising ground behind has yet to be finished.

I wasn't happy with some previous 'modrocing', so that came up and new was laid. Also I started to model the area between track and car park by adding 2 culverts and creating a 'mound' with polyfilla. No photo unfortunately, but will post again when I've done more of it.

The 3 WHR saloons are now placed on the track ready for the weekend test train.

It's coming together.


Digital Command Control system review

Right so DCC...what's the craic...

This is a review of the major systems on the market:

Bachmann Dynamis: big screen, well laid out, intuitive controls, wireless and with the pro box (not yet released) you can have multiple handsets. Very nice, and it was to be the system for me, but after consulting various DCC people at recent shows and the DCC forum at the issue is the infra red wireless. To be honest, when this system was first announced, my brother and I were dubious, and experience in the field suggests we were right - big problems when you have a 'L' shaped layout, or someone walks in front of you etc - when that happens you can't stop crashes etc - not good.

What we really need is a radio wireless system (see the ecos version below just made available on the continent, but not in the UK just yet - that's radio wireless!) or bluetooth or perhaps even wi-fi, but infra red is a no no for me.

Hornby have the elite, which has a good screen and interface and is now NMRA compliant. However it's just too plasticky for me, you can't program routes (multiple points/signals at same time with one button etc) and the walkabout select is even more basic. It's ok, but not for me.

Lenz set 100 - all the features you need, but it's like a remote control - buttons not knobs for accelerate and decelerate - not my view of a decent model railway experience!

The Lenz compact: now this does have a knob, but is very basic in terms of display and is limited to just a few functions- no good for sound, so it would get out of date quickly I feel.

The set 90 does have a knob but is also low on functions and the screen is very basic too.

Gaugemaster prodigy advance - super system, but very expensive at £225 for just the basic set.

Digitrax have a good name and the features are good too, but I don't like the weird little knobs to control the locos.
Their zephyr system is much more like it, but the screen is basic and difficult to understand when programming, as it can only show 4 characters.
The roco multimouse has the best name (!) but again has a basic screen with few characters visible.

The NCE power cab is super, well priced and has a good screen/interface but the bizarre thumb wheel puts me off it.
The ZTC 511 is a super piece of kit and their is a handheld to go with it, the screen is good, controls are wonderful (like a real regulator) but it is way expensive at over £500 for what I would need. Shame.
The 505 is similar and chepaer, but loses some of the functions that make the 511 so good.

So, what to go for? Well, the gaugemaster would be great if it was cheaper. Well, look at this...below is the MRC Prodigy advance - gaugemaster just rebadge it!!!
So let's have a look on ebay, oh yes here's one, imported from the US at £159, not £225! Get in!


Testing, testing


Well I said in October 08 that this winter I wanted to move ahead with carriages and by the Spring I wanted to at least have a short test train to check clearances etc. As you will have seen in the images I have posted, not only have I soldered together a number of WHR(C) cars, but also 2 FR sets have taken shape and so has heritage WHR and WHR(P) cars.

I'm a bit short of brake vehicles, but Worsley are working on that once we can get the drawings of 100/102 etc and I'll need to wait to see what alterations are made to 2090 after it goes into the works for the addition of a loo and other changes. I wouldn't bet against them altering the beading for example!

But none of these have couplings... you'll have seen a post a while ago where some Lilliput bogies had bemos attached, but I'd been struggling for washers to set the ride heights. That was until last week when I won this box (below) on ebay: 99p for 25,000 8BA washers - yes 25,000!

Using these I have been able to get a test train ready - the 3 largest cars I will operate 2043/4/5 are now ready for some testing as is the SAR brake (the tallest vehicle I reckon).

That occasion (the first test train on the layout) will wait until the weekend though when Mum and Dad are here to see it! The first train to move on the layout must be a Beyer-Garratt and so it will be, but I also expect Blanche and others to have a go too. Should be fun.

On the DCC front, I have solved the potential issue with graham farish chassis I had. Again via ebay the below kit allows you to isolate the motor from the pickups - cool.

Another post is imminent on DCC systems as I have changed my mind (again)....

In the Cheltenham works (Dad's workbench) Merddin Emrys takes shape: more on this soon...


Monday, April 14, 2008

Images of progression

OK, so progress this weekend was as follows:

Conwy Castle is now complete from the kit (except horn and exhaust), but needs a recess building for the doors as the FR had altered the loco from that depicted in the kit, so I've sawn off the doors ready...

A Mercian 2 ton coal wagon - nightmare kit to construct as there is just too much detail for its own good and half etch lines are etched the wrong side etc etc - back in its bag until I can be bothered to sort the rest of the details out - not fun.

Much more fun is a plastic parkside quarryman's - easy.

Really pleased with this - FR iron sided bogie No 15

2 more WHR saloons - the solder needs tidying up, but they are materially complete.

and finally the curly roofed van, complete with parkside plastic FR bogies (which need the spring detail adding yet)


Friday, April 11, 2008

Hold your wagon! (well, waggons!)

Good progress to report, including:

- Curly roofed van now complete (save for handrails) and on bogies, now ready for spraying.

- 2 WHR saloons (2040 and 2041) with the new beading style were started and as of tonight I have completed the floor, steps, underfloor cabinets, bogies and sides. Tomorrow I hope to complete these 2 by soldering the ends to the sides and adding the buffer beams. Happy days!

- A Parkside plastic Quarryman's coach was 'mekked' together as were 2 rodney stenning Talyllyn 3 bar slate wagons, 1 of which was converted to FR style. 2 more of these (converted to look like wooden FR slate waggons) were 'won' on ebay and are pictured along with an image of the real life waggon, which is where I got the conversion idea from. Finally I also completed another Hudson steel bogie - a LOcoal in FR parlance:
- Further tidying of the garage ready for works to commence and the purchase of ballast - I have finally decided to mix woodland scenics grey (gray) medium with the fine and get the best of both worlds.

- Worsley now have a Lyd2 kit available - might have to get the cheque book out!


Sunday, April 06, 2008

Back from Wales

Back from that all important top left hand corner of Wales - too late to say much now, but I have uploaded a load of images here:

A fantastic weekend!