Archive for November, 2010

Getting the point…

Winter turned up yesterday morning. I wasn’t sent a memo about this…

Meanwhile, I finally decided that while building my own track would be a fine idea, I was probably not going to manage it any time soon, and that it would be likely to cause me more delay while I dithered about it. On the other hand, all I had was four ‘Large’ radius points, which make sense if you’re using them to make a modern standard gauge line, but which don’t really work on a narrow gauge micro layout so I ordered four electrofrog ‘Medium’ points from the eteareal marketplace. I’d have bought them locally, but my local model shop(s) sell very little except Märklin trains. I’d have to pay twice as much for track there than I do online, then wait a month (yes, a month) for it to get to the shop, then go by bus to get it from the shop… you get the idea.

The points arrived a few days ago which was the perfect excuse to stop the washing up and go and play in the loft for five minutes. Medium points do make a big difference in terms of space used, so it looks like ‘Spitzenwald’ can be a lot more compact than I originally feared.

At this point I usually start sketching extensions, which is far easier than actually making the baseboards.


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This is as far as I got with Railcar 1.1. The poor thing has too many problems to build any further, so it’s time to work out what went wrong for when I design it’s succesor.

Feel free to offer any advice that seems appropriate. (Click on the picture for a bigger version)

The main problem with this one, of course, is it’s too darn big: it ‘s a scale 2.75 metres wide, for goodness sake. So I’ll need to rethink the dimensions, make narrower, and I really, really need to get some proper 5.5 mm scale figures.

It’s much longer than the chassis too, which made fitting couplings more difficult. How exactly would you do this? The makers clearly intended couplings to be on the chassis block. Is there any chance that would work? The bogies don’t appear to offer much potential unless I build a whole new block like these RHB locomotives.

It was way too complicated because I was trying to make it look like a specific class of railcar. I think I need to be a bit more creative in my freelancing and generally design the model to make life easier. I’ll leave the fine scale prototype stuff to people with more time and skill.

The Grilles worked fine, but the cab ends were a pain to get together with those tiny angles on the sides. This was an attempt at avoiding ‘flying brick’ syndrome which failed, miserably. Next time I’ll let the ends be flat, possible recess the door so there’s a bit of variety and maybe strength and concentrate on details outside to give the model character.

Which reminds me: what thickness of plastic card do normal people use?

And finally, the roof never worked very well: partly because of the complicated ends, partly because I made it all one piece and separate to the rest of the model. I think next time I need to at least make the ends of the roof one with the ends of the railcar. Or something.

And I need to get a tub of filler. Any suggestions on that?

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I’ve decided the idea to use polystyrene sandwiched between cardboard is going to work, or at least it will as soon as I can get a big pot of glue to hold it all together, which will have to wait until I next go to a DIY/Hardware type store. In the meantime, I’ve been fooling about with some track and bits I’ve built over the years. So that you can share the excitement I even moved the lot onto my work table where the anglepoise lamps are (note to self: I really need to get some decent lighting together in the loft)

The track plan is essentially a copy of my model of ‘Aysgarth’, which happened to be my last, and best layout before I started doing frivolous stuff like getting married. As such it’ll have a platform, a bay/freight unloading siding, and locomotive stabling siding opposite the platform. I’m wondering if I should have the platform at the front  (as seen above) or the back (as seen below). Having platform to front would mean I can’t model the station building, so there would be just a rock face at the back.

The plus to this is that I don’t have to make the station building. Having the platform at the back would give me more variety, but I’m leery of taking on the challenge to build the station. Sigh. I can always chicken out and go with ‘platform to front’ and then turn the model around when I feel up to finishing the job.

I’m still building over scale: the doors on the loco shed are way too far apart, so the gap between the platform road and loco siding is so wide the staff will have to communicate by telephone. The railcar will need rebuilding too. Still, that gives me more blog material.

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Daily grind

We were travelling on the Ü-Bahn/Metro this week with the boys, when the driver suddenly announced trains wouldn’t be stopping at the ‘Russiche Kirche’ stop because “The track is very slippery” Readers from the UK will recognise this as the annual festival of ‘Leaves on the line’, which cause mass chaos on trains. In the UK, “leaves on the line” means “All trains in hiding: start walking home now”. Naturally the ‘Russiche Kirche’ was our stop, so we got off one station before and made a mental note to allow extra time for coming home.

When we came around the corner we saw this.

This is the rail grinding train, although I expect it’s used for other stuff as well As we were a bit early for the activity the boys were going to, we stopped to watch. The grinding bit is on the second wagon from the locomotive: there are a lot of water sprayers and blocks causing sparks. It’s a bit like a very dramatic model railway track cleaner.

The train was running backwards and forwards for about an hour. Of course this meant it was running against the traffic half the time, but that was solved by a big bloke in a dayglo vest standing in front and stopping all the cars for a few minutes. Simple really.

The back end of the train waiting for the lights on the pedestrian crossing.  When the Stuttgart system was  metre gauge it had had reversing loops at end stations, but the standard-gauge system has two-ended units, so the maintenance unit needs to be double ended too.

Grinder stops to turn around again. Notice road/rail Unimog in support.

By the time we got out of the activity, they’d scraped away whatever gunge was messing up the system, and trams were running normally again.

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