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Sunday, December 19, 2010

On a curve with a Bonus

Well I guess it is no news to anyone on the east coast of Australia that it has been raining. The bonus has been that it is also raining on the weekends and this means more modelling time in the shed.

With the first phase of the benchwork complete it was time to move on to the roadbed. I like to cut the plywood out for the trackwork area only so as to allow low level scenery. The more the better.

When cutting the curves, I like to use large sheets of cardboard as templates and then trace it directly on to the plywood.
When you cut out the full curve it makes for a stronger roadbed and a smoother surface. All the better for laying track!!!!!! I can't wait.

This shot shows the cardboard template, and the plywood roadbed sitting in place ready to add the risers.

An overhead view with the risers all cut and screwed and glued in place, ready to lay track!!!

After each major project I like to clean up and then set about marking everything out for a test fit and general feel. I then leave it for a day for two and then revisit it.
From previous posts you will have noticed that "Wattle Flat" has been done for some time, but over the months no track was layed!!. This was mainly due to making sure I could get the largest curve possible without losing much needed yard space.

Having worked with my cardboard templates I finally got the largest curve possible and as seen from the shots above, all installed.

Curve point installed with activation mech and wired

Under roadbed shot
As seen in earlier reports, I took the time to prewire all the turnouts and make under roadbed wiring harnesses. This took a lot of time during the installation of the turnout as all holes for the wiring and the activation have to be drilled prior to turnout installation. Hiding all the wiring is something I consider important.
Hmmm, I guess after I have installed a few there might be some time savings, when it is time for the wiring. I can't run a train through, until it is installed properly as the frogs have been isolated and require the activation mech to align the power!! There is always a negative to a positive.

Well enough of my ramblings!
I wish all bloggers and followers alike a very Merry Christmas and a safe and prosperous 2011.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Inspired and Refreshed

Having spent 4 days in close confines with four inspirational people, I returned home with plenty of spark.

Andrew hit the nail on the head when he said in his blog that the convention in Armidale was better than any exhibition because it gave you the opportunity to be surrounded by like minded people with the same enthusiam, but more importantly gave you the time to actually talk with them. Check out his blog "Bowen Creek".

Peter at the wheel
Geoff and Scooter (Cassino) just south of Glen Innes

On a more serious side, on my return I had plenty of fuel for that spark and jumped straight in where I left off.
The bench work was my first priority and getting all of the first stage done.

This shot ties in the last shots with the back wall and centre aisle module

The return for the centre module and the back drop had to built in place, it is still removable.
Centre module bolted up with a cardboard template for the track centres

The overview of the first aisle showing the double sided backdrop on the right

While all the benchwork construction was going on my InFront Models DOT wagon arrived in the post so I commenced the clean up. This is a very good kit and with the aid of the various jigs will make into a great model.
All the items included with the kit

Just to ensure the fire did not go out, my soundtraxx decoder arrived and after many emails to Gerry (a big thankyou) I commenced the install!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

With the AT1000 board you need to remove the factory fitted one

Do not forget to add 1k ohm resistors to every LED, 6 in total
Lucky the "Good Wife" didn't see this.

The finished product, test run and programmed

So there you have it, the convention was a great inspiration and the time spent with fellow modellers was and is always worth it.
All the best and happy modelling.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Trackwork is getting closer......

While I have been busy working out safe working ideas, I have been busy constructing more benchwork. The 68mm by 19mm dressed pine sure makes construction easy with the last thing to do is attach the 600mm high back drop and then drop it into place.

This shot is the first module along the back wall. This wall is 6 metres long.

Having finished that off it was time to construct the centre "double sided module". As I wanted the backdrop sandwiched without any reinforcing to show. This required a bit of extra timberwork but the effort will be worth it.

Centre module under construction in the workshop

After completion in the workshop I got the good wife to assist and it was moved in and attached.

Centre module awaiting the bolts

Now that this centre module was in place it allowed me to work out the curve for leaving the terminus station area so I could try my earlier full scale planning diagram.

Here is the track plan sitting in place while I work out the curve. A nice 34 inches.

While all that was happening I had some time at the work bench and started the wiring looms for under each turnout. Nothing flash, just a simple wire activiation from the side of the layout. I think you have all see it before.

PVC edge mold you get from the hardware holds the slide switch in place.

Any way that is what I have been up to since returning from my holidays. Our regular Tuesday nighters is always a big push along.
This weekend I will be heading to the Armidale Convention being put on by the New England Club. Previous conventions have been a blast and this promises to be even better.
Until next time.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Is the Line Clear.........

With all the discussions about blocks, staff and sections it got me to thinking as to how I was going to control or prevent head on meets between crossing loops on my layout.

Now that there is actually something to see on the home layout, I can let you know that the backdrops are 600m high and there is no way you can see over them or around them when you are following your train so I felt this was pretty important.

Now I am not the sharpest tool in the shed so I wanted something either of the shelf or pretty easy to wire and use. After our last Tuesday nighters and Blog reading I thought the simple two way switch idea (like in your house) with a meter at either end of the block would do the trick.

In the examples shown the train is heading to your right as you look at the screen.

This shot shows my "block instrument" indicating the next section is clear. The train can depart knowing the line is clear.

As the driver departs the station he flicks the switch to show the line is "closed".

At the other end of the section the "block intrument" indicates line closed.

When the train arrives "complete" in the station or loop the driver then flicks the switch on the "block instrument" to show the previous station or loop the line is clear.

The train heading right will have to wait in the loop as a train is approaching (heading left on screen).

Having said all that, simply put when you enter or leave a section you just flick a switch. As there is a meter and switch at either end of the section this could also be controlled by the ASM if your operating session has enough people.
This circuit is powered by any power supply you like and is totally independant of the track power. I have used 240volt light switches because they are easy and cheap to get second hand but more importantly are very robust.
This mock up panel is powered by a 9 volt battery however when installed on the layout I will use 12 volts. The meters are simple Micronta ones with a resistor in series to the positive. Depending on the power supply you use will depend on the resistor.
I have then made up stickers to cover the meters with the wording from the "General Appendix".
Anyway enough of my ramblings and thanks again to all who started the discussions.
I look forward to catching up at the New England Convention.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Holidays in the way!!!!!!

G'day to all, I have been very quiet on the updates of late because I have been busy in the shedmaking and repairing all those things that have to be done when you live on property.

Since my last posting, I have finished the corner return module and have installed it ready for the peninsular modules to be constructed.

The divider is actually the backdrop for the centre peninsular.
The back module is also completed and installed. There just needs some minor adjustment in the legs (screw feet) to make the back drops line up.Module completed

My holidays were fast approaching and not wanting to have anything half finished on the workshop floor I opted for some fun and cut out the ply and the risers for the terminis station area. I had already mapped out the track plan so it was just a matter of cutting an 8 by 4 sheet in half, then cut out the scenery areas.

Plywood just sitting there awaiting fixing.

Well after spending 2 weeks on Fraser Island, fishing, relaxing, 4WDing, fishing and did I say relaxing, we came home.

It has been raining here since I have been away so I will need to get into cutting the grass before the lions take over.

Anyway enough from me. Bring on the Tuesday nighters.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Show Scene

Evening all,
Last weekend Geoff and I took the Friday off and headed for the Murwillumbah High School Hobby Exhibition with my layout 'More'.

Geoff and I have atended this exhibition prior as exhibitors and were looking forward to another great weekend.

We arrived in Murwillumbah early on Friday and headed over to the railway yards for another poke around and get some measurements and detail shots we didn't get last time.

Turntable still intact and free, looking towards the station.

The idea was to obtain measurements of the spacing between frame, rodding and cabling. The first job though was to remove some of the regrowth obscuring our photos.

This shot could have made front page of the local paper "Two start clearing for the trains" Geoff clears the grass.

There was some great examples of interlocking and rodding.

Great shot of the frame and rodding, no frame letter on it and will have to look it up.

Nice close up, my home layout is over 1300 high and it is detail like this that suddenly become noticable.

Closer look!!!!!!!

We spent a few hours wandering around taking many shots and measurements, then finally headed for lunch. A great hamburger can be had at the shop opposite the railway station.

It was 2 o'clock, 14.00hrs and time to set up for the show, we headed over, met Phil the organiser and commenced the job of setting up. It takes about an hour and a half now due to the fact that 'More' is 10 yrs old with some of the rail joins taking a bit to get them spot on.

Cleaning the track, oh and hitting your head on the pelmet. Geoff wasn't the only one.
The finished product with the trains running.
The show was well attended by the various scales with N scale the most. The highlight for me was to see Trevor Hodges 'Queens Wharf' O scale layout. The level of detail was fantastic, there is so much more to this layout than was covered in the magazine.
Members from New England Model Railway Club were in attendance with there layout and it was great to see some old faces. Their HO scale NSW layout always attracts great attention.
On the shop front Gwydir Valley Models and Horizon Hobbies were in attendance and this alway sees me splurging. If you haven't see their shops go online, just great!!
It was also great to catch up with Dave and the crew from 'Ecton', their O scale english narrow gauge layout is great with the emphasis on operation. The fellas are always in for a laugh!!!
Phil and the ladies of the P and F deserve a huge credit in organising a great weekend and looking after the exhibitors.
I look forward to the next show in 2012 around the same time.
Until next time. Darren

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Two jobs on the go!!!

Evening all, I have been a bit quite on the blog side however have been trying to get things done in the train room.

Having the track plan for the first station area pretty well mapped out in full scale on the floor and the first of the modules in place I thought that it would be a good idea to pre-wire all the turnouts to DCC standards prior to installation in the bench work.

There are some 12 turnouts in the first station area and I thought this will save timelatter in the construction and track laying stages.

Here is one of the many Peco code 75 large radis turnouts getting the DCC treatment.

Having the first module completed and some time it spurred me on to getting the second module finished and attached to the other.I am amazed at how benchwork seems to just eat screws, lucky I buy them in bulk.

Here is a shot of the first two completed modules in place ready to be bolted together. The shelving is also in placed that will hold all the odd bits and pieces we accumulate in a train room.
These two modules will be the end of the branchline.

I was lucky to have the weekend off and with all my chores done I took the opportunity to work in the shed and train room.

The next module was measured up and prepared. This module will fit at the end of the ones already installed (properly now) but will be the other side of the backdrop after the island moduals are completed.

Here is the smallest module awaiting the legs and back drop.

This weekend Geoff and I will be heading down to the Murwillumbah High School exhibition to be held at the Murwillumbah High school. We will be taking my exhibition layout 'More'.

If you have not been before, make the trip, it is well worth it. Come say hello to Geoff or myself as it is the last time 'More' will be exhibited.

Hope to see you there. Until next time. Darren

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Full scale plans

While adding the finishing touches to the layout room I have been trying to nut out a track plan that would work operationally for the size room, 6 by 9 meters. As mentioned earlier Aisle width is important along with as much bench space as possible. There were to be no duckunders and no double backing with true, follow your train as you go.

Yes it does limit being able to follow a particular prototype or layout, but to meet my guidelines I was happy to sacrifice.

Now that the layout room has been finished for some time, I have had the luxury of transferring my plans to full size on the floor. I have been sticking Peco templates onto large pieces of paper cut out to the recommended baseboard size.

Looking at the top photos gives you an indication of the yard layout. In my drawings I allowed 4800mm for the station area and after planning with full size templates and rollingstock I found that I needed to shorted it by 500mm too allow a curve out of the yard.
Here is a shot of the completed template sitting on some ply.

Being apart of a modelling group or club is one way of gaining plenty of inspiration.
The boys from our regular Tuesday night group provide plenty of inspiration, so with enough of the paperwork having been undertaken for so long, I better actually CUT SOME WOOD!!!!!

It does not look like much but it took a while to map out.

Taking shape.

All together with the backdrop attached temporary. I do all my work in the workshop and then move it into the train room (next door).

Anyway enough of my ramblings. It was a great weekend an although it seems like I didn't do much I actually finally made a start and now have something to work from.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Toowoomba Show

The weekend just gone saw Geoff of Splitters Swamp Creek fame and myself attend the Toowoomba Model Train Show, held in the Toowoomba Showgrounds.

The venue is basically a huge tin shed that can cater for all the exhibitors even a live steam circle of track.

There were around 40 exhititors and trade stands. The exhibitors are very well looked after and most return yearly with something different just so thay can be apart of this great show.

The displays and traders are well spaced out and there is plenty of room for the public to move around and enjoy the exhibition.

A big thankyou must got to Ted for the organising, planning and to the Darling Downs Model Railway club. This show just gets better and better.

As is usual Geoff and I take my display layout 'More', a freelanced layout with two circles of track and a branchline. The size is 3600 by 2400 and is sceniced on all four sides. It lives in a purpose built trailer when not on display.

It was built to try out some of the ideas in readiness for the home layout and continues to get minor changes when the need takes me.

I have to thank Geoff for his excellent effort with the backdrop and for the countless hours spent travelling to the various shows we have attended.

Here are a few shots taken of the layout over the weekend. I hope you enjoy.

The 48 is shunting one of Geoff's nicely detailed S trucks into the old shed siding and the frame that protects the siding.

The station and goods shed area at the end of the branch.

The layout has provided many hours of enjoyment to the veiwing public and I have had great pleasure in building and showing it with Geoff.

We will be attending the Murwullumbah Model Train show in August, hope to catch you there.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Great company

Well what can I say, two posts in a week. Firstly don't get used to it as it will not be happening.

Friday night was a great night and yes we all got more done than we probably thought we would.
Thanks to Geoff for the venue, Peter and Craig, for a great evening.

The Uneek signal kit was a joy to work on as it was very clean of flash and the timber mast showed reasonable grain detail. I spent most of my time filing down the head of the Lace Pin before attaching it to the semaphore arm. The pin head was so big that it covered the detail on the arm.

Sunday was the Railway Modellers Club of Qld buy and sell event at Brendale. I headed over with Craig (Cassino fame) and a heap of gear with the intention of selling it. There were plenty of stalls and people and I was happy with the amount I sold.
This was my first visit to their club rooms and Craig gave me a guided tour. Very impressive.

Away the day ended around 15.00, with a plesent drive home.

Saturday, May 15, 2010


Evening all, boy I have been busy over the last few months. Yes the train room is finished and planning is taking place, well playing on the floor some might say.
With the help of some pictures I will update you.
This shot (left) is the other side of the finished train room that you could not see in the last post. This was where the toilet was when we lived in the shed. All walls and associated plumbing needed to be removed.

This shot (right) is the air conditioner filing the hole where the toilet window used to be. The new work bench can be seen to the right of the air conditioner.

Here is a quick shot of that new work bench. Purpose built with pelmets and lights, recessed powerpoints and plenty of leg room.

The bench is L shaped and made in two peices. It was taken into the train room and assembled. It has made a welcome addition and has given me the excess to get plenty of work done.

The 32 class has been fitted with a Lok sound decoder with all the mods done and the 44 class has been fitted with a Soundtraxx DSD alco decoder and what a job I had. All done, the effort was worth it as they sound great.
The shot to the right is the 44 class with a complete reconstruction of the number two end. I removed the speaker, bulk head. After enough room was made I refitted the crew detail and fitted the shell. I did not change the bulbs to LED, although they are not that bright they will do.
Finally the paint dried and the room was ready to start putting back together. Refitting of light switches, power points and lights.
The room was then re-carpeted, I opted for carpet squares as they allow for ease of removal or changing if one get stained or damaged.
Ready for refitting electrical items.

The finished product. Now both sides of the room are finished. I am now able to start the mapping out on the floor.
I have been drawing the plan to scale for some time however there is nothing like working to full size.
Sorry for the large blank spaces in this post but I am still learning how this formatting works.