Monday, August 2, 2010

Layout Happenings

Well I've spent the last few months going from one project to another to another, getting some things finished & others not so finished. I'll try to cover some of what I've been upto in this post.

The Layout

I've finally gapped & insulated all the points at the frog, I used a razor saw to re-gap the gaps at the frogs and then used 10thou styrene glued into the gap to help insulate- I'm hopeful it will make a difference & help to alleviate any shorts that may have occurred due to rail expansion, as part of this bit of work I've also wired up the majority of the layout & run a limited test as wiring progressed - so far so good, I'm hoping to test the layout from go to whoa shortly. I still need to make more point motors and attach them to the layout, but I must admit if I had not made so many of them I would be using the servo motor point motors I saw in action on Rowan's Main South layout - very impressed by them, only because I have most of the components already for the remaining point motors that I won't be going down that path, though I might use the servo motors to activate some semaphore signals. I also need to clean and then wipe a graphite pencil onto the track/rail - find it makes for really good pickup quality between track & wheel.

Most of the Main line points now have point motors installed but they need to be adjusted for hopefully good performance.

I ended up using a Powerline Victorian T class to check the track - in general most things went well but there are a few things that need to be fine tuned.

We got a new fridge a little while ago & not wanting to waste the luverley packing material I ended up cutting the the carboard packing into strips of about 100 - 150 mm (4 - 6") and used them as a fascia board template ( not my idea I read it somewhere) - I'll eventually run the scenery (when I get started on it) up to the cardboard and the cut the carboard to use as a template when cutting the real fascia board. Talking about scenery I was at the modelling the Railways of NSW at Loftus and Bob Stack of the SCR was demonstrating some of his scenery techniques and I was particularly taken by the way he sceniced his embankment - basically used some white beadfoam broken into small pieces (about 12 mm - 1/2") dipped into a thick plaster mix (Bob said it had to be thick so as to not end up being too smooth) squashed into the chicken wire and sceniced from there - I was really taken with the end result - have a look at the photos below to get an idea of what I'm talking about - as where I am thinking of using it I aleady have a scenery base of blue insulating foam down I'll have to experiment

Eureka 38

I picked up my 2 non DCC 38's from Eureka a while ago ( I wanted to have working marker lights & so thought it better to get non DCC units & then install a DCC sound decoder that could handle the extra functions required to have working marker lights rather than putting in a second function only decoder) and started to modify non streamed lined 3813 to have DCC, working marker lights, cab light & running lights,the tender water filler hatch light and a new coal load - interesting bit of modelling & am looking forward to doing the same to the black streamlined 38, I also reversed the middle of the compressor to be 'more correct' - not sure if that is really worth the effort - especially as it's not that noticeable when the model is running. Anyways 3813 now had red/white marker lights front & back using DCC Concepts dual colour Red/White LEDs & fibre optics to the modelled marker lights, a SMT LED as the cab light and also a 3mm golden white LED running lights shining down onto the running gear and a fibre optic run from them to be used as step lights,I also cut out the steps in the side of the 38 cab to allow the lights to shine thru. After I had finished the mods it was time to weather the model to help to dull off the shiny wheels, after I had finished I showed it to a mate of mine who used to drive the things & another who used to do the maintenance on them & they both said that the wheels should have been a sort of oily browny black colour rather than the dusty dirt colour I had done - so it'll be back to the paint shop to correct that. Talking about weathering the model a problem that I had was that I had lightly masked off the footplate when weathering the driving wheels so as to not get the footplate too dirty, unfortunately when I removed the blue painter's tape I had used some of the cream lining came off with the tape, I tried to fix this up with a bow pen but it's not turned out as well as I had hoped - ohh well such is life. Anyways some piks follow.

Photo of 3813 showing the front marker lights (white but they can be red), the running lights over the valve gear, the step cutouts in the cab and the cab light shining on the tender front plate, the tender water hatch light can just be made out just behind the coal load in the tender.

Red marker lights, cab light, cab step light & tender water hatch lights all lit up

pik looking down in to the modified tender - new (lowered) coal plate and driver's lunch box - easier to see the mod in an unpainted state.

Similar photo to the previous but this time the model is finished - weathered & coaled - I think the effort was worth it