Sunday, 3 July 2011

Moving on around the Loco Yard



It's been a few days since I've said anything much here about Alderson and that is because it's difficult to discuss thought. Since I wrote last time I've been lucky and had three deliveries from friends in the United States so I have had a lot of fiddling to do. The first piece of building that arrived was the Bachmann Coaling Tower. Now I always thought it a little crude but when I looked at it through my reading glasses I realised that I was quite wrong in my assessment and in fact its really rather nice. What does let it down is the crudeness of its roof mouldings which are more HO than N in detail. So I razor sawed off all the silvered roof and replaced it with some Kibri Corrugated Sheet I just happened to have. I capped off the roof at the inverted V with Evergreen angle, 0.060". Now even I dont believe that any railroad company would put up so few handrails and I think Bachmann have been economical with the mouldings! So I'm adding a handrail where I think one is necessary to conform with local rules. And I've mounted the coal chute "up" rather than down. Unfortunately this reveals the moulded in Bachmann details that want filing off. I thought the chute was moulded in black plastic but is actually painted that colour. The next item to get my attention was a Pola sandhouse. Um - a bit wide so I cut off two planks of the hut structure from each side. This is a very narrow layout! Then I assembled the hut onto a false floor and raised it by about 3mm on a slice of Ratio (UK) wood planking. The sand bin was reduced by a similar amount in width as was the rather well moulded sand pile itself. The sanding tower had to be moved wholly to the roof of the hut to keep the footprint size down. Now there seems to be no provision for fixing the "can" to the woodwork and also the can had a couple of vicious sink marks in it. One was on the top so I used a filing punch and produced a thin plastic circle to cover that and the over one was covered by a collar made from Evergreen 30 thou half round. In the end I filed a bit of the woodwork away to for a slight step and added a U beam cross piece for the collar of the can to stick to. The feed pipe seemed to have been lost in the moulding process so I added that from 20 thou round plastic. That all seems to fit quite well. Finally a Bachmann Water Tower arrived and it fits - with no modification you'll be glad to read - except a bit of the base will need removing and perhaps the ladder should be somewhat more vertical!


Now that I'm happy that the left hand board is viable I'm going to go ahead this week and build all the baseboards which are basically plywood 39" x 10" with the underside of the trackboard being 5" high up the side of the sides. I use plywood because generally UK straightwood warps all over the place. For instance I always use plain, square Hemlock stair spindles for layout legs because they won't warp and they are all cut to the same length! To go on there I'm going to cover the entire board with 10mm thick foamboard and then on top of that I'm going to print out the entire layout full size on A4 sheets of self-adhesive labels and then on either side of the drawn centre lines I'm going to add 9mm wide "Automotive tape" as an underlay. Now Automotive tape is very sticky and onto that I'll lay the Atlas code 55track and ballast it. You have to remember to cut it away where the point tie rods are! I'm lucky in that I used to be an engineer and I have AutoCAD so I can draw out a point once and use it left or right hand time and time again. I can also draw out a short length of track and double it, and double it again etc. I'll have to drill holes for the wires, point motor operators etc. Front and rear of the layout will, eventually, have a thin skin of board just to finish it off although I may have a backscene board. Controls for each board will be recessed into the front of each board. There will be a power busline for 12V DC controls to the track and a point motor busline to drive the Tortoise units. The voltage for this depends on what AC power supply I can find. Two diodes will provide the changeover half DC voltage. The Tortoise units will have their PCB's modified to only make contact at the end of throw rather than the more instantaneous result of the current design.

So that is the work for the next few weeks described. Oh, and I'm still working on what I'm now calling "Premier" works which is item 34 on the trackplan. A pair of 34' semitrailers arrived in one package so I was able to cut the apertures for the road vehicles to load at. Now all I have to is assemble the 4 sides and suitably brace to stop warping and then detail to suit and couple to the older building.

I hope to report some good progress next time with more pictures too.

4 comments:

  1. I think this is fantastic work and the scene is really starting to come together. I think it conveys a real prairie branchline "feel" quite effectively. Well done and I'm looking forward to the next installment.

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  2. Thank you Chris. The worst part is coming - baseboard construction week. I approach that like a mechanical or structural engineer rather than a carpenter. I dread it.

    Mike Beard

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  3. Well, I understand the nature of a blog, but I suggest while there may be some guys with lots of time on their hands and nothing better to do reading this just to follow the development of your layout, you'd get more interest if you were to look at your blog as providing some guidance to guys who might also wish to improve some of the things on their own layouts. As such, it would be good to provide photos of what you are doing.... the little changes and improvements you are making. I have the same B'mann coal tower on my layout and I'd like to see the changes you made. Less words, more pics!!!

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  4. Herb,

    That is a good idea. It's baseboard building week here but TV in the evenings is SO dire that I might take a few close-up snaps and detailed explainations of how and why and expand that way. Thank you for that.

    Mike Beard

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