Monday, 18 July 2011

A Slow Time was had by All.

Things have not been going forward that quickly on Alderson. As I said before you are reading in real-time what I am doing in real time and I am lazy! I also have a bigish dog to look after and a house that always needs something doing to it NOW according to she who must be obeyed.

So, where are we? Well, not that much further physically but a lot further forward mentally. I have a copy of Model Railroaders "N Scale Model Railroading" by Marty McGuirk and I recently acquired their "Building a Model Railroad Step by Step" by David Popp. Now both are very interesting and each raises issues all of their own but they have one thing in common and that is that they both use hollow doors as a basis for the railroad. I'm building what my wife refers to as little coffins. The reason is obvious. I'm using Tortoise point machines. Both Marty and David used either code 80 Atlas points with point machines mounted on their sides or Peco code 55 pointwork with only a finger to operate them. Well, not a great way of operating Peco points who are renowned for their lack of conductivity. They only use the toe of the point and that can have an infinitesimally small contact point leading to no electrical flow. OK, the Peco pointwork is being used with a DCC system so it may be that the whole track is wired live and that all the locos used are long enough to bridge any gaps. I'm not an expert on DCC, in fact "I know nothing" as the saying goes. And it will stay that way too. Now both layouts also feature a good 2" of pink insulation foam. I thought about using this as a top covering but then thought that the mechanical amplification of the movement of the Tortoise point motor would be far too great and put the point tiebar under far too much strain so I'm covering my baseboard tops in 10mm thick foamboard so I have some way of having the odd depression etc where I want it and I'm going to use double sided self adhesive car tape about 1mm thick and 9mm wide for the roadbed, applying one strip either side of a drawn centre-line. Because it's self-adhesive I hope to be able to ballast without having to stick it down using a diluted white glue but I bet I do! I must remember to remove the tape where ever a tie-bar is of nothing will ever move. I'm adding a 10mm thick x 15mm wide strip of pine at each end of each board to protect the foamboard from bumps etc and to give something for the track ends to be firm to and on. If I add a backscene then the rear will be protected and I have to add a trim at the front to cover where the ply shattered where I cut it using my rip saw and so that will protect the front as well as adding somewhere for the sandhouse to sit if it is seriously within the structure gauge. I won't know until the Bachmann 2-8-0 arrives although I do have an NMRA gauge which may have a structure gauge on it. The idea is to temporarily attach the 10mm foamboard to the baseboard tops with long pins and draw out the trackplan full size on it and then drill through the foamboard using a small diameter drill for where the point operators will come through. That will leave a dent in the wooden baseboard to and then I can enlarge that up to my hearts delight! I'm hoping that by using 10mm foamboard I'll avoid having to cut a huge diameter hole in the baseboard top for the turntable and so weakening that part of the board. I thought about all this while I was fixing my shed roof on Saturday.

Now I've also looked at the trackplan and I think if I ever get really pushed for space then I could always do this:-



This works out to 5 foot 3 inches x 5 foot 3 inches. If you have any suggestions the please mail them to me at "mike-beard2@tiscali.co.uk"

If it gets this small it would probably being going into "The Smallest Room in the House".

I have made a little headway with some of the buildings. For "Factory 34" I have reduced the number of panes in each window back to the same number as in the HO scale version and I've added some extra air conditioners and the bases for some extractors. I've painted the windows in a fetching shade of blue. I have realised that for reasons I just don't understand I have avoided the colour blue completely so now I am conscious of it I must be careful not to overdo things with it.

Factory 37 is a Model Power "Coverall Paints" factory. Now until the track is laid etc all I'm going to do is work on the frontage. As there is no need not for any back to this building it can be twice as long as intended so I've put it together like that. Now I've got a Heljan Printing Works to which the Superior Sandwich Factory donated an end to replace the fancy "shopfront" so this "Shopfront" has been chopped and donated to the long "Coverall Paints". I'm thinking about lifting the whole building somewhat and adding a loading door and platform on the railroad side somehow but quite how I'm not sure of just yet.




I have also assembled a LifeLike Depot building that has a nice generic look about it. Now I found a pot of Badger 16-14 Light Tuscan Red which is about the right shade for a CNW depot and gave it a couple of coats of that and then I found that it should have gutters and that there should be boarding showing under the roof so I added the boarding from Evergreen and I glued some cross struts under the roof for the gutters to sit on. The gutters could be Evergreen half-round 30 thou or Ratio (UK) guttering. I my case I used both! I also replaced the rather austere chimney with a lovely cast white metal one I happened to have about my person. All I have to do now is add the downspouts from fusewire, and some namebaords, one each end as that was apparently CNW practise. Now I notice "Woodlands Scenics" do a "Depot Set" but can somebody tell me the significance of the mirror? The shame is that as all the LifeLike doors are moulded closed there is no possibility of adding a little scene within a scene. The platform will go when I add a full platform to the layout:-






Can I have a little rant? I have looked on eBay for some Intermountain boxcar kits and yes, there are a couple there and quite reasonably priced too but when those folks who are prepared to export outside the US ever make a sale I don't know. A $7.75 kit seems to merit a $32 postage tag. Now of course this results in "No Sale" but I have found others who are happy to post a locomotive to the UK for less than $10. So please Mr Trader, think before you quote a postage price if you want to make a sale in these hard pressed times. Rant over.

Help required! Could anybody tell me who sells N gauge switch stands? I know that Railway Express Miniatures make them but how can I get in touch with them so I can buy one detail set and a further 12 switch stands. Any help would be appreciated!

Happy Modelling,

Mike Beard.

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