Categories
Uncategorized

Village Start

Today I didn’t do all that much, but to me it looks like so so much. I’ve started the village board! I didn’t take any pictures of the process since it is so incredibly simple… It is a piece of rectangular ply that I’ve cut a bit off at an angle. I measured the distance to the wall on the left and right side of the station platform back wall, and marked that on my ply (I calculated the length as well, but the difference with the diagional was negligible at 5mm, as expected), clamped a piece of sacrificial 1×4 to the ply to act as a guide between these two points.. and simply sawed it off with a hand saw. Who needs fancy tools eh?

The buildings I put up there aren’t going to be the buildings I will eventually put up there. But they do show what I had in mind with this station platform when I started working on it (I built the platform before I even had the materials for my benchwork). And I have to admit, it is so inspiring to see that image I had in my head in real life. The board is still just clamped in place and not fixed down, I just wanted to be able to see what I have to work with before I continue.

Next up is going to be the two bridges for the platform tracks to continue past my signal box, and the road underneath that leads down to the harbour. I have quite a ramp to build… But I’m sure it’ll be delightful to work on it.

Categories
N Gauge Model Railway

Completed Fiddleyard

So continueing from where I left off; to add the two tracks to the fiddleyard to store trains, and to put in the reversing loop. Even though I don’t have a reversing module yet, I wanted to get the track in so it is easy to put in the module and have it operational, without the need to put in more track when the time comes. The reversing loop is intended to be used with my future harbour (of which the board with track is candidly visible sometime, though I’ll write that up once I can actually start work on it in earnest).

Time for a little Review

There isn’t much to say about installing this track, it was similar to the other track I put in. But that does lead onto my experiences putting this track in so far. There are a million tutorials online on how to lay track and flexitrack, but I find that the vast majority of them use Peco track. However, since I already had some Fleischmann track and points, and already being familiar with their track system, I continued using that. A shame there aren’t any tutorials that use Fleischmann flexitrack!

I wonder why…

It is lovely track, it comes with a decent looking trackbed and the flexitrack uses a type of rubber for it which I reckon actually helps reduce noise transmission into the baseboard. The points are high quality and no fuss really, plus their propietary point motors handily slot into them ensuring a perfect placement.

But… it isn’t all good. If a point is faulty, like the one shown in the previous post, it is very difficult to repair. I didn’t manage. There is a small spring inside of the point that is extremely finicky to place, and it has a strong tendency to come out when removing and fitting the underside of the point. The flexitrack, while the rubber ballast makes it look pretty with no additional effort, is a double edged sword. The majority looks good, but where you have to join it to points or other track, you’ll have to cut it back, and you will have to sort that area out yourself. Try getting those areas to look the same as the rest of the pre-formed ballast. On top of this the flexi-track, while flexible, actually doesn’t flex all that easily. I find it difficult to even approach 2nd/9″ radius curves, so difficult I had to resort to using a piece of curved set-track in the above reversing loop. And just to add insult to injury, Fleischmann track is 2 to 3 times as expensive as Peco track.

Putting the upsides next to the downsides of Fleischmann track; it is no wonder most tutorials use Peco track. Their range is more extensive, cheaper and just a guess based on the number of people I’ve found to speak ill of their track products, far easier to use.

Think I won’t be using Fleischmann track on my next layout. And as bad as it may come out in this review, I’ll continue to use it for this layout. The majority of the track is already down after all.

Categories
N Gauge Model Railway

Fiddleyard

The plan for my layout doesn’t include a fiddleyard, but they’re handy to have to store trains and rolling stock off-scene. Since I don’t intend to run a whole lot simultaneously, I figured I put in a small hidden fiddleyard. Normally you’d have to accessible to swap out rolling stock, but again, I don’t intend to run a whole lot of variety on this layout, so a hidden inaccessible one should be fine for my needs.

So I did the only proper thing I could do; take up these 3 points, replace the faulty point… and take out the S-bend by using a left-hand point instead of a right-hand point to go into the far-track of the fiddleyard.

So there is still work to be done on the fiddleyard. There is more track to be put down, put terminal blocks in to wire these tracks up to my controller and ofcourse, run more trains!

Categories
N Gauge Model Railway

Loopback

So a problem I’ve had is that I put my station platform in the middle of my table. While that is a nice focal point, trying to fit any sort of loopback in proved to be very difficult.. maybe impossible? The only realistic solution was to move the station platform over to the right. The benefits of this change were just too many to ignore; I can fit a loopback on the lefthand side, I can remove the loopback from sight with the backscene which coincidentally reduces the amount of resin I need for the water as well as making it easier to put in the illusion that the cliffs don’t protect the pier too much from the ocean.

The 2mm thick cork trackbed was glued down using copydex; smells dreadful but surprisingly good for the job as it is a rubberised glue. The cork was roughly fitted to fit the curve of the track (9″ radius fleischmann set-track that I already had) with the idea that it will be trimmed around the track later on.
Categories
N Gauge Model Railway

Benchwork

So the third and final woodworking project is… something that I’ve wanted to do for probably 10 or so years now. Benchwork for my trains! I’ve decided to go for the L-Girder technique, as I like the idea of having full control and having access to everything from the bottom. That, and it’s easy enough to construct.

As you can see, the drop trap I built to start of the woodworking projects is in the background. And despite the look of it, it’s really sturdy! Just one slight problem, even though it fits through the door, turns out that the doors upstairs are 1″ slimmer… and it just barely doesn’t fit through them. So… lets break out the saw and try again…

Decided to make it 20cm slimmer, and to be honest, I’m happier that the top cross-bars are lower so I can more easily connect wires to another bench in the future.

Top bars were shortened slightly (by 10cm) so it’ll still fit through the (slightly slimmer!) upstairs doors, for when I eventually move.

Aaand that’s half of the bench already covered. Plus I’ll need to turn it a bit to be able to make the track of the station be able to loop back. But I reckon that’ll be fine and add a bit more interest to the whole thing. The track in the foreground is a slightly altered version of Glenderg’s design from the IrishRailwayModeller.com forums. I moved the engine shed and added a goods shed to add a bit more scenic interest to the design, with the doors facing the front instead of hiding it in the back of the building facing the station.

Oh, and the storage space underneath? Yeah, funny how quickly that fills up with all sorts of stuff.

Categories
Hydroponics

Hydroponics Trolley

The second woodworking project of the month; a trolley to house 2 hydroponics buckets. The first bucket I’ve had running as a Kratky method bucket with only an air stone inside of the nutrient mix, with near explosive results when it came to the Oregano and Basil (they suddenly went insane covering half of the left door you see in the photo below!)

It might not look like much yet, no plants, or even plumbing yet. But the plan is for the right bucket to have 8 “medium” size net-pots for herbs, and the left bucket is still undecided, but will likely end up with anywhere between 4 and 6 “large” net pots growing larger plants. Maybe peppers? We’ll have to see once the plumbing is in place. Parts have been ordered for that.

Why a trolley? Good question! As you can see, it is sitting right in front of our back door, and we would like to have access to the garden at certain times. It also currently blocks our dryer, so its nice if we can move it out of the way if we have to. The plan is to include automation using a Raspberry Pi to alert me when the nutrient mix needs refreshing or otherwise needs attention (such as pH getting too high or too low).

Categories
Uncategorized

Cat Drop Trap

Not quite a model railway thing, but recently I was asked if I could build a Drop Trap by my partner. Now this is mostly a simple piece of woodworking.. problem is, I didn’t have any wood.

And I suppose that is where the tie in with the model railway comes in; I didn’t have any wood for a model railway table either!… or.. for the hydroponics, which I have wanted to build a mobile trolley for for a while now. And I imagine you can see where this is going; it was the perfect excuse to borrow a van to purchase some wood from the local builders supply for my building endeavors!

So a little bit poorer but richer in building materials, I banged together this trap. It’s stone age technology really, but apparently the most successful design for catching kitchens. Neatly fits in my partners boot with the seats down, nice and light so it isn’t a hassle to carry even for a single person but heavy enough to not have to worry about kitties escaping. What you’d call, simple but effective.

Just attach a string to the little ringlet on the brace and pull if you want the trap to come down. And no sooner than when I finished it, it was whisked away for duty.

Categories
N Gauge Model Railway

It’s a start

So I’ve finally made a start at a model railway, or at least trying. Big plans of having most buildings light up, and having as much as possible “functioning” (read: moving) is one thing, but first and foremost I’d just like to build an idyllic railway that one could mistake for perhaps being Irish. I’ll try my best, and due to budget and availability of kits and time, I will be using kits of structures that would be at home in different parts of the world, but I’m going to try and make them feel as much at home on my layout. My first problem though, I’m technically inclined.. not historically, so I have no idea what kind of a trackplan would suit!

Trackplan designed and drawn by Glenderg from IrishRailwayModeller.com

So I asked for help on the Irish Railway Modeller forum, and a user by the name of Glenderg drew a plan that immediately captured my imagination. I had a plan for a station platform before, but his drawing instantly formed a 3D rendition in my head, and I could see my platform idea fitting in somehow as well, so.. bingo! Brilliant!

The idea formed on a drive on the Wild Atlantic Way, specifically the area around Connemera and the Cliffs of Dunneen. The roads and houses are kinda sloped in those areas, each building kind of has its own terrace. I wondered what it’d be like for a railway to be built in such areas, and with some bits and pieces I had that I’d hope to include somewhere, this idea formed. Having to carve out a straight section through a steep enough slope to suit the tracks with the station building above it leading passengers straight to the footbridge. Not wheelchair accessible maybe, but I’ll be going for early 1950’s, and I have a feeling I can get away with it.

Glenderg also made a smaller version of the original trackplan, to suit the available space more. I will be combining this smaller trackplan
with the grander feel of the first one.

Now Glendergs trackplan was drawn for a Harbour scene, as I want to have a harbour (I wonder if the Wild Atlantic Way inspiration gave it away?). And I feel like this platform would fit in nice enough. My mind travels back to a trip to Portree on the Isle of Skye, Scotland, and thinking back to the harbour there. Having the tracks a bit higher will protect the tracks from particularly high swells, and it will allow me to let the road that crosses the track to come down (even steeply) to the right of it, going undernearth the tracks. Which hits another thing I’d like to see on my layout: a couple of bridges!

So next steps: Figure out what kind of signals make sense to include in this platform scene, and transcribe Glendergs wonderful trackplan into tracks on the board, and see which buildings will go where.