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 | Category: Layout building
entry 1 Aug 2015, 03:42
This entry has taken me ages to get round to as its been a busy year. The new interest in electric locomotives has necessitated the installation of catenary. I bought a few components at the Sanddown Model Rail show from the Orient Express shop's stand. This enabled me to get started. I had a visit to Adelaide recently with work so was able to pop into the Orient Express shop to buy pretty much all the DRG catenary stock they had. The catenary is fairly easy to install. Fortunately it is also easy to uninstall as you will have to do this often to access track and locomotives underneath on occasion. Here are some shots of how it looks.

When I was originally thinking about this I had ideas that I could make finer catenary myself from wire or guitar strings however I have found out a few things since getting this much catenary to try out. On one of the initial pieces I bought there was a slight burr. It was so small you couldn't see it but the loco pant's found it so I had to file it off. The slightest burr on the wire will catch the pantograph on the loco and put strain on the catenary and supports. My idea of soldering finer wire together just wouldn't work as the solder wouldn't leave a smooth surface for the pantograph to run along. The wire does look a bit thick for scale but I don't really see an option that would be sufficiently robust to use instead of this.

These shots show the extent that I have installed the catenary so far. This cost me a grand total of $200 Aus. This has given me cause to stop and consider how much this is actually going to cost if I am to install this on the entire layout. I'm thinking this could a grand! I could get a couple of stealth locos or a decent sound one for that and have some change. I may reconsider this and just have it on the main line and a couple of sidings .

I have also been looking for suitable platform canopies to go with the station. This one is the best one I have found so far. It's a Faller one and looks the part. I'll buy more of these kits to populate the main platforms with.

I have been building more city street buildings for the section to the right of the layout. The idea is to have the trains weaving through conurbation on the way into the station. This way you will get glimpses of the trains between the buildings as they make their way in. This is where I am to so far on this. I have ordered more of these so I can build another set that will be an exact reflection of these to back onto the station.

So the next step will be to finish off the town streets to the right hand side and get that all done. I will get the catenary finished on the main lines. I'm thinking I'll be right to start some ballasting now so I'll pick some areas to start on and get going with that. As always plenty to do.

 | Category: Layout building
entry 22 Feb 2015, 06:48
I had a few signals to install and have them all in place now and fully wired. They are all DCC controlled through the ECoS.

My old ECoS had "issues" which made it unusable so I had to get another one. This one has a colour screen so happy about that.

Much of the time recently has been checking wiring had a couple of wiress come loose and needed to bolster connections. Have been doing a bit of weathering as well on some locos. Plenty still need to get done though.

Still need to add a few more signals. They will go in this area here. A couple have been installed already but I need three more I think.

I did a bit of detailing on the coal crane. Still need to add coal to the bunkers though.

Still making the street buildings. Two completed and another two still need building. Will be getting on to them next.

entry 2 Nov 2014, 00:42
Having now recovered from six weeks away I now feel a bit of an update is on the cards. I spent most of my time in Scotland with a week in Yorkshire and a week in Berlin. Railways were very much the theme of the visit and I managed to take in most transport museums in the areas visited.

Glasgow's new transport museum was first up and was quite impressed by the architecture.

I was also rather impressed by the large South African locomotive on show. This was the one that was on the Monster Moves television program.

Next down to Sheffield to visit the wife's family. We stopped off in York first though and stayed right next to the station. This was handy for train spotting opportunities.

It also meant that the Railway Museum was within easy walking distance.

I was quite please to see this upon entry. Very nice. Always been one of my favourite British loco's.

In Berlin I was quite impressed by the new Hauptbahnhof. Awesome railway station.

On the way down the the Deutsche Technicks museum I stopped to have a look at all that was left of the old Anhalter station. It must have been an impressive sight in its day.

The Museum still has turntable and sheds in good condition with a good selection of locos.

This is a model of the Anhalter station before destruction.

Like the National Railway Museum in York, there is also a cut open loco here showing how it all works. This is a KPEV P8 rather than a Merchant Navy though.

I wanted to go on a trip on an ICE and went to Braunschwieg. This loco sits out the front of the railway station.

Getting back to model railways, having arrived back to our house in Melbourne I was pleased to see a large parcel from Modelbahn Kramm which contained many items needed for the layout. Most of the stock I had was epoch 2 but generally based in the north in Berlin. I had bought a few items which were more appropriate for Bavaria so a Brawa Br 38 steam loco.

I also bought a few electrics appropriate for the era. I has initially found these dull and uninteresting but now love them now. Especially the bigger ones. So a Roco E-94;

Brawa E 73.

and a Brawa e 77

While inputting these locos into the ECoS I had a screen freeze which I have been unable to resolve. It occurred when trying to set long addresses to Railcom locos. The ECoS seemed to do a reset whenever I tried to program them with the long address. After one of these resets the screen froze and set on the track plan diagram and has not responded to any touch since. The loco that was on the prog track when the final reset and freeeze occurred was a loksound v4 so I wouldn't have expected that.

I have spent a bit of time trying to resolve the problem but the screen will not move from the track plan mimic diagram screen unless given an external command when linked to a computer. I had managed to get the rescue mode screen and the initial screen after3 factory reset mode. I also had the screen calibration screen up but none of them will respond when touched. Having faced facts; it's eight years old and has served well in that time, I suppose I will have to get a new colour screen one.This wasn't factored into my budget so other things such as catenary and more signals will have to wait now. Unfortunate but these things happen.

I have a load of signals to install which will complete the north side of the layout.

The signals will all be digitally controlled so I need to get the new controller before I can set this up so this will all have to wait. I also have some kits to build. I got one of these sets which has four buildings in one kit as they are more economical and I need a few.

I can start work on the kits now but will have to wait a bit until I can order a new controller till I start doing the rest of the signals. So plenty to do from here.

 | Category: Layout building
entry 7 Sep 2014, 23:23
Previously I had installed a three way signal on the layout and thought I'd show you how this comes up on the ECoS screen as it's a bit more interesting than the regular two position ones. This is the one to the top right of the screen. When you press it first it opens up to show three signal positions which you can choose from. Installing one of these signals uses two outputs from your point decoder. Once wired up it works quite well though.

Here's the signal on the layout on the right of the below picture.

Station signs were needed to start outfitting the station platforms. The signs were created using the Tannenberg font. I did a bit of a search on this and this is what the dreischeibe forum seemed to consider was correct for the period. Looks about right but not entirely convinced so if you know better, let me know what is a more appropriate font. This is the making of the signs and instalation.

I tidied up the platform underpass entrances with sides and banisters. I made steps as well.

The station building got some flower boxes and period railway posters. Still thinking about how to do the station surrounds. Will do a bit more research on this.

The local historical society did a re-enactment of the visit by the Bavarian King Ludwig II with his entourage in his royal railway carriage pulled by the legendary S2/6.

There was also a nostalgia special to Vienna for enthusiasts pulled by the S3/6.

I was looking into point rodding and ducting and had a bit of a learning curve on the mechanisms used in the period for switching points and signals. I bought some of the Auhagen parts to see what they were like. I'll also order some of the Weinert ones to try out too to see cost versus detail and take it from there. I've installed some of it so far so here is how it looks with the rope pull holders and switching lanterns etc.

Still looking at rolling stock and need to start building up more of a Bavarian Era 2 fleet. Most of the Era 2 stock I have is Berlin based rather than Bavarian. I'll need to start building up a fleet of Era 2 Bavarian stock so have my eye on a few to get once funds become available. I've ordered a couple of electrics which are appropriate and will start buying catenary to install. Might have to just install the masts initially and fill in the power cables later so I can keep access open.

I will also have to figure how I'm going to manage the join between the new Fife layout and this one. I've made the baseboards for the new one and will need to allow clearance for trains to run underneath the new one. This might make the new layout a bit high.

Well home beckons and I'm off back to Scotland for the next couple of months with side trips to Yorkshire and Berlin so nothing will be happening on the layout while I'm away. I'll be coming back with loads of goodies to get cracking with on the new layout when I get back though so plenty to look forward to. Just a couple more pictures to finish with.

 | Category: Layout building
entry 12 Aug 2014, 03:22
This blog entry follows on from the previous one in continuing with the fitting of the platforms. I had to etch them and paint the edges and create the slot where the underpass entry will be fitted later.
All the other station platform paraphernalia can be fitted later too.

Once the platform shape had been established I had to check for smooth running of pretty much all my stock with the tightest fit possible. I had got pretty close but my Kriegslok seemed to catch more than others and had to go back to shave a bit more off the edges.

The bright light from the railway room seems to have overlit the platforms so they look a bit washed out. Iíll have to figure out how to make adjustments for that but youíll get the general idea.
Having photographed it I can see several areas which will need tidied up. There are a lot of frayed bits along the edges which need sanded and repainted. A couple of bits need their curves smoothed.

I also fixed up the light that wasnít working on one of the signals. The signals are fine but costly. Iíd calculated that it was going to cost me thousands to populate the layout with all the appropriate signals as Iíll also need point decoders to go with them. Iíve also thought that some electrification would be appropriate too and will install catenary on the two main lines. For these reasons Iíve decided to start another layout which is going to be more labour intensive than cost intensive. Iíve already bought the wood and ordered the track material. I already have the backdrops so can make a start soon while Iím building up funds to pay for all the station equipment and signals.

From here Iíll have to patch up the track as it seems to have got bashed around a bit with all the other things going on. With the Tillig track there is a great shortage of sleepers so I need to go and fill in the gaps and straighten up the sleepers I've been bashing around. Also I need to add fishplates. Once thatís done I can probably start to ballast some parts. Here's some pictures with the locos now to conclude.

 | Category: Layout building
entry 21 Jul 2014, 04:20
There's been a few things happening of late. I started off by correcting the end of street scene from last entry. It now blends in better than it did. The join being far better than before.

I started installing the Veissmann signals I had bought to see how they went with digital control. I had a few problems initially. I had bought a Veissmann decoder as I thought it might work better being the same brand. How wrong I was. I had no joy at all with the Veissmann decoder. I tried all sorts of settings but the best I could get was to get it to work once on the wrong setting. To get it to work again I had to re-program it. Not ideal really. While doing a trawl of the internet I found a wiring diagram for using an LDT solenoid item decoder so tried that. Again no joy. Eventually I came across a thread on MRF which said that it would work with the Lenz LS150 which is what I use for my point motors. I tried this and it worked fine. Other than the Veissmann signals, I haven't had much success with their product; their S-88s had issues too. So now I've tried these out it'll be Lenz LS150's all the way. The signals are pretty good and well detailed. I'm quite pleased with them but they are costly and I'll need a few of them.

The other thing I've been doing is starting making my platforms. I've been using off cuts from walls and 1mm ply with plaster coating. I've found period canopies but I'll need a few and cost will mount up. A few of these things will have to wait till I get back from the UK in November as I'll need to save for my trip home. So here's how they've been going.

I noticed while photographing these last ones that one of the LED's in the signal has gone already. I checked the wiring and there is no loose wire. So looks like life expectancy is not that great. Bit disappointing. The next step is finish off all these platforms and then start ballasting round them.

 | Category: Layout building
entry 28 Jun 2014, 08:32
Time for a bit of an update on what's been happening on the layout. First up I had to extend the backdrop as it petered out in the middle of a street. The only option was the same backdrop I used before but I joined it up on the second sheet as the colour on the first was too light and there was a very obvious join. This doesn't look too bad. Merges fairly well. This concludes the backdrops for the Bavarian layout as it is now wrapped all around. Track laying was concluded a couple of entries ago so now getting to the station area.

This picture taken from the net continues the street fairly well but the top of a couple of buildings has been lopped off in the picture. Bit if a shame as it would good otherwise. Trying to think of a way of hiding this. Probably a big tree would be best. I'll use this brick coloured wall to separate the tracks from the street but will have to decide what I'm doing first before cutting to size.

Because I had set the previous backdrops at 10cm height I was committed to doing this with the rest. I've been able to hide this behind buildings and raised railway lines elsewhere but the lack of space between the railway line and the wall prevents me using anything three dimensional here. I'm thinking brickwork or foliage as the best way of hiding it. I added a new building here too. I'll probably add another street of four storey buildings to add a bit more depth.

Being carrying on with painting my Preiser figures. Still have a lot more to go though. Added a couple to one of the flak wagens. I'll get more of these as it finishes it quite well.

I started adding grass around the edges of the station and a wall. This continues all the way round. I used the Noch grassmaster as it gives best results for a large area. I also finished track laying with the service yards now being complete. I can start fixing in the buildings here too. I can probably start ballasting soon as it all seems to operate well. I just have to get positions for the signals and platform installed.

I bought some Faller platform to see how easy it would be to make. I'll investigate options at the hardware store to see what I can come up with as it will be cheaper and probably more realistic to make my self rather than having to fiddle with kits platform. I painted the fountain as well. I saw the one in Nuremberg was painted so thought I'd copy that. I also put a fence round it too. I was going to add some epoxy water but now that I need it I can't find it. I'm sure I saw it in a box I was rummaging through the other week but nowhere to be seen now.

 | Category: Model filming
entry 10 Jun 2014, 00:20

A couple of test videos of the layout.

Just trying to see if I can upload You tube vid's. Took a while but I eventually got there.

It's amazing how much you notice on film that you don't normally see. I've given myself a whole lot of work by doing this having to correct things I'd never normally noticed. I put my videocam on the back of a flat wagon and pulled it along with a Kreigslok. The balance of the wagon was poor because of its size relative to the flat wagon but I like the perspective. I've no idea where the editing software disc is to load onto this computer either as it got packed up when the old house got demolished so apologies for the bits either end which I haven't tidied up.

The idea was to have a few layers of scenery to create a false impression of depth.

I dug out the old handycam and had a bit of a go with it. Hadn't seen much action for a while.

I also found the editing software so have tidied up this last one.

 | Category: Scenery modelling
entry 22 May 2014, 00:21
I decided I had to do something about the top left, or north west corner of the layout. Once I get this part finished I can then complete the trackwork for the service yards. To this end I carried on from where I left off before. I had got as far as plastering the area and applying a coat of paint to seal it.

Next I used the grassmaster on it to get it to look like this.

Some small bushes and plants and finally trees.

Next step was ballasting the track on the raised shuttle line.

I added a bit of pavement at the base of where the retaining walls will sit.

Then added the retaining walls to continue on from the previous installation.

I then put in paving for this side of the road. Once this was done I then definitely knew how much space I had for maintenance yards.

I then installed more points and track to get this.

A view from a different angle. This is where the station building will sit.

Sort of an aerial view to show how it all sits plan wise on the western side of the layout.

On the other side I added a further point to conclude my track laying for this side of the layout.

Down this side I also added some new baseboards to build up this end.

I need to get a further backdrop for this end before going wild with more buildings. I had my eye on the Faller Nuremberg fire station but availability and cost are issues. I could make something I suppose. Plenty of time to think further about what I'm going to put in here later though. I have lots of tidying up to do now. Here's some shots of the layout to give an overview of where I'm up to.

 | Category: Scenery modelling
entry 28 Apr 2014, 09:18
There's not an awful lot to show this time around. I have been doing things but they're probably not all that noticeable. I had new lights installed in the roof which has really brightened the room up no end. Makes things a lot better to see and photograph although I'm starting to notice some pictures washed out if I photograph too close to the light. I tend to have the blinds down all the time here as the railway room is north facing and the sun is very strong here. It could easily melt my stock that's stored below in boxes.

Also finished my shuttle lines and they're fully operational now. Still cleaning them up a bit as they got a bit messy in some parts due to painting and plastering behind.

I had made a start on the wooded corner section but seasonal change has had an impact on this. I have done the plastering and a rough coat of paint to seal it but the weather then got quite cold so it won't dry quite as quickly, or worst case scenario; not at all, when I grassmaster it. I'll probably just jack up the heating for a bit to sort that out.

While I'm down this end of the layout here's a couple of pictures of how things look from down here at the moment. Once the corner is forested I can get to work on this part. The stone wall will continue round and merge into tunnels.

The most visible part is adding lots of window boxes with flowers to brighten the place up a bit. MiniNature do a great line in the flowers so a few different colours and a chopped up piece of walnut strip for the boxes and off we go. Did some touch ups of older buildings, repainted them and weathered them.

I made the maypole that was mentioned previously. I used the Trix one along with parts from a Noch one to make the one shown.

I planted the Bavarian flag banners too. I'll need to make more of these.

Added a few more buildings too. Fountain and a public WC.

I'm painting some Prieser people for inside coaches as well. Bit cheaper than the ready painted ones.

Thinking to the future now I may add more building to this section at the front so that I have the trains travelling through city effect. I'll need another city back drop so that will be the third of the same backdrop I will use but I don't see any better alternatives. Here's some shots to finish with.

A couple of cameos to conclude with.

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