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BRMA (Victoria) DCC Sound Demonstration Project

16336 Views 25 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  neil_s_wood
A recent feature of BRMA exhibitions is the interest in British outline DCC Sound. As such, it was discussed that a demonstration layout be developed to more appropriately display and demonstrate the members' DCC sound equipped locomotives. To that end Neil Woods and I elected to construct an appropriate "layout" that could be used to appropriately display British outline DCC equipped steam and diesel locomotives.

While not a particularly exciting layout, this essay into DCC Exhibition Standard display layouts is an example of the work required to exhibit at any "professional" venue and as such has been outlined here as a "way of going about it" for those interested in building not only an exhibition display but also a quality home based layout suitable for DC and DCC alike.

The board was made out of 12mm plywood with 19mm x 42mm batterns screwed all around. This was done with a built in countersink bit (courtesy of Festool Germany - my chosen power tool) and ably assisted by my 2.5 year old Lachlan (I hold the drill; he squeezes the trigger!).

The 12mm plywood was ripped down to 300mm wide from a 1200mm long board. Given that there were no complications of pointwork and controls required the 42 x 19 was deemed more than sufficient in bracing this "light weight" model railway structure.

This base board took approximately 1.5 hours to construct (with the help of aforementioned 2.5 year old). Once completed, the track road base was affixed using neat PVA glue (Selley's "Aquadhere" Interior). The track-bed is a closed cell foam underlay produced and marketted by DCC Concepts from Perth in Australia. I had already procured a box of this particular product prior to relocating across country from Perth to Melbourne. I duly marked out our double track mainlines and then glued the track base in place using a small offcut of the track base to spread the neat PVA glue along the underside of the foam product.

I then transported the board around to Neil's house (12 minutes - gosh I love Melbourne!) where Neil proceeded to apply his scenic magic in the form of polystyrene formers with plaster impregnated cloth to create the fantastic back drop to this fictional layout.

Once the foam was applied complete with plaster cloth application, Neil then utilised his suite of "earthy tones" to apply suitable natural variations in earth colour including a spectacular out-cropping of rock from commerciallly available mouldings. This feature was required, not only to provide a scenic backdrop to our DCC sound demonstration, but to also enhance reflection of the sounds produced by the locos out to the viewing (listening?) public.

While the relatively small size of these images prevents you from seeing the full detail in the scenic work, Neil has done a masterful job in creating a rock-hewn cutting by which the sounds from the DCC equipped locos shall reverberate thus enhancing the listening experience of the DCC Sound listener. (me amongst them!!)

This view along the track bed gives an indication of the strata that Neil has created - reminiscent of perhaps coarser scapes of wee bonny homelands I'm sure!

It was at this point that Neil and I agreed (over a pleasant lunch of your finest "Nando's") that it would be a fine idea to document (on MRF) this essay for those who care of such things. Additional complication was created when Neil advised me that the layout needed to be able to be connected to by other future BRMA essays. As such, the track at each end of the layout needed to be robust (to allow for different boards to be attached along the ways.)

As such I decided to go for robustness and include copper clad sleepers soldered to brass plated screws (at track ends) with track soldered to these copper clad sleepers aswell. We decided on PECO code 75 Streamline track in nickle-silver as a suitable comprimise given that we were unable to ascertain the flange dimensions (and subsequent coarseness?) of club members' locomotives. ( My preference would have been for C&L Finescale's Bullhead 75 flexitrack however some of the recent rolling stock does not rate a mention on this track due to its propensity to "smack" its flanges onto the beautifuly cast chair detail.")

This shot shows the robustness of the soldering technique while extolling the virtues of being able to finely adjust the height of the brass screws to ensure the copper-clad sleeper is fully aligned with the rest of the permanent way.

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Sorry I've missed I've been in Canberra for the last couple of days. Just got back an hour ago after an eight hour drive.

Looks great with the ends on and track added.

It would be good to be able to add other sections to it as Doug is doing a different one with a shunting yard.

That's amazing the degree of track lift. Hopefully once glued and ballasted into place this will be minimised.

Nando's does seem to be turning into Melbourne's premium model rail conference centre.

It should be ready for adding the topography next.

Will discuss the next stage with you on Tuesday probably at Nando's.
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Ok well although it's been silent here for a while that doesn't mean that nothing has been happening. I have put in a basic ground cover, then some short grass, some longer grass in place, some ferns, some reeds in the pool areas and soil in the areas where top soil has been exposed. Here are some pictures below of where we are now up to. All I really need to do is add a couple of trees and a backdrop. The pools are white because I have use pva and it has still to dry.

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QUOTE (john woodall @ 22 Apr 2009, 16:16) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Well Neil,

Its comming along. Bit brown for my taste but that may just be the pics.

Since you are using it to highlight sound, are you going to put ambiant sound into it as well?


Hi John,

the colour is accuarate. It is meant to be late summer early autumn.

I could put ambient sound in but it would consist mainly of wind with some occassional rain.


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QUOTE (Lancashire Fusilier @ 22 Apr 2009, 21:17) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Shall we do some weathering of the ballast? I am not sure how to go about it really. Is this a job for powders or for washes do you think?

Looking forward to getting the 4MT on to it that's for sure!
Yes, I've still got to do that and the track. I have the neccessary powders here so will get round to it at the weekend maybe.

If it's been a particularly dry summer it can get very brown.


QUOTE (SRman @ 23 Apr 2009, 18:46) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Looking good there Neil and Paul.

Withany luck i might even get to run some of my locomotives on it too.

I think that's a certainty Jeff.
It should be ready in a couple of weeks so we can take it to the next show. Might be sooner but you never know.

QUOTE Looks very good and a lot simpler than some of the other ideas that were being floated around at the Sandown exhibition.
Yes Manfred, you can't afford to overdo it in such a small space.

QUOTE I am becoming quite interested in those green and blue things you know!
I'm happy with the green ones.
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Did a bit more today. Added a backdrop (still need to print off the picture) and weathered the rails. I also autumised the trees but they are drying in a box.

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Today I added a backdrop picture and some trees.

Here are some pictures of it now.

Should be all ready to go for the next show now.
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Thanks guys, hopefully it will, along with the sound locos, generate a bit of interest in model railways.

Trevor, it is just A4 printer paper. There are five sheets of A4 used on this albeit very carefully edited and applied.


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