Friday, July 6, 2018

A Blokes' Blog

I came across this one recently and niiiiice.  This Mike Cougill fella sure has some great skills and his blog can really inspire a fella.  Definitely worth a look.

Here are just some shots of his work from a blog entry back in May called "Street Track 2.0".  It was one in a series in modelling track on a street.

So maybe add him to your list of blogs - I certainly did !

Friday, June 22, 2018

What's Happening Before Beer O'Clock Today

A bit of reverse engineering is what is happening today.

The N Scale layout at the club is capable of DC or DCC use and the old DC controllers are starting to get a bit iffy they reckon. So we need to build a new one or two.

Easy you say?  But sadly the fella that built them is no longer with us and I can't find any documentation at the club for how they were built. So I am pulling one apart to see how it was built and of what it was built. This way I might be able to find some diagrams etc on the web or be able to nut it out myself and build the new ones we need.

So after a few hours I've almost documented it - physically that is.  The next part will be to draw a proper circuit diagram...

Monday, June 18, 2018

I have now seen a Walthers Switch Machine

A friend of mine got me to grab him a few of these Walthers Switch Machines whilst I was shopping, so I did (pat self on back - aren't I a great bloke for doing that?... shut-up Scooter).

Anyway, they arrived today and I thought to myself "Self, you should at least open up the packet and see what these are all about before you hand them over to your friend... just to make sure it is suitable and non-harmful", I'm a good friend like that, always looking out for others (again, shut-up Scooter), so I did.

Since pictures speak a gazillion words, I'll put them up first and then the specs from Walthers will go up lastly.  But I reckon they have potential for those that do not want to muck about and source a pile of things from around the place from different suppliers to do the same job. 

OK, so it comes in a nice package with a picture on the front - good, I can't mistake it for something else.

The back has some brief specifications and a description about what it is.

Internal packaging is good so as to not get wrecked during freight movements from supplier to self.

You get instructions, a template for mounting the device, mounting screws, connecting cable and of course the device itself.

So the "switch" is a servo motor with the servo arm controlling your rail points  via a piece of spring steel wire. There are also two micro-switches to control power for things like the frog of the points and signals etc.

OK, the next shot is blurry, but I'm not going outside into the cold again - it will do for now. (once again, keep quiet Scooter!)

So all up, looks good. Once my friend gets these and installs them, I'll ask him for a few words.  Just remember, I am not endorsing anything (unless someone wants to pay me money - will not most anything for money (real money) - I was just being a nosy parker and sneaking a peak at someone elses goodies (shut-up Scooter).  Now here are a few words from the Walthers website about these little beastie:

Walthers Layout Control System brings you a low-cost solution for easy turnout control for HO, N, Z, S, and O Scale layouts! The system is expandable at any time to grow with your layout, and can be used with DCC- or DC-power (a DCC accessory decoder is integrated into the switch machine). The system uses plug-and-play servo-style wiring with connectors, so no soldering is needed; two styles of cables are available separately to expand your wiring as needed. User-friendly instructions are included with all items, and drilling templates for easy mounting on your layout or fascia are included as appropriate. Using combinations of the system components, which include a servo-based slow-motion Switch Machine, Power Distribution Block, LED panel indicator/control push-button switches, add-on system cabling, a 2-amp 12V Filtered DC Power Supply and a three-piece drill set, you can easily build a complete control system. 

The Walthers Layout Control System Switch Machine features:
. Fully assembled, servo-based unit with approximately one second throw speed
. Integrated DCC accessory decoder
. Two built-in 5A switches to power frogs, signals and more
. Self-locking mechanism for reliable positioning - servo power turns off when motion is
. Adjustable throw and tension from 1/32" to 1/2" (1mm to 12mm) for turnouts in any scale from
    Z to O
. Factory-assembled with output rod in centered position for fast and easy under-benchwork
. Wire in minutes with included cables
. Outputs for both single or bi-color LEDs
. Connecting cable included - easily expanded with Extension Cable (#942-113, sold

Options include:
. Adjustable throw speed from .5 to 5 seconds
. Remote lock input for dispatcher to enable/disable local turnout control with CTC
. Single/Alternate bi-color LED modes
. Polarity route control for use of DPDT switch in place of fascia control
. Complete instructions with mounting template - use with Walthers Layout Control System
   Turnout.  Drill Set (#942-140, sold separately)

Friday, May 25, 2018

Makes for a Nice Tree Armature

On a recent road trip to Sydney with a bunch of reprobate mates of mine, we visited a pile of layouts for a good look over.  Ideas now abound as we garnered a heap of hints.

One great idea was this tree armature.  You can use the flower or seed sprig off of the "Nandina domestica" plant (commonly called Heavenly or Sacred Bamboo).  

You just wait until the red berries have set and dropped off and simple - a tree.  Just flock it and you are done. They are a nice size and shape.

Friday, November 17, 2017

I'm now Retired - So let's Work

With the plug now pulled on my working life, it is time to start on the rest of my working life - my modelling work.  Now, continuing on with the dioramas I've been working on, the other week I did some more with them and laid cork on the two small modules.

First up it was out with the Surform to rasp off any glue or crap that was on the area where the cork was to go - the flatter the better.

The I got out the cheap version of Liquid Nails, the Maxi-Nails from Parfix. A thin bead was laid down, then smeared out with my trusty paint scrapper. The cork was then laid into place and squashed down nice and flat using the Seam Roller.

Next I got out some grey paint, I think a primer of some type, and gave the cork a lick of it to seal it a bit. I know, not necessary, but I like to seal it as it will allow me to get the track off easier should I ever want to in the future.

And that was it for a very slack day indeed. But I talked a lot of crap with the boys at the club and drank lots of coffee, so all in all it was a great day... Not having to go to work ever again, didn't hurt either !

Last Saturday, besides drinking lots of coffee and yakking with the boys (I do this a lot if you hadn't already guessed) I got out the Dremel moto-tool and hacked into the modules. I needed to carve the two larger ones so that there is a drainage ditch down either side of the track. So a sanding drum was mounted to the tool and a pile of small foam beads and dust was created so that my ditches were as I wanted. 

I couldn't carve drainage ditches on the small modules as the cork was directly laid onto the ply baseboards, but as I am making them out of the way branch lines with the track almost laying on the natural ground, the cork will suffice for enough elevation above the surrounding ground level. OK, it would be hard work and I'm a slacker, that's why. But I still like my branch line excuse.

Once I had finished making a foamy mess around the place, I decided to add some highlights to the cuts and crevices in case they show through the dirt later one. Some water based colours of slate grey and a light grey were made up into a watery wash and painted into the crevices on three of the modules - one is a rolling hill type so didn't need it.

So that brings us up to Wednesday of this week. So I continued on the modules by first sealing the drainage ditches with a lick of gap filler, colour and water. This just makes sure that when/if I use any foam eating glues or such while doing the drain scenery, that the foam is protected. You could also use a mix of white glue, colour and water, but I wanted a bit of texture and gap filling qualities, hence my gap filler mix. I mixed up the three ingredients nice and sloppy and brushed it only fairly thinly.

Now for some more mess all over the place - dirt. It was time to put some earth all over the modules so that the grass can grow later on. I used my own home made dirts that I had sifted a while back. 

I had a dirt from the creek out back (dirt coloured of course), a dark red, a light red and a slate as well. I mixed up a batch of glue by getting normal 'ol white glue (Aquadhere indoors PVA wood glue) and water and mixing it up about equal parts. This is pretty much the magic percentage for the scenery glue I use on all things from dirt to grass and ballast etc. There are a few drops of dish washing liquid in there as well to help break the surface tension.

In between doing halves of each module, I plonked them outside to soak up that lovely Queensland sunshine and mild breeze. It sure dried them fast. So now all the modules are up to the same level of completion, ie plowed.

Here is my workbench at the club at the end of my mess making and before my last cuppa before heading home to read train mags and maybe a cold one or two - I deserve it I reckon, as this retirement thing sure is very hard work !

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Rainy Day - Let's Continue

Saturday dawns and it's rainy. Feel like rolling over in bed and staying under the covers and listening to the pitter patter on the awning of the drops of rain. But, I have things to do, people to see.

So read the news, drink my coffee and off to the model train club, the RMCQ, and chat with the boys and continue with my modules.

I decided I would finish the gooping of the modules today. First up I added a few more gullies and such and did a little more rasping of the modules. Then I mixed up another batch of Vermiculite, Gap Filler and Acrylic Paint.

The two small modules then got a good going over to give them the final shape I wanted with the goop. 

The larger Extruded foam module was the correct shape already and needed no touchup today with goop. So it was over to the blue Expanded foam module for a bit of a job as the foam beads were showing through quite badly as I'd done a poor job of rasping the other day. So I applied the goop with my artists spatula and really squeezed the goop down and got a pretty good smooth surface out of it. Here is before a good squishing:

And here it is after a good squishing of the goop into all the hollows and bead holes.

After all the goop was applied, the Expanded foam module looked like this:

So since no goop was required on the large Extruded module, it was time to add the track cork to it. I have decided this will be a dual track N scale module, so that meant a spacing of about two and one quarter inches between centres for the two tracks. Marks were made and then I  got out the 30 mm Seam Roller for pressing the cork down with, the Parfix Maxi Nails and Cork.

I cut the cork about 2/3 the way through every 20 mm or so to allow it to easily bend along the curve. You'll never see the cuts as the ballast will cover them all. I then put a bead of glue all along the cork and smoothed it out with a paint scrapper. Flipping it over and positioning it made it almost done. Then with the roller to smooth it all out and make sure no air pockets and bumps, it was down.

For the last bit of work today I mixed up the "other" goop - the goop without Vermiculite. This time I made it a bit thicker - about 1/3 water, 2/3 Gap Filler and a bit of kiddies acrylic paint. This I painted over all three modules I had Vermiculited today.

All tools were then washed up and put away and more gasbagging done before heading home in the arvo for a bit to eat and relax doing... whatever came to mind. AdiĆ³s.