Ding Ding, Test track round Two.

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It was in to my mind the other day when I was just finishing up on test track 1.0 that I needed a project to move on forward to. The first one had proved its purpose in not only be able to test the stock I was about to sell but to also act as a test bed for future purchases. I am not ready to start on the big project yet as I need to get a number of things in place before I can do this. So my mind turned to what would be the solution to keeping the fifteen minutes modelling going on a daily basis and then it dawned on me that another test track was the answer, well actually a diorama is closer as I wanted to use it to start testing out new techniques and ideas but in a limited form that wouldn’t take me ages to complete. I then realised it could also be used to photograph stock and cameo pics for my Swiss layout.

fullsizeoutput_719It just so happens that I have some plywood knocking around that was cut for a project long ago that I am going to repurpose. Having a ready made base would speed things up no end, however I’m planning on trying to create a lightweight board with thin strips but braced more frequently for an open board design. As it’s attached to the wall via a cleat most of the weight will be held at that point so every effort to lighten the load is good.

I had tried mocking up the oval of track on the existing board but it didn’t leave me sufficient space at the front for the scenic area that I want to create. Then thinking about alternatives I came to the conclusion that in order to allow for the scenery ideas I had I would need height from ground zero to rail level to get the elevation angles I want for taking pics. Also I have never tried this method of baseboard construction having in the past always used the flat earth approach. Once again I seem to gravitate to that same occurring ideas but at least I am reigning in my natural tendencies to expansionism and so far have kept in focus the goal of just creating something and not getting stuck in the cycle of augmentation through to analysis paralysis.

Next time I will have some real pics of my efforts of keeping to the fifteen minute mantra but for now ill leave you with a bit of a visualisation..

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Until next time..

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Templot Open Sourcing

fullsizeoutput_726This may not be new news to some but I thought it was pertinent to bring it up now as I sit down in front of my computer with Templot open and recognise and say thank you to the developer for an amazing piece of software that not only helped me no end but also makes me happy. If your at all interested in this check out the forum for info and friendly advice.

For those of you that don’t know Templot is track planning software for the hand built track maker. It has developed over decades to a very mature product that makes extremely complex tasks just a click of a button. What it is not is a and I use the term very loosely! a train set designer, much to the mystery and annoyance of some.

I would like to salute Martin for all his efforts and look forward to Templot carrying on into the future. Right back to designing my 150mm radius points/switches for my next project which will be unveiled later next week. So modelling is being done but just some of the 3D variety.

Till next time..

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Reading Room #3

I thought I had got all the old magazines rounded up and rendered down to my digital library after the move but apparently not. So I’ve spent most of the day reading old Railway Modellers. I’d forgotten some really good articles and layouts. There are many timeless stories that wouldn’t look out of place now for there observation and tones.

If you have a pile of magazines, paper or digital have a delve into them and maybe you’ll be inspired by something.

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Round a round

Following on from a conversation that I had with a fellow modeller Chris, we talked about a plan that keeps niggling away at you and keeps popping up in ones thoughts but you just can’t leave it be, just tweeking it a bit here and there but probably with no real intention of building it.

So I present to you my internal circle as I call it. It is a concept that I have noodled away at for probably decades in varying shapes and forms and really springs from an article I read in the Railway Modeller way back when about a layout called Littleton Curve by Brant Hickman in the May 1997 issue I’ve added a link to YouTube video. For some reason it just lodged in my mind and although truly a micro layout it captured and atmosphere that resonated with me. Maybe it was something to do with the colours and the attention to detailing but for what ever reason it was forever imprinted in my modelling psyche.

I do find the subject of modelling motivations an interesting conversation. For many it’s just playing trains, or watching the trains go by, others it’s the operation of the railway or just a particular niché such as loco building or architectural building and for others it’s the back story or the environment that’s important but we all have an image in our minds of the thing we want to recreate. It would be interesting to survey railway modellers as to what they model over their and I use the term loosely, career, as to whether they stick to a similar geographical location and or era of modelling. Maybe this is just ramblings of an overactive mind but the fact I think we do all have our own recurring imagined worlds somehow helps the creation of any project. I think imagination is the most important tool on our workbenches and I see my track plan iterations as just a kind of mental workout in order to create as best a reproduction of the the world I have imagined.

For me the imagined world started with my circle of track on the carpet at the tender age of seven with my Hornby SDJR tank loco and two four wheel coaches and circle of track criss crossing the country with passengers to deliver and freight to collect. This led on to a bit more sophisticated but primitive sheet of ply and a class 47 trundling around, the the layout was still planned in the mind and committed to paper before and track was pinned down.

Over the decades I must have drawn many hundreds of plans in sketchbooks, notepads, and on back of envelopes with very few surviving the passage of time but the ones that have stuck in my mind are the ones that have captured the imagination for some reason. I will keep doodling as it keeps me connected even in times where modelling may seem impossible. I hope you do too.

Until next time..

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Test track #5

My posts are like buses at the moment, nothing for ages and then loads of them. Almost there and the circle is complete. I cheated and decided not to bus wire it as I thought it was overkill and just wanted to get the track running so as to get all the Z locos tested and ready to sell off. I’m still a little sentimental and nostalgic about the Swiss stuff but really want to concentrate on being able to purchase the new and pending Kato stock for my layout that I shall be building. But in building this dual gauge it does give me the seed of and idea for a true metre gauge/standard gauge layout someday in the future.

and finally just a glimpse at a full circumnavigation of said circle via the wonders of a 9v battery. Can I hear distant rumbles of thunder?

The very last thing to do is find a suitable rheostat switch to place in one corner.

Until next time..

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All change..

It’s been a year since arriving at my current spot and now is the time to finally sort out my space. It’s the first time I have had the time and a space to be able to mould to my plans and so I have drawn up some ideas to help me decide what goes where. Now normally I’m guessing that most people have a reasonable amount of room to set up their model railway but in my case I have about 7 feet along a wall for layout and about the same for a bench, so some might think rather compact. With a bed the usable space becomes even more restrictive but then the challenge of how one goes about deciding the optimal use case is part of the fun for me.

First of all everything needs to come out and the room prepped for a coat of paint it’s been a bit of a drawn out process picking the colour as I wanted something darker not only to reduce light levels in the room but to also make a bit of a backdrop for taking photos and maybe some video in the future. As it is a north facing room light levels are lower but this works to my favour in that going for the “low key” effect a darker hue reduces the reflections. I know this is not necessarily railway modelling related but I definitely subscribe to a holistic approach and taking into account things like room environment is maybe something that is not given much though in the genesis of a railway room, it is as much about a bit of theatre as just a room to run a railway. Also I will probably only get one chance to setup as I want as the disruption of reinventing it would be too costly and time consuming.

Much of the room furniture needs to be configured to the need and as such I’m unlikely going to roll up to Ikea and return with a flat-packed solution. Due to the limited space I have measured up the workbench and desk to allow for a comfortable work height and depth and as can be seen from plan the idea of a fold up extension is to give me a good depth when modelling but can be folded away to not interfere with layout operation when I am playing trains! The idea of having to get out and put away may be onerous to some but for me it will be a help in that my natural tendencies to clutter and chaos will be curbed.

So now that I have the plan in place and have mocked up with CAD (and that’s cardboard aided modelling) I need to get on with the doing. Over the next week I’ll be making a start and will post on the progress.

Till next time

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Reading Room #2

MRJ #263 has been out in the wilds for a while but now falls on the workbench. Another cracking issue, not every article is to my liking which is pretty much across the years content but as I have said before just because it may not be to my taste there’s still a lot that can be taken from the articles and the authors, even if it’s looking at a picture composition and how it could be learned from with my own photography. Case in point is the London Road article which is no where near my modelling interests, period or scale, but the quality and detail just draw one in and the story of the railway and its formation. The there’s Llangunllo mk2 micro-tastic layout.

finally a great *editorial and for anyone interested the TOC.

Until next time..

©️Cygnet Magazines Ltd

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