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Another Challenge ?





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#176 Dagworth

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Posted Yesterday, 21:19

It's going to be interesting, I've put my name down as part of a team that I've mostly not met yet! Having followed some of the other team members work here and elsewhere and having worked on many exhibitions and multiple layouts with the "team leader" I'm looking forward to it. Just got to hope we get accepted and that I can be available for the times needed.

Andi
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#177 MRDBLUE17

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Posted Yesterday, 21:57

Hi All,

I’m very much hoping our team gets picked, like Andi has said we all sort of know each other through our own layouts but have never come together as a team. We’ve got a lot of skills between us and similar interests so I think it will be an exciting project and fun to be part of,

Cheers
Mark

#178 SVRlad

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Posted Yesterday, 21:59

It's going to be interesting, I've put my name down as part of a team that I've mostly not met yet! Having followed some of the other team members work here and elsewhere and having worked on many exhibitions and multiple layouts with the "team leader" I'm looking forward to it. Just got to hope we get accepted and that I can be available for the times needed.Andi


Surprised you didn't put your name down as a team leader Andi, you could have built a smaller version of Ravensclyffe, and am sure the network of modellers in the Cheltenham area would help you out. ;)

#179 Dagworth

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Posted Yesterday, 22:05

Surprised you didn't put your name down as a team leader Andi, you could have built a smaller version of Ravensclyffe, and am sure the network of modellers in the Cheltenham area would help you out. ;)


If I was team leader I'd end up pulling my hair out, I'll leave that to a man who can't do that :D

Andi
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#180 Jeff Smith

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Posted Yesterday, 22:54

Huw - I hope this works out to satisfy your imagined outcome but I somehow think this docudrama will be more drama than documentary. To be sold to a mainstream channel it will need something to interest a reality show type audience, otherwise it will end up on an obscure documentary type channel. Cooking challenge shows work because lots of people cook so can understand the difficulties. How many people understand how to build and site a signal box or wire a layout or create realistic scenery unless modellers themselves. As a parallel example, my wife can spend hours knitting a sweater as a present for someone, when given over someone else will say that's nice can you make one for me as though it is something knocked up in just an hour or so.....

Edited by Jeff Smith, Yesterday, 22:57 .


#181 Huw Griffiths

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Posted Yesterday, 23:03

I am not always quiet, and I certainly am not a perfectionist. I do know what works, and would object if I found something I knew would not work, or at least there was a chance it would not work.

KISS probably sums my approach pretty well. I do experiment, and not all my experiments are successful, but you learn more when something goes wrong, than when it works perfectly first time.

 

Hi Huw

 

From the information given by the TV company, they will be supplying the baseboards, track etc so I don't think there is room for too much pre-planning. Part of the process is going to be how we achieve to build a layout within the competition's framework with the goods we are given. So watching us discuss what , how, why, where and when, is all part of the TV show.  It will stop the club that has spent 20 years building their GWR BLT tuning up with a near finished effort  and making out they built it in 9 days. With our team I envisage the most pre-planning we can do is allocate a team member to be the lead on, track planning, electrics, scenery, etc so we all have a specialist role with the others acting as support when we undertake that aspect of the layout build.

 

I am not a perfectionist, and in a challenge like this the best effort in the time frame is the best we can hope for. A strong team member who can say "That is good enough" is needed.

 

In fairness, I can see both extremes here - but then this might not come as too much of a surprise to anyone who knows much about my background.

 

For a number of years, I was an instrumentation technician in a university civils dept.. A lot of this was about setting up transducers (especially strain gauges) and electronic instruments to take accurate (and often repeatable) measurements.

 

I don't want to bore everyone with loads of tedious details - but strain gauges are often tiny and require some rather exacting routines to correctly install them and set them up. The wires connecting them to the outside world are also tiny (certainly at the gauge end) and require high quality soldering.

 

I also used loadcells and displacement transducers for other measurements - with all of these transducers usually connected to dataloggers. All the transducers needed to be accurately aligned - in the correct place and pointing exactly the right way - and there were often some very specific procedures required in order to calibrate them to get usable test data. All of this data would usually need to be transferred to a PC - and converted into a form which could be fed into a spreadsheet program.

 

With all of this care needing to be taken when "hooking up" transducers, you might imagine that all the wires would look really attractive - if you could see it at all. In practice, of course, this would not be the case - with a lot of use of tape, cable ties etc to try and prevent everything getting tangled up.

 

There would also be the little matter of trying to get all this stuff done in a limited time - so (whisper it quietly) some corners would need to be cut - but they'd need to be the correct corners - and they could only be cut so far if everything were to work.

 

For example, if you're using different loadcells or displacement transducers on different tests, you could (in theory) redo a load of solder joints on each transducer's cable, every time you changed the configuration. In practice, of course, we'd have the same type of connectors (wired the same way) on each loadcell or each displacement transducer - and plug them into a "patchbay" type box. As long as we knew the power supplies were stable (and predictable), we could use the same calibration factors for given transducers for a certain length of time (but before a test, we might, for example, use calibration blocks of known dimensions to check the calibration of displacement transducers, rather than completely recalibrate them all for every test specimen).

 

 

Returning to railway modelling, I'd imagine there might sometimes be elements of experimentation and "that'll do" from the same people, building the same layouts. Initially, they might test-assemble the key parts of a layout, to check that everything basically works - perhaps do some test running, check clearances etc. Once they're satisfied that things work, they might revisit different bits in turn - properly install a scenic section (possibly reworking some bits, so they look better) - neaten up a bit of wiring - that sort of thing. However, the chances are that this will only happen when they've got rather more time available than they might have at first.

 

Some people might still think of this as the same layout - some might feel justified in viewing the initial and final versions as effectively different layouts.

 

 

Actually, I'm not just talking about layouts here. Over the years, many of us have tried building our own locos, rolling stock or whatever else - and, however much we might wish to get everything "spot on", compromises are often required to allow us to complete anything.

 

For example, one project I'm currently looking at is a model of a 1912 railbus - only 2 were built to this particular design - and I don't think I'll ever have access to as much info as I'd like (especially of the chassis). Even if I got all of this info, I probably wouldn't be able to build a perfect model. However, I'd probably be able to modify a kit chassis, so it should look reasonably acceptable to the majority of non-specialists (especially if they're stood more than six inches away from it). With a bit of lateral thinking, I might also be able to make some subtle changes to the drivetrain which would drastically increase the chances of me being able to complete my model (assuming, of course, that I get the time - which probably won't happen in the next couple of weeks).

 

Likewise if I were to build the bodywork using panels from coach kits - I might need to "cut and shut" some panels to get the desired length - or produce overlays for the desired panelling style - but I suspect this would be a lot more achievable than trying to scratchbuild all of each side (with tumblehomes) from sheet plastic.

 

As for assembling the sides, I suspect that I'd initially tape sections together to check alignment - and only glue the panels together once I'm happy that everything fits.

 

I could go on - I could also think of other examples, from either this model or others - but I hope I've made my point. I suspect that a lot of modelmaking involves a compromise between the perfection that some people crave - and the cut corners that are often required to allow things to get built in the first place (especially in a restricted time). I also suspect that a lot of modelmakers could also relate to both extremes of this.

 

Anyway, let's get back to the trains.

 

 

Huw.



#182 Huw Griffiths

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Posted Yesterday, 23:22

Huw - I hope this works out to satisfy your imagined outcome but I somehow think this docudrama will be more drama than documentary. To be sold to a mainstream channel it will need something to interest a reality show type audience, otherwise it will end up on an obscure documentary type channel. Cooking challenge shows work because lots of people cook so can understand the difficulties. How many people understand how to build and site a signal box or wire a layout or create realistic scenery unless modellers themselves. As a parallel example, my wife can spend hours knitting a sweater as a present for someone, when given over someone else will say that's nice can you make one for me as though it is something knocked up in just an hour or so.....

 

You're making a number of valid points here - but, in all honesty, I've never harboured any "Fantasy Island" style visions either.

 

To be honest, I'm not expecting a full blown documentary - or anything else "over the top" - I don't think anyone is.

 

I can imagine a lot of aspects of builds etc being hinted at - I can also imagine certain amounts of friction / tension (some of it being shown or even exaggerated emphasised for the benefit of ratings viewers). No problem.

 

Ultimately, of course, the real opportunity I can see with series like this is to demonstrate that railway modelling is a hobby which can (and should) appeal to "ordinary" people  - and to clearly show that the sort of people who are interested in railway modelling are not too far removed from a lot of people who have never considered it as a hobby.

 

Manufacturers (and magazine publishers) of course, will almost certainly be looking to use this series (and any others on similar themes) as a way of promoting their wares - I could see them seeing it as a form of advertising (and nothing wrong with that).

 

However, there might also turn out to be other spinoff benefits which might be able to be reaped. Of course, there might not - but I see no harm in using any opportunities presented to further the hobby.

 

 

Huw.