Well, it's been a while!
I've been back to work, furloughed, back to work again, furloughed. The railway had to find a corner and wait a while. There has, however, been progress. I'll keep this post as concise as possible and give you an idea of what's been happening.
I took the plunge and bought myself an NCE PowerCab starter set for christmas. Really impressed, after a lot of research I can see why NCE repeatedly comes out on top as a great entry system to DCC.
More on this in an upcoming blog post - it's been an interesting journey finding the pro's and con's, pitfalls and bonuses of each DCC product (specifically decoders!).
Arts and Crafts.
I've rekindled my paper mache skills and made embankments around the titular bridge! My method is:
- Cardboard formers
- Gaps filled with newspaper
- 3 layers of plain white paper (strong base)
- 4 layers of newspaper (easy to layer and smooth things out)
- 4 layers of kitchen paper (for the textured finish)
The strip of 300gsm brown card I laid down the hill for the road base was pointless, I don't think it made any difference to the lumps which evened out anyway when it all dried.
On the second board, an early platform attempt is awaiting resurfacing - I'm contemplating a filled and painted surface, but I'm still researching options and looking for the best option.
I've been testing out "soil" paint colours and some foliage in the newly ballasted run-down goods yard. The layout is definitely taking shape as a preserved railway, with some areas well maintained and others awaiting the next fundraiser or National Lottery grant!
Future areas will be painted more grey-brown to represent the clay-heavy soil of the North Somerset area. I'm about to launch into the world of static grass, watch this space...
I'm still undecided as to what the two sidings north of the platforms will be. The idea was a factory, but now I'm tempted by a loco shed... I think ideas will come into focus once the platform and station building is built.
I've been playing around with weathering the ballast - I don't have an air brush, and I like low-tech low-budget solutions, so I've brushed on watered down acrylic for light weathering, and neat black and greys for the oil & coal stained areas where locomotives stand, as well as the top of the loading stage. Some real coal is on order to create some wagon loads and a coal stage.
I used wood glue (Gorilla was what I had on the shelf) for applying the foliage as it dries clear and is more tacky than watery. I certainly works better than the cheap-as-chips PVA I use for cardboard, paper mache, etc.
Loco's and Rolling Stock:
Some new toys have appeared in the past few months. After all, you've got to spend some time playing trains!
Here's the list - photo credits to KMRC as they do a great job of showing off a model in its natural habitat.
Bachmann 31-361B, Class 03 in BR green - I LOVE this loco, high build quality, super smooth, crawls very well, and the NEXT18 decoders are brilliant for wiring a stay alive to.
I'll be doing a subsequent blog post on my DCC choices and what my go-to products are now.
Hornby R3721, Class 61xx Large Pairie GWR green - waiting for a decoder for this, nice model but a little fragile.
DJ Models K2203, Class 13xx 0-6-0 GWR green - lovely to look at and runs okay on DC, but on DCC it lurches each time it starts moving. It might be down to the Zen Blue decoder I originally paired it with, and I considered returning it as the mechanism is really not that great... but I'm going to try a Zimo 6 pin and see if I can get it running at least as well as it does on DC.
I've also bought a selection of Dapol GWR wagons - the NEM pocket springs are very easy to bend or snap which means Kadee coupling's can play up, but all fixable.
You can also see my old Dapol 14xx which I've DCC fitted. Slightly wobbly runner but it was my first ever loco so I love it all the same.
And I think that just about brings us up to speed. Not as detailed as my previous posts, but I'll try to update this blog more regularly to document my progress.
I hope you are all keeping safe and sane in these crazy times!
Edited by GWL