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Mind the Gap......




The trouble with lists is that they show you up.


So how far have I actually got with my ambitious list of jobs? Well.....


5 out of 6 points have had their drive wire replaced with 0.9mm wire . The other seems to work ok anyway. This has pretty well cured the problem of point blades not closing fully. One point , where the commercially available offset drive Tortoise mounting has been used (possibly from Exactoscale?) is still slightly uncertain , perhaps because I've not replaced the final link from the subterranean plastic tie bar to the actual copper clad tie bar. Another point, which I couldn't quite get to close reliably, resulted in so much fiddling, filing, and tweaking that the blade came loose. I then resoldered it , slightly further out, and that fixed the problem of reliable closure . 0.9mm wire does Xurons no good at all by the way: I used the cutters in a large pair of pliers instead, and these survived largely unscathed


On the wiring front, I've installed a 0.5A 12 V dc stabilised power supply unit , from All Components, on one board. That, er , is the sum of it. Very frustratingly I haven't been able to install the Hoffmann point motor , for want of two eightpenny diodes..... One of the consequences of having changed my job is that I no longer walk past a branch of Maplins in the lunch hour, and I can't simply buy a Bumper Bag of Diodes for £1-60. The nearest branch is now 15 miles' drive away. So I've had to order some diodes from Squires, and after a murderous week at work , I only got round to doing so on Friday afternoon. At which point I forgot about the large illuminated push switch I was going to buy to isolate the programming track . So I'm going to have to improvise that bit using the toggle switch and mounting I already have


Being blocked in that direction , I've attacked on another front and built three Erkon signal kits for the station board,. I'd seen these used on afriend's layout and they looked quite effective. Unfortuately the type with a feather - and all three for the station have feathers - have a pair of fine wires coming out of the side of the feather , which is not quite so good. I've painted them black, along with the solder joints onto the diode, which makes the intrusion much less obtrusive , and in 2 out of 3 cases , the offending wires will end up facing the backscene and therefore should largely be hidden. A further complication is that one of the signal heads is rather smaller than the other two.Clearly they've changed/upgraded the kit at some point. I suspect that variations between signal heads aren't unknown on the prototype - after all colour lights have been with us for 80 years, and I would be surprised if signal heads have remained exactly the same size and style throughout that time - and therefore I'm afraid I've just ploughed on. I couldn't really have shuffled the kits around to avoid having one head different, and they aren't the easiest kits to find. It's assumed the area have been changed from semaphore to colour light through slow piecemeal replacement


I also painted the signals. My friend didn't - they looked ok but slightly toylike. Normally I'm sceptical about the idea that prototype info is easy for modern image , but I had only to look up from the bench and look out the window - and there is a colour- light signal. This quickly showed me that posts are grey, and not silver , and that only the signal head itself is actually black. And all the colours are weathered. A hasty coat of Humbrol 183 grey resulted in a much better colouration and also improved the proportions of the signal, as the grey goes further up and down the post, making it look taller, and the ladder is also now grey, and not black . The signal head, phone box, and one or two other bits have been painted with Citadel Charadon Granite, mixed with some matt black . This improved the look of the signals considerably - never use pure black or pure white . All I have to do now is add the signal numbers and install....



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