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trial and error....

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Last Night Of The Proms...

Last Night Of The Proms tonight, which I always rather enjoy. The Guardian informs the world that "a secretive on-line campaign" (no, I don't understand that either) has raised the money to distribute 5,000 EU flags to prom-goers and opines wistfully that "tonight we may find what they really think", whether they are "jingoistic or ironic".   Personally, I suspect that all they will really learn is that if you had out freebies to a large crowd of excitable twenty somethings who have come to bo

rockershovel

rockershovel

Club night..

Went along to Club Night last night, best one in a long time with quite a high turnout.   - a club exhibition layout I hadn't seen before, but obviously a long-established one, set up and running with a couple of younger relatives of one of the members, being guided through the complex "cab control" control system.   - the O gauge project which has caused more controversy than enough, now cut down to a workable space with a group around it working on whatever it's next incarnation is intend

rockershovel

rockershovel

Technobabble....

Just been clearing my desk and closing out my report.   My role essentially consists of acting as a supervisor and observer for a survey team, carrying out a task which has moved on at least one generation since I was actively involved, apart from the parts I never DID know anyway.   Mostly I am there to offer an experienced eye ... my back-to-back is much closer to th technical side, and between us we provide an overall perspective. As it happens I am the last rotation, so I have the job

rockershovel

rockershovel

Looking forward to the winter

Getting near the end of the project. I've done 90-odd days this year, done a couple of professional courses which I've been putting off for ages, dealt with an unexpected building job on the house and managed to do enough to steer No 1 Son through a reasonably successful first season of flat track racing. It's not been easy. A few more weeks work, No 1 Son gets married in October and then I think that's it for the year.   Looking forward to a long winter break again. Most of my long-delayed b

rockershovel

rockershovel

Track trials and train sizes

Back to work soon, so I took the opportunity of an afternoon club opening to use the test track   Loco #420, the modified "Colorado-style" Bachmann 2-8-0, pulled steadily away with the SJCC pipe train, 5 gondolas and 6 flats. This is a difficult train to get right, and I haven't quite managed it yet; the alternate light and heavy cars don't help its running. The flat cars are also rather sensitive to the sometimes less-than-perfect point work on the club test track. But, 11 bogie cars is a goo

rockershovel

rockershovel

DCC stuff...

A few Thursday afternoons over at the MDMRC test track, and I have the various Bachmann and BLI 2-8-0 and 2-6-0 DCC settings sufficiently weighed up to be able to start and stop them consistently and control the sound. Worked out a routine to run a train, then bring another loco up behind as a banker, all using one controller (because that's what is currently available there).   I've also bought an NCE controller socket so I can take THAT over and control two locos separately. The present con

rockershovel

rockershovel

Names and tags..

..it occurs to me that I've taken to giving my name as Ben, when asked for a name. This is mostly because there is actually a trader in the hobby with the same name, albeit a slightly different spelling, and I don't wish there to be any implied connection or misunderstanding.   Any relationships involving transactions, I introduce myself by the name on my credit card, passport or any other documents which may be involved, because life's too short to do otherwise. Same goes for anything I write

rockershovel

rockershovel

Rolling Stock rosters...

Having (mostly) sorted out the couplers, I've turned my attention to the various rolling stock.   The Bachmann stock is really TOO mismatched in size, to coexist with the SJCC and AMS stock. Plus, I can't see any use for the logging bogies.   So, I've decided to clear out any remaining logging stuff, and the small Bachmann bogie tank cars. I have two AMS tank cars which can be fettled to serve with the Bachmann couplers, and a box of bits which started as a project to build Bachmann compat

rockershovel

rockershovel

On3 and On30 couplers..

Another long-delayed job has been sorting out the couplers. My stock having mostly come as three job lots from abandoned projects, I have every coupler and coupler height known to man amongst them.   To get round this I bought two AMS flat cars fitted with couplers to serve as "match trucks" to allow Bachmann locos to pull consists fitted with SJCC or other On3 couplers, these now seem to be reliable after a certain amount of fettling and track trials (the various Bachmann and Kaydee couplers

rockershovel

rockershovel

We're all doooooomed..

Very disappointed indeed by the BBC this morning, picking up a story and promoting it verbatim to peak coverage (how convenient that the erstwhile travellers had an MP who writes a column for the Guardian!), but on to happier things.   Looking forward to watching "We're Doomed! The Dads Army Story" on iplayer, when time allows. Strong reviews and a top class ensemble cast, should be good. I'm not an unqualified fan of Perry and Croft - I thought "It Ain't Half Hot Mum" was well below par, an

rockershovel

rockershovel

Xmas music... it's the silly season

I play tenor banjo and like to play in pub sessions when I get the chance. There tends to be a "crush" in December and this year is no exception. Plus, it tends to be the "silly season" when all sorts of things get aired.   Last night was no exception, a "French night" at a local pub with very tasty onion soup and crusty bread served part-way through, a ceilidh band specialising in Breton music to give a general direction ... plus a digression into various Christmas carols for banjo, melodeon

rockershovel

rockershovel

DCC trials...

So, loco #420 (an eBay impulse buy) has belatedly been given track trials now the DCC system is working at the club test track. I like this loco; basically a modified Bachmann 2-8-0 to give a more 'Colorado" look, plus DCC and sound   http://i1023.photobucket.com/albums/af356/grass_stroker/th_IMG_2202_zps4iegrx5p.mp4   http://i1023.photobucket.com/albums/af356/grass_stroker/th_IMG_2197_zpszclr36pm.mp4   The BLI 2-8-0 has also been on test, I've identified the sound switch under the tender

rockershovel

rockershovel

Leave, space and DCC

I'm just having my first leave of any length for... Oh, a long while. My local club (Market Deeping MRC) have now got the DCC working on the test track, so I'm embarking on a winter project to get to grips with the whole subject, how it works and so forth.   The two MMI locos are scheduled to go to Paul Martin in the New Year to have DCC and sound fitted, these imposing models deserve it, I think.

rockershovel

rockershovel

stoney creek kits

just had a longer-than-usual leave during which very little got done on the modelling front   However, feeling rather flush I splashed out on a Stoney Creek Designs kit from EDM Models. I have always intended that my layout include a drilling rig and some nodding donkeys and couldn't resist this http://www.stoneycreekdesigns.com/2014oilwell.html   I'd date this rig at around the 1910s or 1920s, although rigs of that type continued in occasional use until around the Second World War.     O

rockershovel

rockershovel

tanker cars

I've been looking at tanker cars, after acquiring a collection of Lionel items.   there's some debate about quite what scale they ARE, but comparison with the SJCC UTX frameless car ( a very accurate scale model) shows them to be very similar in overall size (bogies here are Bachmann log skeletons, for immediate purposes)       time for some serious consideration, I think

rockershovel

rockershovel

Bachman 2-8-0 conversion

I mentioned the Bachmann 2-8-0 a little while ago. This is a very fine model and it runs as well as it looks.   However there seem to be three basic variants of US narrow gauge - 2ft gauge common carrier lines in the New England area, 3ft gauge logging lines using geared locos in the Pacific NW, and large mineral and common carrier lines using 8-coupled locos and bogie stock in the SW ( East Broad Top would fit this category, too). 20" gauge lines in the Nervada area using small four-coupled

rockershovel

rockershovel

DC, DCC, scales and gauges, and all things in between

So, first things first; control system....   This is a big change from my last venture in the hobby, too long ago to be worth discussing at this point. At that time, DC ruled the roost and most "serious" layouts were divided into blocks and sections, with a maze of under-board wiring. Now, it seems, not so.   So, I set out to buy some stock. Like many engineers, I do like technical gadgets.... So, what have I learnt?   Firstly, On30 isn't OO9. There is one main supplier, half a dozen sec

rockershovel

rockershovel

where to begin?.

so, I registered in here as "oilman" and discovered that I was formerly signed in as "rockershovel", and it was still live, so I'll stick to that and let "oilman" lapse, or whatever the mods do to dud screen names.   where to start?   well, model railways are a problematical hobby in the offshore oil business, for one thing. I started to become interested about six years ago after a very long lapse, because I saw the MMI D&RGW locos and HAD to have one.. I'd intended to be at least, se

rockershovel

rockershovel

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