I'm building an N version of my old 4mm Paynestown layout, in anticipation of the Sonic Models 56xx tanks. The new layout will
be about half the size of the old and uses Code 40 Finetrax components for the points and plain track.
With the fourth point to be constructed, I wanted to add a bit of a curve to help with an overall bend in the platform road, partly to
get away from everything being too linear, and also to make the best use of available layout width. Running track through a scene
at a diagonal, and/or with a curve in it, gives you more length compared to the linear dimensions of the module. Obvious really
but it's surprising how often exhibition layouts are built with all the track dead parallel to the baseboard edges.
I wouldn't have attempted this on my first go at building these kits, but with the fourth one enough confidence was creeping in that I felt I could experiment a bit. I began with the basic Finetrax turnout base and then used a rotary cutting disk in my mini-drill to introduce slits between the sleepers at about every fourth sleeper or so, going about three quarters of the way across the turnout, creatint a sort of comb that could be gently bent. I did this after I'd added the stock and check rails because I felt they'd add a bit strength when the base was at its flimsiest. Once I was happy with the general shape of the turnout I glued it to a sub-base of foam core for the rest of the assembly. Everything else went smoothly and I then dropped the turnout and sub-base back into the main module. Test running hasn't yet thrown up any problems: the sharper route through the turnout is indeed very sharp but as this is the entry to a siding, I don't think it'll throw up any difficulties as only short-wheel base stock will be propelled through it.
One thing I've leaned with these kits so far is that it's critical to get a smooth transition between the cast frog and the four rails that approach it. I was finding that the frogs had a tendency to sit slightly too high, at least the way I was building them. Although the difference might just be a few fractions of a mm, and would barely register in 4mm, I found that it was discernible in N and even if it didn't affect the running, there was a bit of a lumpy look when stock was running through. To get around this, I've taken to easing the frog down into the base with a slight touch from the soldering iron, just until it sits absolutely flush. Where I'd already fixed the frog in place and soldered the approach rails, I used a grinding wheel and files just to skim a bit off the top of the frog. Again, we're only talking tiny measures here.
Oddly enough I didn't have any worries with the first point, so perhaps I just took more care over that one! But with the others, I've been keeping a careful eye on the frogs. I've now started building the crossover for the engine release, which will be the last set of points needed.
Edited by Barry Ten