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    Perth, Western Australia

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  1. Is it just me, or does anyone else find narrow-gauge representations that are wide to gauge (compared to the prototype) less acceptable than those which are narrow to gauge? Eg. 0-16.5 (or 2' 4.25") representing 2' gauge has always felt a bit funny to me, but I'm quite happy with 1:35 on 16.5 mm track (1' 10.75") doing so. I guess it's a psychological quirk, resulting from a feeling that it's narrow gauge, so it should be narrow .
  2. I've seen an FG as a burger and chips van, apparently professionally built but, by the time I saw it, one of those establishments where the deep fryers appear to share a common sump with the gearbox. I'd have thought it would be a bit big as an ice-cream van.
  3. I'm trusting those who reckon the Chinese manufactured Smokey Joe chassis is a decent slow runner, and the track I've got lying around is all Hornby or Peco set track in decent nick, plus a couple of Streamline points bought years ago and never used. As for a controller, I've a minor hobby of breadboarding and adapting Roger Amos designs, some of which seem to work very well, so I'm not too worried on that score. We shall see.
  4. I'm currently awaiting the arrival of a Smallbrook 1:35 loco kit to get me started in that scale on 16.5 mm gauge. I'm working on the basis that it's sufficiently minority that my scratchbuilding efforts will not have to compete with high quality r-t-r, but can use cheap 00 chassis and track as running gear.
  5. I did this with the locking room windows of the signal cabin kit and they looked infinitely better. I'm not sure if I'd trust my filing to be consistent enough for the much larger engine shed windows. These days, having access to a laser cutter, I'd probably cut new ones.
  6. Might have to pull the wheels out on the axles a bit too .
  7. Rule of thumb on ballast is "as much as you can stuff into it". Given that the kit has proper bearings, you're unlikely to do any irreparable damage by overdoing it. Can't comment on DCC beyond the general observation that, assuming Slaters wheels (ie insulated both sides) it should be dead easy, with no electrical complications and plenty of space in an 0 gauge body.
  8. I've just received a parcel of Hornby Smokey Joe chassis which I hope to form the basis of a budget fleet of narrow-gauge locos. Whilst it seems fairly common to use these chassis as-is, I think the wheels would look better in narrow gauge if I got out the piercing saw and thin out the spokes a bit. The construction of these wheels is such that doing so requires the plastic spoked centre to be removed from the metal rim/back unit for surgery, and replaced/refastened afterwards. Has anyone done this successfully and, if so, are there any tricks to make the process reasonably pain free?
  9. One of the problems with making a fine scale set track would be the fragility of the small rail section. Ironically, the best way to do it (were such an unlikely concept ever come to exist) would probably be to have a Kato or Conrad style ballasted sleeper base to provide the necessary strength. However, I strongly suspect that, whatever other advances we see, any change to 16.5 mm gauge, pseudo "universal" standards for 4mm scale r-t-r is pie in the sky. The quantity of legacy equipment and sheer inertia makes any likelihood of change pretty minimal. I suppose the same could have been said of the change from 0 to 00 as the de facto "standard" scale in the late 30s to early 50s, but there were two major differences then. First, the hobby (as opposed to the train set market) was far, far smaller, whatever nostalgia may suggest. Secondly, WW2 intervened, necessitating manufacturing to start pretty much from scratch following cessation of hostilities. I have difficulty envisaging another upheaval so major as to cause such a reset and yet not so major that things don't return to something sufficiently recognisable as "normal" afterwards that anyone will still be interested in toy trains.
  10. The late John Allison, on his 7mm minimum space layouts, employed a device he christened the Seismopump, which was a variation on the under-baseboard mallet. IIRC it was a vertical plunger operating a lever with a striker on the other end. I suspect that careful selection of lever length, travel and striker weight could arrive at a solution that would deliver sufficient knock without derailing everything.
  11. Building some Dapol kits 15 years ago for my Daughter's Thomas layout, I found that the most effective way of building them acceptably square and straight was to add bracing with plasticard floors, ceilings, corner gussets and miscellaneous struts as required. Built as per Dapol's intentions they were all distinctly wavy and wobbly. Braced up, they were amply robust for the tender mercies of small children. I still reckon they're a serious bargain for bashing fodder though, with 60 years of inspiration available via the model press, too.
  12. Whilst I haven't done it for the 3 way points, like others I've found it useful to make up a circle of the unit in question in a CAD program (SCARM is my favoured medium) and measure across it. Like the OP, I find that the units don't necessarily connect up perfectly, even where the manufacturer's nominal spec says they should. I figure it doesn't really matter as, in reality, it would be very unlikely that sufficient turnouts would ever be connected together that the discrepancy would become significant.
  13. Dunno about actual numbers, but there are enough people with an interest in British outline modelling (who, one would assume, are mostly, though not exclusively, UK based) to sustain three major monthly general interest mags and at least two significant specialist monthlies on different areas. To sustain at least three general online discussion fora (although, in my excursions away from RMWeb I do notice a fair bit of overlap of active posters) and countless specialist ones. To sustain enough retailers, manufacturers and sheer product volume to fill a huge chunk of pages per month of those monthlies for ads for stuff that people are, presumably, buying in enough numbers to make it worthwhile to maintain supply. To sustain a dozen distinct and mostly extensive ranges of track from a single UK manufacturer (yes, I know Peco also export extensively, but at least some of their ranges are fairly UK specific). To sustain a very lively (in normal times) show scene. To sustain two major mass manufacturers, a dozen or two second-string, but still commercial concerns, an increasing number of commissioners and hundreds, if not thousands, of cottage industries. Oh, and a retail network that may not be the 1950s utopia of a model shop on every corner, but which still covers a good deal of the country and, indeed, has gained international reach, thanks to the Internet. To sustain several dozen active and often well resourced societies, covering most conceivable interests. Given all that, I would say that the plausible estimates, upthread, of a number in the mid-100,000s would likely represent a minimum, because I can't see a significantly smaller population having the spending power or collective enthusiasm to make that lot, and more, worthwhile.
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