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    Perth, Western Australia

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  1. Perhaps the tendency to rivet counting stems from the nature of those modelling early railways. Almost by definition they will be modellers in the advanced class, due to the need to scratch build almost everything. I always enjoyed Mike Sharman's articles, largely because, although very skilled, he recognised that meaningful rivet counting, in the absence of comprehensive information, was a bit daft. One problem with r-t-r, or even reasonably straightforward kits, is that many early locos are so small that there is nowhere to inconspicuously hide the necessary compromises. 00 wheel standards and back-to-backs are all very well when hidden under a running plate and a big boiler, but how do you get them to look right in the open or inside finely fretted splashes. Bachmann's Norris locos are a good example, with even their (presumably) NMRA wheel standards looking decidedly steamroller/pizza cutterish against something so tiny. ISTR Mike Sharman managing OK in EM, but didn't even he eventually go to P4 in the end? Not an "easy" option for most.
  2. If you fancy a homebrew solution, IIRC Roger Amos' books cover automatic block signalling quite extensively, and it wouldn't be too hard to extend it to actual control of trains.
  3. A coat of paint (if anything will stick) and some glazing and it would be OK for a background model if viewed front on. It's better than, eg. those Langley(?) whitemetal N scale Land Rovers that are so distorted that they look like they've been sat on by elephants, but are regarded as respectable due to provenance and material.
  4. Nice to see people are still building C J Freezer plans ;).
  5. Dalby's illustrations, to my now mature eye, have the same air as tinprinted toys of the era (and earlier); bright, exciting and really very charming. There's even a similar degree of 2-dimensionalism to his representation of track, for example. Yes, as adults we now see the lack of realism and the continuity errors, but these were books for children. I know the Rev Awdry got somewhat frustrated with Mr Dalby, but, when I was of the target age group, I really don't remember having a problem with any of it.
  6. As per the title, I'm in the process of designing a small display for a (non-railway related) shop window. It won't be anything fancy. I'm looking at a small loco and a handful of wagons, with the shop logo on their sides, shuttling back and forth on 3m of track across the window, just above eye level. Whilst I would have liked to go with a larger scale, this is a strictly budget project, largely utilising stuff from the bits box so it'll be 00. Track will be good old Streamline Code 100, laid on thin polystyrene packing foam for quiet running. Shuttle electronics will be homebuilt, as will the basic controller. Roger Amos' second book contains a design for which he claimed near silence from XO4 motors, so I'm intending to use that. Stock will be, initially, from the back of the cupboard. For this exercise I've got a Hornby Thomas, a Hornby J13 and a Hornby Toby. At a pinch I've also got a pair of Lima 09s which I'd be prepared to sacrifice. I like the running of Toby's chassis, but I want to steer well clear of Thomas implications so I'm looking at using the J13. Thomas can provide chassis spares as necessary as (apart from wheel colour) he's mechanically identical. I'm not especially confident of the running reliability of the 09s. I estimate that, at a reasonable speed, the loco will be covering about 3 actual miles in an 8 hour day, which is a fair bit. Maintenance, as such, isn't too much of a problem as I can perform servicing at least weekly whilst sitting the shop, and I can do a track clean daily. However, the modern (for a given value of "modern" ;)) Hornby chassis give me some pause wrt long term longevity with their sealed can motors and plastic frames. If the display is a success, I'm considering moving to something older but more rebuildable such as Triang Jinties or Dublo R1s. The high mileage also makes me wonder about stock wheel bearings. What sort of life, in this kind of continuous use, can reasonably be expected of pinpoint axles in plastic axleboxes? Do I need to consider adding brass bearing cups? Or are any affordable (read cheap, available secondhand)) r-t-r wagons better in this respect than others? Currently available stock is a hodge-podge of recentish (last 15 years or so) Hornby, and Mailine and Airfix/GMR of indeterminate vintage. If I need to actually buy stock, Dapol's unpainted range is attractive as an inexpensive blank canvas, given the need to add custom paintwork/decals anyway. Might I be better off looking at older (maybe Dublo again) stock for longevity? All thoughts and comments much appreciated.
  7. Even at a fairly young age I thought it rather bad taste that the local lollipop person was a hedgehog.
  8. Just to expand on 5.5mm scale for a moment, as I don't think anyone did earlier, it was< I believe, adopted in the late 1950s/early 1960s to allow the production of Tallylyn prototypes with an accurate scale/gauge relationship using commercially available TT gauge track, wheels, mechs etc. With the advent of commercial supplies of 9mm gauge equipment, allowing a similar approach in 4mm scale, it became a bit redundant.
  9. My family were renting our TV at least until I left home for good in 1988. First colour set was a Baird, which arrived c1972-73 and was finally declared beyond economic repair in 1983. That was replaced with a Mitsubishi which had an unusual (to me, at the time) pink tube. My mother still had the same set when she died in 2005, so it was a bit more reliable than the Baird. I assume it was still rented. Mind you, it was so old that maybe Radio Rentals had forgotten about it.
  10. Just to offer an off the wall alternative, have a look through the cornucopia of narrow gauge micro ideas at http://www.carendt.com/ and then at the affordable, and easy and fun to build, large scale locos and stock here, and consider going SM32. Cheapo RC gear can be had here, eliminating track power issues. Even if you don't want to go large scale, the Arendt site is a gold mine of ideas if you're short of space or want to built something small as a test piece.
  11. You jest, of course, but a few years ago I stopped for petrol in a country town one morning, and watched the local kindergarten walk past on an outing. They were all attached to a long strap via velcro wristbands and with a teacher at each end. With their little sunhats on it looked like a chaingang for naughty Disney mushrooms.
  12. The right finding, IMHO, but still a horrible (though, sadly, by no means unique) case. One kid dead, another who'll probably be having nightmares for the rest of her life, trauma for the train crew and emergency services, and a family who'll never recover. All because a couple of apparently bright 16 year olds didn't know that a railway is always a dangerous place. Maybe The Finishing Line needs a rerun around Britain's schools.
  13. Thanks for the info. The 44 Tonner is quite basic, with no sound effects or lights. Tha lack of horn or whistle ability on DC will only become relevant as and when I acquire more locos. I believe that on the horn equipped diesels the horn was powered by the dry cell but triggered by the burst of DC via the track. I certainly noticed that, where a seller wished to emphasise how well a diesel had been preserved they showed the pristine battery compartment in detail. 0-27 is indeed a tiny, tiny radius, even by 00 standards. Funnily enough, though, in context I don't find that it looks as jarringly daft as I thought it would. These are, when all is said and done, toys after all. I do rather like the elastic ruler that Lionel's designers must have used to make everything work in such confined spaces.
  14. So what's next? I've got a cheapo Ebay PWM module and the necessary bits to turn it into a practical controller on the slow boat from China at the moment so I'll be able to avoid doing speed control by twiddling the voltage setting screw on the power brick. As noted, I intend to run on DC. I understand this will mean i can't have working Lionel horns or whistles, or those operating accessories which rely on AC to create vibration, but I can live with that as those aren't the aspects of these models toys which appeal to me. I need some stock and have an eye on a dealer with sensible prices and shipping. I just need to save up enough to buy sufficient varied freight cars to stock a 3-2-2 Inglenook for the time being. More can follow in time. More track and turnouts would be good, so I can put together a variety of interesting temporary layouts. Again, it seems to be a case of keeping an eye open for large bulk lots from sellers who won't gouge on shipping. I'm not intending to go daft because this is strictly an interim measure before that "one day" garden project happens, at which point I'll be handing over a goodly proportion of my life savings to Gargraves for their wooden sleepered stainless 3-rail flexi. I am, however, rather fascinated by the potential prospect of building all those layouts in early editions of 60 Plans for Small Railways, which required r-t-r 15" radius points, in 0-27, in the same space as the already tiny 00 rendering :D.
  15. While I'd been fiddling about with the loco, the second package containing a figure-8 of 0-27 tinplate track had turned up, so it was essential that I stick it together on the table, place the loco on it and apply some volts. It worked! Powered by my trusty power brick, Lehigh Valley No 627 trundled around the circuit under its own power for the first time in, I suspect, quite a while. On the 5V setting she trundled around steadily and smoothly, quiet enough that the main noise was the wheels and pickup rollers clickety-clacking over rail joints and the 90 degree crossing in a most satisfying manner. On anything above 9V it was sufficiently fast that I was concerned centrifugal force would overcome the enormous flanges and result in a trip to the floor. I've currently no stock to test haulage power, but a quick hand test gives me no cause for concern. If it proves inadequate there's plenty of room in the body for some lead around the power truck. I like this loco.
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