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    : Mullumbimby Creek, Australia

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  1. It looks good – and nothing is gummed up . Cleaning ballast out of the frog and checkrails is tedious, but I can’t see much to do about that. I could mask off the frog, but you actually need the ballast to go down between the stock and check rails in order to ballast that part of the underlay. Oh well. A bit of ballast needed down the edges, and the sides of the rails need painting. These will be sorted out once all the tracks are planted, and the in-fill between the tracks is in place. Note to self: tidy up background before taking photos.
  2. ... when the next payment on his Porsche is due.
  3. As we say an the antipodes - bu**er.
  4. First up, here’s the ballast paper applied to a turnout: I’m installing trackwork over a 5mm foam base. Plain track additionally goes on 1.5mm TrackLay. In the following, I’m ballasting Peco unifrog points (4mm on 1.7mm sleepers). These are laid on a cut-out of the 5mm foam, plus some card packing to bring the railhead to the same height as the plain track. The position of the droppers and tiebars were transferred from the turnouts onto the cut-out, the cut-out installed into the baseboard, then holes drilled through. The cut-out was then removed from the baseboard, the droppers introduced into their respective holes, a liberal coating of water-based carpet glue applied (no Copydex in Australia), but away from the tiebars. The turnouts were then seated into the glue and the droppers pulled through. Finally, the 2+4mm ballast mix sprinkle over and pressed down with the Ballast Compaction Device. The result looks fairly good ... ... but will require a bit of cleanup in 24 hours when the glue has dried ... ... and I discover whether I have been successful in keeping the glue away from where it shouldn’t be. Only downside so far is that I have some the fingers and droppers also got a bit of ballasting, so next time I will try cleaning them off with a damp cloth before applying the ballast. While looking for something, I discovered some DCC Concepts ballast that I had bought early on. The LB-2SE Dark Grey Blend is a tad darker than the Green Scenes GS414, but otherwise similar in appearance, so I’ve mixed some through – waste not. I also have some LB-2LG Grey Blend which is useless to me for ballasting, but might get used for scenic things sometime. On the subject of ballast, I only noticed today that neither Green Scenes nor DCC Concepts tell you the weight of their products – perhaps other manufacturers are the same. For the record: Green Scenes are 125g, while DCC Concepts are 206g, both without the containers. See you all in 24 hours for the big reveal!!
  5. aardvark

    Little Muddle

    Can't wait to see what you're adding. I've already filed this idea for later reference when I have a shed of my own.
  6. If you're not keen on revisiting Peco foam underlays, you might like to consider this product as a convenient way to avoid all that tedious ballasting on your magnum opus : https://www.tracklay.co.uk/ No relation, just a happy customer.
  7. aardvark

    Little Muddle

    Reminds me that we used to play w*nk word bingo during company meetings. The managers were quite perplexed when someone would call "bingo" in the middle of a company meeting.
  8. I have some that are surplus to requirements. You're welcome to them if you want.
  9. Thanks Paul. Presuming that you are using the Kraft blade, what sort of thickness do you manage to cut successfully? Do you have any problems getting the blade with undercut/overcut of internal corners? Any clever technique for aligning the blade for the first cut in each set? cheers ...
  10. Thanks Tony - I'm pretty happy to see some progress too . Hoping I can keep the enthusiasm up. Has it really been 2½ years since you showed me around your layout? On a separate thread where I was learning to understand the signalling diagram for Banff, in response to a discussion about the difficulty of modelling gravity shunting, St. Enodoc suggested ... I would have to agree that having a non-prototypical station pilot hiding in the loco shed would be more acceptable than installing a non-prototypical passenger run-around loop or other track hackery (trackery?). It would also add some model operational interest, and be trivial to revert when (if) I get up to modelling gravity shunting with motorised carriage(s) and/or wagon(s). With this idea in mind, it occurs to me to pick up a Barclay 0-4-0ST for this purpose. I know, I know - Barclays were industrial locos and would never have been used for such purposes - but, you see, Barclay was the given name of my father-in-law who emigrated from Banff in 1958. My wife was very excited to see one at Minehead when we were there in 2015, so just maybe the appearance of a Barclay on the layout in BR black might be worth some brownie points. Or have I lost all my marbles??
  11. I still haven't, but I have just ballasted some, and I simply can't stop myself from posting twice in one day. As a beginner, everything can be so confusing because there seem to be as many ways of doing something as there are modellers. Well, almost. Classically, ballasting falls into two methods identified by St. Enodoc as ballast first and glue first, but I'm doing neither of those by using Tracklay, as recommended by my friend and mentor Ben Alder. Basically, it's a strip of closed-cell foam with adhesive on one side - you stick the track to the foam, then rub the ballast over, shake off, and you're done. No glue getting in the wrong places, no water mist, no detergent, no waiting for it to dry, no vacuum. Time taken to ballast one 500mm length of track: about 10 minutes, including the time to remember where I had stored things. Above shows a wooden jig I made up to hold the foam while positioning the track. It also helps contain the ballast while pressing it down with the Ballast Compaction Device (index finger), which was an unexpected bonus. Here's the track out of the jig: The ballast looks very good to this beginner, but those droppers I turned the track over, slit through the Tracklay, and pulled the wires through. This dislodged a little ballast from around the cut, which I had to replace, but otherwise ... All this was done over a sheet of newspaper: just pick it up and poor the excess ballast back into its container for re-use. Next will be ballasting turnouts ...
  12. I've been thinking about it for a while, and decided to make a few modifications to my baseboards before they get track laid. First was changing the bolts joining the boards (3 at each join) from ¼" bolt, nut and two washers to M8 bolt, T-nut and one washer. This reduces the number of things I have to juggle upside-down while joining boards from 6 to 3 (including tools). The second was to add a little shelf under one end of each baseboard to temporarily support the next board while joining them. I use brass pattern-maker dowels to ensure correct alignment, but have found it quite fiddly to position an unwieldy baseboard onto the dowels.
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