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    Near the Midland Rly 'Old Road', Sheffield

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  1. Rob, Instead of using a scalpel knife, why not use some side-cutters (Xuron or similar) to remove the surplus steps. The side-cutters will leave a much neater, and possibly flush, cut thus reducing the painful sanding process. If space precludes Xurons, then some straight nail cutters would do the job.
  2. Rob, According to my RCTS coach books your SK was M24023 from 1976 to 1980. It only made it to Scotland in 1981. Bogies are correct (B1) and is a good choice being dual heated.
  3. Martyn, Maybe the attached photo will extend your vast knowledge of this class of DMUs. It's from a small softback magazine type print (it's certainly not a book, and only runs to 36-pages) that I bought back in the early 1980s.
  4. Rob, I can imagine the problems on the carpet. I'm not a fan of those Humbrol tins either. They are hard to open and the simple act of using the paint usually causes it to become clogged on the rim of the tin. I watched a YouTube channel (about repairing horse drawn wagons actually) and he never shakes a tin of paint. Keep the paint off from the lid and rim if at all possible. He only stirs his paint, and has a special funnel that fits on the tin rim to keep the paint clear of it. At least you successfully airbrushed the wagons, and they do look good. I haven't summoned the courage to even take my airbrush set out of its box. It's been there for over 2-years. It's only a cheap one from Aldi, so I expect to have to buy a better airbrush in the future, but it will probably do for my early practising - whenever that occurs. Out of curiosity, which airbrush are you using?
  5. Rob, Thank you for the kind words. The design may look complicated, but it is only flat sheets and straight timber cut and screwed together. I don't plan any gluing (and haven't used any on the Lower Baseboards or the Ramps) as that does give me the opportunity to fix / adjust any errors I make. Below is the revised Baseboard B with 4 distinct levels. Left-to-right are the MPD (level), the 4 mainlines (sloping down towards the camera), the 2 Leicester Lines (level), and the 2 Ramp tracks (part level and part inclined). Again it's just flat timber screwed together. The SketchUp software does give me all the necessary dimensions, so it should be a simple case of cutting wood to the correct dimensions and maintaining 90-degree corners. The baseboard construction will be quite difficult, but I'm not too concerned about that aspect of the model railway. The part that does worry me is the scenery to be added afterwards. I've absolutely no experience of that element of the build. You, on the other hand, are a dab-hand at the scenery and making it look lifelike. If I can get to even 80% of your skills I'll be happy.
  6. Gents, I agree on both counts. Been-there-done-that scenario. I did make sure there was enough left-over at the edges of the plywood sheets to allow for the cutting loss. In general, this seems to be about 2mm per cut. I know that because the offset I have to use on the circular saw for a 'guide bar' is 34mm if I have the circular saw on the piece I need or 36mm if the piece I need is not under the circular saw. I hope that makes sense. However, you are quite right that the top-right sheet t a 'tad' close. I have just over 20mm to spare, but that's only got to accommodate 2 cuts. It'll be alright gov, fingers crossed. My baseboard design also requires some 12mm plywood where the 44x18mm PSE timber is not tall enough. I've done the same check with the 4 offcuts I have from the Lower Baseboards, and there should be enough, I hope. In either case, if I get a bit short, I'll simply have to click-and-collect an extra sheet, although that'll have to be a much smaller sheet as I only have a small car. I can get 2400mm length to fit (that just touches the dashboard) but I'm width limited. Under normal, non-Covid-19, conditions I would be getting the major cutting done by the supplier, but this time I'll be getting a home delivery (at least it's free) of complete sheets. Thankfully I have a stash of polystyrene sheets, from furniture packing, that I can put on the garage floor. Then I can put the plywood sheets on the polystyrene, set the cutting depth on the circular saw to ~10mm, and safely make the cuts with the blade just going into the polystyrene. I don't fancy balancing the plywood on trestles while I make the cuts. That's just too stressful. I'll be clamping a straight piece of wood to the plywood to act as my guide to get the cut in the right place. The timber has been ordered, but won't be delivered until 11th June so I have time to make final design tweaks / adjustments in the meantime.
  7. Upper Baseboards - Cutting Plan With the design of the Upper Baseboards nearing finalisation , it was time to consider ordering the necessary plywood. But how many sheets to buy? So, it was back to the software to see the 'best' way to fit the various baseboard plywood elements into standard 2440x1220mm sheets. And here is the result, 4 sheets it just about enough; assuming I don't make any cutting mistakes or change the design too much: I don't know how others do this, but I find this method to be reasonably quick and accurate.
  8. Upper Baseboards - Detailing As noted in previous postings, it took a lot of work, but I finally managed to get the Upper Baseboards drawn up in the track layout software 3rdPlanIt. It's not really the best software for drawing baseboards, but it did help me to come up with a design that gave the required clearances to the underlying Ramp Tracks. In order to 'properly' design the Upper Baseboards I decided to try my hand at SketchUp, not having ever used it before. I watched a YouTube video on the "Woodworking for Mere Mortals" channel that was really helpful and gave me the basic knowledge I needed to start using SketchUp. I was, to a certain extent, simply duplicating the design I already had in 3rdPlanIt, but this time I was able to properly dimension each timber element, and design the joinery (and I use the word joinery loosely, as it's all butt joints and screws) such that it would be possible to actually build it. Here is a view of the Upper Baseboards in SketchUp: And here is the same view with the baseboards 'turned off' showing the framing: The colours in the above view are to differentiate: Grey - Vertical supports Purple - Edge perimeter frame Orange - Timber framing (44x18mm) Yellow - 12mm plywood framing Cyan - Sliding supports The following view shows the Upper Baseboards from a lower angle: One of the main advantages of doing the drawing this way is that I can isolate separate baseboards, producing views that I can actually use to build the baseboards. Here is one of Baseboard G: Now at present, the Baseboards are designed with 'upper' and 'lower' levels (as above) to accommodate the planned Upper Baseboard track levels. However, these are simply basic rectangles at present and really need to be fine tuned (aka 'tweaked') to suit the track alignment. To that end, I managed to find a way to get the track layout from 3rdPlanIt into SketchUp. The track layout was exported from 3rdPlanIt as Bitmap views. These were then cropped in ACDsee to the size of the individual baseboards A through J, still as Bitmaps. These Bitmaps were then imported into Xara Designer Pro and exported as PNG files, but with the background set as transparent. Each of these PNG files were then used as 'textures' in SketchUp. If you understood that lot I'm well impressed! However, the result was: This will make it much easier to 'tweak' the Upper Baseboards to match the track alignment in areas like in the view below: Still plenty more to finalise, and more to learn about SketchUp to do the changes, but I'm hopeful that actual timberwork can commence in June.
  9. Adwoot, That's quite a nice layout. Plenty going on. I like the multi-level approach and plenty of railway bridges. A few observations: Take care allowing enough length for the ramps / inclines between the levels. As drawn (sketched) there isn't enough length for ramps. The minimum for 2 tracks crossing (a bridge) is ~70mm. At 1in40 that's almost 3 metres. I don't know if you have access to the perimeter, but if you only have access from the operating well some of the baseboards look very wide. Remember you need to be able to reach for construction and, more importantly, troubleshooting and operations. Your fiddle yard looks shorter than the stations. I think you may need to relocate the fiddle yard under one of the stations.
  10. Adwoot, I was in your position about 3 years ago; a fleet of 1980s diesels and rolling stock from Hornby, Airfix, and Lima and no trackwork. Back then I never had the money or space (rented bedsit!) to built a layout. Now, 40 years later, I'm embarking on my first (and probably only) layout using all the rolling stock I already had. You can read all about my efforts at or using the link in the footer below. I would recommend going with DCC from the start. It's not difficult 'upgrading' older locomotives to DCC, and just involves cheap DCC modules and a bit of wire cutting / soldering. This brings plenty of flexibility to the layout and 'future proofs' it as well. It's good fun as well. I even added some headcode / rear lights to my old diesels. DCC does seem to involve a lot more wiring, but that wiring is very simple; just 2 wires to each track section. If you follow the mantra 'black to back' (assuming red / black colour wires) you'll be fine. As you are using old 1980s locomotives, they will have limited power pickups meaning that electrofrog turnouts would be much better suited. I've also retrofitted additional pickups to my 1980s locos to improve running. One thing I would seriously consider is planning, lots of it. I've planned and drawn out my layout before each stage to iron out any problems and this enabled the actual construction to be a painless experience. I've had almost no major issues and not had to rebuild or relay any elements so far. I even drew out the under-baseboard wiring on the first 6 baseboards to give me the confidence to install it without errors. Now I have enough experience to do it without a drawing. All my wiring uses plugs / sockets (very little soldering) and this is great for troubleshooting, as you can simply unplug bits to isolate faults. I had a short-circuit somewhere on my lower level baseboards, but each of the 10 baseboards were linked with jumper cables. I just unplugged the lot and gradually re-linked them until the fault re-appeared. It turned out to be short on the underside of a small veroboard I'd used. I hope the above has helped in some small way.
  11. Rob, The gravel looks a little 'large' for a platform surface. Have you tried a pestle and mortar (or a food blender - one that's NOT used for food ) to grind it down to smaller particles?
  12. Matt, What is the purpose of those 3 white circles under the track and what are they made of?
  13. Matt, It still might be worth looking at making the 'inner' one of your ramps, at the upper level, part of scenic section in the future. Assuming it's not 'too' steep. With so little clearance under my Upper Level baseboards, there is no chance of me doing insitu installation of the wiring (not without a chiropractor, lots of yoga, and much longer arms) . That's why I've designed the Upper Level baseboards to be removable (as are the Lower Level baseboards & ramps). Yes, it does introduce a lot of 'joints' into the layout, but at least I have the comfort of knowing I can remove a baseboard for installation of the wiring, servos for turnouts, and also any future upgrades, modifications, and troubleshooting. Planning is about all I've done in 2020, and I'm currently preparing the Upper Level baseboards & support structure in SketchUp. Hopefully, that'll be finished in a few weeks. Then it's a case of finding somewhere to buy the timber, with all the Covid-19 restrictions in place. The original design started in the winter of 2017 into spring 2018. I started building in the summer of 2018 with the overall baseboard support structure for all levels. The Lower Level Baseboards were done in the Autumn. Winter 2018 was track laying. Summer of 2019 was building the ramps and track laying. The main thing to remember is that this is a hobby to be enjoyed.
  14. Matt, I presume by 'electric trains' you mean those with overhead line equipment (OHLE). Burton-on-Trent has never been on any Network Rail (or BR!) plans for electrification and remains diesel only to this day (and probably for the foreseeable future as well). I'm modelling the mid-1970s when BR blue diesels ruled the rails, but that doesn't stop me running a few in BR green ... The newest diesel I'll run will be a class 56. Even the class 58 is too late for the era.
  15. I'd like to see a photo of their 'sample' when assembled, if you have one. The EasyFix system sound intriguing. Do you have any further information regarding how you are "... working out all the horizontal and vertical lengths ..."? I've managed to draw up the baseboards and frames in my layout software (3rdPlanIt) to get the major dimensions. However, I'm currently drawing the baseboard design up in SketchUp, as this helps to sort out the timbering at the junctions between baseboards and the supports. I'm hoping the SketchUp version can also be used for the timber lengths and assembly.
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