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Wizardtrains's Achievements



  1. Mine are not fitted to the board, it's not working sat in my hand, do you have Lenz LS150 also? It does buzz and works ocassionally but obviously that's not good enough. Glad you're having more success.
  2. Phase 2 of Northumberton involves the track bed up as far as the entrance to the station level (Phase 3). I have already cut the track bed - (see entry "Frames complete - now the track bed). I use an extended 1m straight edge/rule to measure track height from the frame work which was levelled in the early stages. I'm rising from 1005mm to 1105mm above floor level. I was able to take the levels where track crossed the frame work from the SCARM software I'm using, (see entry "Backscene") Sections of ply and softwood have been cut to raise the track bed to the correct height. Pine battens for mid way supports and plywood profiles where the route is a bit more tricky. This does take a long time, I'm also using a great little spirit level that I have which has a digital readout including one for gradient percentages which made checking the track bed much more straightforward. I'm still using metal washers on the outside edge of curves to induce a very slight camber, especially on the tighter hidden curves. Also I'm allowing plenty of room for long coaches on tight hidden curves by cutting away the curved section shown below in the support for the upper track. My trusty glue spreader from Amazon filled with Woodland Scenics foam glue, this spreader works so well and as I'm also using DCC concepts Power Base I have a lot of gluing to do. I split all the track bed in two down the middle to ease installation. I coat the track bed and the foam underlay separately, leave for about an hour and then lay the underlay following the centre lines shown. This method means no pins required or additional drying time, just make sure you place it very carefully as once its down its down! Same method for laying the Power Base, coat the foam track bed and the metal plates. to hold the metal plates whilst applying glue I use double sided tape in strips on an old board, place the plates in place on the tape and then go over with the glue roller. After an hour the plates are lifted off the tape and placed onto the foam - again an extremely strong bond is achieved. I'll carry on now until Phase 2 has all it's track down and has been tested. Just trying out the new Peco twist lock point motors with the switch attachment, so far so good, certainly fitting the motor is easier but the wiring of the accessory switch does not look clear to me, I'm using it to change frog polarity, has anyone used these? Which terminal on the switch goes to the frog? Cheers for now, P.S. no prizes for spotting the glass of wine, it was very late in the day Note: Peco Twist Lock motors, fitted one and then decided to test it. I'm using a Lenz LS150 which is designed for solenoid motors and indeed runs my Peco PL10E's perfectly. The Twist Lock motor switched once and then stopped, I tried a few times to get it going, it only worked intermittently but not at all with the micro switch fitted. Fortunately I carried out the test before fitting it to the layout as I had purchased 6 of these from Hatton's. A bit of research later found others had also been having some issues with these. Luckily for me Hatton's agreed to refund me for the motors including the one I opened to carry out the test, many thanks to them. Back to PL10E's for me, I'm sure the twist lock motors must work OK with other power supplies/switches but did not like my Lenz LS150. I am not so sure about the micro switches, there does not seem to be enough throw for them to function reliably IMHO.
  3. I would be the first to admit to having a bit of a blind spot when it comes to DCC wiring, not the soldering or fitting point motors but my reverse loop and snubbers and all the fine points of building a reliable DCC circuit. I had gathered much research and many many peoples advice but alas in most circumstances something somewhere was taken for granted regarding my DCC knowledge - this is very bad. However, I have success, a fully functioning reverse loop with storage tracks and a separate bus. Most I am sure will think nothing of my minor achievement but in my defence I now realise I had too much information - following the wiring diagram that came with the reverse loop module was all that was necessary - my confusion developed partly as I have three turnouts together at the entrance to the loop and making sure each had insulated connectors and appropriate connections to the correct bus is where I started to loose it. I'm not intending to describe all the wiring as it was a headache I'd like to forget and there are far more qualified people on here to talk about DCC wiring. My advice would be buy components from a reputable source (I used Peco, Gaugemaster and Lenz, my DCC system is the Roco/Fleischmann Z21) then read the instructions carefully and if you have questions ask the manufacturer. This worked for me, the reason I post on this blog is mainly that I have found posting in a forum tends to create debate - which is as it should be! However if you are looking for an answer to your problem and you lack basic to intermediate knowledge on the subject you may find you receive more opinions than you can decipher. Although the wires still need to be put into clips along the battens this view shows the first of my "BUS" panels with the reverse loop module being the central black rectangle on the upper right board. The lower left board is for point control with the first three points connected. The BUS wires use the terminal blocks shown in order to make the connections straightforward. Apart from these screw terminals all other joints are soldered. Following my first test runs this all works very smoothly. From above you can see the track section that has been wired, this is all going to be below ground as a storage loop so the track is not ballasted but I have applied a dark brown paint via an airbrush, this was partly to test out painting tracks but also with an eye on the future and the possibility of running a loco with a camera up front - I wanted to avoid a totally unfinished look underground. Having cleaned the rail top surface everything is still running fine, although I have since tried a couple of other locos, I am using an old Thomas the Tank loco bought at a table top sale many years ago for £2. I converted it to DCC for just over £20 and it makes an excellent test engine without risking my more expensive fleet! (Components to do this came from Pete's Spares, very useful shop). Flushed with success I have now moved onto laying the track bed sections for the upper levels. And this will be my next entry topic.
  4. So, what have I been up to, well lots actually but sadly not on the railway so finally I'm getting back to regular modelling. We have heard so much news in the world I'm only going to talk models here. My last entry showed progress on a Metcalfe models Town End Cottage - something I started during lock down and got quite a lot of satisfaction from. I have tried to add as much extra detailing as I can and when it was completed I decided to try another, and another! I'm telling myself these are temporary until I get around to scratch building something in the future but I must admit that following the results achieved this will not be at the top of my list of things to do. Instead I aim to concentrate on track laying with the hope of completing all track and electrics by the end of the summer. Here are a few shots of the completed cottage: I used some cast metal chimneys from S&D Models and doubt I'll ever use anything else in the future as they are superb and easy to paint up for a realistic look. I also replaced the chimney base and brick surround as I was not happy with the exposed joints. The lighting is on a sequencer to imitate day to evening use. Garden uses tea leaves for soil and Busch flowers, the static grass here and on the castle was applied with my old Noch applicator, interesting to see the difference with the signal box which uses the new one (see below). Next came the castle, I chose just to model the main hall as I do not have room for any more and we have a lot of castles like this in Northumberland and with this kit I now have two castles on my layout. I decided to add internal lights and a flickering fire effect, that led to me fitting a smoke unit as I have had a Seuthe unit in a draw for years. It is removable should it ever need replacing. The chimney cover was made by scanning the Metcalfe stone work and using the print to cover a card model I made from 1.5mm art board. I have added bases to all my buildings in order to make it easier to drop them into the layout, ground work will be blended in later. Each board also has sockets underneath so that lighting and effects can be easily plugged in or disconnected as necessary. The Northumberland flag was made from an image that I mirrored and then curved to represent the waving motion, this was then fitted to the plastic mast made from scraps. The window frames and stone toppings are all spray painted and weathered to help with the individual touch and the doors are changed using a modified image from the internet. I do most of my graphic work in either CorelDraw or PowerPoint. Some windows have images behind them that light up whilst others have Woodland Scenics defuse film which works very well, far better than tracing paper or grease proof paper that I have also tried. If you ever consider buying this - it looks expensive - be aware you get an awful lot, I don't think I'll need any more to complete my layout. The drain pipe at the front is made again from scrap plastic. And finally for now my signal box, I really did add a lot of bits to this including roof tiles and the laser cut barge boards from York Model Rail, I did have some 1/76th barge boards but these were too big so those used are actually the N gauge versions but I think they look fine. I find the laser cut items are not cheap by any means but I do have lots left for some other models and they provide excellent detail difficult to achieve in any other way. I hope to buy my own laser cutter next year, bench top versions are getting better all the time and having used them for about 20 years in teaching I miss having the access to one. 3D printing is also something I miss but again they seem to get updated about every 6 months, I was hoping to see safer materials becoming available as I am interested in the resin printers for the fine detail they can produce. Moving on I also installed a ratio signal box interior kit, internal lighting and a Gaugemaster gas lamp. The figures - there is also one in the box, are repainted/weathered Bachmann figures. The external handrail is made from 10mm brass model boat stanchions with some 0.7mm brass wire handrail. The paving on all models is homemade using a "Greenstuff World" pavement roller which I use directly onto thin Styrofoam and then paint and drybrush. The gravel at the front is some old N gauge ballast from Fleischmann I had in my box of a hundred unknown things! Static grass was applied with my newly upgraded Noch device - I had the very early one which was fine for N gauge 1 or 2mm grass (a previous continental line) but I found it struggled with 4mm and not good for 6mm. I am delighted with the version 3.0 Pro which I managed to get in a very good sale in the new year, the static is so strong that you can "pull" the grass about once it has landed just using the applicator head. The interior walls are also lined with wood planking and a wooden floor as so much can be seen with the large windows, I even added a track diagram from part of my layout plan although I think only I know it is there. I was going to add more on my DCC wiring here but I think this entry is long enough so I'll save it for next time. I'm going to get back into the garage to continue track laying and will make sure I have my camera on the go! Bye for now Clive
  5. Hi all Well what it is to be back earlier than anticipated, after amazing support from my local NHS all's well. I have spent much time thinking and planning my next moves on the layout. I quickly realised that finishing the clear out in the garage needed to be a priority and so I have started making more room thanks to some garden storage boxes I have installed in an unused area beside the house. I have also resumed work on Northumberton Station building which is based on Acklington Station. Based on the Metcalfe cottages I built I am reducing the amount of interior detail planned as at the distance the buildings will be viewed you simply can't see it. I am going to add light "boxes" behind each window with an image of the interior printed on. The station building has very small windows based on the prototype so even this simple image will be hard to see but it will be nice to see the lights coming on during the evening. Just before Christmas I was able to get hold of the Metcalfe "Town End Cottage" and I've really enjoyed building this up. I'm fitting lights and have included the "scene behind the window" approach shown below. Loads has been written about the construction of Metcalfe and Super Quick kits so I'll not give too much detail but would say that although many recommend a certain glue I find having a range is the most useful (horses for courses). I use Rocket card glue, Super Phatic, Pritt stick, UHU and Evo Stick PVA. Room interiors: I also used a few techniques shown in my last blog entry. As I received them as a gift I'm using the Woodland Scenics Just Plug lighting system on this cottage with the addition of some led's from Viesmann which I had from a previous layout (they have built in resistors so can be connected directly to the Woodland Scenics light hub. Behind the Window: Curtains are from the internet, scaled down, cut out and then a strip of scrap card is glued to the edge. This offsets the curtains to give a sense of depth. These are then glued to the rear of the windows making them just visible on either side. The "Room" image is again from the internet reduced to about 30mm high. This is folded into the shape shown and glued in place behind the curtains. This section has been work carried out around January so I'm writing an update to publish next week, Two more buildings completed plus updates on the DCC wiring that has caused much angst!
  6. Hello Short answer, very slowly! I have had some success with creating some buildings which are a mix of modified card kits, modified resin and some plaster cast - blog entry to follow. I spent a lot of time working out my DCC wiring and have now started laying more track, the DCC powerbase is working very well although my inclines are only border line for needing it - more of a belt and braces approach. Thanks for the question - it helps as a wake up call, it is all too easy to end up over thinking everything and not making the progress I should. No latest photos at the moment, modified the SCARM model and a reminder of the frame construction, I'll get something up to date ASAP. Cheers Clive
  7. Famous "known and recognized by many people" nothing more. Not everyone is a railway enthusiast but many know of the Flying Scotsman locomotive.
  8. Hi I was looking to recreate the Flying Scotsman as it appeared at the Wembley exhibition in 1924 so when I first saw R3736 I thought this was my chance, it has to be said that some parts of this loco are excellent, picking up on some very fine details but yes some larger errors are present. So, I still haven't made the purchase as I'm wondering if a better example is around the corner. I love this loco and most of my locomotives are Hornby but with the cost of R3736 being so high it is hard to justify the purchase with the errors being mentioned. I'm not even sure that crest is the correct size and the LNER font looks too high to me. Is this where we have to accept compromise on the basis of the economics of producing model locomotives? I think the most famous steam locomotive of all time deserves to be as correct as possible when we reach this kind of money, after all when you add DCC sound and some weathering - possibly semi gloss finish as it would be an exhibition locomotive, the cost will comfortably pass £330 ish.
  9. Sadly medical stuff has reared its head again, back inside with constant visits to hospital. If there is one thing I've learned its not to put off building your layout! Anyway my layout is probably on hold for another year. My apologies to those who have liked and followed the story so far. Cheers for now.
  10. Hello Finally back to thinking about the railway. Anyone having read my previous blog entries will see that it's been a long time since my last blog entry. Had to sort a few medical issues but that's all behind me now and thankfully nothing to do with c19. As I've been recovering I thought I would have a go at one of Metcalf’s excellent card kits, although I would point out that I see these as temporary models which look great until my planned buildings come along when I have the time. I chose the workers Cottage as it closely resembles some workers cottages I have planned behind the station area. View of the ground floor with curtains and walls in place. I decided to add an interior, not fully detailed but at least enough to look good when the building is illuminated with LED lighting, I didn’t like the idea of peering into a cardboard shell. The wall graphics in PowerPoint. I prepared internal walls in card and interior wallpaper and furniture as you can see, I did this in PowerPoint mainly but also some use of CorelDraw. In a way I’m not sure I should have taken so long over it as it is almost impossible to see it from the distance that this will be viewed – about 1m. Still, this was also a bit of a learning exercise for future work. And the first floor showing the wires for the LED's attached to the roof. All led's are pre-wired micro type in warm white from an online auction site! External doors were covered with a new image from the internet and all roof and wall edges had the mortar lines added using a 0.2mm fibre tip pen. The corner joints were disguised by photocopying the original walls before construction, cutting a vertical slice from the corner stone design and then pasting this over the join using rocket card glue. Each room light can be turned on independently, I used a Rk Education RKswitch1 Toggle Switch Module bought as a kit which you just solder together. If you're new to electronics I highly recommend this kind of kit, I also use a lot from Kitronik, great kits with clear instructions and the website has great resources - see "Learning" under the resources tab and start with understanding electronics. N.B. Lights are softer than they appear in this photograph. RKswitch1 Toggle Switch Module The model is mounted on a piece of 9mm ply so that it can be removed from the layout for maintenance. I have started a tidy up in the garage/railway room which is also a reorganisation as I’m desperate for space. When the layout is mainly complete I intend to add roll out storage boxes below that will give me all the capacity I need but until then I’m a bit crowded. As soon as this work is complete I will commence track laying again and then I hope to show a short clip of my first loco running.
  11. Hi Thanks for the kind comments, sadly been in hospital, not c19 though. Out now all fixed. Hope to get back to track laying soon. When I have something to show I'll update the blog. I know it's easier said than done but try to show what you've done, the person who makes no mistakes usually makes nothing. I was a Technology teacher for 20 years so the wood work had to be reasonable or my ex student's would tell me off
  12. Sorry chaps, I appreciate so much you trying to help but I'm obviously not giving enough information to get the guidance I need. I think my problem is not having the knowledge to understand fully the replies. many of the terms are not familiar to me. I think I would be correct in assuming that there are many more ways than one of wiring up DCC. I'll try to draw a better diagram over the next few days and come back to this. Thanks again.
  13. Ah, I do have a reverse loop module (Gaugemaster) that will be wired into the loop, had some help with that on another post and feel confident that is correct. Now the bus wires under the loop and the bus wires under the remaining tracks both go back to the Z21 then? I was worried that when the reverse loop activates it would affect the main line bus in some way.
  14. Hi Iain, thanks for the information. I have a Lenz TR100 (Transformer 15V, 45VA) which will power all the point motors via a couple of LS150's (6 OUTPUT ACCESSORY DECODER), these are left over from a planned continental layout that work never allowed the time to build. Now retired I'm hoping to put some of these things to use. The above should reduce the load on the Z21, I also have a couple of old transformers (Gaugemaster) that I will use for layout lighting and motorised accessories in 16V. The plan is to leave the Z21 to run two trains on the mainlines and have the ability to control a third in the sidings (I mainly watch the trains go by!). The layout is planned to be very scenic and will also include moving vehicles using the magnorail system (again from the continental layout that was planned), the 3A from the Z21 should be able to cope with running the three locomotives I hope. Coach lightingfor me uses the battery Coach Lighting Kit with Latching Reed Switch from "layouts for you" so no drain there. Should I upgrade to DCC lighting throughout then maybe a power booster is a future option. Right now I'm just trying to get up and running but am finding no sooner than I get one issue sorted that I'm coming cross another. My fear is blowing a DCC fitted locomotive with an expensive sound chip. Any other thoughts on the reverse loop wiring?
  15. Thanks, so PSX then, will the reverse loop be ok connected as below? I thought Id start with 2 PSX and add more if necessary or the layout expands.
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