Jump to content


  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Posts posted by Spotlc

  1. 19 hours ago, Pacific231G said:

    Excellent photo Mike



    Thanks for your encouragement!  I have a lot of photos of railways and trains around Limousin, but another of my hobbies is restoring vintage cameras, so they are mostly black and white.  Do you think there would be any interest on here, if I were to start a thread?


    Best, Mike

    • Like 1
  2. 9 hours ago, Pacific231G said:

    Though the two SG lines into Tulle were single track, Brive-Ussel wasn't really a branch line. Though now confined to TER services and a shadow of its former self Tulle used to handle  long distance trains with a through service to and from Paris so was really a cross country main line.


    Yes, until the early 2000's there was also a daily through train from Clermont Ferrand to Bordeaux via Brive le Gaiilard,  but this got cut back to  Ussel - Bordeaux a few years later, and has now disappeared altogether, as has the other Clermont-Bordeaux service via Limoges- Montluçon.




    Here is the class 67 of the afternoon Ussel- Bordeaux, backing on after running round the four coach train at Tulle, in I think, 2009.   At least one if not two of the coaches were corridor stock, - this was the last time I rode in one of these in revenue service in France.


    • Like 2
    • Informative/Useful 2
  3. I agree with Campaman, that pdf's are ideal for sharing drawings - I've never used Libre Office, but it sounds pretty good.   Another good program for graphic design for models is Inkscape, which is what I use. It is free, can open or save in a wide range of file types, and can even be made to save in Autocad .dxf, for use in CNC devices like plotters or laser cutters. It's default format is .svg , scaleable vector graphics. 

    It is a good compromise between simple drawing programs and a full blown CAD suite like Autocad, which I reckon is a bit over the top for model buildings,  but I have to be honest and say that Inkscape is not the easist of programs to use at first (I am a bit dim!).  If you don't mind paying, Coral Draw is the commercial alternative, and has a more gentle learning curve.


    Here is a link to a useful site for scale dimensions and conversions:


    Best, Mike

    • Informative/Useful 1
  4. Rear View

    Some time ago, I showed the photo below of New Prospect Lane, and it gives some idea of the frontages of the houses in the lane. They are all based on Scalescenes 'Row of Cottages', but because I wanted them to descend down a slope they are built as pairs of semis, rather than a terrace.  






    I also used these buildings to compare different materials for construction, mostly with the aim of weight reduction, but also ways of easing construction, and this rear view shows some of my efforts.  Except for the fourth pair, I used 3mm MDF for the gable ends, and 1.5mm cardstock for all the front elevations and roofs;  the first and fifth pair were bandsawn from solid polystyrene foam, made by glueing sheets of 20mm insulation together.


    The shell of the  second and sixth pair were made from 3mm MDF, the back panel and the unseen floor were lightened by cutting a number of holes, which reduced the weight considerably compared to the third pair, which had just an ordinary 3mm MDF shell.


    The fourth pair were made almost entirely from 3mm foam board and were the lightest of the lot, but I found getting sharp edges more difficult than with either card or MDF, and I suspect the end result is less durable.


    The simple housing for the batteries, receiver and servos for the ground control systems is also visible, and I will describe this in more detail another time.  



    Lastly, this is the same view, but with the back panel fixed in position, showing the cut-out to access the batteries and switches.


    Best, Mike

    • Like 4
  5. On 30/08/2019 at 00:21, Thunderforge said:

    Romulus and Remus is (are?) a great idea, it would be interesting to see how it looks in action.

    Manhandling and horse shunting are an important part of some yards, and hard to model on a layout.

    Does it look weird that wagons start moving of their own accord? I see there are a few figures dotted around, I suppose that helps with immersion.

    Anyway, keep up the good work!



    Thanks for your interest and encouragement.     I am slowly working towards making a little video of this model, but to be honest I'm a little bit out of my comfort zone, so it's going to be a while!

    As for starting to move - yes, it is strange to see wagons begin to move with no apparent motive force, but I should explain that R&R were built for another layout, where they were used to move stock in and out of hidden sidings from a traverser, only rarely appearing "in the flesh" and when they did, the origin of their movement was unseen. 

    Coupling the motor vans to an unpowered locomotive will introduce a further illusion, but at the expense of track space which is often at a premium in a small layout. Of course, there is no reason to restrict motor vans to radio control operation - using DC or DCC track power it would need only one motorised vehicle, and High Level sell a beautifully designed kit to do just this, although by the time it is motorised it isn't the cheapest bit of motive power! 


    You mentioned the figures in the yard, and they are important because they act as indicators of scale speed - a train passing a human standing near the trackside seems to be going much faster than if it were passing a building or other large structure at the same speed, and I have tried in this model to operate the train(s) at a speed that appears realistic in this respect, but I do realise that this very slow speed operation might not be to everyone's taste!


    Best,  Mike

  6. More Road Vehicles


    Mid 1950's AEC Mercury.  



    This is another Base Toys hybrid with a scratch built frame for the tank and pipe trays. Like most British vehicles of this era there was no power steering, so when parking alongside a wall or loading bay it was usual to leave the front wheels in a position that would reduce the effort on the steering wheel at low speed, when beginning to move off again.   I have tried to reproduce this effect in some of the trucks in the model. Here are some pics of how it was done.




    First, a section of the chassis is cut away to take a 3mm thick aluminium plate.  I used a milling machine, but careful work with a saw and file would achieve the same end.   The black chassis is in original condition.




    The plate is cut from 3mm ally, you have to work out whatever angle you want -  it's hard to describe but what is needed is that the centre line of the wheel hub is central with the wheel arch on both sides when assembled,  and unless you are extremely precise,  some fudging will probably be required! 



    This is the view from beneath. The holes for the stub axles are on the centre of the plate thickness, so left or right turns can be represented just by inverting the plate;  the central hole is clearance for the head of the screw securing the cab. The plate is glued in place with Araldite.




    Here's some I made earlier, as they used to say on Blue Peter!




    Lastly, another part-completed conversion, a 1958 Leyland Comet with the LAD cab (Stands for Leyland, Albion, & Dodge, who all used the same basic Motor Panels "Vista Vue" cab design).  Not sure if the Comet was ever actually in a six  wheel version, the Super Comet certainly was, but they were 1960's, I think.


    Sorry this is not just about trains, but it is part of the "Diorama" bit of this forum, so I hope I am excused!


    Best,  Mike

    • Like 6
    • Informative/Useful 1
  7. On 17/08/2019 at 22:32, retiredoperator said:

    Hi Richard.  Very good indeed.  I do like the painting of the figures . And if I could fit the likes of them in Loco Cabs? then I would. Please excuse my ignorance, but, did you paint them yourself ? or buy them painted?

    Happy Modelling Kev 



    I hesitate to comment on someonelse's thread, especially this superb series of dioramas, but do so only to answer the question about the figures. They are undoubtedly made by Modelu - they are 3D printed figures, the result of scanning real people in 3D, so they don't get much more authentic!

    They come un-painted in scales ranging from 1:148 up to 1:19, and there are many footplate figures in the range , both steam and diesel/electric. They are amazingly realistic! No connection, just saying.


    • Like 1
  8. Motorised Vans continued.

    Here's a few closer pics and description of the motor vans:



    The motor is a little Mashima 1020, driving through a 108:1 gearbox, both of which came from a High Level L&Y Pug conversion, which I never carried out, and the whole thing is axle hung, much like many full size diesel electric locos.   

    In order to get a reasonable degree of traction from the 12.5mm dia. wheels I machined grooves for traction tyres in the wheel treads, and made a mould to cast  the massive lead weight.  Long screws from underneath hold the weight and three brass columns to the underframe, and two of these have a little "waist" to clear the motor. The top plate is 1.5mm thick aluminium held to the columns by screws, and it secures the motor, carries the receiver and helps locate the body moulding.




    The battery is a 800mAh OKCell USB rechargeable LiPo running at 9V nominal output but this can be recharged from any 5V micro USB source, and has simple charge condition LED's and full overcharge/discharge protection, so they are much easier and safer to use than a standard LiPo battery, plus you don't need a special charger.    They are actually overkill - they will run the little rig for hours from a full charge, well beyond my attention span!   The whole thing is held together by the brass columns and top plate, similar to the motor unit.   Like the class 08 and guards van, the twins are coupled with tailess Kadees, and permanently wired together.



    Here's a view of the receiver installation. Installation is rather a grand word for what is no more than a piece of 3mm foamboard with a slot cut in it! The other little chip is a Pololu voltage regulator, though it isn't used at present, and the bare wire is the aeriel.   The foamboard is simply stuck to the ally plate with double sided tape.




     The Selecta transmitter is also a Deltang product, and has twelve separate addresses which can be used for the control of lights, horn, points, and signals as well as train speed and direction control, and has a range of many tens of metres. All the radio gear came from Micron Radio Control, who provide a superb service, (no connection, just saying).  To help simplify  operations I have left an unused position between the motive power and ground functions, and similarly between ground functions and lighting, but it's not strictly necessary, just gives my poor old head a chance to think!


    The combination of a high gear ratio and the sensitivity of radio control, together with on -board power means that  very precise slow speed control is possible,  which is ideal for a tiny shunting layout .  As an aside, some years ago on one of my visits to England, I saw Gordon and Maggie Gravett's S scale "Pempoul" at Railex in Aylesbury, and as well as their superb standard of  modelling, both railway and scenery, the other thing that impressed me was the way the trains moved at the correct scale speed, and I decided there and then that I would try to aim for the same slow speed running!


    Best,  Mike

    • Like 1
    • Craftsmanship/clever 4
  9. 14 hours ago, OOman said:

    Mike this is fantastic modelling, I like the way you have fitted a motor and battery to your vented vans.:good_mini:


    you are too generous with your praise, but many thanks!  


    It isn't fantastic modelling, but it is, perhaps, a little different.  There are quite a lot of things that I would do differently if I do another layout, but that is what test beds are for - to show up flaws or highlight problems!  For example, the axles are still running in the plastic bearings, instead of decent metal ones, so they are wearing at an alarming rate, I have yet to build a properly working R/C signal, and so on, but it keeps the grey cell from sleeping!!

    ( I have found some more detailed photos of this rig)


    Best,  Mike

  10. Rolling stock or Motive power?



    I like the idea, on a small layout, of having what appear to be rolling stock, but are in fact motive power - they allow more complex movements than would be possible with only one loco, without making the layout look cluttered with a second loco.   Also, loose shunting was almost universal in the days of mixed freight and mineral yards, and motorised vans can do it very well!

    This was one of the main reasons for building New Prospect Lane,  to provide a platform to test some different ideas about train control and operation.  There is nothing new about radio control - garden railways have had it for years, - but recent developments in miniaturisation mean that it is now possible to fit receivers into the tiniest model, and lithium polymer battery technology is a fast moving field, there are some fascinating toys being developed in the world of robotics as well, so it seemed the right time to give it a whirl!



    These 12 ton ex-LMS vent vans are in the grey livery which BR gave to un-fitted stock when they inherited them in 1947. I bought six un-painted Dapol vans, all fitted with Kadees, from Hattons for a fiver each and sprayed them up, some as unfitted grey, and some in the bauxite red that vacuum braked stock was painted.



    Here the bodies are lifted off, and you can see that one contains a motor/gearbox and radio receiver and the other a 9V LiPo battery, and together they form an inconspicuous means of moving stock on a small layout. They are permanently coupled together, and named after the mythical twins Romulus and Remus, and can pull surprisingly large loads. I had considered naming them after another pair of mythical twins,  Castor and Pollux,  but my wife pointed out that careless pronunciation might give the wrong impression!   I'll post a few more pics when I can find them!


    Best,  Mike



    • Like 3
    • Craftsmanship/clever 3
  11. 7 hours ago, Haymarket47 said:

    Hi I’ve just discovered this thread and have enjoyed reading through your thoughts. I particularly liked the pics of the cut outs you have made for your magnets and servos. Can I ask what tools/techniques you used to get such neat cut outs?


    Many thanks


     Hello Alan,

    glad you enjoyed my ramblings!  Now, for cutting pockets and apertures or for cutting grooves and trenches, nothing beats a small router - they will work in any kind of wood or composite, and with very little modification they are just as effective in foam.  What needs to be done is the base of the router needs polishing, so that only light force is needed to guide it.


    The base of the router is fitted with a guide bush, and a template, either inside or outside, is made which controls the path of the router cutter - depth of cut is set on the router itself.  I use an old Ferm 1/4" router, but I think there is a router attachment for a Dremel, but I've never used one so can't say if it's any good.  Firmly locating the template on foam is sometimes a problem - with wood or MDF you can just use a couple of pins, but that won't work in foam, so I usually use double-sided carpet tape, but it isn't too grippy on foam, which is why the router needs to glide easily, hence polishing the base.


    This is a spin-off of some tooling I developed for machining the foam interiors of flight cases for the entertainment industry some years ago, - made totally redundant by CNC routers, I'm glad to say!!


    Best, Mike



  12. 2 hours ago, Bill_J said:

    I often used to watch shunting at Millbrook (Southampton), slower than walking pace, maybe be 2 or 3 mph was common. What they could shift at those low speeds though, was quite incredible.


    Bill, yes, it was just the same in the numerous little yards in the Forest of Dean, mostly steel mineral wagons either loaded or empty, lots of 'em, but it was all done at walking pace or less, much loose shunting, with the shunter walking alongside the wagons to put the brakes on!  Trying to get these slow speed effects in a model is what led me into radio control in the first place!


    Best,  Mike   

  13. 50 minutes ago, OOman said:

    Mike I like your black & white picture really atmospheric.


    Kevin, many thanks for your kind words!   The pic is from a layout I started some years ago, when I got back into railway modelling - I still have it but it's unlikely ever to be finished - too big, too complex, and badly thought out!   Still, it's what got me interested in smaller layouts!!


    Best,  Mike

  14. A bit about Gronks and Speed


    These 08's were the most numerous of  any class of locomotive built for Britains railways, just under a thousand were built before production ceased in 1962. They had a 6 cylinder turbocharged English Electric diesel producing 350 bhp, weighed 50 tons, and almost all of them were governed to a maximum speed of 15 mph.

    So, pulling or pushing a 20 ton brake van there is a starting load of at least 70 tons, and despite having a lot of tractive effort (35,000 lbf/160kN) for a relatively light engine, they do not accelerate like a modern car! (Consider for a moment that a medium sized modern car, say a Volkswagen Golf 1.6 diesel, produces around 105bhp and weighs about 1.4 tons!)


    Not a wholly fair comparison, since the Golf is entirely mechanical, whereas the Gronk's final drive is electric, and electric motors can produce almost 100% torque at very low revs, but the difference between the power to weight ratio of the two is enormous, and explains why the locomotive will only slowly reach it's governed speed of 15mph, even light engine.

    Of course in a yard, dockside, or quarry, - all frequent subjects for small layouts, there were almost invariably stringent speed limits in force, 10mph max being quite normal and 5mph max by no means rare, for both rail and road vehicles.  Additionally, most shunting involving manual coupling/uncoupling was done at a brisk walking pace at best, frequently less, say about 4mph.  


    I try to get to a few exhibitions every year, in both France and the UK, and there are often lots of beautifully made layouts on display, where the builders have gone to great lengths to achieve an amazing degree of realism, but the effect is frequently ruined by trains accelerating like a sportscar, and then running at scale speeds approaching Mach 1! (If you model the TGV's running between, say, Paris and Strasbourg it might be OK - they have in excess of 12,500 bhp available, and a service speed of 320km/h or 200mph, and some German ICE sets are similar, but on a little model like this set in 1950's England - NO!)



    (One of my earlier efforts!)


    You can do a simple test using this site: http://www.modelbuildings.org/free-scale-speed-calculator.html
    You'll need a tape measure and a stop watch, or timer app in your phone;    choose your correct scale and a distance (they are Imperial only), time how long the train takes to travel it, and enter in the box.   Simple, and I bet you will be surprised!

    Best,   Mike




    • Like 2
    • Informative/Useful 2
  15. 4 hours ago, Owd Bob said:

    Thanks Ian, it will be nice to pose and move them around or remove them completely at times, i think more than two vehicles posed at once may be a bit much on this small depot, i agree with what spotlc said on this very topic on on his brill' layout thread the other day. 


    Bob, firstly, many thanks for your kind words! .  For me road vehicles are just as important as the railway, but too many of either can spoil things, and ringing the changes can be fun in itself. I like the TK, - brought back a few memories from my murky past!!


    Best,  Mike

    • Like 1
  16. Jerry, thanks for your encouragement!  The brake van is a Bachmann, but I think Hornby do something similar. Nice, because it has a short (10ft) wheelbase!


    Bill,  sadly, I took no photos of the 08 when the body was off, and it was some time ago, but from memory the receiver went where the DCC chip had been. I used  a Deltang RX63 receiver which is very tiny - 16.6x9.6x4mm - it can handle 1 amp at up to 13V. Since this was really a test bed I didn't bother with directional or cab lighting so the chip has only 4 connections - two for the power supply, and two going to the motor. All the radio gear came from Micron Radio Control:


    and you can choose to have the lead out wires pre-soldered, and the chip shrink sleeved for a modest couple of quid, which I did. You will have plenty of room in 0n 16.5 for any kind of battery, but I used an OK Cell LiPo PP3, which is nominally 9V, but has a micro USB port for recharging from any 5V source, which avoids the need for a dedicated charger, plus they have charge/discharge protection built in.


    If you are well up in electronics I'm sure this could all be done in house, but my knowledge of electronics could be written on the back of a postage stamp in big letters(!), so I'm content to use commercially available kit, and then work out how to  fit it all together. There is an RC forum in RM web, and it has lots more info.


    Best,   Mike

    • Informative/Useful 1
  17. Motive Power 




    Here is NPL's Class 08 shunter pushing a very tired looking ex-LNER 20ton brake van. This has been modified to take the LiPo battery that provides the power for the 08, which involved fitting doors to the verandah at one end to hide the battery, and making the body into a "lift off" unit, complete with Gilbert Ellis, the ever watchful guard!




    This is the view with the body removed. I folded up a simple battery holder from 22g sheet steel, and the battery is just a push fit in this - the contacts are on a bit of circuit board, contact is made by a foam pressure pad, because try as I might, I could see no way of fitting even the tiniest switch without butchering the body even further.


    Apart from drilling two small holes in the chassis for the connecting cables, and a little hole in the exhaust vent to see the receiver LED, the loco itself is quite standard, the Deltang receiver going in the same place as the DCC chip did before. (In case you wonder, one of my neighbour's young children managed to wipe away some of the smaller details from the loco before I retrieved it !!)




    This is the view from the other side, showing the Pololu voltage regulator which maintains a constant 8.4 volts to the receiver regardless of the battery output voltage.  You can just see the connecting cables to the loco under the buffer beam, and the foam pad that keeps the battery contacts.  The two vehicles are joined in holy matrimony by Kadee couplers with the tails removed, because they will never be divorced!


    Having a separate vehicle for the power supply does mean some loss of useful space in a siding, for example, but it also allows for a much larger battery (600mAh) than would be possible if it were fitted inside the loco, and in fact the Bachmann 08 is made in such a way that it would  be difficult to fit anything but a tiny battery, which would have only a very short runtime.


    When I first started looking into battery/RC I used an old Hornby Hymek with a ringfield motor as a test bed, and of course, there is loads of space for batteries, directional lighting and so on in that, and smaller locos do present a challenge, but the resulting degree of slow speed control has to be seen to be believed, plus rusty rails and very little wiring, except for the point servos and lighting!


    Best,  Mike

    • Like 2
    • Craftsmanship/clever 4
  18. 1 hour ago, OOman said:

    Mike great pictures of your progress and your layout. You have a nice selection of rolling stock and road vehicles.:good_mini:


    Thanks again, Kevin!  With a small layout only a few bits of rolling stock are needed - too many and it looks overcrowded;  same goes for motor vehicles, although in the fifties there were lots more trucks in yards than is common now,  but it's possible to swap them around and get a totally different look!


    I like your latest tiny diorama - very good!


    Cheers, Mike



  19. 1 hour ago, Jerry1975 said:

    I do like your road vehicles, very nice.




    Jerry, thanks again for your encouragement!   Like I said in a reply to an earlier comment, I'm a bit hesitant to put too many road vehicles photos because this forum is mostly about trains, but it probably doesn't bother anyone!


    Best,  Mike

  20. More Sack Loads

    Small yards serving particular industries often shared their facilities with road transport, and  at the time that many of them were built the only forms of road transport were carts or wagons pulled by horses, so  yards often appear quite small and cramped by modern standards, and NPL is no different.


    Here are a couple of pics of lorries being loaded with sacks of something (?) from the BR former meat van, which is being used for general goods, now that fully refrigerated vans have been introduced for meat goods movements. Well, that will do for a story!   In fact, an Airfix kit that I bought for €1.50 as a partly built kit that had lost it's doors!  I put it together and made some doors from card and posed them open with a few sacks inside, just to sit in a siding.




    Bristol HA. Mid to late 50's. Introduced in 1956, they were early pioneers of fibreglass cabs, and were serious load haulers fitted with 10.6 litre or 11.0 litre diesel engines by either Leyland or Gardner.  Only made for British Road Services and their contract companies, never in private ownership, so this one is a bit of a fake but it's one of Base Toys better offerings!




    Karrier.  We have met the BR Karrier before, and the forklift, which I think is supposed to be a Conveyancer, I'm not sure, - but note the total absence of a safety cage or even a rudimentary crash bar.  Good old days - Not!


    Best, Mike

    • Like 3
    • Craftsmanship/clever 2
  • Create New...