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Everything posted by Harlequin

  1. Are you sure the your problem is caused by the wheel tread? The most commonly documented problem with the unifrogs is when a wheel flange touches the rail behind it near the insulating gaps. There’s a simple fix for that problem that it might be worth trying before modifying the turnout or the loco (assuming the back-to-backs are within acceptable tolerance): paint nail varnish on the inside of the rails near the insulating gaps, not the rail surface, to prevent the wheel flanges making electrical contact.
  2. Good point, thanks. I just checked my model and one of the two outputs controlling the firebox (from the same Function key) was set to random flicker. Changed it to simple on/off. No discernible difference. It would be great if there were a simple config tweak to make the firebox brighter but I fear that the only way to overcome the fundamental design problem is to modify the loco.
  3. I guess it might have been DC control in the review? I'm just reporting what I observe on my model under DCC control.
  4. Under DCC control the flicker doesn't vary with loco speed, of course.
  5. Obviously there's far more to making your own turnouts than simply filing and soldering. There are all sorts of technicalities that Wayne's kits will (should) deal with, removing the burden from the buyer. For instance, I refer you back to the deeply technical discussions above about exactly what sort of chairs to use in what positions and how to angle them.
  6. I just tried adjusting CV60 to a range of values from 40 to 255 (MX659). Makes no difference. I think the decoder outputs are just turning the Dapol firebox "flicker" circuit on and off. (The "flicker" being a regular cycle between orange and yellow LEDs...) The brightness problem is not electronic - it's more that the physical design doesn't work very well. And note that the recent update on the Dapol Manor describes "improved firebox flicker".
  7. I think the second bogey is simply so that you can modify one and leave the other in original state, with an NEM pocket. It looks like I cut the NEM pocket flush with the cross beam on mine and the glued on a rectangle of black plastic to hide the hole.
  8. You might think so at first but is that too obvious? It might be a fiendish red-herring carefully constructed to throw you off the scent! Why can’t Arthur Coalman ever look you in the eye and give a straight answer? And is Major Shotgun really the muddled old buffer he appears to be?
  9. These three men appear to be simple country folk, going about their normal business, but one of them is a murderer. Can you deduce which one from the clues provided?
  10. Hi Richard, You must draw your plan to scale using turnout templates to find out whether it will realistically fit in the space. A giant piece of paper is one way of doing it but it’s so much easier in software like Anyrail. You don’t need a full-size room to lay it out and “Rubbing out” can be done many times over and selectively without destroying the whole design or wearing through the paper... I’m afraid your sketch looks very optimistic. The gradient from the crossing @+80 down to storage @+40 (or even @+70 to @+35) will be very steep, for instance. And the curves
  11. Hi Stuart, Sketchup is beautiful for 3D work. If you are still interested in 2D design, you might consider one of the versions of Xara Designer. It’s a fully featured drawing program that can mix vectors with photos and textures. In the same vein as Corel Draw, Inkscape, Affinity Designer and Illustrator. It’s British made with UK support. It is designed to be intuitive, like Sketchup. Easier to use than Inkscape and cheaper than Illustrator or CorelDraw. (And it does have layers.) Full disclosure: I’ve worked on the team writing it for the past 20+ years. (It’s a
  12. Lo and behold, who do we find visiting Lynton and Barnstaple tonight? None other than the éminence grise of railway documentaries, Mr Portillo.
  13. Chris, Have a look at this new idea that's in the pipeline: These are straight turnouts as designed but they can be made to curve.
  14. Signalman to Stores manager: "You got any Jays?" Stores manager: "What do you mean Jays? You mean Jay birds, all squawks and feathers and that?" "Nah, Jays." "What, Jeyes fluid? You wanna clean the steps?" "Nah, Jay for Junction - Letter Jays." ... With apologies to everyone and in particular Ronnie Barker.
  15. No, I'm afraid not. Every time I exported to STL there were holes in the objects. I tried various things but couldn't get all the surfaces to be closed and so I shelved it. I have since learned some new tricks so I will try again when I get time.
  16. Glue alone using exterior grade PVA Wood Glue works fine for me. I started off pinning and gluing but realised that the pinning stage was a pain and pointless after I'd made a few units. (In fact, detrimental because half the time the pins would split the ply.) After gluing a joint you want to cramp it up as quickly as possible. Faffing around with pins, usually right where you want to position the cramps, always worried me, especially if it causes the joint to move slightly while the glue is starting to go off. Gluing alone relies on joints being clean, true and straig
  17. In "Great Western Moguls and Prairies" page 83 there's a photo of 4401 at Craven Arms 1951 with a similar arrangement visible. After a quick scan it doesn't seem to appear in any other small prairie photos in the book.
  18. I have pinned the station throat pointwork down onto the printed design: It all looks nice and smooth. The curved point leading to platform 1 was a good choice and the curved loco spur really works well alongside the other curves. (You can see the authentic joggle around the hinge post into platform 3...!) I have tested some long coaches and a loco with a long-ish overhang and they both cleared the post and the edge of the box OK as they run in and out of P3. You may remember that the design relies on some short curves between some of the turnouts. You
  19. Hi Chris, Does the trailing crossover on the lifting section actually fit? It's best to have a small length of track between the edge and the turnout. The access to the engine shed looks like it might be annoying to navigate. Could it be simplified? Maybe directly off the mainline instead of the branch (to make it easier to create the connection and to allow the shed headshunt to be longer). It might look better if the shed headshunt followed the curve of the branch? More radically, since you're playing with levels already, it seems a shame that
  20. Hi Jeremy, Clearance would definitely be a problem and the gradients involved would be very steep or very long. In my book hidden/covered fiddle yards are a bad thing, anyway. But you have given me an idea that I need to think through before I explain it here - because it might be stupid!
  21. Yes, it's not essential at all. It's a "would be nice" and a "would be clever" feature. The design would still work without it.
  22. It's definitely something to think about. I have had buckled tracks on my test layout in really hot weather but in mid-summer the sunspace windows are usually shaded by climbing plants. It was actually quite dark in there last year thanks to runner beans. Much more serious track damage is done by one of my cats, who thinks it's an excellent place to sharpen her claws... And yes, that does have implications for the new design that I have ignored so far.
  23. The removable fiddle yard is a really good idea. It would make the layout a bit less intrusive again. It would need some good engineering but that doesn't put me off. I'm sticking with 5 coach trains for now until I see the proportions of longer trains in the scene. It's easy to make the FY longer - er, in the computer... I'm thinking that if the traverser had a handle on it facing the operating well, or maybe a lever pivoting on the main baseboard for more control, I could at least change traverser tracks without leaving the operating well. I haven't discounted @Keith
  24. Going a bit further: Streamline parts in the off-scene triangle junctions. Track spacing 51mm (red circles) off scene and reduced to 45mm in the scenic area (blue circles). No way to reverse whole trains yet... (Edit: Sorry, I mean no way to turn whole trains off-scene.) Lots of practicalities yet to be sorted out.
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