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  1. I've ended up buying quite a few things during that lockdown that are a bit of a distraction from my main modelling projects! I ended up giving in to curiosity and buying a T Gauge loco and circuit of track to have a play around with. One of the things I noticed was that T mechanisms run on 4.5V ... Which seemed ideal to power using a USB phone charger (5v), rather than buying one of the "official" battery/mains controllers. I got some of the dirt cheap PWM circuits from eBay, a DPDT switch, and stripped a USB cable. Result was pretty good, although the slightly larger circuit (with red knob) seemed to work much better at controlling the T Gauge mechanism at slower speeds - perhaps it has a different frequency for its PWM? The other thing I wanted to experiment with was 3D printing coaches and wagons. There is quite a good range of vinyl sides for generic clear plastic coach and multiple unit bodies out there, as well as a few Shapeways prints of bodies. But I wondered if I could do better using my Anycubic Photon UV resin printer, which seems to get more or less line-less prints since I fitted the Z axis upgrade. My first design is a Mk2E coach, to see if modelling the shape a little more realistically helps - I think the answer is yes! This is a test print where I did one side with some 0.1mm relief window frames, and the other side without. When I get the chance I'll laser print some full side waterslide decals and compare the results. Pretty pleased, considering the coach is only 4.5cm long! TGauge.com sell both plastic wheels and generic coach bogies with metal wheels, which are quite short wheelbase (which seems characteristic for Japan?). So I also tried printing a B4 bogie to suit the plastic wheels. This will need a bit of tweaking to the design to improve running tolerances as the wheel faces rub, but it seems like a promising start Justin
  2. Sharpie works well too!
  3. This same article really inspired me too! @Ben A has a lot to answer for Like many others I had a OO collection when I was a kid, and a bit of a layout set up in my grandma's spare room, but I definitely remember being fascinated by the tiny Graham Farish models, in their neat black and yellow boxes, at an exhibition my parents took me to when I guess I was around 10. That must have been about the same time as the Shredded Wheat promotion - which I got - but the coupling rods on the loco, and pin couplings on the coaches quickly snapped, and they are long since gone (which I regret!). I even have a vague memory of trying to make some extra coaches for it from cereal box when my parents wouldn't buy me any Farish at an exhibition once! The OO was almost all sold in the early days of eBay. The interest in railways never entirely left me though, and like Rob, I think I randomly bought an issue of Model Rail from Smiths, and found Ben Ando's article really inspirational. I definitely remember the article on improving the 37, and I seem to recall similar ones around the time by Ben on other Farish diesels, and perhaps on weathering containers? I certainly remember the small mainline with tunnel diorama they were all posed on, which I found really inspirational. That set me off, and while I was, I think, an MA student, I ventured into ModelZone on High Holborn and bought a Bach-Farish 08, and I can't even remember which wagons, some PECO track, and a Gaugemaster controller to build a little Inglenook type plank - which wasn't that successful. I remember a Bach-Farish 20 followed (small but not so likely to stall on points), and before long a Dapol 73, an oval of KATO Unitrack, and then I was hooked on the seemingly endless Hatton's and Signalbox of Rochester bargain buckets of Farish modern era wagons and coaches - I certainly remember buying a whole train of SuperBG bogie vans for about £10 each. I never did do a detailing project on a Farish diesel as per Ben's articles (although I did start on a Class 90, which is still half-finished in a drawer!) , but detailing Farish PGA wagons with TPM etched kits really got me into the DIY side of N gauge. I'd always been interested to model the railways of the area I grew up in East Anglia, and enthusiastically ordered a BH Enterprises kit for a GER "Claud Hamilton" when I learned that it existed and sought out an old Farish LMS 2P that it needed as a donor chassis, but it was the disappointment with both of those that pushed me into the dark side of 2mmFS! Justin
  4. The Z scale GP38 and hopper wagon arrived today - I can officially count myself impressed! The AZL loco looks much better in person than in the "official" product photos, to me, at least. And the detailing on the Intermountain hopper is absolutely phenomenal! I fear I might be hooked ... J
  5. Many thanks for all of the really helpful replies - I feel like I've already learned so much! That is a really helpful tip - I had been eyeing up some Micro-Trains 50' boxcars on UK eBay that are selling quite cheaply, but they all have roof walks. I guess this means no full height ladders - so an easy first glance check? It might be a "rule 1" train, but I'd like to keep it consistent. I'm kind of looking forward to going to town with some weathering too. North American boxcars seem to give a lot more potential for interesting weathering than most UK & European prototypes - perhaps less general overall grime, and more rust and grease effects? (perhaps from spending longer on relatively exposed routes, rather than densely packed multiple track railways etc?) J
  6. Many thanks - these seem like a great start! Sorry, my mistake, its not black white zebra stripes, but red and white stripes - and a white and black "pac man" type logo at the non-cab end! Like this one: http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=1019358 So I guess the date of that photo gives me a bit of a clue - 1993. I found another (the particular loco AZL depicted) here http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=2524194 dated 2011, and looking quite tatty, so I guess that gives me a date range for building up a train to run with it! Very helpful! So if am for a train circa mid-90s to early 00s, I might well be able to justify a few traditional boxcars. I'm guessing the longer length ones were longer lived? Cheers! J
  7. So, eBay very sneakily slipped an Intermountain Z scale hopper in a very attractive CN livery into my "suggested" items list when I was browsing Märklin Z, and I couldn't resist! It reminded me of sitting in a rather boring conference session in an amazing conference room overlooking Vancouver harbour, and the Canadian Pacific switching yard, last year - watching the trains much more than the conference. So I found an American Z Line GP38 in Canadian Pacific CP-Rail livery to go with it ... But, apart from having watched that switching yard from the hotel window (lots of block trains of tankers and double-stack intermodal wagons) and watching some YouTube line side videos - I really don't know anything about North American railroads at all! I've just about picked up the fact that Canadians tend to call it a railway though! Are there any websites, YouTube channels, or maybe books, that anyone would recommend as a dummies guide to how North American railroads are operated and organised? I'm not really planning to build a layout, but it might be fun to put together a CP themed train to run on my German Z layout. A few specific questions: There doesn't seem to be an era or epoch system for North American railroads. Is there a rule of thumb to help find wagons that would have run together? The GP38 loco that I ordered is in "CP-Rail" livery with the white and black wasp stripes. That certainly doesn't seem to be the most recent livery (Canadian Pacific written out in full with a "chief" logo seems most common in recent videos?). But how old is the CP-Rail livery? Are traditional box cars pretty much dead now? Would they have still been common in the era of the CP-Rail livery? Which car liveries would be a good match? Do mixed trains (different types of freight and cars) still exist? Or did they still common in the era of the CP-Rail livery? How much through traffic is/was there between the different railroads? I guess you'd see plenty of CN cars on the CP, and some from neighbouring US railroads. But would you ever have seen, say, Penn Central, freight cars on the CP system? What about cabooses? Is it like British brake vans, in that they were mainly needed only when a train didn't have continuous braking, and therefore have died out? I remember the Canadian caboose that you can go inside at Mangapps Museum in Essex was really striking, and fun! So one of those would also be quite cool if its at least vaguely plausible?
  8. I'd definitely strip it - the body will probably reveal quite a bit more detail with the factory paint removed! I think we spoke about Fairy Powerspray seemingly only being available at Sainsbury's these days - but with a metal body (perhaps remove the plastic clip in cab?) You should be safe using pretty much any paint stripper. Obviously clean well and dust with primer before the Tamiya J
  9. Thanks Simon! The washes are AK Interactive enamels - mainly "Track Wash" (where track refers to tank tracks, rather than rail!). This seems to make a good general dark reddish dirt colour. I also used some "Dark Brown" from the same range. The pigment (or whatever the term is) seems that bit finer than with normal enamels. I usually put on a pretty liberal overall cost then when touch dry use a large flat brush slightly damp with bog standard B&Q white spirit to take most off, and follow up with a more targeted second coat along ironwork etc, also largely removed when touch dry. Justin
  10. When I decided to put together a set of BR Blue era stock to operate my little distillery plank, I enthusiastically took advantage of the novelty (to me) of there being quite a lot of RTR for the BR era! I bought one of the Farish BR standard vans and converted it. But I never actually found it totally convincing. I'm not quite sure what it is about it - perhaps the plank details are too deep? So when I was putting in a shop 2 order, I bought a pair of association kits and etched chassis. Finished the first one last night - just painted with Halfords oxide, Tamiya grey that I happened to have in a spray can for the roof, and decals cobbled together from a random selection of Modelmaster, Railtec and NGS sheets all intended for other things. Weathering all with AK enamel washes. Farish on the left, Association on the right. I think the difference is subtle, but worthwhile! J
  11. I always thought it was the "Gatwick Express". About 8 passengers per 8 car set most of the time (before lockdown) - or at least thats what it looked like as they thunder through the often dangerously overcrowded platforms at East Croydon.
  12. Hi Jerry, Did you get a knack to getting these kits to go together neatly? I recently built another two and a devil of a time getting neat square joints on the corners. (And only then did I realise there are two different sides, with and without diagonal strapping, as well as three different ends - so ended up taking them apart again to swap sides!) Cheers J
  13. Hi there - I 3D printed the top part of the pagoda myself. I wrote this up in a thread on the "Railways of Scotland" forum here: I actually have a few spare from my experiments with different proportions, but they're very delicate, and the shape would make them disproportionately expensive to post to Melbourne! I'd be happy to share the STL file so you could have it printed by someone with a 3D printer locally to you though?
  14. I suspect you'd have to ask the factory in China. I could well imagine that the Bachmann / Farish office in the UK sent off an identical specification for the two types, but in the intervening few years the factory had changed their paint supplier, or something like that. And the relationship between the UK importers/agents like Bachmann and the Chinese factories seems increasingly like "like it or lump it"
  15. Hi Marilyn, I must have forgotten about your thread there (I'd already liked it) I found myself browsing the T Gauge website today and saw the 67 and had just the same thought that you've outlined of it being ideal for a Highland Main Line layout! Have you worked on your project anymore? I'm thinking quite seriously about buying some of their track, bare loco chassis, spare bogies, and spare wheels - and experimenting with what I can produce with my Photon 3D printer. I'm imagining it wouldn't be too difficult to do things like a cl.158 DMU, Mk.2 coaches, etc. using translucent 'black' resin and laser printed decals. Justin
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