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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.

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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   

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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

Alan

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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

Alan

 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

 

 

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3 hours ago, Spotlc said:

 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

 

 

Hi Mike

 

Thank you for this information, much appreciated. I’ll do a little bit of research into the Dremel router attachment.

 

Cheers

Alan

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Rolling stock or Motive power?

 

IMG_3874.JPG.a3cc866a471b2ca1f12d3451c9431c81.JPG

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!

 

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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.

 

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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

 

 

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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:

Kevin,

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

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Motorised Vans continued.

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

IMG_3893.JPG.08277445a42be1cfeb1463b0333b9d83.JPG

 

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.

 

IMG_3895.JPG.940dcf5d46c0a6cb8dba8e130dfa8ada.JPG

 

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.
 

IMG_3991.JPG.950893b903e0e925aaefcc7fac7d5134.JPG

 

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.

 

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 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

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  • 2 weeks later...

More Road Vehicles

 

Mid 1950's AEC Mercury.  

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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! 
 

1570121840_UndersideMercury.JPG.acbef3fbcfbd7e287e1560723969230d.JPG

 

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.

 

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

 

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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
 

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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!

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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

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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.  

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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.  
 

IMG_3611.JPG.0328fe069fd6b53426a56590d8e15062.JPG

 

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

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After what is a huge gap since I posted anything on here, I finally got round to making a little video of a simple movement of a Siphon G.  Rather out of my comfort zone with the video thing - not even sure if the link will work, - I'd appreciate it if someone could explain how you get make the thumbnail picture the actual link, rather than having the URL link underneath!

 

1955077451_Youtubethumbnail.jpg.d1b467944b6b9b0ce77c0e58c2a9d852.jpg

Loose shunting at New Prospect Lane

 

Cheers, Mike

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Brilliant execution of an unusual approach to shunting! And excellent speed control too.

 

As for linking YouTube, simply copy-and-paste the URL into the text editor, and it should turn into a video:

 

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Thanks for your encouragement, T-A!  And for the tip about the URL,  I'll leave this one as it is, then use your suggestion on any new vids I put up.

 

As for the slow speed control,  it's that which made me try out battery power and R/C, and although it is sometimes frustrating to find solutions, it is the very precise control at low speeds that make the effort worthwhile!  I'll try and do a video of very gentle coupling and uncoupling,  which is where low speed control is most important.

 

Thanks again,  Mike

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Grim Little Place!

 

This model was built largely as a platform to try out different construction techniques, and I never paid a great deal of attention to the overall appearance, but I suppose deep down I wanted to get away from the "perpetual summers day" look, and capture  some of the more workaday atmosphere of the small railway yards that I remember from my youth.

 

I was born and grew up in the City of Gloucester, which had locomotive depots of both the former GWR and LMS companies - these were great places for boys to to prowl around, and I did!  There was much to fascinate a growing lad, but almost without exception, everything was filthy, and from memory there were very few bright colours.

 

So here are a couple of pics of the model that reflect those memories, though of course, it isn't of anywhere real!

 

IMG_4344.JPG.00701230792b033b27dd66b81e7570dd.JPG

 

IMG_4343.JPG.0c5f15c3cae3b51129616c617a13e0de.JPG

 

Also, I am quite fond of panorama pics!

Cheers,  Mike

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Grim Little Place II

 

Thanks for the likes!   Colour photography only became widely used in the UK in the 1960's - until then most photography was in monochrome, so I thought you might like to compare these two otherwise identical images.

 

DSC04444-002.JPG.073346bbf5860ed3c9a47c9f59634c7b.JPG

I quite like the colour version - the slight haze evokes the reek of diesel exhaust as the Gronk rumbles past, not helped by the Ford Thames Trader having been left with the engine ticking over!  No - you wouldn't want to work here!

 

DSC04444-001.JPG.c3212861c6a6bde8d6cad6ab368c31c4.JPG

 

I de-saturated the colour pic completely, and gave it a bit of gentle warming to simulate the colour of the Kodabrom photo papers of the era.  This is in some ways a more "authentic" image, but only because our visual perception of immediate post-war Britain is largely based on black and white photos!

 

Taken with an elderly Sony Alpha DSLR with a 75mm equivalent lens, and photo-finished in Gimp.

 

Cheers,  Mike

 

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7 minutes ago, Spotlc said:

Grim Little Place II

 

Thanks for the likes!   Colour photography only became widely used in the UK in the 1960's - until then most photography was in monochrome, so I thought you might like to compare these two otherwise identical images.

 

DSC04444-002.JPG.073346bbf5860ed3c9a47c9f59634c7b.JPG

I quite like the colour version - the slight haze evokes the reek of diesel exhaust as the Gronk rumbles past, not helped by the Ford Thames Trader having been left with the engine ticking over!  No - you wouldn't want to work here!

 

DSC04444-001.JPG.c3212861c6a6bde8d6cad6ab368c31c4.JPG

 

I de-saturated the colour pic completely, and gave it a bit of gentle warming to simulate the colour of the Kodabrom photo papers of the era.  This is in some ways a more "authentic" image, but only because our visual perception of post-war Britain is largely based on black and white photos!

 

Taken with an elderly Sony Alpha DSLR with a 75mm equivalent lens, and photo-finished in Gimp.

 

Cheers,  Mike

 


One thing I really like about this / these photos is the illusion of depth - the warehouses look a long way behind the loading dock: shows how well the layout was planned as well as how good the photos are, and adds to the realism.

 

Personally I like the colour photo - the splash of colour from the van contrasts nicely with the muted colours everywhere else.  Of course, the other influence on our perceptions of post-war Britain in colour these days comes from modern TV shows set in the period - how they choose to depict colour has a big say for those of us who weren’t there.

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Keith, many thanks for your kind words!  

Given the right equipment and a bit of experience it's possible to create many different impressions of the same scene - if you want to produce realistic pics of model trains it's best to use a medium telephoto lens, say 75 or 100mm equivalent on 35mm film, and keep the camera near track level.  Having said that, I mostly don't bother, and use either the camera on my cheap Chinese phone, or a little Canon Ixus, simply because it's easier!  You need very small apertures to keep everything sharp with a 75mm lens, so the exposure times are long, so you need a tripod, and so on!   Photographing model railways is not that easy!

 

Cheers, Mike

 

 

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I seem to be on a bit of a photograph roll with this model, which I haven't really done much with since it reached a useable state over a year ago.  At least, nothing to improve it, but I have had a lot of fun discovering what it's limitations are! 

 

 I feel much more at home with still photos than videos, so I'll gradually put up a few more pics taken at various times and with various digital cameras. They are not razor sharp in every plane, or super detail revealing, and that is deliberate  -  I don't mean to sound pretentious here  -  but I've tried to use the model as the basis for a series of little portraits of a model railway, rather than concentrate on the finer details.

 

Come on, Forks!

IMG_4330.JPG.7ba4344ef5633f75822939287b1266a7.JPG

 

This was a very common sight in small yards and docks in the steam and early diesel era - trucks being loaded or unloaded alongside railway wagons,  early forklifts or front-loaders straddling tracks, frustrated yard foremen wondering how  much longer it was going to take!   

 

Cheers,   Mike

 

 

 

 

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Photo Play

 

1380431363_Pannierlowerview.JPG.84448601a9edec997f1c4805493db13e.JPG

The pannier tank has pushed a few wagons into position in the yard. Taken with  a 75mm lens on Sony Alpha.

 

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Here's the same scene, but this time in monochrome and taken with a 105mm lens from the same position.

 

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Just for fun, the cold winter morning version!

 

Cheers,  Mike

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Lower Down

 

DSC04557.JPG.e3711a298e1b5ac85e601fd902bb6afb.JPG

The front wall of this model is removable, so I was able to get the camera almost at ground level, which produced a rather different view of the yard. Taken in natural daylight.

 

DSC04556.JPG.3c289135f9b3bc41704ec116b4b846c1.JPG

 

I’m no great lover of flash photography for models – it often produces harsh black shadows – but it does have it’s uses and one of them is to produce artificial night shots like this, almost the same scene as above but taken using the camera’s built in flash, and a very brief exposure.     Both pics 75mm lens on Sony A-100

 

Cheers,   Mike

 

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