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A Narrow Gauge Misadventure - a first layout in H0e


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I've had a few days off between Easter and the start of the Summer term here tomorrow to start a layout project.  It'll be my first Narrow Gauge layout, and although I've found RMweb to be a great source of encouragement and advice since I joined in late 2018, this is a new venture for me.  Following a helpful response to a query I posted about American Narrow Gauge at the end of February ( A question about HOn30 in the UK? ) I'm looking to get started with European H0e instead.  More seems to be available, and I was impressed when I dabbled very briefly in Austrian / German Narrow Gauge a decade ago.  I've also joined the NGRM Forum.

 

As I've not modelled in Narrow Gauge properly before, I should begin by managing expectations: since completing a Cakebox Model in March 2019 (my first attempt at a kitbash), I have had 7 attempts at starting Standard Gauge layouts in either OO or HO.  This includes two micro-layouts (one of which did get as far as ballasted track), but excludes an HO diorama that is still in progress and a temporary Billy Bookcase-sized Inglenook that was never intended to be sceniced.  I don't have a permanent space for a layout, and each time I've got close to a portable solution we've needed to move things around at home and it's been back to the drawing board.

 

Is there a positive in that?  Well, it did strike me the other day that I've only once reached a point of frustration where I thought about giving up!  This was when I realised that the latest idea - using an attic room for a portable HO American Layout, was going to involve too much carrying stuff up and down a steep dog-leg staircase.  Not just baseboards, but rolling stock boxes and buildings.  I still have ambitions to model in American HO and British OO, and plenty of great ideas on file, but I also want to get on and build a layout.  It was at this point that I realised that Narrow Gauge modelling could enable me design a more compact layout in a scale I feel comfortable with.  The plan I've come up with is for a 1.9m x 0.9m continuous run layout.

 

The first iteration gives an idea of the overall scheme:

 

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This has been refined following feedback on NGRM:1766143904_LayoutPlanScan2.jpg.05ba71c5f50895323847a99e183f523b.jpg

 

I like table top continuous run branch line layouts, but I'm not personally a fan of Fiddle Yards, so this ticks the boxes for me for a starter layout.  I've got some photos of progress so far, which I'll put into a second post.

Edited by Keith Addenbrooke
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For obvious reasons explained above, I hesitated before starting a build thread, but with the holidays now ending here, I think I have enough to share at least a start.  I’m planning on using an open grid framework for weight and scenic reasons.  The first photo shows the advantage for me of moving to Narrow Gauge - my two end board modules look quite small in front of reclaimed standard gauge boards:

 

74728EAF-0B06-4C6A-9ECF-68284F8A973C.jpeg.16bc4fbc4093acee6f7264aec7b67f3a.jpeg

 

I now have all four module frames fitted with DCC Concepts alignment dowels (very easy to fit, incidentally):

 

7FD504A3-27CE-4CDE-AAE8-1A7589585DA1.jpeg.8756813bd1a8eb0082312f523eee853e.jpeg

 

The overall size is roughly 6’ x 3’ and while this seems to be three-quarters of the 8’ x 4' Standard Gauge plans I had for a GW Branch Line almost a year ago, the beauty of maths (!) is that it is just over half the size (9/16ths): much easier.

 

564363F9-81D7-41D4-BBE5-96F208BB6960.jpeg.e480391805d2ab161274a099feacbc91.jpeg
 

I’ve also started marking out the track on 12mm ply top boards, but I’ll need to be careful to 

use the correct lines for this new project!

 

BA2E0E10-CDDB-477C-9226-E7C8C8DFC7F2.jpeg.fb5f426eeac5e6a442748cb7db639a64.jpeg

 

I’d hoped to get further than this by now of course, so I just hope it’s not too boring to post these anyway.  Take care and stay safe, Keith.

Edited by Keith Addenbrooke
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Good luck with this new project, Keith! There is a lot of potential for some interesting scenic work and operation in this scale, especially when there are space restrictions. You are not alone in the challenge of being realistic with your model making aspirations!
 

Marlyn

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Hello Keith, You have done the most difficult bit in building your layout - starting. The rest is now easy! In all seriousness I have always found that once you start and actually get some baseboards together (I am impressed by your quality build - beats my wood butchery hands down) it does give you that kick to want to progress and looks like you have an interesting track plan to get your teeth into. There is something very therapeutic in sitting back and watching trains pass by and as with all layouts the most important thing is that you build it for your pleasure. Looking forward to see this layout progress.

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On 12/04/2021 at 20:29, Woody C said:

Hello Keith, You have done the most difficult bit in building your layout - starting. The rest is now easy! In all seriousness I have always found that once you start and actually get some baseboards together (I am impressed by your quality build - beats my wood butchery hands down) it does give you that kick to want to progress and looks like you have an interesting track plan to get your teeth into. There is something very therapeutic in sitting back and watching trains pass by and as with all layouts the most important thing is that you build it for your pleasure. Looking forward to see this layout progress.


Thanks Woody for the encouragement.  The next stage of the build will take a while, as I need to make a load of risers to support the roadbed - it’s a bit like handcrafting dominoes.  I’ve managed just four this week:

 

3E9F9EDE-DF80-4EAD-B2C4-1E8BD93467A5.jpeg.e51da5f41d8c780883faf3b3695562d1.jpeg

 

They don’t have to be perfect (thankfully) as long as they are flat across one end.  It is tempting to skip this step and just fasten the plywood to the sub-frame, but lifting the roadbed a couple of inches will give me a greater incentive to progress to the scenic stage when I get there.  
I’ve also revisited the track plan again, for two reasons really:

1.  I’m an inveterate layout planner who can’t resist fiddling, and...

2.  As I read more about narrow gauge modelling I’m thinking I might one day regret the restricted run-round loop length. @Hobbymade the suggestion (on NGRM) that it might be worth an extra track across a layout join at the Station, so I’ve played around a bit and am thinking of this:

 

4897AC73-795E-445E-A24A-C9D2373D8A5B.jpeg.8a705ae02afa6871c05d0f1d0cd01081.jpeg

 

It doesn’t change anything significant, but could sustain interest for longer.  I don’t need to buy any more track - I just need to keep cutting risers!  Hope everyone has a good weekend, Keith.

 

 

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Hello Keith, Hope you don't mind the suggestion but I would be tempted to put the track bed on polystyrene supports. Wicked do various sheets including this https://www.wickes.co.uk/Kay-Metzeler-General-Purpose-Polystyrene-EPS70---2400mm-x-600mm-x-50mm/p/210802 at 50mm thick. You could double up to get 100mm or they also do a 25mm sheet which would give you 75mm height when combined with the 50mm. The advantage is that you get a guaranteed flat surface, its unlikely to warp or be affected by moisture, its easy and quick to cut (bread knife is ideal) to cut to the shape of the track bed, you can easily form holes through it for wiring or creating space for point motors, its light, it gives support along the whole of the track bed rather than at single points with wood risers and finally the spare offcuts can be used to form the other landscape. The only downsides are that it can be messy, it needs a non solvent adhesive and it is not perhaps the most environmentally friendly material as it never degrades. However that does make it an everlasting solution! Hope this may be of use.

I like the additional longer run run loop which I think will make a big difference to operational interest and flexibility.

Woody.

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17 hours ago, Woody C said:

Hello Keith, Hope you don't mind the suggestion but I would be tempted to put the track bed on polystyrene supports. Wicked do various sheets including this https://www.wickes.co.uk/Kay-Metzeler-General-Purpose-Polystyrene-EPS70---2400mm-x-600mm-x-50mm/p/210802 at 50mm thick. You could double up to get 100mm or they also do a 25mm sheet which would give you 75mm height when combined with the 50mm. The advantage is that you get a guaranteed flat surface, its unlikely to warp or be affected by moisture, its easy and quick to cut (bread knife is ideal) to cut to the shape of the track bed, you can easily form holes through it for wiring or creating space for point motors, its light, it gives support along the whole of the track bed rather than at single points with wood risers and finally the spare offcuts can be used to form the other landscape. The only downsides are that it can be messy, it needs a non solvent adhesive and it is not perhaps the most environmentally friendly material as it never degrades. However that does make it an everlasting solution! Hope this may be of use.

I like the additional longer run run loop which I think will make a big difference to operational interest and flexibility.

Woody.


Good idea - at some point I should definitely try at least a diorama using polystyrene to see how I get on.  Thanks for the link: it’s not as expensive as I’d thought, and it is important to get the right sort.  The environmental aspect is however something we’re all now much more conscious of - appreciate you pointing that out too.
 

As I’ve already sourced enough wood, I think I will try this traditional method first.  With some free time this morning and a sunny day I’ve been able to set up a production line in the garden and now have a full set of 28 dominoes risers:

 

3FF0205F-25F6-48F5-A391-7C7281E9ECB8.jpeg.3a52f4786e0a8e208b8637f0fee7edea.jpeg
 

For me, this is quite astonishing progress!

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With a bit more time over the weekend I’ve been able to fit the main Station Board onto the subframe.  As the main flat top area this one uses 8 of the risers. Here’s the first test in the proposed layout space.  I weighed the module on the way up to the attic room - 3.6kg at this stage:

 

B5773064-1565-48B7-B383-74F847AB31B6.jpeg.f34dda4ef0def52fc2360870e2f9381e.jpeg
 

The pen is actually a small spirit level - this is a genuine first photo!

 

897A5FBB-3D21-44F9-80C8-ADAD54667329.jpeg.e9da3ecf2153fa9f9329a22452ecccad.jpeg

 

The woodwork isn’t actually that good - the ply in particular shows it’s age  and the fact I can’t cut straight, but I’m obviously happy so far.  It gives me every encouragement to continue, and hopefully shows that it is possible - no special tools or skills required!  Take care and have a good week, Keith.

 

(PS: Daytime photos in the layout space aren’t going to be easy - it faces a window, and the rest of the room contains non-railway stuff that’s not mine to show).

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Hello Keith, Great to see the progress you have made this weekend. Looks nice and solid and impressed by the spirit level. Be interesting to see how the 'Weigh Ins' go as the layout progresses - Layout Weight Watchers could lead onto a whole new topic!

Woody.

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Having switched to Narrow Gauge to help me achieve my aim of building a working layout, it’s important (to me) to maintain some momentum.  I’m therefore posting this really for my own benefit, as I knew the second module (the ‘industrial’ end module) would be the biggest of the four to do: the end modules are slightly larger, and this one has the most baseboard - it weighs 4.2kg with this much 12mm roadbed, and has an additional cross-member supporting the risers along the rear line.


87A7C25F-870E-48C8-AF2D-9B21BE0EFB47.jpeg.13d6395a56ee3a318c4ac966c6a2f0d6.jpeg


Getting this far also has another benefit: it becomes increasingly less likely I’ll want to delay the project by radically altering the track plan to go for a different type of operating scheme (the penalty of too having many ideas) - instead, I can start to visualise how this scheme might look, which encourages me to press on:

 

9CA70C75-A5DA-47E7-82CB-8E9C3E64DDCA.jpeg.46d48a26c7710dd4eed8901995429816.jpeg
 

I’ve started looking at ideas for buildings - I can now think of structures of appropriate sizes, at least for the railroad part of the layout.  
 

Modules 3 and 4 will be simpler and a bit lighter, as each just has a single track line.  The tricky bit will be plotting and cutting the curved roadbed each one needs, but that’s a job for next time.  Keith.

Edited by Keith Addenbrooke
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Hello Keith,

 

Great progress! As you have illustrated so well momentum is a key factor in modelling and glad that it is with you at the moment. Unfortunately my momentum has all gone over the last couple of weeks as some garden projects take priority. However in my mind I can see where I want to be with my layout so hopefully in a couple of weeks things will start up again. However by the look of your progress you will probably have completed your layout by then! Look forward to seeing you bring this layout to life.

 

Woody

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On 30/04/2021 at 11:31, Woody C said:

Hello Keith,

 

Great progress! As you have illustrated so well momentum is a key factor in modelling and glad that it is with you at the moment. Unfortunately my momentum has all gone over the last couple of weeks as some garden projects take priority. However in my mind I can see where I want to be with my layout so hopefully in a couple of weeks things will start up again. However by the look of your progress you will probably have completed your layout by then! Look forward to seeing you bring this layout to life.

 

Woody


Thank you for the encouragement.  There is a very long way to go with this project though - I’m thinking 3 to 5 years if I can keep going at a reasonable pace, and as I’ve never got very far before I’m sure I’ll be overtaken!
 

One thing which may be worth sharing is that I try to break projects down into small steps.  As I don’t have a dedicated modelling space, I have to get everything out and put it all away again each time, so I only get out what I need.  I’ve been working on the baseboards at the weekends (my day off is Saturday), so I also have time between sessions to build up my appetite for the next bit.  I’ve found this goes down well with the family too - they can see I’m making progress, but the layout isn’t taking over.  So...where am I up to now?

 

14C20A60-B99C-4D93-94AE-7909D31001BE.jpeg.94a16778f18eb74c686613793b70411e.jpeg


I’ve managed to do the final two boards.  The end board (nearer) weighs in at 2.1kg, while the other one, which is a bit smaller, is the lightest at 1.8kg.  Total weight for the four boards is 11.7kg.  


I didn’t weigh the 4’x2’ flat top 12mm plywood boards I had for my planned OO layout a year ago, but I estimate each one would have weighed about 7.75kg (31kg total), so the weight saving is considerable.

 

0B7F6372-9C16-4683-8874-13F947F85BCB.jpeg.e5e617707b9488ed2ac1a8f137906f21.jpeg

 

By opting for a scenic run rather than a second station or a fiddle yard I have a 50:50 balance between scenic and station areas, which I’m more than happy with for a small layout.  The hardest bit of the final two boards was cutting the inside edge of the trackbed on the end board - I don’t have a jigsaw (or a handheld padsaw) so I drilled a series of No. 8 holes and joined them up.  Fortunately I didn’t need to be too accurate as it will blend into the scenery (one day), and I’ve given myself some extra width for the gentler part of the curve (left side in the first photo) to make it easier to align Flex-track when I get there.

 

My next stage will be painting these boards, then covering the roadbed with cork.  This will take a while, so there may be a gap before the next update.  Take care and stay safe, Keith.

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With heavy rain and foul weather for the Bank Holiday today, painting baseboards has been ruled out (it’s an outside activity here).  Instead I thought I’d have a go at a test scratchbuild HOn30 passenger car.  I’ve never tried anything like this before, so I thought it worth having a trial run to see how I get on building a 2’ Gauge Combine (Maine-inspired freelance);

 

Step 1: I’m using an A4 sheet of 1mm packing card - if it works out OK I can think about buying plasticard for more serious builds.  As I don’t have any HOn30 rolling stock, my reference vehicle for dimensions is an H0e coach (weight 30gm):

 

6A5C5B74-D8E0-4FE7-B347-ED320956818B.jpeg.cd77ef63968a4428840030d8b500ca11.jpeg

 

Step 2: I’ve used Roket Card Glue for speed - it’s a very effective contact adhesive.  The main mistake I’ve made is to have the freight / baggage doors at the end (sliding forwards).  It’s more likely they would be designed to slide backwards from a more forward position:

 

D98A8461-5D37-4E62-89D9-3D549EF1E52F.jpeg.d3b4147e759fad81736d2515c813cc8c.jpeg 

 

Step 3: Glazing is left over from a Walthers’ Cornerstone Building kit - it’s thicker (so heavier) than with most British kits.  Window detail is from cereal packet card:

 

D3EA88F8-469D-413A-A2F1-3F8083DC9A77.jpeg.bcc0c479c78825c0cd56f0b25fc50b53.jpeg

 

Step 4: The roof is just gently curved.  I’ve not stuck it down yet:

 

ED144028-1D0D-46DB-B6A5-63B4244EC334.jpeg.e9b831148ebaa407037e8dfaca5364ad.jpeg

 

Step 5: Key to an ‘American look’ is the clerestory, but didn’t attempt to glaze it:

 

8E5E3B06-979D-4D19-925C-285D56A96F57.jpeg.fd34978a897e2e152b1032507665f6e6.jpeg

 

Step 6: I don’t have any bogies or wheels yet, so the underframe is minimal.  I’ve been advised that the Peco 009 bogies just need a 4mm hole set about 20mm in from the end, so I’ve worked on that assumption (they come with H0e compatible couplings that are what I’ll need).  Fitting steps to finish the model will be trickier - with truck mounted couplings and Setrack 9” curves they’ll probably need to stick out quite a way, so I’ve left them off for now:

 

9F1DD14A-3600-4C82-B7AD-62C505DF10D8.jpeg.82359b1c5a84c3cb4b8c42a5fa253465.jpeg

 

Finished:  I decided it was more important to complete this test piece today, so haven’t tried painting the sub-assemblies, or adding an outer layer to the side with scribed planking, but for half a day’s work guessing what to do I’m more than happy:

 

C5D0A644-8E6C-427F-B0EC-8FD9E1CB44A6.jpeg.b216987419d287777a15b60a9384b32c.jpeg

 

8F5294BD-E148-4D4A-8B94-7F49F627AE08.jpeg.db049f214bdcfaa5207374f38995595e.jpeg

 

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Weight (without trucks / bogies) is a respectable 15gms.  Needless to say I’m rather stunned by how well this has turned out. Compared to a card building, there are fewer parts, but more care is needed with the measuring and cutting.  Keith.

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If you are going to get plasticard, I recommend Evergreen 4030 V-groove. It's 0.030" spacing and 0.040 thick. Pretty much matches the planking on my HOn3 carriages.

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Just a placeholder for future reference really: with the weather today even worse than last weekend, I’ve used my modelling time to draw up a Mk2* passenger car “kit”:

 

121623A6-C756-45A3-97D8-A0DF8C50CEB1.jpeg.f10d65d0a7fcbb2dd61791c0148de0e7.jpeg

 

I had a couple of sheets of 1mm A4 mountboard to use up, so I’ve redrawn the Combine as a more realistic 40’ car and - if I’m happy with this, I can add a second car (hence the need to make a note of the dimensions).

 

I’ll also try painting this one - I’ll cut out the windows and doors first so I can paint the card edges.  It’s not been the most exciting modelling day, but worth the practise if I’m going to scratchbuild more rolling stock in future.  Stay safe, Keith.

 

(* as in second attempt, not a Mk2 coach :))

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On 03/05/2021 at 17:50, SonOfMike said:

It really is stunning. Excellent work.


Hi Jonny.  Thank you for this.  I was wondering if you’ve ever come across the work of E.L. Moore?  It’s going back a way now (1960s / 1970s) but he had a lot of articles published in the American Model Railroad magazines describing a variety of backwoods / short line structures he built.  His style seems quite similar to your Apocrypha layout.

I can’t put his drawings up here due to copyright, but I’ve got a set of designs that were in Model Railroader in 1967 that I’m thinking would look suitable for a narrow gauge layout.

One advantage of going back so far is that the only materials available then were the kind of simple ones I’m testing ideas with, so the designs were intended to be built in this way. Keith.

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On 08/05/2021 at 17:29, Keith Addenbrooke said:

Just a placeholder for future reference really: with the weather today even worse than last weekend, I’ve used my modelling time to draw up a Mk2* passenger car “kit”:

 

121623A6-C756-45A3-97D8-A0DF8C50CEB1.jpeg.f10d65d0a7fcbb2dd61791c0148de0e7.jpeg

 

I had a couple of sheets of 1mm A4 mountboard to use up, so I’ve redrawn the Combine as a more realistic 40’ car and - if I’m happy with this, I can add a second car (hence the need to make a note of the dimensions).

 

I’ll also try painting this one - I’ll cut out the windows and doors first so I can paint the card edges.  It’s not been the most exciting modelling day, but worth the practise if I’m going to scratchbuild more rolling stock in future.  Stay safe, Keith.

 

(* as in second attempt, not a Mk2 coach :))


The Mk2 doesn’t work.  Although the design is improved at 40’ and the mountboard takes paint very easily (I already know my thick card doesn’t), cutting and bending it has been disappointing:

 

0E135BB0-ACC2-42C9-941E-775077D74FDB.jpeg.3c472d53541272fd376a1d8fe2d41e95.jpeg

 

It may just be the particular product I have, but the composite nature of the board means the top layer of some of the 1mm scored ‘planks’ peels off when cut - especially at the edges or short lengths (above the baggage doors).  Cutting sharper corners for the windows has also proved more difficult, while gently bending the roof didn’t work.

 

As this was just an experiment with a spare offcut it’s not a problem - I just share it as a lesson learned.

 

I have two options to try next (it’s fun and free, so why not):

 

1.  Mk3 - an outer skin of thin (cereal packet) card on a thick card inner: as per the Depot I recently finished.

2.  Mk4 - try wooden planking using coffee stirrers on a card inner (I’ve actually bought them for buildings).

 

I’d like to try a fully-painted 40’ version with the leftovers I have before buying plasticard - it’s all good practice.

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Don't know what your loading gauge is, but LaBelle Woodworking do a range of HOn3 cars and coaches. Very nice to put together and include decals, they just need trucks and couplings. I bought 4 when I visited him on my last visit in 2019. Only intended stopping for a few minutes and ended up talking about model RRs and the real thing for two hours over a couple of coffees.

 

PS. Don't worry about the high postal charges, Rick will only charge you what it costs and only that gets charged to you card.

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14 minutes ago, JZ said:

Don't know what your loading gauge is, but LaBelle Woodworking do a range of HOn3 cars and coaches. Very nice to put together and include decals, they just need trucks and couplings. I bought 4 when I visited him on my last visit in 2019. Only intended stopping for a few minutes and ended up talking about model RRs and the real thing for two hours over a couple of coffees.

 

PS. Don't worry about the high postal charges, Rick will only charge you what it costs and only that gets charged to you card.


Very nice!  I’ve not heard of them before, thank you.
 

 One reason it’d be good to try some rolling stock modelling is to help set a loading gauge that will work for HOn30 as well as small (short wheelbase) European H0e - noting the overhang for 9” curves in proposed end tunnels in particular.

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Also look at Mount Blue Models, they do some wood HOn30 kits. Not tried them myself, but several in the HOn3 groups have. A lot of the structures are based on New England prototypes.

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7 minutes ago, JZ said:

Also look at Mount Blue Models, they do some wood HOn30 kits. Not tried them myself, but several in the HOn3 groups have. A lot of the structures are based on New England prototypes.


Yes - they look really great.  I have heard of Mount Blue (but didn’t k ow of anyone over here who’d used their kits).  I think they’re a small business but have some really good models of authentic Maine 2’ rolling stock as well as the New England buildings.  

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Onwards and upwards with the Mk3 - there is more than an element of repetition practice here:

 

59E3CCAD-BD55-4976-9787-E6F9CF0E2068.jpeg.f69726bb30f96e2841cca245b59ba1d8.jpeg

 

This is just the ‘outer skin’ of cereal packet card - I’ve only painted one side of the sub-frame trusses, so I’m not surprised they’ve curled!  If I had to caption this photo it’d probably just say: “nothing to see here” at this point.  The point of interest is that I find I can put components “back-to-back” when using thinner card, so one straight cut then produces two edges.

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Posted (edited)

With a busy week ahead, I’ve done a bit more over the weekend.  Some photos to show how the car sides are assembled:

 

3134AF49-81A7-4163-84B8-9FEDEFA6F5BD.jpeg.1f71541a3a30e650654566a374d7754b.jpeg

 

I found when building my Depot model that cereal packet card will cut OK into 1mm thicknesses, just right for some window frames.

 

414481B1-9785-48C8-9023-0C0CD73DB08F.jpeg.b3648c1e75cb4d87f8c98ec9440d6560.jpeg

 

These are then push-fit and glued into the thicker card inner wall.  I don’t know if this would be a recommended technique, but it seems to look OK to me when the layers are assembled and glued:


A1E177AC-5743-4FE8-9512-4AF7AE0F89A2.jpeg.f840edf75c98ed2cdc67897bfcaeedcb.jpeg

 

This will left to dry for a few days now - looks like there’s a bit of tidying up to do with the end door windows before glazing, but I’m happy with the rest of it (especially for zero-cost modelling!). Have a good week, Keith.

Edited by Keith Addenbrooke
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Moving into H0e / HOn30 is based on the idea I can make best use of the space I have, while staying in a scale I’m comfortable modelling in.  The biggest test for this theory however comes with my next challenge: fitting bogies / trucks and couplings - with 9mm track I am effectively working with N gauge parts here.  I’ve opted for the Peco GR106 freight bogies as they have a suitable ‘all-in-one’ design, and they arrived this week:

 

F1A0A00B-0DB8-464C-BA7B-2E0FE5C5C7FD.jpeg.e8c0009fd5bc0b0634c6db50f3219885.jpeg

 

I’d misunderstood the pictures I’d seen however, necessitating four adjustments:

 

1.  The clip that fastens them to the vehicle is also the pivot (I thought it was fixed).  This means the ring around the hole acts as the bearing.  My simple cardboard base wasn’t going to work.

2.  The maximum thickness needs to be no more than 1.5mm, so my 2.5mm base (top right in the photo) was too thick.

3.  The coupler shank is a bit shorter on the GR106 than the Ffestiniog-style passenger GR104 bogies, so the hole needs to be 15mm from the end, rather than 20mm.

4.  It’s a lower-slung fitting than I imagined - so the sub-frame trusses I’ve made are too deep and will need cutting down.

 

Fortunately, I did have one sheet of plasticard in stock, a spare my Dad sent me to keep a magazine he posted flat in transit.  I’m not quite sure of the thickness (it seems to be a bit over .030 thou - not quite 1mm?).  I’ve made a new base which drilled neatly and enabled me to test fit the trucks and body:

 

EA6BD3D5-48AB-441C-A545-B110E0D07D8F.jpeg.c11cf7b3047e67518ed5147f964c7ef9.jpeg

 

It seems quite a bit lower than the ZB comparison vehicle.  It also failed to run freely, the reason for which became apparent upon inspection:

 

11354B47-5750-4FD9-AC98-E51FE0BA5A72.jpeg.4f9d0bb9e4b3429234cc487feda53858.jpeg

 

The wheels are scraping the base above.  I therefore need a thicker central bit for the truck to plug into.  This will raise the whole car a bit as well.  A second ‘shim’ layer of plasticard should do it, as long as it doesn’t become too thick for the clip to fit.

 

I realise all this will be well-known to many: for me it’s all part of the learning.  As I play around, my eyes are getting used to the small size, and the doubts I had as whether I could make this work are fading - I think I can still make this work.  Keith.

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