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Obbekaer & Ribe Skibbroen - P87

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....I have a Lilliput Swiss 'Tigerli' which has a horrid lumpen mazak chassis to convert some time!

 

Oddly enough, one has turned up here. Am wondering how on earth to reprofile the wheels to P87.

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Thanks for those photos. It's a treat to see something quite different to the "usual stuff", especially when it is so well done. It's hard to believe, looking at the photos, that this is 1:87, it looks like a larger scale - a result, I think, of some very fine work.

 

At the risk of sounding a bit Oliver "Please sir, can I have some more?"

 

Chaz

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......... Am wondering how on earth to reprofile the wheels to P87.

 

 I've spoken to Dave Doe http://www.ddwheelwrights.com/and he might be able to help but I've got to get round to making the thing go first!,

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A quick reminder that we're appearing at the Wycrail show at High Wycombe on Saturday 7th November. Just finishing the weathering on the Litra D and adding the all-important loco crew, then we're ready to roll!

 

Please drop by to say hello if you're at the show.

 

Geraint

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Can I be heretical here and ask if using unmodified P4 wheels would be unacceptable instead of full P87 or running the risk of modifying one to the other and making a hash of it? After all P4 wheels will be a major visual improvement over standard HO or RP25 wheels and with only a minor widening of check and flangeway gaps the running should be as good and possibly better than with proper P87 wheels. I'm going to try it on one of my Swiss electrics as I can't see that the minimally oversized tread and flange are going to make that much of a difference to anyone but a strict fundamentalist.

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Never let it be said that I'm a fundamentalist! Besides, it has too many unsavoury connotations these days.

 

I must admit that the turning down of wheelsets was certainly a hit and miss affair for me at the start, especially for wheels with plastic centres. Any amount of heat generation through turning, even with the wheel mounted in a collet in a minidrill, could generate a degree of wobble when the wheel was mounted on an axle. Recently, I've found the best method is to rotate the wheel by hand on a piece of grit paper stuck to a flat piece of MDF or similar. It probably works because your fingers are far more reactive to the heat generated than the wheel is, so you know when to stop and take a breather!

 

It takes some time to achieve the necessary final dimensions but it seems to work. Of course this approach is not advisable for steam locos, although it's perfectly acceptable for wagons, coaches and diesels.

 

But to come back to your final question, I have recently fitted P4 profile wheels to a Heljan Triangel railcar, and initial tests on Obbekaer show that it works fine through crossings provided that you set the back to back correctly. However, I don't have any complex P&C formations, and a very simple track layout, so I can afford to spend time making sure that all the stock runs properly without derailment (he says with fingers crossed!). Don't take this as firm evidence that this will always work, but in this case it appears to have done so!

 

I'll post some pictures of the finished article in due course, but there's some more work required in the paint shop beforehand.

 

Regards,

 

Geraint

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Can I be heretical here and ask if using unmodified P4 wheels would be unacceptable instead of full P87 or running the risk of modifying one to the other and making a hash of it? After all P4 wheels will be a major visual improvement over standard HO or RP25 wheels and with only a minor widening of check and flangeway gaps the running should be as good and possibly better than with proper P87 wheels. I'm going to try it on one of my Swiss electrics as I can't see that the minimally oversized tread and flange are going to make that much of a difference to anyone but a strict fundamentalist.

Works for me, go for it, Brian.

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Don't tell Geraint but I have been running a few of my vehicles on his layout with P4 ( or should that be S4 ) wheelsets. So much so that they have ground out all his crossing ways to P4 standards. I keep the back to backs dead right for P87 and they don't fall off so he doesn't notice .

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I hinted in my last post that a new piece of rolling stock was due to hit the RGVJ rails, and in fact it made its public debut at the Rail 2016 exhibition in Houten near Utrecht last weekend.

 

Some time back I noticed that Danish retailer Felderbanen had a few examples of the Heljan Triangel railcar (Litra ME) for sale at a reduced price, so I plucked up the courage to make an 'unseen' purchase, something I very rarely do.

 

Out of the box, it seemed to have quite a bit of potential, but there were a number of issues to tackle, aside of course from its conversion to p87. The first of these was the rather poor way in which it had been assembled - presumably a Friday afternoon output from distant China - with some parts inadequately secured and others retained by oversized blobs of adhesive. I therefore stripped most of these off the body and chassis, and after tidying them up, replaced them one by one using superglue as an adhesive.

 

The next stage was to fit the cowcatcher, which is a neat etching, but it comes without the very visible brackets up to the solebars. These were fabricated from brass sheet. The guard irons and crossbars were removed from the front, as the cowcatcher made them redundant, and new ones were fitted at the back.

 

As far as the works were concerned, conversion involved fitting turned down 10.5mm disc wheels from Alan Gibson to the existing axles. The DCC chip was also removed, and the revised analogue wiring runs back to tagstrips in the toilet, from where leads feed to the motor.

 

The final task was a complete repaint. Many of these railcars were turned out in varnished teak matchboarding, but I'm afraid to say that Heljan's rendition of this is pretty unconvincing. However, I've had even less success with it myself, so I found a colour photo of a similar railcar on the Horsens Vestbaner that was painted in a much darker red varnish. I used Humbrol 73 (a matt wine red), followed up with a coat of satin varnish, both applied with the airbrush. The chassis is sprayed with Railmatch Weathered Black.

 

At the moment, M4 awaits numbers and crest before weathering is applied, but she is seen here on the layout during her first tour of duty.

 

I also had the Litra D running in fully weathered state last weekend, as nr. 850 from Esbjerg shed and a regular performer on the Bramming - Ribe - Tonder line at the end of the 1950s.

 

A final thought. The Houten show was notable for the number of SLR and tripod toting individuals who thought nothing of setting up camp in front of the layout and snapping away without any polite request for permission. The final photo shows my Danish colleague Anders Lehnsted coping manfully with such an invasion. We also had three organised photo sessions with magazines - all three during the public opening hours and one of which prevented us from running a proper show for the public for well over an hour! I like to think that we have a more balanced attitude to such things over here - or have we?

 

Enjoy the photos.

 

Regards,

 

Geraint

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That is the most comfortable and convivial exhibition room. If only they were all like that!

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With the winter's exhibition commitments out of the way, and a break before our next outing to Railex in May, I've found some time to pen some words on the layout for Continental Modeller, which will hopefully appear in the May issue.

 

I always feel that when the time comes to write an article, it's a sure sign that the project in question is to all intents and purposes finished, and it's time to move on to something else. Of course there's still the matter of maintaining Obbekaer as a viable exhibition layout, and there's some more stock to be built, but I judged that it was now time to get back to the original project that I had in mind before the 11-year long diversion to Obbekaer took place.

 

So the attention has now shifted to the supposed terminus of the RGVJ at Ribe Skibbroen. If you go back to my article in CM way back in 2004, you will see that this effectively takes an existing quayside scene in Ribe and puts a railway along the waterside. The design has been around for some time, and over the years it's been discussed with my friends in the Ribe club, to the point that I'm now happy with it. The attached track plan shows the result.

 

However, the logistical problem with this is that my relatively tiny workshop has no room to accommodate the baseboards for this project. To compound the problem I could envisage things like trackwork construction and certainly the required buildings taking a long time (I'm not the fastest worker), so if I adopted the conventional idea of building the baseboards first, there would be acres of bare plywood left uncovered for a number of years before they could become useful.

 

Then the idea occurred to me that if I adopted the 'jigsaw' principle of layout construction, advocated in Iain Rice's excellent book on layout design and employed with great success by Vincent de Bode on his layout 'Flintfields', I could still make good progress without committing a great deal of space to my endeavours.

 

So, the first stage will be to construct a couple of lightweight plywood jigsaw pieces on which most of the trackwork for the layout can be completed, tested and rendered operational. Buildings can be constructed in parallel to this and stored until they are ready to be mounted on their own pieces of the jigsaw, and at some stage in the future, when hopefully space is at less of a premium, I can build the basic layout carcass on which all of these jigsaw pieces can be mounted.

 

As you can imagine, the CAD package is playing a big part in this, and the jigsaw pieces for the track have now been designed. Last night I accompanied my good friend David Barham (Fen End Pit) to the inner reaches of MakeSpace in Cambridge to subject the first piece of birch ply to the laser cutter, and I now have a set of parts for the first section of board, with more to follow. One of the advantages of doing it this way is that the positions of things such as baseboard joiners and bolts, turnout operating units and uncoupling magnets can be marked on the board, along with the track centrelines, and everything cut at once. There's also plenty of access holes around the structure to allow for wiring and soldering irons and the baseboard section (60mm deep) is shallow enough to make eventual mounting on the carcass quite straightforward, whilst still giving enough room for point motors and uncoupling magnets.

 

The next stage is to put the first pieces together, and I'll report back on progress later, intermingled with further news from Obbekaer.

 

Regards,

 

Geraint

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For the last week I have been battling away with the first of the laser-cut jigsaw pieces, and for the first time tonight I was able to put the two halves together and get some impression of the size of the finished item.

 

The 'kit' has gone together very well. The most difficult part is making angled corners that are any different from 90 degrees. There's a little side play which will accommodate a few degrees either way, but a 30 or 45 degree angle is a different matter, so out comes the saw and the sandpaper. I made a couple of mistakes in the drawing - two slots in the wrong place - but these are easily filled and new ones made. Having got the basic structure done, there's now a lot of work in the final finishing. I haven't decided how to treat the plywood yet - varnish? primer? What's the general view out there? I expect them to have a long life and to maintain their stability, at least until there's a main baseboard carcass to attach them to.

 

I've positioned the Litra D and a couple of coaches in what will be the platform road. The track centrelines have been marked by the laser cutter and the turntable can be seen in front of the locomotive. The front edge of these boards is effectively the quayside. The buildings on Skibbroen run along the back, roughly where the initial row is standing in its display case on the workbench.

 

I feel quite inspired after this. Time to do the drawing for the other baseboard I suppose!

 

Regards,

 

Geraint

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Looks like you have room for some underground storage sidings in there Geraint!

 

I am only joking of course!

 

I still have your CM article from 2004 and am pleased you've now got the opportunity to make progress on this one.

 

Kind regards,

 

 

Peter Marriott

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I haven't decided how to treat the plywood yet - varnish? primer? What's the general view out there?

 

My personal preference for the visible edges of baseboards has long been to prime and then paint matt black. It's rather like a black surround to a colour photograph, seeming to add impact to the presentation. Varnish is okay if you want the layout to look like a piece of furniture.  ;)

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I have just used 'Colours' one coat eggshell black from B&Q. around £12 for 750ml.  Applied with a small roller it dried well overnight unlike some other high end stuff that I've used before.

 

Perhaps painted black is something to do the eye not 'looking at it', if you see what I mean as has been said, it does add impact to the presentation. It is a bit of theatrics anyway as far as the viewer is concerned!

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Trevor / John,

 

Thanks for your replies in favour of matt black. In fact the framework shown in the photo will not be seen in the final presentation, so that's not an issue. I was thinking more about something as a preservative - maybe matt white primer so that you can easily label wiring under the boards and still see the track centrelines as the track goes down.

 

What do you think? Perhaps Maurice Hopper has a view when you next see him John - he seems to be the doyen of carpentry as far as baseboards are concerned!

 

Regards,

 

G

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Will do Geraint,when I see him next.

 

If my memory serves me his work is usually varnished.

 

All the best.

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I use white on the underside of the baseboards as it makes it easier to see what is going on when a problem occurs at an exhibition.

 

As for the sides, any colour or varnish looks OK, so long as it is neat and tidy.

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What do you think? Perhaps Maurice Hopper has a view when you next see him John - he seems to be the doyen of carpentry as far as baseboards are concerned!

 

Geraint,

 

As Maurice Hopper is of this parish, maybe he'd like to answer direct. But I'm most impressed by the concept of your laser-cut baseboard 'kit' - very neat and saves soooo much cutting out by hand. I shall discuss this with Maurice early next week when we meet up.

 

Will do Geraint,when I see him next. If my memory serves me his work is usually varnished.

 

 

John,

 

I understand that Maurice doesn't varnish his baseboards, but uses a concoction referred to as 'Devon Wood Oil' https://www.wilsonspaints.co.uk/devon-wood-oil. This is a natural penetrative preservative oil which protects and waterproofs the surface. More here: http://www.premierq.co.uk/wood-oil/ I've seen and handled Maurice's boards and can vouch for its effectiveness.

 

Devon Wood Oil may therefore be a kinder and preferable alternative to Geraint's options of either varnishing or painting his under-bits!

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Phil,

 

Many thanks for the tip. I do recall Maurice mentioning this in a previous PM. I'll try to hunt some down. Lot's of finishing work to do on the basic carcass beforehand though!

 

Have a good Easter,

 

Geraint

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Many thanks for the tip. I do recall Maurice mentioning this in a previous PM. I'll try to hunt some down. Lot's of finishing work to do on the basic carcass beforehand though!

 

Have a good Easter,

 

Geraint,

 

Glad to help. There's a link in my post above to Wilsons Paints, 1 Church Rd., Exmouth, Devon EX8 1RZ, purveyors of Maurice's magic liquid - Devon Wood Oil. Good luck!

 

Happy Easter to you too. Catch you at a show soon.

Edited by Phil Copleston

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Being an oil based product, Devon Wood Oil has the advantage of penetrating into the baseboard side material, which in my case is birch ply, so not only renders a pleasant colour but a surface this is more resilient than a hard finish. A quick pass with an oily cloth brings the finish back to new if it is needed to remove marks or just to build up the colour. If you can't get Devon Wood Oil, appropriately, Danish Oil is also more generally available from woodcraft suppliers. I think Wilsons of Exmouth will send by courier. A litre goes a long way.

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Thanks to all who responded to my query about the treatment of baseboards. I now have the first jigsaw piece fully assembled and sanded and am very pleased with it. Hopefully I can take the opportunity afforded by a short holiday in Devon in a couple of weeks to acquire some of Maurice's 'magic stuff' from source. In the mean time, I've attached a photo of the completed track board - one more of these to make in due course.

 

Other p87 projects continue, and one of them on the workbench at the moment is a small boxcab diesel for freight services on the RGVJ. The prototype was built by B&W/Scandia in 1933 for the Kalvehavebanen, rebuilt after a fire in 1952 with a new Frichs 6-cylinder engine and then sold on to the Hads-Ning Herreders Jernbane in 1959. In my twisted bit of history, the RGVJ beat them to it and acquired this chunky bit of kit at the end of the 1950s. The loco was a one-off, but in many respects similar in design to some of the larger 'Firkantede' being turned out by Frichs for other private railways of the same era.

 

There is a kit available for this from a small manufacturer in Denmark, but way beyond my means in price and containing a chassis which would be of no use to me. The decision was therefore a fairly easy one to commit to a complete scratchbuild. The main parts have been designed for etching by those nice chaps at PPD, and have produced a basic fold up body, footplate with solebars and buffer beams and an internal chassis that will carry all the working gubbins. The chassis is designed to take a central Mashima motor driving a pair of High Level gearboxes on the outer axles through universal joints, making it an A1A like the real thing. All axles are sprung, using CSBs, and the wheels are Exactoscale three hole disc with a slightly altered profile for p87 and regauged for 16.5mm.

 

The next stage will be assembly and testing of the chassis, which involves installing the motor on its separate mounting tray in a bed of sealant, followed by installation of the gearboxes and UJs. Once I have a running chassis, there will be a follow-up etch for the body overlays and the roof, plus the fabrication of all the minute parts on the chassis - I could do with finding out what they all do!

 

The prototype still exists in preservation, and one hope is that I can track it down during one of our two proposed visits to Denmark this summer.

 

It goes without saying that the loco will not be finished for our next appearance at Railex in a month's time, but it would be nice to allow it the odd foray onto the main line at the end of the day when the punters go home!

 

Regards,

 

Geraint

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Hi Geraint, 

 

Just a quick one to say fantastic article in CM this month. Great work!

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Thanks Robatron. I must say I haven't seen the pukka version myself, but I was really impressed with the way that Andrew Burnham used my words and pictures. A proof version sent back to me in ultra-quick time and no changes to make. First class editing indeed!

 

Regards,

 

Geraint

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