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BEIJIAO - a large Chinese HO exhibition layout set in the 21st century


TEAMYAKIMA
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I've been doing all sorts of (relatively) minor jobs on the fiddle yard boards.

 

I had bodged quite a few jobs in the distant past in order to get the layout ready for its first exhibition and I had also tried to do things on the cheap - re-using components I'd used on the last layout, or the one previous to that, or the one previous to that.

 

Here is a case in point when I needed to add some unplanned wires across a baseboard ....

 

IMG_20210214_140215.jpg.02851f4704a08f7f7b1487446517b54c.jpg

 

I've replaced them with a couple of my now standard jumpers and I decided to use an old fashioned tool to do the cutting - the cutter (not the brace) had been my father's and it was nice to use something in 2021 which he had bought back 50 years ago.

 

IMG_20210214_173145.jpg.bb0136fbfec6825cf6c53c3e0483a09e.jpg

 

 

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I must admit that I have been spending a lot of time doing things which my team don't think are very important - but they are to me!

 

I want to make the layout look as professional as possible, to make it look like the person who built it knew what he was doing:jester:

 

There have been several changes in the FY - we are on FY.v3 at the moment - you can see in this photo traces that show where turnouts have been removed. That meant that the boards looked a real mess and shouted (to me at least) that FY.v1 and FY.v2 had been failures. 

 

IMG_20210222_171012.jpg.a2131f7a63654cfc8895e94eb68d101a.jpg

 

So, I have decided to give the boards a make-over . This is the other end of the FY, but you can see the way things are changing ..................

 

IMG_20210222_182234.jpg.9f0c20b68a27ddf48f92a9dac19fb9e1.jpg

 

I am buying a label maker from ebay later today and eventually everything will look as I want it to.

 

 

Edited by TEAMYAKIMA
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I am gradually working my way through all the FY boards - four done, four to go! And before anyone suggests that the board joins on those two boards in the middle are badly aligned let me point out that they are from different ends of the layout!:)

 

IMG_20210223_150558.jpg.627d3ce2882337134f64e57371426f34.jpg

 

I have also been checking for track damage. Unfortunately the FY boards have suffered a bit during various storage change arounds - being manhandled in tight spaces has resulted in some problems - PECO code 100 is not as indestructible as I once thought!

 

IMG_20210223_151427.jpg.b051b88d984b024dd596a1b4af3e9a03.jpg

 

204471710_IMG_20210216_162658(1).jpg.e311662be7aa68eefa7db45c94710386.jpg

Edited by TEAMYAKIMA
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2 hours ago, TEAMYAKIMA said:

And before anyone suggests that the board joins on those two boards in the middle are badly aligned let me point out that they are from different ends of the layout!

Phew!

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4 hours ago, TEAMYAKIMA said:

 

   '... being manhandled in tight spaces has resulted in some problems - PECO code 100 is not as indestructible as I once thought!'

 

 

 

China does experience earthquake damage of course, so any repairs you make are entirely prototypical.

 

 

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This post is really for those of you who have visited industrial cities in China.

 

I have been having a debate/discussion with my operating team about whether or not to add lighting to the layout. I was/am of the opinion that my experience in such places was that I hardly ever saw the sun - what I did see was pollution.

 

To take this further I have started a separate thread on RMweb - from Tuesday 13.28 it gets really interesting and very technical

 

 

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2 hours ago, TEAMYAKIMA said:

Something nice arrived in the post today - well, UPS actually.

 

IMG_20210225_093341.jpg.527676c38993aacb041733b0e194e0ff.jpg

 

A JF plate 

 

Todays lesson in Chinese*.

 

(* from someone who only speaks a little "pigeon" Chinese**, so so be taken with a large pinch / bucket of salt!)

(** apparently with a ShangHai accent!!)

 

 

image.png.554c056f0179ac326855943f917326fb.png Pronounced GuoYing and means "Made in China".

 

 

image.png.397b54a7ffe15e76491fd90e7c3eac1e.png Pronounced DaLian and is the city in North East China that stick out into the Yellow Sea.

Note - This is the "complex" form of writing DaLian so the second character will look differently on current maps.

 

 

image.png.d880226ff057ee36e61e41b823c81bb7.png Pronounced GeChe and means "big machines" like ships but includes things as small as locos.

 

 

image.png.f772d649f0f4a6837b300e6a142026e1.png Pronounced CheLiang and means "small Batch Train manufacturing".

 

 

image.png.d16ca9897eb74055e6a634147779e844.png Pronounced Chang and just means "Factory".

 

 

The rest is just the date produced, July 1957.

 

 

Kev.

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On 23/02/2021 at 08:16, TEAMYAKIMA said:

I must admit that I have been spending a lot of time doing things which my team don't think are very important - but they are to me!

 

I want to make the layout look as professional as possible, to make it look like the person who built it knew what he was doing:jester:

 

There have been several changes in the FY - we are on FY.v3 at the moment - you can see in this photo traces that show where turnouts have been removed. That meant that the boards looked a real mess and shouted (to me at least) that FY.v1 and FY.v2 had been failures. 

 

IMG_20210222_171012.jpg.a2131f7a63654cfc8895e94eb68d101a.jpg

 

So, I have decided to give the boards a make-over . This is the other end of the FY, but you can see the way things are changing ..................

 

IMG_20210222_182234.jpg.9f0c20b68a27ddf48f92a9dac19fb9e1.jpg

 

I am buying a label maker from ebay later today and eventually everything will look as I want it to.

 

 

 

 

Printer has arrived. TBH I was expecting a white background and have now ordered some.

 

brother.jpg.46286b8edf3100ea3331333da82e7b5e.jpg

Edited by TEAMYAKIMA
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As part of my efforts to make the layout more popular at exhibitions we have held a 'blue sky thinking' discussion within my team.

 

One 'mistake' I made was that the most interesting parts of the layout are mainly at the back of the layout. The baseboards are 36 inches wide and so when I mocked up the layout the interesting bits were between 27 - 33 inches away from me, but I overlooked that at an exhibition we will have a barrier, usually 18 inches from the front of the layout and so the interesting stuff is now 45 - 58 inches away from the viewers - quite a difference!

 

One idea which came up at the blue sky meeting was to cut 6 inches off the front of the layout to bring the interesting bits closer to the viewer if we were starting afresh that idea would have some currency, but I regret I am not going to take a circular saw to the scenic section.

 

But several other, less radical, suggestions are being considered.

 

 

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38 minutes ago, TEAMYAKIMA said:

As part of my efforts to make the layout more popular at exhibitions we have held a 'blue sky thinking' discussion within my team.

 

One 'mistake' I made was that the most interesting parts of the layout are mainly at the back of the layout. The baseboards are 36 inches wide and so when I mocked up the layout the interesting bits were between 27 - 33 inches away from me, but I overlooked that at an exhibition we will have a barrier, usually 18 inches from the front of the layout and so the interesting stuff is now 45 - 58 inches away from the viewers - quite a difference!

 

One idea which came up at the blue sky meeting was to cut 6 inches off the front of the layout to bring the interesting bits closer to the viewer if we were starting afresh that idea would have some currency, but I regret I am not going to take a circular saw to the scenic section.

 

But several other, less radical, suggestions are being considered.

 

 

 

One other thought would be to turn the layout round so the industrial line is at the front of the layout. The buildings would need relocating but there would be no need of a circular saw...

 

Luke

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Posted (edited)

In my attempt to make the layout more popular at exhibitions I have decided to re-brand the layout.

 

I/we have decided that whilst there are certainly 'tweaks' needed to the layout, one of our biggest (if not THE biggest problem) is that viewers don't understand what they're looking at and, consequently cannot relate to the layout.

 

To begin with we are changing our tagline.

 

At the moment it's "REAL WORKING STEAM IN 2004!"

 

RUTHCMRA1.jpg.7f87e80fa98fff4ae19def068046e4c2.jpg

 

The expression "Real working steam" means something to railway photographers like most of us in my team - it means steam doing ordinary every-day jobs, not specially arranged charters or running on preserved tourist lines - but that expression means little to the average exhibition attendee. It tells them nothing - in fact it just confuses them. 

 

So, from now on our tagline will be, " A CHINESE INDUSTRIAL CITY IN 2001".

 

This immediately tells viewers that the layout is set in China (not Japan) - progress!

 

 

 

 

Edited by TEAMYAKIMA
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7 hours ago, TEAMYAKIMA said:

So, from now on our tagline will be, " A CHINESE INDUSTRIAL CITY IN 2001".

 

 

Another thing which will feed into this new 'branding' is the new more dramatic backscene, which again puts emphasis on the dirty, grimy reality of a Chinese industrial city.

 

IMG_20200404_122739.jpg.7fc53e1fd3edec1d49197103748e82db.jpg

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Good idea to change the tag line. To me at a quick glance I would think "real working steam" meant the models themselves. :scratchhead: but maybe that's just me.

But does your new tag line have a typo, or have you gone back another 3 years, to 2001?

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I have now completed the upgrade of the FY boards with the new white labels. The  numbers alongside the points refer to their number for the DCC handset and the number in the 4ft is the track number, used when using the route selection.

 

IMG_20210303_192923.jpg.12ad11c661adc8cc44b7c91714c406e9.jpg

 

Compared to the original.....

 

885078227_IMG_20210222_171012(1).jpg.3498bfeb9bc9974bbeec46b5d8f80f50.jpg

 

 

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4 minutes ago, F-UnitMad said:

Good idea to change the tag line. To me at a quick glance I would think "real working steam" meant the models themselves. :scratchhead: but maybe that's just me.

 

Yes, you're completely right. I think an average viewer would think that.

 

Having thought about it, I think the term, as I meant it, actually only resonates to a small percentage of railway photographers - the ones who travelled abroad after 1968 in search of 'real steam' as opposed to photographing Flying Scotsman on the S&C.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, F-UnitMad said:

But does your new tag line have a typo, or have you gone back another 3 years, to 2001?

 

Well spotted - I started that post very late last night and ran out of steam before telling the whole story, because what I posted is only part of a series of changes we plan to make after a long period of soul-searching.

 

I always wanted to bring the date into the tagline - to show, at a glance, that there was something unusual going on here - 'real' steam trains in the 21st century.

 

2004 has a significance to me and my fellow travellers to China, but it had limitations if we want to make our 'story' totally believable.

 

My team and I have spent a (very) long period thinking about how the layout is presented and how 'our story' is told. We have concluded .........

 

1.  Our main selling point is the industrial railway at the back of the layout. Our USP is the double banked trains up the 1/30 grade.

2.  It is unfortunate that our most interesting feature is so far away from a viewer at an exhibition and this is doubly true of all the illuminated shops with full interiors right at the back. TBH I did not factor in the extra 18 inch gap between the viewer and the layout (due to the barrier) when I mocked-up the scenes 10 years ago.

3.  We need to improve the action on the industrial railway - more banked uphill trains - less 'down-time'.

4. Having too much action on the other three lines actually detracts from the industrial by overloading the viewer with too much to see at the same time. We will try to arrange it so that there is no action on the other three lines when a banked train is departing.

5. The raison d'etre of the layout was to show our travels to China to photograph STEAM and yet most videos of the layout posted on YOUTUBE showed the China Rail main lines rather than the steam action. CONCLUSION - increase the amount of steam action!

6. That is where the change from 2004 to 2001 comes in. The very last China Rail steam action took place in 2003 and so a layout set in 2004 could not have any steam on the China Rail lines. There was VERY limited steam action in 2001, but by changing the date we will have the option to run some steam freights on the China Rail lines.

 

Whilst some of that analysis is VERY anal (what percentage of an exhibition crowd know those facts??) we want to tell a new, in some ways, unbelievable story - every day working steam 36 years after steam finished in the UK - and so I think it's important that everything we show is authentic. In some ways, the whole point is that what the viewer sees was happening in 2001 - even though they might not have realised it at the time.

 

Edited by TEAMYAKIMA
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Posted (edited)

Whilst I've had my leg pulled a bit by my team for spending so much time making the FY look more professional (tidy), I hope they agree that things look better now.

 

IMG_20210306_172055.jpg.fc827f89f5ba697ee8002e4cb60513b1.jpg

 

IMG_20210306_185752.jpg.fffb9b37b730b3c7bb4cbfe9d47c4701.jpg

 

 

 

 

Edited by TEAMYAKIMA
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2 hours ago, TEAMYAKIMA said:

Whilst I've had my leg pulled a bit by my team for spending so much time making the FY look more professional (tidy), I hope they agree that things look better now.

 

IMG_20210306_172055.jpg.fc827f89f5ba697ee8002e4cb60513b1.jpg

 

IMG_20210306_185752.jpg.fffb9b37b730b3c7bb4cbfe9d47c4701.jpg

 

 

 

 

They look good to me :)

 

Luke

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On 04/03/2021 at 09:44, TEAMYAKIMA said:

 

Well spotted - I started that post very late last night and ran out of steam before telling the whole story, because what I posted is only part of a series of changes we plan to make after a long period of soul-searching.

 

I always wanted to bring the date into the tagline - to show, at a glance, that there was something unusual going on here - 'real' steam trains in the 21st century.

 

2004 has a significance to me and my fellow travellers to China, but it had limitations if we want to make our 'story' totally believable.

 

My team and I have spent a (very) long period thinking about how the layout is presented and how 'our story' is told. We have concluded .........

 

1.  Our main selling point is the industrial railway at the back of the layout. Our USP is the double banked trains up the 1/30 grade.  I think it is the busyness of the whole scene.

2.  It is unfortunate that our most interesting feature is so far away from a viewer at an exhibition and this is doubly true of all the illuminated shops with full interiors right at the back. TBH I did not factor in the extra 18 inch gap between the viewer and the layout (due to the barrier) when I mocked-up the scenes 10 years ago.  Barriers are negotiable in terms of distance or provision.  But remember their positioning impacts on sight lines.  At St Albans, I set the barriers for The Gresley Beat 3' from the layout instead of the usual 2'.  The exhibition manager gave me a bollocking on the Friday and thanked me on the Sunday.  Also there is the "kilroy" effect of little or not so little hands accessing the layout, you don't want anything of value for at least the first 6".

3.  We need to improve the action on the industrial railway - more banked uphill trains - less 'down-time'.

4. Having too much action on the other three lines actually detracts from the industrial by overloading the viewer with too much to see at the same time. We will try to arrange it so that there is no action on the other three lines when a banked train is departing.

5. The raison d'etre of the layout was to show our travels to China to photograph STEAM and yet most videos of the layout posted on YOUTUBE showed the China Rail main lines rather than the steam action. CONCLUSION - increase the amount of steam action!

6. That is where the change from 2004 to 2001 comes in. The very last China Rail steam action took place in 2003 and so a layout set in 2004 could not have any steam on the China Rail lines. There was VERY limited steam action in 2001, but by changing the date we will have the option to run some steam freights on the China Rail lines.

 

Whilst some of that analysis is VERY anal (what percentage of an exhibition crowd know those facts??) we want to tell a new, in some ways, unbelievable story - every day working steam 36 years after steam finished in the UK - and so I think it's important that everything we show is authentic. In some ways, the whole point is that what the viewer sees was happening in 2001 - even though they might not have realised it at the time.

 

 

Paul, comments in red.  Also you are creating a four dimensional picture.  I ended up adding 8" scenic boards to the front of 24" boards.  They balanced the picture.  

 

Bill

 

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Posted (edited)

As I have said before, there is a lot more to making a successful exhibition than just modelling - there is planning, planning to make things reliable and safe and easy for the operating team.

 

I discovered a problem this week - a BIG problem!!!!!!!!!!!

 

We used to have 12 wires going into the layout via a crude 12 way connector which was hard to connect and disconnect -

 

beijiao.jpg.9064611b6cf03054342764fe022d631e.jpg

 

and so I replaced them with proper easy to connect/disconnect jumper plugs - RESULT!

 

Except they were only 4 way and so I needed 3 of them per board join and here they are - the red and blue are the four DCC circuits (two circuits per jumper) and the orange one is both the 12v DC and 16v AC supplies.

 

IMG_20210311_170814.jpg.f85f4f4cb4d20475fa0b12ab8b5c900e.jpg

 

And here are the matching sockets

 

IMG_20210311_181016.jpg.79ddbd70f20e08d80367cdbec241b747.jpg

 

I thought that would be good enough, but as the old saying goes "If something can go wrong, it WILL go wrong". Off to bed now, more tomorrow.

Edited by TEAMYAKIMA
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On 24/02/2021 at 09:03, TEAMYAKIMA said:

I have also been checking for track damage. Unfortunately the FY boards have suffered a bit during various storage change arounds - being manhandled in tight spaces has resulted in some problems - PECO code 100 is not as indestructible as I once thought!

 

I realise it's tad on the late side for you, but I do fiddle yards in copperclad for this very reason.

 

Mike.

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19 minutes ago, Enterprisingwestern said:

 

I realise it's tad on the late side for you, but I do fiddle yards in copperclad for this very reason.

 

Mike.

 

Good point, but to be fair that PECO track took a really big hit which could well have damaged copperclad track as well. The other issue is the amount of track and the time/effort in building so much track.

 

I have now gone a very long way to making sure that the problem does not recur. The issue was VERY rough handling due to very restricted space and very awkward access to the storage. I have now bought a second shed in which I will store all the clutter which was causing the problem of getting good clear access to the layout which caused the damage.

 

So problem solved - hopefully!

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OK, back to my recent problems with the layout. Tuesday this week was an absolute disaster which made me  so depressed. Spent all day in the shed and the only positive was changing the DCC address on one loco - not a great return for seven hours work. But worse, I did a lot of damage to the layout - specifically the electronics.

 

You will remember that I had replaced the crude 12 way connectors with three 4 way connectors and I had colour coded them and I had assumed that that would be the end of it - no way!

 

On Tuesday I was testing various electronics on some FY boards and plugged in the power only to blow a cut out. I had accidently plugged the red (DCC circuit) into the orange socket (12v DC) and so had fed DCC into a Digitrax DS64 and blown it up.

 

So this highlighted a big problem, I'm not colour blind but I had managed to plug the wrong plug into a socket and caused damage. In a way this was a wake-up call, I can buy and fit a new DS64; yes, it will cost me money, but it's a good job that it wasn't on set up day at a show!!

 

The BIG issue was how to prevent something similar happening again. My first thought was to replace all 13 orange plug/sockets with a different design - quite a lot of work. Then a protocol where a second team member goes around and checks the first person's work BEFORE the power is switched on. 

 

When I was considering how this error could possibly have happened, I suddenly had a thought - when anyone holds the plug their hand covers the coloured section of the plug and so, if distracted, it's to forget which plug you're holding...IMG_20210312_075130.jpg.38058b5240498ecb5d6f08f91fb74a79.jpg

 

So, I decided that what I needed to do was make the colour of the plug far more obvious and so I did ....IMG_20210311_171647.jpg.48f4647f1582a28c3d84ee3191512141.jpg

 

In that photo I haven't worked on the red one yet and you can see that I have also changed the orange to yellow as another contributing factor may have been that the orange was too close in colour to red. The socket also got a refresh with a really 'in your face' bright yellow.....

 

IMG_20210311_181031.jpg.f968f725765e1bb7128eeabc1288677f.jpg

 

In this photo the red has now been (partially) done as well...

 

IMG_20210311_183058.jpg.7d1d7b91cdbd2bb1dc9625039f9e5bd1.jpg

 

So, hopefully, much clearer, hopefully much more obvious - hopefully!!!

 

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As part of doing stuff which makes life easier for the team setting up and dismantling the layout at shows I've replaced the hooks which used to hold the jumpers and cables in place during transit (but they didn't) I have installed terry clips which do do the job - very small improvement, but hopefully makes life very slightly less stressful for the team.

 

IMG_20210311_172747.jpg.d980db1aece5a2ac0b4885164f595487.jpg

 

 

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  • TEAMYAKIMA changed the title to BEIJIAO - a large Chinese HO exhibition layout set in the 21st century

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