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


TEAMYAKIMA
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6 hours ago, St Enodoc said:

Pedant time:

 

Why are you using the driver's seat?

 

Sorry...

 

No need to be sorry at all, that's a very good point. I had just parked the taxi in the best place to hide the hole in the baseboard with my head sticking up through it. I will see if I can move the taxi forward so that it looks like I'm coming out of the back door.

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I spent most of yesterday checking/testing locomotives. I found loads of problems - kept me busy!

 

QJ 7207 had a missing cab door window - lost. Also it's an enclosed cab and so the first thing was to gently disassemble it. I cut some plastic glazing, it wouldn't be a flush fit, but it's better than nothing ..................

 

7207.jpg.fb5b6cd8bd07278b963f4b78e91fe519.jpg

 

 

While I had access to interior of the cab, I decided to paint it. The cab was molded in yellow plastic, I assume that was because the cab interior was yellow, but the floor wasn't!  I wanted to paint the seats as well, but I couldn't do that without getting paint all over the figures and so I compromised on that aspect.

 

IMG_20210916_113104.jpg.8d7c66b6fbfd6edecf2a6047f14c4162.jpg

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have been very busy this week and it has been a question of two steps forward and one back - or TBH sometimes the other was around.

 

I have some non-modelling friends coming over today and I want to show them the scenic part of the layout and in setting it up I have found positives and negatives - but at least it's better to discover the negatives now rather than at the Tolworth show!

 

More details later

Edited by TEAMYAKIMA
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Funnily enough, that's been my job this week. Amazed how much crud wheels attract when sat in a box! Plenty of bits disappeared into thin air as well. Headlights not working is another common one. Got half a dozen tricky ones which just won't run ... looks like rip the chip jobs :-(

 

Cheers

 

Mark

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Last week started with an attempt to make the route selection more reliable. We had set the timings to be as short as possible, but that meant that in certain situations the capacitor discharge units did not have enough time to recover sufficiently and occasionally some points twitched, but did not move over.

 

So I set up the fiddle yard and had a local computer geek come over and he held a zoom meeting with a route selection expert in Inverness and between them they re-jigged the system.

 

IMG_20210922_151538.jpg.4b4a2a2c14a33ec0db37e1b18ace98fa.jpg

 

One thing I had not thought of is that the layout power is normally fed in via one of the scenic boards and it then flows clockwise and anti-clockwise into the fiddle yard, but the two ends of the FY are not linked. Consequently, I could only test the routes at the end of the layout nearest the camera in the photo - that is the end where both the DTM30 route selection modules are located. In retrospect it would have been better to have one at each end of the layout controlling the points at that end of the FY.

 

So later that week I managed to bodge a set up of the two boards from the far end of the FY with the board with the DTM30's and managed to test the other end.

 

IMG_20210924_181621.jpg.1bbaa6f8b29a212ac0cc39d14ca08b14.jpg

 

My Scottish friend had increased the time delay between each firing. The result is that the routes take slightly longer to set up, but the routes are now reliable.

Edited by TEAMYAKIMA
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It is beginning to become apparent that we will not be able to have another full-blown layout test session in the garden this year - the weather is against us. However, I/we are confident that the layout works, but there were some subtle tests which I had wanted to carry out to make operation more reliable - the most important being with the brass QJ's.

 

The MTC brass QJ's are very track sensitive as they have fine scale wheel flanges and are prone to derail on track where the slightly cruder Bachmann QJ wheels don't. The bi-directional route has the largest radius end curves, but even these are right at the limit of what the brass locos will negotiate - and some of the locos only stay on the track going in one direction. So, some testing was needed and maybe some track re-alignment. This was going to take some time and it needed to be done before we go to our next show and so I manged to set up each end of the FY in turn and tested all the brass QJ's.

 

IMG_20210927_165842.jpg.938e18b0998204f77acc735479c8d0c1.jpg

 

The brass QJ's have several other issues. For example, they come with scale size solid brass front couplings which makes double heading impossible. I have managed to replace the front couplings on two of the four with a bodged Kadee and so some double heading is possible and I was able to experiment with which pairings worked best - in which direction.

 

By the end, only one brass QJ still had an issue on one board, going ant-clockwise and so in future I'll know to only run that loco clockwise. However, as I have said before, it has been a case of two steps forward, one step backwards recently. In manhandling the boards by myself earlier last week there had been an accident which resulted in some damage - luckily in an area with no track.

 

IMG_20210927_173612.jpg.75ba163eb26c2603851258b689d8e287.jpg

Edited by TEAMYAKIMA
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One other problem area with the brass QJ's is the brass casting which represents the 'corridor connection' between the loco and tender. Unlike the sophisticated close-coupling system used on all plastic RTR models these days (including the Bachmann Chinese ones) brass locos always use a simple old fashioned bar with two holes - one short setting for display in a showcase and one long setting for running on a layout with the loco and tender miles apart.

 

I, of course, wanted the best of both worlds - close coupling with a very small gap between loco and tender, but able to run on my 3ft radius curves. So, I set up for close coupling and gradually filed back the casting until the locos would run on the layout without derailing. When it comes to filing back the casting, the difference between 'go' and 'no'go' is a fraction of a millimetre and when I did the first one (some years ago) I went rather crazy and removed more than I needed to and to make matters worse I didn't even file the casting straight - I took far too much off at the bottom. So, you guessed it, yesterday I experimented with rebuilding the casting by supergluing layers of 5/1000ths of an inch plastic sheet - three at the bottom, tapering to one at the top - today I'll try to test it on the FY end curves.

 

IMG_20210927_193524.jpg.0b25524f99af320fc8fd993f9c7f4b1c.jpg

 

TBH, sometimes I surprise even myself as regards how anal I have become.

Edited by TEAMYAKIMA
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It's turned out that the weather was against me today. I thought I could grab a quick test session before the rain returned after 2pm - but a very slight shower interrupted things and TBH by the time I had the plastic sheets out it had stopped....

 

IMG_20210928_104725.jpg.2bc793b41b920befe1f5f200fe352e73.jpg

 

So, I took the sheets off again and continued testing - and then a heavy shower came along - Doh!

 

 

 

 

IMG_20210928_110935.jpg

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Ten minutes after that I was putting suntan lotion on!

 

IMG_20210928_114509.jpg.c23653c03b39e3378ef614305d5d8be8.jpg

 

1 hour ago, Al. said:

You look in danger of doing more harm then good trying to working outside in this weather.

 

Yes Al, you're right, but if you only the grief I get from my team when things go wrong you would realise that I have to have everything tested and checked before our next show (that's an in-joke BTW!)

 

Joking aside, I decided that caution was the best course of action and everything was back in the shed before the next shower.

 

There are endless 'little jobs' that need doing and many of them only come to light when I set the boards up. Many times they are problems which are a by-product of an improvement I've made in another area - a case of unexpected consequences.

 

For example, I thought I was making life easier many months ago by replacing the individual plugs which link a few odd wires across baseboard joins in the end boards of the fiddle yard.

 

wires.jpg.51b1ebfe77457aeec20f4f2fcaca1389.jpg

 

I replaced them with 4 pin plugs to make life easier/quicker. But I have recently discovered that there is limited room between boards when the stack on top of each other. The individual plugs were very small and it didn't matter that they just went anywhere, but the 4 pin plugs are much bigger and if they just go anywhere they can prevent the boards sitting down properly  and so they need to be fixed in specific places where they don't interfere with things like the legs of the board that stacks on top of them - see photo.

 

IMG_20210928_121533.jpg.1c60b1092bff885ab54e2d6459eeebe6.jpg

 

Note also the nasty hole in the baseboard caused by my incompetence is now covered up - it never happened!

Edited by TEAMYAKIMA
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Another little job - I have finally returned to complete this van modification; it started with just adding wing mirrors but developed into a complete rebuild. Before .................

 

truck.jpg.18916d1c71f2b5428440e9b40aaf497a.jpg

 

After ..............

 

IMG_20210928_174135.jpg.b51cd2798d2b4112edb34f07eb84a738.jpg

 

Personally, I think it's far more interesting like this

 

 

Edited by TEAMYAKIMA
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Some of you may remember that two of my Bachmann QJ's got all smashed up in the post just before the November 2019 Warley show - this was because I forgot to fit the plastic sleeve to the internal packaging.

 

Well, nearly two years later the first one, 6800, is nearly put back together with several 3D printed parts. All work done by my good friend Peter Morgan.

 

received_679863790072656.jpeg.50c2e8f1fd390cbac931418a14bb416e.jpeg

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3 hours ago, TEAMYAKIMA said:

…  nearly two years later the first one, 6800, is nearly put back together with several 3D printed parts. All work done by my good friend Peter Morgan.

 

 

Damm, that’s a shame, I mean well done (had hoped you’d give up on them and sell them off at a discount LOL)!  ;-)

 

Steve N

 

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One of the layout's main USP's is the double-banked coal trains heading for the steelworks. I have been surprised that this move has not appeared in any of the videos I have seen taken by show visitors. I think it's because we have often run a train on the China Rail tracks at the same time which has distracted viewers.

 

 

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Continuing the theme of two steps forward, one step back..............

 

I have been checking/testing/repairing various locos including the brass QJ's. Somehow, this happened.................

 

IMG_20210930_101941.jpg.18e89110756be04a238fc67af7de411c.jpg

 

It was not just a simple bend, the brass had cracked at the bend and whilst I was able to straighten it, it was now obviously very weak and liable to break at that crack. So, I strengthened it ...............

 

IMG_20210930_102838.jpg.af414bf389a383a71fd78fafdff0758d.jpg

 

And, TBH, it was a fault/weakness I had seen in another of the brass QJ's in the past and so I dug it out and strengthened that one as well ... better to be safe than sorry!

 

IMG_20210930_103201.jpg.befd23d4776bfbc0f840bd66e6802b0d.jpg

 

 

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On 29/09/2021 at 13:32, TEAMYAKIMA said:

One of the layout's main USP's is the double-banked coal trains heading for the steelworks. 

 

 

Great video, which has reminded me of another feature of Chinese steam, although I do not know how common/widespread this was.  Referring back to that old VHS video I mentioned back in May 2020 (‘Steam And The Dragon’ (The Locomotives of North East China) from 1987), one aspect of such locos that sounded weird, was the use of (I assume) diesel horns on steam locos, rather than their steam whistles. As I say, I don't know how long that had been going on for, why it was done, nor how long it persisted, but I can imagine that even if you could get that sound onto the DCC chips you are using on your locos, that it would also greatly confuse today's viewers at an exhibition!  No doubt you would face a constant stream of people, informing you of your 'mistake'.

 

Steve N

 

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13 minutes ago, steveNCB7754 said:

 

Great video, which has reminded me of another feature of Chinese steam, although I do not know how common/widespread this was.  Referring back to that old VHS video I mentioned back in May 2020 (‘Steam And The Dragon’ (The Locomotives of North East China) from 1987), one aspect of such locos that sounded weird, was the use of (I assume) diesel horns on steam locos, rather than their steam whistles. As I say, I don't know how long that had been going on for, why it was done, nor how long it persisted, but I can imagine that even if you could get that sound onto the DCC chips you are using on your locos, that it would also greatly confuse today's viewers at an exhibition!  No doubt you would face a constant stream of people, informing you of your 'mistake'.

 

Steve N

 

 

Thanks, it was taken on my phone and I think the sound is great, but the picture quality isn't.

 

Sounds - yes whilst Chinese steam locos all had whistles, I can't remember hearing one in use. The US sound chips don't have the facility to add a Chinese horn - as far as I know - but I am working on something which will do the trick.

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Today was to have been our third and last garden test session in 2021, but a mixture of bad weather being forecast, the petrol problem and some team unavailability (illness) meant that it was cancelled several days ago.

 

However, that didn't stop me taking 2/3 boards into the garden to track down and correct a minor wiring fault.

 

IMG_20211003_144502.jpg.32c6f5c7893117a08f6ba73ee70eb332.jpg

 

I had known about it for some time, but as it was only an inconvenience rather than a game-changer I had never prioritised it until now. It is a feature which will allow us to alter the number of vehicles needed to run the Faller road system. The system requires a given number of working vehicles at any given time - originally six. At that time if the available number of vehicles dropped to five the whole automatic operation would simply shut down. We can now run with six, five or even just four.

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Another little job (only took me three days) was a new replacement lighting pelmet section. 

 

I had originally worked on assumption that the pelmet would be 20ft long and so there were 3 x 6ft 8inch sections, but I always knew that the scenic section is only nominally 20ft long and that I would eventually need to reduce on section by approx 3/8th of an inch. However, I could not know exactly how much to cut off until the whole layout could be set up and so we tried to do during our last test session back in July, but unfortunately, due to a miss-calculation we shortened it too much. So, a completely new section needed to be made - this time 6ft 7 and 7/16ths inches long.

 

Here it is fitted with our new tag line ....................

 

IMG_20211003_102937.jpg.51a1cd9f51336be6b28e022917c005a2.jpg

 

At an exhibition the tag line "INDUSTRIAL CHINA IN THE 21st CENTURY" will appear either side of the BEIJIAO sign to help set the scene.

 

IMG_20211003_103025.jpg.efa9c1aef16f3640ce5740a26386f616.jpg

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Another little job was was a minor repair to JS 8380. There is some kind of valve/pipe which clips into the tender frame and it had fallen off and gone missing. It was particularly annoying as it was on the viewing side.IMG_20210915_160308.jpg.a79b82614b349e2cec28214e335c7a5d.jpg

 

Luckily I had a spare QJ tender and whilst the equivalent part on a QJ is not an exact match for that on a JS, it does, at least, cover up the two holes and with a bit of touch up to the weathering, no-one will be the wiser.

 

IMG_20210915_160430.jpg.5786e5de4ed16a978f0976b06d99094d.jpg

 

IMG_20210915_160929.jpg.535d9ba5c2b541270578fe92e819f8da.jpg

Edited by TEAMYAKIMA
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