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Good afternoon!


Having followed various threads here for a few years now, I thought it about time to add my own modelling attempts now that I'm on to my second ‘serious’ layout.


After a typical beginners desaster – not worth mentioning – I started my first serious attempt with a trackplan that is loosely based on one of the many wonderful proposals of Hugh Flynn (see there or look at Hendre Lane ). The scenery, however, follows my imagination and is by no means prototypical or related to any specific period/area. It is simply a fun layout.


Base is a 4’x1’ pink insulation board, I used Piko (no, not Peco) flex track and Tillig points. One of the buildings is the well known Small Warehouse, another one wall of the Terraced Houses (both Scalescenes). The little plant in the middle is a copy of a structure I found somewhere in Carl Arendt’s Scrapbook, I used it to obtain some exercise in scratchbuilding.


An overview:



Right hand side:



Left hand side:



Some details:





Lastly the backdrop:


(Thanks, Shortliner!)




I made most of this layout during 2011. There was only one severe interruption in late summer caused by my participation in the 2011 Challenge under the name “Three Tiers or What You Will” (see there ). I took this contest as the opportunity to 1) probe several new techniques and 2) to incite finalization of a project.



In spring 2012 I worked on two layouts simultaneously, the above mentioned got some last (haha) touches, whilst a new one began its lift off.


I call it “Double Yard”, and I hope, Stubby47 will not be upset for my “borrowing” the basic scenery idea he so masterly executed in Laterite: A back yard beneath dismissive storefronts, scattered with various structures, very little greenery if any.

However, rather than slavishly plagiarise Stubby, I choose some features to make my layout a bit (at least) distinct from his:

– Laterite is a boxfile layout, mine is (again) a 4x1-foot plank – exactly the double area

– a slightly more complicated track plan here: an Inglenook

– two yards instead of one backyard

– I still model in H0 – continental oriented (however, British stock [ 00 ] not excluded - as can be seen above)

– last but not least: my layout serves as testbed for a little innovation that I introduce in the 2012 Challenge (see there).


Here’s a first overview showing the trackplan:



More to follow soon.


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Thank you for the link - did miss that!


I simplified the backdrop technique a bit: I didn’t cut out templates (negatives) and then spray the backdrop; instead I sprayed paper in various densities, then cut out the structures and glued them onto white card (lightest/farthest first). I feel I have more control this way.


Next time I will give the card a slight sky hue first (and glue the smoke stacks faster… :training:).




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  • 1 month later...

Time for a follow up me thinks.


On the last picture above there is already a row of façades visible that I built gradually during spring and summer. (So for the time being this is not an actual progress report.) Here follow a few pictures showing the progress:


The low relief structures are all scratchbuilt, only the first (leftmost) one has been modeled after a real building with its nice pilaster strips – in fact more inspiration than model:







Start of the second storefront:

Never again will I use corrugated cardboard cut out of parcels: it's much too weak.








Cover paper for lintels:



Sills and lintels attached:




Here the pilaster strips are needed to hide the gaps left by glueing A4 brick paper onto an “oversize” (i.e. greater than A4) cardboard:




Ah, it fits:




Pilaster strips “bricked”:




After the first two façades were finished I made a mock up of the whole row together with some smaller buildings: a doorhouse left, a dividing building in the middle and a small plant/workshop to the right:




Now I found that the storefronts were a bit too low for my taste; so I raised the whole lot by some 2”:




More to follow soon – comments and suggestions always welcome!



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Going on from my last entry in this thread:


In the meantime I strengthened the sides of my foam board by glueing wooden strips along them; this foamy stuff is quite vulnerable (e.g. when I want to take it from the basement/workshop to the sunlit garden – and then back again – it may get quite quickly rounded edges).





I took the opportunity to add some T-nuts before the glueing. This will later (much later) allow to attach FIRMLY (and detach and attach again…) various things like the above mentioned row of façades, fascia, lighting etc.





Ah – this is not a T-nut but a threaded insert. Doesn't matter – same effect!


More to follow soon – comments and suggestions always welcome!

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  • 3 weeks later...

And on it went with the next back fronts in the row: the fourth from left (sorry, no pics of the third one) cut out and covered with brick paper:





… the pilasters for its upper half:





Here the pilasters and lintels attached and to the right the windows





The latter were prepared in Paint Shop Pro 5.01 (quite old, still very useful) as a separate layer to the cutout template and printed on an overhead projection sheet.


And not to forget: I now used 1.5mm (1/16 in) quality cardboard throughout. Saves you a lot of trouble!


Here the cutout template for the fifth/last façade:





The whole row of storefronts together now gives a nice picture:




More will follow soon…

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Kevin, thanks for the comment, it's always good to get feedback!



Another instalment:

To add a bit of details I donated them some “roofs” – mind you, I have just façades, low relief, very low:







The shingles on the first one are Scalescenes, whereas the corrugated stuff on the lower picture was homemade – that way:

From a pharmacy dispenser I ripped the thin metal sheets off:




scored them with a ruler and a blunt kitchen knife alternating from both sides (somewhat tedious, but easy to do), sprayed them light grey and “rusted” them with umber pastel. Aah, yes, I could have bought corrugated sheets, but these are much too neat. My homebrewn ones suit my taste much more: I wanted them a bit dirty, stormworn and torn.


And the façades are already somewhat weathered. I use artist’s pastels only (burnt umber, sienna; some white (efflorescing chalk), olive green (algae + mosses)), a soft brush and then some fixative. Plus a sharp pencil to make cracks in some mortar joints.





Well, I understand that a lot of details has still to be added – gutters, drainpipes, a ventilator, flight stairs etc. This for later… But NO GREENERY!


Watch this space – comments appreciated!


Regards, Armin

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The five back fronts then were attached (via coffee stirrers and double sided carpet tape) to 3mm (1/8in) ply sheets. Which in turn are bolted to the above mentioned strengthening batten:




This ply sheet raises the row of fronts by some 5cm (2in) and is covered with dressed stone paper (Scalescenes too).


The whole row consists of two A4-landscape (left and yellowish) and three A4-portrait (right and reddish) backfronts; they add up to 120cm, i.e. the four feet length of the layout.


Here again the overview together with all track provisionally laid out and wired plus the mockup of a building sporting a catslide roof:




This too will be covered with homemade corrugated sheets.


The seemingly loose piece of track in the background will not be connected by points, but rather served by my version of a sector plate, i.e. a piece of flex track:





The test rig of this – here serving four destination tracks:




More to follow


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Next adventure was the turnout (a lengthy one – like this post).

The set of points in my layout is from the german firm Tillig (a DIY kit) – they are quite satisfactory for me.

With former layouts I had tried various techniques to throw the points: an ordinary points motor, a servo motor (non DCC), a servo driven not by plain DC, but by another servo motor… They all did work.

This time, however, I wanted very simple mechanic operation – no electrics *). No, not the usual “wire in tube”, just a RiG, a “Rod in Groove”. Thus it looks in a schematical drawing:


Starting at the control panel (what a great word for such a little thing) a groove goes to a 2cm dia hole under the point (far left, the other ones are slots for the electrical leads to the tracks):


First move was to mount a short section of L-angle to the underside of the points (but see below!), parallel to the sleepers. The vertical part got a 0.3mm hole (“A”).

Next was to cut a 1.5mm (1/16 in) brass rod to the fitting length. One end of which was bent by 90°, the other one flattened. The bent end fits perfectly into a hole I drilled in the knob of a DPDT-switch (sliding version) in my “control panel”. The push/pull the switch allows does limit the movements in the whole mechanics:


whilst the other (the flat) end sits under the tie bar. Into this end I drilled several 0.3mm holes („B“):


The connection between the brass rod and the tie bar provides a ~½in piece guitar string; caliper is 0.008in (=0.203mm). It has a Z-bend and pivots in hole “A”:


This Z-bend keeps the string in position (cannot fall out) and – at the same time – reverses the N/S-movement of the brass rod: pulling the rod sets the point to the track near me, pushing it sets it to the track farther away. This way the position of the switch knob “tells” me the setting of the points correctly (without any complicated electricity, LEDs etc.).

Really, this 0.008in thin piece of wire is stiff enough to throw tie bar and point blades. And there was no need to support the brass rod in any way; would it have been needed, I would of course have provided a respective guide.
Regarding the correct length of the brass rod: I had drilled several holes into its flattened end. Thus I had a choice where the guitar string meets the rod. And again: would this measure not have been sufficient (precise) I would not have hesitated to cut the rod somewhere and connected the resulting ends with a choc block and done the fine adjustment as usual.
But to my surprise the whole rig went together without much fuss and worked troublefree from the beginning. Until today.

With the following exception:

This all really is very simple, but to quote bcnpete: “Who would have thought a layout with just one turnout could give me so much grief...” My problem was not the simplicity of the rig, but the connection of the bracket directly to the underside of the point (i.e. the sleepers).

This bracket is a short section of L-angle and it is aluminum. The salient point here is that this metal (better said: its oxide) doesn’t like ordinary glues. I tried it with the usual brands available in Germany: Uhu and Pattex etc. – to no avail. The glue did firmly stick for some 10, 20 switches, but then it came loose and the switch rails did no longer firmly meet the stock rails. (I thought about using a brass bracket, I even considered bolting this silly alu thing to the sleepers – but where to find 2mm-bolts after our much esteemed hardware shop had closed last winter?).

The trouble lasted only (!) several months – well with longer interruptions (temporarily disappearing mojo), until a friend suggested to use instant adhesive (cyano acrylate). I tried this and – oh wonder, since weeks (and after several hundred test switches) the bracket remains firmly attached to the track and (fingers crossed) I have a reliable turnout.

Sigh !!!

The DPDT-switch of course serves to juice the frog as well as to provide/stop power to the track chosen (no short possible if the loco arrives from the "wrong" track). By German marketing people called "intelligente Weiche" – haha.

*) whereas it is not as simple as this marvel...



Edit 1: months later I learned that the method of groove making for "rod-in trough" or electric leads had been elaborated some time ago in a thread re. Styrofoam baseboards.


Edit 2: the above mentioned connection between ally bracket and sleepers STILL is firm and doesn't cause any trouble - Aug. '13

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I'm fascinated by the flex-track idea to replace a sector plate. I assume that you're going to have to work at getting the ends of the four fixed tracks cut so that they mate precisely with the positions of the rail ends of the flex section in each exit spot. Do you have a way of calculating where these positions will be? I'm guessing that a bit of clearance is going to be required to allow each rail to extend or retract realtive to each other as they move round the arc.

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Hi Adams,

thank you for your positive feedback. You might want to have a look at my build thread to the flex-track-sector-theme.

There's no need to calculate the end positions of mating tracks. I just moved the flex track to the various positions and marked the exit spots for later cutting.

And, yes, a bit of clearance is required to allow for the movement of the rail ends (which are in common soldered to a PCB sleeper). This is provided for by the protracting pieces as can be seen in post #18 of the above mentioned thread.

Since I switch this "sector" only under visual control I naturally fit the ends manually so that a smooth transition is secured.

Any further questions are welcome


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Thanks for the welcome :)


I might have misunderstood what you meant about soldering the ends of the flexi-point: is it the rail ends that are going to be swinging through the arc that will be soldered? Somehow I had pictured in my mind that those ends would be free to extend or retract with the alteration in curvature, and the ends of the fixed tracks would be cut to allow the flexing portion to line up with them, and because of the changes in radius of the flexing rails, these fixed ends wouldn't necessarily be square to the sleepers, but would allow for the inner and outer radius of the flex section changing the amount the rails extend.

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Just a short instalment today:


Here we are with the electrical layout:





The points switch not only throws the rod-wire-tiebar combination but also is responsible for polarizing the frog AND at the same time to juice the respective track (and disconnect the other one). For the electrical layman it may look somewhat complicated, in fact it is a rather simple thing.


The controller circuit will be hidden in one of the buildings to come, its throttle will be hand held.


Here the switch panel underside before attaching to the front batten – yes, I know, should be tidied up a bit:





More to follow – watch this space! Cheers for now – Armin



PS: sorry, but I don't know how to name the "distributor"…

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Another shorty:


Early last week I couldn’t resist and ordered a new loco. She is a small Fleischmann H0-steamer, originally produced for the Preussische Staatseisenbahnen (starting 1882), the last ones in use until 1968. Pictures here. The model, however, that I bought is in the livery of Porto di Savona, Italy (an industrial line, dunno which time), and named “AE11”. And – maybe therefore – was offered at a very reasonable price. Quite a bargain and brand new from dealer.


I let run on my layouts stock of any kind I may fancy. So I don’t care that she does not quite match my Bavarian Glaskasten, my Knittel steam rail car, my KöF shunter nor my Prussian P8 (now Belgian livery).


This AE11 is quite finely detailed (as far as I’m able to judge) and a nice runner, not too fast as many other locos. Though the prototype was built for short and medium range lines, she will do her duty on my Double Yard as a reliable shunter.





Thanks for looking & if you've any questions I shall be pleased to answer – if I can.


My very best wishes for a Happy and Peaceful Christmas to you all.


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Time to go along with the first “real” building – I mean a full 3D-structure, not just a low relief thing like the row of back fronts.

There was no prototype, it is just freehand scratchbuilding. I imagined a building with an impressive roof: a shed with a rather high cat-slide roof. Something (garbage, a valuable product?) would be loaded/thrown from the building behind it into the wagons pushed into the shed…

So it’s quite a simple structure:


At its place it looks not bad:


Only that the left wall sports some unwanted curvature, didn’t please me – the culprit is the batten at the back.

From the beginning I had envisioned that the roof of this humble shed should be covered with a lot of corrugated sheets. I made them myself as already explained in post #10 above. Yes, I had to save a lot of the metal covers and it needed some time to score them. But I like the not so regular appearance of these sheets.

Color treatment was also as already detailed above. Here the result:


And now with the disturbing batten removed and the shed better placed:


Here too some detailing is still needed: weathering the walls, adding window sills etc. It is not yet fixed to the baseboard, there will be much, much to do before this can happen.

But at the end of the day I think it fits into this back yard, as I imagine it.


Watch this space!


A happy year 2013 to you all!

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Some time ago I had tried my hand at the Scalescenes factory/warehouse (not without success). From this was left the chimney, I hadn’t used it. Now I felt that the regular row of back fronts needed a kind of accent: something higher than the highest façade, somewhat pointing.


I remembered that I had printed the respective sheets, but then stored away. So I dug them out, sealed them with matt spray and got the instructions at hand.


In fact it was quite easy to cut the 1/16in cardboard, to score the folding lines and to fold it. (This was a step that had led me to chimney-procrastination.) Well, not so easy was glueing the brick paper to my tall pyramid. Eventually it had found its place – neat and smooth. It is, however, very advisable to follow John’s tip to run before applying the brick paper a piece of sand paper along the join in order to round the edge a bit.


The chimney foundation was no difficulty at all and the two parts went together quite well:




The only problem was that the stack did end at the roof of the building behind it. It would have sooted the building AND as such it was no real accent.


So I decided to give it a second foundation, this time kitbashed with Scalescenes Retaining Wall paper:






Looks somewhat better, me thinks.

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