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  1. Well there I was, finger hesitantly hovering over the confirm purchase button. My shopping basket containing lovely items to make my recent Bachmann Fowler 7F purchase sing. My conscience wrestling with the idea of departing with £148 of cash, a moments relapse and boom the deed was done. If all goes to plan, within a week from now, my 7F will have full sound.
  2. Nice work Neal, I will soon be tackling something not too dissimilar when I attempt to install a sound decoder, speaker and stay alive into the tender of a Bachmann Fowler 7F. Having never tackled anything like this before it was timely to see your efforts have paid off and it was good to hear the sound on the video.
  3. I think we’re all a bit guilty of looking at models we worked on years before and thinking, I wish I had done that bit differently, I certainly do. Even stuff I’m working on now, I constantly ask myself “why on earth have you done it like that.” Thanks again for all the comments and for sharing that image of your Pannier which I think has definitely stood the test of time and those window bars look dam good to me. Fifty years ago, that would have been the envy of every modeller to own it and It still looks amazing now.
  4. That’s a shame, I missed SWAG last year as the Mrs was in hospital. I do hope your able to attend the shows again soon.
  5. I'm using Peco code 75 flexi track which is nickel silver.
  6. Thanks are in order for the avalanche of likes just received on this thread and the layout one. I must be doing something right then! It would be nice to meet up at the SWAG event and put a face to a name. Best Regards Mark
  7. The helix is still getting taller, but its progressing very slowly. Let’s face there’s nothing much exciting about building a helix and how many images can you post, it all looks the same just a bit taller each time. In other news, while trawling the interweb, I came across a second hand Bachmann Fowler 7F 2-8-0 which had already been weathered, re-numbered and re-liveried to LMS ‘13806’ and at £65.00, I thought that was a bargain. 13806 could be found at Bath in the late 1930’s, so it would not look out of place on my, at the moment, fictitious stretch of SDJR railway. I went ahead and purchased the model anyway and it arrived today. It was transported immediately to the railway room, where it received a thorough visual inspection. All looked in good order and so, to the test track. A sigh of relief was expelled when the motion and wheels all moved and turned as they should. 13806 ran nicely up and down the helix and across the diamond crossing without issue. The testing concluded with the loco hauling a maximum of 5 coaches up the helix without wheel slip. This loco, I thought, could potentially manage 8/9 coaches with say 2 magnets fitted. That will be tested at some point but my next venture will be to fit a sound decoder to 13806. I was trawling that interweb again and found a feature from the April 2021 edition of Hornby magazine where the very same loco was subjected to having a sound decoder inserted into its tender. I have never installed a decoder before and I thought following a step by step installation guide, would be the way to go. With that said, I ordered a back issue of the mag and am currently checking how deep my pockets will go for that sound decoder, speaker and probably stay alive. Watch this space for further developments… Well here it is, my latest purchase 13806 is about to ascend the helix in charge of a rake of 5 coaches. And only because you love these pictures so much, yet another view of the helix which is currently about two thirds through the second circuit.
  8. The Traction Trials - Results are in I shall summarise; my findings have resulted in no less than 5 magnets to be fitted on the underframe of the 51XX to haul 7 coaches up the first 4th radius circuit and even then, some minor wheel slip was observed. A disappointing result and certainly not the expected 2 magnets to do the job. The full 12V was required from the controller and it will be interesting to see if running under DCC will make any difference. Unfortunately, that test will be some time in the future as I do not presently own any decoder installed locos. Maybe, some further minor tweaking is possible to enhance performance by way of securing the magnets under the loco, so that they are slightly closer to the track to increase their pull. Failing that, if I want to run 9 coach holiday specials then I guess there’s always double heading. So now I am embarking on building the second circuit and will soon need to order a load more powerbase. There was also a pleasant realisation and that is, you can never have too many clamps when constructing a helix. That impulse buy of a set of clamps from the middle of Lidl paid off 😄 A ridiculous amount of magnets was necessary for the tractive power required. These are all temporarily secured with blac-tac. It will be a real head scratcher to come up with a workable solution to fit the magnets permanently without covering any of the cover plate screws. Side view showing the magnets which are held within the blister bubble carriers which form part of the powerbase packaging. You are advised to secure the blister packs with the tiny screws supplied drilled into the locos cover plate. With 5 magnets the cover plate will end up looking like swiss cheese. Beginning of the second circuit, start collecting clamps if your taking one of these on.
  9. Ahhh, that's interesting to know, I think I must have an earlier version as the tops of the wheels foul on the bottom of the sole bar on the 3rd radius. There's a few things I can try to improve the extent of pivot rotation on the bogies, including modifying the sole bar where the wheels catch it and of course introduce a bit of side play on the wheel sets. I'm grateful, however, that I haven't any 1st radius to contend with 🤪 Thanks again for the heads up.
  10. The Somerset Levels I thought it was appropriate to introduce a landscape feature attributed to the region and here is my version. A pretty handy tool for those wanting to get their inclines sorted quickly. The helix rises 80mm each circuit, I have also introduced a slight camber of about half a degree so the tracks lean inwards a fraction. I need a total rise in height of 300mm. Four complete circuits equates to 320mm from point of entrance, so I have planned the helix for the exit road to be at a height of 300mm which is 3.75 circuits. Coaches have arrived, a mixture of Airfix, Hornby, Mainline and a Lima utility van. All came with fine scale wheels already fitted apart from the Lima wagon. Amongst the lot was a 12-wheeler restaurant car. Unfortunately, it does not negotiate the 3rd radius curves. I noticed that the wheels which had been fitted have absolutely no side play. I plan to slightly under gauge the wheel sets and take some material away from the insides of the bogies to introduce some side play. I think that should do the trick as it only binds slightly but enough to de-rail. Next step will be the traction trials and results (favourable or not) will be reported in due course.
  11. Its been a bit quiet on here recently, there is a reason. Well, two reasons actually. I am waiting on an order from Squires and I have also been working on the new layout and have now started a new thread for it. There’s nothing exciting happening on there yet, all the boring stuff has to happen first and that’s going to take some time. Anyway, for those interested, here’s the link for the new thread https://www.rmweb.co.uk/forums/topic/185439-shepton-mallet-charlton-rd-for-now-yet-to-be-renamed/?do=getNewComment
  12. The last couple of days has seen me laying on my back staring at the undersides of the baseboards while routing out and securing the 2 power buses around the helix. Not the most enjoyable of tasks but necessary, none the less. It also allowed me a closer inspection of the carpet, an area which normally escapes my attention, there was quite an accumulation of detritus from my recent activities. Time for Henry to make an appearance and for a general tidy up, as soon it will be time to test my track laying capabilities. Just as soon as I have completed the 3rd radius on the first circuit and soldered in all the droppers to the track rails. For electrical continuity and to confirm that I have not crossed any wires anywhere, I will be checking frequently with my multi-meter. I am using solderless connectors for attaching the droppers to the power buses. As you clamp shut each connector it cuts through the outer insulation of the cable and makes an electrical bond with the cable conductor. I have also started to glue down the powerbase to the outer 4th radius up line, this could prove expensive as I am going to need quite a few. For this reason, I will not order any more (I have enough for one circuit) until I have conducted some traction tests on the first circuit. I have zero coaching stock, so I need to source some cheap second hand stock for testing. In an ideal world I would like at least 7 coaches to glide up the helix without causing the loco in charge any wheel slip. I will need to experiment with how many magnets are required to be slung under the loco to achieve this, or not as the case may be! The loco I have chosen for this task is a Hornby R3719 class 51XX Large Prairie, as its literally the only large loco I have and it will be under analogue power. Lets hope the results are encouraging. The first circuit of the inner 3rd radius is nearing completion, just the droppers to sort out. The power base is also being glued down in place. View from another angle. I found the Peco code 75 flexi track a little challenging to connect together on the tighter radius. Staggering the joins between the inner and outer rails made it easier and helped maintain the seamless curvature of the rails at the join. It has resulted in a few sleepers missing between track ends and these will be replaced later. Underside of the infill section of baseboard, showing the 2 power buses running from right to left and the solderless cable connectors for attaching the droppers.
  13. Well done for cracking on with it, looks like those track rails are not going anywhere. As long as it provides smooth running then that's done the trick. Unfortunately, I can't comment on the adaptability of the Modeltech product in its use on curves and angles, if indeed that is possible. Reviews for it are good though.
  14. What about this as a solution from Modeltech, haven't used it myself but looks like a good bit of kit for aligning track over baseboard joins. https://www.marks-trains.co.uk/shop/layout-accessories/modeltech-ho-oo-protrack-rail-aligner-standard/?gad_source=1&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI5fTRjuewhQMVD5dQBh2aCQwkEAQYByABEgLK-PD_BwE
  15. He, he, he, one of my traits. I cut something and then think about the mess only when the Mrs points it out 😄
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