Sunday, 29 January 2012

History Lesson

Ed fancies a wheat field at the front of the layout.

Searching to find out what crops were grown in about 1916 at Cliddesden.

Wheat is authentic it seems:- Cliddesden History .


Monday, 23 January 2012

sculpting large landscape

In my previous post I was not sure how I was going to disguise the back track and sidings, that is not part of the real landscape. There were a number of options open, including:

  • Don't use a loop. - Then there is not much interest or fun when operating it
  • Put the back scene in front of the track - OK but reduces depth in the scene.
  • Use it as part of the landscape - Nice Idea, but even less authentic than my compromise detailed below.

In the end I decided on a compromise. Although the landscape in the prototype dives away from the road, I decided to curve the landscape up to just about the height of the engine, the top edge will then have hedgerow to increase the height and disguise the track a little bit more. Obviously when looking direct down on it you'll see the track, but when looking across from the viewing side the train won't be seen. I have plans for a radically different approach to the back scene, which is why I have chosen this option - More on that in due course.

Looking over the platform to the fields in the back

When building the large, sculpted landscape  I decided to use cardboard formers to use as guides for the hot wire cutter. It also allowed me to get an idea of how the landscape would look. At approx every 6"-7" a cardboard former was added with the section (profile) of the landscape. I then stuck bits of polystyrene together and shaped to approx size of the segment in the landscape, repeated this all the way down, and then segment by segment used the cardboard formers as guides to cut the foam to create the landscape shape, and glued it all down.

Cutting foam and landscape formers

You may have noticed that we have flipped the back siding around, to give more space to the field in the lower area of the landscape. Finished laying the loop track, and decided to remove Hackwood road from our model as it was adding unnatural/ unauthentic elements to the landscape.  Next up plastering.


Monday, 16 January 2012

Cliddesden Station Building in n Gauge

Here is Cliddesden station building in LSWR cream and brown livery with M7 and coach pulling away. (M7 in use since the correct 02 is not available as a r.t.r model).

Note the gravel and tarmac covering of the weathered concrete platform mimicking the prototype.

Near identical buildings were used at all three stations on the line but only Cliddesden had one sliding entry door whereas the others had two. This door seems to be unbelievably tall at about 8 feet. As this was the only way into the building I can only assume it was this big to facilitate movement of large 'parcels' in and out of the parcels office within.

The building was made from ink jet printed paper and card with relief included in the assembly, where practical. Images of real window glass and corrugated panels were obtained and re-coloured as appropriate using photo editing software. The corrugations on the model have not been 'grooved' - seemed too small to be noticed.

First thing to do was to scan a full frontal image of the building shown in 'the book' and scale this to 35 feet long. This automatically gave the building height and position/size of door and windows. On top of this the the art layers were drawn and coloured. The other sides and roofs were then drawn to fit ending up with a kit similar to card kits available from the trade.

Thus far we have not uncovered any images of the building rear (or goods yard come to that) so, I guessed at the window arrangements on the far side. This demonstrates that dependence on historical references for authenticity whilst a worthwhile objective is not always possible to fully achieve. Our aim therefore can only be to create an impression of the period and environs.


Sunday, 15 January 2012

Baseboard update

The baseboard has been progressing... just not on-line. So about time for an update people.

My last post just showed the frame for the board. Now we have:

  • Applied 6mm MDF sheet across the whole of the board
  • Cut out track-bed
  • Started landscaping
  • Laid some track
The picture below shows the baseboard with 6mm MDF skin, screwed down into the frame. A cut-out in paper of where the track bed will go, is also laid on top. This cut-out came from my full scale plan in previous posts, and acted as a good template for the trackbed.

Baseboard with skin

This picture shows the trackbed stuck down again with screws. The trackbed was cut out from the same 6mm MDF. As you can see some of the track is also laid down, most of it is attached with double sided tape, the curves are 'tacked' in as double sided tape was not strong enough to hold the tight curve. The obligatory "The Basingstoke and Alton Light railway" book, also pictured and always at hand. Also pictured, paper layout templates of where the buildings will be placed.

Track and trackbed

Landscaping has also come along, and built up pretty quickly. Using left over polystyrene blocks, and a home-made hot wire cutter the landscape soon took shape. Using the contours on the 1911 plan, allowed us to gauge height and gradient, along with a bit of guessing, watching Oh, Mr Porter!, visiting the site today, and artistic license. Also in place is the road and part built platform (post soon to follow). However I'm still debating how to disguise the track at the back of the board, which is not part of the 'landscape'.


Monday, 2 January 2012

Rough and Ready Power Controller

The Dapol M7 takes off like a rocket if powered from a traditional Hornby train set controller. The long term plan is to use DCC but whilst the layout is being constructed we needed a simple controller that provides authentic slow running for engine/track testing.

Dapol recommend a 9V DC controller specific for N gauge use. I have a box of spare electronics components so, I did a quick search on the www to find a simple controller circuit diagram, and here it is. I choose the 'Step 2' circuit showing a Darlington pair transistor arrangement with fuse for short circuit protection. A root through my box of electronics revealed the required components, albeit I used a 2N3904 for TR1 and 2N3440 for TR2.

There is an error in the circuit diagram for the double pole switch. If you look carefully you'll see it creates a short circuit as drawn! The wiring of it should be a mirror image with the output leads going to the wiper contacts of the two poles, not the feed.

My assemblage of the design is a bit rough but serves our immediate need for slow to fast running of the M7. Just need to be careful we don't short circuit the track, else the fuse will blow. Only one spare left in my box of bits.

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