Monday, 13 June 2011

Where To From Here??


Well as the long weekend draws to a close & the mind starts to wander to the income producing activities i have to achieve this week.....I am no closer to deciding on a prototype location to model.  The Goulburn weather has not been conducive to outside activities ( read...things i should have done ) & i have spent a fair portion of time flicking through thr myriad of books i have collected over the years hoping that a location that ticks all of my operating wishes jumped out at me.

I suppose the issue of modelling an exact prototype location should have already been decided ???.  Well that is what my purist portion of my mind is telling me.  I have the layout room built & ready to go, i have modified a portion of the benchwork to accomodate a couple of bridges i want to showcase, i have all the control infrastructure sorted, plenty of track, structures, locos & what is the issue???

Maybe this is where my nickname "The Retard" comes into what i am suffering a type of writers block...or am i expecting too much from this layout.  If my wife was reading this post she would probably throw procrastination into the mix.

My original plan was for a double track main continuous loop with the lines leaving & entering a staging area located in the 3metre x 3.4 metre area at the end of the layout room....leaving a 9 metre x 3.4 metre area of scenicked running space. 

The main reason for a double track main was because of the fact that the layout will probably be operated by me only for the great majority of the time & this would allow me to sit back, put the feet up & watch two trains circumnavigate the room while i quaff copious amounts of tea & i can stop / start & vary trains through the staging area. 

I guess at the end of the day if i have to name a couple of layouts that inspire me it would be the likes of Lambing Flat & Bylong.  The sheer quality of these layouts goes without saying ...they just evoke a quaintness & an unmistakeable country branch charm that in prototype, is just a memory.   The attention to detail & the ability to reproduce a more than convincing atmosphere is something to aspire to also taking into account that i have seen neither of these layouts in the flesh & the quality has to transcend through photo or video is a true credit to the respective builders.

Maybe this is the moral of the story....quality not quantity.  The more i think about it a single main line with a branch or two may well offer me operational enjoyment & a finished article that is easier to maintain & operate solo....Now what to do with all the structures i have complete, under construction & in kitform.....

To be continued.....

Another view of the completed structures showing a station destined for the layout

More completed structures vying for a spot on the layout

  The single line truss bridge on the branch has been placed, weathered & track laid.

   The two span double track truss bridge designed for main line use, is yet to be placed &
may well be only utilised for single track use...not unknown in prototype.

The tunnel portals take the track from the main layout area into the staging area

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Layout Control & Cobalt Point Motors

I guess i am jumping ahead here but i have decided to use the time available before tracklaying commences properly, to research & "prove" the control systems that will be used on the layout.

I have already decided that it will be DCC control & to that end i have purchased an NCE radio system & set up a 9 metre test track to teach myself on.  I have also commenced fitting sound decoders to all locos with the aim of not playing catch up ( fitting as i purchase  ) and not being faced with a fair stack of locos that need to be fitted in a hurry.

After sampling the delights of Loksound & Tsunami, i have decided to go with Tsunami where possible simply because they sound better to MY ears....i am sure there are techno babble arguments as to which is better etc....but at the end of the day they will be run & heard by me in 90% of that's where i am heading on that score...

As for point / turnout control i have decided to run with Cobalt motors & decoders & have spent around 40 to 50 hours farting around & learning the system so i can refine fitment & wiring before mass introduction occurs.  I have also decided to have panel control & DCC handpiece control available.  I am pretty sure that i will on most occasions use panel control for points & accessories & use the NCE handpiece just for driving simply because my previous layouts incorporated this type method on DC cab control & i feel comfortable with the visual reference cues that a panel system provides.  I would also arguably proffer that a panel would provide a better interface for any visitor who is unfamiliar with the layout.

In keeping with proving the system before introduction i have modified a couple of sets of Peco code 75 live frog points  as per the Cobalt manual & have installed one on a "test bench" that incorporates a panel with pushbutton for point activation & LEDs to show point direction.  This bench has also allowed me to toy with the point motor without having to crawl in & out of under bench situations.  After playing around with the setup i also think i will run two separate power bus systems one for trackpower & one for accessory control.

I must state here my absolute thanks to the team from DCC Concepts for the patience & above & beyond customer service.

Of course as a strict rule of this blog, i welcome any input & advice to the contrary of this posting.....

The "Test Bench".....rudimentary but does the job!!!


The Fat Controller        



While trolling through my photos....i found some of the structures that i have built in readiness for the layout....

 I guess that this will end up as part of a cement works industry on the layout...Again it started life as a Walthers Kit.

 The goods shed is based on a kit....Stroud Road if i remember correctly....The deck & understructure were remade using laser cut components turned out during a quiet moment in the business.

The 44 is a Trainorama unit fitted with DCC & Sound....and showing signs of "Lack Of Love"

The flour mill was inspired by the version used on the Lambing Flat Layout......It started life as a Walthers "Greatland Sugar Refining" Cornerstone Kit.

I must admit that it is hard not to be inspired by layouts such as Lambing Flat & Bylong. 

I do have 2 of these kits but was daunted by kitbashing 2 into 1......I feel the finished article will produce the flavour i am looking for.

The deck, awning & substructure are again a product of our own laser being used for "foreign orders" 

 I did overdo the weathering where the transition from the awning joins the roof & will correct in time...

I also need to finish this structure off with eaves, gutters & finials etc...

 Could not resist posting this black & white version of the structure

Will post some more soon


Fat Controller

Layout Room Under Construction


As can be seen from the photos, the layout room is coming along nicely.  The room is basically a room within a shed & as the layout is located in an area with extremes of temperature, every effort is being made to insulate wherever possible.

Of interest is the garden area in front of the shed which was a part of the home to the G Gauge Narrow Gauge "Empire"

The opportunity was also taken to incorporate a mezzanine storage shelf  1200mm wide in the gap between the layout room ceiling & shed roof for the entire 12 metre length.

The layout benching was quickly decided upon while the ability for labour was on site.... It is at a height of around 1350mm high & while boring and flat.....It will provide a basis for adding & subtracting a bit here & a bit there so i have above & below track scenery.

There was an existing dividing wall already in place in the shed & a decision was taken not to remove it...but rather incorporate it as a screen in the new layout room which allows for a 3 metre x 3metre section to be utilised as a shunting area or staging etc. 


The internal lining is water resistant gyprock which the builder specified...i was talked out of MDF as a lining....but i insisted on timber cornices & ceiling joins as against gyprock as i had seen first hand how the shed behaves in the weather extremes & did not want the joints to rip themselves apart.  The way it should work now is like slip joints

I guess painting will have to be undertaken soon.......I hate painting!!!!!!

So there you go....we are underway.  I will post some up to date photos of initial track laying soon...


Fat Controller.


The Virgin Posting.....Welcome To The Blog


Well setting up a BLOG was easier than i thought....Of course i will now attempt to add as much info & photos as i can on the proposed NSW based HO Layout that after many years of navel gazing is now in its first weeks of construction.


The shed to house the layout has been built...well in honesty the shed has existed as an 8 metre x 12metre colourbond shed for around 7 years & has served me well as a getaway from the humdrum of life & family....but as i approach 50 and following a couple of failed attempts at a G scale "Empire" in our sizeable backyard....I have decided that it is now or never & if i am to keep the support of my ever suffering wife and family....The Time Has Come!!!

Earlier this year we commenced a fairly extensive renovation of our house & the idea dawned that while the builders were here it would be a good idea to take advantage of this & use them to help build a room in the shed to house the railway.

In reality i had amassed most of the materials for the conversion....but in all honesty could not see a time in the near future where any meaningful construction would take place.

After a round table conference with the builder, wife, cat & any other interested area 12 metres long x 3.4 metres wide area would  be given over to the "railway department"....leaving the balance to house machinery etc used in my business.

Well i now have a lined & insulated area with all benches in place. All electricals have been integrated with more than enough power points, a television for those cold nights & i will decide on heating & cooling methods after experiencing a couple of seasons in the shed.

Trackwork is now ready to be laid....but i will leave that until the next posting & after i have uploaded some photos of the layout room...

Please feel free as the postings are added to to "get involved"


Fat Controller...