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I thought it was about time I posted an update on some progress on my new little timesaving / timewasting project Canute Road Quay. Since my last post here that spoke of the wiring commencing and the completion of the fiddle yard   and a slightly earlier one about the buildings and inset track starting to take shape progress has been ticking along.

The main wiring is completed on the underside. Black tape makes the approximate position of the track above.

The main wiring is completed on the underside. Black tape makes the approximate position of the track above.

Wiring

I am pleased to advise that all the main wiring has now been completed and fully tested with track feeds, points (Cobolt point motors), frog feeds and the Dingham electromagnets for uncoupling all working as they should.
I have added a couple of DROK voltage regulators, one for the Cobolt point motors to give a smooth 9V DC supply, as I have found that they work much better and quieter with such a regulated supply; and also one to control the voltage to the yet to be fitted street lamps and a few interior lights within some of the buildings,  enabling me to easily control the voltage to give the most appropriate brightness levels once installed.
It has been both fun and reassuring at this stage to be able to run a loco or two and shunt a few vans around.

crq_feb2017_5

The cork for the inset track is not complete and modelling clay used as the base of the remaining ground cover

Inset track and ground cover

The final layer of cork sheeting has been put in place in the areas where the track is inset and last weekend I made a start on the other terrain areas such as the areas just off the inset track, roadways and also to represent the basic earth / ash style unkempt ballast (rather than stone chips) of the non inset track areas, using air drying modelling clay.
To apply the clay I first apply a thin layer of PVA glue to the baseboard surface to assist with the clay keying to the baseboard top.  I then simply mold the clay in place using fingers and where required smoothing down with a little water, it’s a bit messy but the inner child in me finds it fun.

Looking the other way and one of the puddles can be seen between the loop tracks

Looking the other way and one of the puddles can be seen between the loop tracks

To give a few further points of interest I have created a few puddles in the lower lying areas between the loop tracks and also around the water crane on the shed road. These are simply small pieces of 20 thou clear plasticard painted black in the underside and fixed in place before shaping the puddle edges with the modelling clay.
The inset track areas will now be painted using textured paint from Green Scenes to represent concrete. In addition to their concrete textured paint I also intend to use their tarmac version for the roadway in front of the public house going off to the rear of the layout and also their ‘yard filth’ and ‘general muck’ for some of the other terrain areas, once painted these areas will also receive undergrowth and static grass to complete the scene.  The coaling area in front of the small locomotive shed will also see real coal (as nothing looks more like coal than coal) and ash (real ash from my word burning stove) used to give further texture and colour.

An overall view of the full 4 foot of the layout as it stands at the moment

An overall view of the full 4 foot of the layout as it stands at the moment

Buildings

The low relief buildings on the backscene (which itself will form the topic of a future post) the have now been glued into place after I added black plasticard to the rear and also some partitions between the floors and rooms so that it is not possible to just see right through the buildings, especially as I intend to have a couple of rooms, such as the lounge bar of the public house internally lit.
The walls for the engine shed from Skytrex Model Railways resin parts have been assembled and received an initial all over coat of red oxide colour plastic primer to be the base for the final painting of the brickwork.

A front on view of Canute Road Quay, with the ground cover now awaiting painting

A front on view of Canute Road Quay, with the ground cover now awaiting painting followed by various forms of undergrowth

More updates to follow soon…

 

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With the Christmas festivities out of the way for another year, I turned my attention the last couple of days to the fiddle yard and wiring for Canute Road Quay.

A package arrived from Tim Horn the week before Christmas that contained a 1ft x 1ft baseboard specially manufactured with the baseboard top dropped by 4mm to accommodate the depth of the loco cassettes from my Fisherton Sarum layout.  Yesterday I made a start on putting the fiddle yard together.

The Tim Horn laser cut fiddle yard baseframe is assembled, painted and affixed to the main board

The Tim Horn laser cut fiddle yard baseframe is assembled, painted and affixed to the main board

The kit from Tim is designed to have three full height sides but I wanted to modify this and also cut out a section of the front face to accommodate the little control panel and also the DIN 5 pin socket for the controller.
Hopefully the picture left will explain all, after allowing the glue to fully dry it received a  coat of primer including the underside  followed by a top coat of black to match the main baseboard.  The rear full height panel will then incorporate a couple, or possibly three shelves that have been made from the off cuts from the sides. By today the finish pained fiddle yard board is affixed to the main board, although I have still not fitted the shelves as this requires a trip out to get some brackets of some kind.

The wiring between the input feeds fromt he transformer box via the control panel and to the main board is taking shape.

The wiring between the input feeds from the transformer box (right) via the control panel and to the main board (left) is taking shape.

I have also made a start on the wiring from the control panel to the jumper cables. In the picture below,  taken looking from the rear of the underside of the fiddle yard board towards the back of the control panel housed within the front face, the left hand cable goes to the main board for the control of the four track sections (yes I am still a DC Luddite), five Cobalt point motors, six uncoupling electromagnets and the power feed for the gas and building lights (yet to be installed). The right hand chocolate block will be connected to the cable that will come up from the transformer box that I also use on Fisherton Sarum to provide the required 16V AC and 12v DC supplies.

As you can see I am using 25 way D cable connectors with one half of the plastic housing screwed to the baseboard side to hold them in place. I have also soldered the 25 core cable for the main board to it’s 25 way D connector (am I alone in hating doing that job?) but have not yetinstalled it and this will a job for later this week. I still have the short jumper cable to solder to its pair of 25 way D connectors…

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A weekend at home for a change has seen some progress made on my new little timesaving / timewasting project Canute Road Quay. This post brings you up to date with that progress, further buildings have been added and a start made on the inset quayside trackwork.

The 'Waterloo Tavern' has been added which is a Bachmann Scenecraft low relief building

The ‘Waterloo Tavern’ has been added which is a Bachmann Scenecraft low relief building

Firstly taking on board an excellent suggestion made by a friend and fellow Southern enthusiast Ian (Olddudders) on RMweb  of adding a pub into the scene to be somewhere to quench the thirst of, and allow some of the cash be spent on pay day of, the hardy dock workers; I have therefore sourced and added a couple more suitable Bachmann Scenecraft low relief buildings next to the bonded warehouse.

A further view of the low relief buildings including what is now a stores building

A further view of the low relief buildings including what is now a stores building

The first one being the ‘Waterloo Taven’ and another being a stores building that was originally a garage, but I have already removed the petrol pump and branding but haven’t touched up the paint work up yet. A small alleyway is between these buildings behind the gate.
I have also removed the platform from the bonded warehouses to lower them in height and also due to the fact that I am locating then facing on to a roadway rather railway line.

Work on the insert trackwork has started as well as the LCut Creative office building

Work on the insert trackwork has started as well as the LCut Creative office building

I have made a start on the inset quayside trackwork, which will represent a concrete finish once complete. Firstly I added check rails inside the running rails, by super-gluing lengths of rail to the sleepers. The first layer of 2.5mm cork has been glued down either side of the track, and also a strip added between the check rails. The next stage will be add a second layer of 1.5mm cork on top of the base layer that will also extend right up to the outside surface of the running rails totally covering the sleepers. Any gaps will be filled using filler before scribing section lines to represent the panels of concrete and expansion gaps then painting a weather concrete and weeds and such like added.

A view of the work in progress on the front quayside warehouse and loading platform

A view of the work in progress on the front quayside warehouse and loading platform

The front buildings representing a quayside office building and a larger warehouse and loading platform have also started to take shape. For these building I am using laser cut card components from LCut Creative. I have been very impressed with the quality and detail of these kits, they assemble very easily, using PVA woodglue and as they come in sections of common key dimensions they are easily adaptable to suit the location, as I have done here using a number of different kits combined to give the effect I am after.

The small engine shed and coal stage can be seen in the back corner of Canute Road Quay

The small engine shed and coal stage can be seen in the back corner of Canute Road Quay

These are currently still in sections with the upper floor of the warehouse building and the loading platform just being rested in place until I have added the internals floors and partitions, but the effect they give is starting to take shape.

In the very back corner can be seen the small engine shed with its Hornby Scaledale coal stage and Kernow Model Rail Centre SR style water crane, the shed itself is taking shape from a resin kit from Skytrex Model Railways.

I hope to make further progress over the Christmas break; with continued progress on the buildings, inset trackwork and the fixing of an overcast sky photographic backscene; and will keep you suitably posted via this blog.

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My new little timesaving / timewasting project Canute Road Quay has progressed slowly over the last few weeks. This post brings you up to date with that progress and also the details the modifications that I make to Peco electrofrog turnouts to improve both the appearance and the electrical performance that is especially important as I am using  Peco short radius turnouts including Y’ turnouts.

Canute Road Quay is starting to take shape

Canute Road Quay is starting to take shape

From the pictures left you can see that I have now completed following: painting of the baseboard with matt black paint to all the external fascias, leaving the inside faces and underneath white, the trackwork is now laid and glued in place (I actually on the recommendation of a fellow modeler simply used superglue for this) the LED lighting is in place (more of which anon) also the brickwork of the quayside along the very front edge has also been added.

Another view on progress so far.

Another view on progress so far.

Although not visible from the picture the DCC Concepts Cobalt point motors have been installed, and initial track feed and frog wiring completed. This has not yet been taken back to the control panel (which I have also made up, but more about this in a future post) as this will itself be mounted on the small bespoke fiddle yard module on the left hand end and I am still awaiting this from Tim Horn Baseboards.

The next steps will be the initial weathering or the track sleepers and painting rail sides in track colour, the addition of the check rail for the inset trackwiork sections and the construction of the remaining buildings. In addition to the low relief Bachmann Scalescene bonded warehouses, I have opted for using Skytrex Models resin components for the engine shed and the two warehouses / loading docks located at the front using laser cut components from LCut Creative.  Once in place I can make a start on the various ground covers.

Improving Peco turnouts

With respect to the Peco turnouts there are a number of improvements that can be made especially electrically to ensure better running which includes:

A diagram showing modifications to Peco points from underneath

A diagram showing modifications to Peco points from underneath

Firstly, I always recommend  switching the frog polarity using the built in micro switch on the point motor (or a separate micro switch depending on the motor type you are using, the DCC Concepts Cobalt point motors convenient have two built in switches) and therefore not relying on the switch blade contact, which can be unreliable if any dirt gets between the stock rail and switch blade.

The Peco short radius 'Y' turnout does not have wire links so requires the actual rails to be cut between the frog and links between the stock rails and the switch blade (just visible)

The Peco short radius ‘Y’ turnout does not have wire links so requires the actual rails to be cut between the frog and links between the stock rails and the switch blade (just visible)

This requires any electrical link between switch rails and the frog to be cut, and as such is made simple on most Peco points as there is an exposed wire link underneath the point that can be cut. However on the short radius ‘Y’ points this wire link does not exist and therefore requires the actual rails to be cut between the switch blade pivots and the frog.

A diagram from above

A diagram from above

Secondly, I electrically link each switch blade to its adjacent stock rail with a short wire link as this ensures good electrical continuity. Conveniently Peco leave a gap in the sleeper webbing, on most of their turnouts, to ease the soldering of this wire link, which is then hidden one ballasted etc.

Hopefully the diagrams / images to the left help to show this more clearly.

Picture showingthe tiebar has been cut either side and the spring and housing removed

Picture showingthe tiebar has been cut either side and the spring and housing removed

To improve the turnouts visually I also remove, by simply cutting them off the hand operating lugs either side of the tie bar and as I am using DCC Concepts Cobalt point motors that are of the stall rather than solenoid type that hold the switchblades in the required position the non prototypical Peco spring housing and spring can also be removed, these are held in place by a metal clip that can be easily unclipped from underneath the turnout.

I hope that the above post is of interest and use especially with respect to wiring and improving Peco elctrofrog points and clarifies the issue on the short radius ‘Y’ point where the wire links underneath are not provided by Peco.

Watch this space for further updates on Canute Road Quay over the next few weeks.

 

 

 

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Earlier this month I announced my new little timesaving / timewasting project Canute Road Quay. Last weekend I took the opportunity to visit the excellent Scaleforum exhibition and collect from Tim Horn the kit of laser cut parts for the 4ft x 1ft main baseboard for this project. Tim classifies this design as a ‘Scenic/Photo plank board’ which includes the rear and side backscenes boards and top fascia.

The Tim Horn baseboard after just a couple of hours of assembly

The Tim Horn baseboard after just a couple of hours of assembly

This is the first time that I have used Tim’s laser cut board components and all I can say is ‘wow’ and that I totally recommend them. Tim can supply his baseboards with either with MDF or birch ply tops, the later being my chosen option. The quality and fit of each of the components is excellent and results in a very simple assembly using only wood glue, a small number of screws and a few clamps. Including allowing time for glue to cure between stages assembly was completed without rushing in a few hours last Sunday.

The eft hand end of the baseboard including the cut out for the exit to the 'fiddle yard'

The left hand end of the baseboard including the cut out for the exit to the ‘fiddle yard’

It certainly makes things easier for someone like me whom carpentry is not really my thing. The result is a totally square, robust, lightweight, professional looking baseboard assembly, that now awaits a coat of white primer, including the underneath, to seal it all around,  followed by a matt black top coat coat to the front, side and rear fascias. Tim also includes a single piece 3mm ply fascia to go on to the front to cover all the tab joints, giving a totally smooth final finish, which I have yet to affix.

A sneaky peak of things to come with the trackwork being positioned along with a couple of the buildings.

A sneaky peak of things to come with the trackwork being initially positioned along with a couple of the buildings.

I have taken the opportunity prior to painting to cut the trackwork to size to allow for holes to be drilled in the correct places for the point motors (As on Fisherton Sarum I will be using Cobalt slow acting point motors), and track feed / point frog droppers etc. The well thought out design of the Tim Horn baseframes include cuts outs at the top of the baseframe cross members for cable runs etc.

I also took the opportunity to discuss with the Tim the possibility of obtaining a small 1ft x 1ft cantilever section for the left hand end ‘fiddle yard’ to support the off scene cassette. Due to the fact that I intend to utilise the 12″ locomotive cassette from Fisherton Sarum (along with a small number of other items such as the transformer box) the top surface of this section needs to be 4mm lower than the main board to ensure the rail and cassette heights line up. As it happens I am not the first the first ask Tim for such a board and in fact he had one on display that uses the same modular construction concept as the main board, to ensure it matches and aligns correctly, but allows him to change the final top height, during the cutting process to suit a customers needs depending on the type of cassettes they are using.  The back of this board will match the rear of the main board and I will add some simple supports to be able to hold a number of the cassettes out of the way. This ‘fiddle yard’ board has now been duly ordered. The front face of this section will also contain the switches for the point motors, track sections (yes I am still DC control) and the uncloupler push buttons.

So the next step is the priming and painting of the baseboard…

 

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A number of factors have led to me considering the possibility of producing a simple and small shunting puzzle layout to keep me entertained, be able to operate at home and possibly exhibit without the need for such a large operating crew and logistics.

Firstly, I do not have the space to have Fisherton Sarum completely set up at home, one of the disadvantages of owning a small 600 year old brick and flint cottage in the Chiltern Hills, or indeed the space to build any of the other two layouts, Hawkhurst in Kent and Lydford Junction in Devon, that I have been pondering over, researching and planing for many years (indeed in the case of Hawkhurst I have already built much of the rolling stock and some of the buildings, more on this in future posts on this blog perhaps).
Secondly, the arrival of the excellent Model Rail Magazine commissioned USA Tanks, and already having a kit built Adams B4, got me thinking about knocking up a quick dock / quayside type scene, but obviously not based directly on a specific Southampton Dock location, I did mention earlier my issue with space… Hence the name of Canute Road Quay to maintain a Southampton’ish identity.

I have often enjoyed operating (‘playing with’) shunting puzzle layouts that have been created by fellow High Wycombe and District MRS member Ron North usually based on the classic ‘Inglenook’ design these type of layouts can be fun to operate as well as not taking up much space. For Canute Road Quay I have decided that I have approximately 4ft x 1ft of space in which I can fit an adaptation of the slightly larger than the ‘Inglenook’ puzzle the ‘Timesaver’. This includes the addition of a small run around loop.

trackplan_1

I am also allowing for the top left line to exit through to a hidden single cassette (utilising the same foot long locomotive cassettes that I use on Fisherton Sarum)  to allow for more operation and stock changing. The very front edge of the layout will be modelled as a dockside wall and the siding at the top right will be a small loco shed albeit single road and in semi low relief, being a sub shed of, and a similar look to the one actually at Southampton Docks.

Work in progress on USA Tank $64 in early British Railways livery, 68 and also 72 in pre full SR modified condition, although I need to add cab side windows. All await wesathering

Work in progress on USA Tanks,  s64 in early 1948 livery, 68 and also 72 in pre full SR modified condition, although I need to add cab side windows. All await weathering

The other two shorter sidings / headshunts will be just about able to hold 3 off box vans and a small shunting loco such the USA Tank or Adams B4. I will on the whole be remaining in my usual 1946 to 1949 Southern Railway time period; but will allow for the occasional change in era/area (perhaps the odd industrial loco)!

I will use a Tim Horn laser cut baseframe to result in a professional looking letter box type presentation with a built in front lighting pelmet.
Buildings, for simplicity and quickness will be a mixture of modified Ready-to-Plonk resin low relief type warehouses as the backdrop at the left hand rear, some laser cut versions for the buildings  acting as scenic breaks towards the front a at least one scratchbuilt such as the engine shed. Trackwork will be a mixture of open sleepered and inset track as seen around such docks / quays to give some variety to the surfaces.

As procurement of track, baseframe and some of the buildings has already commenced watch this space for more updates…

 

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Coming soon… a timesaver variation.. watch this space…

Any guesses?

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