Waton - N gauge challenge

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ElDavo
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Re: Waton - N gauge challenge

Postby ElDavo » Sun Jun 20, 2010 10:49 pm

Not necessarily AWS boxes but certainly general lineside equipment cabinets. :wink:

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Dave

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ste234
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Re: Waton - N gauge challenge

Postby ste234 » Sun Jun 20, 2010 11:03 pm

Heyy,I wasn't far off :wink:

Ste
'Springfield', N gauge Modern Era Layout

DonB
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Re: Waton - N gauge challenge

Postby DonB » Sun Jun 20, 2010 11:05 pm

Amazing work, sir.

Particularly the handbuilt track. :shock:
I shall be watching this one! :D :D

Cheers,

Don
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ElDavo
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Re: Waton - N gauge challenge

Postby ElDavo » Mon Jun 21, 2010 4:38 pm

One of my pet hates is messy track wiring. I've seen quite a few layouts with absolutely drop dead gorgeous trackwork which has been ruined (IMHO) by clumsy soldering leaving great blobs of solder and wire visible. Now I am by no means the neatest with a soldering iron but I do try to make the wiring invisible. There are one or two places on Cramdin that make me cringe so I have put a little more thought to it with Waton.

My plain track is built in sections of 300 to 600mm in length so there are a number of places where I either have to bridge a gap or add droppers/feeds. This is N gauge so the current flow is small and the largest baseboard is only 3ft long so, even if I switch to DCC, there won't be much voltage drop. So with that in mind I have opted to bridge sections of track together within the boards using 5 amp fuse wire. It's finer than layout wire so should be easier to hide. Here's a section with some bridging wires in evidence. Of course they are a nice "suede" colour having been sprayed along with the track!

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With a bit of careful ballasting these can be made to almost disappear. Not completely in this case but not bad and the pictures are showing this larger than life-size so at normal viewing distance all should be well. Just mustn't let any one near it with a camera!

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Of course as I am using copperclad sleepers I can cheat a bit by soldering to the sleeper rather than the rail. There is nothing in the Peco rule book on using flexitrack to say you can't add the odd copperclad sleeper though. Soldering the fuse wire is tricky (for me at least) and so it doesn't always hide away as I would like. This is not one of my better examples!

For the main feed wires I am using standard multi strand layout wire of 3amp capacity. I strip about 10mm of insulation and tin it then pass it through a hole in the baseboard, bend over the last mm or two with pliers and solder to the sleeper/rail. In fact if you can get it really close to the rail it almost looks like a chair. I strip more insulation than is absolutely necessary then a short section of conductor will be visible below the baseboard which can be useful for checking with a meter when fault finding.

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Again the careful application of ballast can improve the look of this considerably. Bit of rust colour on the rails and some weathering and she'll be good enough I reckon.

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Here endeth the lesson. Now I must either go and do some more ballasting or practice my soldering!

Cheers
Dave

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Tank
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Re: Waton - N gauge challenge

Postby Tank » Mon Jun 21, 2010 5:32 pm

Great idea with the fuse wire. It all looks very neat, and most definitely time consuming! :lol:
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Bufferstop
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Re: Waton - N gauge challenge

Postby Bufferstop » Mon Jun 21, 2010 9:11 pm

Have you tested how long your 5A fuse wire can sustain a short circuit, need to be sure overload device works first.
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Re: Waton - N gauge challenge

Postby locoworks » Mon Jun 21, 2010 10:32 pm

at the risk of a slap ( maybe i misunderstood? ), how do you expect to get decent running using N standard wheels on over gauge for the wheels track? ok the straight bits may work of a fashion but older stock will have the wheel flanges hitting the sleepers with the associated bouncing, and i doubt there is any real chance of getting the check and wing rails in a possition so that N gauge stuff can run through a point without 2mm stuff being allowed to hit the V?? it all looks very nice, but i would stick to N or go 2mm, not some inbetweeny 2mm scale version of EM thinking, even though i believe there is now such an association in the smaller scale but i can't remember the designation. it was in one of julys model rags and i thought it had missed the april edition.

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ElDavo
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Re: Waton - N gauge challenge

Postby ElDavo » Mon Jun 21, 2010 10:34 pm

Bufferstop wrote:Have you tested how long your 5A fuse wire can sustain a short circuit, need to be sure overload device works first.


No I haven't and I'm no electrical expert but... 5 amp fuse wire is designed for 240 volt circuits and being a simple fuse wire will probably not "blow" until something like a surge of 10 amps hits it and then it will be fairly slow (in electronic terms) to go. My controllers are all electronic with outputs in the 1 to 2 amp range and with short circuit protection. I would guess that the electronic short circuit protection will cut the 12 to 18 volt power well below 5 amps and much quicker than a physical fuse wire could respond. An expert may correct my reasoning of course.

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Dave

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ElDavo
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Re: Waton - N gauge challenge

Postby ElDavo » Mon Jun 21, 2010 10:44 pm

locoworks wrote:at the risk of a slap ( maybe i misunderstood? ), how do you expect to get decent running using N standard wheels on over gauge for the wheels track? ok the straight bits may work of a fashion but older stock will have the wheel flanges hitting the sleepers with the associated bouncing, and i doubt there is any real chance of getting the check and wing rails in a possition so that N gauge stuff can run through a point without 2mm stuff being allowed to hit the V?? it all looks very nice, but i would stick to N or go 2mm, not some inbetweeny 2mm scale version of EM thinking, even though i believe there is now such an association in the smaller scale but i can't remember the designation. it was in one of julys model rags and i thought it had missed the april edition.


Of course if you have really old N gauge stuff with pizza cutter wheels this scheme won't work as the flanges are too deep. If you have anything reasonably modern you will find that the flanges will clear the sleepers with code 40 rail.

The check rail and wing rail clearances are another matter and dealt with differently. RTR 9mm track is actually round about 9.1mm gauge and the back to back measurement is less than the 2mmSA standard. I don't intend to run 2mmSA finescale stock, only N gauge so I can work a bit of a fast one. The plain track is laid to 2mmSA spec i.e. 9.42mm gauge (if I remember rightly!) but the pointwork is built at around 8.9 to 9mm gauge in the area of the crossing/frog. With the reduction of gauge I can close up the check rail and wing rail gaps while still accomodating an N gauge back to back. This not only improves the look of the pointwork but also improves the running as the wheels don't drop into the gap between the closure rails and the crossing but run on bent part of the wing rail as in the prototype. If you run a wagon across my points you will find you can hardly feel the wheels cross from the closure rails to the frog.

Of course this will all be too much fuss for some but for me it works both visually and in terms of running. I tried the Peco track and found the appearance and running were not up to the standards I was looking for.

Cheers
Dave

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Re: Waton - N gauge challenge

Postby locoworks » Tue Jun 22, 2010 8:51 am

ok, i was mistakenly thinking you intended to use 2mm FS stuff too.

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ElDavo
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Re: Waton - N gauge challenge

Postby ElDavo » Tue Jun 22, 2010 10:05 am

I've been asked how the trees and bushes were created. Perchance I happen to have some photos.

I have a lot of largish hedges and small trees lining the route. This is largely because there is no way I can produce enough convincing looking fencing in 2mm so it all has to be overgrown! These have all started out as lichen. Bush shaped bits are torn off and planted into a good dollop of PVA. In addition odd bits of foam flock and clump foliage stuff have been strategically placed to create a structure of low growing plants. When the PVA has dried the whole lot is doused in PVA diluted about 60:40 with water with a dash of washing up liquid. The PVA should help strengthen the lichen and stick everything down/together. More texture materials are then sprinkled onto the wet PVA. I've been using a couple of different colours of something labelled as "fine turf". Burnt grass and green grass are the colours I think. Looks nothing like turf but does look a bit like leaves!

Here's a hedge in the raw before the additional textures have been applied.

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The technique for trees has been documented elsewhere before and I've just adapted it to my needs. I don't claim any credit for the techniques. The basic tree is formed on an armature of twisted copper wires, in this case 3 core mains cable.

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The picture above shows the armature during creation. Basically you twist everything together then start splitting into groups of two or three and twisting again. Repeat the splitting and twisting process till you get down to one or two strands. Form it into some kind of tree shape. In this case I have soldered the twisted bits together as I go but on others I have used the hot glue gun to build up the "bark". The glue gun is especially useful if you want to build up a sizeable trunk.

Here's the armature completed.

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It's then given a greyish base coat.

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Then a dry brushing of brown and some odd greeny bits.

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Foliage clumps are then stuck on to the armature using the hot glue gun. I've rather overloaded this one. Must try harder.

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The foliage is then soaked in a diluted PVA mix and sprinkled with various textures in the same way as the hedges described earlier. Looks a bit manky at this stage!

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Finally after 8 or 10 hours of drying it's been glued into a hole in the baseboard.

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The above is a bit of an artificial view as the area in front of the tree is incomplete. Here it is from the opposite side where it is bedded in with hedges and other stuff.

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Here's an overall view of the baseboard. The new tree is on the extreme left.

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Cheers
Dave

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ElDavo
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Re: Waton - N gauge challenge

Postby ElDavo » Tue Jun 22, 2010 10:37 am

I've also been asked about the ballasting on Waton. I'm using the technique documented by Gordon S in his Eastwood Town thread on RMWeb. I don't mask the edges and a lot of my track has card strips along the adge to represent concrete cable ducts which makes life easier.

The ballast is Woodland scenics fine grey stuck down with PVA applied neat with a brush. I do about a foot per session. Any more and my brain fries!

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Some more detail and piccies to show what it looks like. Here's a shot of a bit of track in the raw (almost). The track has been given a squirt of Halfords grey primer and, because this section is meant to represent concrete sleepers, a squirt of Plasticote Suede effect.

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I apply the PVA (cheapo stuff in a big bottle from somewhere) with a number 1 paintbrush. I'm not too careful about it but basically slap it on in the big areas then add blobs of glue between sleepers. The PVA will tend to settle into the corners on its own. Any bits of glue in the wrong place are wiped off with the finger.

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This section is about 3 inches which is not too long so the PVA dries too much and also not too long so my brain, eyes and paintbrush fingers start losing it.

I then sprinkle the ballast by pinching a bit between thumb and forefinger. I have done it by sprinkling from a small bottle but I find I have better control using my fingers. I'm basically a fairly messy modeller so I tend to use my fingers for most things!

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Then I knock any excess off the ends of the sleepers with my finger and tamp it down into the glue. Worth also running your fingernail along the insides of the rails to dislodge any stray ballast and glue otherwise the ride is a bit rough in N gauge!

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Pretty much done though it doesn't look that clever (yet).

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I leave it for 24 hours or so to let the PVA do its stuff then brush off any excess, not usually very much, with a bigger paintbrush.

This sounds like a really fiddly and time consuming way of doing things but surprisingly if you analyse it it's quite time efficient. In the traditional technique you:

1) Sprinkle the ballast dry onto the track
2) Push, prod, poke and flick the stuff around until it's where it should be and not all over the sleepers, in the check rails gaps etc. etc.
3) Spray it all with a wetting agent
4) Gently feed dilute PVA to the ballast
5) Readjust any ballast that has escaped/moved
6) Wait 24 hours for the glue to dry
7) Clean up and remove excess.

This works but there are a number of disadvantages:

1) Getting the stuff where you want it is a real pain and very time consuming especially in N gauge.
2) You need to wet everything otherwise it all goes to ... when you add the PVA (usually)
3) It's very easy to gum up pointwork due to the amout of dilute glue floating about.
4) Drying out and hardening can take 24 to 48 hours depending on the weather.

So with the technique I am using the only tedious bit is painting the glue between the sleepers. No getting round it it is a bit of a pig to do but it is no worse than trying to get the dry ballast in the right place and not in the wrong place. Actually adding the ballast is easy, just sprinkle it onto the wet PVA and tamp it down. It only sticks where you want it and the rest is just brushed/vacuumed off when the glue is dry. Overall it's probably quicker.

Another plus factor I have found in N gauge is that the result looks flatter/smoother. With the traditional technique the ballast looks rougher an this is more apparent in N gauge. This is either because the ballast lifts a bit when soaked with glue or the PVA acts as a bit of a varnish and causes it to look rougher. Either way I am much happier with the smoother look of the ballast tamped into the neat PVA.

Cheers
Dave

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ste234
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Re: Waton - N gauge challenge

Postby ste234 » Tue Jun 22, 2010 6:01 pm

Looks like a decent method of ballasting Dave, I might give it a try when I come to do mine.
Do you do it the same for the points or havn't you been brave enough to tackle them yet :lol: :wink:
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Ste :)
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locoworks
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Re: Waton - N gauge challenge

Postby locoworks » Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:37 pm

very nice, it is turning into a "here's one i made earlier" instructional. :mrgreen:

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ElDavo
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Re: Waton - N gauge challenge

Postby ElDavo » Tue Jun 22, 2010 10:36 pm

ste234 wrote:... Do you do it the same for the points or havn't you been brave enough to tackle them yet :lol: :wink:


Oh yes, the points are done in the same way. In fact this is the safest way (IMHO) to do pointwork as you have more control over where the glue (and ballast) go. :wink:

Cheers
Dave


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