7mm Narrow Gauge. Modelling on a budget.

Post your narrow gauge model railway questions here. That includes model railway narrow track gauges Nn3 to Gn15 and beyond!.
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Mountain
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Re: 7mm Narrow Gauge. Modelling on a budget.

Postby Mountain » Tue Aug 22, 2017 12:08 am

Tight curves on my layout!
IMG_20170417_161131.jpg


IMG_20170417_160843.jpg


The track is made cheaply by using old Peco code 100 rail soldered onto sleepers cut from PCB sheets. [Pics show one corner that has a mix of PCB and wood tea sturer sleepers which are now all PCB as the wood sleepers are harder to get the track height right]. It is time consuming and I need to do a little more modification to ease my pointwork a bit as 0-6-0 locos dont like my fancy extra curved kink in my pointwork. Be aware the points are the first I've made so are a learning curve. The back of the layout (That has the less curvy loop and less sleepers) had Peco points (Set track) which were re-sleepered.
I just had to add checkrails to the curves! The layout is just 2ft wide so it needs them!
I add these pictures to show that one can build in a small space and on a tight budget. The wood frames for the layout is all rescued wood. Some was found washed up on a local beach and some was reclaimed from a broken bunk bed. The legs were mostly made from reclaimed wood from someone's greenhouse shelves.
I had the controller with a very generous discount from a model railway shop who is now concentrating on selling DCC so I was offered this at an attractive price. (I wanted the simpler version but this with simulator and brake was what he had and it just fits the layout!)
Enjoying 7mm narrow gauge.

b308
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Re: 7mm Narrow Gauge. Modelling on a budget.

Postby b308 » Tue Aug 22, 2017 8:43 am

In answer to your last post but one about locos...

It can. Mountain, but as I said it needs care and attention to detail to get it looking right, just like the same thing in 009... Trouble is I've seen far too many O-16.5 layouts where the builder just thought that a larger cab and chimney was all that was needed, most NG modellers just cringe and walk on quickly...

It's a question of going back to basics, a narrow gauge loco, especially the small ones like yours, are NOT a scaled down version of a standard gauge one. they were built to a size and everything was designed for that size so any model needs to reflect that. So before you start hacking you need to study some photos of the real things (Quarry Hunslets would be a good start), get hold of a drawing or two (many of the books on Welsh Slate Railways from the 60s still often found in your local library have them) and then look at your doner loco carefully to see what can and can't be used... Usually you need to hack off the dome as well as the chimney and cab and also build a new footplate...

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Mountain
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Re: 7mm Narrow Gauge. Modelling on a budget.

Postby Mountain » Tue Aug 22, 2017 11:10 am

These days I have to say that I'd rather see someone's efforts that may make some cringe then yet another RTR model looking the same as everyone else's RTR model. (Dont get me wrong. I like RTR models but they do lack individuality that seems to have been missing in some of today's layouts. I remember looking at a supurb layout on the front of a model railway magazine and thinking "Yet another kadee fitted Bachmann class 37 going through static grass scenery!)
I will say it is the small details that turn something crude into something good, and I'm still learning myself what looks right and what does not. I get a few photographs and the donor model and start converting the donor model to look like the photograph, but I tend not to aim for 100% accuracy, but rather realism comes for me in an overall convincing look.
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b308
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Re: 7mm Narrow Gauge. Modelling on a budget.

Postby b308 » Tue Aug 22, 2017 11:36 am

It's not about 100% accuracy, it never has been... You can have 100% accuracy and it will "look" wrong even though it's technically right! It's about looking at the prototype and seeing what can be used and what can't be used. Many new NG modellers in 009 and O-16.5 don't do that, they just take an N or OO model, stick a new cab and chimney which they think looks right and then pass it off as a NG loco. Leaving the dome, for instance, there when either it wouldn't show at all or looks very different, amongst other things.

If you look at my threads you'll see that the last thing I do is "conventional"! There's nothing wrong with RTR, there's some damn good stuff around these days, NG and SG, but even that can be spoilt by not looking at the prototype and doing things that wouldn't work in Real Life... For instance using a British Station Track Plan and passing it off as an Austrian Station which is very different, small point but makes a world of difference to the model...

Trouble is, many newcomers to NG do so because they think it's "anything goes" in NG when in actual fact it's governed by the same restrictions in Real Life as Standard Gauge...

All I ask is that if you feel the need to model NG (and I would encourage anyone to have a go!) you do look at the Prototype and think before you model, converting an N or OO loco to NG can be done realistically, and cheaply, but takes a bit more effort than just replacing the cab and chimney!

It only takes a little more effort to get it looking right so why not spend that extra effort ;)

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Mountain
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Re: 7mm Narrow Gauge. Modelling on a budget.

Postby Mountain » Tue Aug 22, 2017 12:37 pm

I have to agree to look at how the model will work if it was the real thing. For example, a diesel needs space for an engine and radiator, and space for a fuel tank (Even if hidden) etc. Steam locos (Unless they are used for shorter trips like two of mine have been based on) need coal bunkers (Which one of mine now has) and for longer journeys, larger water storage capacity if none is available on route. The boiler needs safety valves and the steam loco needs a whistle. Most boilers need a dome. There are a couple of domeless designs but they are less common. Some locos have safety valves on the dome. Other designs have them elsewhere. Some designs have dome like forms which carry sand as the sand can be kept dry ready for use. These need pipes to carry the sand to the wheels.
Internal cab detail sometimes missed... Pressure gauges, if free standing in an open cab have the pipe going straight up into the gauge. For a cab mounted gauge, due to difficulties of expansion due to heat being different then the metal of the cab, the pipe often goes right round the gauge before entering at the bottom on some designs (Which I copied in the black loco I made).
Sometimes it is better to go without small details then add them and mess it up!
Some out of scale details need removing from locos that have been scaled up. For example foot steps that dont look right.
However, with some thought it is not too difficult to make a lovely model without much cost.
Enjoying 7mm narrow gauge.

b308
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Re: 7mm Narrow Gauge. Modelling on a budget.

Postby b308 » Tue Aug 22, 2017 3:44 pm

Totally agree!

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Re: 7mm Narrow Gauge. Modelling on a budget.

Postby Beynac » Wed Aug 23, 2017 11:43 am

You're absolutely right Mountain. :D
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Mountain
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Re: 7mm Narrow Gauge. Modelling on a budget.

Postby Mountain » Thu Jun 07, 2018 10:03 am

Just thought that I would mention it. There's a few items for sale in ElainesTrains from the Fleishmann Magic Train range at the moment. She has a few waggons left for sale. Most are around £15 each. Not exactly budget, but they are available and an ideal start for those who like the idea of 7mm scale narrow gauge.
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Re: 7mm Narrow Gauge. Modelling on a budget.

Postby Bufferstop » Thu Jun 07, 2018 8:06 pm

Mountain
Have you thought of trying to build narrow gauge track the prototype way?
Materials needed, wooden sleepers (coffee stirers), code 100 flat bottom rail, Peco IL13 track spikes, wood glue.
Tools required, pin drill, roller gauge, fine nose pliers, track cutter.
Method glue down sleepers, drill holes for one row of spikes in sleepers, start a spike in each hole, lay rail against spikes, drill second holes against rail, push in spikes. Set second rail in place held by roller gauge, drill pin holes, push in spikes, repeat for next sleeper.
Result narrow gauge track laid just like the prototype. I did it for 00n3 fifty years ago, it worked quite well.
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Mountain
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Re: 7mm Narrow Gauge. Modelling on a budget.

Postby Mountain » Thu Jun 07, 2018 9:06 pm

I did just that using code 100 (Peco) flat bottom rail and coffee stirers. I bought a few packs of Hornby track pins. First, as I layed the whole layout like this (It was on a single board with a small oval being 2ft x 3½ft with a single single bladed point) but at first I had an issue where the sleepers were splitting, so I had to drill every sleeper and then pin into the board.
But then I found that the flanges were hitting the track pins, so I had a few packs of the older flat head Hornby pins so I could use them for the insides of the rails. The only problem was that I took a newer type pin out the the older flat head pin dropped straight down the hole. The solution was to move every sleeper and drill new pilot holes for this work, so two sizes of pilot holes were drilled.
The work was carried out which took ages (Each time a new solution was made it took a while to implement). Tests were then carried out and hardly anything kept to the rails. It was found that some pins pin the track down harder then others and squeeze the stirers more. After spending ages trying to get the railheads level where one part adjusted meant that somewhere else needed to be adjusted and I was chasing round the oval of track round and round like this!
The solution came in the form of soldering one out of every few sleepers onto new copper clad PCB sleepers. By then I decided the layout was a bit too small so I doubled its length and lifted the track on one of its 180 degree curves. I also wanted to add a check rail. Now with one in every two or three sleepers being soldered (Which was a success this time as the rails soldered onto the flat PCB sleepers held the rail height in the right place) and the board extended, the soldering method was so successful that most of the layout became PCB sleepers track. Then I decided to make some double bladed points, and then I decided to replace all the wood sleepers for the soldered type... And then I decided to make a diamond crossing to take a track through one of the curves to allow for future expansion... And this is the progress to this point on the layout. It is twice the size it once was, has had many alterations before even running trains!

Photos.
General view of the layout now it's on two boards. (Origional board on the left).
Diamond crossing under construction.
Wooden sleepers removed.
The origional Gaugemaster controller which was found unsuitable to run from a 12V DC battery. Note the wooden sleepers mixed with copper PCB sleepers during the time this photograph was taken.
The new built controller in the same position, but this time all sleepers are the copper PCB type.
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Mountain
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Re: 7mm Narrow Gauge. Modelling on a budget.

Postby Mountain » Sat Jun 09, 2018 7:05 pm

I wrote this below which was supposed to be a reply for another thread but is more apt to this thread.
I'd love to encourage you to try this scale and gauge.
I thought that with my limited skills that it was beyond me yet here I am, still a novice and yet creating wonderful things, and I love to see the creations come to life that others have built. There is something so special about this that I can't put it into words except to say "Thank God that 0-16.5 exists as it does".
To those who really want to try this scale and dont think they have the skill, I'd love to give advice on what to buy to make a start. Finding easy to make budget kits and ways to paint them to look good even if ones painting skills aren't great need not be an obstacle as there are ways around these issues. For example, take a look at Smallbrook Studio Veto and consider painting it black with red details. (See the colours below... Though my model is scratchbuilt onto a similar donor loco, the basic black livery is ideal for a beginner and this is why I show it).
The way one can build a personal railway to feel prototypical and yet be ones own design is amazing. To try new things can be daunting but if the things hardly cost a lot to begin with then whatever you build isn't such a disaster if it doesn't work.
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Re: 7mm Narrow Gauge. Modelling on a budget.

Postby Pete » Sun Jun 10, 2018 7:57 am

Hi Mountain

Sorry if you've already said else where, but what do you use as a donor loco in the above example? 00 0-4-0s are not that common are they apart from ancient Hornby offerings?

Pete
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Mountain
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Re: 7mm Narrow Gauge. Modelling on a budget.

Postby Mountain » Sun Jun 10, 2018 11:39 am

The best to go for are the last of the cheap 0-4-0 offerings which are still available (Just!) from old stock. These dont have the high top speeds so are the most appropriate, and they run nicely, especially for the price one pays for them.
Fortunately (If one doesn't mind a higher top speed) Hornby made so many of the little things in the past that one can pick secondhand ones up at reasonable prices. (Around £15-£25 seems average).
One thing to remember is that due to the different designs using this chassis, that many dont have piston rods and pistons so before buying check if you need them or not for the loco you want to build.

Hattons still have a few trainsets with a Caledonian 0-4-0 loco in blue. These are retailing at just £45 at the moment while stocks last. The wagons provide useful chassis for scratchbuilding simple bodies onto.

Another good site to look at is Smallbrook Studio in their 0e section (7mm narrow gauge EU version of 0-16.5 is known as 0e. Is also known as 0n30 in the USA. Tiny differences in scale but not enough to be concerned with, though be aware some prototype locos and stock in 0n30 were BIG!). The Smallbrook Studio Ceto looks an easy conversion. I've not had a Ceto myself, but it came as a result that I (And others) were asking the gentleman if he would design a budget version of his other kits, and the results look impressive.

In the photo it shows the type of loco that I started with in front of the black loco which I scratchbuilt a cab and chimney onto. (See Llwyndrissi Halt for more on this build).
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Pete
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Re: 7mm Narrow Gauge. Modelling on a budget.

Postby Pete » Sun Jun 10, 2018 1:05 pm

How do you get those horrid scalectrix type motors that come in the Hornby 0-4-0s to run smoothe?
I,ve a Smokey Joe, all ready to pimp, but it runs awful.

Or are you referring to a different one?

Thanks.

Pete
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Re: 7mm Narrow Gauge. Modelling on a budget.

Postby Mountain » Sun Jun 10, 2018 2:36 pm

I'm referring to the exact same locos in design but the latest versions of them. When they moved production to China the first change came in the form of blackened wheels. They still had the high top speed. Then a few years ago they worked on them and reduced the top speed while altering the pickups to a thinner material. Cheaper to build, but the good side is they ran a whole lot better.
Even the older ones can be improved by careful cleaning, but the newer ones run much better. I dont mind how the old ones run too much myself as I feel blessed just to have something that runs. One soo n learns how to get the best from them.
One 7mm narrow gauge layout I saw at an exhibition had one of the faster versions running really nicely. His secret was to apply graphite to the track and the backs of the wheels where the pickups collect the current. They ran really well. The only downside to graphite is that it is slippery. Locksmiths use it to lubricate locks. Not an issue for a level baseboard where one isn't pulling long trains like his layout, but not something wants if anyone is pulling long trains or having any gradients.
There's nothing stopping one using a different chassis though it needs to be of a reasonable size to fit. The darker green loco in the first photo has a much adapted Triang chassis using modern slow running China parts. The wheelbase is the same on the Hornby 0-4-0's as the older Triang models are. It did take a lot of work to get everything to fit.
The other loco used to be a Hornby Percy. The chassis is standard except for the addition of lead weight in any space I could find (Hence the lead on top of the motor). It uses a Smallbrook Studio conversion kit. Percy uses the same chassis as the standard Smokey Joe types run on.
Many Smallbrook Studio kits do run on different chassis. Some of these chassis are relatively modern and run really well. The standard 0-4-0's are mostly used though for economy and availability reasons.
If scratchbuilding, there are a great many chassis to use. It depends on the size and type of loco you want to end up with.
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