Clatter - N-gauge in a Coffee Table

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Dragonfly
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Clatter - N-gauge in a Coffee Table

Postby Dragonfly » Tue Jan 20, 2015 8:43 pm

Evenin' all,

So, due to modelling taking a back seat in recent months due to life getting in the way, everything here's ground to a halt. Been keeping in the hobby through my local club and helping exhibit layouts at various shows, but wanting to do something of my own.

As luck would have it, I was having a quick glance over Freecycle the other day and got hold of this:

IMAG0313.jpg
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Perfect size for an N-gauge "pizza", maybe? The internal dimensions are 29 inches (gap to gap), 27.5 inches ("wall" to "wall"), with 4 inches height, but I'm sure I can increase the available height and keep it looking presentable.

The plan is to do up the table itself a bit, replace the trim that's coming off on the other side, and paint it matt black.

As for the layout itself, I've drawn up the following track plan in AR:

6011.jpg
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The "walled" edges are the top and bottom of the plan.
The building arrangement is far from set in stone, just a vague idea.
This allows a bit of potential for end-to-end running (a DMU service between the stations, which can be swapped in the shed with something simple like a 14xx/57xx with Autocoach, and a short freight train (I'm thinking an 08 or Austerity tank with a couple of vans) running between sidings. Nothing too extravagant.
But on the other hand, it can be left with one of the trains running round and round while doing something else (such as working on my OO projects).

The "siding" at the top left is for a possible casette connection or other way of adding/removing a train if need be. The glass top is easily removed anyway.
So, before I do anything daft like spend any money, any thoughts or suggestions? I realise in such a small space there's not much leeway or option for much to change, but still...
Last edited by Dragonfly on Fri May 15, 2015 8:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
=Doug
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David68
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Re: Dragonfly's Coffee Table Micro

Postby David68 » Tue Jan 20, 2015 9:13 pm

That looks like a fascinating project, cannot wait to see it develop

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JohnN
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Re: Dragonfly's Coffee Table Micro

Postby JohnN » Tue Jan 20, 2015 9:16 pm

A lovely idea and a nice looking plan. Mrs JohnN fancies trying a coffee table layout. I'll have to show her this thread. :)

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Re: Dragonfly's Coffee Table Micro

Postby whynot » Tue Jan 20, 2015 9:31 pm

That looks like the basis of an excellent micro - I shall watch with interest.
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End2end
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Re: Dragonfly's Coffee Table Micro

Postby End2end » Tue Jan 20, 2015 10:06 pm

Dragonfly wrote: any thoughts or suggestions?

The two stations look too close together, perhaps moving it to the other side would suit?
Also....when do we all get invited round for ...ahem...coffee? lol
Looking forward to seeing your progress.
Thanks
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Re: Dragonfly's Coffee Table Micro

Postby Dragonfly » Wed Jan 21, 2015 7:51 am

Thanks for your support everyone.

End2end wrote:The two stations look too close together, perhaps moving it to the other side would suit?


You make a very good point. It had been deliberate, in a way, and I was hoping to semi-disguise it. I had wanted to have as long a run as possible without having to change points, but in retrospect that's a bit lazy, and there is merit in having a station on each viewing side (ignoring the fact you can see it all from above). On a previous incarnation of the plan I had a branch running from just short of where the inner station is, round another 120 degrees and terminating at a station roughly where the industry now is. But that took up too much scenic space.
If I forego the "lazy" option I should have enough space to simply swap the innner station and industry around...

Thanks,
=Doug
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Re: Dragonfly's Coffee Table Micro

Postby Emettman » Wed Jan 21, 2015 10:46 am

Dragonfly wrote:Thanks for your support everyone.

I had wanted to have as long a run as possible without having to change points...


Well, there is an option.
How about a looped 8 using a diamond crossing?
Set that in a tunnel about 1/2" above datum. You'll have four tunnel entrances (or if HALF in a tunnel, three), and if one track (outer, probably) climbs half an inch to the far side, and the inner drops half an inch, a decent 1" visual separation will be created. Add sidings to taste ad as space allows.

Alternately (unless it fits with the above, which can't properly visualise ) I think a passing loop on the oval might give you more operation and capacity.
Try it on that top right corner, perhaps, reversing the two points on the either end of the curve. A curved island platform, with a footbridge to the raised station building not far from where the one is now marked. That would give a chance for two trains to alternate on the oval, and swap with a third if there are two or more sidings elsewhere.

Just thoughts, Chris
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Re: Dragonfly's Coffee Table Micro

Postby locoworks » Sun Feb 01, 2015 9:01 pm

could you do a passing loop type station bottom right of the picture?? maybe with a small bay platform?? and what track is it and what stock do you want to run?? I ask because tomix do small points and quite sharp curves. kato sadly don't do points with a very small radius but they do do tight curves.

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Re: Dragonfly's Coffee Table Micro

Postby Dragonfly » Tue Feb 17, 2015 11:31 am

Apologies for not replying, it's been a busy few weeks.

Ok, firstly I'll upload the plan "as it stands" based on the idea of swapping the "inner" station and the industry. Works out a hell of a lot better:

6011.jpg
The plan as it stands
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EDIT: I haven't moved the roads about fully yet, so the bit where the road crosses the station tracks will have to be altered, of course.

Emettman wrote:Well, there is an option.
How about a looped 8 using a diamond crossing?
Set that in a tunnel about 1/2" above datum. You'll have four tunnel entrances (or if HALF in a tunnel, three), and if one track (outer, probably) climbs half an inch to the far side, and the inner drops half an inch, a decent 1" visual separation will be created. Add sidings to taste ad as space allows.


It's a damn good idea, and I've spent quite a bit of time trying to get it to fit with everything else, but if I kept in the industry, shed etc as well, there'd be nothing left for scenery. Bearing it in mind, though.

Emettman wrote:Alternately (unless it fits with the above, which can't properly visualise ) I think a passing loop on the oval might give you more operation and capacity.
Try it on that top right corner, perhaps, reversing the two points on the either end of the curve. A curved island platform, with a footbridge to the raised station building not far from where the one is now marked. That would give a chance for two trains to alternate on the oval, and swap with a third if there are two or more sidings elsewhere.


This one I'm certainly trying to fit in. I've tried a few things, and slowly getting toward something which could well work...

6011a.jpg
With loop & island platform
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Addendum:

How does this look?

6011a.jpg
Updated loop version.
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It's meant removing the lower tunnel, but no matter, it's probably better to have the edge of fields etc to go with the farmyard.
=Doug
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Re: Dragonfly's Coffee Table Micro

Postby End2end » Tue Feb 17, 2015 4:02 pm

Ahh yes the latest plan looks much better and more fun to operate :)
Thanks
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Re: Dragonfly's Coffee Table Micro

Postby Dragonfly » Sat May 02, 2015 6:09 pm

Not much to report on this over the past few weeks. It's just been a case of trialling a few ideas, working out the details, and buying a few necessary bits and pieces for the first stages.

So, the plan is as it was, and the "layout" itself currently looks like this:
IMAG0648a.jpg
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Not so much a layout yet; not even a train set, but it's a beginning.

As you may be able to make out, the current stock (my entire N-gauge stock, at this time) is a BR black pannier tank. So while the layout will be made as generic as possible (standard Metcalfetown, really), I'll be running it as transition-era Western region (nominally mid-Wales).

The first step is to add a 'lip' around the entire table, of 34mm x 34mm wood, which will form the base for point control switches and the like. Point control will be wire-in-tube, and to keep it simple, the switches will be on whatever side is closest to the point. Then I'll be putting down the printed-out track plan onto the board and putting down cork on the trackbed, and affixing the tubes for the said point control. This will all give me time to build up the necessary track for the next step.
=Doug
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Re: Dragonfly's Coffee Table Micro

Postby Bufferstop » Sat May 02, 2015 7:08 pm

Looks to have plenty of room if you stick to shorty stock and minimum radius. I'd go for 009, but that's just me!
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Re: Dragonfly's Coffee Table Micro

Postby Dragonfly » Wed May 13, 2015 7:55 pm

Aye, the plan is to keep trains short and simple. The longest expected is a short tank engine and pair of Mk1s (or shorter coaches of the same ilk). Fleet to be filled out with a 2-car DMU (101 or 108) and 3- or 4-truck goods trains.

So I finally got on with it and fitted the "lip" around the edge of the table.

IMAG0708a.jpg
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Also, at last weekend's show in Derby, All Components were selling new N-gauge track at half the usual price, so bought 80% of the track there and then (particularly the points). Picking up the remaining pieces tomorrow from a local stockist, and on with some cork and track laying.

Still no idea of names for the village at this point. Time for some browsing of Mid-Wales on Google maps, methinks...
=Doug
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Re: Dragonfly's Coffee Table Micro

Postby Dragonfly » Fri May 15, 2015 5:01 pm

Very productive day yesterday, cork and track all laid. Went for a very sectional method, one bit at a time: lay, test, glue, test, next.

IMAG0709a.jpg
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Eight hours later, it's all down and glued in place.

IMAG0710.jpg
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Admittedly quite a messy job, but it'll be tidied up a little prior to ballasting.

Today's job, fitting the point control systems (wire in tube)...

IMAG0716.jpg
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...while the loco takes a well-earned rest.

IMAG0714.jpg
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Oh and it's to be named Clatter, as per the village of the same name near Caersws.
=Doug
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Re: Clatter - N-gauge in a Coffee Table

Postby Dragonfly » Mon May 18, 2015 6:44 pm

So, the next few days' development:

I'd observed that the tube used for the point wire was wider than the height of the cork, leading to the track being pushed up where the tube goes under it, leading to quite an awkward kink (enough to derail the 57xx) in a couple of places. So I set to cutting out those sections of tube, and will find other methods of protecting the wire when it comes to ballasting.

I then went on to drill the holes in the switches, and fit the first three to the near side of the layout. All works perfectly at this time.

IMAG0722a.jpg
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Next, to get an idea as to how the hill/tunnel will look, the tunnel mouths have been glued into place and a series of cardboard formers arranged to give the basic contours. Next these will be filled with polystyrene before being topped with Mod-Roc. An access hole will be left from the edge of the board, to be covered with a sheet of plasticard.

IMAG0723a.jpg
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For the "Generic Industry" I'd chosen the Metcalfe brewery as the most interesting and flexible (in arrangement) option to go for, so I set to assembling this.

IMAG0726a.jpg
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The buildings haven't been glued to one another yet, as next is the excruciating step of deciding how to arrange the village. Everything looks so different in 3D, so what seemed to be very spacious on the plan, actually can become very cramped. So out came the cardboard outlines of the buildings, and a long evening of arranging and rearranging the cards to try and find a way that will work. Currently it's looking like this:

IMAG0729a.jpg
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Apologies for the terrible Paint-work. The green line shows the roads, and brewery's yard, red dots are houses, purple is the pub, orange is the corner shop, blue is the station. Also in purple is the engine shed. This does leave space for a small building (cafe?) to the left of the station. It'll all be fine-tuned before anything is set in stone, such as widening the road the houses are on, as the kits are bought and built.

Until next time...
=Doug
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