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BORDERLINE

Postby peterg » Thu Feb 13, 2014 3:45 pm

Well, the newbie has taken his first tentative steps and has had a delivery of an HST 9 car set, flexitrack, trestle bridges, tunnel portals and PWM power box.....who said father xmas was imaginary? :D
As per the title the layout will be called "Borderline" because i hope that when finished it might loosely resemble the West Coast line up through Cumbria / Shap and Dumfrieshire. That is the plan but let's see what develops.
Board size is 48" x 18" and i have now drawn out my plan which is basically a continuous run incorporating dog bone and figure of eight with 2 tunnels and 3 bridges.
I have not planned for roads, villages or stations but do have a sizable lake and rolling hills with cuttings. Hope there will be room for a farm with animals.
I'm an impatient s.d and want to get stuck in but the c..p weather is keeping me out of the cold damp shed where i will have to get the main base / layout constructed. After that i should manage to sneak it into the house for detail work.
Will attempt progress reports on here but i am sorry to say that i have never been able to get my head around posting photo's on any forum. I know i should try again so watch this space.

Cheers
Peterg
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Re: BORDERLINE

Postby dkightley » Thu Feb 13, 2014 9:18 pm

Peter

You have a PM ...(Private Message)
Doug Kightley
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Re: BORDERLINE

Postby martink » Fri Feb 14, 2014 4:02 pm

I'd be very interested to see how this one turns out. One little suggestion - on every layout I have done I always end up wishing that I had added a extra inch or two to the width. It is surprising how useful even one extra inch can be here: letting you widen the radius of curves, or stagger them at different levels to make construction and access easier, or even allow extra space for scenery between the track and the baseboard edge.

As for having enough space for a farm, in T gauge 48" x 18" works out to a scale 30 acres. ;)
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Re: BORDERLINE

Postby peterg » Fri Feb 14, 2014 4:49 pm

Hello Martin
I know exactly where you are coming from regards board size. I was going to do a 24" wide board but it would not fit the criteria of having to fit inside a wardrobe when not being used.
As said in earlier post i will try to load photos to show progress but don't expect anything for some time yet.

Peterg
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Re: BORDERLINE

Postby peterg » Tue Feb 25, 2014 4:32 pm

All the woodwork including ramps and tunnels etc are now in place and the lake/river has been excavated. After much nervousness on my part i have also fitted half the flexitrack.
A few hints that i hope somebody will find useful;

LAKE: This is at baseboard level and realising that i wanted it below ground level for realism i used a 10mm round nosed router bit and plunge routed to a depth about 3-4 mm deep. Easy to deep...a bit noisy and dusty but very effective. The lake will be finished in the tried and tested methods of painting and filling with Realistic water or similar.

TUNNEL PORTALS: I have/am using 20mm dia' plastic conduit cut to length and angled at the "open" end. An 8mm slot is cut in the bottom of the tube which closes up slightly on cutting...this is good because it can be opened and glued around the 8mm long sleepers. It was a concious decision to use this style of portal as opposed to the flimsy/fiddly kit ones from Alan. When finished they can be finished any colour to suit.

TRACK LAYING: Having bought the 1m lengths of flexitrack i was worried about the best way to fix it. Had some advice (thanks to those concerned) on here but after my own experiment i decided that Bostik GLU & FIX All Purpose, clear/extra strong at £2.49 / 20ml from Halfords was the one to use.
So far i have used it to good effect and recommend it for the job provided you follow a few simple guide lines;
a) Only use the 1m track lengths on straight or gently curved sections.
b) Always glue down one end of the track say about 4/5" long to give a good anchor before you start bending (make sure you have a track joiner fitted before gluing)
when this has properly dried you can quite easily (but gently) bend the track to the shape laid out on you base board/plan. I found the track then more or less maintained the bent shape and could be finally tweeked when glued.
c)When gluing simply run a continuous bead of glue following your plan. Let the glue go off for a few minutes then simply place and hold the track in position....ONLY DO ABOUT" 2/300mm at a time checking and holding down where necessary. I only found it necessary to hold while set for about 2/3 minutes max' which is nothing unless you have a plane to catch. When one 2/300mm section has dried just repeat for next section but use a thin metal blade (nail file ?) to get glue under the bit where the glue tube will not fit. DO NOT forget to fit a track joiner at the end of each length!!!
This Bostik as used here is not used as a contact adhesive although it apparently can be if gluing difficult parts/materials.
d) do not forget to fit your power lead with built in track joiner somewhere convenient on your layout...this method requires no soldering.

If any snags or tips come up i will update here.

Peterg
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Re: BORDERLINE

Postby peterg » Thu Feb 27, 2014 8:29 pm

Have finished laying the track and have happily run the HST 2 loco + 2 coach set without major hitches.
What is obvious though is the you do have to be careful not to use so much glue when laying the track that it oozes up between the sleepers...if this happens you will see your train stutter and judder until you have cleaned away the excess...no easy matter when the glue has set.
I think i was the youngest pensioner around when i watched the little miracle do its circuits and tackle the grades without problem. Better still at night to the lights working, although they are pretty bright in daylight.

Forgot to mention one small problem when connecting the wiring;
As earlier reported, i used the power cable with controller plug on one end and the track joiner type item already soldered to the other. I drilled a hole in the baseboard, connected the track to the soldered joiner type fitting with the wires going through the drilled hole. Unfortunately moving things when laying the track must have snagged the positive wire and broke it away from the joiner...aaagh!
Solution was relatively easy...the broken wire was fed back up the drilled hole so that it exited at one side of the rails/sleepers and was then carefully soldered onto the outside edge of the copper rail clip/joiner. Finally i filled the drilled hole with glue and sawdust filler to stop any further chance of pulling the fine wires off the fitting.
Next job is the landscaping......
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Re: BORDERLINE

Postby ConnorL » Fri Feb 28, 2014 12:26 am

Nice! I hate it when wiring disconnects while you are working on it. I never had tried flex tracks, I was wondering what is your feedback on them? Are they flexible enough to create nice curves without the track coming out of the end of each section? Or you have to adjust each of them before gluing down onto the platform?
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Re: BORDERLINE

Postby peterg » Fri Feb 28, 2014 1:22 am

ConnorL wrote:Nice! I hate it when wiring disconnects while you are working on it. I never had tried flex tracks, I was wondering what is your feedback on them? Are they flexible enough to create nice curves without the track coming out of the end of each section? Or you have to adjust each of them before gluing down onto the platform?


The best thing you can do is start on a straight bit of track...DO NOT use joiners on curves, i did it once and only just got away with it.
If you glue down a few inches of track and let it dry you will be able to gently curve the track to your plan gluing abot 8/10" as you go.
Note! Flexi will always drag one or both rails about as you curve it. As you get towards the last 8/10" of a flexi length you must trim the track so that both rails are the same length. Generally speaking i found that removing 3 sleepers from a track length was just about right when making a join. DO use the proper track cutters...no filing or burr removal will be necessary afterwards.
Now, attach a track joiner and glue the whole thing down. I found it no problem to insert the next length of track in to a glued down joiner and start the whole process again.
A finished track should have no gaps between the rail ends and should feel reasonably smooth when you run your finger over it. A light rub down with the fine abrasive paper supplied with the flex' also helps.

In summary; I would not worry too much about adjusting the ends of each length of track and i would not hesitate to use Flexitrack again.
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Re: BORDERLINE

Postby peterg » Sun Mar 02, 2014 12:15 am

Started landscaping yesterday....bigger job than i imagined!
Big mistake i think was to do a lot of hill and embankment shaping and blending with Papier Mache.
Dont get me wrong it was ok to work with but it never dries.
Checked it again this morning and it was still really wet so i started on with the bigger hill using scrunched up newspaper and plaster of paris bandage. This was much quicker to apply and was soon dry enough to work over again if necessary.
Anyway i'm about two thirds done withe the messy stuff and just need to take a break while things dry.....i'm guessing at least 5 days for the papier mache to dry properly.

Question please;
When all the plaster bandaging has been done do i just go ahead and paint it or a) Do i smooth it over and fill the small holes with plaster a of paris skim ?
b) Does it need sanding before base coat painting ?
Pete
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Re: BORDERLINE

Postby dkightley » Sun Mar 02, 2014 12:30 pm

The surface of plaster doesn't need any preparation for painting...and most paints will cover with no issues, although water based paints will probably be best.

As to covering the rough areas, its basically down to deciding exactly what you want the ground surface to look like....and whether you're applying flock or other texture finishes. If you are, then an air hole will become a large undulation in the ground surface that is overgrown with grass and bushes, etc. Fill it with earth coloured paint and then an appropriate amount of scenery dust, etc and it'll blend in. If you're relying on the plaster surface alone, then you may need to do some finishing off...but beware of what you do being seen as "full-size" marks.

Spend some time browsing the countryside using Google Earth to get an idea of exactly what terra firma actually looks like from the viewpoint of a 2,700 ft tall giant!!...which is the viewpoint we have...if you think about it.

And one idea I've just thought about......I wonder if running the teeth of a saw blade across a plaster surface will give an impression of furrows in a ploughed field??
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