Thursday, 31 July 2014

It's Got Legs

Himself has made speedy progress with the construction of the lower fiddle yard.

The basic baseboard is all but finished now which is pretty impressive given that it's a brand new, back-of-a-fag-packet design so it takes longer working it out as you go along than it does to make the subsequent ones.

He tells me it took almost 2 hours to work out how the legs should be designed so they folded and fitted properly, as you can see below.

The base for the trackbed is a sheet of ply at the bottom topped with Sundeala board, which is apparently very expensive these days as it now has to be made fireproof.

Provided it is well supported it does make a very pleasant fiddle yard 'worktop' - a much nicer feel to it than plain plywood or chipboard.

Himself tells me he is a bit disappointed by how heavy it is given that he pulled out all the stops - by his rather Brunellian standards - to make it lightweight.

He's now going to start working on the other end - the Rhyd Ddu exit of the layout - which will be much taller and therefore even heavier.

After that it will be time to think about a track plan. If I were you I would be seriously considering investing in shares in PECO right now.....

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Yard Work

The current top priority in getting the layout into a fit state to show at Woking in a few weeks time is to get the fiddle yards built.

Up until now the layout has only been run with temporary ones at the 'head of steel' but the time has come to construct the proper ones which will be positioned at the back.

The first photo shows the basic frame for the lower bottom end. The other end will be a bit taller because the line has climbed all the way around - as the real one does.

There are a few of changes from the scenic board design.

There are no L girders and they are only 2ft wide instead of 2ft 6 mean it will be less far of operators to reach to handle stock and, in theory, less opportunity to knock them off the track or damage stuff in other ways.

They are  open plan underneath and quite thin so as to save weight and be easier to store and to get to the point motors and other ancillaries.

The section which juts out at the right hand side is where we intend to mount the control panel.

There will be a couple of cross pieces to put in when we have worked out where the point motors are going.

In total there will be three boards and the  middle board will be the last to get built.

It will be a split level arrangement and in future there is a possibility there might be one track at the back that runs on a gentle slope for continues running.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Electric String

For some people wiring their layout is the task they fear - not so on Bron Hebog.

It's not awfully complicated, as you can see....


If you've been reading this blog for a while it probably won't surprise you to learn that we are stubbornly DC. None of this fancy fly-by-chip DCC stuff here!

With such a simple track plan - just long single track sections, a passing loop and a siding - there are only two wires strung between each of most of the boards as you can see in the picture.

The tricky electronic spaghetti will be found in the fiddle yard if Himself decides to go down the path of automatic route setting again as we did on the yards at Dduallt, where a large bank of diodes meant a twist of a rotary switch and the pushing of a single button was all that was required to send a train in or out of a choice of 8 roads.

I seem to recall it involved a small amount of head-scratching and he hasn't said if we're doing something similar this time...

Friday, 25 July 2014

Chlorophyll Conundrum

When Himself emails me with a message saying there's an issue with a colour, I worry! Especially when the colour in question is green.

Himself, you see, doesn't do greens. Or at least the message gets lost in translation somewhere between his eyes and his brain and they all become various shades of brown. (This rather scuppered any dreams of being an engine driver...)

With the Artistic Director being blessed with the same special talent and me (who is not colour blind) being 400 miles away from where the action is happening you can perhaps begin to understand my unease.

It would appear - in fact you can judge for yourself below that it is most definitely so - that the latest batch of dyed carpet underlay grass is a different shade to the stuff we were using a couple of years ago.

This is not really Himself's fault. The technique of dunking the underlay in a cold dye bath is a very hit and miss affair and it's perfectly possible that the earlier stuff has faded a little as well since it was laid.

This close up shot gives you a better idea of what's happened here.

Fortunately this carpet underlay is only the base layer of foliage and we'll be putting much more scatter materiel on top which means we should be able to disguise the change quite well.

In all of this chat about genetic blessings and colour tones I've almost overlooked that the left hand corner of the layout is now completely covered and looks a great deal more presentable, and quite impressive too if I may say so myself.

I would like to think that Himself will be able to get most of the layout to this state for the show in Woking in September. I do know that he is certainly doing all he can to make it look the best it can be for the exhibition.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Fencing Again

Adding the little details can be what eats up the time during the scenery phase of a layout build.

For example take the two accommodation crossings on the board we're currently working on. Building up the complex fencing around them out of styrene strip has taken a couple of days to do.

This is the first crossing which, as you can see, is still partly at the 'post' stage..

The second one, which is near to the scenic break has been completed and painted.

Those of you paying close attention may also notice that the track has been ballasted now which I forgot to mention in the previous post.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Two Months To Go

Time is racing towards the next exhibition appearance for Bron Hebog and the question is how much will Himself manage to get done before we roll up in Woking?

All the scenic boards have been built now but a fair number of them are still in a state of bare track and painted plaster.

In the last couple of days he's begun to stick some of the base coat of long grass (dyed carpet underlay) on the first board (at the Porthmadog end).

As time is now against us we can't really wait for the Artistic Director to put in an appearance to paint the walls so his apprentice has had a go...

There are a lot of stone walls on this layout. This is a particularly long stretch running across the hill.

They've built up from the Ten Commandments plaster range it may not be  unreasonable to presume that the owner of the business is presently browsing through holiday brochures for Mustique!

Saturday, 19 July 2014

New Van Unveiled

I've finished putting together and painting the first of the the V-16 brake van kits which was commissioned by a client.

It compares very favorably to the brass Worsley Works version we use on Bron Hebog. This resin kit, however, shows the van in its current condition on the WHR following an overhaul which saw a pair of windows cut at one end and the single door blanked off - the Worsley version has a window.

I don't mind admitting the yellow stripes on the end were a complete pain to mask and paint.

There is still scope for extra detail to be added to the basic body kit, such as footsteps and vac pipes.

Should you wish to have one kits are available now in the FR Shop at Harbour Station or by mail order from Festshop