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  1. Past hour
  2. The Intermodal video from this afternon
  3. Today
  4. I'm amazed that something that had taken me several years to begin can be accomplished within a matter of days. I'm talking about the Intermodal wagons of course, the ones I made a start on only on Saturday and which today are, believe it or not, nearing completion. There are still some containers that need attention and there's a couple of problematic wagons which also need looking at as they very occasionally derail (close couplings I believe are at fault) but on the whole I'm very pleased with how it's turned out. I set out yesterday with the intention of weathering the chassis on the 7 wagon pairs I'd removed containers from but ended up spraying the whole lot so I'm now working my way through the remaining containers. As usual, I'm not loking for perfection as I only want something that looks the part when running in train formation and not individual wagons for display. This is one of the as purchased 'seaco' containers on a now weathered chassis and this is one that I've weathered. Nothing too involved, just a dirty wash of thinned enamel paint, wiped off with paper towel and then some rusty coloured enamel dabbed on and wiped with a piece of sponge. I'm sure there's more I could do but I don't see much point in doing too much more with them. Maybe some repair patching would be an idea. 66522 has also had some chassis weathering though I have yet to do anything with the upper body. Although I find the darker coloured containers are easier to weather the lighter coloured ones also need substantially toning down, and this white 'axis' container looks so much better for some added dirt. It's also great to get rid of those bright green wagon chassis'. With the entire rake coupled together there isn't a storage road on Skew Bridge that can accommodate it so if I keep it on the layout I'm going to have to split it to allow me to run something else or reluctantly remove 2 or 3 wagons. Something I have been doing is removing the weights from the containers. There are fixed to the removable base of the container but are easily removed and weighing in at 12 grams they add a fair amount of weight to the trailing load. The empty flat beds run perfectly well without any additional weight (apart from the 2 that cause me problems) so I don't see why it's needed. There's in the region of 25-30 containers in total so we're talking probably 300g additional load by leaving them in place. I've taken some video clips of the train in action this afternoon which I'll upload later if it turns out okay. I haven't even downloaded them from the camera yet to take a look at them but watching the train circling the layout it is much, much better than before and it will certainly feature regularly now in future videos.
  5. I agree the maintenance can feel never ending. I suppose when you leave it for a while the jobs mount up and then it seems a lot. The 121 looks good and the speed signs will add another nice bit of detail.
  6. Getting the text small enough for OO was the big challenge. I basically had to forge my own fonts. They are still too big for a platform monitor, but work well as a main display board. It has amazed me how cheap electronic components are these days. I've built a panel for a mate that controls 16 points, servos as point motors, has push buttons to throw the points, and LEDs to show their positions. Can set a routes and be linked to a computer for remote operation. Whole thing cost about £60. To teach myself how to program an Arduino I built myself a test track. This shuttled my tram back and forth, change a point and the signals protecting the point. Sensors detected when the tram was reaching the end of the track, slowed it to a stop and then reversed it and sent it on its way. All fully automatic, now user interaction required. I even upgraded it to run two trams shuttling back and forth alternating which branch of the point they took. You're right when you say its mind blowing.
  7. The weathering on the 121 looks really nice and along with the added details certainly finishes it off. The brass linespeed signs are a handy purchase for outdoors and seldom found these days which is a pity. It seems everything is either laser-cut MDF or moulded plastic. I'd really like to be able to add small details like signs, signals and telegraph poles along the outdoor line but I just know that they wouldn't last more than a few days before the birds had knocked them over.
  8. That is a very nice addition. The level of detail you have is already very good and this adds an extra dimension, something dynamic that changes rather than the suspended animation of most layouts.
  9. Hi Chris, it's great to see you back posting another update. The information board looks fantastic and you've made an excellent job of framing it. It's just amazing what you can do/achieve with these little micro controllers especially when in the hands of someone who knows what they're doing! It's mind blowing to learn you can actually couple them to track sensors for automatic updates.
  10. That is a brilliant development! I thought at first that you had used Train-Tech's Animated Smart Screens but your model looks much more like what an actual station display looks like. Yours is half the cost as well.
  11. Throughout 2021 I was working on the electronics side of our hobby. Although I have a background in electronics I was out of date, and the Arduino revolution had completely passed me by. I've been playing catch up. But this has mainly been on my indoor projects. My first project on Amblethorpe is a passenger information display for Colwick Station. It shows "live" train information, but it's of fake trains. I've not connected it up to sensors on the track so it is not triggered by the coming and goings. This is possible, but I don't run Amblethorpe to a timetable so there is no point trying to do it. There are 3 screens each 22mm by 11mm with 128*64 pixels to play with. The type is tiny, either 6px or 5px high. They cost £6.50 per screen. They are dynamic, with some trains randomly delayed or cancelled. The clock ticks off the seconds minutes and hours. The destination stops scroll across the screen when required. These 3 are driven by a single Arduino micro controller, which cost £3.50. it all runs on 5 volts, and this can be pulled off the DCC track bus using a two quid voltage regulator. So the whole thing cost £25. I used my plotter cutter to make a hosing out of black styrene. It's a bit bulky, but I hid most of it by placing a Welcome to Colwick sign on the top. This year I'll get round to motoring the points on the Paltyville Ridge & Peak Railroad using and Arduino to provide the control and frog juicing.
  12. Yesterday
  13. Light weathering and detailing of the 121 today. Also I enjoy looking for bits that will work for detailing an outdoor layout. Picked up some brass speed restriction signs that will bend rather than break (brass ones hard to find now)
  14. Last week
  15. After spending the afternoon running trains I eventually made a start on adding some weathering to a few of the Intermodal containers. I have 13 twin wagon sets and have so far managed to work my way through 7 of them. I've added just a light wash to the containers, wiping most of it off again with paper kitchen towels. It'l probably take a good 24 hours to dry as it's cold up in the attic but when it does I'll begin adding some rust and general marks. Then the wagon chassis themselves wil need weathering. During the earlier running session I swapped the Gypsum train from the outer (clockwise) track to the inner (anti clockwise) track and the Tilcon stone train was swapped in the opposite direction. It just makes a change from seeing them going the same way all the time. Here 60070 'John Loundon McAdam' is in charge of the Gypsum in its new anti-clockwise running direction as it passes 66068 waiting with HTA's in the down loop. 60070 still needs some pipework adding on the front and the blank deflector/snowplough in place of the one with the slot for a coupler. (below) 56127 sits in the sidings at Skew Bridge having just propelled a loaded MGR set into No.1 road.
  16. The Accurascale versions are a bit cheaper at £74.95 per triple pack, or at least they will be when they are released. It still seems remarkable that there's going to be 2 manufacturers releasing new MGR wagons at around the same time.
  17. Don't worry about it, most of us take a break now and again and there's usually little that can be done at this time of year anyway. We're just lucky to have a settled spell of weather at the moment although as you point out, it can be bitterly cold out there even in the winter sunshine. The bubblecar looks great waiting at the platform - nice present!
  18. That looks so real, if only we could tame moss. The viaduct is great!
  19. Been a while since any updates. Mostly because the layouts been under tarpaulin! Uncovered it and cleaned the track today to run the 121 bubble I had for Christmas. Bloody cold though 😆 No winter problems so far except one broken solder joint on a point frog microswitch.
  20. I think it's sufficient for Skew Bridge, though if I'd got room for more sidings on the scenic side of the laytout then I'd consider filling those up too for effect! I think they're decent enough runners, very little wobbling around, and on the whole they stay on the track as they're supposed to. The buffers are wrong as many are keen to point out but who notices when they're in motion? As I've remarked elsewhere, the majority of my MGR's were purchased 10 or more years ago, mostly secondhand, and I was averaging around £8 per wagon. Later purchases cost me up to £41 for the triple wagon packs which is as much as I'd be willing to pay. Nowadays they're asking over £20-£25 per wagon? Well if I operate it as intended, the loco's used on Skew Bridge shouldn't ever be seen on Worsley Dale as they're supposed to be entirely different layouts. On the odd occasions some loco's have found their way across however but generally it's better for me, and less hassle, to keep them in their proper places.
  21. That is an insane number of MGR hoppers. They run well for Hornby hoppers too. I do think of getting new ones but the prices are off putting. I suppose, if you turn the loco volume down for Skew Bridge then when you take them outdoors it will be too quiet. Sound quality wise, I think worry more about what you want to hear as you have no control over what people viewing your videos use to play it. I guess it is also going to be degraded by the process of putting it to video.
  22. I've just been looking through some of the video clips from earlier today and yes, to be honest some of the loco sounds aren't brilliant but I'm beginning to think that it doesn't really matter so much as I used to think it did given the right situation. From the outset Skew Bridge was designed and built for running scale length trains and I try to film them as I remember them - running at speed and passing by often at close quarters. So the loco approaches and passes and the sound is gone - but the noises from the wagons, the clickety clacks over rail joints, they last for so much longer. I'm barely hearing the loco's now because I'm focusing so much on the wagons behind. I try to position the camera close to rail joins or pointwork that can accentuate the track sounds. When the loco passes I want the loco sound to soften or stop because it's unnatural to hear it continuously as the loco circles the layout and with long trains the loco can be on the opposite side of the layout while the rearmost wagon is still on the other. I now use a directional microphone so that it picks up sound mainly from the front. I agree that some loco sounds are extremely realistic, I have several that I would say are very good indeed, but it's not everything and the best sounds of all in my opinion are the ones from the wagons - which are absolutely free. For it to work however you do need to be running long trains at a realistic speed but if you get it right those little plastic wagons will sound much beefier than they actually are.
  23. Well I'm hoping that there'll be nothing else to tempt me into ordering anything. I imagine that come next year the Coronation coaches will probably be released as alternative versions but it doesn't matter to me, I just want the original 1937 set. Hornby are sure to want to get every little bit out of them so they will eventually do all later liveries. I still don't know what I'm going to do with them - only that I want them! I think Skew Bridge has all the stock it needs. I know Cavalex Models are releasing a brand new class 56 but when I look at my Hornby models in motion I don't see a lot wrong with them. Likewise my MGRs, they look the part so why would I want to replace them with either the forthcoming Cavalex or Accurascale models? I'm sure that in a display case there'll be noticeable differences but taken as a whole picture I'm certainly happy seeing my MGR trains running as they are. Worsley Dale also has more than enough stock.
  24. There are 141 MGRs in total on the layout, 1x34, 1x35 and 2x36 wagon sets. 2 sets are loaded and 2 empty. They're all the later Hornby models. I never intended running all 4 sets together, the idea was to have MGR rakes standing in the down sidings along the scenic length of the layout as other trains passed by, much as they used to be in the 80s and 90s. If I'd had the space I would have had more sidings! A video I've just put together shows 1 set departing the sidings (the only non-weathered set) and 2 being propelled back in because that's all they ever seemed to do in real life. I have some standard Hornby factory-fitted, some Biffo, and some TTS, though I don't reckon much to TTS to be honest. Exactly which is which I will have to take a look because off hand I can't remember as I've done a bit of swapping round. I know 048 is standard Hornby as that was one of the first sound fitted models I ever purchased.
  25. I was wondering, watching the video, just how many HAAs or derivatives you actually own? 🤣 I was also thinking, which of the 60s had which sound decoder and speakers. Though, to be honest, through the video on my laptop speakers I don't think it'll make much difference.
  26. I would fully expect pre-paid-orders to have been satisfied before the remaining stock was released to shops. Although, I guess the shops could have pre-paid too and maybe would have kicked more of a stink if they'd been delayed. I don't know how their contracts will work. I think after this round of pre-ordering I'll be waiting and buying. I pre-ordered the 5-car APT set without the black window surrounds, now Hornby have announced that the next batch will have the 5-car with the black window surrounds.
  27. Do you ever wonder, after spending several hours messing around on your layout, what the heck you've been doing? I must have been up in the attic for almost 7 hours today and I would be struggling to tell you exactly what I've managed to achieve. I've filmed a few more video clips, trying to capture something a bit different from what's gone before, but I've come across a few problems that need sorting out, mainly with couplings, and yet I haven't got round to doing anything about them. The problem with swapping locos around is that I'd got everything running nice and reliably and all of a sudden some couplings are coming apart and others riding up on top of each other. Even considering the fact that I use a Kadee height gauge to ensure the couplings are at more or less the same height, some just don't like being next to each other! To be honest it's not that bad and there's only been a couple of problematic vehicles made worse by the fact that I've been doing some propelling movements and it's primarily the fact that MGR sets are extremely weighty when there's 36 of them. It puts a lot of strain on those little plastic couplings and NEM mountings. I got there in the end and eventually managed to safely propel 2 full MGR sets into the sidings on the front of the layout while the video camera was running. Earlier today I decided it was time to change my YouTube banner image. The previous one depicting Stack Gill viaduct has been there long enough and it felt a bit dated but I couldn't really think of anything to put in its place so ended up using one of a class 56 on MGR's. It's a bit awkward trying to choose a photo that's the right format for TV screen, desktop, and mobile devices. It always seems to want to chop off the bits I would most like to use but at least the one below retains the loco and wagons for desktop use. It will do for now until I come up with something else. I'm going to have lots of work to do on the log carriers when they eventually arrive but I'm actually considering weathering up the Intermodal wagons and containers. They aren't currently on the layout because there's no room for them until something else is removed but I don't like using them while they are in pristine condition anyway as they just look out of place. I think they might be my next job.
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