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mick last won the day on August 18

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  1. More than the one problem sorted out today! Firstly the Hornby MK2F coaches were removed from their boxes and a Kadee coupling inserted into the leading coach in order to couple up to my class 68 loco. Off they went out of the shed and round the track and a short time later back into the opposite end of the shed came just the loco! The coaches had come uncoupled and were marooned part way round the layout. I popped the coach with the kadee fitted onto a length of track up against the Kadee height gauge and... ...it was significantly lower than it should be. After quite a bit of thought this is what I did. Looking at the photo above I cut the Kadee coupling tail off in line with the leading edge of the bogie after first drilling a small hole directly through the coupling pocket that you can see poking out from beneath the bogie, and the Kadee. I then positioned the Kadee on top of the coupling pocket, glued it on with Superglue and inserted a track pin through the previously drilled hole to hold them firmly together. So rather than the Kadee being 'in' the pocket as above, it now sits 'on top' of it although I did have to file down the Kadee tail slightly to get a perfect match with the height gauge. No modifications were required to the coach bogie and it works fine coupled to the class 68 and with an additional 4 coaches in tow. Onto the DC test track set up. I connected two lengths of flexi track and soldered feeder wires onto the end. These in turn were connected to a Gaugemaster DC controller. The track was lightly glued along the edge of my bottom shelf using PVA glue and buffer stops placed at each end. No more excuses now for not testing loco's on analogue before fitting decoders. It works fine and may also prevent things falling off the shelf and down onto the layout below. The above setup also worked fine with my problematic LMS Twin loco No.10001. After removing the body once again, I removed the decoder, inserted a blanking plug and put it on the aforementioned test track. Turned on the power and it stuttered. It was a relief really as at least I knew it might possibly be something I could remedy so I decided to take a closer look. I removed the bogies to check the gears again and found that 5 of the six axles could be moved side to side easily whereas the leading axle on one bogie wasn't so freely moving. It was as if there was a burr or something either on the axle itself or in one of the bearings. I removed the axle, pulled off the wheels from either side of the central gear, cleaned everything up, added a small drop of oil and put it back together. There was a marked difference and it immediately felt better. Onto the track and you wouldn't believe it was the same loco. It still runs much slower than it's sister engine but at least the stuttering has gone. Yes, it now works fine! The other loco I was having problems with was the class 20. It runs great in one direction but not the other and so full of my recent success with the 'Twin' I decided to take a better look at this one. I noticed the coupling was drooping at the front and thought I'd found something else that needed attention but in fact it was because the bogie sideframe wasn't fitted in position correctly. It hadn't been clipped back on properly so with a bit of force and leverage I snapped it into place and the coupling was now at the correct height and I had a smoother running loco - that works almost fine. A quick additional mention about the class 20. I purchased it in used condition and bought a Hornby TTS sound decoder to try. Getting the 21pin to 8pin adaptor, the decoder itself, and a speaker inside is quite some task but I managed it and have to say that the quality of the TTS decoder sound is as good as, if not better than, some of the ones I'd paid a lot more for. I had it running round this evening and just loved the sound. Well done Hornby on a great product at a reasonable price. I'm now about to look over some video clips from today of the MK2F coaches and the class 20 so hopefully I'll put something up later.
  2. That's my very basic schoolboy error of the day. Frustration certainly got the better of me, especially after the trouble with the full brake previously. You're absolutely correct - I need to rule that out. In fact I need to set up a DC test track for future locos. Having to sort out a controller, find a length of track and wires and a suitable place is what's always made me overlook it. It's my little project for today.
  3. I've not posted anything of interest over the past two days because I've spent that entire time trying to get a locomotive running satisfactorily. It's another Bachmann model and there's now two Bachmann loco's residing on the layout that simply aren't sufficiently capable of doing what they're supposed to do. I suppose that's my fault in a way because I've bought them, sometimes several years before, and not had the chance to fully test them so I'm now left to try sort the mess out. Yesterday I remembered the LMS Twins purchased as a 'Rails' limited edition and for which I had already purchased soundchips from Howes. I had a half-hearted attempt at fitting one of the chips a while back but couldn't get the speaker to fit in properly so rather than make a mess of it I left it be. Yesterday I felt confident that I could do it and so got the pair out and proceeded to install the chips and connect the speakers. It was done in no time and I was looking forward to running them, getting out some coaches and grabbing some video. But there was a problem and while 10000 ran like a dream 10001 stuttered. I say stuttered but in fact it sets off ok, runs smoothly (albeit somewhat slowly) at top speed, but if you imagine a 28 step controller it stutters badly from about step 5 to step 9 and more so in one direction than the other. There's also a marked difference in top speeds between the pair with 10000 completing my full circuit in a shade under 1 minute whilst 10001 takes just over 1 minute 30 seconds. I know running qualities can be adjusted through the CV's but these are identical loco's with the same Loksound v4.0 soundchips and I would have expected them to be very similar. I've had it to bits, checked the gears, but can't find anything that would lead to the stuttering. It seems like something is binding and slowing it down but then why would it set off smoothly? I've reset the decoder but still no improvement. I've removed the capacitors from the motor which can sometimes cause problems under DCC but still the same. Oh and I even tried another decoder but it made no difference. I've had it to pieces that many times that bits are starting to fall off! From the relief of finally getting the layout to a state of near completion, reality strikes! I wonder just how many more loco's I'm going to come across that require attention? The way I feel right now I really don't want to spend anything else on any other models. I notice that the Bachmann LMS Twins are of a similar design to the Bachmann Class 40's that were the cause of much trouble when they were first released. I remember when they had to strip down all the loco bogies and clean them of oil as it was affecting current collection. I wonder if that's what's causing the stuttering on my 10001? I have cleaned around the axle bearings where the pickups are located but there doesn't seem to be any excess oil and the contact strips running from the bogie up to the collectors just beneath the circuit board are in full contact. Maybe it just needs an extended running in period although it's already been running round my garden for that long that even the sparrows have got used to it. On a brighter note, today I received five Hornby MK2F 'Scotrail' coaches so that the class 68 has something to pull. Reasonably priced too.
  4. Apologies but I just had to return to this comment from Iain a few days ago regarding weathering and the effect it might have on a models value after coming across this advert on a well-known retailers website If that price is for real I'm surprised they have as few as 5 left and I've just sploshed paint all over £250 worth of wagons! Fortunately I didn't pay much more than that for all five of mine but some of the prices these days leave me gobsmacked.
  5. The Bachmann Full Brake was playing up again today and I didn't intend wasting any more time with it. I removed the factory coupling and glued on an NEM coupler pocket and some additional packing directly to the floor at one end to try it out. I also popped it on the scales and discovered it was almost 40g lighter than the MK1 coach it was coupled to. I decided to open it up (no mean feat either!) and add 40g of additional weight inside before putting it back together. It runs much better now so touch wood, if all is okay tomorrow I'll do the same at the other end. I added another loco to the running roster today. 37254 has been seen on Worsley Dale before but possibly only in static posed photographs so as it's in Engineers 'Dutch' livery I thought it would be suitable for the ballast train. It came factory weathered but I might just add some of my own weathering to it later. And I might as well add the following two photos too seeing as I'd taken them. I really do like the sleeper train and the class 67 loco. There's just something about the sound of it that makes me think of the West Highlands. Maybe I've been watching too many videos. I'd like to get my other class 67 sound-fitted too so that I can ring the changes a bit. And some of today's action is captured in the following video
  6. A few minor niggles but an enjoyable day today with plenty of trains running between the showers. The niggles were centred around couplings as usual and in a way I can forgive the flimsy nature of an older Hornby Railroad coach still with its plastic wheels but when another vehicle is brand new and cost over £40 then quite frankly it's unforgivable. The vehicle in question is a Bachmann Full Brake in Scotrail livery Cat no. 39-189. Coupled up to a Bachmann MK1 coach using the supplied manufacturer's couplings on each the Full Brake just wouldn't stay on the tracks. I decided to change the couplings to Kadee's but the darn thing still kept coming off the rails. I used to be full of praise for Bachmann and its products but they've become way too expensive, especially when you have to start dismantling and chopping bits off simply to make it do the basic stuff like running on rails. The above was an isolated incident mainly because I've already dismantled and hacked away at my other Bachmann coaches to make then work as they should and I've had no problems with any of the other coaches running today. I've uploaded a couple of videos from today with 37401 on a short local passenger set (minus the Bachmann Full Brake!), 67004 on the sleepers and 44875 with 4 coaches from the excursion rake.
  7. I'm sure it will be! With the experiences you've had and the mistakes you've seen the rest of us make then I'm certain No.3 will be the best yet and while it's something I'm sure you're looking forward to I'm just glad it's someone else and not me that's having to start over again I've just about had enough with building. Wishing you all the best for the future and looking forward to sharing your adventures in due course.
  8. Unfortunately I worked quite a few over the years Iain and the quality of the ride was dictated almost entirely by the train driver no matter where the van was marshalled. My worst experiences were with unfitted spoil trains and I briefly mentioned the divided train scenario a few posts back. That was on a train of old 16t mineral wagons where the driver managed to yank the whole drawbar out of the wagon and continued on his merry way with half a train leaving me stranded in my brake van at the rear with the remainder of the wagons. I think they looked upon it as a form of amusement to see just how much they could shake the Guard up! In their day, long loose coupled trains were definitely the worst as there was so much slack in the couplings for them to play about with. After our divided train scenario I don't ever recall working with old mineral wagons again so perhaps someone took notice. Today I decided to look at the Caledonian Sleeper coaches to see if I could change the couplings to Kadee's in order to standardise things. I knew they were fitted with old tension lock couplings but didn't know how much work would be required to change them. Here's an underneath view of a MK3 sleeper bogie and the large tension lock coupling. And here's the bogie after removal from the coach. I'm not keen on couplings fastened to the bogies and what was immediately apparent from the first photo was the amount of free space between the leading edge of the bogie and the rear of the bufferbeam - plenty of room to fix the coupling directly to the underside of the coach floor - but how to do it? Well first of all we need to get rid of the old coupling so it was out with the razor saw. Using a Parkside PA34 NEM coupling mount fitted with a Kadee coupler and temporarily taped to the underside of the floor I discovered that fitting it directly would result in the coupling being slightly too high and so a thin packing piece would be required. Dismantling the old tension lock coupling I noticed that there was a plastic fitment that looked just about right (seen in the centre of the following photo). It would require the ridges on each side cutting off as well as part of the central pip but it was worth a try. Below: A close up of the plastic to be used as padding for the coupling mount. Only the bottom flat section is required so cut and file down the edges and central pip. Below: On the left a Parkside NEM coupling mount and beneath it the plastic padding piece after removal of the waste sections. Above right of the photo is a coupling mount with the packing piece glued to its base. And below is the finished coach complete with floor mounted Kadee coupling. If the wheels look a little rusty that's because the bogies and underframes had just been weathered with the airbrush I now have a rake of 6 Caledonian Sleeper coaches fitted with Kadee couplings so that's another task crossed off the 'to do' list. Hopefully I'll be able to get some photos or videos of them in action in the coming days.
  9. I just remembered mentioning some video clips that I was going to try upload when I had the time - well here's a few that I've just uploaded including views of the recently completed ballast wagons.
  10. I'm not so sure about buying 'weathered' loco's and rolling stock because usually they've just had a quick blow along the chassis with an airbrush and it rarely looks convincing. I much prefer having a go myself in an attempt to recreate what I remember. I do agree with having small parts pre-fitted because the fiddly bits usually cause me problems. I've almost completed my ballast set now although I'm not sure it will always run as a complete rake - maybe I'll just run a few of them at a time as 12 wagons is pretty long for my layout and I need to have a siding where I can back it in out of the way in order to run other trains. I decided that the two 'Dutch' liveried Seacow's would be permanently ballasted and they look much better for the extra ballast along the central section. I've ballasted one of the Sealion's using a full length piece of plastic as the support but I'm not quite so pleased with that one. The two 'Shark' brakevans have been weathered and the whole rake is now fitted with Kadee couplings. This is the 'Dutch' liveried van... And here is the complete rake of 12 wagons passing over Low Shott viaduct. I may alter the loadings at some point as there are still 4 empty wagons but for now I'll leave things as they are just in case I decide to run a shorter rake. I find the Kadee's make handling stock much easier. If you want a wagon out of the middle of a rake you can simply lift it up and remove it without having to fiddle about with hooks and bars. The only problem is fitting them and getting them all at the same height, a task not made any easier by the differing heights in NEM sockets (where provided) from model to model. The Sealions/Seacows dealt with here have a flimsy plastic extension on the bogie holding the NEM socket which is very easily bent and can result in the Kadee being either too high or too low. Too low and the wagon derails when the operating pin catches on pointwork, so it's vital to get them at the correct height. If you can do that then they are excellent. I had to cut the coupling mounts on the Limpet's to get them at the right height.
  11. You're too kind Iain but I agree, wagons, loco's, coaches, they all look much better and far more realistic once they've been weathered, providing it's been done reasonably well. I'm not 100% happy with my ballast loads having removed them from the cling-film and replaced them in the wagons. I may have to resort to 'permanently' loading them in order to get the load looking as I want it to. There was the possibility of laying plasticard along the wagon just above the central divide to create a single piece load but then I feel it would have resulted in a wagon that either looked overloaded or too flat. I don't think they were ever intentionally loaded to the brim. The more wagons you do, the more difficult it becomes to take a photo of the whole rake - especially on the kitchen worktop - but here's where we are at the moment with a couple of 'Shark' vans added to the mix. I understand there's no real need for 'sharks' with seacows/lions but I remember them being in such trains. I also remember having 16t minerals for the spoil and a resulting divided train when the drawbar was pulled clean out of the wagon by an overly enthusiastic driver, but that's another story. I still think the ballast load would look better running across the central divide rather than being in two heaps.
  12. That's unreal! I look forward to seeing how it all works out. I don't suppose multiple trains in operation on an oo/ho gauge outdoor layout is anything new because there are a couple of well-known layouts in this country that operate with several trains running simultaneously but they are few and far between. I would always advise anyone thinking of building a layout outdoors in OO or HO gauge to not be overly ambitious - to start small and see how things go. It's not for everyone as you can see through some peoples's attempts at layout construction. Your layout on the other hand is on another level (several levels actually!) and it looks extremely well engineered. I'm optimistic!
  13. I wasn't able to do anything with the ballast wagons until late today but managed to get the airbrush out and give the Limpet chassis's a light coating of frame dirt. The two 'Dutch' Seacows had their bogies removed and were similarly treated. It makes a huge difference once the bogies are weathered and the wheels are painted too but looking at the photos I might just add a touch more weathering to those rear facing handrails above the bufferbeams to lose a bit more of that clean white. Should I renumber them to save having duplicates? - maybe I could change one of those last 3's to an 8 and make it easier. I toned down the interiors a bit too as I thought they were just a bit too yellow so there's a bit more brown on there now. I then made a start adding ballast loads to the Seacows and Sealions and some spoil to a couple of the Limpets. It's not easy doing the Seacows/Lions using my normal method with Cling-Film due to the central divide so I've started by doing one compartment at a time. The trouble with that is I'm going to end up with two peaks as if they'd been loaded under hoppers rather than how I remember them with a more uniform load as if done by a digger. I'm trying the cling film in an attempt to keep the loads removable but if that fails then I'll just have to do away with it and have non-removable loads. If there ever comes a time when they need to be sold then I doubt I'll be the one with any need to worry about it. So here are this evenings loading attempts on the kitchen worktop. Two limpets with dirty spoil and one currently empty apart from some scrapings on the wagon floor and the five Seacows/Lions in various loaded states all waiting for the PVA glue to dry before I can reveal them fully. I was planning on 3 fully loaded, one part load and one empty with the option of removable loads to alter things around but this might change if they need to be permanently glued. I'm not sure how others feel about weathering but looking at the before and after photos the pristine ones don't really do anything for me whereas the weathered ones seen here are how I remember them even if my recollections have become slightly clouded over the years. Does it devalue the models? I don't know but as I said earlier it's not really for me to worry about - I just want to recreate what I believe I remember and these make me feel a bit warmer inside.
  14. It's been a 'tweaking' day today, sorting out all those little problems that have been left 'for another day'. There was a point blade in the terminus siding that just wouldn't sit flush when set in one direction causing the wagons to lift slightly when passing over. In fact today it caused a derailment which ultimately led to even more 'tweaking'. There was nothing amiss with the point that I could see, no stray ballast or glue residue, so in the end I just gently filed it down and it's now sitting as it should. The derailment over the above point concerned two Bachmann OTA wagons, the ones I added additional weight to although the weight had nothing to do with the cause of the derailment. The OTA's, like several other wagon types, have swivelling axles to enable them to go round train set curves but the Bachmann ones, unlike the similar Hornby model, do not have a centering mechanism and I found that when propelling the train the axles can be quite significantly skewed resulting in the wheels not being in line with the rails. To compound things further, when the axles are off centre the Kadee couplings won't couple. I've seen many occasions where modellers have glued one of the axles solid so that it can't swivel but I decided that I could do something similar with both axles. I just lightly glued a packing piece in position so that the axle has barely any sideways travel. No problem with them going over double pointwork and now the couplings remain centred. I've done the same with all my Bachmann OBA's and will look at the VGA's later. Another tweak - one of my class 158s was stuttering and sometimes coming to a stand. No problem with the track and the wheels were cleaned without any improvement so I took it apart and discovered a wire to one of the bogie pickups had become detached. I dismantled the bogie and re-soldered the wire and we're back in action again. Such a relief as normally I end up making things worse. Then I fitted a Hornby TTS sound decoder to one of my class 20s using a 21 pin to 8 pin adaptor. A tight squeeze but I just about managed to get the body back on. Unfortunately the class 20 runs better in one direction than it does the other but maybe a few laps round the garden will improve it. Almost forgot. I fitted a Kadee coupling to the Dapol class 68 in place of the tension lock so that it could propel the track cleaner round the layout and give 26024 a break. When it had finished I decided to fit a Kadee at the other end but found that there was no NEM pocket! Looks like it's been missed off at the factory so I've had to request a spare. This evening I've begun weathering ballast wagons, namely Bachmann Sealion's, Seacow's and Limpet's. I have four olive green Sealion's and two Dutch liveried Seacow's as well as four Limpet wagons. The olive greens will be in rusty condition and the Dutch in lightly weathered. The Limpets really should be battered but I'll see how I get on with them. Here's the 'out of the box' Sealion ...and after I'd attacked it with the first coat of enamel paint stippled with a sponge. The inner requires more rust around the top part and I'll go over the body sides again once this has dried. I'll do the bogies with the airbrush. Here's a Seacow before ..... ....and after. I've only done the sides and interior so far. The ends, chutes and bogies await treatment. And this next little fella has been my 'cab ride' camera holder for as long as I can remember. I'm going to have to find another suitable wagon to hold the camera now. Still work to do on this one and another three to start. I'll do the chassis with the airbrush. I think that's all for now.
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