Category Archives: Miscellanea

Posts without a better home

A MERG DCC Controller

I want to explore the options that present themselves when lots of my layout wiring is digital. Step one is to drive trains via a PC.

MERG have a set of kits for a system designed around the CAN bus. This is the ‘DCC command station’ and a USB to CAN interface module. The loco lurking in the background moved under the power of this system earlier tonight.



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Now I want to build a handset so that the computer is optional. The kit MERG have will mean I need to get the knack of surface mount soldering by hand.

This also means JMRI is installed on my PC again. It’s nice to see how much that has updated recently!

Published in MRJ: Exactoscale Wheels for Tornado

Yesterday, I was pleased to see an article I wrote a few months ago make it into print:

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Earlier this year, Paul Willis approached me to write this up, having seen the similar article I had written for the Scalefour societies newsletter. I was honoured to think something I was up to was worthy of MRJ, which is a magazine that sets an incredibly high standard for the models it features.

I don’t think Tornado will be ready for Scaleforum (this year), as I hoped when I wrote the piece, but progress is continuing!

Thank you Paul, and all involved in MRJ, for publishing my work! I’m very pleased with the result.

Scalefour North 2013 Retrospective

I’ve just published a retrospective of the Scalefour North show this year, as part of the ongoing series published by the Scalefour Society.

I’ve gained a real appreciation of the work needed to publish photos on the web. The web is a text heavy medium, and a given image can have a title, alt text, copyright description, and then perhaps one or more captions. All of this needs hosting in some HTML, if you want to display this text with the image.

Finding some way to write all that text with ease is something I need to work on. The current retrospective entirely omits alt text, for example, so that browsers who can’t see the images can’t see a description of what would be displayed.

After that, there is then the problem of image size. Something which shows off the detail in these models is important, and I think it should be big enough that it visually dominates the html page hosting it. However, that leads to typical pages spilling out over the edges of the browser window, and scrolling when you want to take in the picture as a whole is not ideal.

If anyone has examples of this done in ways they like, posting links in the comments would be appreciated!

John

March 23, 2013

It’s snowing, so something indoors this weekend. Seeing other’s models appeals more than building my own, so I’m off to Ally Pally for The Model Railway show (is it still called that?)

First Weathering

Last weekend I was at Missenden Abbey, making things dirty! I joined Tim Shackleton’s weathering class, and wielded an airbrush for the first time.

After a demonstration on the Friday evening of basic coach weathering, Tim asked us to show the projects we had brought along. Mine was to be an Oil Tank wagon and a Class 20 diesel. Lots of other nice, and largely pristine models were also shown.

When it became clear I had a box of TTAs with me, Tim suggested the whole group use one each as a first exercise. We also weathered some N gauge wagons from another attendee. My first attempt:

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Some of the effects I liked, and some I can’t really get beyond seeing the tools and paint I used. I’m pleased for a first attempt though!

Next up is the class 20. I really struggled to get an even matt coat of dark grey on the roof – a question of learning how to use an airbrush. The result is pleasing. Notice that I’ve picked out the axle boxes after the first weathering ‘brake dust’ spray.

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It was clear that the basic techniques Tim was teaching us could be applied quite quickly. Many of us were reaching for stock we didn’t imagine we’d have time to weather. So I also got to detail an 08 and a 25. On these Tim used a pink mist to depict the very typical faded-blue seen in many photos:

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Finally, a look at my fleet of TTA’s. One each from my fellow classmates, and a few I did myself. I think we all learned by seeing the efforts of others on the same project – I certainly did. As a bonus I now have a very unique fleet of wagons:

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Getting ready for Missenden

For the last two years, I’ve been going to Missenden Abbey’s Model Railway weekend. Initially, it was a distraction when Richard was away in Kentucky, but the appeal now is the friendly crowd and the regular kick-start to my modelling.

For the last two years, I’ve been building locos. This year, I want to experience using an airbrush so I can finish some of what I have started!

I’ve just ordered some paints to take along next weekend, and now I need to rummage around the internet for pictures of the stock I plan to run on Popham Depot. That way I can work from images of what the wagons and locos look like after they’ve been in traffic for a while.

If you’ll be there too, see you in a week at Missenden!

Micheldever Fuel Storage Depot

It seems I’m not the only person who finds the Micheldever fuel depot interesting. Since my last post on the topic, there have been several people who have documented explorations of the site.

It seems it was last in use in 1995, which would tie with my memories of it seeming active while I was at university (1992-1996).

Anyway, lets start with a historical pic from Subterranea Britannica:

And then some more recent explorations @ 28dayslater:

These all look like great sources of info and inspiration!