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Ian's Professional Workshop - On Members Workbenches. - More Practical Help - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Sun May 8th, 2011 08:43 pm
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Ian Morton
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Well, having gone 'pro' I thought I'd better record some trade secrets - that way I'll know where to look them up next time I need them!

Having previously eschewed the Woodland Scenics range of baseboard materials on the basis that they were expensive with someone else footing the bill I specified one of their polystyrene incline formers for the layout I'm building and have to say that it is brilliant.

I marked along sides of the track with a felt-tip, lifted the track, splodged some Copydex on the bottom of the riser and pushed it into place. A couple of brass tubes were stuck into the foam baseboard to keep things in place whilst the glue dried and bingo - an instant, even, curved gradient.



All it needs now is a layer of foam underlay and then the track can be fixed down. :Happy

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 Posted: Sun May 8th, 2011 08:54 pm
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Robert
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I take it that the riser bends to whatever radius you choose Ian or does it come as a fixed radius.



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 Posted: Sun May 8th, 2011 09:24 pm
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Stubby47
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Bob,
they are flexible to give any radius, and there are different gradients too.
I've used on one my now abandoned loft layout, and as Ian said, they are really good. You need to create a transition curve from flat to incline and from incline to flat at the top, but this is not difficult.
HTH
Stu



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 Posted: Mon May 9th, 2011 05:59 pm
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Petermac
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It looks quite steep Ian - is that the camera "never lying" ? :roll::roll:

Also, as it's polystyrene (I think) how do you fix the track down - Copydex again ?



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 Posted: Mon May 9th, 2011 09:40 pm
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Ian Morton
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That's 'cos it is steep. 4% (or 1 in 25 in old money). Perfectly achievable for a loco and a couple of wagons or 1 or 2 car passenger set that will use it. They do a 2% (1 in 50) which would be more suited to longer trains.

Copydex (or WS foam adhesive) to fix the riser in place, same to fix the foam underlay (3mm tent underlay) to the riser and same again to fix the track (ready-ballasted Fleischmann) to the underlay.

Simples [irritating meerkat noise] :thumbs

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 Posted: Fri May 20th, 2011 02:05 pm
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Ian Morton
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Meanwhile, the commissioning editor for a well-known publisher wants a meeting to see if I have any ideas for another book (or books).

So, just in case I'm missing an obvious gap in the market, what would you lot like to read and, hopefully, buy?

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 Posted: Fri May 20th, 2011 03:23 pm
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Money is tight.

I want a Model Railway.

I'd love for my son/daughter [inclusive language] to carry on/be interested in my hobby.

I'd like something that could become a fiddle-yard/become a 'hidden' part of a more 'adult' layout so no expensive 'big axe'.

It's got to fit in a small space/lift up to the ceiling/under the bed.

Nowadays there are only preservation railways with live steam/Deltics/pony tramways etc so we need to be able to associate it all with our region/county/area so the kids can take the idea to school anf not be thought of as 'nerds'.

I am the product of modern educational doctrines and I don't know how to use a tenon saw/chisel/drill to cut up dead trees...




Ian, I could go on for ages like this, but as a technical author you are already streets ahead of many I've read recently.


Sadly, none of the above includes 'Nerdy old bearded git who makes 'ickle cardboard models of defunct, aincient buildings from Cornflake packets' meets up with 'Established, modern, published technical author' or we'd both be swilling the Chateaux Lussac from pint-pots!


Doug





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 Posted: Fri May 20th, 2011 04:07 pm
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Petermac
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Other than Doug's ideas about how to build a model railway from dead elm trees (mustn't chop down carbon gobbling "proper" trees in this day and age) using an adze - carefully guarded and under adult supervision (can't be encouraging thrilling but potentially dangerous activities for kids in this day and age) - and an Egyptian water level (can't be encouraging kids to use "spirit" levels in this day and age - they might associate the term "spirit" with health damaging alchohol) and walls provided courtesy of Mr Kellog (I wonder, does Special K work as well as Corn Flakes ? - we can't be encouraging kids towards obesity in this day and age).

Of course it must be "modern image" - no steam trains at all as evertything associated with the past was cruel, archaic, xenophobic Empire building colonialism,  plus of course, we can't be encouraging kids to have anything to do with that horrible, filthy, disgusting smelly stuff called "smoke"  - I think it's all been done Ian !!

Whilst it has all been done, much of it could do with doing again - as Doug suggests, to fit in with modern living.

Houses are smaller, RTR "stuff" is as good as, or, in many cases, better than kit built and, in real terms, considerably cheaper than it was 30 years ago.  The inter world wide whatsit wasn't around then so the global market didn't exist.  "Electronics" didn't exist.  Sound didn't exist (at least not in "model" form).

I think so much has changed that a re-examination of the "old" stuff would be welcome.

From a commercial point of view, any book/video would have to have a reasonably narrow subject matter - or a high price.  The latter, IMHO, wouldn't sell !!  If the price is kept fairly low, people would buy it as a "stocking filler" whereas I've been put off buying books "at the higher end" because I've read adverse comments - "could have been more detailed", "poor photographs", "for beginners only" or "not for beginners".  If you make your subject matter too wide, either you only skim the surface or alternatively, you kill any future market for another publication.  Of course it has to be wide enough to encourage buyers. - i.e. "How I fit a Peco point motor" wouldn't sell many copies whereas "How I created Miniatur Wunderland" might not require a sequel !!

I also think perhaps DVD has a place but not to the exclusion of books.  Maybe a "combined" book / DVD publication - read the book in bed, on the bus/train/plane and use the DVD as a "visual" explanation of what's in the book.  You can tell someone how to do it 100 times but there's no real substitue for "seeing" it being done.  A picture is usually worth 1000 words.

I suspect if you asked 100 "would-be" modellers what they'd buy, you'd get 100 different answers suggesting either what they like doing or what they'd like to be able to do.  The former as a "hints and tips" book and the latter as a "text" book.



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 Posted: Fri May 20th, 2011 04:36 pm
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Petermac
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Having given you absolutely no ideas whatsoever (:oops:), here's a few that might float my boat.

You've already done an excellent one on electrics (it's on my shelf), but has anyone done a book on fitting decoders loco by loco and would it be feasible or indeed, practical ?

How many times do people search the net for "how to's" on fitting a decoder to this loco or that one ?  It seems at times, even getting the body off can be a problem.  There's almost 1 book a year for you - take the new annual issues of locos and fit a decoder to each with illustrated steps.  You could start with split chassis locos, railcar "sets" "difficult" to do,  "easy" to do or "don't bother".

Another idea - along the lines of Doug's post - building a layout from everyday items (except, of course, the stock).  How do you build a baseboard without having to have a woodwork degree and requiring extra supports in the floor ?  Landform from either throw-away polystyrene packaging or torn up bed sheets.  How many people nowadays have access to chicken wire and plaster or would want to pay for it or risk getting it on the living room carpet ?

Signalling.  Easy to follow, everyday terminology for railway signalling - both semaphore and light - a section for each. The why's and wherefore's of placing, interlocking, potential sighting problems etc. etc. I'm not talking Gibbon's "Decline and Fall" here, I'm talking along the lines of an "Aspects" book - easy to dip into.  You'll have gathered that, whilst it could interest me, I glaze over very quickly with some publications because I have no desire to win Mastermind on Railway Signalling.

When you've written those 3, let me know and I'll give you a few more ideas .....................:cheers:cheers:cheers




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 Posted: Fri May 20th, 2011 04:55 pm
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I'm not talking Gibbon's "Decline and Fall" here,....


Now that is just the sort of 'pee it in the corner', 'devil-may-care' quasi-ironic mal-appreciation I have come to detest.....

Surely you don't seek to ignore Ebebnezer Gibbon's seminal work on the 'Decline and Fall of the Taper Key thrupple-nut'? Much less his ground-breaking work 'Detached considerations on the constituents of the white-metal bearings of the former Bombay and Baroda Railway'?

Ever since Malchior Spendpump's second edition of 'One-hundred-and-four Meat paste fillings for Refreshment Room Sandwiches' received such a luke-warm reception at the Baffin Island Midwive's Bookfest [1987] I have sadly contemplated the decline of the truly fascinating, esoteric and absorbing technical press.

Shame on you, Sir!



Xavier Wart-Flinger








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 Posted: Fri May 20th, 2011 07:42 pm
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Petermac
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This correspondence is starting to look like a cross between "Letters to the Times" and the "Henry Root Letters". :shock::mutley



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 Posted: Fri May 20th, 2011 08:58 pm
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MaxSouthOz
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How about Railroad and Co for dummies?  I'd buy six copies just for myself.  :mutley



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 Posted: Fri May 20th, 2011 10:49 pm
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Gwent Rail
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What about a book that outlines how someone can set up a small or large amount of automation. From a simple out and back automated line, through Signals that change automatically with points, to full computer control.
Some of the simple things could be quite detailed, whereas the full computer control items (RR & Co and Itrain etc) could give a brief outline and suggested further reading.

There are also dozens of "control Units" out there, from opening crossing gates to flickering braziers for workmen's sheds, which would read well collected together as a book of suggestions and ideas. - "Model Railways - Adding details and features".

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 Posted: Fri May 20th, 2011 10:53 pm
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Stubby47
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It's always good advice to write about what you know - so how about a book on setting up a small business based on the model railway industry - either as a DCC specialist, or a packeto-flako building constructor, for examples - so us mere mortals who might be considering expanding our hobby into a cover-the-costs-or-maybe-make-a-small-profit business would have some ideas about the pitfalls or benefits (!) of making the move ?

Stu



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 Posted: Sat May 21st, 2011 06:26 am
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Petermac
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Stubby47 wrote: It's always good advice to write about what you know - so how about a book on setting up a small business based on the model railway industry - either as a DCC specialist, or a packeto-flako building constructor, for examples - so us mere mortals who might be considering expanding our hobby into a cover-the-costs-or-maybe-make-a-small-profit business would have some ideas about the pitfalls or benefits (!) of making the move ?

Stu

I suspect a book on the benefits of doing such a thing would end up as a pamphlet whereas the one on the pitfalls would be large, heavy and arrive in several volumes.  It would therefore be over priced ........................:lol::lol::lol::roll:



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 Posted: Sat May 21st, 2011 07:18 pm
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Ian Morton
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Stu, two things spring to mind which would sum up everything you need to know:

The easiest way to make a small fortune in the model railway business is to start with a large one

and

There may be a niche in the market but that doesn't mean that there is a market in the niche.

Thanks for all your input gents.

My initial thoughts were for a Layout building Morton-style tome, extolling the delights of taking the line of least resistance and buying in things as close to ready-to-use as you can get and a Guide to Contemporary UK Railways covering the way that the current UK railway industry operates, what it operates and how to replicate this in model form.

I doubt that Modelling on the Cheap would be a goer - the likely market wouldn't pay for it, they'd want the information free of the Interweb :roll:.

That nice Mr. Gwent Rail's idea is interesting - I think it might be difficult as a book due to the manufacturer-dependent nature of many solutions - people don't seem to want to hunch over a rat's nest of wires and relays trying to make their own any more :cry:

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 Posted: Sat May 21st, 2011 07:30 pm
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A book on how to make your mind up and not procrastinate over scale, era, location, track plan, etc, etc would be very useful.

I might even consider buying a copy........... but then again perhap's not ..... I'll decide next month.

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 Posted: Sat May 21st, 2011 07:56 pm
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You can never have too many books on Scratchbuilding Techniques, I love to follow these projects from start to finish and admire the skills involved before having a bash myself!

Your DCC and Railway Electrics are already on my bookshelf so here's hoping

Cheers

Steve

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 Posted: Sat May 21st, 2011 09:12 pm
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Ian Morton
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dooferdog wrote:
I'm not talking Gibbon's "Decline and Fall" here,....
Now that is just the sort of 'pee it in the corner', 'devil-may-care' quasi-ironic mal-appreciation I have come to detest.....

Surely you don't seek to ignore Ebebnezer Gibbon's seminal work on the 'Decline and Fall of the Taper Key thrupple-nut'? Much less his ground-breaking work 'Detached considerations on the constituents of the white-metal bearings of the former Bombay and Baroda Railway'?

Ever since Malchior Spendpump's second edition of 'One-hundred-and-four Meat paste fillings for Refreshment Room Sandwiches' received such a luke-warm reception at the Baffin Island Midwive's Bookfest [1987] I have sadly contemplated the decline of the truly fascinating, esoteric and absorbing technical press.

Shame on you, Sir!

Xavier Wart-Flinger

Ebenezer Gibbon and Malchior Spendpump were dilettantes sir, their work cannot hold a candle to Josiah Symonds-Yat's seminal work Telegraph Pole Insulators of Shropshire's Independent Railways - a copy of which is my constant bedtime companion.

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 Posted: Sat May 21st, 2011 10:12 pm
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Petermac
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Ian Morton wrote......................................................................Ebenezer Gibbon and Malchior Spendpump were dilettantes sir, their work cannot hold a candle to Josiah Symonds-Yat's seminal work Telegraph Pole Insulators of Shropshire's Independent Railways - a copy of which is my constant bedtime companion.

They even named a village after said Josiah between Ross on Wye and Monmouth ....................:roll::roll:



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