Ambasador Works... Chocolate Box Micro

For discussion of the issues faced when building a model or layout - how to replicate wood, what glues to use, exactly how much weathering can a Gnat take, a good source of detailing accessories - you get the picture, I'm sure.

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Postby Dallas_M » Sun Feb 08, 2009 8:25 pm

Hi Colin --

Those finishing touches are excellent ... the details in the partially-open doors add depth and purpose to the structure ... new greenery makes the foreground really "pop" (look good, come alive or something like that) ...

I see what you mean about the brick pillar (though only after you've made a point about it) ... perhaps it could be reversed with the heavy finished end facing the viewer ... the black edge facing the track ... maybe some hinges for a gate that's fallen away ... sure you'll work out something quite nice, as the overall scene is really sharp. Well done!
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Postby AndyTee » Mon Feb 09, 2009 7:49 am

Absolutely love it - maybe a fence of some sort across the front would give some meaning to the pillar??
Cheers, Andy...

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Postby Will Vale » Mon Feb 09, 2009 10:55 am

The bushes and other new additions look great :)

DCRfan wrote:I don't think there is sufficient height clearance for a forklift to operate in the building.

Have you seen those Crown adverts on TV? They make some pretty small lift trucks and dollies and things:

http://www.crown.com/asia/products/index.html

(I still can't believe they advertise forklifts on prime-time TV!)

Will

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Postby Oztrainz » Mon Feb 09, 2009 3:27 pm

Hi Will & other industrial Gnatterers,
If you go to the Crown Store, then Sales Promo, then Scale Models in the left column, there are several models available.
The Chevy service van is listed as 1/25 and looks good value compared with other diecast vans in that scale. Other items are not listed with a scale. The electric forkie FC4000, SX model or RR5260 would probably be suitable for a small warehouse like Ambasador.

It can be surprising what you can find on some corporate websites :D
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Postby david colley jnr » Mon Feb 09, 2009 7:12 pm

Looking really good, Colin. Really like the fallen leaves. Would the dried tea leaves make good foilage on the tree if dyed the correct colour? Also do the rails still conduct with the light rust spaying? If not, would it be possible to incorporate a conductive material into the paint. It always seems to take a few week for the rails to polish up with continuous running, so the thought just struck that an unused or rarely used sidings would be fairly rust coverd.
Sorry about the weekend, but seeing those pictures kinda make up for it :wink: Was also going to show my new project, but it'll give me more time to finish it off better :? .

Keep up the good work, See 'ya soon!
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Postby Colin Peake » Mon Feb 09, 2009 10:30 pm

Hi David,

I think the tea leaves make better dead leaves than 'live' ones. There are plenty of other products out there for foliage, although none with the cost and 'green' credentials of tea leaves!

Rail wise the tops are clear of paint so no problems with conductivity. In theory it should be possible to chemically blacken the rail tops, but whether it is worth it I don't know - using graphite dulls the rail a fair bit anyway, just haven't coated the rail tops on this yet.

Looking forward to seeing what you have been up to!

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Postby David Nix » Mon Feb 09, 2009 11:48 pm

Lovely work Colin - as usual. :)
It's great to look through the topic again to see the way it has deveoped.
I was going to suggest a pallet truck, but then remembered that pedestrian operated fork lift trucks used to be available with a lift at least high enough for those crates (probably fall foul of H&S regs these days). :?
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Postby Colin Peake » Tue Feb 10, 2009 1:08 pm

AndyTee wrote:Absolutely love it - maybe a fence of some sort across the front would give some meaning to the pillar??


Sorry Andy, missed your comment. I think a fence all the way along the front might look a bit 'too much' in the space (and would make photography awkward). I plan to hack away at the pillar a little, and see how that looks. The wall is meant to continue to the right off the board so that end will be untouched. If all else fails I will add a wooden fence panel in place of the pillar and bush.

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Postby Colin Peake » Tue Feb 10, 2009 8:28 pm

David Nix wrote:Lovely work Colin - as usual. :)


Thanks David, and good to hear from another Gnotter (that's two this week!)

A couple of progress pictures:

The painted fan assembly:
Image

I have cut away at the wall for a tumble down look. This greatly reduces the black pillar effect at the front of the scene:
Image

Finally, a couple of choices for sign location:
Image

Image
I'm undecided.... :?:

The sign is a Photoshop job, printed on glossy paper, stuck to mounting card, with a basswood frame. The whole lot was then matt varnished.

Colin
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Postby teetrix » Tue Feb 10, 2009 8:52 pm

Color and lettering looks great, why not adding a phone number, adress or something about the product they sell...
Unless of course they are making pingpong balls or something equally light


Hey, they can make attaché cases :D

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Postby scott b » Tue Feb 10, 2009 9:08 pm

The sign is a nice addition but does seem a bit bare, a phone # or address, the problem with phone # you have to be carefull and it can really date your layout.
I like the direction your`e going with the post, I think if you just center of stick of weathered wood on the end after you paint the bricks it will look great.
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Postby Colin Peake » Tue Feb 10, 2009 11:03 pm

teetrix wrote:Color and lettering looks great, why not adding a phone number, adress or something about the product they sell...


My idea with the sign is to keep it simple. With no number, product or location it can be anything, anytime, anywhere (oft referred to as a 'Martini' layout!). Phone numbers have got longer over the years and would really set a time and location.

Colin
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Postby Colin Peake » Sat Feb 28, 2009 11:17 pm

Finally got around to taking a picture of the completed 'run down' wall:
Image

One other task undertaken in the last few weeks was the conversion of a tough cardboard box to hold the layout in for storage. If anything it is bigger than the ideal size but the layout was just a fraction too long for my intended target, an A4 paper multi-ream box! Holds the main section, cassette and also a space for the building to rest:
Image

Ambassador Works is currently stored away due to a distinct lack of stock :shock: I've come to the conclusion that at 1/3rd the length of the layout, the Lister is on the big side for it! The other issue is that the Lister looks very odd with any attempt to add either Kadee or tension-lock couplings to it. Not sure where this will lead....

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Postby Prof Klyzlr » Sun Mar 01, 2009 7:24 am

Dear Colin,

fom an "Operation" point-of-view,
- coupling/uncoupling,
- setting brakes or sprags,
- and turnout maniplulation,
are actually around 70% of the "time" taken on a given shunting job.
(as judged by doing an anedotal "time and motion" study of various switching missions) 8)

What is interesting is that we, as modellers, tend to
- do hands-off couple/uncoupling systems
- use turnout motors
- and ignore "the setting of brakes" altogether

:!: :?: :!: :?:

Now given, in sub 2' gauge industrial railroading,
all of the above tasks are performed <manually> in the prototype,
and cannot be easily <manually> replicated in sub O-scale (1:43 - 1:48).

:idea: However, forcing,
(oops, sorry, "encouraging"),
the model operator to <wait> between moves, :?:

(IE actually STOP for 2 realtime seconds worth of "scale time" for the scale driver to
- stop his Lister + train
- get off the loco
- walk to the turnout
- change it using whatever manual control is in use
- walk back to the loco
- remount,
and <then> set off in the reverse direction)

instead of simply "flipping the reversing switch, and changing direction", :wink:

can materially Improve the "feel of operating a railway",
(as opposed to "running trains back n forth") :D

Said another way, we tend to focus on the "driving of the loco",
and use various modelling techniques/solutions to mitigate or eliminate entirely the "brakeman"/"shunter"/"guard" parts of the job we call "shunting" or "switching". :(

That's fine in smaller scales,
(where modelling "Industrial style coupling systems" dang hard :!: )

or where the 12"/1' scale modeller's focus <is> on "running the loco",
(and they don't want to think about anything else :!: :!: )

Indeed, for a layout specifically intended for "show Inglenook operation",
where mechanical reliability and "hand's off shunting" while in the hands of "any un-trained punter who accepts the offer of the throttle" :twisted: ,

are high on the list of "must haves"
I <would> reccomend Kadees or equivalent :wink:

However, on small, nay Micro layouts such as the Simplicity Sidings,
who's operation is in the realm of the hardcore sub 2' gauge industrial modeller,
(IE these are the people who <would care> if a wagon is left sitting on a spur un-spragged),

re-introducing the physical tasks integral to doing actual 12"/1' scale shunting, beyond simply "driving the loco",
(even if they are just represented by waiting between throttle and reversing switch operations :wink: ),

can give much more "operational value"
(some might say "play value")

out of a simple "2 spurs and a headshunt" track arrangement than the 1st, 2nd, or even 30th glance would seem to indicate...
(Consider giving each car spot on each spur a specific number and duty, thus adding another layer of "purposeful meaning" to each shunting move,
beyond simply "moving a car because it's there"...)

Now, where things get interesting is that with Gn15,
things like 3-link or single-link couplings <are> totally "do-able",
without requiring the operator to wear hyper-macro-zoom-trifocal lense specs,
(as compared to doing 3-links in sub O-scale, ask me how I know this! :twisted: )

A small tool, using a length of 1/2" dowel as a handle,
and a short Z bent piece of 0.040"brass wire mounted in one end,
can easily reach between Gn15 cars,
and allow simple "hook and drop over a pin" manipulation of 3-link couplings...

I'll apologise if this sounds like a rant,

but Colin, for someone with your level of "Hands On" industrial modelling and prototype knowledge,
I suspect that using scale 3-links or similar <may be> "the most appropriate solution" for the layout size, purpose, and owner/operator preferences...

Sincerely Hope this Helps...
Happy Modelling,
Aim to Improve,
Prof Klyzlr

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Postby Colin Peake » Sun Mar 01, 2009 4:39 pm

Prof Klyzlr wrote:I'll apologise if this sounds like a rant


Not at all like a rant to me Prof! You have made some very valid and pertinent comments, too often as modellers we do concentrate too much on having 'hands off' operation, when as you say, in this scale and size of operation we can put something back into the operation of the layout by looking closely towards the prototype.

Rather than chains I am thinking towards bars with holes in each end, as used in miniature railway practice. Cogs are whiring at the back of my mind as to how this could be made to work...

One other concern that has come to mind about this style of layout is that a lot of the movement will be off the scenic area, personally I don't feel 'inglenook' or similar sets of sidings work well if the motive power is constantly off-scene like that.

Still doesn't solve the Lister size issue. Someone suggested this afternoon that I needed an O9 one for Shifting Sands :lol:

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Postby Gerry Bullock » Sun Mar 01, 2009 5:33 pm

Colin Peake wrote:Still doesn't solve the Lister size issue. Someone suggested this afternoon that I needed an O9 one for Shifting Sands :lol:

Colin


Scott's Skip Lister would fit the bill Colin. Problem with exchange rate though and it uses a Black Beatle for power. Cost wise maybe Gnot. :wink:
So little time, so many ideas!!!!! GerryB.
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Postby Colin Peake » Sun Mar 01, 2009 8:02 pm

Daft Vader wrote:Scott's Skip Lister would fit the bill Colin. Problem with exchange rate though and it uses a Black Beatle for power. Cost wise maybe Gnot. :wink:


:lol: I actually have one solution already to hand, one of the Sidelines 'Bitza' kits from a couple of Christmases ago :wink: or alternate parts to make it a gauge adjustable 'Tiny' instead.

However, a lot to think about first, including future plans and aspirations... :?

Colin
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Postby Prof Klyzlr » Sun Mar 01, 2009 10:13 pm

Dear David,

One other concern that has come to mind about this style of layout is that a lot of the movement will be off the scenic area, personally I don't feel 'inglenook' or similar sets of sidings work well if the motive power is constantly off-scene like that.


The key here is that, with the original "Simplicity", Kadees were implied, and the uncoupling ramp was located on the end of the cassette.

However, if you migrate to 3-link or single-link,

then within the limits of being able to get the "tool" between the cars,
(you may have to work around that fantasic brick "rubble" gatepost/pillar! :wink: )

you can couple/uncouple literally <anywhere>.

"So What?"

Well, without the artificial restriction of having to back onto the "hidden" cassette to use the magnetic ramp for uncoupling moves,

you <can> actually keep the majority of the loco/train action "onstage",

and only have to "back thru the turnout",
(as represented by the cassette),

when you really have to "change sidings"... :wink:

Just a logical extension thought...

PS is the Lister "large" in height, width, length, or all 3?

IMHO Height and width are often some of the most "playable" dimensions when working on a Micro. (IE just because the layout is Micro, does not mean the models <necessarily> have to shrink to suit).

However, Length directly affects track capacity,
and for a switching layout, an inch "wasted" here or there can make the difference between a "pleasant afternoons shunting",
and a "pain in the brain"...
(Quoting Iain Rice,
"...a spur which holds 2 1/2 cars is no more use than a spur which holds only 2,
and is significantly less useful than a spur which can hold 3 at a pinch...")
Happy Modelling,

Aim to Improve,

Prof Klyzlr

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Postby Ian-IoM » Sun Mar 01, 2009 11:54 pm

Colin Peake wrote:...
Not at all like a rant to me Prof! You have made some very valid and pertinent comments, too often as modellers we do concentrate too much on having 'hands off' operation, when as you say, in this scale and size of operation we can put something back into the operation of the layout by looking closely towards the prototype.
...
Colin


I'd go along with that.

A few years ago I'd have aimed for all remote hands-off control and scorned the Giant Hand From The Sky but I've changed my policy there. A spell working on the MER made me realise how hands-on real operation is - switching points and coupling/uncoupling involves a lot of shoving greasy metal about, and even in 3' gauge shunting often means pushing rolling stock about with no loco attached. Now I'd aim for scaleish point levers and manual couplings, not sure about pushing stock but the idea of a scale person on the end of a stick has crossed my mind :oops:
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Postby Colin Peake » Wed Mar 18, 2009 8:47 pm

A little progress, if you can call it that.....

Having said to myself that I was going to concentrate on O9 for now, conversation with Steve at NG North led to a further look at things, especially after the purchase of a second hand Sidelines wagon from the 7mm NGA stand....
Image

Although Steve confirmed it was actually the 7mm version as it had 10.5mm wheels! It seen above after I rescued and weathered the paint finish.

It looks a little small against the Lister (especially with the small wheels still in it!):
Image

This has now had 12mm wheels swapped in and tension lock couplers added as something of an experiment, mounted at 'normal' operating height:
Image

The Lister is not really a serious contender to operate the layout any more, however management have dug out the reserve loco, but so far only looked at it (and sat on it):
Image

More indecision ahead..... :?

Colin
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Postby Jon Randall » Wed Mar 18, 2009 9:15 pm

Gnicely weathered wagon Colin. I'm suprised to hear myself say it but the tension lock couplers suit it, they have an industrial look. I will also admit that the 2007 Bitza is my favourite i/c loco so I look forward to your interpretation.
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Postby foswaldy13 » Wed Mar 18, 2009 9:34 pm

just finished reading the whole thread. This is a very nice micro layout. the quality is very nice. I hope mine turns out as good.
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Postby Pandy » Fri Mar 20, 2009 8:33 am

Nice one Colin ! The tension lock coupler looks somehow right on the wagon to us, an air of ng chopper coupling to it. Couplings are a sticking point for us, still tempted to go with Kadees as we want to be able to uncouple without the great hand from the sky but we have thought about this type, possibly with something like a small piece of styrene stuck below the loop to give the impression of a centre buffer coupling. While we know tension lock couplers will have some people howling in horror & disgust it does fit with our "has to be cheap, simple & easily available" theory.
Dave & Lorraine, more ideas than space, time & finance permit !

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Postby More_Cats_Than_Sense » Fri Mar 20, 2009 9:24 am

I saw these narrow type of couplings in use on a 7mm NG exhibition layout about 20 years ago (they were the "Airfix" ones). Speaking to the operators about them, they said the most important thing with them was to get them all the same height. I did consider using them myself.
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Postby chris krupa » Fri Mar 20, 2009 10:03 am

I used those couplings on my 7mm steam tramway Bellwood (shortly to depart for a new home). They worked well and looked closer to scale than most types of coupling. I'd used them again on an )-16.5 layout.

Chris


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