Belle Lane - Baseboards and Layout.

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Belle Lane - Baseboards and Layout.

Postby Little Andi. » Sat May 16, 2009 11:32 am

PLEASE - Don't get too excited!!

There is nothing to see yet. But, I am in need of some serious input and advice now!!!!

I'm about to start and build/assemble the Diorama's/Layout's baseboard, I shall spread my thinking out for you to pick at and hopefully I can make as few mistakes with this as is possible - or does that just mean I'm about to make a whole load more??

Firstly - I've just measured the boot of the car and I could theoretically place in it a square measuring 46" x 40". So whatever sizes I consider must be within or divisible into this measurement.
Bear in mind I envisage that this diorama/layout will not rise more than 1 foot or 300mm. It will definitely take the form of a "stage set" where most of the modelling will be established into narrative composition or scenes photographed/recorded, and then dismantled ready for the next one. Part of my thinking or premise is to get away from the Lilliputian effect of looking own onto the scene, but rather to introduce a human scale, eg;to direct viewers gaze around the diorama at a natural eye level.
The idea of making a working narrow gauge railway is an extension of thinking to give it a degree of personal interaction [known as playing!] and the premise for providing something a little extra whilst attending model shows etc.

I'm torn between the notion of a 46" x 18" or 2X = 36" x 20" ??
A deep apron is required to allow the composing of set pieces so 20" is good, but also the idea of 2 three foot boards will give a lot of potential for deep ranging shots along the frontages?

I have to be realistic both in the physical space I have at home and also in my modelling ambitions. I would hate for this to stall just because I burn myself out on it or worse just plain become intimidated by it.

So, what I'm really asking for is some clues as to where the mines are lying. I am anticipating this being a singular event for me, and most of my modelling from this point will revolve around or within it - I don't envisage making lots and lots of layouts. Firstly I don't think I have it within me? - and secondly I've spent a long time coming to the realisation that this "series" style diorama is what I want to achieve/explore!!
KBO .......................... Andi.

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Postby Steve Bennett » Sat May 16, 2009 12:47 pm

Really this is a discussion that would work better in the pub, scribling on the back of beer mats :) but as thats not possible, lets bounce a few ideas.

Firstly, from reading what you are trying to acheive, I'm trying to think of it as a model that just happens to incorporate a railway, which is of secondary importance, rather than a model of a railway. With this in mind, the 2 boards, will give much more scope for modelling the street scene and because of the extra frontage, a longer length of time to build, so should keep the interest going for longer.

On a practical level, the two seperate boards, will also be easier to handle/carry. Although they dont look big on paper, in 3 dimensions, it is surprising how difficult it can be to get things like this in and out of a car. So if you plan on doing this on a fairly regular basis, something to consider. You might want to add into the equation, some sort of cover to fit over them for protection. Not only to protect from knocks, but possibly wind/rain and the like between car and venue/home.
Also, given the space available in the car, does this give enough space to get your hands down the side of the diorama's to lift them in and out, easily overlooked.

When it comes to showing, how you are going to support the diorama needs to be thought out in advance. If you plan on using tables supplied by the venue as part of the support, most seem to be either 6' long or 2 metres (6' 6") these days, so an overall length of 6' should fit well with this.

As an aside, the demonstration layout I take to shows is of a similar size to one of the boards you are thinking of, 36" by 18" by 9" high, so I know how awkward they can be :wink:

Hope this helps a little.
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Postby Little Andi. » Sat May 16, 2009 2:05 pm

Steve.................

Very many thanks for jumping in on this one,

Firstly, from reading what you are trying to achieve, I'm trying to think of it as a model that just happens to incorporate a railway, which is of secondary importance, rather than a model of a railway.


Right....... you are thinking along the right lines Steve'. But, allow me to clarify a few things - not because you're wrong in any way but rather to save anyone getting the wrong end of the stick, and just dismiss what I'm trying to achieve out of hand.
Yes, it is Model/Dioramic scene with a railway in it! It does not however fall into the category of secondary importance. The inclusion of track has in fact made me question every single element of what plans I'd already made for Belle Lane. Physically it will occupy a lesser percentage than the landscape and architecture than a traditional railway layout - but it will feature in the story telling of Belle Lane to an enormous degree. This is why I wanted to include it. Visiting this site is the very reason that I chose to make it an operating element - and Gn15, not only because it ties in with my preferred scale of 1/24-5th but the very nature of the scale and ethos seems to be one of built-in latitude - wiggle room if you will! I've turned my back well and truly on the IPMS style of modelling and I'm definitely looking for some fun in my hobby.

So apart from appealing to the members not to dismiss me because my track to landscape ratio is outside the norm'!! The information you have posted is Exactly what I was looking for - all those little lessons learnt, those pitfalls, those things you wouldn't do again.

Already you've helped enormously - nudging me in favour of a twin board system is subconsciously what I wanted but hadn't got the facts to rationalise the decision - and you had - right there at your finger tips.

So please if anyone else has anything to add I'd be most appreciative - as would I'm sure a lot of lurkers, because I had to join before I could start to find everything I needed.

Thanks again Steve........... you have no idea how helpful you've been.

Cheers for now...................... Andi.
KBO .......................... Andi.

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Postby More_Cats_Than_Sense » Sat May 16, 2009 2:41 pm

Little Andi. wrote:
So apart from appealing to the members not to dismiss me because my track to landscape ratio is outside the norm'!!


We wouldn't do that Andi, everybody's approach to this hobby is different, your aspect on the railway within your overall modelling is up to you and you alone. Keep doing what you're doing and we'll provide whatever assistance we can to help you achieve your goal, we won't dismiss you out of hand because your approach seems (to you) different to the rest of us, most of us wound up in this forum because of everybody having a different approach to the "norm" :wink: Your structures are superb by the way :D
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Postby Trevor Coburn » Sat May 16, 2009 2:49 pm

Hi Andi, as one who has been exhibiting layouts for more decades than I care to remember here a few points to consider:
The size of the car with the doors shut. (made that mistake more than once :oops: ) Are you always going to have someone to help you load / unload / set up? Please dont forget that many venues are accessed by stairs, ( A club layout that I was involved with had boards 6 foot by foot six, we had horendous jobs getting that up even wide staircases :twisted: ) Even if there are lifts they rarely are that big. Also you need to leave space in the car for, your helper, lighting rigs, tools, and the other esentials. (Flasks, sandwiches, overnight bags etc.)
My last layout I made the decision that the base boards (sceniced and bolted face to face in pairs) could be no bigger / heavier than I could easily handle on my own. This limited them to 18" wide and one meter long. Any wider and you will have difficulty getting through domestic doorways, without damage to knuckles. or worse the layout.
Two other things I would never now go with out are, a lenght of carpet, (off cut of stair carpet is ideal) and a folding stool / chair. (so you need space in the car for these as well.)
I guess that others in this group will also add their thoughts.
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Postby Steve Bennett » Sat May 16, 2009 3:06 pm

Glad it helped Andi.
I knew this was lurking in the forum somewhere, but took a bit of finding :roll: There might be a few more useful bits in this thread:
http://forum.gn15.info/viewtopic.php?p=12554
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Postby John New » Sat May 16, 2009 3:19 pm

could be no bigger / heavier than I could easily handle on my own


The size of the car with the doors shut.



These two from Trevor are vitally important.

I had to withdraw a layout from the circuit a few years ago as it got too heavy for my wife and I to load/unload and carry. Better to have to make an extra trip in/out of the hall than put your back out loading the car before you even set off to the show!!

The other tip I also support with experience is don't go to the extremes as the inside of cars are getting smaller and lower over time. I have some business/photo display boards, originally made in the 1970s, display face is 4ft by 3ft so overall they are a bit bigger dependant on which side the fixing hook tabs are attached to. Over the years each successive estate car I have had has been slightly smaller than the last even when just the latest version of the same make/model. On my last Zafira they went in stacked vertically across the width with back seat down dead easy, on the latest they still fit for height through the side door but only just. I can just squeze the whole set up into my wife's Agila, but the replacement from Vauxhaul looks to be smaller and I doubt they will fit inside. On a change of version a few years ago with a Peugot the wheel arch shape changed so parts of a club layout that used to lie happily flat in the back became a smidge too wide. Estate hatch flaps into the back end also seem to be getting lower and narrower too.

So keeping the weight down and allowing room for future changes in car shapes and sizes when planning your modules are proven top tips.
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Postby Little Andi. » Sat May 16, 2009 3:29 pm

Barry..............

most of us wound up in this forum because of everybody having a different approach to the "norm"


Thanks for that - I was worrying that my post would come over all "whiney and needy" and that helped, at least I know I'm standing the right side of the line now!!! -smilin'.

Trevor.............

Yet more good "real world" info, it's exactly this kind of anti - "knuckle rapping" information I was hoping to get.
You've pretty much confirmed for that two boards end to are the way to go.
36" X 18" twice end to end is sounding about right. I'll make a start on those then...... see it's working?

Thanks both .............. Andi.
KBO .......................... Andi.

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Postby Little Andi. » Sat May 16, 2009 3:39 pm

So keeping the weight down and allowing room for future changes in car shapes and sizes when planning your modules are proven top tips.



Argh.............. Sorry John it appears we cross-posted.
But never the less it appears the same tips are being being posted which is a reassuring sign that they're tried and trusted solutions. As mentioned it looks like I'm going with 1.5 x 3.0 ft. This will fit easily inside my little car and leave a bit of room for odds'n'sods. It's a case of me-myself-I so man handling these things myself is of importance.
At the moment I'm pretty much sure I'm going to build the framework out of 2x3/4 planed -or the like and then top the board off with a thinnish ply or MDF [7mm???].

Andi.

Ps...... what's with the carpet?? - do we get lucky at these occasions?
KBO .......................... Andi.

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Postby Trevor Coburn » Sat May 16, 2009 4:27 pm

Hi Andi,
check this out before you buy any timber: http://www.nailseamrc.org.uk/hints+tips ... rds_b.html

This method works, belive it or not these base boards will carry the weight of an average modeler :shock: . And they are light. :D The guy who designed them is an aeronuatical engineer. Dont worry about the strength due to size of Gn stock/buildings. This chap runs US H0 brass locos, many of which are over a pound in weight!
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Postby KEG » Sat May 16, 2009 4:40 pm

Hi,

Storing and transport of models, dioramas or layouts always is an interesting question.

My favourite seize is something which fits into an IKEA-Ivar Shelve.
We use these elements for exibition layouts. So the bases are 43,5 cm deep and vary in length from 80 - 100 cm.

Image

These are the complete module bases of the Toeffelholm and the Kraehwinkle layouts stacked in modified IKEA-Ivar parts.

Here is a shadow box 85 x 43,5 x 33 cm high. Larger in real life than I expected, when I planned it.

Image

For my needs, it proved to be too low. To operate part of a Gn15 railway in it, it should be higher, 40 - 45 cm. So I took it apart again recently and used only the base.

Thre is a discussion with lots of useful hints and thoughts, on how to present layouts to the public in this forum somewhere. Can´t find it at the moment.

Have Fun

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Postby gfadvance » Sat May 16, 2009 6:41 pm

Andi,

with only one layout to my name I have a bit of a cheek commenting on this subject, but what the heck let me add my almost completely theoritical ramblings.

Steve, has been modest in not mentioning his method of lightweight baseboards as per "simplicity sidings" - I'm sure his method could be extended to your size of baseboard, although you may have to use a ply at the 2 ends that need to be joined together.

I can comment with authority on the size, what looks manageable in 2-D becomes a nightmare in 3-D, I have several baseboards built (don't ask!!) from15"x 9", 24" x 15", 24" square to 48" x 18" and while 48 x 18 looked OK on the paper plan its amazing how much room you would need just to work on it never mind move it around :o and I haven't factored in the 3 dimension of height

In terms of materials I would suggest you consider blue/pink foam insulation board, its light weight , can be given sufficent rigidity with very minimal support and I think most importantly for you can be easily carved/shaped. It is this last point where it will score for you - can't imagine with your eye that you want a billard table flat surface for your efforts ( I know that it makes track laying and running a lot easier) but it doesn't look right and you can carve out spaces so that your buildings sit in the ground not on top of it.

BQ Warehouses did stock a Pink foam insulation board it came in packs of 5 sheets each one about 48" x 18" and approx 2" thick - now you know where my large baseboard came from :oops:

You should have a look at Iain Rice's books An Approach to Model Railway Layout Design -Finescale in small spaces , and

Light Railway Layout Designs

(I'll send you a pm with more info on these books)

Both have a number of good ideas and again I think you would be taken by his views of of how to join 2 baseboards without that wonderful straight line running through the scene

Thats all I can really add to this discussion , as I can just about lay some straight track and a point along with a couple of wires and a train runs - but after that I get lost very quickly

Gordon
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Postby Little Andi. » Sun May 17, 2009 8:04 am

Gordon many thanks for your reply.........all input is welcome at the minute as I'm playing catch-up at an alarming rate it would seem.

Speaking of catch-up and track!!! ? Seriously - about track. What should I be looking for and where should I be looking for it??

I don't think I'm going to be needing huge amounts, a couple of a few yards and probably less points.
I've tried reading up on various threads but have been a bit confused by all the "electrical speak"!

So what am I looking for - and where will I find it??



Told you I needed desperate help, I know this stuff is painfully obvious to you guys - but it's amazing just how confusing it all is to a guy like me standing on the outside.

Thanks again in anticipation....................... Andi.
KBO .......................... Andi.

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Postby KEG » Sun May 17, 2009 9:54 am

Hi,

Did you see Marc Witten´s service offer? http://www.gn15.info/marc-wittens-bespoke-turnout-service/

His work looks very convincing and the price is not too expencive.

Have Fun

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Postby More_Cats_Than_Sense » Sun May 17, 2009 11:19 am

Peco O-16.5 is probably the easiest way to go, here is a Link to a supplier so you can see the track and pricing etc. You can put "Peco track narrow gauge" into Google to get other suppliers. If you only need a couple of yards of track then a local model shop would probably be an idea as sending 1m lengths of track through the post is a bit awkward and most suppliers will only send boxes of 12.

If the track is going to be hidden, then standard Peco OO gauge track will be OK as the thin sleepers won't be seen.

We can help with advice about what you need to achieve what you intend to build, along with wiring advice/accessories/controllers etc.
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Postby Steve Bennett » Sun May 17, 2009 11:46 am

A lot will depend on where the railway is to run.
If it is along the street, it would be filled in so only the tops of the rails, level with the street surface would be seen, thus enabling street vehicles to cross it easily. In this scenario, any track could be used and standard Peco OO would be the best option.

The other scenario, would be to have the railway on it's own piece of land, the opposite side of the street for example. In this situation, it will be more of a feature in it's own right and I would suggest the Peco track that Barry highlighted in the previous post to this one :wink:
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Postby Little Andi. » Sun May 17, 2009 1:06 pm

Juergen - Barry - Steve...................

Apologies for appearing such a numpty, but to an outsider all these sillinesses are really confounding. In my own areas of expertise [such as they are] I tried very hard to understand how and why the same ridiculously simple questions kept getting asked over and over again - I knew this was the reason and tried as I say to be kind and generous, but it's not until you're immersed within these circumstances that you are really able to understand the sense of inadequacy and unutterable lack of comprehension - wow, really begging for a little leeway there aren't I ?

Needless to say thanks for all your indulgences, proceedings have actually come to a bit of a stop as Gordon has PM'd me a couple of times and pointed out that if I'm to avoid an ugly join line between the two boards I have to think on a bit more before having at it - so to speak.

So, I'll doodle a bit wiv' me biro. And submit my thinking for approval in a bit later on.

Andi.
KBO .......................... Andi.

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Postby AndyA » Sun May 17, 2009 1:56 pm

This failed to post this morning, so may be a bit redundant, but I'll post it anyway...

Andi, not all of this is "painfully obvious" to us, and even if it were, it wasn't once, never be afraid to ask.

As to what track, I'm looking forward to seeing others' opinions here, but to an extent it depends on what your concept is for the surface.

For my Pilgrim Quay, the track will be buried in a paved surface, so I've bought standard OO/HO Peco flextrack and small-radius points. I went for this because I've discovered the hard way that the OO/HO rail-joiners do not, as Peco state, work with the O16.5 track without significant fiddling.

For Sue's Japanese board, the sleepers need to show, so we opted for Peco's O16.5, not perfect, but the alternative woiuld be handlaying and I'm just not good enough to do that yet. Juergen has just posted here about modifying Micro-Engineering track, and since Sue's board now needs rebuilding anyway, I'm going to have a go at that with once length of the Peco stuff this afternoon, and will report back. How it'll work with the points is another matter, but ages ago I modified some N scale track for a gnine miniature railway, so at least I know how to hack the points wihtout them falling apart (as the first one did, learn by my mistakes, it's cheaper that way).

You have assuredly raised the bar with the buildings; I haven't started the htree for Pilgrim Quay, thankfully, and intend to get some serious practice in on my pizza first. I'm looking forward to seeing how the trackwork develops; I have a suspicion that a fair few of us will have learned something by the time you finish.

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Postby Steve Bennett » Sun May 17, 2009 2:14 pm

AndyA wrote:I went for this because I've discovered the hard way that the OO/HO rail-joiners do not, as Peco state, work with the O16.5 track without significant fiddling.


Puzzled by this one Andy, as the same rail is used in both :?:
I have never had any problems with the railjoiners, so I'm not sure what you are doing differently.

On the subject of the Micro Engineering track, sadly, here in the UK it is almost twice the price of the Peco, so that will probably put most here off using it, plus having used their turnouts before, I dont think they are as well made, thats just a personnal opinion though :wink: .

As for Andi, apologies if we go a bit far for you to understand. As you say, in this field, there are many things that we take for granted, which as a newcomer, will not make a lot of sense to you. Dont worry though, if you need to, just ask, sometimes in our efforts to help, we get a bit carried away and need to slow down a bit :lol: .
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Postby AndyA » Sun May 17, 2009 2:38 pm

Steve wrote:

AndyA wrote:
I went for this because I've discovered the hard way that the OO/HO rail-joiners do not, as Peco state, work with the O16.5 track without significant fiddling.


Puzzled by this one Andy, as the same rail is used in both Question
I have never had any problems with the railjoiners, so I'm not sure what you are doing differently.


I posted somewhere last year (but of course can't find the thread any more) that I found the joiners over-length; to make them fit between the chairs whilst maintaining the sleeper spacing, I had to cut the ends off with snips and then open up the joiner with a jeweller's screwdriver. Someone else reported the same problem. But if it works for you, I'll have another go.

Meanwhile, herewith the results of trying Juergen's trick with the Peco track. First, doubling the sleepers: as usual,

Image

Steve is right, although probably they're underlength rather than overwidth, they look odd. Now re-spacing them to about 1.5 the factory setting.

Image

No cigar, of course, but I think I'll go for this, since I think I can make the points/switches match.

Dunno if this is much help, but for what it's worth...

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Postby Steve Bennett » Sun May 17, 2009 3:07 pm

AndyA wrote:I posted somewhere last year (but of course can't find the thread any more) that I found the joiners over-length; to make them fit between the chairs whilst maintaining the sleeper spacing, I had to cut the ends off with snips and then open up the joiner with a jeweller's screwdriver. Someone else reported the same problem. But if it works for you, I'll have another go.


Ah, right. You will find that with all the Peco Streamline track (and most other brands of flexi track), it is only the pre-formed Setrack that has a cutaway in the sleeper/tie to allow a joiner to pass under the rail.

Easiest solution is to carve a bit of the end sleeper away, to allow the joiner to pass between it and the rail. A few seconds work with a sharp knife :wink:
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Postby Little Andi. » Sun May 17, 2009 4:52 pm

Actually just listening to you guys chatting amongst yourselves clarifies a lot too.

Thanks all for your help so far - just knowing that you don't have to be afraid to put your hand up helps enormously.

Cheers cheps................. Andi.
KBO .......................... Andi.

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Interests: narrow gauge railways & modelling same

Postby Oztrainz » Mon May 18, 2009 3:40 am

Hi Andi,
Perhaps before worrying too much about what you actually make the baseboard out of, you might like to look at what goes under the layout and think some how you are planning to "display" your fabulous streetscape story.

You have appear to have already decided that it will be in 2 bits - you also need to think about how to support and join these bits.

Things to consider:
support leg type - attached or seperate
joining type and positive location - so that the bits go together first time every time
Wiring across bits - each bit selfcontained/jumper wires/plugs
Viewing height
Lighting - inbuilt or seperately attached after layout is together

Have a look here for some inspiration on legs and presentation:
http://forum.gn15.info/viewtopic.php?t=4824

for a lightweight baseboard, don't write off layered foamcore - see here
http://forum.gn15.info/viewtopic.php?t=4419&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=75
The rest of the Simplicity Sidings thread should also give you some more inspiration in the baseboard and tracks in pavement.

If you are prepared to go a bit narrower than 20" wide to just 14" wide under you could use a similar arrangement to "Yallah"(see picture in presentation thread). It uses a framework of aluminium square section and Queblok fastenings at each corner with a laminated foamcore as the baseboard. This type of construction ensures that the hinges and track stay accurately alligned and layout remains dimensionally stable at the joints. The Brooklyn 3am layout uses the same aluminium and laminated foamcore construction methods.

It stores as a 2' by 4' by 2'6" cube when not in use but folds out and latches into an 8' long by 10" ldepp layout with a 20" high viewing apperture with enclosed lighting low-votage halogen rig in the 5" deep valance above the layout. Thie height to the the top valance could be increased slightly for your layout to match your building heights. I suggest the reduced width as it should allow you to walk the layout through a "standard doorway". At 24" wide Yallah is an easy fit trough most doorways.
- Caution - always watch out for the doorknobs.

At the reduced width your layout would store at 3' 2'6" by probably 2'6" high cube and would fold out to a visible area of 72" by 14" with the track on the drop leaves taking up about another 12" depth when folded down along the back of the viewed area. The only reservation I have about this style of layout is that the 14" width that would allow you to fit through a standard doorway is that 14" may be insufficient to fit in your buildings, a footpath, at least a lane of roadway and the train track. However if you are prpared to run wider you could finish up with a 72" by 18" viewable footprint.

The Yallah design also has folding dropleaves that allow a return track circle behind the layout when it is set up. This allows for continuous running of your train/tram. Yallah was designed with 15" radius curves to allow 6-coupled steam locomotives to be run. If you limit yourself to small 4-coupled steam locos and small diesel/electrical locos then you should be easily able to go sub 12" radius for your return circle. At 15" depth, If you pushed the track to the front of the layout, it should be relatively easy to arrange for the train to disappear off the street through either a narrow alley between the buildings or through a gateway. The folded drop leaves add about 2" to the folded thickness of the stored block.

Of course there is the seperate bits option where everything travels as seperate bits. Just some thoughts - whether they are useful of not is up to you. Keep us posted with your thoughts and I'm surre that the crew here can sort out the "trainy bits" while your streetscape saga develops. The things to be considered above will help you dodge most of the land mines of exhibiting "Belle Lane". The questions need to be asked, but the answers do not have to be always difficult. :D
John Garaty
Murphy was an optimist

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KEG
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Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2006 11:42 am
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Interests: creative Nonsense

Postby KEG » Mon May 18, 2009 6:39 am

Steve wrote:

having used their turnouts before, I dont think they are as well made


What´s wrong with the Micro Engineering switches? I think for the purpose they are made, for US prototype 0n30 track, they are just perfect. (not many 30 inch US protos around)

For Gn15 the Code 83 profile might be a bit skinny.

Have Fun

Juergen

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Alan
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Posts: 98
Joined: Tue May 20, 2003 9:24 pm
Location: Merstham, Surrey, UK
Interests: Narrow Gauge Railway Modeling, Good Wine and Plentiful Food

Postby Alan » Mon May 18, 2009 9:28 am

AndyA wrote:... I think I can make the points/switches match.
For converting Peco Setrack points, have a look at this. I recommend downloading and saving it as the author is sadly no longer with us.
Alan Rogers, CEO of Chagrin Mines - Gn15
Annoying Questioner of Established Protocol & Procedure


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