Calibration weights

One of the most useful tools I’ve purchased recently are calibration weights. I briefly mentioned them on the Railroad Line Forum but want to give a little more info about them here. Up till now I’ve been weighing things down using whatever I can lay my hands on around the workspace. Not only is it inconvenient, it is dangerous and time consuming. Inconvenient because often I need a weight right in front of me to grab, dangerous because I ended up using whatever I can lay my hands on without thinking how stable the objects might be, and time consuming because it takes time to find the right combination of paint pots, metal objects, and glass jars.

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Crossover finished!

At last it is done. This part of the project was the most difficult and stressful. The trackplan was designed around the crossover as I thought it would make for a visually interesting area of the layout. However having never built a crossover before I ended up spending alot of thought on the problem – going over the process again and again in my head before starting work on it. I’m glad to now be able to stop over-thinking the problem and finish the remaining turnouts. However I may delay wiring and take a break from the track once it is all laid. I want to start working on some buildings. I’ll see how I feel once I’ve built the final turnover. I still have three more turnouts and one more crossover to do. Turnouts take two hours each which I spread over a couple of evenings because I find it exhausting. There’s a lot to get right and a lot that can go wrong with handlaying track so it’s best to not work too hard and spread the process out over several evenings.

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First crossover turnout

Just finished the first turnout of the crossover. Nothing much to add other than I started with the frog and prefabricated all the pieces before doing any soldering. Everything came together nicely. I’m still getting to grips with the correct clearances – they are looser than they need to be – but everything seems to work fine. My little truck navigates the turnout without any problems. I still have to do some cleaning up but overall things look much tidier than my first turnout effort.

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Tracklaying on the crossover

Well after a period of procrastination I finally made the switch from the diorama project to the track-laying project.

I have to admit I was quite nervous. It had taken two months to learn Templot to get curves on the diagram just right, then I had to figure out to how get the plan printed out, and then I spent another week preparing and laying down ties – all done just to get to this starting point.

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The Modoc Line

A few years back my brother and I went on a cross-country trip through north-western Nevada exploring ghost towns. One of the towns we visited was a place called Wadsworth. Although not strictly a ghost town, Google maps showed that a railway line once went through it and just outside town the map showed the remains of a railroad bridge. We went down there, took photos of the bridge and went on our way. I never forgot that bridge and often wondered which railroad built it and what happened to the line.

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Scenery scratch pads

On a trip to the UK over the holidays I finally managed to purchase some Gordon Gravett books on grass and trees. I’ll say more about Gordon Gravett another time but in the meantime I’ve been wanting to get hold of these books for a while now. Unfortunately to have them sent to the States puts them in the $70 a piece range whereas I got them for about $30 a piece in the UK – affordable and well worth the price.

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Peco Static Grass Applicator

My Peco Static Grass Applicator arrived over the weekend. This is my first branded applicator as opposed to my hand-made (not by me) applicator.

The original Noch applicator (that introduced the static grass method a few years ago) is nearly $200 which is a crazy amount of money to spend on such a small and simple tool. Even though I could afford it I could never justify spending that kind of money and therefore via Ebay (and Australia and $30) I bought my hand-made flour-sifter version. It has served me well for several years now.

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