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Sheffie

Green & Grey

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Sheffie

Trackside trivia: 

 

The dust cloth at the front of the layout, which will cover all the parked trains, is pinned to the front edge of the frame. Three cup hooks allow me to tuck it in place while running trains. 

 

03658157-8540-4BCA-BBEE-4D65F7204405.thumb.jpeg.134b2aca5e98dee53bcbad6d8295f788.jpeg

 

In other news, I’m using some boxes to (theoretically) keep the cloth from pulling all the trains over. My next task will be to mount some of the sturdy Kato trees in strategic locations to create “tent” areas. 

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cteno4

Sheffie,

 

might want to try the lightest like 1 or 2 mil plastic drop cloth for a dust cover. They are so light the don’t push anything around no weight on scenery. they also lift off very easily, don’t tend to snag on things, and you can see your trains when covered and while removing the cover. plus super cheap to replace.

 

cheers

 

jeff

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Sheffie

Delivered today: a digital soldering iron. Hopefully the future work will be easier than the previous. 

 

8E5F2F8C-B18A-400D-803B-67633F16CD46.jpeg

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cteno4

Oooh that’s a big step up! Nice unit. Now practice practice practice! Have fun, I think you will find soldering more enjoyable with this and plain old rosin core tin/lead solder.

 

jeff

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Sheffie

I’m about to get the lighting kit for my DX platforms, so it’s possible that there will be some soldering involved in supplying power to the under-platform rails. 

I have done a little bit of work on one of the extension kits, and learned a little. 

292B5B7B-9C1E-40E2-9A90-76A04F81969F.thumb.jpeg.5099c8edb0634c9ab5ff4ba3c684a43d.jpegThere are some odd and confusing parts. There are some weird and wonderful vending machines which could be illuminated if I wanted to spend the lighting units. 

There are benches—one single sided and one double sided bench is supplied with each “home” apparently, so given that I’ve bought equal amounts of one-sided and island platforms, I should have two benches per “home” which feels better. The benches are poorly mounted though—it’s a single post in the middle, and too easy to break, which is why my bench is super-glued in place. 

A nice success (slightly unrelated) was that I downloaded Google Translate for my iPhone, so I can point the camera at instructions and get English text onscreen. The stickers are too small to read, but the instructions are much appreciated, since not everything was printed in English 

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gavino200
14 hours ago, Sheffie said:

 There are some weird and wonderful vending machines which could be illuminated if I wanted to spend the lighting units. 

 

You do, Sheffie. You must!!!

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Martijn Meerts

Weller is definitely a good brand for soldering equipment, great service too, can pretty much always find replacement tips, no matter how old the soldering iron is. 

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Kiha66

Good choice on the weller station, I use one myself.  I'd recomend getting a pot of tip tinnier (the one I use) and use a wire sponge (the one I use).  Both last practically forever and really make soldering much easier.

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cteno4

Exact same here! Wire ball house can be had for like $3 on ebay if you can wait a month to get it! Both make soldering so much easier! 
 

only really need to use the tinner now and then. Plunge the hot tip into wire ball a few times. Roll the tip in tinnier for 5-10 sec until it gets some of the solder on it then clean again a few times in the wire ball. Repeat again if not bright and shiny. The solder tinner has stuff in it to help remove the oxidation materials that build up on the tip and prevent it from holding solder well.

 

Cheers

 

jeff

 

 

1 hour ago, Kiha66 said:

Good choice on the weller station, I use one myself.  I'd recomend getting a pot of tip tinnier (the one I use) and use a wire sponge (the one I use).  Both last practically forever and really make soldering much easier.

 

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chadbag

As much as we solder in this hobby, save the grief and get something like this:

 

https://www.amazon.com/Hakko-FX888D-23BY-Digital-Soldering-Station/dp/B00ANZRT4M/ref=sr_1_4?keywords=hako+fx-888d&qid=1578971252&sr=8-4

 

Mine works great.  I got an aftermarket set of tips for it as well on amazon.  Actually 2 -- one set of the tip I use the most and one of an assortment of various sizes/shapes just-in0case.

 

Also, the 63/37 solder does work great for most things (except that steel bus [instead of copper like KATO] that Tomix uses in its Shinkansens and perhaps other trains).

 

EDIT:  Just had my browser update with a few more posts and I see you did get a good station.  I'll leave the above link for others who are looking for a reasonable station that is not too expensive

Edited by chadbag
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Sheffie

In this post: Kato Suburban DX Platform Kit and the corresponding lighting kit. 

 

 Most of my recent effort has been spent wrestling with the DX lighting kit.

D735AD95-6858-44B4-9AA1-85A551AD526F.thumb.jpeg.e77c3377cb4c75b0551f8fc222ac056d.jpeg

A tiny circuit board—containing (I think) LED, rectifier and either a resistor or current limiter—is attached to two metal clips, which must act as springs pressing against the inside of the power rails. It is the positioning of the curved ends of the clips against the rails that is supremely difficult, given the tendency of a curved piece of metal to hook onto the outside of a rail when it ought to be pressing against the inside— and this difficulty is multiplied if the light is being installed under the platform, which reduces access angles enormously as well as requiring the light to be slid along the rail to the desired position without it coming un-clipped. However, and this is clarified nowhere, the clips may be mounted either way up, and the relative ease of installation when done the right way up is enough to reduce a one hour / ten attempts / $25 in the swear jar task to five minutes, one or two attempts, no swearing. 

918C0A00-235A-4478-BAD6-5F71A14C1DBF.thumb.jpeg.72b99c7b04b98d9624b3ae532ba6c814.jpeg

 

Problem two: how to connect power to the DX platform. After considerable searching it is clear that there is an adapter kit “available separately” that comprises a cable whose ends are soldered to Uni-joiners. Fun fact: the HO spaced rails use N gauge Uni-joiners, so I will have no qualms about experimenting with soldering my own hardware. I’ve already established that the metal fish-plate can be easily removed from its plastic surround by inserting a 1.5mm screwdriver blade flat and lifting up. So this looks promising. 

 

Problem three is platform signage. Kato has seen fit to provide stickers saying “Platform 1 >”, “Platform 2 >”, and, because they also sell an island platform kit, “< 1 Platform 2 >” and “< 2 Platform 1 >”. These clearly work very well provided a suburban station doesn’t have more than two platforms. Speaking as someone who bought an island platform and a one-sided platform, I’m a bit unhappy that they didn’t include any extra stickers—or even numbers. Looking at my other kits, the best bet may be to use digits from the Greenmax train repair depot—which provides a couple of sets of digits 1-8 in a suitable size—but it leaves no margin for error, and I’d have to replace all three platforms’ signs for consistency. 

 

Problem four is train/driver signage. A great variety of dangly signs have been provided— some with two lights on, some with perhaps a screen or single light, some clearly intended to mark 4/6/8 car stop points. But, assuming that three or four signs are meant to be placed near the driver at each stopping point, the mounting points for these signs are only at the end of the “home “ modules. Surely they should be about 140mm apart? If I drive a four, six, or eight car train to the middle of my platform, only a six-car stop would be anywhere near the end of a “home” module. Also, the eight car stop would be beyond the roofed area. Should I drill holes in the platform and mount the signs upside down? It feels like I must be missing something. 

 

Problem five: from the instructions provided with the lighting kit, it looks like they expect you to use three lights per “home” (248mm) module, plus some for vending machines. (Note that this figure is very different from the sales information that persuaded me to buy a kit in the first place...) If this is true, then I will need one more $30 lighting kit for the island platform. But I’m not yet close to being able to test that assumption. 

Edited by Sheffie
Adding illustrations

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Sheffie

Quick sanity check. Yes, I bought the correct number of kits for my space. Yes, it’s going to fit. Yes, the island platform should also fit. 

256BCFBB-8632-4F5C-A786-E234E0D2EA44.thumb.jpeg.98659c9a10250cca4a7000407821eca0.jpeg

Note that only the first module (front of train / on the left) has anything installed—and that its roof panel isn’t clipped down. 

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The roof panel over the stairway was translucent, which is a nice touch. 

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The super crossover is just about early enough to allow a five car train to stop after crossing to the other track. (To increase that five, I would have had to make many sacrifices elsewhere on the layout.)

Edited by Sheffie
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Sheffie

Smoke test. 

Soldering the wires onto the Uni-joiner left the fish-plates quite bent out of shape, so I had to go to some trouble to get good connections to the rails on each side. 

I will have to move the vending machine, obv. 

And it’s pretty clear that twice the lighting would be closer to the ideal. But I rather like the pools of darkness 

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Edited by Sheffie
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Kiha66

Looks great Tim!  I really like the dark spaces too, gives the feeling of the cost saving measures you might find in the construction of non-terminal stations.  The railroad isn't made out of money after all!

Edited by Kiha66

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Yavianice

@Sheffie Looks nice but why have a double crossover at the platform? Or do you not own Shinkansens?

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Sheffie
7 minutes ago, Yavianice said:

@Sheffie Looks nice but why have a double crossover at the platform? Or do you not own Shinkansens?

 

I do not own Shinkansens, no. 

 

There’s a separate thread where I’ve discussed the layout design. The point is, this straight between the platforms is the first opportunity for trains joining the mainline loop from the stock yard to switch tracks, and it’s the last opportunity for trains to switch tracks before the branch line leading back to the freight and stock yard. 

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Sheffie

Completed: front end of the one-sided platform. I added the steps, although you can’t really see them, at the end. 

FBB02D72-7CA4-4F97-825D-955E0B78E836.thumb.jpeg.7242c9b0d00210003af4547727175327.jpegI had to rebuild the stop/go light and departure monitor since they were initially intended to be ceiling mounted, but I don’t have enough space for that. Also mounted on a pole sticking out of the platform: the “8 car stop” sign. This sign’s position was exactly calculated; the 6 and 4 car signs will be ceiling mounted and as such may have to compromise on their position. 

Edited by Sheffie
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Sheffie

Completed the first module of the three. I’ve stripped out the vending machine and fitted the 6 and 4 car stop signs and monitors. Also,(not shown) a ladder leading up to the roof. 

5F440796-B203-4D43-B90C-A26F37DB81A0.thumb.jpeg.9566899f1c670ffea5ae3ab05691f88f.jpeg

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Sheffie

Moving on to the island (two-sided) platform. Work is going much faster, partly because of familiarity with the bits, and partly because there’s no back wall requiring posters and benches/trash cans. 

 

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I made a couple of custom bench / trash can arrangements to make use of the unused benches. 

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Sheffie

Initial test of the assembled platform. No power yet. 

7AEBC536-697F-4B4E-A09D-4BF037D54BA5.thumb.jpeg.0ea778fdfa63c71dd4286117eb726c87.jpeg

On the left is a bit of test painting with the brown I’ll be using for dirt. 

 

Getting ballast between these tracks may be quite a challenge. 

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Sheffie

Alright. With the suburban DX platform essentially complete, I shall now focus on the Greenmax train repair plant kit. 

 

First impressions are not good. 

725C45B1-AF5E-46A9-A33F-AD04EB9028B0.thumb.jpeg.c02c776239425835001948ce1cb751aa.jpegThe mould May be getting old. There’s quite a lot of flash visible in the foreground. (The kit includes two of these sheets, and they’re both like this.)

 

And the sheet in the background is just... bent. It’s not clear from this pic, but it’s nowhere near straight. That’s unfortunate because unless I can straighten it out, the crane system will be built around I-beam girders that aren’t straight. 

 

Nevertheless. 

 

I have bought a set of primary color acrylics to complement my carefully chosen stone/dirt/concrete colors, and between those and the Tomix rust pens and the black Gundam marker, I plan on doing my best to make this look nice. It’s going to be on the front corner of the layout, so it’s important. 

 

If all else fails, I may even order a second kit to allow me some redo’s and spares. 

Edited by Sheffie
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Sheffie

The new coloring toolbox is an unfinished 12”x9”x3” wooden box, sold at the local chain store and clearly intended for people to decorate in some way. I just wanted a box that wasn’t plastic, you know?

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Grant_T

This is fantastic progress. Looks like you've gone pretty deep into the hobby in a short time.

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Sheffie

Thank you @Grant_T, that means a lot coming from such an accomplished landscape modeler. 

 

In my continuing effort to support my local my local hobby store—and maintain a balance between personal effort (grief) and expenditure—I decided to spend $5 on Kato’s Uni-joiner power supply adaptor. This made it significantly easier to get power to all sections of the island platform...

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I may still re-do the vending machine (fairly central in this image) since it leaks light at the corners. One of the advantages of the DX platform kits is that they include plenty of redundant vending machine parts. 

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Sheffie

The Greenmax train repair plant is proving to be a very involved and time-consuming item. 

 

But it’s finally starting to look like it’s ready for assembly. 

B8113E2D-E03A-4569-BF88-B7AC07381963.thumb.jpeg.42aa0a7dcf7cc95bffd20c41a57745c5.jpeg

 

The windows are all glazed (34 of them) and I’ve painted all the parts I wanted to paint—mainly the roofs and doors and ventilation systems. Lesson learned: it’s very easy, using acrylics and brushes, to paint something that looks run-down or weathered; it’s much harder, even with multiple coats, to paint something smoothly and uniformly. 

 

Overall I was quite disappointed  by the quality and attention to detail of this kit. I already commented on the quantity of flash present, which is enough to make certain parts borderline unusable, and on the warping of one of the sheets. The user is expected to not only cut, paint, and glue the parts, but also drill holes in the roof to mount chimneys, and apparently also to rig up something with threads to support the exhaust ducting. 

 

It’s not an expensive kit, but it doesn’t compare well to Kato’s buildings, which tend to be pre-colored, more precisely moulded, and more complete. 

 

Edited to add: in the kit's defence, it does come with sufficient end panels to make two separate buildings, either of which can have a double track entrance or a sectional door (closed) that would be big enough for a couple of trucks to drive in. This flexibility isn't mentioned anywhere, but it's a nice touch.

Edited by Sheffie
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