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Morcs

Morcs' micro layout

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Morcs

After switching from modelling OO gauge shunting layouts I switched to N scale and had started on an 8x4 layout. However for what I wanted to do in this space I just couldn't achieve what I wanted - I like dense track work and operations along with both overhead and ground track and always ended up with plans based around big ovals. Something this size I wouldn't be able to model properly either, space constraints mean it would always have to be a temporary layout.

 

Then I came across B-trains on here and possibilities emerged of being able to do a small layout with plenty going on.

 

I settled on a size of 4x2 (does this qualify as micro?)  with the elements of the track plan needing to Include:

1) overhead track

2) run off only 2 controllers

3) multiple station sidings/loops

4) at least 1 conventional siding

5) spacing of station sidings to match stations

6) semi temporary, be able to dismantle and put away in a box

7) non prototypical

😎unitrack using 150 and 183 radius curves

 

Unfortunately I was unable to get away without symmetry with the aspects I had to include so hopefully I can come up with some ways to hide the symmetry somewhat. 

 

Due to the difficultly in getting all parts required to be able to run b-trains, rolling stock will be mixed freight and passenger services such as ED79s, DD13s, Kiha 120s and such.

 

Progress so far, still waiting on a few more station parts and the last pieces of viaduct. Wiring and controllers all nicely organised and hidden. 

Then will probably start slowly buying suitable rolling stock and buildings and gives me time to think how I can do some modelling whilst trying to keep it still temporary 

IMG_20200301_094636.jpg

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Edited by Morcs
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Morcs
Posted (edited)

Finally decided on how my stations (and what pieces) I want to work across those 3 middle platforms. The 1 sided DX station won't be used as It won't match the other platforms in appearance (the older simpler ones)

 

So I've ordered some platforms, buildings, last few bits of track and some rolling stock (an ef65 and komu1 container cars) which should be here next week.

 

In the meantime I've started doing some scenery - this is challenging as the track won't be fixed so I can't blend materials upto the track base, so experimenting bit by bit to see how it goes - plan is a little bit here and there combined with busy trackwork and lots of buildings should just give it that little bit extra in overall appearance, whilst still being a temporary layout.

IMG_20200306_183400.jpg

Edited by Morcs
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Sheffie

You might get good mileage from a sheet of cotton with a hunter green pattern on it. This can go under everything and provide a sort of backstop for any areas that don’t have other scenery on. 

 

Random illustration from “Sheffie’s First Layout”

C619634C-67F5-4A68-AEE8-BBA4C7661B5B.thumb.jpeg.e738cf7af19d3fd6c8c8236819448fd7.jpeg

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cteno4

Another trick for temp scenery is to cut out sections of chipboard/poster board or styrene that git between the tracks, you can the. Spray paint them an neutral ground brown and then attach scenery materials. We did this for our first club layout that was Unitrak set up on the fly. I actually cut them out of Formica as it was the thinnest and stiffest material around and we needed them robust for tear downs, transport and storage.

 

jeff

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Morcs

Ive bit the bullet and decided to do scenery properly on the board, track was basically held in place by all the turnouts and their wires going straight underneath them through the board - not a lot of work to remove the track.

 

As this track doesn't require ballasting I can apply material to the board and put the track on top. Won't look too pro of course because of the plastic nature of this track but I can live with that.

 

Started on the dirt base around the outer areas. Need more small scrub to fill in gaps. I paint matched the board to 'Kato concrete' so the central urban area won't need too much work (much of the ground level in that area hopefully won't be very visible.

IMG_20200307_131015.jpg

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cteno4

One thing with plopping the track down on top of a flat bed of ballast is it may not be super even and may need a little scraping to level and track may need some pins put thru the track into your base to keep in place if still a little uneven. Experiment,

 

jeff

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Morcs
Posted (edited)

Cheers, seems ok so far. I didn't apply ballast in the normal way, simply brushed on a glue mix, sprinkled material on top, and vacuumed off the excess. Kato points don't seem anywhere near as sensitive to flatness as normal peco or Hornby points that's for sure!

 

Wiring is simply dropped through the baseboard and stuck with masking tape - keeps things nice and tidy and can be removed easily.

 

Track is back on and it's starting to look like a layout. I'm considering adding backdrop panels that can be fitted using wooden dowels into holes drilled into the baseboard rim (and easily removed and stowed)

 

 

IMG_20200307_143519.jpg

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Morcs
Posted (edited)

IMG_20200308_121940.thumb.jpg.1c583e667769653d1af2b0f7751869b0.jpg

IMG_20200308_121936.thumb.jpg.2ee018961f477f33862c104de34d27e5.jpgScenery for the outer areas completed and pretty happy with it.

Stations and urban area hopefully will start taking shape when my shipment of platforms and buildings arrive this week.

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Morcs

After my shipment this week there's been a good jump in progress. Trackwork is finished and I'm happy with the stations. Few bits of scenery to touch up (ran out of glue of all things)

 

Brainstorming what to do with the urban area. As this is a no realistic condensed layout might just cram it with buildings of varying height with a road through the middle. Interesting to note the small komu container wagons don't go through these compact points in reverse too well.IMG_20200310_195911.thumb.jpg.1615abd5923b1df999db63afaa476416.jpgIMG_20200310_195946.thumb.jpg.f5a44a118e0afe2edf4b762aed88621a.jpgIMG_20200310_200032.thumb.jpg.ae152ef51bd5cf95a985547a8e2b680d.jpg

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Martijn Meerts

Looking good. A little bit of scenery always goes a very long way.

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Sheffie
Posted (edited)

I have found that trains are often unhappy going around a curve and then immediately having to turn off in the same direction at a point. Mentally I think of this as “curve-on-curve” and I always try to put in at least a 62mm straight before the points. My experience has been mainly with EP481-15 but I’m sure that the 150mm points will be the same. 

Edited by Sheffie

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cteno4

points really do need to be separated from curves as it can create S curves as well as just the blade being in the middle of a curve and asking for issues.
 

With cars being pushed instead of pulled the rapido couplers can cause the trucks to twist up in funny ways and hitting a point can cause that come out in unexpected ways to cause derailments. The mini points are pretty severe as well. Check to blades on the point to make sure the sit as flat as possible against the rails when thrown. I can’t remember if the mini points have blade sockets cut in but if not that’s an option to tune them. You file a tiny pocket for the blade end to snug into and sharpen the blade point. Fine work but can really make a temperamental point work better.

 

jeff

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Cat

Huh.  Was not aware that not-reverse curves into a turnout could cause problems.  Was aware that we may wind up replacing the Rapido couplers on the Shorty cars anyway.  Do other couplers avoid potential problems using not-reverse curves into turnouts?

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cteno4

We have had this with Shinkansens a bit when running onto the passing track out of a curve, so the point blade is on a continuous curve. Of course it goes into a bit of an S curve then onto the passing track, but the issue would stem from the blade most all the time not the passing track S curve back.

 

it seemed the geometry of the cars coupled and trucks would push the flanges and catch the blade tips. It took a lot of careful watching as it would happen rather randomly. Finally we put a 128 section between the double viaduct curves and the points and most all went away then and we could run thru the passing track very well at speed. An additional thing that came up in this was that with Kato long curved platforms ends at the proper spacing/locations also played into this some. Looks like the cars sometimes got twisted or leaned a bit coming out of the curve and would bump the platform end and some of these bumps would pop a wheel off the rails, which sometimes caused a derailment and other times got rerailer on the point flangeways or the rerailers we always put in the tracks after the points. It was rare and random but after pulling the platform back a half inch or so it all went away along with the 128 between curve and points. It was hard to diagnose as random and we would have a lot of different trains running but we would run for many hours at shows when the odd random bits like this would show up. 
 

the mini rail is especially tight and and btrains and smaller cars seem to wobble around more than larger cars and may have similar issues.
 

jeff

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Cat

Hmm, we'll be operating at slow speeds anyway (DCC, so full power to the rails), and will check the tuning on all turnouts then.  Sounds like coupler upgrades will be in order.

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cteno4

Btrains and small cars behave differently than big train cars, but they have their own crankies. In mini layouts you sometimes are just forced to push stuff close together so then working on couplers and point tuning can help solve crankies if you get them.

 

ive only played with one 16 car btrain shinkansen, but it had issues on the regular layout staying couple and derailing. Most of what we saw was due to the rapidos and springs causing a lot of slinky effect at times. The member that owned the 16 car 700 I don’t think ever moved to more positive couplers. I’ve sort of set my btrains aside the last few years. My big ones are 8 car and usually worked well, and problems were usually totally random (ie would take a long time to find a pattern if there was one) or specific to one car that needed fiddling. I’ve noticed some tend to be able to wobble more on their trucks and I’ve often wondered about going to a bolt thru design with a washer to help dampen some of that up. Or adding a very thin shim washer between the truck and chassis over the Kato snap connectors. Again it’s more tuning as needed.

 

todd on the forum here had a 16 car zero shortie that runs beautifully for him! So there is some variation, just be ready to dance some.

 

cheers

 

jeff

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Cat

Cat dancing at the ready!

Our normal 'big' trains will be 5-car commuters.  But also prepping a larger Cassiopeia for show use when we have the running room.

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Martijn Meerts

So far, the only turnouts I have that aren’t problematic at times, are my hand built ones 🙂

 

Even the Peco ones with servo motors to drive them can cause issues with some trains. 

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Morcs

The only turnout that is an issue for me is a LH which immediate goes into a RH curve. But it's a dead end and storage only so slow speeds and near the front so was access to fix any derailed Cars.

 

For my urban area I'm going to do a carpark right behind the station, with a row of buildings across the back, with a road going horizontally through the middle. Easy and simple and will fill the space well.

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Morcs

Has anyone experience with running tomix ef65 and de10s on small radius curves?

I know they are listed as compatible with small radius, I'm more concerned about how they look (and run)

The ED79 looks great and I'm sure a DD13 would too, but would prefer an EF65 or De10. The DD13s just look a bit cheap.

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cteno4

Morocs,

 

what radius curves are you looking at?

 

jeff

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Sheffie

My DE10 is Kato, but it handles 150mm curves without a problem. 

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Morcs
Posted (edited)

Curves are R150s

 

How does the de10 look on those 150 curves? 

Edit doesn't look bad at all:

 

Edited by Morcs
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railsquid
On 3/12/2020 at 3:18 PM, Morcs said:

Has anyone experience with running tomix ef65 and de10s on small radius curves?

I know they are listed as compatible with small radius, I'm more concerned about how they look (and run)

 

 

I just tried playing with 140mm radius Tomix curves (I don't have the small radius Kato ones) and my elderly Tomix DE10 seems OK and doesn't look too out-of-place. A modern Kato DE10 works just fine too.

 

A modern Tomix EF65 model also goes round without problems, but with an EF66 the central bogie springs off the rails.

 

HTH.

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Morcs

Finished the scenery on the outer areas today, lots and lots more greenery. Did I ever mention how much I love clump foliage? Pretty happy with the results. IMG_20200315_105450.thumb.jpg.9e9f1fd36a2c82a401513ba375d9c38b.jpgIMG_20200315_105517.thumb.jpg.8b49513370ba1494b3e6bcdde91861c1.jpg

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