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H0e forest railways with H0 branch line


Martijn Meerts

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Martijn Meerts

If the garage was cleaned up and insulated a bit, I would've definitely considered turning it into a little wood shop with some more static tools like a drill press and tablesaw. For now though, that's not really an option 🙂

 

I can get strips cut at the local hardware store. That's where I would get the plywood sheets anyway, and they do have a cutting service. For not too complicated things they're usually fine. Their sheets are usually 244cm x 122cm, so getting those cut down in strips of 122cm long and whatever width I need should be very doable. That way I can also get my brother to help transport the wood, since he no longer has access to a small van and only has a small-ish car. My brother actually has a burnout, and he's been thinking about building a layout as well. He did have the old layout that my father and I bought off a friend, but it wasn't really salvageable anymore. The track was doable, but the entire frame had been built with scrap wood and had started falling apart.

 

 

As for my own project, I spent some time over the weekend to go through a lot of the TomyTec structures I have to figure out which ones I want to keep and which ones I'm fine with getting rid off. I've also been throwing away a lot of old scenery materials which was actually salvaged from old layouts and for the most part just useless. Slowly but surely the attic is starting to get to a point where it'll be useable again.

 

With that in mind, I should probably start to think a little bit about some general track plan, as well as at which height I want to build the layout, and of course which depth to go for. At least my little work area where I build kits is as good as clean enough to start building stuff again. Just need to clear some space now for the airbrush spray booth, and I can look into finally priming the shell of the Hokutan #2 loco, and the Kiwa 90.

 

Unfortunately, motivation still comes and goes rather fast, so there's always the question of when I'll actually work on something at all 🙂

 

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Small table saw can be quite small like 80x60cm and just use some fold up rolling stands to support ply. Put the saw (and things like a small drill press) on small rolling stands to tuck away. The circular saw jig is something that you can just hang on the wall when not in use and set up on sawhorses or the floor. I’m going to ware you down Martijn!

 

Yeah should be simple for them to just cut a bunch of strips for you. Hopefully they charge you by the time and not the cut. Amazingly boring task! But just have to make sure ply is supported well and hard against the fence all the time to get nice straight, even strips. I have a cool feeder on my table saw fence with a couple of wheels slightly tilted that push the wood up against the fence strong and square, so makes that part really easy-peazy! Also prevents kickback of the strip that can happen. Don’t stand behind where the strip is as at times it can jam against the saw blade at the end of the cut and come shooting back out at you. I learned this young when my dad was slicking up some thin boards and didn’t put a kickback feather board on and one shot out of the saw and about 8’ across the shop and impaled into the hollow core door to the garage…

 

cheers,

 

jeff

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Martijn Meerts

The local shops usually have these large vertical saws, so the cuts are always straight. They're not always to the millimeter correct, but I've had all my plywood for the helix and yard cut by them, and it always worked out well. I definitely prefer to be able to do most things myself, so I'll see what happens.

 

First though, more cleaning, sorting, selling and throwing away 😄

 

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Martijn Meerts

Cleaning has been progressing quite fast all of a sudden the past days. There is still a bunch of things to sort through, but I could actually already make some new tables / base boards, and then store some things under the tables and use the tops for experimenting, even before really starting an actual layout. Of course, there's the question of how big the sections should be. Considering the dimensions of the plywood sheets available here, a section would be around 120cm long. Depth I'm probably looking at something like 75cm at most. Possibly smaller if I want to do a double deck thing with the upper deck being H0 and the lower deck being the N layout.

 

I'm also looking at whether I should go with an actual table with closed top, or go for an open frame build. I generally do prefer an open frame, but it does require more preparation before trains can run. I guess I could go for a plywood sheet to use as a top, and if needed, depending on the layout itself and the scenery, change it to an open frame.

 

The layout itself will be more or less 3 sections. The main section is the JNR branch line station and lumber transfer. The main inspiration for this is the old Agematsu Station as seen on the first several pictures on http://locomotivesteam.web.fc2.com/PhotoKiso4.htm. Of course, it will need to be scaled down a lot 😄

 

The 2nd section would be just some visible storage tracks where multiple separate forest lines come together. They drop of their cars loaded with logs and pick up a string of empty one before going back up the mountain for more. This would be somewhat based on Oshika (there's pictures of it on the same link as above), just a few sidings and a small stop for passengers to be able to get on and off .

 

The 3rd section would be the mountains themselves. This will definitely need to be open frame, since I plan on making a fairly sizable mountain with trains going up and down it all over. If I do decide to do a double layout, I'm actually planning on making this mountain in such a way that it's 1 big mountain used for both scales. The nice thing is, where this mountain would be, I have a LOT of vertical space.

 

Initially I want to focus on the first section. I would love to be able to fit in the small JNR station, an even smaller forest line station, and 1 or 2 tracks for the JNR line to pick cars loaded with lumber. I definitely want to model the so called 'omega loop", which can be seen a little more than halfway down https://sl-taki.blog.ss-blog.jp/2010-03-01 (the track looping back on itself with quite a height difference, going through a village, and ending up at a lumber mill)

 

 

And while the majority of the layout will be a U shape more or less, I'm also thinking of doing a lift out section, so the JNR branch line had a full loop. The minimum radius of the locos looks to be too big to do anything like a helix or return loop.

 

 

If anyone has any further pictures of forest railways, lumber storage yards and related things, I would love to see those. Also, if anyone has ideas for track plans, I would also love to see those, since I don't really have an idea where to start 🙂 

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Martijn Meerts

So, in recent weeks various things happened...

 

I think I already mentioned it, but my brother has a burnout, as well as coughing spells that can cause him to faint. While researching that (they still haven't figured out what's causing it, but he does at least have a method of preventing the fainting part), they discovered he also has a pretty severe case of diabetes. With that in mind, and since he's been showing some interest in model trains recently, I've been handing over some things to him, part temporarily, part permanently, as well as helping him get started.

 

We had some 12mm plywood cut to create a total of 3 tables with table top, as well as an additional table frame. The local shop wasn't quite used to making that many cuts, but they did anyway. While there was a millimeter or 2 of difference here and there, it was all very doable. There was only 1 slightly diagonal cut for the legs, which we did with a circular saw and a sled for it to go in. Tables were really sturdy, so I'll probably go for this method of making tables for myself as well. (I still like the look of the aluminium frame tables though 😄 )

 

Also, I went to Hamburg again a while ago, this time once again visiting Miniatur Wunderland, where we did a behind the scenes tour. Seeing their new Patagonia section with narrow and dual gauge sections certainly was quite motivating. There's still some cleaning left to do, but I'm getting to a point where I can build some tables for myself as well and start testing with some actual track. I did get some lengths of TT flex track a while ago, which I can use for 'planning', and I can use some printed turnout templates as well.

 

I've also finished up a bunch of 3D printing for friends, which took up quite a bit of time the recent weeks. Now that that's done, I can move the 3D printers out of the way, and make space for the spray booth. So, hopefully soon-ish, I'll be preparing some things for priming, and also continue building (probably) the C11.

 

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Martijn Meerts

After a long pause, I resumed work on the C11 kit. 

 

Started adding all the detailing to what eventually will be the cylinders. Still need to solder the sides, and then glue on some plastic and soft metal parts. Not an awful lot of progress, and not very spectacular, but at least there has been some progress at all 🙂

 

 

PXL_20231228_205929956.jpg

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Martijn Meerts

So, I've not posted a lot of updates, but work on the C11 continues. I did take quite a few pictures of the progress, but the hard drive that my photo library for Adobe Lightroom is on is about to die. I've created a backup of it, but I have yet to buy a new external drive / NAS. I'll post a few pictures, but they've not had any sort of adjustments to improve them.

 

Before posting the C11 updates, I've also been working on some more home renovations. Part of that is getting some AC units installed, including in the train room. This means not only that I can actually continue to work on things during summer, but I also have much more control over the temperatures and humidity. This should be good for the trains themselves, as well as a future layout.

 

Now, for the updates...

 

PXL_20231231_200754109.MP.jpg

 

Worked some more on the cylinders. In this shot there are still a few things missing, but they fit on the frame, and the weight also fits nicely. I also did a quick test to see if the motor and gears fit.

 

 

PXL_20240106_205442102.jpg

 

Next, I started working on the water tanks. In the back are the parts of the right side tank, in the front is the left side tank put together. This actually took way longer than it should, mainly because there's no tabs or anything to keep the parts in place. It's really a matter of lining things up as good as you can, keeping things in place with some masking tape, and then pray it all stays in place when you solder everything. Some of the parts I had to de-solder 4 or 5 times before I was happy with their placement.

 

 

PXL_20240107_145357657.jpg

 

Now, normally I prefer to work on 1 step at a time. However, the water tanks were part of the step where you not only build the tanks, but also attach them to the cab. However, much like the water tanks, there's no tabs here either, so adding the front wall of the cab to the roof is a bit of guess work. I looked on the next step, which is building the back of the cab, and to me it felt more logical to start there and work my way forward. Partially also because on the back there are 2 screws for attaching the shell to the frame. Attaching the shell while building allows me to check the alignment while I go and adjust when needed.

 

 

PXL_20240107_201729145.jpg

 

A really quick test fit. The various parts of the shell are held in place using some masking tape 🙂

 

 

PXL_20240113_211120474.jpg

 

Started adding details to the rear of the loco. Most of this is really just very carefully placing items, check about 50 times to see if things are in the correct place, and then very carefully solder it. I also found out that Tamiya masking tape is great to keep parts in place, as the tape can get pretty hot, and doesn't leave any residue.

 

The lights on this model aren't ready for LEDs, so I drilled a small hole in the lantern, and in the shell behind the lantern. I'm not sure yet how I'll eventually install the LED, but at least it's prepared for that now. 

 

 

PXL_20240115_202333518.MP.jpg

 

The rear all soldered up. The steps on the ladder are actually individual 0.3mm brass wire cut to 4mm lengths, soldered in place, and then the excess removed.

 

 

I have now started on figuring out how to best start attaching the cab itself. It looks like it might be possible to first solder on the rear wall of the cab to the rear of the shell that's already built, and then solder the main body of the cab to the rear wall. But that's something I need to test with lots of dry fitting and keeping things in place with masking tape.

 

 

 

And finally, I've also picked up a new 3D FDM printer. A while ago I backed this kickstarter for a modular 3D printable painter's station. You print some frames, and then you have various inserts like shelves to hold various brands of paint jars, brushes, paint tubes etc, and it also includes drawers and various other nice options. While I already have my workbench set up with a similar system made from wood, I wanted to use these 3D printed ones to create handy storage space for all sorts of things. I will then place them on a shelf over the eventual layout.

 

However, the printer I had was too small to actually print the parts, so I ended up getting a Bambu Lab A1 with the automatic material system. This thing can print about double of what the old one did, and prints it much faster and with better quality. The build plate is also much higher quality, and sticks really well as long as it's heated up, and then once cooled down, the parts almost come off by themselves. It can also do multi colour prints, but I've not tried that, since I'm not really that interested in it 🙂

 

PXL_20240113_135335770.jpg

 

 

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Martijn Meerts

Got some more work done on the C11.. Things are still progressing rather well, and with few exceptions, things are going together well. 

 

 

PXL_20240118_192619548.MP.jpg

 

First though, I printed a couple of 'stackable part trays' for which I found the STL online. They're rather nice since they don't use up a lot of filament, so you can use leftovers to print them. The big one is the original size, the small ones are just scaled down in X and Y axis. They've already been useful and I'll definitely print more.

 

 

As for C11, I finished the rear, adding the sidewalls of the coal bunker as well as adding the rear wall and the little window awnings (are they called this? The little covers that go over the front and rear facing windows ...). I also built the 2nd water tank. Finally, I added some cab roof details. Once that was done, I started looking at the next step, which is the boiler. While going through the parts, it seemed like 1 was missing. I spend some time checking the floor, but was pretty much certain I would have to either make something similar, or try and get a replacement.. However...

 

PXL_20240120_144857705.jpg PXL_20240120_144935470.jpg

 

The sneaky little bugger was hiding 😄

 

 

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Made a little jig if you can call it that, to install the window awnings for the front facing windows. 

 

 

PXL_20240121_155645070.jpg

 

And finally, I did a quick test fit of all the bits I've built so far. It's definitely starting to look like something now. Nothing has been soldered on the boiler yet, so there's still plenty work to do.

 

I did confirm a fear I had though, the cab floor was somewhat tilted. I didn't pay enough attention when soldering the supports of the floor, and they ended up being every so slightly misaligned. I managed to file it down a bit though and it looks like it's all good now. Next steps now are continuing with the boiler, and also disassembling part of the frame in order to solder on the cab floor, as well as wire up the various power pickups.

 

 

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Martijn Meerts

Work continues on the C11. So far I've still not hit a snag which drains the motivation out of building it, unlike the C55 where the sand pipes from the dome to the wheels still refuse to stick 😉 

 

I took various pictures along the way, but essentially they're all the same, just with a few additional detail bits added. So I'll skip those and just get straight to the current state.

 

PXL_20240128_201720983.jpg

 

Front / side of the C11. A lot of details went on the boiler and the front of the loco. Most of these parts are permanently in place by now. The boiler is also soldered onto the cab, water tanks, and the running board / footplate. Added various hatches and equipment, as well as small step on the side of the boiler. Really small parts like the handles of the hatches will be glued on. Obviously still missing are the smoke deflectors and the head light. The head light wasn't prepared to add a lamp/LED, so I'm still looking into the best way to incorporate that.

 

 

PXL_20240128_201733612.MP.jpg

 

Rear view. This was already done, but with the front part attached, it's starting to look like a locomotive.

 

 

PXL_20240128_201752426.jpg

 

Front view. It's obviously tilting to 1 side in this picture. I took it all apart again to check the frame, and that was all perfectly straight. The cab floor (the shell screws onto that) was also as good as straight. Turns out there's a little tab above the rear driving wheels, which acts as a sort of suspension. This tab is located dead center over the axle, so it acts like a pivot point. The loco in it's current state is heavier on 1 side than the other, which causes it to tilt. Once it's completely done, I'll work on balancing it properly.

 

It's a bit annoying seeing it like this, but at least it's not a construction error 🙂

 

 

 

 

PXL_20240129_184544937_exported_441_1706553997751.jpg

 

The parrot also noticed the tilt, but he's exaggerating it a tiny little bit 😄

 

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Martijn Meerts

Practice and patience mainly 🙂

 

I used to be absolutely terrible at soldering, to the point where I couldn't even get a wire soldered onto a bit of rail ...

 

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mags_minibuilds

@Martijn Meerts I’m curious what your plan of attack is for painting. One of the challenges I’m having with these kits is figuring out when to paint certain parts before assembling them. For example I painted most parts of the chassis before putting it together. But I’m also assuming it’s a kit by kit (and step by step) basis, some wheels are easier to disassemble. Just wanted to see what your thought process is.

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Martijn Meerts

I've not actually painted a lot of kits yet. I really only painted the frame of the Hokutan #2.

 

In that case, I painted all the parts of the frame that screw on separately, and then rebuild it all after painting. The problem with this is that due to the thickness of the paint, not everything will fit well anymore. There was also some damage to the paint where the parts come together.

 

For the next kit, I'll mostly likely assemble the frame (minus wheels and motor), mask off anything that needs to be masked off, and then just airbrush the whole thing in 1 go. I'll use either temporary screws, or use a liquid mask to mask the screw heads. Once dry, I'll take everything apart again to make sure nothings sticking permanently, and hopefully not damage anything. Before clear coating it'll need to be assembled once again and probably also disassembled again.

 

I have to say though, I'm not sure this is a good way of doing it, for the most part this is also a bit of trial and error for me at the moment, mostly error 😄

 

In case of the World Kougei kits where you need to press the wheel on the axles yourselves, and where it's not easy to remove the wheels again afterwards, I paint and clear coat the frame before installing the wheels. The annoying but here is that you can't test run it before painting, but removing the wheels from the axles isn't great either. You'd optimally want some spare axles in that case.

 

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mags_minibuilds

@Martijn Meerts I'm in the same boat...trial and error. It's a crazy amount of work you've put into assembling the C11, it's mind-blowing that you are able to assemble, disassemble and resassemble such an intricate loco. I'm sure you will keep us updated when you get to the painting part, great job!

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Martijn Meerts

It's not that bad actually, once all the bits are soldered, there's not that many parts you need to take apart to disassemble it complete. The entire shell is just 1 piece really, only the door at the front is screwed on. The frame is also not all that many separate parts.

 

I still have quite a few details to add, and there's still some sand pipes I need to add to this thing as well. On the C55 I tried soldering and glueing using superglue. Neither of those worked because there's very little contact surface. For the C11 I might try some epoxy. I've disliked using epoxy for the longest time, but I've needed to use it for several other things recently, and I'm getting a bit more comfortable with it.

 

And well, after this one's done, there's still the Kiwa 90 and C55 I need to finish, as well as an 8620, 9600 and Yubari Railway Nr 11 I need to start building. I won't run out of things to do anytime soon at least 😄

 

 

Also, IMON recently released an EF66 kit. Now, I wasn't planning on doing electric stuff for this project, and I'm actually still not planning that. I wasn't even going to do diesel, but that Kiha 90 was just too cute not to buy. However, I REALLY like the EF66 locomotive, so it's been tempting me ...

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Martijn Meerts

No new pictures yet, but things are still progressing. They're a bit slow at the moment, since the only things left are mostly small detail bits and various handles, pipes and hoses and whatnot.

 

The small details I'll glue in place rather than solder them, since they are often in hard to reach places. The handles on the various hatches are also so small, it's near impossible to solder those on, also partially due to where they're located.

 

Much like with the C55, things like the sand pipes are a pain to get right, they need to be shaped in multiple dimensions, so I can't go by the 1:1 drawings in the instruction. I need to shape a bit, test fit, shape it more, test fit more, etc. And this is with brass wire going down to 0.3mm, so it's all pretty fiddly.

 

Smoke deflectors also still need to be added, but those should be relatively straight forward. I've soldered the brackets onto them, so it's mostly just a matter of getting them in place and carefully soldering them.

 

 

Meanwhile, IMON posted a post on his blog showing an EF66-1. Temptation increasing every time I look at it ... https://blog.goo.ne.jp/imon/e/3a54119ecccfaef0adace03861c50dd5 (Skip the DSB passenger coaches 😄)

 

 

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Martijn Meerts

Quite a bit has happened since the previous update. Not all of which train related, but that's nothing new anymore 🙂

 

 

PXL_20240212_203952479.jpg

 

Side view - I've slowly continued adding details. For now most details are still soldered in place. I have gotten to the point where some things are glued using epoxy though. For example, inside the 2 domes there's a little weight that also has a little threaded hole in it which you use to screw the domes in place. This weight I've glued in place. There's also 2 small details on the top of the domes which are also glued in place.

 

I've also placed the smoke deflectors. They weren't quite as straightforward as I initially thought, and they're not 100% straight. Then again, I'm going for a well used look, so slightly misaligned deflectors is fine. I did remove the single drive rod I added before, since I didn't want to damage that while working on other details.

 

 

PXL_20240212_204004812.jpg

 

Front view. The smoke stack and headlamp are just temporarily put in place. I drilled a small hole in the back of the headlamp for an LED, and I'll probably drill a small hole in the boiler right behind the lamp to route the LED wires. Not sure yet exactly how, but since the headlamp will be glued to the door, and the door is screwed in place, I still have time to thing about it.

 

 

PXL_20240212_204022229.jpg

 

Rear view. I soldered 2 0.5mm wires on top of the cab, and added grab bars to the sides of the cab doors. 

 

 

PXL_20240212_204044307.jpg

 

Head on view. It's actually sitting straight for the moment. Right now it's assembled with all the weights in place, but without the motor.

 

 

Apart from the drive rods, there are really only a few details left to install. I still need to install the sand pipes from the dome to the wheels. Most of these are hidden behind the water tanks, so hopefully that's easier than on the C55. Once those are on, I can solder on the hand rail on the side of the boiler and cut those to length. And then there's some minor things left.

 

The end of assembly is in sight, and then it's time for cleaning up solder and closing any obvious gaps with some putty. I have to say, it's definitely not as clean and well built like the pre-built IMON models, but I've quite happy with how it turned out. I've yet to try wiring it up and driving it yet, so I'll need to do that at some point as well.

 

 

Also, I have NOT ordered the EF66 .... Yet ... 😉

 

 

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Martijn Meerts
On 2/12/2024 at 10:14 PM, Martijn Meerts said:

Also, I have NOT ordered the EF66 .... Yet ... 😉

 

Well, didn't take all that long ... EF66 is ordered, went down another rabbit hole o.O

 

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Martijn Meerts

So, spend a little bit of time on the C11 last weekend. Not all that much, wasn't a great weekend ..

 

I installed the sand pipes using some epoxy this time around. So far, this has to have been the most annoying part of the build. The sand pipes are hard to pre-shape and even then, getting them to stay in place long enough for the glue to set can be a bit tricky. I'm still not quite done with then, I need to do a bit of cleaning up, and then make sure they connect to the sand dome at least somewhat half decently.

 

While I had some epoxy mixed, I also added some other small bits and pieces. I forgot to take pictures though because ...

 

 

... I was also working on the power pickup and wiring up the motor for a test run. Initially it wouldn't run, then shorted out. Tested the motor separately and that run just fine. Checked all the power pickups, and looks like they're very finicky, and can easily make contact with the frame, which then causes a short. I temporarily used some masking tape to tape off a couple of obvious issue spots. I did eventually manage to got it to run, but it still shorted now and then. I tried running it with just the frame, but due to the lack of weight, it wasn't really going anywhere, adding the shell with all the weights made it run pretty smooth. The motor and gears are surprisingly quiet, even without any sort of lubrication.

 

In the coming days I'll continue adding parts, looking into the power pickup, and probably wait for the next delivery from RGR, since that should include some small solder cleaning brushes which I need to get into some hard to reach spots.

 

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mags_minibuilds

Congrats on the EF66 order! It’s hard to resist when the Yen is so weak. I have a RGR wishlist I haven’t gotten to purchase yet and it’s tempting me every day!

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Martijn Meerts

With a little bit of fiddling, and lots of checking with a multimeter (which seems to be on its last legs, half the time it just won't turn on, even with a fresh battery), I managed to remove all the shorts, and gave the C11 an initial test run.

 

It's not very smooth yet, and it's making a weird noise, but it's still not lubricated yet, and I've not really done any fine tuning. It's also currently running on DC since I don't have a spare decoder, nor do I actually have my ECoS at home at the moment, so I couldn't really test it on DCC anyway. My video skills are also lacking 😄

 

 

 

 

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