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Martijn Meerts

H0e forest railways with H0 branch line

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Martijn Meerts

To be honest, I struggle more with installing couplers than I do with soldering trains these days 😄

 

 

Again, no progress last weekend, spend most of it building and setting up a new PC.. My 7 year old iMac started having issues with some programs / games I run, so it was finally time for a new one. Since Macs are getting ridiculously expensive, I opted for components, and build something myself.

 

I the upcoming week, I'll try to temporarily connect the motor of the Hokutan #2, so I can give it a quick go to see if it runs (without drive rods of course) and afterwards start preparing the frame for priming. That means another bath in the ultrasonic cleaner, masking where needed, metal primer, and a few coats of regular (probably grey) primer. After that it's painting, and then finding some reference material so I can weather the frame before sealing it all with a clear coat.

 

I'm also looking into maybe doing a little bit of a custom colouring scheme, just some minor details here and there painted in specific colours. Just a little touch to really make it my own little fictional railroad company. Of course, the Hokutan #2 does come with the Hokutan emblem, so might need to figure something out there. Maybe come up with an emblem, although in that case I need to come up with a name first.

 

Of course, the branch line will be JNR, just the narrow gauge one will be fictional. Any tips and suggestions are welcome 😉

 

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Martijn Meerts

So, I was looking at glueing the worm gears onto the motor axles to test the Hokutan's frame and see if it runs before I continue. The fact that the gears don't come pre-attached is really 1 of my biggest dislikes of the World Kougei kits I have, but I do understand why they don't do it. I always worry a little bit that the gear won't stick well enough, even though I've been using epoxy to glue them on for previous kits I've done.

 

Anyway, I wanted to glue them on, but noticed that my epoxy had expired, so I need to go get a new pack. The weather here has been terrible though, so I've not yet taken a trip to the hardware store to pick that up, and I've been home ill/overworked for a few days as well.

 

The only progress I've made is actually on the model train database. I've refactored a few things to use a different CSS library and spent a bit of money on some professionally designed components on top of that CSS library. This will help quite a bit with getting a working prototype up and running relatively quick, that even looks decent and is fully responsive. Spare time remains limited, and I'm still dividing it between various hobbies, but I do hope to finally get something online within a few months that is usable, and which I can continue to build on (yes, I've said that before ;))

 

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Martijn Meerts

Worm gears have been glued on. Interestingly, they stick out from the axle a little bit, whereas in previous kits I build, you just glue them so the end of the worm gear lines up with the end of the axle. Glued them on yesterday during the day, so I haven't actually ran it yet, figured I'd let it dry well before running. Didn't take any pictures either, since it's not really spectacular seeing a worm gear glued onto an axle 😄

 

Tonight I'm going to give it a little test on a simple oval of track, and as long as it runs well enough, I can start preparing it for priming and painting. I should be able to do the metal primer during the week, and then do the actual grey primer next weekend.

 

Another thing I need to figure out is any possible lights. Going by the images of the replica, it didn't have any lights at all, so I might just skip them. Of course, since this loco will be part of the fictional railway, I can do what I want 🙂  Since I plan to give it a wooden floor and 3d printed interior detail, I might at least add a little LED to the cab and possibly another one in the firebox in case I ever want to do the flickering firebox thing.

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Gave the frame a quick check up and tested that there were no shorts. Then quickly connected the motor and give it a short run on a simple oval of Tillig tt-scale track.

 

It took a little push and a bunch of power to get it moving, but after a couple of laps at speed, it already started running somewhat more smooth. It's a bit noisy and stutters, but that does make sense considering I haven't added any oil and grease, nor have I fine tuned all the gears. Most of the gears have a bit of molding flash on them, so they need some quick sanding. The weight of the shell should also help with improved running, and of course the decoder with power pack will help with smooth slow speed running.

 

The next step now is preparing everything for priming and painting. The frame consists of several parts that are screwed together, so I'll likely paint each part separately and then assemble everything. Then after assembly I'll do some weathering and then seal it all with a clear coat. It's probably going to be quite a lot of work to get that all done.

 

I've also been looking at maps and such of Japan, to see if I could find something to base the name of the fictional railway on. Couldn't really find anything, but then I started thinking about it a bit. I want the railway to be based on the various forest railways of Japan, so rather than naming it for a specific area, why not go for Japan Forest Railway. Obviously, in English that's a bit boring, but in Japanese it's quite nice when using the old name for Japan. So, the railway is likely going to be "Yamato Shinrin Tetsudo".

 

An added fun part, is that you can read it in 2 ways:

Yamato Shinrin Tetsudo (大和森林鉄道) which would make it Yamato Forest Railway

Yama to Shinrin Tetsudo (山と森林鉄道) which would make it Mountain and Forest Railway

 

(People who actually know Japanese, correct me if I'm wrong 😉 )

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Had a little bit of time yesterday evening. Looked into the frame in detail a little bit more to check if I'm not missing any parts before starting the preparations for priming. there's a couple of brackets that basically (in the prototype) support the weight of the water tanks. On the prototype those obviously are mounted on the frame, but on the model it doesn't make much of a difference. The floor plate of the shell does have holes in it for lining up the brackets, so they're probably meant to be soldered to the shell. In a way that makes sense, considering that also allows you to line up the shell with the frame a bit easier.

 

I've also started working on the inside wall of the water tank. I increased the existing cutout by about 2mm to create a slightly bigger gap so I can place a decoder in the water tank after assembly. After a quick test-assembly, it doesn't look like increasing the cutout makes it visible when looking at the loco from the outside, so that's good. For the other water tank, I need to do the same for the sidewall, but also need to cut a little extra out of the floor. Since the motor isn't centred, the cutout for the motor isn't either. That worked great for the right water tank, but for the left one it doesn't leave enough of a gap.

 

Once the water tanks are adjusted, it's a pretty straight forward build to complete the shell. Or at least, to the point of where World Kougei intends the shell to be. I'll be adding more details of course 🙂

 

I'll see if I can take some pictures tonight of the progress and then update this post with them.

 

 

Edit: And here are the images

 

large.H0j-Hokutan-number-2-04-frame-and-motor.jpg

Test assembly of the main frame, pistons and motor. Also some temporary wiring to see if it all runs, which it  does.

 

 

large.H0j-Hokutan-number-2-05-water-tank-inner-wall.jpg

Difference between the inner walls of the water tanks. To the right I increased the size of the cutout, to the left the original. It''s only about a 2mm difference, which after some initial testing looks to be enough.

 

 

large.H0j-Hokutan-number-2-06-water-tank-cutout-visibility-test.jpg

Quick test assembly of the water tank. You can't really see the larger cutout, so this should work out well. Worst case, I can add some additional detail like stepping plates or something in between the water tank and boiler.

 

 

large.H0j-Hokutan-number-2-07-decoder-opening.jpg

Bottom of the test assembly, showing the opening where I should now be able to install the decoder, and actually be able to remove it should it need replacing / maintenance. The other side will get a similar cutout, but in that case it's for the power pack board. The power pack capacitor will be installed in the smoke box. 

 

 

 

 

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Martijn Meerts

Pretty much no progress again. I did add a decoder with power pack to the test setup and gave that a go. With the default decoder settings and still no oiling / greasing where needed, it already runs pretty smooth. The power pack helps a lot with slow running and I'd definitely pick a power pack over a sound decoder any time.

 

I did start looking at assembling the shell, which I said was going to be pretty straightforward. Turns out I was very wrong 😄

 

There's not really any order in which to install stuff, so it's a lot of puzzling and test fitting. Some parts of the loco are also almost unreachable with a soldering iron, no matter in which order you build the thing. Adding details to the cab is especially going to be fun, not to mention painting it all.

 

With all the things going on in the world, work has actually been pretty hectic the past weeks, and will probably remain so for a while longer. I've been working from home the past 2 weeks, but I don't really have any more spare time now than when I normally do with the approximately 3.5 hour of commute time each day. I have continued sorting through a lot of the stuff that's stored in the hobby room though, and getting rid of a lot of things. Very slowly but surely I'm getting it back to a point where I can comfortably work in it again.

 

 

There has been some more progress on the online database project though, currently working on the ability to add items to collections, and add information specific to your model. Still quite a bit of work left to do for a usable version, but I try to work on it a little bit each day now.

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