Things progress at a good rate on the layout. All the cork and polystyrene is now laid and board one has had the Polyfilla added to the edges of the cork.
The river and two ponds have been formed, the road is laid including a little junction on board two. Board two still needs some Polyfilla added to the edges and the basics for the level crossing need adding.
I have tried to keep all materials as light as possible and the use of heavier materials is kept to a minimum. Based on this I decided to seek an alternative to putting plaster bandage on the polystyrene and tested a few alternatives, in the end I tried EVO-STICK General Purpose PVA, this product is used for sealing, priming and bonding, I brushed it on and left it overnight, I checked it this morning and it worked well with one coat, although I may do two coats to be sure.
The next job will be to smooth the Polyfilla down and give the whole lot a coat of various coloured emulsions.
It has been a very busy two days. I have been adding the polystyrene to the MDF formers that appeared in the previous post. I have started to add a path that runs the whole length of the layout and I have also made a start forming the river banks in 1/4″ Cork. I have used polyfilla to fill any spaces in the polystyrene and to ensure a nice gentle slope down to the track.
This post brings everything up to date on the layout. Much progress has been made over the last four days, the Fiddle Yard ends have been added, the four isolating sections have now been wired in, the scenic area track has now been corked and partially pinned, the points on the scenic section are now fully wired.
This afternoon I had a two hour running session testing all track with all options, again thankfully all worked extremely well. My Son John is bringing a few more Loco’s and stock down on Thursday of this week so that we can check the capacity of each Fiddle Yard loop and the sidings.
We will need to cut and wire the sections for the baseboard break and then turn the whole layout around so that the scenic section can be designed. I am very much looking forward to doing the scenic work.
Another very busy day and the fiddle yard is now finished apart from the four isolating sections on the sidings. All track in the fiddle yard is now pinned and cut for board separation. The two controllers are fully wired apart from the new loop on the scenic section.
We ran lots of trains this afternoon to prove all the points and sections worked OK, and happy to say it runs very well.
I will say it a again, its a shame that KATO do not make curved points!
Another day of work on the layout and all the cork in the fiddle yard is down, all holes for points and feeds drilled and all cords put through.
The next task is to connect the cords to the controller and point switches. What to do with all the extra cord under the layout will be a problem. Sadly KATO only do cords in one size and it is inevitable that there is a lot of surplus. To cut and rejoin or just coil and store under the layout has to be decided. After that all the pin holes in the track will be drilled out and track alignment checked one more time, all track pins will then be added.
After a lot of thought is was decided that a loop will be added to the inner track on the scenic area. The track arrived today and it will be worked on shortly.
Another busy day yesterday, the backscenes have been painted and glued down, the first board fiddle yard has been corked.
I have also drilled the holes to accept the point wires and plug, in the end I used a 13mm drill bit. I have done a few tests on how to put the KATO track down and I have decided that Peco track pins are the best option, although I will not actually pin it down until both boards are corked.
First thing this morning all the extra track turned up and I went straight out and fitted it all to the fiddle yard. I now consider that is the best I can do with KATO track system. During my learning on how to use the track I had assumed that they would produce various curved points! Sadly none could be found on any UK sites – so guess that they do not exist!
The final fiddle yard design finished, I made some between track templates based on the KATO point curved track supplied. Just to clarify, the middle six tracks are through tracks, the first and eighth tracks are sidings with a isolator halfway down each to hold two, two car DMUs etc.
The track will now be lifted and the backboard painted and glued down, after that the fiddle yard area will be corked. The track will then be relayed to the final design. I am looking to pin down the track if possible, if not I will have to investigate another way – we will see.
I had decided from day one of this project that I could not live with surface wiring and that all would be underboard. I also did not want to take the KATO point/power joiners off, I therefore investigated what was the smallest hole I could drill to allow the joiners to pass through, but still be out of sight and under the track. I think a 12mm or 13mm hole will do my wished for outcome.
At the moment I have not really decided on the viewable track at the front of the layout. I have had several ideas from friends including an extra curve in place to a few straights, a bi-directional passing loop or even a Stone Terminal. Whatever decided upon, the two main lines only will have overhead catenary.
Today I have been working on the scenic backboard, not an easy job with the rubbish wood I purchased from a large outlet. In the end I managed to get everything level on the backboard and also made a rear safety board to stop any fiddle yard accidents. I did have a few extra bits of track arrive today and they were duly put in place, the bulk of the extra track should arrive tomorrow.
The backboard is not glued down yet and will be painted both sides before fixing in place. Once glued in place I will temporarily take the track up and cork the whole fiddle yard.
My Son John came over to see us today and brought with him lots of his N Gauge stock so that we could test the track and check the fiddle yard capacity with the stock. We had an excellent morning and every rake fitted as we had hoped for and the running was excellent.
I must admit that the Kato track has many good points, but there are a few downsides as well. The fiddle yard area gives us six through tracks and four sidings, two on each circuit. The six main lines will hold up to an eleven car Pendolino and the sidings will hold two, two car DMUs each. So that will give us 10 made up trains, this is way short of what it could have held if we had used Peco N Gauge track. The good point is being well spaced helps with the removal and replacing of stock.
The reason we have used Kato is that we have amassed quite a lot over the last ten years at very modest prices, although I am now purchasing a few bits at full price to complete the layout.
Well there you are – the good and down sides of Kato, no ballasting the track, point motors enclosed and very easy wiring against far less storage in fiddle yard using the same area.
Now working on the backscene between the fiddle yard and the scenic section – watch this space.