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Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Amrap1, Nov 24, 2006.
Never thought about windows> Why windows?
I may seem to be advanced in some areas, but I am lost in others. I welcome all advice, crtitisms and questions. I'm newer and want to help, learn and share as much as I can.
Hi Ed..From the looks of your pics, you've answered a lot of your own questions. Many of us my age ( mid 70s) have been railroading all our lives and in the old days there was no one around to answer any questions. I can answer a few; yes, turnout cork is usually the same height as ballast cork. You might look at "Sculptamold" for scenery. Less messy than most other products. You've obviously given a lot of thought to your layout. Your progress to date shows that. We'll follow your adventure and I promice to answer as many questions as I can. Good luck,
Continuing what abutt said about turnout corkboard...
There is another way of going about it. Take a normal piece of corkboard and look closely at the middle; there should be a slight depression. This is a perforation. Pull the corkbed apart down the middle for as long as the turnout is. Then cut the corkboard away on the side where the turnout is going to have its curve. Cut another piece of corkbed to fit into the hole in the original bed, and fit it into place. Voila, kitbash-style turnout corkbed instead of spending more time and money on extra corkboard.
This is easier to explain with pics...will post some when I get home.
Looking forward to see the pics. I have 3 more turnouts to cork.
Since I seem to be fansinated with lighting at this point and electricity is my weakest skill, Is there a tutorial here about lighting?
My idea was to use the 4 DC transformers I have to power different zones. I could mount them on a panel and use two for "day" lights like crossings lights and traffic lights. I could use the other two in zones for "night" lights to highlight certain buildings or areas.
Good idea or is there a better way?
That's actually a very good idea, because each of the zones can be at different voltages, and can be dimmed if the voltage is variable. Most folks who have gotten to the stage you are at end up using a bank of switches to control the lights (and change the appearance) because they don't have 4 variable power supplies.
I've never gotten a layout to your stage either, but am familiar with wiring and things electrical. The following is just some general tips - if you already know this just ignore the advice. It's worth every penny you paid for it.
- Having multiple variable power supplies for your lighting is obviously the best starting point, but most people don't have them, and would cost more than they want to spend on lighting.
- There are 2 practical types of lighting for models - LEDs and incadescent bulbs. LEDs are quite bright and directional, run cool, and have very long life times. LEDs are best used for headlights and spotlights, but are not as good for general area lighting. LEDs use DC power - can use AC but it gets tricky for the non-electrical inclined. Circuit must limit current through LED to 20ma or less, usually done with a 1K resistor in series on a 12-16 volt power supply. Resistor may eliminated if voltage to LED is limited to 3 volts or less. Even then, it is still often desirable to have a variable resistance or voltage to vary brightness of the LEDs.
- Bulbs come in a wide variety of styles, sizes, and voltages. The brighter they are, the hotter they run. Bulbs don't care whether power is AC or DC. Operating a bulb at about 10% less than rated voltage produces a yellower glow, and more important, doubles the bulb life. For example, if you have a 14 volt power supply, use 16 volt bulbs or two 8 volt bulbs in series. Cheapest source of small low voltage bulbs (commonly 2.5 volts) are Christmas tree light strings. Cut the string at the number of bulbs needed to slightly exceed the voltage of your power supply (5-6 bulbs for a 12 volt supply).
- You are going to have to document your wiring, lights, and power supplies so you will know what ratings you used at a later date (when it's time to replace bulbs).
- If you use bulbs to light structures, make sure you can get them out to replace them. Bulbs will show up any non-light-tight joints and walls on your buildings. Painting the interior walls and setting up light baffles (interior walls) is often recommended. Hang the lights from the ceiling - if you put them on the floor, you will see them through the windows.
my thoughts, your choices
My layout is not really at a stage that I would consider advanced. I'm really flying by the seat of my pants and will most likely run into alot of problems when it starts to come together. I do appreciate your advice!
If that's a starting point, then there must be a better/easier way?
I don't plan on my layout looking like a christmas display, but i would like it to be an added viewpoint. Maybe I should use 1 for each industrial building/area with lights and the others to power the smaller areas with way less lights.
Someone told me not to glue down my structures so I can lift them up to change or rearange lights that might get blocked by new additions.
What I meant is that having 4 variable DC supplies is a great way to power accessory lighting. I can't imagine a better foundation. You can use the variable settings to dim each block of lights independently; most folks settle for sets of on/off toggles to change lighting.
The amount of lighting you add is totally up to you. Starting in the 1970s, lighting in most work spaces and industrial areas was really beefed up to allow around-the-clock work. From universal use of electric lighting in the early 20th century to into the 1960s (in most but not all cases), lights were generally used to supplement natural daylight, or to work a few hours into the evening. Very few enterprises other than the military were true around-the clock operations in the earlier times. The light pollution we take for granted at night now was unknown in the 19th century.
my thoughts, your choices
I'm modeling in the modern era. So the lighting will be as close to what we see today. I really don't care about dimming lights.
As I said, electicticy is my weakest skill and I want to keep it simple. No resisters or complicated wiring. The cheap transformers are easy to find for a couple of bucks. Couldn't I set up a panel with the cheap transformers like some people do with turnout switches to control the lights?
This may sound like a real dumb question, but here goes.
My transformer is 18 volts a/c and my lights are 14 volts a/c. How many can I run on the transformer? Or does this work like house current, it's not the volts, but the amps.
I think the idea is to use the variable DC side of the controller, that way you can lower the intensity of the lighting by lowering the voltage. This will also prolong bulb life.
Put away the Gravel plant and set aside my lighting experiments! I'll work on that detail later. Decided to work on laying cork and experimenting with painting. Picked up a small can of black spray paint and 2 shades of acrylic brown paint. To make a long story short... I ended up painting over the hillside with some latex light brown paint. It looks like painting/weathering is going to be a real learning experience!
Not being the kind of guy that gives up easily. I bought a cheap air brush kit from a craft store:
Gave the mountain side another shot at painting. I also started to add the top and square off the end for the portal:
Looking through the Portal:
I like the air brush results much better than any other method I've tried.
More work and more pix.....
Finished the mountain/tunnel on the South end. The colors look better with the airbrush, but I'm no artist. Ground cover and trees will help. I'm thinking about adding a small waterfall or two in some of the grooves to dump into a rapids filled river that will dmp into the river under the bridges.
If you are going to build mountains with tunnels, make sure you have access to the trains! I cut holes int he back, just in case there's a problem in the tunnel.
Found a cool bridge at a train show. Paid $10. It was a PAIN to put together and now I have to make it fit:
I had to cut the foam base down to the wood:
I've been working so much on the mountains, tunnels and bridges that I had to make a decision on where the houses will go. I knew pretty much where, but not how they would fit. I think it worked out well:
The trees I added are Super Trees that I made a few days ago. I painted lines first for the road and then the driveways.
Just to get a better idea, I painted the road and ground with cheap acrylic paint from Dollar General.
More paint to get a better idea.
I DO plan to make each house have the details I did in the practice houses I did: