Tuesday, May 31, 2011

No more Davis?

I've done a bit more work in regards to my layout, and made a floor plan template of the Davis CA station.
I've now come to the conclusion that were I wanted to place it , it doesn't fit, with out making too many compromises.
So I am currently redesigning part of my track plan, to see if I can get something else interesting instead. I may resort to a few industries found within the CFNR operating areas, and freelance the area somewhat, put a few things in the 'wrong' order etc to make it operationally interesting, and retaining the feel of the area where the CFNR operates. I've also made a decision to make the era a few years earlier, so that I can run trains with leased SP power and CFNR power, so we're looking around 1994 now.
I'll keep you updated on my progress.


Friday, May 27, 2011

Product review: Walthers HO 'drop side' gondola

Hi all,

Recently I received two Walthers 'drop side' gondolas, which I ordered about 6 months ago when they became available to pre-order. The prototype of these gondolas was introduced in the 1940's and could be found in service with many railroads all across the USA, up into the 1980's. This time span makes them suitable to be used on many model railroads from late steam all the way into the more modern days of second generation EMD power and would still have been around during the rise of the dash series GE machines :-).
When this model was first announced, they were promoted as a good addition to Walthers' Cornerstone 'Scrapyard' series structures etc. The Walthers Platinum range , of which these gondolas are part, represents their top of the range HO car series, with fine detailing and factory installed grab irons etc.
I ordered 2 Union Pacific gondolas, with different road numbers of course, and I received them a few weeks ago.  My first impression is that these gondolas are indeed nicely detailed, with sharp lettering and good paint work. Also the under frame detail is good, with some of the brake riggings nicely modeled. I would have preferred a little more detail in the trucks, the suspension springs appear a bit flat, but I think this could also be due to the generous application of paint on my samples.
Their empty weight appears correct too,  so pushing these in a longer freight (on well laid track) should not cause any problems or derailments etc.  They are very smooth rolling which should also aid in problem free operations.
If I had a final 'comment' then I would have liked to have 'scale' knuckle couplers , like the Kadee no 58 factory installed. The more I use these, the more it is obvious that the standard HO scale couplers are indeed a little bit large.

All and all a welcome addition to my layout and that of many others too. I bought mine from Model Junction in Slough, for under £20,- each. 

Monday, May 23, 2011

A busy month

May has been a busy month, in the sense that I had little time for model railroading and even posting news.
It also has to be said that there isn't that much news from manufacturers to mention at this time. Things could change again soon of course. I'm traveling for work at present which doesn't make it any easier, still I've done a little bit.
I have taken a small project along, making some preparations for my GP35 project. I've taken along some Cannon&Company diesel detail parts and a loco shell. I plan on replacing the cab on this loco (made by Bachmann) , as the original has front windows that are too big, they are a bit too tall and it's very obvious when viewed next to similar models from other manufacturers.
Lastly, I've been researching DCC systems once again, as I still want to replace my current DCC set up with one made by the leading manufacturers.
Again, I've come to the conclusion that a system made by Lenz would be most suitable. A: due to it's reasonably small physical size, B: due to the fact that my local club uses Lenz too, so I could bring along a throttle to the meets, and C: the fact that I could get a system to a discounted price as an NMRA member. I do not have the finances together just yet, but I'm working on that :-)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A rethink UPDATED

I may have mentioned before, that among my long list of projects, hides a GP35, that I have been planning to detail and paint at some stage, into a Union Pacific loco, marked and numbered as yard switcher, but recently, I've seen a couple of GP35 pictures, in Southern Pacific scarlet and grey, and considering the era I'm roughly placing my layout in, I've been thinking perhaps I should reconsider and make this an SP unit instead. Besides, SP units usually have a lot more details to add, stuff on the cab roofs etc which makes for a more interesting model/project, so I'm leaning towards that.
Anyone care to vote UP or SP? :-)
Update: To make it a bit easier, here are some pics of a UP unit, and an SP unit, to make the vote easier :-)