Here is something that I have not seen anyone else singing the praises of; the cast brass version of Exactoscale’s fishplates.
As can easily be seen, these are both cosmetic renditions of a real fishplate from the bullhead track era and can also be used to create a functional joint between rails. These are not that strong and can’t really be relied upon to firmly hold one piece of track to the other. However, what they are strong enough to do is hold one piece of track relative to the other.
Therefore, they come into their own when track is being laid. Once one piece of rail is glued in place, it is necessary to ensure that the next is exactly in line with it and this is actually not nearly so easy to do as it might seem; especially when we a P4 modeller such as myself is interested in fractions of a millimetre and then makes life difficult for myself by covering the additional piece of track is them covered with weights. These are just perfect for this, they provide enough locational direction to ensure one piece flows to the next.
There is of course nothing new about using fishplates to join model train track together; it has been de-rigueur for Hornby & Peco since the dawn of time. What has happened is that the finescale fraternity have forgotten their roots a little and ignored the simplicity of some of the toy train solutions such as this.
Of late, I have been getting on with one of the more boring layout building jobs; that of adding cosmetic rail chairs.
As I wish to retain the flexibility of soldered track construction (basically because I do not trust myself to get it right the first time!), it is necessary to affix cosmetic chairs at each sleeper. I did lesson the task by using part soldered/part chaired plain track but even so I reckon there are three thousand chairs to affix………..
It does, however, make a big difference and the track is now beginning to look real – as you can see below.
I am over half way and so it will soon – which is just as well as filing the chairs ready to lay is wearing my thumbs and fingers out to very sore digits!
Arguably though, chair fixing is a form of procrastination because i must finish the wiring and then confront that turntable again!
…………again because I cannot put the words I would like to use on a public blog!
This was the scene that confronted me over the weekend when I was trying to fettle the layout for operation – a good number of broken chairs and detached solder joints. All this resulting in some fairly severe gauge narrowing!
It has been fairly warm here in blighty (I know that is a relative concept to some of the readers of this blog in the more far flung corners of the world – the Brits like to moan about our weather!). This has resulted in some thermal expansion and clearly I have not allowed enough joints to absorb this. It will be simple enough to fix, but altogether a pain.
Perhaps more irritatingly (because it has happened rather more), it has closed the gap on a number of crossings. This has resulted in a fair few short circuits and a campaign of dealing with these has taken a good chunk of my Sunday up!
Definite progress was made with Glenmutchkin over the last 10 days, in that the first portions of trackwork have been laid. At last, it is an embryonic layout!
This was started at the two platform faces as in practise this is one of the major setting out points. This is because it is about the only straight bit of track on the layout and also because the platform needs to sit on top of the most substantial baseboard joint on the boards – where the front and back boards abut. The platform will be a separate element of construction and will bolt over the joint, hence hiding it from view.
The scrap tak is seen here sitting in the branch bay. The branch bay platform face is to its full length, the main line platform face still needs to continue for 500mm – into the trainshed which presently can only be imagined!
Now that the first few bits of track have been laid, a sense of scale starts to become apparent. Not for me the “model to the railway boundary only” approach – I am very definitely attempting to portray the railway in its setting.
The other major setting out point for the layout is the link into the engine shed; which is a single slip from the main line and a cross-over from the main run-around loop. The baseboard joint is mid-way through the crossover, so deines this end of the layout.