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Author Topic: The Fitziron Works Steampunk Railway  (Read 7599 times)
George Salt
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« Reply #25 on: October 23, 2012, 08:51:54 am »

Oh yes, Christopher Payne - I've seen his Paradise Mining Co and St.Pierre and they have both been inspiring but for different reasons. I can't seem to find any photos of the layout - usual search technique coming up blank, maybe my Google-Fu is weak tonight! Most of his layouts have been photographed by Jacky Molinaro but I can't seem to make the link work...

I'll have a look in the loft, I'm sure that I have an article on Sutton Wharf somewhere.  I think Christopher is (or was) a Gnatterer, so you may find something there.  I can't find much online showing this layout myself.  But I remember there were lots of pipes crossing walls, and a real feel for being right there in the engineering workshops and offices around the track.  An industry I've sketched out a few ideas for in the past is a bell foundry, after a weekend morning watching Der Sendung mit der Maus.

The last time I went to Swanley Christopher was still building Paradise Mining Co, he was exhibiting it as a bareboards work-in-progress.  That must be a few years ago now.


Antipodean - 2" slab insulating foam panels.. the perfect material for underground mining layouts Cheesy
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Angus A Fitziron
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« Reply #26 on: October 23, 2012, 10:24:10 am »

George, don't feel the need to venture into the loft just yet - I posted on the NGRM forum and Christopher has come back with some leads so I have enough to go on I think at the moment. I can see what you mean though - there is more than a hint of steam!

ffitz
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« Reply #27 on: October 23, 2012, 12:18:44 pm »

Or something like this?
« Last Edit: October 23, 2012, 03:19:03 pm by cjwalas » Logged
Angus A Fitziron
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« Reply #28 on: October 23, 2012, 02:12:51 pm »

Hello Chris - I had no idea you were a member here! Love your work - yours was probably the first layout that persuaded me that a steampunk railway was something I aspired to. Trouble is I am a complete beginner with model railways so very much on the upward curve!

ffitz

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« Reply #29 on: October 28, 2012, 02:41:41 pm »

Don't worry, Steampunk can be very forgiving to the true believer. Wink Just gather as much inspiration as you can and ask every question you can think of. After that, it's just fun!
Chris
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James Harrison
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« Reply #30 on: October 28, 2012, 02:53:25 pm »

I've been following this thread with considerable interest.... if you're still asking for ideas, something that I've just remembered is this.....



It's a photo of Tower Bridge under construction; something I had forgotten about was the fact that it had it's own internal railway system to move bits around site. 
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Angus A Fitziron
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« Reply #31 on: December 11, 2012, 01:35:09 am »

James, what a brilliant idea - it is in a similar vein to Antipodean's mine suggestion as well. The possibilities for working cranes as well as railways is quite inspiring! I think it is probably too big a prototype for 35n2 as it would be an enormous model, however 009 or something even smaller would result in a very interesting diorama.

I have done some whittling down of ideas. The estate railways would be much better at a narrower gauge, either Gn15 or more probably in my case a 1/35th version of O9. I expect that would be 35n1 or 35n12 ~ I don't know if feet or inches is correct, both seem to be used!

I still like the layout - I have relaid the loop using a correct circular template. This has given me two areas of hope for better running. The loop before was irregular, so the radius actually varied and it was only in one place that I got derailings happening. Secondly, I have been able to increase the mean radius to 71/2 inches (I know its not much but every little counts...) If this proves more reliable, then I will go with this layout (pictures to follow successful trials).

As for the theme, I went to the Toulouse Lautrec museum in Albi over the half term with my brother and was very taken by the paintings of Montmartre and Les Follies etc. I have also been inspired by the cover art of the Caravan Palace CDs and the video based on the 1889 Paris Expo. So, I think the theme will be a street scene with houses and shops of course, in an alternate timeline Paris in 1889 where the Expo is still happening but ever so subtly different as the timeline split happened maybe no more than 5 years previously. So, hopefully it can include some steampunk modes of transport, fashion and features as well as funfairs and rolling stock that is recognisable as appropraite to the era. One thought is that the Moulin Rouge could be replaced with a big red steam beam engine! Not sure what the correct name would be...

I should be able to test the loop by the weekend (busy week,) then I need to test the gradients so that by the end of the holiday I will be ready to build!

Question - should I depend on the rail connectors for current supply or should I run wires to each rail section from the controller? I will be using isolated sections for each of the sidings, but don't know about the main line.
Thanks
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George Salt
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« Reply #32 on: December 11, 2012, 10:27:57 am »

Personally, I'd run bus wires for each section under the baseboard and bring up feeder wires to every length of track in the section.

Here's a smaller bridge prototype..



And there are several small prototypes here.. sewage railways, etc.
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Angus A Fitziron
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« Reply #33 on: December 16, 2012, 11:49:34 pm »

Thanks George, I'll bear that in mind when I lay the track permanently, after the trials are complete. Stage 1, the 71/2" radius loop. It works! An 0-4-0 Hornby chassis manages OK and will also go both ways pulling (or pushing) 2 trucks each with 11/2" wheelbase - scales out ~ 4' 6". The (lack of) constant radius was the problem I think and squeezing another 12mm can't have hurt! This doesn't feel too bad for the prototypes I am basing my freelance rolling stock on.

Stage 2, the inclines - about 1 in 20 I think...

...and probably get some track plans up on Photobucket for posting.

edit - need to think about a test bed for a bogie wagon as well, one of those Decauville toastracks.

Hmmm


« Last Edit: December 17, 2012, 12:17:32 am by Angus A Fitziron » Logged
George Salt
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« Reply #34 on: December 17, 2012, 07:48:46 pm »

I have a Fleischman rack loco chassis knocking around somewhere not doing anything if you struggle with the inclines.. I had it earmarked for a Gumstump and Snowshoe inspired layout that I've not quite got around to starting.. ..
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« Reply #35 on: December 26, 2012, 03:41:31 pm »

There is a model engineering exhibition in London in January 2013,(I think it's about the eighteenth) Useful ideas and other interesting people to ask should be there. I'm not aware of what they have to your scale but it is a good exhibition for engineers. Day tickets are about ten pounds I think.  Also The Society of Model and Experimental Engineers may well be worth a look.

hope this helps
(the lady with the unusual) Walking Stick
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gavinfuzzy
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« Reply #36 on: December 26, 2012, 04:04:12 pm »

Anyone got a steampunkish vibe from the train at the end of BTTF 3?

Now if only someone made a G scale model of it...  Grin

Back to the Future Part 3 (10/10) Movie CLIP - Your Future Is Whatever You Make It (1990) HD
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James Harrison
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« Reply #37 on: February 01, 2013, 01:56:24 pm »

I don't know if this would be of any use to you, but I've been looking for something for my GCR/ Metropolitan Marylebone might-have-been and came across this source of resin kits....

http://smallbrookstudio.webeden.co.uk/#/products/4569521210/Gn15-Heywood

Locomotives are probably too small but the rolling stock might be worth a look. 
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Angus A Fitziron
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« Reply #38 on: February 01, 2013, 04:01:33 pm »

Oh dear, I missed a couple of posts, do forgive my rudeness please!

To the lady with the 'unusual' walking stick, thank you for the information - I completely missed this, as I have been laid low with a lurgy contracted from a doting grand daughter. As such I probably would have been unable to attend anyway but I do thank you for the tip.

Gavinfuzzy - yes, if only! However, if somebody did I would have abandoned this project and gone to G15! It may well be that I will persevere with the current design for a shelf railway and then when we move, maybe a small garden railway would be something to put on the list of required features - I need to get outside more often really!

James, thank you for the Smallbrook Studio link. I have seen some of their offerings at ExpoNG but missed last year, so there are one or two additions I was unaware of. I am already using some of those same Dapol chassis for wagon conversions as I started out with a basic Hornby set bought cheap as a source of bits and to get the idea. It has taken a while to get my eye in for scale, so when visiting exhibitions I have found it hard to estimate if something would look 'right' at 1/35 if it is actually made for 0e or 7mm at 1/43 or for G scale at typically 1/22.5 - I seem to have deliberately plonked myself slap between the two! But I do like the barrel set in the Heywood G scale - they would do nicely for wine barrels as shown in my Decauville catalogue (reprint). Also, some of the spare parts will be useful, so I might find myself putting an order together.

Some good news, I have reversed the design of the layout so that trains leaving the goods yard with engines ahead of the train can successfully negotiate the tight curve at the end (pictures to follow soon) as the right hand turn favours the tension lock couplers. I have also experimented with the inclines as the last part of the layout features a cross-over - Snowshoe and Gumtree style. The little Hornby 0-4-0 managed without breaking sweat and also managed two wagons, ballasted for reliable running. It was only when I loaded one of the wagons with a Bachmann Side Rod Gas Mechanical that it gave up in wheel spin! I think once the gradient is made constant and the rails stop dipping under the weight we are systems go and ready for the build proper.
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Angus A Fitziron
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« Reply #39 on: June 22, 2013, 10:30:43 am »

Oh well, nearly 6 months gone by and no apparent progress! I have completed the tests and taken down the test track to begin with the actual layout. I have divided the board into two so that it is transportable should the need arise. This has given me endless problems working out how to make them join up reliably. Major changes are - the right 'half' is now on a sub frame so that it is more rigid (the sheets of plywood I bought have ended up like a fiddler's elbow ~ I had no idea such rubbish existed) and the left half is a 2" slab of builder's foam (a technique much advocated so I thought I would try it).

Work is now proceeding (very) slowly on three fronts:
The base board and layout build
The production of stock
A diorama to see if I can actually model still and as part of a railway modelling forum competition to give me a gee up.

I also have just struck on a theme which marries many of the preceding ideas so thank you to everybody that took part. It is not entirely original but I see that as meaning that if others have thought of it too, it should be quite accessible. So, thanks to Herr Doktor's Three Legs thread and the work of Barry Ford in the first 'Steampunk Modeller' book, I have decided to locate the railway on Mars, circa 1898! The Martian invasion as described by H.G.Wells has failed but knowing that the planet is now hostile, earth must defend itself against any possible future threat. The Imperial countries only know one way to deal with that so they all combine forces and invade Mars. I accept Barry Ford's idea that Mars is first sprayed with the bacteria that killed off the Martians on earth (hey they started it first! The Martians employed WMD in the black smoke against earth). The main changes in the timeline now are that earth countries stop fighting each other and co-operate so technology is shared and focused on the extra terrestrial threat. So, technologies that struggled for adoption are now getting a leg up if they have a part to play in the invasion. In addition, the Martian technology is backwards engineered (thank you Herr Doktor) so that earth is able to use it to go to Mars and colonise it. I know none of the real world science works, but this is steampunk, right? The science is based on what was believed at the time, that there is air on Mars and there is water in the canals brought down from the ice caps and with a bit of work and ingenuity, human life is possible.

So, the railway is an adaptation of Decauville's agricultural system shown at the various Paris expositions. It connects from the work and logistics areas to an R&R base camp set up by the French army as part of the Terran Expeditionary Force, the TEF. (Yes I noticed if I called it the Terran Expeditionary Army the initials would read TEA - but this is model railways ~ serious stuff!). As the French built it, it looks like a slice of Parisian nightlife, with a twist. There will be bars and restaurants, hotels and houses of entertainment. It fulfils my present taste in Xpunk, which is a mix of Steampunk and diesel punk. I have decided to call this Akroyd-Stuart Punk, mainly because I can and so that I can use the infernal combustion engine whenever I feel like it. Otherwise, pith helmets and goggles are de rigueur, as are respirators, steam engines, corsets and boots!

I have a plan...
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George Salt
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« Reply #40 on: June 23, 2013, 11:01:27 am »

Is it a cunning plan?
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James Harrison
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« Reply #41 on: June 23, 2013, 11:06:49 am »

Sounds absolutely inspired! 

RE-Baseboards- The 'usual' method of joining them is to fit coach bolts through the framing.  Interesting that you're trying one in timber and the other in foamboard- do be sure to keep us informed as to which you think is better after a few weeks/ months/ years.  I've got an article in a Railway Modeller somewhere about building foam baseboards.  'They' advocate using the foam in the same manner as timber- strips to form a frame with a sheet of the stuff on top, and with foamboard, below.  They also say that if you replace one of the foam strips in the frame with a timber strip you can then put bolts and/or clamps through to connect up with other boards.     
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George Salt
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« Reply #42 on: August 04, 2013, 11:33:01 am »

Angus, James, et al.. there's a challenge afoot..

The 72nd World Science Fiction Convention is being held in London in August 2014.  They're looking for sci-fi exhibition layouts..

http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/74622-science-fiction-models-and-model-railways/
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James Harrison
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« Reply #43 on: August 04, 2013, 12:09:29 pm »

Now how many articles in model railway magazines begin with or contain the immortal words 'we agreed to an exhibition.... it was only a year away!'?  Cheesy
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Angus A Fitziron
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« Reply #44 on: August 11, 2013, 10:22:14 pm »

Oh my - no pressure there then...

Isn't it interesting that there is a kind of corporate idea that sci-fi / steampunk / dieselpunk layouts are suddenly becoming acceptable? There have been a few notable builders paving the way but even 'serious' railway modelling web-sites are generating largely positive threads on the concept now.

I feel a need to clear the decks now our holidays are over.
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George Salt
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« Reply #45 on: August 13, 2013, 11:33:04 am »

The things is.. as has been pointed out on the RMweb thread.. a steampunk layout is just a pre-grouping layout.  Unless you go Smallbrook Studio style with an Emmet inspired pastiche, or just go slapping cogs about the place.

I'll take A Transatlantic Tunnel, Hurrah! on holiday with me, and see what that inspires.  But the street railways of Dishonored look more inspiring for an obviously sci-fi themes idea, at least for a diorama.  I'm not quite sure how to get the dual gauge aspects to work.
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Angus A Fitziron
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« Reply #46 on: August 13, 2013, 04:12:48 pm »

I'm not sure I followed that argument. A pre-grouping railway just gives you a Vicwardian railway layout - a steampunk layout needs the futuristic part of retro futurism, an aspect I struggled with when creating a back story for my French turn of the century styled railway. The Schwebebahn Wuppertal Kaiserwagen is pretty steampunk in appearance but is an historical fact, so not really SP using the retro-futurism definition. At the end of the day we choose the flavour of SP that suits us and the argument at the time! It will be interesting to see what the challenge throws up.
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Angus A Fitziron
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« Reply #47 on: April 14, 2017, 11:41:25 am »

OK, so here we are nearly 4 years on...

Activity has recommenced and I am mainly posting to find out if I still know how to post pictures etc! I have adopted George Salt's excellent advice to dump the loop as well unless I go Gn15. In a way I have adopted a compromise as I still have the loop but it is now on a separate N gauge track running around the outside. This will model a minimum gauge mining railway which interconnects in the narrow gauge goods yard (home of a reduced inglenook). So, I have kept the zig zag and inglenook but lost the Snowshoe and Gumstump, albeit while retaining dual level working. So, the picture now looks like this:



The minimum gauge line - nominally 12.25" - looks like this (on left) in 1/35 scale:



The narrow gauge 2' railway is represented with the points on the right of the photo which has on it a goods wagon I am scratch-building.

Hmmm...  not sure that's working properly.

edit: so, problem with Google Photos so these posted with imgbb
« Last Edit: April 14, 2017, 12:11:21 pm by Angus A Fitziron » Logged
James Harrison
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« Reply #48 on: April 14, 2017, 06:34:55 pm »

I like the look of that.  (Reminds me, I have the two-volume history of the Ffestiniog Railway on my bookshelf.  Lots of interesting photos and info on the transhipment areas at Duffws and Porthmadog). 
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Angus A Fitziron
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« Reply #49 on: April 14, 2017, 10:07:54 pm »

So, as this is the Tactile section, I ought to explain some of the techniques and material used. The base boards are constructed differently. The left hand half is blue builder's rigid foam. it is very strong and stable, cuts well and can be glued with epoxy resin. I have cut it with a chinese style pull handsaw, electric jigsaw or various scalpels / craft knives, all fairly simply and effectively. The crumbs left by sawing tend to stick to everything due to static so I have made this an outdoors job! A set of shaped rasps have also been useful for roughing out. Because the foam is waterproof I have stuck pads of 3mm cork underneath so it does not stick to the varnished tops of my book shelves and also so they don't crumb. I have carved a tunnel out of the slab and this was sized for the 2' railway but has been replaced with a semicircle of PECO 009 Setrack sections which just fitted. This section will be covered by buildings and a raised street. One of the 2' zig zag ends terminates over the tunnel but access will be available either side to nudge a stalled or derailed train underneath. Although I have used epoxy to date, I understand that the foam can also be glued with Gorilla Glue, so I will report back after tests. To hold the track in place, I drill through the sleepers (every 8-10 or so) with a .8mm drill in the Dremel and then pin it to the plastic foam with regular dress making pins. Seems to work!

The wooden section is straightforward using 9mm plywood for the top and frame which is glued and pinned together. To provide some subtle variation in height I have been building up to two layers of 3mm cork in part of the goods yard area. I have feathered the edges using an electric orbital sander. It seems to me that ground is rarely absolutely flat, even when its meant to be, hence the contour which amounts to + 4 to 8 inches in real life. To fix the track to the wooden base I am using PECO track pins to hold it all together until I get round to ballasting.

Both halves were primed with Glidden Acrylic Wood Primer. This seems to be only available in white but it seals the wood half and provides a smooth, slightly tougher surface on the plastic foam section. The white finish has then allowed me to mark out all the ideas on the actual surface, both to transfer the computer design and to record fiddling with actual track sections whilst working out clearances etc. Now I am getting past that stage, I am using B&Q's own brand masonry paint in natural red brick (this is Mars after all!) I will later add variation by using lighter reds, ochres and greens before adding ground cover texturing (and I have no idea what that will be yet). I have been building up a collection of photos from the internet and my own snaps to create mood boards both on Pinterest and Google Photo, so I can update the folders wherever I am and recall the images whichever PC I am using. There are plenty of photos from NASA for Mars for a start!

I am soldering the track sections together and putting regular dropping wires through the base, connecting to the main buss wires. On the mining railway I have found it necessary to fit insulating rail joiners on one side of the main line of the electrofrog points, otherwise switching to the turn out causes a short circuit, because it is a complete loop so feeds power both ways. As I am testing at the moment and working on only one line at a time I am using a cheap Chinese make Hornby controller. It is not great, particularly on the N gauge chassis, but once completed I will probably go to a better quality dual circuit controller.

The two boards are held in place by basically being jammed between a wall and a room divider! Vertically both sit on a single rigid shelf, so the main location problem is front to back. I am attempting to solve this by first of all making the join on an angle other than 90 degrees, and then by using two security draw bolts sliding out of the wood section into sockets glued in the foam section. The bolts slide out by turning cog shaped keys in the board surface - I'll provide photos as I go. I don't intend to move the layout but of course the main issue will be if I do take it out then will I be able to line up all 5 tracks again? This is the weakest point in the layout that I have so far discovered!

I'll wrap up this bulletin with my intentions for stock. As a fictional railway, I feel completely free in design and vintage but in order to still look like a railway to other folk, I will be taking inspiration from real life. I have  a few 0-4-0 00 Jinty chassis which currently are destined to be a steam tram loco and then maybe a Porter and I quite fancy a Hunslet quarry loco. I have an 0-6-0 which might make a great basis for a Blanc-Misseron tramway engine like a 230T if I am up to it. I have an 0-4-0 gas mechanical chassis which would look like it might go well under a vertical boiler engine like a de Winton. The N gauge chassis are at the moment all Kato tram chassis, 2 x 4 wheelers and one Bo - Bo bogie chassis. Current thoughts are a pastiche of a Simplex 20hp, an inspection car and maybe a powered guards van?? 2' narrow gauge rolling stock is a mixture of Hornby chassis or Peco kits but all the bodywork will need to be scratchbuilt. Oh the joys of 1/35 railway modelling...
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