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Found 12 results

  1. kevsmiththai

    Hakuho

    I'd started to put bits of this on the 'What did you do on your layout today' thread but thought I'd split it off as I'm going to run a shadow thread on trainboard and modelrailforum as well as the layout develops. So the back story is that my current most popular Z layout is 'Republic Steel', Uniquely because Steelworks and blast furnaces look very similar the world over can be run either as USA 1950's, USA late 90's, Railblue era British or Showa steam era Japanese! Now I have had to ration the show appearances of this layout otherwise I would be out every weekend. Although it look very good running in Japanese format with D51s pulling long trains of coal and limestone hoppers and C62s and C11s on passenger services I have always wanted to model a layout more typical of rural japan, set in the mountain regions. it is going to be small, just 1220 mm x 760 mm and the plan will be for it to be split into four scenes. First will be the small wayside station of 'Hakuho' itself. The two lines running through it are two different railways. The outer track will have OHL to allow me to run Electric locos and the inner one will be steam and diesel only. Both lines will be Bi-Directional. There are crossovers at either end of the platform to allow trains to cross over. This will be the nominal front of the layout at shows. The rear of the layout will be the hidden sidings except that, as I did with Shasta, they will be fully scenically finished as a large marshalling yard. At one end the scene will be a more urban setting with a row of shops flanking the railway and it is here that the main lines will start to diverge into the roads of the sidings. I'm still pondering about the other end but there is no rush yet. to the horror of some of my fellow Southern Pacific Z modellers I took the decision to scrap the extension board on Shasta. The board featured the Dunsmuir depot at the front and a full extra four foot of sidings at the back so I could run four metre long freight trains in Z but to be honest it wasn't really working out. Transportation with the extra board meant borrowing one of the call-out vans from work and there are no show bookings for Shasta in its long form. All of the scenery was removed (you will see these trees again!) and the track recovered using copious amount of warm soapy water to loosen the ballast. The board has the advantage that it already has a wheeled flight case and I have taken off the hinged legs used when it was inserted into Shasta. So for now it is sat on my usual steel trestles ready for its transformation. Early days So here is the initial layout for 'Hakuho' with just one siding and a small shed. Buildings are by Sankei except the overbridge that came with a resin cast C57 as some sort of collectable. Marklin points and a mix of Peco and Marklin track. At either end of this section will be overbridges to act as a scenic break. rising up from the back of the station will be dense woodland with just a few other buildings. The former turntable pit will morph into some sort of lake with a waterfall going into it and a stream coming out. So the plan will be to fully finish the station scene first. One of the U.K model magazines are already asking for an article so I'll press on this summer more in a mo' Kev
  2. As I'm at the serious track testing stage on my new Hakuho layout i needed to have all the locos and some of the stock down in the workshop. As I loaded up the show stockboxes i thought you might be interested in how i handle my Z gauge stock. Now I know the vast majority of modellers will keep each model in its factory box but I do a lot of shows particularly in the spring and autumn and the manufacturers boxes are not really practical. At a show you need to be able to swap stock over quickly. more importantly, on Sunday evening at the end of the show, you want to get the stock off the layout and safely away ready for the long trek home. You don't want to be laboriously putting every bit of stock back into the correct box and then putting all the boxes into another, bigger, box So the models are decanted out and are stored in some plastic drawer units that a discount supermarket chain (Aldi) get in about every three months. This is the Japanese section on the wall in the home office The drawers seem to be a fairly soft clear plastic with moveable dividers to stop things sliding about. from top to bottom Coaching stock EMUs Freight stock Steam locos diesels Electrics with the Shinkansens in the big drawer at the bottom Now when the need to transport the stock arises it is deployed into my exhibition stock boxes. these are multi purpose as the USA and British stock can also use them and use easily available boxes as a a basis Two of the boxes are barbeque toolboxes! available from a discount chain with the tools removed. These have enough depth to take two stacking trays of Z stock new trays were made from acrylic sheet with sections long enough to take modern USA diesels and steam locos and 89 ft long freight stock. Each box is colour coded so the red box is one with long sections in. Top tray Loaded with JNR and Industrial locos. Note the picture in the lid showing the loading plan. Pre cut sections of foam rubber protect the couplers and stop the models sliding about Bottom tray. Coaching stock Note there is room for expansion! Obviously the top tray fits into the lid at a show so all the stock is easily accessible More in a mo Kev
  3. The weekend of March 9-10th saw the annual Keighley Model Railway exhibition in West Yorkshire in England. Now it is rare for there to be two Z gauge layouts at a show but Chris Wright was there with his 'Bullet Trains' layout and I was there with 'Republic Steel'. The show runs concurrent with the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway Spring Steam gala and I called in on the way down on Friday before setting up the show. I spotted some lads from the other layouts on the trains who had had the same idea! Chris's layout is 8ft 6" long and features sporadic lightning and thunder to liven things up. Obviously the Shinkansens are Rokuhan He has modelled it in Cherry Blossom time He also had one of the Rokuhan mini layouts on display at one end (See video) My Republic Steel layout can be run either as British Rail 'Railblue era' 1950's USA or Showa era Japanese steam due to the fact that Blast furnaces are generic and look pretty much the same the world over. For the Keighley show it was running BR to highlight the wide variety of British rolling stock that can be modelled using kit-bashing and 3D printing techniques Just 4 ft 8" long it is an easy layout to transport and display The 3D printed Class 37 has been very popular with the public. Seen here with the recently completed Cardiff Rod mill wire coil train
  4. Although the situation is improving there is still little variety in available Z gauge freight stock. I've amassed a decent collection of Tenshodo, Rokuhan and PRM Loco wagons but some obvious ones are still not available. The distinctive Taki 5450 tank cars in their yellow colour scheme are one such. So the thought was to try and scratchbuild some. However I recently picked up a load of MTL Z including a starter set. In amongst the box was a very sad looking MTL tank wagon with an end missing and damaged couplers which looked like it could be a suitable donor vehicle. First thing to do was to eliminate the moulded seam along the length of the barrel and make new recessed ends for the tank. . Then add hand rails at either end, these came off some Marklin 4 wheel tank wagons that had donated their chassis to British 20 Ton brake vans Painted in Ford Signal yellow with the chassis painted black it was now time for the homemade decals to finish it off. This was going to involve some work with Adobe Photoshop. I had found a good broadside photo of one on Wiki Commons which I cropped around the lettering. The image size was then shrunk to the length of the tank It need rotating about 1 degree clockwise to line it up I then converted it to grey scale and tuned the contrast right up
  5. kevsmiththai

    Rokuhan Kiha 52

    Finally got around to examining the Rokuhan Kiha 52 diesel railcar and putting it through its paces on the usual three layouts. Nicely detailed and smooth running there are a couple of very minor issues that a couple of minutes with a paint brush will sort out and it will be really useful loco at shows. Must get around to starting the new Japanese layout now! cheers Kev
  6. Continuing my personal reflections on the models currently available in Japanese Z I turn to the electric outline locos available. Now it was never my intention to buy any Electric locos and certainly I don't intend to put any catenary up (not after last time!) but Alison at Contikits had bought a collection of Japanese Z and was offering it at very reasonable prices. So I indulged in a Rokuhan EF 66 and a PRMloco EF 64 The EF66 in Early version livery is in the foreground with the 64 in JRF Blue and white behind. Compared to the rolling stock the PRMloco EF64 is very nicely painted and its performance was very good indeed with one small quibble which you will see on the video The pair together outside the loco maintenance shed on 'Shasta' In the video I test the locos on a variety of my layouts including young Brooklyn's Alpine layout with its evil curves and gradients and Republic Steel and most of my Japanese stock getting let off the leash on my big 'Shasta' layout. This had been out in full length form at the recent Derby model railway exhibition in Union Pacific/Southern guise This show was set in the spectacular surroundings of the original Midland Railway 'Derby' roundhouse with its unusual timber roof and crane gantries set over the turntable (Still in situ) which is now part of Derby College Link to video in a minute Kev
  7. kevsmiththai

    Shorties 2. A tale of two boxcabs

    Following on from the 3D printed GE 70 tonners I completed last year the next designs to fit the Rokuhan Shorty chassis were two different boxcab diesel shunters both designed by Stonysmith on Shapeways. The first one was an American loco very similar to the Central New Jersey GE-Ingersol Rand loco now preserved at the Baltimore and Ohio museum and like the 70 tonners is designed to drop straight onto the Shorty chassis There is no detail below solebar level and the windors are not open The other contender is the rare British Thompson Houston Boxcab that was built for the huge Ford car plant at Dagenham in the U.K. Amazingly one survives to this day on the Kent and East Sussex railway. This has the windows open which looks a ;lot better In the video I show how to finish these locos and also include some photos of the prototypes including a really rare bit of footage of the Ford one working at the plant in 1952. I decided not to do the actual Ford livery, choosing instead a mid green as it will mainly be working the Republic steel layout. Seen here just needing the flush glazing The CNJ was also left anonymous but was painted in the Pullman green used in its early days on the railroad The trucks need another coat of black as the grey is showing through
  8. kevsmiththai

    Australian Z

    So the other day I watched a 'Slow TV' documentary about the 'Ghan' transcontinental train in Australia. 3 1/2 hours long, no presenters and just pop up captions every now and then. Very interesting and relaxing but I had to watch it in chunks as I kept drifting into one of my Powernaps! I had the Atlas editions static model of the NR class and a couple of coaches and though I wonder if I have a chassis to fit? Voila, Body hollowed out and fitted on AZL SD70 chassis. Still needs MTL couplings added and handrails toning down. The big plate at the rear should be red and the grey bits on the roof and underframe look as if there black on the real thing The coaches look as if the MTL lightweight 4 wheel truck with couplers will fit so I'll order some from the States and see Kev
  9. kevsmiththai

    Cuyahoga tenth anniversary

    Remarkably it is now ten years since 'Cuyahoga' my Nickel Plate Railroad layout first appeared in public. Based on the Cuyahoga Flats area of Cleveland Ohio where the Cuyahoga river meets Lake Erie it was an attempt to capture an area where industry, the lake and the railroad meet. I had always wanted to construct a Nickel plate railroad layout since I first read John Rehor's 'The Nickel Plate Story' book as a teenager and had had a go in various scales from H0 up to gauge 1 without success. The plan was for the layout to make its debut at Zedex 2008, which that year was away from its usual Oxfordshire base and was instead at Northampton. Approaching the show it was touch and go if it would be ready and to be honest it was a bit too raw for my own liking but it ran well and people seemed to like it. The rolling stock as a bit of a mish-mash as it was all I had at the time and the future coach servicing area had to be done as a container terminal to fill the space Looking very bare! Guest operator Colin Burns finds his way around the trackplan. At this stage the control panel had a paper front! Constant development continued and it started to clock up a large number of show appearances on the U.K model railway circuit even continuing to get bookings after my other two layouts 'Shasta' and 'Republic Steel' came online. Appearances in Z-Track and Continental Modeller magazines followed and it has featured a lot on my youtube channel and on many of the Z forums The principal improvements were the development of the high line that runs along the divider between the visible part of the layout and the hidden sidings, the carriage servicing facility and more and more detail everywhere I could think of. The track plan has stayed pretty consistent throughout with Marklin turnouts at the rear and Peter Wright turnouts on the visible section with a couple of Marklin double slips in the dock area. The rest of the track is Peco Streamline and to be honest nobody notices the more European tie spacing at shows. Power was supplied by Marklin Controllers although the Universal power pack that operates all my layouts now has switchable DCC to both inner and outer circuits. More soon Kev
  10. Hi all. Just posted the review i have done on the available freight stock in Z by the three major players in the field. Starting with the Showa era 4 wheel wagons before moving on to the modern image container wagons and tank cars In a future video I'm going to look at some light weathering of some of the stock and also take a look at coaching stock when I have a few more to review (I only have Tenshodo one at present) So far then I have done C62s, D51s, DE10s and DD51s. Must get a C57! video at cheers Kev
  11. kevsmiththai

    Tenshodo Z D51

    Hi all Still on a roll catching up with reviewing what is available in Z and how well it performs. This is a belated review of the game changing Z Gauge Tenshodo D51. The model has been out for quite a while and when it came out was a revelation with its tender mounted motor with a cardan shaft drive to the loco, heavy boiler weight, full valve gear, separate number plates and a highly detailed body. They are getting hard to find now and I'm glad i managed to get one of each body style Anyway full video review here Next up will be the first of some rolling stock reviews which will eventually encompass, Tenshodo, Rokuhan and PRMloco items Cheers Kev
  12. One of my youtube subscribers enquired if i was planning on doing anymore video reviews after watching my recent DD51 production. As it happened I was but had been busy for the last few months developing my British stock for Republic steel. Now I have got over the recent flurry of exhibitions I've got a bit more time to do things. I've had the Rokuhan C11 for a while now and it is a lovely little model seen here on Republic on a mixed freight passing a couple of D51s Video at Next up should be a review of the Tenshodo D51 2-8-2s in their various forms and the Rokuhan DE10 cheers Kev
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