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  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. This week I received three Rokuhan KoKi shorties, withoud payload, of course. I do have a set of 19Bs on the way, but that's still stuck at the customs, and I want a bit of diversity, anyway. But that's no problem at all: Containers can easily be made from card. I've chosen the free C20 containers from Vayashis' ペーパークラフト (I have also some 12ft containers from Paperstructure, but I like Vayashis' graphics better). They are TT scale, so I had to print them at (1/220)/(1/120) = 54.54...% of their original size. I've also designed an additional cube in Corel Draw, which serves two purposes: - its bottom has fitting holes to take the locks of the KoKi - it serves as the internal structure, which I'll stick the container sides to (this will result in better defined edges than "conventional" scoring and folding) C20_Kern_1zu220.pdf The internal cube gets scored and folded (it won't be visible, anyway) in a conventional manner. However, it is most advisable to score and fold the part first, and cut out the holes in the bottom only afterwards! In my experience the easiest way to avoid distortion is to fold the part at one edge (2) and to glue the ends together on a flt surface (3). When glueing the front and end in place I usually use Lego bricks to keep everything at a correct angle. Finally I paint the lower edges black to avoid the white flashing between the container and the car. C20_Kern_1zu220.pdf
  6. 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
  7. I accidentally stumbled upon the e-train controller from Rokuhan. http://www.rokuhan.com/english/news/2017/07/e-train-controller-start-booking-and-introduction-for-the-e-train-controller.html http://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10478906 It's feature list: - smartphone control - wired operation via the phone audio jack - wireless operation via 3rd party bluetooth audio receivers - built in speaker in the main unit - dc and dcc support - environmental sounds installed by default Imho this is very interesting. I assume that one audio channel is used to transmit the control information, while the other is used for the speaker mono audio output. The mixed DC and DCC operation is imho a new feature from any japanese manufacturer and i would like to know how did they impement it. (i assume that either the dc/dcc commands or the raw traction drive stream is transmitted, but it's a big question for me which one as they require different levels of intelligence in the main unit) Also the audio channel input means that also PC-s and arduinos/raspberries could be connected to it.
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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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