Shunting on again – part 4

We left this tale of woe with some constructed baseboards, track on order and awaiting a chip for the loco.

One good thing – three baseboards make an excellent workspace where items quickly spread to cover the available surface.

Three baseboards set up make a great workspace but use up lots of room
© Sweaty Dave, Going Postal 2020

Three in this configuration do not however lend themselves to a ‘round and round’ layout – I’m not that interested in one that just goes from one end of a track, six feet to the other then back again. As you can see there is not enough room for the full six planned boards where it is situated without removing the bed – something that isn’t an option.  As commenters have said, so far I have avoided serious spousal injury with the blessing of a very patient wife (though she was watching ‘Wives with knives’ last week, no notes were taken, so ok so far).  I looked at various options possible using the four baseboards already constructed.

Various options with the baseboards
© Sweaty Dave, Going Postal 2020

In the end the space lends itself to four in a 2×2 formation, no hole in the middle but wide – a space of 80in x 46in. As ever they can still be reconfigured in the future once in this shape and still broken down to store away. I added extra bolt holes and points for Din plugs (the existing ones can move to new locations). I’ll use the triangular blocks where they match up, but leave the others, just using bolts to see if is actually makes a difference in alignment. A day of hammering, drilling and woodwork got to a finished article. I did have an initial worry about the location of the 5 pin connecting din plugs but soon realised all I had to do was drill another hole and relocate them to a better place to allow connection. In a day it was all rearranged.

Naturally that completely throws the detail of the track design, I think I’ll just see what pans out when the stuff arrives.

Four board set up for now – not a lot of room to do more
© Sweaty Dave, Going Postal 2020

Power and train

The new chip arrived – slightly larger than the blanking plate it replaced, swiftly plugged in, yes another wire broke and had to be resoldered.. patience patience! I put the loco onto the test track – no buzzing this time, but an error code and it would inch forwards or backwards by itself – unfortunately without me actually asking it to do so! I was sure by this time that one of those wires must be broken on the motor itself.

Unfortunately, this particular model appeared to be impervious to access – none of the usual pundits online had managed to open it to inspect with only a cursory view of what was meant to happen on a YouTube video of 2017 by Sam’s trains.  Shortly after that, DJModels company went bust taking down its website and support info. What I could work out from what scant material was available was that you were meant to remove three screws (done) then twist the body to release a couple of clips. Commentators had tried this but nothing was releasing. I tried the same, by now at the point that it was in effect a scrap locomotive and if I couldn’t get access it was junk anyway. After what felt like an hour or so, parts started to free up, with only damage to some cosmetic elements – a handrail running along the water tank pinged off never to be seen again. Some more twisting and prodding and finally the top released – to show an excellent level of detail and what looked like a pristine set of wires and motor!

Managed to get into the body without too much damage
© Sweaty Dave, Going Postal 2020

Putting the chassis on the track and moving the socket once more showed it had an intermittent connection. The socket was pretty mucky and the likely culprit. At £3 a go, a new one ordered for fitting.

The socket arrived quickly (thanks to and is now fully soldered. Better, but still not a winner. I think the tiny wire into the coreless motor is fractured – it is hit and miss – flex it a little and it will start and stop. The only way to fix that is to find another motor of the same dimensions – always something new…

Faltering along – each loss of power resets to start again
© Sweaty Dave, Going Postal 2020

I’ll keep an eye out for another engine on ebay – they range from £25 to £350 depending upon age and level of detail, the £25 end of the market is more appealing and will have to do unless Betfair exchange pays out on the Presidential race.  My son does have a model diesel given to him by his grandfather 15+ years ago, he’s happy to have that brought back to life. Being that age, it has no DCC connection so will need rewiring. I ordered a ‘socket’ from Hattons – something arrived a few days later with no instructions and is actually something that plugs into a DCC ready engine, back to illuminated models for what I really need. Bah.

No sign of the track so far. The model shop has rung to say most items are in but not the bullhead flexitrack – Peco are manufacturing more at the moment and should be here in a week or two. With lockdown the shop is closed but mail order/ internet side continues. I must be spending too much money there as the owner is going to drop the track off personally when it does arrive – with time on his hands, he’s looking for somewhere new to walk his dog and can kill two birds with one stone.

In the meantime I’ve ordered a number of building kits – a selection of signal boxes and semi-industrial buildings to complement the coalmine area. A mix of plastic and card they should keep me busy for a few days.

Kits are here! Some plastic some card
© Sweaty Dave, Going Postal 2020

The garage went together easily – plastic parts means contact adhesive – the type that always gets stringy and everywhere. It already looks like someone’s had a go at jemmying the door.

First build – plastic garage
© Sweaty Dave, Going Postal 2020

The next one is a signal box. This is a Metcalfe models card kit – they are very similar to the superquick ones many will remember but a little better quality. I also added another kit consisting of the contents of the signal box – table, chairs, a lever frame and stove – tiny parts to make.

Tiny tiny furniture – chair the size of a marrowfat pea
© Sweaty Dave, Going Postal 2020

The card goes together easily – using a small bottle to accurately dispense woodglue. This works well except for the plastic windows – they need contact adhesive. A few pegs to hold items together, much of the time is simply cutting parts from the card sheets. With clear instructions, the construction is a wonderful way to while away a few hours.

Starting a card kit – can you guess what it is yet?
© Sweaty Dave, Going Postal 2020

Having built it all, I’m not sure the contents are worth placing in there – it is difficult to see them, but maybe adding a light inside will help.

Finished signal box
© Sweaty Dave, Going Postal 2020

The signal box took a few hours over two or three days to build, the card fitting together well with a few options such as posters/ carpets to add.

Having made the box and still waiting for the track, I dug out an old kit bought but never built for the cyclists – a row of shops. This is made up of two shop pairs. They are designed for a backdrop – so only half thickness at the moment (backs will be purchased and built). Again it is a process of releasing from the card, following the clear instructions and building it up. The end goal is a small terrace of houses with the shops nearby to make up a pit village. That will be time consuming, but with kits costing about £12 each, will be ideal Christmas presents from the kids (hint hint!)

Next episode – the track arrives!

© Sweaty Dave 2020

The Goodnight Vienna Audio file