Felixstowe Area “N” Gauge Group
APRIL 2021 NEWSLETTER
THE ASSINGTON BRANCH by Ian
Let's get one thing straight, the name has nothing to do with the village of Assington, between Sudbury & Colchester. I just thought the name had a nice ring to it. My Assington is on the Surrey/Hampshire border and is the terminus of a branch line off the old LSWR main line.
The branch runs through several small market towns which will expand in the 1960s to generate a considerable amount of commuter traffic.
It was in late 2019 that I decided to make a start and originally it was going to be an 8ft x 3ft oval, but having measured the room it would have blocked the door and the curves looked too tight. I then changed it to 8ft x 18 inches, terminus to fiddle yard format.
I had the 6mm plywood for baseboard tops & sides cut at my local branch of Ridgeons so everything was nice & square. As a carpenter I make a good pastry chef, but I surprised myself by making what, I think, are a good pair of boards.
I then sketched out the track plan on the plywood top and laid cork underlay. The track followed next, then the fitting of point motors and electromagnetic uncouplers.
At this point my confidence deserted me and I commissioned Trevor to do the electrics for me and took it over to Felixstowe. I must say that Trevor did a fantastic job, far neater & more elegant than I could have done.
The photo below shows it in Trevor's workshop.
Brought back to Great Cornard, where I live, I erected it in my garage, fitted in the divider between the fiddle yard & the scenic section, painted the back scene in sky blue and the edges in some left over green wood preservative.
Then it was dismantled, taken up to the railway room and re-erected. My next door neighbour and good friend, Karen, then painted in the clouds for me.
Whilst the layout had been away, I had been making up some kits which are from a variety of sources and also adapting some to fit the layout.
I then had several hours of fun placing them on the layout to see if my ideas worked.
On the whole my original concept worked and I was able to crack on with the part I like best of making the layout come to life. The grey railwaymen's cottages on the left had all their gardens done and some odd little cameos put in place. The goods yard had the surface laid, all dirty around the coal merchants, the track ballasted, yes it needs weathering but I need to go to Orwell to choose the paints.
The street lights have all been fitted but need wiring up. I want to put a coloured light signal in as well as some station lamps. Somewhere I have some ground signals to fit.
The layout runs very well & I use a selection of small tank locomotives. Passenger trains are limited to two coaches and shunting the goods yard can be a bit of a teaser at times as space is limited, but it's all good fun which is the main thing.
A member's new items this month:
A Nice Kato 2-8-2 loco to pull his Kato Orient Express train:
A Minitrix set of three DB paired boxcars with sliding doors:
CAB RIDES AND FRAME RATES By Chris
Like many of us, I’ve been watching many YouTube channels in my spare time over the pass few years and have always enjoyed the model ‘cab ride’ style videos that seem so easy for the larger scales to do.
I’ve looked into many of the cameras that other model railway enthusiasts have used and have been disappointed with the size and weight of many, most being too large to fit on an N gauge wagon, or too big to fit through tunnels, or too heavy for even the best tractioned loco to push around.
I have tried spy cams and small cube cameras (like: SQ9 and the SQ16), but have found these have grainy recordings and only film at 30 frame per second or less. Which means they are intended for stationary position filming, not what I wanted at all, and in testing on a wagon around a layout they gave very blurry footage when going around corners on the layouts.
It was all disheartening and I had almost given the idea up, with the hope that the technology may be good enough to come back to in a few years. That was until I found and Austrian N gauge Youtuber who seemed to be having no trouble with his ‘cab ride’ videos.
So after contacting him, asking what he used, he told me he used a sports head camera used by motorbike and mountain bike riders.
The Camera is a: Replay XD 1080 mini.
I quickly did more research and found it is a US brand and the reason so many liked it was because it records at 60 frames a second in the 720 pixel setting, it is a cylinder design of 8.5cm long x 2.4cm wide and its only 2 ounces in weight.
Perfect for N gauge I thought, but an online search told me that they are quite expensive plus there is the import tax and high postage from America. So, a more local search was done and eBay produced a London seller who had a second-hand camera at a very reasonable ‘buy now’ price.
All it needed was a mini SD card and a micro USB cable, so I bought it, got the other bits I needed and have not been disappointed.
Mounting the camera on a flatbed wagon is really easy, I just used a little Blue-tac for now but I will make a proper cradle soon, and it is only as wide a LMS Duchess’s pistons so no fear of hitting any poles, tunnels or bashing scenery.
Here are a few still frames from the ride around my dad’s layout; if you want you can see the whole video on his YouTube channel. Copy and paste www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9S5b2oX2C8 into your browser, and click “No thanks” if it asks you to sign in.
Altogether I’m really happy with this camera and hope to have it run around our module system and club layouts next time we have any of them set up at a show.
Not received at time of newsletter publication, but just ordered from Rails of Sheffield, the new release Dapol Pannier in BR black, early logo.
I already have one in this livery, which came in a pack with a shunter’s wagon, but a Western Region modeller can never have enough Panniers, right?
Now received, and it is a lovely little loco.
PROJECTS (3) by Mike
After a month or more of sitting doing nothing except feel sorry for myself, I had a couple of members visit me for a BBQ as soon as restrictions were lifted.
Nearly four hours of man talk (trains!) did wonders for my mojo, and I have pushed on with the megastation project….
There is just a small amount of coping to add to some of the side walls, which I just noticed I missed, but this is pretty much the finished item.
I had planned for the central atrium area to be all glass, but having built it I realised there was no structural integrity when moving it. Sooner or later it would have just broken in half, so I have added an inner and outer half roof section to give it strength. It has spoiled the symmetry a little, but it will have to do, I’m not rebuilding it!
There will be shops, pubs and other commercial operations backing onto it on all sides, so it will be a pretty impressive set of buildings, I think.
There is just the small matter of two damn great platforms to build, for it all to sit on……