Well confused newcomer!

Members Forum Layouts Design Well confused newcomer!

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    • #240680
      David Thompson
      Participant

        Hi all,
        I’ve been planning a layout for some time – typical GWR branch line between the wars (or just after) and have designed it for EM gauge. Initially my options appeared to be handbuilt track or a proprietary (C&L, Exacto, EMGS) flexi track and point kits.
        And then came the announcement of the new Peco EM and I thought all my birthdays had arrived on the same day! However, there are some problems with the Peco stuff, some noted in another thread here relating to rail incline, colour etc but to me the killers are 3-bolt chairs and no curved turnouts only straight B6..
        So back to considering handbuilt and I was trying to decipher the various websites (EMGS, C&L, Exacto) and make product and cost comparisons.
        It appears that the C&L chairs are the best, home-made plywood sleepers the most economic and rail from the EMGS shop the best deal. This is just for plain track, when we get to turnouts it’s definitely hand built using home grown components as I need 17 and even in kit form that is expensive!

        So, from experience, what would say to my conclusions and have you any recommendations that might make me re-think parts of it?

        Any & all comments welcome

        Thank you

        David

      • #240881
        Bob Allison
        Participant

          David,
          I’m a little surprised that no one has beaten me to a reply. Is this still a live topic or have you received help from other sources?
          Regards,
          Bob

        • #240882
          John Cutler
          Participant

            My advice would be to build a short piece of plain track using ply sleepers, C&L chairs and EMGS rail.
            Butanone may not join ply with plastic chairs as strongly as plastic to plastic but an eminent EMGS member (Douglas Smith?) tested such joints to destruction and concluded that for our purposes they were not much different in strength.
            One advantage of ply sleepers is that you can pre-colour them with ink or dye before assembly, as recommended by Ian Rice. Another, I find, is that if one hashes the alignment, it is possible to insert a sharp blade betwixt chair and ply and break the Butanone bond fairly cleanly to move/remove the chair (yes, you can conclude I bodge my track-laying!).
            Do not underestimate the hassle in colouring the trackwork; use the test piece to discover what you need to do.

            I also suggest you try Exactoscale chairs as well as C&L.The range is different with more railway company variations.

            I recommend you buy “An Approach to Building Finescale Track in 4mm” by Iain Rice (Wild Swan).
            Although it is dated, most of the content is still relevant.

            Good Luck!
            John C

          • #240888
            David Thompson
            Participant

              @Bob Allison said:
              David,
              I’m a little surprised that no one has beaten me to a reply. Is this still a live topic or have you received help from other sources?
              Regards,
              Bob  

              Hi Bob,
              I’m still researching – especially as the more I find out the more I don’t know :)
              David

            • #240889
              David Thompson
              Participant

                @John Cutler said:
                My advice would be to build a short piece of plain track using ply sleepers, C&L chairs and EMGS rail.
                Butanone may not join ply with plastic chairs as strongly as plastic to plastic but an eminent EMGS member (Douglas Smith?) tested such joints to destruction and concluded that for our purposes they were not much different in strength.
                One advantage of ply sleepers is that you can pre-colour them with ink or dye before assembly, as recommended by Ian Rice. Another, I find, is that if one hashes the alignment, it is possible to insert a sharp blade betwixt chair and ply and break the Butanone bond fairly cleanly to move/remove the chair (yes, you can conclude I bodge my track-laying!).
                Do not underestimate the hassle in colouring the trackwork; use the test piece to discover what you need to do.

                I also suggest you try Exactoscale chairs as well as C&L.The range is different with more railway company variations.

                I recommend you buy “An Approach to Building Finescale Track in 4mm” by Iain Rice (Wild Swan).
                Although it is dated, most of the content is still relevant.

                Good Luck!
                John C  

                Hi John, I was planning to do just that – I’ll take a look at the Exactoscale chairs but all I need are GWR 2-bolt. If 2-bolt chairs were available on ready made track I’d probably be using that. For track colouring we recently used an air-brush on a Club OO layout and it worked really well and very quick, We were able to create a fine, narrow spray which covered the rail and chairs but left the sleepers and ballast alone so I plan on experimenting with that as well
                Thanks
                David

              • #240893
                Bob Allison
                Participant

                  Hi David.
                  Some thoughts to aid/confuse you even further.

                  Chairs: like John, I would encourage you to consider Exactoscale chairs. In my experience, compared to C&L chairs, Exactoscale’s are more crisply moulded, they do not become brittle after a couple of years in store and they are considerably cheaper.

                  Rail: my preference these days is HiNi rail by Karlgarin, marketed in the UK by Phoenix Precision paints. (I bought a pack from my local model shop!) So-called steel rail seems more like soft iron to me – it distorts very easily and rust sets in as soon as you open a bottle of flux in the vicinity. Ordinary N-S rail develops a yellow patina after a while, which is ugly and bad news for current transfer. HiNi rail suffers none of the above problems and visually is very difficult to tell apart from steel rail, unless they are side by side. Some people, including me, have reported real problems threading Exactoscale chairs onto C&L’s HiNi rail, which is why I use Karlgarin’s.

                  Sleepers: although I would baulk at paying the crazy prices now being asked for laser-cut sleepers, EMGS sell 500 ready cut sleepers for just £5.50 which, to me, negates any benefit of cutting my own. They are listed under “riveted track construction” .

                  I wouldn’t underestimate the tedium of threading 200 chairs onto the rail and then gluing each of them onto the sleepers, for every metre of finished track. I use C&L’s HiNi ready-made plain track and from more than a foot away, I cannot tell where that ends and the individually-chaired pointwork begins. Of course, it depends how much track you will be making and what the normal viewing distance will be.

                  Regards,
                  Bob

                • #240899
                  Phil Ottley
                  Participant

                    To add that Modelu now supply GW 2 bolt slide chairs

                    https://www.modelu3d.co.uk/product/2121/

                    Phil

                  • #241041
                    Malcolm Russell
                    Participant

                      Hello David, well I have just returned to modelling after a 40year gap, and I am also still confused.
                      No longer made but a very good product in the 1980’s was EM flexitrack by Ratio. It came as base mouldings and packs of code 75 rail. This rail was symmetrical top to bottom like the new Peco track, and the chairs appear to have two bolts to the best of my eyesight. Also importantly the sleeper spacings were correct at 10mm (2ft 6inch), 12 per 30ft length, unlike the new mouldings from Peco which have 13 sleepers for a 30ft length. Why? I don’t yet know, but I believe it is full size practice to have closer spacings on tight curves or high speed lines. however all of the EMGS manual and design sheets show 12 sleepers for 30ft.
                      The only problem with the Ratio sleepers is they were 33.4mm long ie 8ft4inch and too wide at 3.9mm (11.7″). Then, talking of tight curves EMGS recommends the gauge to be widened by at least 0.2mm to get long wheelbase vehicles around them.
                      As it happens I also have some track by SMP Scaleway (3 bolt chairs) and the gauge appears to be around 18.5 -18.6, but incorrect sleepers. It amazes me that no-one seems to get it all quite right.
                      So I am going to use Ratio in scenic areas where someone might notice the chairs and the sleeper spacing looks better, and on tight non-scenic curves the SMP or soldered copper-clad with EMGS rail.
                      Would be interested to hear what you finally decide to do. regards, Malcolm

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