Sunday, November 13, 2011

Behind The Scenes

A couple of weeks ago I finally finished one of those annoying jobs that had been hanging around for years. I was given, by my brother a very sad but built DJH AD60. It had been sitting around in pieces, packed in a box that had once been soaked with water. Both engine units were corroded and driving wheels were seized. Who ever built the loco did a good job but they had not cleaned the flux residue off properly and corrosion was showing through the paint. Long story short I stripped all the paint of the model and cleaned both chassis assemblies so as to get a bit of movement in the driving wheels. I replaced all the leading and trailing truck wheels with new ones supplied by Al Cutmore. With the wheels turning freely I went on to improving the locos electrical pick up. There have been a few articles on improving the DJH 60 pickups but I decided to pretty much copy the Mansfield version. I added wipers to the driving wheels and fabricated brass plates to retain the leading/trailing truck wheels which also included electrical pickups. With the two chassis frames sharing the same potential the boiler unit simply provides continuity. With regards to the opposite pole, the inner and outer trucks along with the new driving wheel wipers are electrically connected. A coiled wiper soldered to the inner truck securing screw contacts a pad glued to the boiler unit with a wire linking both ends.
After painting and weathering in my usual fashion the big model has proved very successful and is one of my best running models now. 

I have added a few pictures anyway as my description is probably not the best.

Along with the 60 class I have been working on the layout. It came time to decide what type of back scene I wanted before anymore track laying continued. I have gone with a curved back scene as I think they give a three dimensional look. I experimented with a sheet of 3mm MDF. While this worked it was a little too heavy and I think after time the edges would be easily damaged. A trip down to the ply shop to buy some bending ply proved very successful. As bending ply is quite expensive the sales man put me onto a product that is made using foamed PVC. The sheets are 3mm think and are extremely flexible, light and tough. The product cuts like wood and can be sanded. So far I am very happy with it  and at half the price of bending ply makes it affordable.

While on the topic of back scenes I was discussing with Andreas Keller lighting options. He and a few others mentioned LED strip lighting. I did a bit of research and think I have found a good product. There are at least three different sized LEDs that can be used in the making of the strips. I went for a 5m roll of 5050 sized LEDs and they are very bright. They seem like a good option with ease of fitment, power consumption and weight benefits but as I have not yet fitted them properly I will have to get back to you in regards to the performance.

That's all for now,



  1. Hi Linton,

    Have you any more info on that PVC backscene stuff? A brandname? Available where? I'd be very interested in it.


  2. Linton,
    I hope your plans extend to having the roof and walls fully insulated. It was a stinker in Sydney today.
    I can see the floor fan in action.
    Very nice carpentry as well.

  3. Hi Ian,

    I think there are a few manufacturers. The name printed on the protective clear film is Palram Palight. If you google it there is a fair bit of info. I think there is another foamed PVC board called Nema board. I bought mine from Husky Ply down here on the South Coast. I know non of the general hardware stores stock it down this way but you may have some luck. One of it's main uses is for sign manufacture and printing. Maybe you could check with a sign writing company near you. I paid $40 a sheet which is expensive compared to MDF but so far I think it is four times better. Another interesting aspect of the board is that it can be directly printed onto, hence the sign writing use. Maybe back scene images could be simply printed onto it?? I will look into the costs involved.

    Hope that helps,


  4. Hi Bob,

    Thanks for the comments. The shed with the door open is not too bad. Due to my new job the layout will be moved up to Bundanoon in the near future. Insulation will be on top of the list but probably more to combat the cold up there! ha ha.