Sunday, December 25, 2016

I am Slipping


Well as the title suggests, I have been slipping when it comes to updating my blog. As Bob Stack mentioned in his Blog a few months ago, the Russians seem to have taken a keen interest in NSW modelling. I have had hundreds of blog hits coming from Russia! I have not received my new Russian mail order bride yet, as I am sure Australia Post have been quite busy between sorting Christmas deliveries and throwing everybody's Ixion 32 class models around!
Danielle and I are now feeling more at home in our new house so a little bit has been happening on the modelling front.
While on the subject of slipping, I purchased a Mansfield AD60 Garratt off a mate a few month ago. I have stripped the model of all its paint and have begun the long process of repainting and re-assembling everything. There are a bloody lot of parts to the Garratt, I hope I can get it back together!
Anyway while disassembling the chassis I noticed that there were four Delrin bushes fitted to the chassis rails. To me they looked like plunger pickup bushes. On closer inspection I discovered that they lined up perfectly with the driving wheel rims. The Mansfield Garratt was built from the factory with phosphor type wipers on the leading and trailing insulated driving wheels. While these tend to be ok, I prefer plunger type pickups due to their robustness. I find it interesting that the plunger bushes were fitted, without the actual plunger pick up from the factory? Lucky I guess, as drilling the holes in the chassis (like I did for my Trax Z13) is tricky work.
Original phosphor wiper seen on rear right hand driver
The factory plunger pickup holes in the chassis just to the left of the rear driver horn block guides

I turned up a few little brass bushes which locate the spring on the plunger. A trial fit to the chassis and they seem to work nicely. I am not sure why Mansfield ended up steering away from this type of pickup method. I hope I don’t find out once the model is all put back together.

The forward driver plunger pickup fitted

While my engineering brain was in gear, I wanted to come up with a neat way of attaching one side of the DCC connectors – the ones that will link the decoders to the engine units. I didn’t want the connector flapping about and I thought if the female side of the connector was fixed, it would be much easier to make the connections.
I ended up fabricating a little keeper which is soldered onto the inboard pony truck nut. The whole lot seems to screw together nicely and will keep the connectors out of sight, yet accessible.

AD60 Sound Project
The Garratt would not be complete without a new sound project. I have taken quite a few sound recordings of 6029 and have been filtering through and editing my little heart out.
Sometimes I have brain waves. Sometimes, well most of the time I don’t think about things enough. The Garratt however opened up a new opportunity in regards to DCC and realism. When it comes to realism, particularly for a Garratt, one thing that is so important is to have the exhaust of the two engine units falling in and out of synchronisation. While this effect can be done with only one ESU decoder, using two decoders (Yes it’s costing a fortune in decoders!) gives me the ability to induce a proper wheel slip in one engine unit.
It has taken me around three months to perfect the Loksound V4 slipping template however I now have a reliable and responsive project. I have designed the project so both decoders are using the same DCC address. As with all my projects, the throttle will once again control the sound flow – none of that ESU ‘Full Throttle’ function button pressing rubbish in my models thanks ha ha! When accelerating the Garratt, in the lower speed step region, if you open the throttle too much, one engine unit will slip. The wheels slip instantly and obviously the chuff rate rises to match. To arrest the slip the throttle must be closed slightly. Once the slip stops the engine units match their speeds and the locomotive will continue, as long as the throttle is not abused! This feature will allow the chuff synchronisation to be actually put out by a real slip. While typing this I have been testing it on the bench. It is not installed in the locomotive yet. It is looking promising however will most likely need tweaking once the locomotive is running. ESU V4 decoders are simply amazing when it comes to producing a realistic driving experience. If you can imagine it, there is most likely a way to build a template to achieve it.
Layout news, well there isn’t too much. The layout is still safely tucked away in Moss Vale. While I do have the room here, I will wait until the layout room is lined before I relocate it. I think I previously mentioned that I was changing my layout modelling location. I have been building bits and pieces for Picton now for many years. While a little sad to make a change, I have decided that I need to do something much simpler and concentrate on the quality. I have decided to build Fish River, I railway location on the Main South between Goulburn and Gunning. This location is quite interesting with it having two dead end refuges and a sand siding. The bridge over the river is fairly substantial and is located close enough to the station for me to model the whole location to scale. One of the biggest drivers for my change is model visibility and sound project staging. The mainline track at Fish River climbs steadily at both ends away from the station area with the refuges remaining level. This split and track elevation will stage models visually and aurally really well. I felt Picton was going to hide the models in the cutting a little too much.
I have drawn the entire track plan in Templot and have printed a full ten metre section and a four metre section out. The four metre section (pictured) will be used to build all the points on. The points have been drawn to NSWGR practise in OO-SF.
The sand siding ran very steeply into the river. I have plans for a sand loading platform however can find no information on whether the platform was actually built, what type of wagons were used and how the wagons were shunted. If anybody has any information I would love to hear from you.


On sound news, once the Garratt is running, I will set up a Facebook site which will outline my projects and how they are controlled. I feel this will make managing peoples requests easier and give me the ability to monetise my work. Look out for Llewot Digital soon.

Well I hope everyone had a great Christmas, I had a good time at the Illawarra clubs Chrissy party. It was great to catch up with so many people.

This year Santa bought me a motorcycle rather than coal which was nice. The coal would have actually been quite handy as my 57 is still running around with no fuel.
Well that's it. Happy New Year and stay safe,

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Trying to Build Realistic Sound Templates


It has been far too long since my last update. Unfortunately I don't have much to report. My spare days are mainly being used to build fences and gates at this point in time. I have not been buying much in the way of trains lately however I did buy a Sound Devices MM-1 pre-amplifier to supplement my Rode NGT-3 microphone. I am hoping that this little device will help record better audio.

This post is purely to show case a few of my latest projects. While the actual audio sounds have progressed also, the main thing I have been working on is dialling in my Templates. I am trying to build templates and sound flows that help create more realistic operation. It has been a steep learning curve however I am enjoying staying up at night going over and over sound flow problems in my head ha ha.

Anyway, below are a few videos of my latest exploits.


Sunday, May 29, 2016

A Post From Wichita Kansas


It has been quite a while since I updated my blog. For some reason I have not been concentrating on it much lately.

Danielle and I have recently moved into our new house and it is basically taking up most of our time. I hoping to have a modelling space soon.

Meanwhile, I have been doing some work on ESU diesel templates and built up a new D57 class project. As most reader would be aware, ESU released their 'Full Throttle' feature recently. In my opinion, the new feature is just a new method of manual notching. They have added a speed hold function, coast function, eight notch function and a brake. The speed hold function locks the electric motor to the selected speed and allows the throttle to adjust the prime mover sounds. The coast function allows the user to force the locomotive prime mover sound into notch one/idle at any speed. The eight notch function does the opposite and forces the prime mover sound into notch eight and the brake function stops the locomotive (momentum settings are best set high) with any speed step selected.

I don't want to sound negative however ESUs concept is kind of ridiculous. Sure this has resolved the issue of separating prime mover speed from track speed however it is a messy solution. Like I said, in my opinion.

Here are the reasons I do not like it:

1. After having pressed the 'Hold' function and after having used the throttle to change the prime mover sound - once the 'Hold' function is released, the locomotive will accelerate or decelerate to the selected speed. To prevent a change in speed, it means that you must remember the speed at which you started. Some may not care about the speed change. Its a personal thing.

2. Pressing a function button to hold a speed, manipulate the prime mover noise, then deselect the speed hold to be able to slow down again is really quite stupid. For one, when shunting this is dumb.

3. Function buttons are prime real estate, particularly if you are a NCE user. Who wants to continually look at function buttons when shunting?

4. Consisting will be impossible with any other decoder or non 'Full Throttle' Loksound decoder.

5. The coast and eight notch ability can be done without function buttons.

I get the feeling that someone discovered a few check boxes that were not really used (they have been there for a long time), worked out that if you use a second sound slot as a control slot, that they could create a new method for manual notching. It seems the firmware update was used to add new function terms.

The one great thing that came out of this is the 'brake' function. While this has/is available on other decoders manufactured by others, it is a welcome addition to ESU.

When I built my XPT project, I built it with the ability for the prime mover notches to be selectable on the way down. This allows you to coast at speed or select notches at will. Having tried to create a better diesel ESU project, (I have never been satisfied with any diesel sound files due to the way they
drive) I was very interested to see what ESU had come up with regarding 'Full Throttle'.

Well as you can probably tell, I was disappointed ha ha. I decided to go back to the drawing boards and build a full eight notch diesel project that was completely driveable, sound and loco speed by the throttle. No function buttons.

As I have not recorded an eight notch diesel locomotive, I had no sound files to use in my new template. I ended up using ESUs EMD 645 project, deleted all the sound flow slots, substituted my new template and loaded the file into my Auscision 422 for testing. Last week I was able to run the 422 on Ray Pilgrims Bylong (thanks Ray). Rays layout is beautiful as most of us know but the main challenge was to convince Ray that a Loksound decoder, with a diesel file was useable without having to play the thing like a piano. It was great to see Ray find the project easy enough to drive. I have to admit, although in Candy, the locomotive looked great slugging up the 1 in 40 grades with it's prime mover sound adjusted to suit.

Anyway without banging on about it, I hope to modify my whole diesel fleet. This will most likely mean having to record quite a few locomotives so I have audio files to use. The 48, 45 and 43 are high on my priority list.

I have attached  two videos of the 422 and a video of my latest 57 file. I am sorry for the poor narration on the 422 videos. In regards to the 57 file, I have to make one small timing change.

422 Class - Part A and B

422 Class - L. Towell - Throttle Notching - Part A

422 Class - L. Towell - Throttle Notching - Part B


I am currently in Wichita, Kansas and have attached two photos from the trip so far. One is the SR71, no more needs to be said about that and the other is a steam locomotive that I have no idea about.

Thanks for taking a look.



Sunday, January 31, 2016

Andian Models LWW


Just  quick post while I wait for a decoder to load.

My LWW is one of those projects that has been hanging around for years. I found it a challenging little kit, however it all went together ok.

One of the main reasons for the delay has been me figuring out how to mount the couplers and also how to add the brake detail. I had a few photos of the brake gear sent to me but it has taken me ages to figure out what I was going to build it out of.

Anyway, I turned up the air reservoir tanks on the lathe and modified bits and pieces I had laying around for the brake cylinder and triple valve. All in all it came out ok.

The couplers are the Sergent variety, mounted on a threaded brass spigot with a 10ba screw.

The brake shoes are Ian Lindsay castings, I do need to tidy these up a bit as the photos show some unevenness.

The timber platform was made by laminating timber to brass, milling the ends so it sits at the correct level and weathering.

Still to go is a general tidy up, adding the rest of the hand brake/ brake detail, painting and then just maybe, just maybe it will be finished! Finally!

Thanks for looking,


Saturday, January 23, 2016

A revamped Z13, Longest EHO project ever and Most of a house


I hope everybody is well. After a nice three week break over Christmas, I am now back at work and loving every moment - umm not.

It's not all doom and gloom though. Last weekend I took a trip to the Auscision shop. Not a bad shop, it's very nicely presented and has a lot of models on display.

While on the subject of shops I have to make mention of the outstanding service provided by Hobbyland.

These guys really know how to treat customers. I am looking forward to the release of their X200 rail tractors. Should be a good model.

On the sound front, my XPT file is now being distributed by Mike Walters at DCC Sound. I have been contemplating building a Paxman Valenta engine XPT project version also. This would cover XPT power cars up until Paxman VP185 engines were fitted during the 2000's. There is really only one place to now record a Paxman Valenta engine in a working locomotive that I am aware of. This place exists in the UK and the locomotive is the prototype HST power car 41001 which has been restored to operational status. There are a couple of obvious problems with recording 41001. One is that it's on the other side of the world and the other is that although it has a Paxman Valenta engine, the exhaust system is probably very different to that fitted to XPTs.

The first problem is probably the easiest to solve. I have a contact in the UK that may be able to help with quality recordings. I could also just go on a holiday!

The second problem is where my dilemma really lies. According to documents on the XPT, the power car exhaust systems were modified (attenuated) from those fitted to the HSTs. For model train engine sounds, I believe that the locomotive should be recorded from the outside, not engine noise specifically but the noise produced by the exhaust. If you have watched any HST videos you may have noticed that they have a very predominant turbo whine. I have read the term 'scream' to describe the sound of Valenta equipped HSTs. After talking to a few people and watching early videos of XPTs running, I don't think the turbo noise is apparent from the outside. The XPT most certainly didn't seem to scream along. This brings me to the point of decision. Do I bother building a Valenta project where I will have to mostly edit the turbo scream out or just use my VP185 engine recordings? Both are technically incorrect for a pre-2000's XPT. Just because 41001 has a Vallenta engine does not mean that it sounds anything like the Aussie XPT on delivery. I asked my Uncle the other day (as he lives on the main southern line) if he could recall any sound differences in XPTs over the years. For him, he thinks they sound the same powering up the bank into Moss Vale,

I would love to hear some other opinions. I can most certainly build a pre-2002 project however it may not be worth the time and effort.

Still on sound, I have revamped my Z13 project. I have cleaned up whistle transitions and added a few new features such as a function operated brake. I have included a video to show these recent changes. Sounds such as random compressor, injector, coal shovelling and safety valve are automatically played at random intervals. Some of these can be heard in the video while others did not play during filming.

Modelling - My EHO project continues. I have finished the basic underframe which includes a method for sprung buffers. I need to build some battery boxes and then add all the underfloor detail components. Still some work to go.

House - Our house is only a couple of months away from being finished, fingers crossed. Modelling will really take a back seat once we move in as I have about 100 years of landscaping work to do. Operation line my layout room will commence in the next month or so. This should create a nice area for the building of track work. Let’s see hey!

Thanks for reading my ramblings.

Until next time,