fiddle yard

Mar 2015 14

Ballast and platforms down

Tonight was Girl's Night Out for Mrs A, so a great opportunity to get some more work done on my fiddle yard module.

On Friday I'd dyed a batch of chinchilla sand with a watery mix of Resene Sandcastle and Gravel colours and left it in the sun all day to dry, stirring occasionally so it didn't all clump together. After putting it through a tea strainer and a fine sieve to remove the larger lumps, I had a nice batch of grey ballast ready to use.

(Chinchilla sand is apparently a fine white sand that your pet chinchilla bathes in, easily found online or at any pet store. The great thing about it is that it very fine and uncoloured, and being a natural product it isn't all a uniform size, so it works very well for N scale scenery. I highly recommend getting some.)

Before I could ballast though I needed to affix the platforms. I made some careful measurements and then made up a spacing template on the computer. With one of...

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Mar 2015 12

Platform progress

Progress continues at a good pace on my fiddle yard module.

I made up the outside platforms, managing to make twice as much cardboard siding as needed, which is just as well as I fluffed the measurements and glued up one entire platform all wrong! Lucky I had a spare set of sides.

Here they are glued up, ready for painting.

I gave them a good brush with my Half Cougar test pot, then gave everything a good rolling with a foam roller which removes the brush strokes and gives a nice fine texture to the surface.

Once dry I g...

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Mar 2015 8

Fiddle yard wired up

A few more ticks on the list this weekend with the tracks all wired up now.

Power comes in through the RJ45 connector at the bottom, through the flexible black cable to the two copper strips. The solid coloured wires are wired to the common track, while the striped wires go through the micro switches to the other track.

Testing with a multimeter showed that the wiring in the above photo was wrong; that has since been corrected. Haven't done a live test yet.

Also cut out the wood and cardboard for the two smaller outside tracks, though I mis-calculated on the cardboard and ended up making twice as many platform edges as I needed.

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Mar 2015 6

A fiddle yard

Oh dear, 5 weeks without an update! Yup Utrainia has been floundering a little bit with very little to show for February. I'm not entirely sure where the time went, but I think I have been suffering from too many choices, not enough direction.

To fix that, I've made an online todo list in my favourite job tracker, Trello. Each project has its own card with a checklist of little baby steps. Even something as small as cutting out some cardboard has an entry. Now whenever I sit down for some train time, I have direction and focus, and everything I do can be towards my current project.

And so far it is showing good results. Witness: the fiddle yard!

A fiddle yard is a very British thing, being used to keep several trains on the layout, but not actually occupying valuable siding or station space. I decided I needed one so that I can have a selection of trains available to run on my mini modules, without having to lift trains off and back on the rails every time I wan...

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