Sunday, 12 March 2017

Those Uh-Oh Moments


Sometimes things don't always go to plan. I'm sure everyone has heard of the saying 'you miss by an inch, you miss by a mile,' well.... in this instance, it's a case of 'I missed by 30 millimeters, may-as-well missed by 300.'

The extra gap required for the perspex barrier proved to be the downfall of any extension plans.

The reason behind this unforeseen glitch in calculations for my upper level expansion can be traced back to the clear perspex panels I added when I originally built my layout. Take a close look at the above photo and you will see the top view of the perspex sitting in the timber channel of my layout's frame. This allows the perspex to slide up and out whenever I want to operate or work on the layout. The uh-oh moment was that I should have allowed a few extra millimeters clearance in my track plan for the perspex panel to clear the upper level framework. Allowing for an indentation on each side of 15 millimeters, makes the upper level 30 millimeters narrower than the current level. Unfortunately this had a ripple effect with my proposed track plan.

30 mm less width soon becomes 300 mm less length with sidings and so on.

The ripple effect was that it altered the angle of the turnouts and the position of both tracks to keep them from being too close to the edge. As you can see in the above photo, sliding the base of the centre island platform to the right, in turn forces the number 2 platform track further to the right until it can no longer reach the end right corner of the layout plan, coming up about 300 millimeters shorter than I'd marked on my paper track plan.

My first thoughts turned to the 4 car Tangara set I had pre-ordered with Auscision Models. At 935 mm long, it was no longer going to fit. It was one of those uh-oh moments where despite my best intentions, I'd ended up in a dead-end street just the same. The Tangara order would have to be cancelled.

Changing the angle of the points then effects the angle of the track and the placement of each structure and so on.

The next uh-oh moment came courtesy of the angle of the pair of turnouts. My plan called for the number 1 platform road to also double as the lead track to the main industry on the upper level, a OneSteel receiving shed based on the impressive saw-toothed Wacol Carriage Shed laser cut kit building released by Walker Models. The position of the three adjoining turnouts was critical for this track plan to work, and the two staging lead tracks needed to align with the upper staging shelf visible in the bottom right of picture. The ripple effect was that the track plan now impeded on the designated space that I had allowed to model the shallow relief building. The only way to avoid this was to shorten the length of the building, or have one of the turnouts removed and reduce the line down to one track leading to staging.

These uh-oh moments have a way of sneaking upon you. No matter how much time and planning you put into building a layout, sometimes you have to wave the white flag. With everything I needed to commence constructing the upper level extension at the ready, the extra compromises needed to incorporate it on top of my current layout had me questioning why? Especially when the track plan for Philden was so good to begin with. Philden is about as small a HO scale bookshelf layout that can be built and operated for fun. Try going any smaller, and well.... you may as well jump down to N scale.

So with just 7 weekends until Philden is set to make its debut at the 2017 Brisbane Model Train Show, I feel it is more important to forget any possible upper level expansion plans, and simply give my HO scale bookshelf layout the finish it deserves. That will involve cutting back the upper staging shelf view block, and instead giving the layout a high quality piano-top finish of richly stained Australian Jarrah from end to end. As for the steel shed? Funnily enough, it will fit on the spare siding that currently stands opposite my cement plant. I'll get to work building it after my layout makes its debut at the Brisbane Model Train Show in May.

Sadly, my newly purchased 86 class locomotive, Sydney double-decker electric set, overhead double stanchions and PECO points that were all purchased for the upper level expansion, suddenly find themselves without a future home. The amount of times during this layout's 2 year construction period that I've purchased a model, found it to be unsuitable, sold it, and then had to re-purchase a model that was more suitable has become a bit of a sore point with me, and tested the patience of my wife whom I'm also trying to get involved in the hobby. We're off to Railco in Brisbane this Saturday to purchase a new locomotive to alternate with 8243 in time for the Brisbane Show, as our list of pre-ordered Australian items that were promised last year and still won't be available before May has now reached the point of ridiculous. I'm happy enough to say that after Saturday, whatever HO scale items are in Philden's collection, are going to be good enough for me. Cancelling all my pre-orders, and selling my now unwanted electric rolling-stock that was to be for the upper level extension will at least put all of that money back into our bank account.

When I'm ready to start building a new layout in 2018, I know I'll be ready to try my hand at something a little different to Philden. Most likely I'm going to return to N scale, something of which I've been extremely familiar with over the past 30 years. Although whether it is of American, British or Continental outline, remains an exciting thought for the time being. Until next time, keep an eye on my eBay listings this Saturday 18th March as I list a lot of my as-new items for sale. The link is here, plus a list of what is left can be found on my Collectibles page.

See also; Weekend morning planning sessions and Visualising the upper level

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Thanks for taking the time to visit Philden. I hope you'll book a return ticket soon. Cheers, Phil