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Author Topic: Small Sodor Display  (Read 748 times)
Len

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« on: January 02, 2018, 10:05:43 AM »

A local shopping center has a multiscale train display I maintain. By popular request, some time in the next month or two I'll be replacing the simple HO loop in the corner with a small 'Island of Sodor' display. There are four timer controlled buttons available for making things operate in this area. Space constraints limit what I can do, but I want to at least include a "Bredam docks" area, and a turntable/sheds area. So far this is what I've come up with:



The "Brendam docks" spur will be set up to have a loco shuttling a couple of cars back and forth between the two spurs when a button is pressed. I plan to build another T030 ship https://scalescenes.com/product/t030-cargo-ship/ to take on cargo at the docs. Two buttons will control trains on each of the loops. And the last button will make the turntable, with a loco on it, rotate.

Those same space constraints mean I'll be using Trix C-Track, with R2 curves on the inner loop, and R3 curves, and curved turnouts, on the outer loop. The dock turnout is a 12.1deg turnout. The turntable is a motorized Atlas unit I already have. It's only function will be to make whatever loco is on it rotate around. So far I have a couple of Thomas and Percy locos, allowing them to be swapped out for maintenance.

Any suggestions on what else I can include in the limited space, or locos that can handle the curves, would be appreciated. Keep in mind, for safety reasons, I cannot block aisle & access hatch at the top. This display operates, with buttons being pushed quite often, from 8:30am - 6:00pm.

Len
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Griffin


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« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2018, 03:23:08 PM »

I would think a Salty model at the docks would be a nice touch (and cranky too) and based on what I know salty would be able to handle the same curves as thomas and percy if need be. rosie or oliver and some basic rolling stock would look pretty neat too.
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Len

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« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2018, 04:37:18 PM »

I would think a Salty model at the docks would be a nice touch (and cranky too) and based on what I know salty would be able to handle the same curves as thomas and percy if need be. rosie or oliver and some basic rolling stock would look pretty neat too.

I've got Cranky, is Salty available as a seperate purchase item?
(The on-line store is apparently down for maintenance, so I can't check there.)

Len
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Griffin


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« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2018, 08:50:38 PM »

Sadly he's been discontinued as separate sale for a while, check eBay though as I've seen models floating around there very often. worst comes to worst you can always purchase his set and get 3 pieces of thomas dock-esque rolling stock (most of which is also discontinued ... a bonus!) or simply use another engine.
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Chaz


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« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2018, 11:45:47 PM »

Given the functions on your layout here is what I would personally do:

Not sure if you have this already but first and foremost I would make sure the layout is protected with plastiglas to keep the layout protected from any small hands or fingers getting on the layout.  I have been a member of my local club for almost five years and this is an issue my club faces regularly, to a point where we have had areas restricted to guests due to countless instances of younger visitors touching the trains causing them to derail.  I would advise to get some barrier to keep the models protected while on display as well as allowing easy access for yourself to get your arms into the display.  Even with plastiglass it is still an issue, our club is almost tempted to put a "Do not touch" sign on our window, but even that won't seem likely to stop the issue. Roll Eyes

Regarding the functions on the layout, I would personally limit the loops to only Thomas and Percy.   They are not only the two most recognize characters in the whole series, but they are also the cheapest and seeing as how you have multiples of them, fixing and repairing them and having replacements will not be an issue.  Plus whenever I run models at my club and visitors see my Thomas models go around, they refer to the characters as just "Thomas" or "the Thomas train".  Even when I run narrow gauge most people who are general visitors and not fans automatically assume it's Thomas (or sometimes James) not being as familiar with minor characters on the show.  If it is for the general public (which based on your description of a local shopping center, it sounds like it is) for the loops, I think Thomas and Percy are the only two you would need.

That doesn't mean those should be the only two there.  Personally I would get creative beyond just Brendam docks and have other engines parked in the sheds/turntable area.  I would suggest Gordon, Emily, and Toby parked at the sheds and James riding on the turntable.  Again, these are more of the most-known characters on the show, and visitors who are fans or not would have a higher chance of recognizing these characters.  Salty would be a logical addition for your harbor, if you can find him, but from what I've seen he's not too hard to find on eBay, both in the set and not.  Perhaps even have Henry parked on the other harbor siding to make it seem like he's waiting for Salty to give him his freight cars?  Obviously the larger engines I mentioned earlier wouldn't run on the tight radiuses like Thomas and Percy would, but touches like what I mentioned earlier makes a huge difference on the layout as a whole.  Even if most engines I suggested aren't running it does make it more lively when they are there.  I've done this before at my club too with another friend and we both got positive responses from visitors with this.  Even the Bach-man's Sodor layout has various locomotives parked in sidings/sheds and it always attracts visitors to look at his layout.  

Not sure what you got going on there in that extra siding behind the docks.  If you are unsure of what to do with that area perhaps maybe include a coal hopper and water tower there?  To complete the steam team you could have Edward parked over there or any other character of your choice.

Good luck with putting this together, button-pushed layouts can definetely be a lot of fun for visitors.  Would love to see pictures/videos of it in action.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2018, 11:49:52 PM by Chaz » Logged
Len

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« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2018, 01:46:35 AM »

Initially the lower spur will be a holding area for a second train that can be swapped out on the outter loop for some occasional variety. Eventually it may end up as a Circuitron AR-2 controlled, without a button, back-and-forth track.

There is a wall around the entire layout that comes to the top of an average sized adults head. The upper half is plexiglass, allowing the layouts to be viewed. Currently there is an O-gauge 'up & over' figure-8 using O-63 curves of Atlas-O track, and a rather large O-gauge loop using O-72 Lionel FasTrack curves. Buttons for the 'Sodor' area are at the top of the layout drawing, on the outside of the wall. There are two other sets of buttons for the O & S loops at other points around the layout.

There was a Large Scale loop outside of that, but our last loco died and parts were no longer available. Management decided Large Scale equipment was getting too expensive to replace, so a decision was made to change that loop to S-scale. S-Track flex-track on cork roadbed has been installed, and a train is running. But ballasting and replacing the Large Scale buildings and scenary was put on hold until after the holidays. Once that is done, I'll be starting on the 'Sodor' area.

I'll try and get some pics of where things are at now, with updates as things progress as they go along over the next few months.

Len
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DrNickRiviera995

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« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2018, 04:45:25 AM »

Just a note about Salty, people were saying he was still available in his set, but I don't see that listed in the Bachmann store either.  Seems like an odd choice of all the locos to get discontinued.  I think he is pretty essential to most layouts if you wanted to do the docks.
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Len

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« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2018, 08:32:51 AM »

Just a note about Salty, people were saying he was still available in his set, but I don't see that listed in the Bachmann store either.  Seems like an odd choice of all the locos to get discontinued.  I think he is pretty essential to most layouts if you wanted to do the docks.

Now there's an understatement if I ever heard one.

Len
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Len

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« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2018, 01:02:52 AM »

Here are a few pics of things as they are now.

This is the corner where 'Sodor' will be going from the outside. The four buttons will only control things in the 'Sodor' area, not the rest of the display. The cardstock buildings you may notice are 'quick and dirty' builds for space determination purposes. The permanent buildings will be a bit more finished. Note Percy and the Troublesome Trucks just above the blue button:


This is the corner, and the basic loop of track currently there, from inside the walls. The On30 loco and cars that were running there are sitting on the shelf below the table top. The gap above that shelf will be filled in up to near the blue Christmas light, but that's as far as I can go there. 'Cranky', the switch tower next to him, the water tower in the foreground, and station platform will be part of 'Sodor'


This is the 'Sodor' corner looking towards the wall where the buttons are located. The table top here will be extended to a bit past the bottom of the picture. 'Brendam docks' will be roughly in the area with the water tower and station are in the picture.


This is the same view from a bit farther back. You can see a few of the old large scale structures, the station, switch tower, and coal bunker, that will be coming off the layout. And the new S-scale track on the old large scale trackway. That will be getting ballasted and sceniced to make it blend in better once the Christmas stuff comes down. The table top will be getting extended out to the white circle about half way between the table edge and large scale station corner.


This is a general overview of the rest of the display. There is one set of buttons for this portion of the display on the far wall, and one on the wall directly behind where I was standing. The bare looking areas are from removing things so I could get the S-scale track installed, then being told to stop work and leave things alone until after the holidays. A farm scene belongs in the area where the Christmas tree behind the bridge is sitting.


At any rate, this is what I'm starting with. I'll try and post update pics as things move along.

Len

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Chaz


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« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2018, 03:04:24 AM »

Just a note about Salty, people were saying he was still available in his set, but I don't see that listed in the Bachmann store either.  Seems like an odd choice of all the locos to get discontinued.  I think he is pretty essential to most layouts if you wanted to do the docks.

The usage of a character on the show and the sales of the model are two completely different things.  Even though it makes sense emotionally to keep Salty in the range, like Gordon's express coaches it probably would not make much sense for Bachmann to keep them around if they are not selling.

Thanks for sharing pictures Len, and answering my question regarding the display.  Glad to hear that small hands will not be involved in the process of running.  I'm sure the layout will be very popular, especially with the colorful button display visitors would enjoy.  Looking forward to seeing progress on the new setup.
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Len

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« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2018, 06:28:05 AM »

A couple of points about the main layout. We have 8 O-gauge locos for the two 'O' tracks. They are rotated out every two weeks for service, and to give kids a chance to look for the changes. Except for the two locos that were running when I took the pics, they are all modified Williams, or Williams by Bachmann diesels.

These are all "modern" can motor powered locos, so the main modifications are removing the reversing unit and smoke unit if it had one. This keeps reverse units from cycling when buttons are pushed, and allows the entire layout to be powered with DC power packs. Direction is 'locked' by using a 50V 25A full-wave bridge rectifier between the power pick-ups and motors.

The same is done with the S-scale diesels. The old American Flyer steamers have had their motors replaced with flywheel equiped Timko can motors. Their electro-mechanical reverse units were removed and replaced with the same type of rectifier.

Speaking of spotting changes. I just got the flashing LED on top of the radio tower in the forth pic working the week before Christmas. Every 'regular' kid spotted it immediately, almost none of the adults did until it was pointed out to them. Kids do notice things.

Len
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Len

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« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2018, 01:18:03 PM »

Update: After further discussion with the folks in charge, it was decided kids would rather see a train running more than just spinning around. It was also decided a hill would help break up the 'see it all at a glance' view of the display. So, with a bit of shifting around, it looks like a hill with a narrow gauge line, instead of the turntable, will get the fourth button. What do you think??



Len
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Griffin


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« Reply #12 on: January 06, 2018, 05:53:57 PM »

Sounds good, but remember the Skarloey railway engines, if thats what you're planning on running, are very expensive!
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Len

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« Reply #13 on: January 06, 2018, 07:22:16 PM »

I have a maintenance budget for replacing and repairing worn locos. And I can get two Bachmann Skarloey or Rheneas locos for way less than a replacement Williams by Bachmann diesel. On  second thought, I may just get one of each and rotate them as they come due for maintenance.

What's going to be a pain about this is making a not so obvious access hatch to get at the mainline tracks for cleaning and dealing with any derailments. I added the red box to the diagram to give a rough idea of the size of the Scale Scenes cargo ship that will be going at Brendam docks.

Len
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DrNickRiviera995

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« Reply #14 on: January 07, 2018, 03:25:20 AM »

Sounds wonderful, I love the idea of the NG line over the round house.  And alternating between the 2 engines sounds great.
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