Discussion in 'Planks' started by Dr Tony, Jan 1, 2018.
I was at the exhibition today, and here are a few photos:
And some of the other layouts:
After my first (and definitely not last!) exhibition I thought it would be helpful to collate my observations on the whole experience, especially from my point as a newbie.
As this was the first set up of this layout, and my first away from home, I took the time to do a rehearsal assembly of it all in my garage. I timed myself too, this led to no nasty surprises on the friday night for set-up.
Lighting was the big revelation, don't skimp on this!!! The hall was reasonably lit I thought from huge ball lights (it was not a huge hall, about church hall sized) but after setting up on the friday afternoon it just looked a bit dull. Fortunately I had made some clamp on lights years ago for my wife's market stall. This was a wooden frame, like an upside down L which clamps to the table with quick ratchet clamps and on the protruding part of the L over the table, two lights are mounted. These are angle adjustable (actually for a pond) lamp holders that hold standard MR16 halogen lamps (but I have 7W led on them rather than 50W halogen, this allows us to run them off battery, I have also made them readily powered off mains power using a bunch of power supplies from desktop hard drive units which we go through a lot of at work). This extra lighting made the layout really "pop" and can readily be attached to any layout and doesn't take up much room in the car. Having the lighting also makes for better photos for people who want to take them.
I can be a little nervous sometimes taking photos of other people's layouts, especially getting down close. But when it's round the other way and people are taking photos like that of my layout, I am absolutely delighted, so I should snap away at other people's layouts!
Having an interactive layout for little people means that the layout has to be stable, and it was all that, some layouts, especially planks can get a bit rocky from front to back as function of their geometry, but I managed to engineer that out.
I did not know that this would be such a hit with the kids. I guess people could have a go, the controller was front and centre of the layout, rather invitingly, and I wasn't charging (sorry Peter for the competition!)
Most of the scenery was towards the back of the layout. When planning this was to make the trains more visible so that it was easier to line up the uncouplers. The extra thing here was that little hands often reached out for things, and they couldn't reach the breakable things, which was really helpful. The static grass was a source of fascination for some with many hands touching it. I found during construction that this is very durable, more so than flock, so this was not a problem.
Run in your locos if brand new first, one that it not run in fully will not be a great shunter. The second day for my Hornby Sentinel was much better than the first.
I put some de-oxit on the tracks some months before the exhibition, and not at all during. All locos ran faultlessly like this. I had a number of locos that used traction tyres and a lot of wagons with plastic wheels. Admittedly the speeds were not too high, but there was always movement somewhere.
The large sprung buffers at the end attracted a bit of attention, people were amazed that they were actually sprung, but some of the smaller kids really put them to the test, running a loco at them at full speed on more than one occasion.
Parents were impressed with a unit that could be a game, and it could just fit along a wall in the house, or beside the car in the garage.
But by far the biggest lesson of the day was taught to the kids by me!
Apart from the fact that trains are fun, they learned how to use a control knob! This was something I was not expecting. The gauge master is a very simple controller, with a knob for speed, and a switch for direction (the direction of this switch mimicked the direction of travel, it did not matter which way round the loco was) Kids these days could not work out the knob! I was amazed, I had to teach them.
My son (7 years old) has grown up in a house full of old things, and he is a keen 'fiddler' with things, so it has been natural for him. But thinking about it, very few things around the house have a rotary knob anymore, like a volume control, they are almost always push buttons up and down, TVs, car radio, phone, stove (not that kids should be touching stoves) air con and the like.
Some of them got it really quickly, others simply could not. It was fascinating.
I have also compiled a list of things, mostly tools, that might be a good thing to bring to deal with anything that might arise on the days of an exhibition. This was what I used.
My frame had simplicity of construction, all using 6mm bolts, so I only needed one spanner, a 10mm one. A self ratcheting spanner makes things very easy.
Small tube of Superlube oil, for any squeaks that develop
Pliers to straighten couplers
Superglue and model cement for any breakages
Gaff tape to tidy cables with and tame any errant banners or signs
Rubber mallet to make frame bolts go through holes easier
Stanley knife to open tough plastic packaging on second hall stall purchases.
I brought a bunch of other things that I didn't use, such as silicone spray, soldering iron, small clamp on vice, wire cutters and large screwdrivers.
Gundah Juction is going to take a break for a while, not that it is actually finished, but I have another project starting. I will start a thread about that soon.
Thanks for the run down Tony. I have followed your progress throughout the thread and your summary of the event caps it all off. Still cannot understand the lack of competence on the operation of a knob? They sure could not cope with my old E type's radio!
Well done and I hope you enjoy many more displays in the future.
and happy modelling.
Lately I have turned my attention back to Gundah Junction as this weekend presented an earlier than expected opportunity to exhibit the layout again. This time very locally, as an activity for older kids at the annual fete of the church down our street. This would be a great opportunity to bring a shunting puzzle and games to a new audience. I still have the PF1MRC banner from Gary and was planning to use it too. My wife is running her photography and jewellery stall so I could not use her lights like I had done at the Thornleigh exhibition. I had to make my own. I have seen plenty of others using low cost led strip light so I thought I would give that a go. I had a length lying around from another project.
I made it in 2 halves, one for each board. Could have made it in one but that would be difficult to transport in my sedan.
Under the house I found the perfect aluminium extrusion to use. I made uprights out of left over 42x19mm layout pine, and power was my usual surplus 12V hard drive power supply.
I still have to make a better solution to mount the bases, but that will have to wait until the layout is on its own legs.
The light seems good.
Unfortunately I am not going to be able to exhibit this weekend now as my son has just started playing a junior form of cricket on Saturday mornings until just after the fete starts. A layout is not something I can just leave unattended.
But at least I have lights.
Those LED strips are worth it. They light up Gundah Junction very nicely.
Pity they were not around when I needed to build the overhead duct lighting for Dargan!
and happy modelling
One of the things that really got people's attention and interest when exhibiting was the cars on the layout. I have always been into cars, now my son has a lot of mine (not all though)
So this extends to the layout. I was not interested in having generic 'blobs' as I so often see, or things that are just out of place. Luckily there is quite a good range of British cars in 4mm scale and in right hand drive.
It is meant by to be a normal sort of village, so the place shouldn't be full of exotic sports cars. It should have every day cars, preferably ones that were fairly common out here, so no Austin Allegro for instance.
I found out today that Hobbyco in Sydney are running a clearance sale on the Oxford range of cars, which are quite good. So for $6.99 each I have added some variety, as I don't stick them down I can rotate them for each outing.
The Reliant was not sold here officially, but everybody knows it thanks partly to Mr Bean.
Looks good Tony but what is the metal plate screwed in the foreground track? Fully agree that authentic cars for the era, along with pedestrians, really do make the scene look complete and luckily we have a very good range of ho scale vehicles available in Australia for the OZ modeller. We also have the luxury of being able to add a few British vehicles as of course they were very common on local roads. I do not stick them down either as the layout needs to be refreshed every so often by mixing up both the cars and pedestrians.
and happy modelling
That is Tony's uncoupling method. Read more about it here : https://platform1mrc.com/p1mrc/index.php?threads/gundah-junction.2517/page-2#post-47336
Sorry about that Richard, I usually try to angle the photo to miss seeing those uncouplers, or park a wagon or loco on them for the photo. Not sure if that is to be their final appearance. I have to tread a line here between unobtrusiveness and being able to see the things, so to be able to use them properly to uncouple.