5.5mm Association ‘Linked Dioramas’ at Daventry MRC Exhibition 2019
THE LINKED DIORAMA PROJECT BEGINS…
The members of the Group who asked to participate in the “linked diorama” project are about to embark on the challenging task of building a series of modules without actually making social contact with each other. Des will supply a template if you contact him, and Brian and Stephen are going to produce a “master linker” which will be passed around and (after careful disinfection!) used to check that the boards all match. Watch this space!
24 MARCH 2020
Above arrangements need to be modified in view of increasing stringency of “lockdown” measures. Des was able only to post a couple of templates before closure of his manufacturing base, and the “master linker” can’t be passed around in the spirit of the new measures. Advice therefore is to follow the specifications below (170mm from front of board to the foot of the front rail; 20mm (minimum) straight run to baseboard edge at 90 degrees; track underlay 1/8 inch) and to allow for slight modification later, by not ballasting and soldering right to the edge of the board.
18 MARCH 2020
Here is Malcolm’s “scenic” board with track laid out in “draft” form;
Two weeks later….
1 APRIL 2020:
Brian has posted plans of his proposed “scenic” board. Note that he’s going to add a few more boards of his own (but using our standard templates):
John Szm is having difficulty finding enough cork sheet to make a start (and others have reported supply problems with Peco track) but is constructing buildings instead. Here are the results, a Metcalfe pub and a Wills chapel:
(John) Hywel Rees adds some buildings for his module:
5 APRIL 2020
Malcolm has replaced the Store building in his Whipsnade module (above) with the following:
14 APRIL 2020:
Des sends a picture of progress on his module. At least two of our participants say that they have still to get started.
Hywel Rees has found a supply of cork and is pressing ahead with his plans. The red lines indicate the presence of baseboard cross-members that would interfere with the fitting of Peco point motors.
Hywel Rees: I have now got all the track together and cut to length ready to lay. Special thanks to Malcolm and Tony who replied to my request for a turnout. The holes have been drilled through the top surface under the tiebars for the turnout operating rods from the point motors. The 2×1 across the back represents the cliff face that will hide turnout and magnetic uncoupling controls. Just to the right of the building is the first of three Snailbeach hopper kits I am building. This seemingly simple kit was quite a challenge in terms of the bevels and angles involved in the hopper shape. However I learnt a lot from building the first one and approach the next one with a degree of confidence!
Not that it’s a race! – but Malcolm reports: The backscene on “Whipsnade Central” is now in place – been waiting two weeks for it to arrive. Apart from fine detailing its just about finished. I still have the track wiring to do; this I will need expert help with, so it will have to wait till we all meet up. The points are controlled by wire rods.
Here is the module with the Gaugemaster backscene in place:
(Brian Key): As a diversion from coach building, I have scratchbuilt an L&B style permanent way hut from Wills stone sheet and Evergreen ‘corrugated iron’ styrene sheet. I’ve also built a waiting shelter from Wills cement rendering and pantile sheets. This is based upon the one at Snapper Halt. Both of these buildings will be used on my linked module and the passenger terminus I intend to connect to it at home.
(Tony Clarke): I have drafted up the proposed layout of a station with passing loop and very modest goods yard and engine shed. There is 70mm of plain track at the left end to allow the engine to run forward and reverse onto the loop but it will have to run onto the linker board at the other end. I have only completed the main station building which I constructed from Wills coarse stone sheets. I have yet to start building the other structures but have put pieces of paper cut to the correct shape onto the board in the attached photographs. It is fairly cramped but I hope it will look OK when finished. I am waiting for some turnouts from Hattons so will have to delay the laying of track until these arrive. I can continue working on the buildings. They will keep me busy for some time as I have other projects as well.
Here is the module being built by Bob Menzies:
6 JULY 2020:
News is that Brian and Hywel have now finished with the master linker and are about to pass it on to the third member; so there will be three modules ready for through running, if not scenically complete. Please contact Brian or Hywel if you are ready to make use of the linker.
(Tony Clarke reports): I have now completed the cutting and fixing of the track on the scenic board apart from the last few cms at each end. The turnouts are controlled by rods under the board. These pass through a hole which I drilled in the top part of the 2 way switches which change the frog polarity. I have also installed the electromagnets for remotely actuating the couplings. The backscene is also fitted.
The next job will be to start locating the buildings etc.
(Hywel Rees sends an update): Now that I have used the master linker board and so got the track correctly aligned on my scenic board I have started on the ground work around the track. I have stuck down card profiles to get the basic levels and the next step is to apply polyfilla to smooth out the transitions and create a texture before painting with emulsion paint.
2 AUGUST 20:
(Brian): I have fitted the scenic side and end boards and have started to lay the road and yard surface bases. I now need to shape the side and end boards to their finished profiles and install the level crossing before starting on the landscaping.and backscene.
USING THE MASTER LINKER:
Hywel Rees shared these notes with the Group:
1. Trust Des’s measurements for the latches, they make for a very tight fit betwen the boards.
2. I had to buy a box of screws for the latches so I will put them in the bag for anyone else to use.
GENERAL NOTES ON THE MODULAR PROJECT:
We are planning a group activity to create ‘pop up’ modular layouts. Members will create their own scenic module and these can be joined together to form larger layouts for exhibitions, open days or running sessions.
Working in 009, each modeler can model any theme, location or time period. These can be joined together to form a series of ‘linked dioramas’ and the stock will run through a variety of different scenes. For example, it might be possible to see a train run from the Lincolnshire Potato Fields, into Darjeeling and then the rolling Devon countryside. It will depend on what each modeller decides to create and who brings a module to the running session.
We like this idea because it allows each modeler to do what they want (an existing topic or to try something new…) and will create a bigger group ‘layout’ for meetings.
It’s not a new concept and we must give credit to the 5.5mm Narrow Gauge Association Modular Group who inspired us to start this project.
We are currently working on a set of standards to ensure that everything will fit together and work properly.
Notes to the Beds and Bucks Members 24th Feb 2020
The current version of the standards is shown below. This was approved by the group on 23th Feb 2020.
Actions to be completed for our Meeting on 29th March
There were a few actions from our February meeting. Many thanks to those who agreed to help with this project.
- David to buy some 1/8″ thick cork mat and bring to the March meeting.
- Des to buy sufficient side latches for the group modules and bring them to the March meeting (the group will reimburse him)
- Des to make a height guide so the latches can be positioned at a standard height on the linker boards and bring it to the March meeting
- Des to make a template for the position of the track (170mm from front of board to foot of front rail) that we will use to lay the track on the linker modules and bring it to the March meeting.
- Stephen S to bring copper clad for 14 linker boards to the March meeting
- Brain to buy some quick drying PVA and bring it to the March meeting
- Stephen C to buy sufficient plug and socket terminal blocks, DPDT Centre Off switches, and red, black, green and blue wires for 14 linker boards and bring these to the March meeting.
- Everyone assemble your linker boards, paint them black if you wish, and bring them to the March meeting.
- Everyone bring your own Peco 009 track (mainline or irregular sleeper) to the March meeting.
Linker Board Assembly Session in our March Meeting
Our meeting on 29th March at Simpson Village Hall will be a group session to lay the cork matt, lay track and wire up the electrics on all 14 linker boards. We may set up a production line!
Please remember to assemble your linker board and bring it and a length of Peco 009 track (mainline or irregular sleeper) to the March meeting.
It would be helpful if people could bring some suitable tools, soldering irons and weights to the meeting too.
Baseboard Assembly Instructions
The instructions for assembling the 900 x 400mm scenic boards can be downloaded here. There are no specific instructions for assembling the linker boards as these were a custom build for our group, please follow the principles described in the assembly instructions for the scenic boards.
Linked Dioramas Standards 24th Feb 2020
Scale and Gauge – 009 or Hoe (= 9mm gauge, 4mm or 3.5mm to the foot)
Definition: The mainline track is the track that runs from board to board
The standards only apply to the ‘mainline’
Outside of the ‘mainline’ the modeler may do whatever they want
Linker Modules are Grainge and Hodder 400mm wide, 300mm long modules
Scenic Modules are Grainge and Hodder 400mm wide, 900mm long modules
The standard Grainge and Hodder dowel / bolt pattern at the end of the boards is used to connect the modules https://www.graingeandhodder.co.uk/store/p7/900mm_x_400mm_Standard_Module.html
Linker modules are used to connect the scenic modules together (And, in the future, hide the train as it passes from module to module).
The scenic modules are the ones we model on
We will operate from the rear and view from the front.
Connecting the modules
The modules will be located together using the round locating dowels provided by Grainge and Hodder.
The male connector will go on the scenic modules. The female connection goes on the linker modules.
The modules will be latched together using side latches, one at the front and one at the rear of each module
Des will buy sufficient side latches for the group modules
Des will make a height guide so the latches can be positioned at a standard height on the scenic and linker boards.
Mainline Track on Scenic Modules and Linkers
Peco Code 80 (Mainline or Irregular sleeper – both are OK)
Minimum radius of curves and points on mainline = 304mm (12 inches)
Points: Minimum radius is Peco Irregular Sleepers, Small Radius, Turnout Radius: 304mm (12 inches) SL-E491 or SL-E492
Other acceptable points include:
- SL-E497 Y Turnout, Medium Radius, Radius: 457mm (18 inch)
- Peco Mainline points with 457mm (18 inch) radius (SL-E495, SL-E496)
Point control is up to the modeler (hand operated, wire in tube, motors etc are all acceptable)
Track mounted onto cork mat or cork tiles. They will either be self adhesive or we will glue in place with PVA or Copydex.
David will investigate and source suitable cork mat or cork tiles
The first 20mm of track at both ends of the scenic and linker modules must be straight and at 90 degrees to the joining edge of the module. To ensure a smooth transition into the module and reduce derailments.
Off the ‘mainline’
Outside of the mainline modeler can use any type of track, any radius curve and any type of point they want.
If a modeler uses really tight curves or unusual track work it would be helpful if they can make a note of this on the rear of their module to inform / alert other users.
Position of the Mainline
At both ends of each scenic and linker modules the distance from the front of the board to the foot of the front rail of the mainline track will be 170mm.
Des will make a template for the position of the track (170mm from front of board to foot of front rail) that we will use to la the track on the linker modules
Loading Gauge / Clearances
Loading gauge will be a minimum of:
- 50mm high above rails height
- 20mm either side of the outside of each rail
Platforms: maximum height is level with the top of the rail
Red to the rear, Black to front. When viewing the module from the front, the viewing side of the module, red (positive) to rear rail of mainline, black (negative) to front rail of mainline.
The green (positive) and blue (negative) wires connect all of the boards together (see below)
The electrical system has been designed to allow local control of each scenic board, together with selective control of the link boards either side. In addition, it is possible to control the whole layout from any of the scenic boards
Each scenic board will have two control points (local and main) plus a double pole / double throw switch to select local or main control. ONLY ONE ‘MAIN’ CONTROLLER MUST BE PLUGGED IN ON THE ENTIRE LAYOUT. AT AN AGREED MAIN CONTROL POINT.
To allow people to use their own favourite controller, the control points will comprise plug and socket terminal blocks, with the male connector fitted to the controller and the female to the board.
Section switches can be incorporated as desired.
Each linker board will have a double pole / double throw switch to enable it to be controlled from the scenic boards either side as required.
Inter board wiring connectors will be via Plug and Socket Terminal Blocks 10mm pitch. eg: https://cpc.farnell.com/hylec/hyps-01712/terminal-block-plugsocket-12-way/dp/PL11406
The connectors on the linker modules are the female connectors (those with a hole in them). The scenic module connectors are the male connectors (those with a metal pin on them)
Connectors can be attached to the module or not (left dangling). The modeler can choose.
Sections outside of mainline can have isolating sections or not. The module owner decides.
17 AUGUST 2020: Some members have reported difficulties getting their heads around the wiring diagram, to the extent that they have only wired their module on a temporary basis. Hywell thinks that this diagram might help:
Backscenes and Lighting
Backscenes: The modeler may do whatever they want (no backscene, backscenes of any style and height, straight or curved everything is acceptable)
The modeler can decide whether they want to light their module or not.
If included backscenes and lighting must not stop the modules being joined together.