Sunday, 4 October 2015

Removing the rubber underlay

Today I took up the underlay. I re-read Gary Spencer Salt's blog entry on laying track and underlay, as well as the AMRM article mentioned in the last blog post and made my mind up. Here's the last look at the layout before it went back to timber:

To remove the track I had already laid, I brushed water over it and left it for a few minutes until it had soaked into the glue. I'm not sure how much this loosened the PVA glue, but it had the advantage of higlighting where the glue was so that I didn't dig' too much in the wrong area with the paint scraper.

Sliding the paint scraper under the track lifted it fairly easily. This is the first time I have both laid track with PVA glue and pulled it up and I have to say I am a convert. No risk of driving the track pins in too far and breaking the sleepers, and no risk of damaging the track trying to get them out again. Once removed, I dried the water off each piece with a cotton rag and set them aside. If you're worried about the effects of PVA on the plastic sleepers, you needn't be. Here's how they look once pulled up:

I mopped up any remaining water and set to work tearing up the rubber from the underlay. It took less than five minutes to get the whole lot off the layout.


Then I brushed this stuff on the now bare baseboards:

If you decide to do this, work in a well-ventilated area. I also recommend a mask - it's fairly strong. Once applied, leave it for about ten minutes and then remove with a paint scraper. It comes off in a goo.

I found that the glue came off with the glue-rid a lot easier on the surfaces I had painted. On the other surfaces I applied a second coat and had another go, before finally wiping it with mineral turps and then sanding it.

All up, the whole process took around two hours, with the slowest part being the scraping.

Going to pack up my gear now and head back south to start work in the morning. Aside from a few wagons I'm weathering I've also picked up an Austrains S wagon underframe to fit to a Camco CW (they're both 10ft underframes, so hopefully it'll be a straightforward mod), and I'm finally going to finish the NRY I started years ago.

The next work on the layout won't be until next weekend now, but I'm please that progress is being made.

'Til next time, happy modelling!

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Underlay revisited

Until recently I've been dabbling in weathering as a means of getting at least some of the rollingstock up to the standard I want when the layout is up to running trains. With uni just about done for the year and work backing off, I am so looking forward to getting back into actually building the layout. Being at the AMRA exhibition at Liverpool on Saturday was good both in terms of getting some supplies but also for motivation.

A few posts ago I talked about building a set of Fast Tracks points, and while I still think Fast Tracks is an exceptional brand I need to rebuild that turnout from scratch. The point rail and the stock rail just don't join well enough for reliable running. I've ordered a StockAid tool from Gwydir Valley Models (damned if I'm paying $30 for freight from North America with the current dollar) so that should improve the overall quality of the next build.

The cattle-yard siding was intended to come off the goods siding (left of pictured track) and rejoin the main, as per NSWGR prototype. My original plan was to stick to prototype as much as possible to give the feel of a NSWGR theme. While I was placing that curved turnout on the layout and mocking up where the second one would go for the cattle siding/main connection, I found the the overall plan just didn't seem to work at that end.

If I kept the second curved turnout for the cattle siding, the angle of the curve coming off the layout was going to be too tight for the off-stage trackwork. Although the plan in AnyRail was showing it as physically possible, for whatever reason it just wasn't happening in 1:1 scale. I tried instead using a Micro Engineering #6 turnout (below).  

All of the track seems to join , but I'm still not 100% sold on it. The dire shortage of ME Code 70 #6 turnouts in the country at the moment is conducive to further contemplation.

At the other end of the layout I've cut all of the track to the lengths ready to fix in position, but the first section I've glued down on the return loop module hasn't turned out how I would've liked. I've used PVA to fix the track to the rubber underlay and Selley's Kwik Grip to glue the underlay to the baseboard. Although the sound of trains running through the loop is amplified by the loop being in a wardrobe, it is still way too loud. The sound of the wheels alone is going to distort the sound of the DCC-sound equipped locos.

David Baillee's article in the August 2015 edition of the AMRM answered the problem for me. Without ruining the article, in my circumstances the timber baseboard plus dense rubber, plus track glued onto dense rubber equals sound transferred straight from the track to the baseboard, because the rubber isn't soft enough to absorb the sound. To fix this I need to add soft, spongy foam between the track and the baseboard.

I've toyed with the idea of putting the foam straight onto the rubber, but I'm not convinced I will be able to find a glue that will both bond to the rubber and not eat away at the foam. The other concern I have is how high the track will sit off the scenery. Keeping in mind that this is a yard and most of the landscape will be flat, I also don't want the track sitting proud of what would have been flattened land.

The track closest to the camera is the goods siding. About where the CLX is I'm planning on putting a gantry crane on the goods siding, so getting the landform looking like this (Bowen Creek):

Or this (Burrowa): pretty important to me.

My current thinking is to take the track up, tear up the rubber, sand the rubber/wood glue back, lay the foam in it's place and the track on top. All-in-all, about a day's worth of work to change course and get it back to where it is now. Normally I would see this as a waste of about $110 and a few weekends, but I'm ok with it - if we didn't experiment in the hobby we probably wouldn't have things like the amazing realism of static grasses. Every so often something is going to fail. You learn from it, and that's ok.

More photos once there's more progress.

Happy Modelling!