Sunday, October 24, 2010

Getting Back Into It All

Time seems to go by at a rate unproportional to the speed it takes me to perform a given task. I'm finding this somewhat frustrating I have to say, but, I don't think I'm Robinson Crusoe in that regard.

Just over eighteen months ago we moved into our house, and in my mind within six months I would have been starting on the big layout in the garage, that "empire" that most of us dream about having. Well here we are a year and a half down the track and quite frankly the garage is still in almost as much of a mess as it was when we moved in. Sure a lot of boxes have been unpacked, but I seem to have accumulated a few things along the way as well. In general though what it really needs is to be fully unpacked, sorted, and repacked in a more efficient manner. With the warmer weather and daylight saving it's only a matter of getting a weekend without rain, and the past few haven't been rain free.

In any case Gunnedah is still a while away from beginning, and in some ways that is a good thing, because it is a massive undertaking, and quite frankly some of the things I have learned in the past eighteen months will make for a much better layout when it actually begins.

Last November my wife suggested repainting the spare room and using it to set up a permanent desk for modeling and after that I thought a shelf layout around the walls would be much simpler to do initially, I could try out a few ideas, and overall it should be a quick'ish project. Well twelve months later apart from getting some brackets up and some basic timber modules built, not a real lot has happened.

Sure I've built some more sets of points, done some random modeling on some bits of rolling stock, gathered some more bits and pieces and done a lot of research and played with some ideas I'd like to implement.

Whilst one part of me is frustrated at the lack of real progress, I'm glad that I have taken this time to experiment with different things. The latest "thing" is hooking up a new Mac laptop installed with Decoder Pro to the Power Cab, and installing WiThrottle on the iPhone. It may not seem like that big of a thing, and certainly hasn't made the layout progress in any meaningful way, BUT, it has given me a seriously big shot in the arm enthusiasm wise.

I spent an hour or so today adjusting the various sound levels on my 35 Class to get it all "proportional" to what my brain tells me it should be based on the scale distance I view the trains from. I don't like the idea of some of the sounds being loud enough to be as they would be heard from the footplate or directly beside the engine. I figure that a metre or so viewing distance is similar to being fifty or so metres away from the real thing, and so I will set up the volumes to try to replicate this. Obviously this will be a very personal thing that other people will have differing views on, but I tend to like my trains a little more on the quiet side.

Shown is a pic of my 1,200mm test track with two sets of points sitting upon a set of book cases I knocked up the other weekend, which sits below where the shelf layout will run. Hooked up to the track is the Power Cab, USB adapter, Macbook and iPhone with WiThrottle running.

Already having an iPhone and a now a laptop, makes for a very easy and cheap way to have a radio throttle, because the USB adapter is only $51 from the Model Railway Craftsman, JMRI is free, as is WiThrottle Lite which has a few less features than the full program (which is only $13 anyway) but lets you run a train and perform most functions you'd want to anyway.

Having all of this stuff sitting there now has given me a real shot in the arm and I'm going to make a concerted effort this summer to use the longer hours of sunlight to do what I need to do in the shed construction wise, and use the nights better by making track and points instead of just sitting and reading what everyone else is doing (I follow too many blogs I think!).

Lets hope in twelve months time I'll have photo's and some video of trains running around the room on a scenic'd shelf layout!

No comments: