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A Brazilian Themed Micro Layout - 1:87 Scale
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 Posted: Sat Aug 1st, 2020 11:17 pm
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James Stanford
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Before I commenced building this layout I already had a number of micro layouts of various configurations.
A left over piece of MDF produced the idea for “Yet Another Micro Layout”.
 

My youngest daughter recently acquired a new bunk bed for her room,
and wanted a place to do some painting without painting on the walls of her room.

My wife purchased a large piece of MDF for that purpose, and had it cut to size at the hardware store,
and a 1200 x 240mm piece of MDF and a few extra pieces about 70mm deep, were left over.

My wife specifically said to me “can you use these for a model railway”.
Of course I can, I thought!

But how to use it?


I perused the various eBooks by the late Carl Arendt until I settled on an expanded and customised track plan,
based on the “Tramways de Chamies-Les Thurs” track plan in the “Creating Micro Layouts” eBook.

That track plan is only about 600mm x 300mm,
whereas the track plan I will be using will cover 1200 x 240mm.


The next thing to do was to decide on a prototype / theme.

I had thought of a tram / streetcar layout like suggested for the “Tramways de Chamies-Les Thurs” plan in the eBook,
with the possibility of a Melbourne (Victoria, Australia) Tram layout.

But in the end I settled on a Brazilian themed layout.




Created with GIMP.


The reason for this is that I have a limited budget, and a Melbourne Tram model was over $250 (Australian),
a huge chunk out of my model railway budget.

I had previously come across the Frateschi HO scale models, made in Brazil.
So I did some research and from what I read they seem like reasonable models, and very reasonably priced.

I went onto ebay, and found a model of a Brazilian G22 Bo-Bo diesel electric locomotive,
with an RFFSA (Rede Ferroviária Federal, Sociedade Anônima) paint scheme,
which is about 7 inches long, for $99. And so I purchased it.


To make the most use of available space, I purchased 2 Peco short radius Y turnouts,
to minimise the space needed for the layout’s switchbacks.

The combination of the reasonably short locomotive and Y turnouts should give me some space,
to also have up to 2 freight cars attached to the locomotive, able to move through the switchbacks.




G22 RFFSA HO scale locomotive.

 
Not only is this the first Brazilian themed layout I have built,
but it is also the first one where I employed multi-use foam board (called XPS insulation board)
which is very similar to extruded foam board used in the USA.

Because of the use of XPS foam board, it is also likely to be the first layout that I use no nails or screws on!




XPS Foam Board info.




Layout base from the front.




Layout base from the back.


Rather than the layout being a passenger switch-back between multiple tram stops,
like the original “Tramways de Chamies-Les Thurs” track plan,
this layout will be a freight switching layout, with a small 2 track yard, the switch backs,
and various industries on the different legs of the switch backs.

This should give a fair amount of operational interest in a micro layout space.


Because the RFFSA only operated between 1957 and 1999,
and the layout will be run with an EMD G22 diesel rather than steam motive power,
the era is fairly well defined to between 1967 (when the G22 was introduced) and 1999.

This era is about the same as the other model layouts I have,
and is purposely broad to allow for the use of more types of rollingstock.

A well as the locomotive, I also purchased some Frateschi rollingstock:
a reefer, covered hopper and boxcar.















After testing the G22 locomotive and rollingstock on one of my other layouts,
I am quite impressed with the quality and running ability of the Frateschi models I purchased.

I’m particularly impressed that the locomotive and 3 cars cost less than $200 (Australian) total,
that the locomotive is all-wheel drive and all-wheel electrical pickup,
and that the cars have metal wheels and are reasonably close coupled when connected together.




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James Stanford.
Corowa, NSW, Australia.
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 Posted: Sun Aug 2nd, 2020 08:08 am
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Si.
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Joined: Thu Feb 23rd, 2012
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Hi James  :wave:


Agh ! ... The 'Magic' 4-foot !  :P

I am also dreaming (I think) of a 'Holy Grail' in 1200mm.  :old dude:


It all looks GREAT  :thumb:  so far to me.


Those 'Peco' short-Ys are a tempting turnout indeed !

The Brazilian motive power & rollingstock are an interesting HO find also.  L:


I'm sure I have a couple of questions, I just forgot ...  ???

... but I'll just follow along, from the back of the class, for now !  ;)


:moose: :moose: :moose: :moose: :moose:


Si.




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 Posted: Sun Aug 2nd, 2020 07:56 pm
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James Stanford
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Hi Si.

The Peco short radius Y turnouts are the shortest Peco turnouts I am aware of,
and so they are perfect for small / micro layouts.

That's why I chose them.

I had some recycled turnouts that were longer,
but they would have severely limited the switchback lengths.

Regards, James




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James Stanford.
Corowa, NSW, Australia.
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 Posted: Sun Aug 2nd, 2020 10:23 pm
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James Stanford
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In many areas of life we make plans.
When planning a model railroad, we make track plans, plans for scenery.
But sometimes they don’t work out quite as we planned.

This is what happened with the HO scale Brazilian micro layout I have been working on.

Before I purchased the Frateschi G22 locomotive for this layout,
I calculated that it would be around 6 inches long.
When it arrived and I checked it’s length, it was a bit over 7 inches long.

I thought I had a track plan all figured out, but when the Peco short radius Y turnouts arrived,
and I tested the G22 locomotive and 2 of the longest cars I purchased,
I realised that that a locomotive and 2 cars wouldn’t fit on all the switchback spurs.

Part of this is my mis-calculation of the length of the locomotive,
and a second mis-calculation on my part regarding the geometry of the Peco Y turnouts.

Hmmm! What to do?

I thought about it for a bit. After a bit of testing with the rollingstock and locomotive,
I realised I could still have 2 cars on one switchback spur, have slightly longer yard tracks,
and have the other 2 switchback spurs able to hold 1 car + locomotive.

This would allow for some interesting switching movements,
while only limiting capacity to a locomotive and 1 car on one switchback spur.
 
As a cost cutting measure,
that is, so I could use as much of my recycled track as possible (including one of the turnouts),
I also flipped the track plan.  This is the plan before the changes:




Initial Brazilian Micro Layout Track Plan.


In this plan, it was hoped that the Cold Storage, Sugar Mill & Storage switchback spurs could hold a locomotive and 2 cars.
But after adjustment, and re-arranging the industries, this is the revised plan:




Revised Brazilian Micro Layout Track Plan.


In this plan, the yard is on the top right hand side,
the Coffee & Cocoa Warehouse switchback spur will hold the locomotive + 1 car,
and the Cold Storage switchback spur will hold the locomotive + 2 cars.

But I figured that would still be workable.

It wasn’t long before I had the track arrangement more or less sorted out,
and so as I was creating the track arrangement, I was checking clearances,
to see how much would fit on each switchback spur.




Loco + 1 car.


Over the next few days and once I was happy with the track arrangement I managed to build,
I got the track base (thin plywood) cut and laid down, and laid the track.

Then the extremely simple wiring was done.

This was basic and involved 2 wires added from the power track to controller, and a jumper wire,
between powered track, and one of the tracks near the corresponding track furthest from the power track,
to allow power when the insulfrog turnouts insulate various sections, as they are thrown.

And voila!
It was ready for a test.




Track base laid.




Track base painted.




Track laid on the track base.

I put all the cars and the locomotive on the track, and ran the loco back and forth,
moving carriages between the yard and the various spurs.
And it worked really well.

So now the layout is fully operational.





Next: the scenery.

But that’s for a future post.




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James Stanford.
Corowa, NSW, Australia.
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