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'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.

A many micros modeller.
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 Posted: Sun Aug 2nd, 2020 08:08 am
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Si.
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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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' Mysterious Moose Mountain ' - 1:35n2 - pt.II
http://www.freerails.com/view_topic.php?id=7318&forum_id=17&page=1

' M:R:W Motor Speedway !!! ' - 1:32 Slotcar Racing Layout
http://www.slotforum.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=59295&st=0&a
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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.

A many micros modeller.
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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.

A many micros modeller.
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 Posted: Fri Aug 7th, 2020 02:14 am
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Si.
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Hi James  :cb:



I like that brown checked-shirt you're wearing !  :)

I got one almost just nearly fairly quite like it.  :P

I'm workin' on the hat !  :mex:





The revised NEW track plan looks good.  :thumb:





Isn't it amazing & amazingly annoying how 2 switches eat up so much length in the middle of a 4-footer !  :f:

For 2-cars & a loco each end, ie. I'm thinking 'Timesaver' styleee ... A 6ft board is THE LAW !  :shades:


The 4-footer is mucho niceo though !  :cool:


:java::moose: :dt:


Si.




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' Mysterious Moose Mountain ' - 1:35n2 - pt.II
http://www.freerails.com/view_topic.php?id=7318&forum_id=17&page=1

' M:R:W Motor Speedway !!! ' - 1:32 Slotcar Racing Layout
http://www.slotforum.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=59295&st=0&a
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 Posted: Fri Aug 7th, 2020 03:06 am
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James Stanford
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Thanks for your comment Si.

I've had a few operating sessions on the layout built to the revised track plan, and it's quite fun.
Especially as I enjoy switching / shunting more than anything else.

I am thinking of including 'chain shunting' or something similar on the layout,
to allow locomotives to 'escape' back to the yard and am investigating possibilities for that idea.

And have purchased some foliage,
that is very different to what I have on my other layouts but is very representative of Brazil,
and am working on a south American style building feature for one end of the layout,
which should give it a more 'non-US / non-British' / very South American look.

I will post more details about those when I have a bit more time and have completed them.

As we rent rather than own a house, 4x1 foot layouts, or thereabouts,
are actually preferable to even a 6 foot long layout with the same square footage.
But I understand what you said about the 6 foot being 'law'.

As the length of the MDF board was approx. 4 feet long,
that constrained the size of this layout as well.

Regards, James




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James Stanford.
Corowa, NSW, Australia.

A many micros modeller.
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 Posted: Fri Aug 7th, 2020 09:47 pm
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Si.
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Hi James  :cb:


Yeah ... I just meant one can't build a 'regular' HO/OO 'Timesaver' in 4' ...  :f:

... or can you ?  L:


Brit. 'old skool' 4-wheeler wagons, a short 0-4-0 & some aggressive 'Peco' Setrack Ys ...

... I dunno, but that might actually allow a runaround-loop + loco & 2 wagons at each end !  :)


I like 4' boards ...

... 6' ones are really hard to move & handle, without breaking stuff !  :f:


Although I model mostly in 1:35n2, I do have a 'vintage' HO hoard !  :old dude:

The loco & car lengths are very much the same in BOTH scales though.

So I could run most of my 1:35n2 stuff on your 4' trackplan, no probs. !  :cool:


Your 'Brit.' & 'Pier' micros look intriguing as well !  :bg:


:java::moose: :dt:


Si.




____________________

' Mysterious Moose Mountain ' - 1:35n2 - pt.II
http://www.freerails.com/view_topic.php?id=7318&forum_id=17&page=1

' M:R:W Motor Speedway !!! ' - 1:32 Slotcar Racing Layout
http://www.slotforum.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=59295&st=0&a
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 Posted: Sat Aug 8th, 2020 08:27 am
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James Stanford
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Hi Si.


Re:  "Brit. 'old skool' 4-wheeler wagons, a short 0-4-0 & some aggressive 'Peco' Setrack Ys ...
... I dunno, but that might actually allow a runaround-loop + loco & 2 wagons at each end ! "

I think it would still be a bit of a stretch to build a layout 4 feet long using short turnouts / points,
even if using short British locos and rollingstock.

But there are some  4' Timesavers on the late Carl Arendt's small layouts website,
that use transfer tables to achieve the various track capacities of a Timesaver.


Re:  "I like 4' boards ...
... 6' ones are really hard to move & handle, without breaking stuff ! "

I had a modular layout with a number of 6x1 foot modules,
and found they were ok to move, but they really required 2 people to move a module,
whereas 4' boards can be moved by one person, usually.


Regards, James




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James Stanford.
Corowa, NSW, Australia.

A many micros modeller.
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 Posted: Wed Aug 19th, 2020 05:47 am
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James Stanford
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Since my last post about my Brazilian micro layout,
I have had the opportunity to have some operating sessions on it,
which has proved very enjoyable.

But the lack of a locomotive escape was something I felt needed to be remedied.


Here are some photos of operating action on the layout.

























I have also done some research into the major industries and flora of Brazil,
especially in the southern coastal areas where I am trying to make the layout depict.

How I decided what to include as possible scenery plants for this layout,
was that I looked on various online websites selling model railway supplies,
to see what was available in HO / OO scale,
and then checked whether those plants existed in Brazil.

If I found that a plant existed in Brazil and it was available in HO / OO scale,
then it became a candidate for inclusion on the layout.


Eventually I decided on scale models of these plants:
  • Coconut palms: Brazil has plantations of these.
  • Bamboo: Brazil has this both cultivated and growing wild. This surprised me a bit!
  • Agave Americana: These seem to grow wild in Brazil, but appear to be an introduced species.
So I sourced them on the internet, and purchased them.


A pack of 4 Coconut Palms by Preiser arrived in fairly short order (a few days from when I ordered them),
but the Bamboo (100 pieces) and Agave (50 pieces) models have taken a lot longer to arrive,
as I ordered them from China.


While I have been waiting for the order from China to arrive, I have been assembling the Palm trees,
and doing more scenery work on the layout itself.

This included painting of the scenery base, adding some small hills,
and creating a rock / landslip feature roughly in the middle of the layout.





Brazilian Micro Layout Rock / landslip feature.


I also decided I might add a low relief building to one end,
which was somewhat inspired by a colonial gate and wall in a MacGyver episode,
called “Trumbo’s World” about an ant plague in the Amazonian jungle.

I had built stucco looking walls before and had used a rough sandpaper as the wall covering,
which was then painted a white-ish color.
It worked well when I tried this in the past, and it worked quite well this time too.





Low relief colonial style wall with metal roller gate.
Obviously the roller gate is not an original feature of the wall!


After watching a video on YouTube about employing chain shunting on a micro layout,
to add interest and allowing more interesting switching moves,
I decided I would try that on this layout.

I acquired a couple of plastic cotton bobbles, painted them a mid-grey color.

After testing for the best location, and having purchased some small link chain from a craft shop,
I tested the chain shunting idea using a couple of carriages,
and after I was satisfied with it I glued the bobble down in a suitable place on the layout.





Chain switching guides and chains.


I still haven't added a dirt layer to the layout base,
but am hoping once I have the palm trees constructed and placed on the layout,
that I can start to add that.




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James Stanford.
Corowa, NSW, Australia.

A many micros modeller.
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 Posted: Wed Aug 19th, 2020 03:23 pm
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Michael M
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James

How about making that chain winch operational?
Since you're working on a small layout this would add some interesting operations.

Woodie Greene had an operating winch on his Mogollon Railway:
https://www.freerails.com/view_topic.php?id=1222&forum_id=17&page=9

Anything you can do to slow things down help to make the layout seem larger,
manual uncoupling and hand-thrown turnouts.




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