fighting procrastination fifteen minutes at a time

Switching tracks


Workshop space

After yet another extended silence and inactivity things have started to move on again! However this time in a slightly different direction although not completely on tangent. I have been struggling recently with where my modelling was going, the foam core failure and all the life events and upheavals that have/are hopefully somewhat sorting them selves out now. As stated before I don’t have a huge amount of space to “play” with and it is also a semi permanent state that has to be able to transmute at a moments notice. Couple this with a chronic inertia, this is not a particularly good receipt for success. So changing direction  has allowed me to think differently about my current modelling activities and efforts and although I want to complete my 2mmFS plans I have come to the conclusion that to do it properly I need a static place and this is some way off still. Thats not to say that it can’t be moved towards as all sorts of items can be built in preparation. But for the time being I have put these plans on hold.

The first part of the current story is getting some space to smack bits of wood around and although not ideal is a place to make a mess. Having taken quite some time to clear and prepare as you can see I have a bench which is not only sturdy but flat too. I am pretty amazed at the quality of the work and somehow fell it was put together by someone else. I am however really please with it and has made so much easier. I just need some finishing touches such as a draw for vital things like pencils, squares and planes. I am also amassing a collection of clamps and as someone once said you can never have to many of them. Now that I have my workshop set up I am in a better position to successfully build baseboards that are not my usual Heath Robinson affairs.

Moving on to the second part, after a meeting with a fellow modelrailradio listener AndyD at the York show and subsequent illicit viewings of a Kato boxed Glacier Express set in the car park my fate was sealed. These are lovely things and although the purists will be complaining it is not to scale, it is to the usual Kato high standards, but I will put a separate post up about this. Once I had sold myself on the idea, though this didn’t take much, thoughts bubbled away for a couple of months. Then caution was thrown to the wind and I purchased on Amazon a standard GEX set. Shortly after realising that I wouldn’t be happy unless I had the full set with buffet car and first carriages I added that order history.

Then the confession. I don’t think Andy was too surprised when I announced that I had purchased said GEX set and then the conversations started about what I was going to build to run it on. Space was measured out and tweaked around to get the maximum coverage, then a scaling back followed by another land grab. Eventually an L shaped plan was settled on and then permission needed to be sort to go ahead with planned project. Unfortunately or fortunately permission to proceed was denied based on it took up too much space and wouldn’t be easy to move quickly. At the time I didn’t realise that this was true and that actually it had allowed me to think differently about the solution. So after quite some discussion with Andy up steps the modular idea. Having looked at the standard N modular frameworks such as Freemo and N-Trak, I didn’t feel they fitted my needs and so decided to come up with an idea of my own, also to follow in a further post. With the ideas batted backwards and forwards between us there came a much better solution to my needs and had the add benefits of others in the future being able to add to it. So at the  moment I have around 8ft long shelfy type modular layout with station in the middle and two helixes at each end so pretty much a roundy roundy..


So once my table sorted then I can start cutting the plywood needed there are many things between here and there. But for now I am focused and excited about the “plan”. In the meantime I have knocked up a test bed for things like track ballasting, buildings and catenary etc. But the aim is not to get carried away or become to bothered about proto-typicalness but I am hoping that Kato extend the range and bring out some freight wagons. Only time will tell, however there is always 3D Printing…….



  1. 15minutemodeller

    Thank you Chris, and having just watch the clip that is a seriously nice layout and the space is completely deceptive. To think that is just 6×3 is a truly imaginative use of that space and as you say completely be used for a Swiss metre gauge railway. On the prototype there are so many locations that you can fit really tight turn into our out of stations, tunnels and other rock outcrops. I just don’t have the space for a layout like that much as I would love one and which is why I settled on the 2ft module 🙂

    I will have to look into the Kato wagons as I was thinking the same thing as to the cement wagons, though my first thoughts were for the box wagons as that would be a easyish bash of a existing one but then I am not sure I could live with the fact.. lol but the cement wagon would be a relatively easy one to start with I think. The more modern container wagons would be relatively easy to manufacture to as they are box section essentially. theres even the potential of creating loco bodies to fit on Kato Chassis and as the law is that as soon as you make something like that the big manufactures bring out the rtr version! But thats jumping too far ahead 🙂

    I will try sort out a “Kato GEX set questions you were to afraid to ask” chat more to follow.

  2. chrismears

    Terrific update, Tom. I really enjoyed reading it.

    Ever since that OSC where we were talking about those Kato sets I’ve been finding myself looking at them too. I think you could build quite a terrific layout featuring them. In terms of a layout, I remember N scale modeller Mike Danneman built a really terrific N scale layout based on the Rio Grande in the rockies. The layout was in Model Railroader many years ago and I see there is some Youtube video of it too:

    If memory serves correct it fit in a space of only about 3×6′ but, I feel, uses the space quite effectively to communicate a sense of place and of that style of railroading. I would think an exact replica would work just as well with catenary and these Kato train sets.

    You might be on to something with the 3D printing. I have a bunch of those Kato four-wheel freight cars from their Pocket Line train sets. They must be the most free running chassis I’ve ever owned. I put a few under some old Chivers OO9 cattle vans whose chassis I could never get square enough to roll freely. Perhaps a few more of these chassis could be used under a 3D printed RhB cement wagon? I’ll have to take a look around and see if I can find enough dimensions to have a go at drawing one up to print on Shapeways.

    I’m looking forward to what you think of next. Perhaps there needs to be a tempted by Kato Glacier Express train sets skype call-in?

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