Sunday, July 29, 2012

Cité du Train

I go to visit my sister, who lives in Paris, as often as I can. Last May I went there to spend four days taking the advantage of a long weekend. As she knows my passion for trains, we decided to visit the Cité du Train which is the biggest railway museum in Europe with more than 6000 m2 where the railway story is presented in a cinema set.

So we took the TGV from Gare du Nord heading to Mulhouse.

If money is not your problem (not my case) you can eat at Le Train Bleu restaurant. This is a luxury restaurant inside of the train station and its name comes from the luxury express night french train operated from 1886 to 2007, also known as Calais-Mediterranée express (don't get confused with The Blue Train running in South Africa). The only dangerous thing eating in that restaurant is stiff neck, once you see the gorgeous ceiling.

From Mulhouse station to the Cité du Train you can take a modern tram until the museum entrance.

And once in the museum you can spend a full day inside. There's a pack to visit also a car museum, but it's too much just for one day if you like trains.

In the first part of the museum the story of “The Golden Age of Rail” (1844 to 1960) is presented, with the aid of permanent animations, audiovisual displays, and “son et lumière” shows. 

Very curious things can be seen here, like a representation of a scene from "Murder on the Orient Express" in a original dinning car or a "railway bicycle":

Other part of the museum, even bigger than the previous Le Parcours Espectacle, is a collection of locomotives and wagons covering all the history of trains in France. Beginning from a 111 type Buddicom nº33 "Saint-Pierre" and ending with the TGV who has the current speed record with 574 km/h on normal tracks, you will see an incredible amount of different rolling stock.

The smallest part is dedicated to scale models, but nothing better of what you can see in dedicated events and mainly in HO.

The last part shows you the different engines used across the history of trains:

Friday, July 27, 2012

Painting and weathering plastic parts

I wanted to rest a little bit of laying tracks, mounting electronics, wires, soldering, ... so I began some tests to decorate a short piece of track: ballasting and painting plastic parts like poles, relay boxes and cable trunking mostly, and I also tried to create a concrete wall from a styrene sheet.

I tried to apply some painting techniques used in large scale modeling, mostly in tank or airplane modelling, to make plastic parts less "plastic" and more realistic. The result is good to the eye, but taking close shots with the camera it shows it's necessary to work with magnifier and thinner brushes if you want similar results.
Here you can see poles just painted using an airbrush (gray and green shadows for the pole) and with a normal brush for the small parts (metallic and white). Previously I painted them with black primmer in spray can:

And here poles weathered. First I tried to eliminate brightness with gray pigment, and later I applied some rust effects to the metallic parts:

Relay box has also been painted, black ink wash, and dry brushed in a lighter gray tone.

Monday, July 2, 2012

The power of the paper clip!!

As I wrote in pasts posts, I don't use Uhlenbrock servos any more. They come complete with all accessories like servo mount (but it's weak) and piano wires to use as axles (but also weak and thin). But on the other hand servo is bigger than others and all the kit is logically expensive.
Como escribia en posts pasados, ya no uso los servos de Uhlenbrock. Vienen muy completos con todos los accesorios como la escuadra de fijación (aunque es muy débil) y los alambres (aunque también son muy débiles y finos). Pero por otro lado el servo es de mayor tamaño que otras marcas y al ser un kit es lógicamente mas caro.

When you buy servos they come with different plastic arms, but no piano wires. I was frustrated at home after visiting the nearest shops without success, and thinking where to buy that kind of wires while I has playing with a paperclip between my fingers and bending it.
Cuando compras los servos sueltos traen distintos brazos pero ningún alambre. Estaba en casa frustado después de visitar las tiendas mas cercanas sin encontrarlos, y pensando dónde podría comprarlos mientras jugaba con un clip entre los dedos e iba doblándolo.

It's a stupid discovery, but I mounted four servos using small paperclips as the axle and they work nice. It's easy to bend but strong enough to move switches. This clips also fit better in Peco's switch holes.
Es un descubrimiento bastante estúpido, pero monté los servos usando estos pequeños clips de papel como eje para el desvío y funcionan estupéndamente. Son fáciles de doblar pero resistentes para mover los desvios. Y el grosor de los clips es mas adecuado para los agujeros de los desvios Peco.

So now I have the cheapest and best solution: servo control from Peter Ghiling, servos on ebay, servo mounts in Hobby King and paper clips from the stationery.
Ahora tengo la mejor y mas barata solución: módulo de control de servos de Peter Ghiling, servos de ebay, bastidores de Hobby King y clips de la papelería.