Ukulelayout - micro layout in the ukulele box

Ukulelayout - micro layout in the ukulele box

Postby JBr » Mon Oct 29, 2018 1:11 pm

Last year I got a ukulele as a Christmas present from my wife. It was packed in a neat little box that I decided to keep. Few weeks back I came across a small box sized micro layout at Budget Model Railways channel at YouTube and I immediately knew what to do with the box.

When I started thinking about the possible layout, I had few things on my mind...

1) My intention from the beginning was to keep the track layout as close to the usual Czech prototype as possible, but I had to make some compromises due to the shape of the box. The setting of the layout is a small branch line terminus. Track scheme is quite simple -- basically, it is a heavily condensed real-life branch line station layout with two main tracks forming a run around loop, one head shunt and one siding. The siding leads to a goods shed and a coal unloading area run by a local coal merchant. Dimensions of the box significantly limit the possible choice of locos and cars, but it is still possible to do some switching with a small loco and up to three short cars (eg. two axle Es coal cars).

2) I wanted to make the whole layout as independent on external environment as possible, so all the power comes from 9V batteries and everything needed for running the layout (except the rolling stock) is stored in the box itself.

3) I wanted the layout to be as nice as possible, but cheap to build. Apart from few details all the tracks, points, lights, light signal, grass mats and trees are recycled from my old dismantled layout and a diorama I made about 10 years back to try out the Model Scene and Polak foliage mats. The only thing I had to buy was the PWM module for the controller (less than 4 USD from Ebay) and two ON-ON-ON switches (about 1.25 USD each).

I started the construction by making the base board out of some balsa leftovers and placing the track (combination of Tillig flex tracks and EW1 points). All points are operated manually using wooden bars under the base board. I also installed the lights and the colour light signal plus did all the necessary wiring. In the finished layout the 9V battery powering the lights and the signal is hidden in the goods shed. The first switch controls the power -- off, signal on and lights off, both lights and signal on. The second switch controls the aspect of the signal (green = free to go, red = stop, white = shunting allowed). The signal itself is not supposed to simulate a departure signal, but a "cover signal" (sorry, I don't know the English equivalent of this term) as the stations of this type most likely wouldn't have any arrival/departure signals at all. The "cover signal" in this case is a safety indicator telling the engineer whether a red light signal for cars at a railroad crossing in the direct vicinity to the station is active or not -- it "covers the crossing" (indications: green = red signal for cars active and will be deactivated when the train passes through the crossing, red = railroad crossing signal inactive or inoperative, proceed with caution and at slow speed, white = red signal for cars is active and will remain active until turned off when shunting is completed).

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Shining station lights. The tiny green spot is the green signal light.

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The next step was to make the necessary buildings. Both the station building and the goods shed are only made as front halves. The goods shed is sized to house the 9V battery inside. The building are made from thin balsa. Then I glued the backdrop to the sides of the box.

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Entry to the station is through a hole in the shortest side of the box, which is masked as a road bridge. The tracks were painted with the "rust" Revell acrylics, all the "greenery" placed and glued and finally the tracks were ballasted with ballast of various colour and fraction. Coal deposit next to the siding was also made.

uku04.jpg
Last edited by JBr on Mon Oct 29, 2018 1:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Ukulelayout - micro layout in the ukulele box

Postby JBr » Mon Oct 29, 2018 1:15 pm

Single track "fiddle yard" has the power connector mounted on. During the normal operation it is connected to the PWM controller powered by 9V battery. However any DCC system can be pluged in instead of it for "digital" operation, which I already did few times to run some of my locos with sound decoders. Both the "fiddle yard" and the controller can be stored in the lid of the box, fixed with velcros.
uku08.jpg

uku09.jpg

Finally, the last few details were added -- few wheel chocks laying around the area where coal cars are being unloaded, derailer at the sidings, point signals, end of the track signals and last but not least, the Fortschritt T-174 excavator near the coal deposit.
uku10.jpg

uku11.jpg

uku13.jpg

Few operational notes... Only a short loco can be used, both the length of the run around track and the head shunt effectively limit the length of the rolling stock. However, I don't consider this much of a problem as I can run longer trains on my larger modular layout. On the other hand, if I am in a mood for some train action, I just take the box with the "ukulelayout", unpack it on a dining table and I can run a train in less than a minute. And after I'm done shunting, it takes about a minute to pack it and the table is empty again.
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Re: Ukulelayout - micro layout in the ukulele box

Postby ConducTTor » Mon Jan 07, 2019 4:12 pm

Between this and the GuiTTar case I'm starting to think I need a musical instrument :))


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Re: Ukulelayout - micro layout in the ukulele box

Postby j p » Tue Jan 15, 2019 9:24 am

ConducTTor wrote:Between this and the GuiTTar case I'm starting to think I need a musical instrument :))

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I would recommend a piano, you'd get some more space inside the box.
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Re: Ukulelayout - micro layout in the ukulele box

Postby ConducTTor » Tue Jan 15, 2019 11:56 am

:))


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