Tuesday 12 January 2010

Slightly late Christmas cake

For a long time I have been keeping up with Carl Arendt's web site devoted to micro layouts. It contains some truly miniature layouts. Having shown some of these to my wife she expressed the desire to see me put a model railway on a Christmas cake.

I put it off for a while but eventually I thought how to do it. My first thought was to go for T gauge. It is so small it was bound to work. Unfortunately, after investing in a set, I realised that there was only settrack available and even the smallest curve meant that the cake would have to be pretty big.

After much cursing I decided to go up a scale and bought a Z gauge loco and a length of flexi track. The method of doing the basics is nothing new:
  • Solder the rails with fishplates so you avoid a wonky joint
  • Solder on the power wires at this stage
  • Glue the track to a thin cake board so it can just rest on the top of the cake
I decided to power it with PP3 battery. Actually I wanted something smaller but this was the best compromise at short notice. The volts needed reducing so I put several resistors in series until the volts were about right. I glued the resistors to the cake board and used them as a frame to hold the battery.

Then it is a case of ballasting the track and adding scenic scatter. This is actually important because despite wanting to cover it with fake snow, the ground will always show through somewhere and it needs to be green rather than cake board silver.

Lastly add fake snow. Short of time I tried a variety of methods, none really good. Before next year I intend to buy some Woodland Scenics snow and do it properly.

Lastly I knocked together a church to go over the battery. It's a little crude but I rather left it to the last minute...

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