This one might take some time, not because I have done much, but as my wife says I can ‘talk a lot of bollocks’.
I have had a busy time since the last update, the summer has sapped the modelling mojo like it always does but model trains have been on the agenda whether I like it or not.
I am sworn to secrecy but I may or may not be off to Scotland in the next couple of weeks to ‘film’ a TV programme about model trains. Now readers this sounds the height of glamour I know. Has OTCM hit the big time? Errr probably not so unfortunately you cannot go around saying ‘Oh I read that blog before it was famous’. In fact I am sworn to such secrecy on the whole thing you actually never ever have actually read this, okay? (but I promise when I am allowed to talk you will hear all about it.) But its such a secret here is some information about it in the paper:
Following on from the shit time the UK has been going through/is going through at the minute something that eccentric and ridiculous is hopefully needed (that sentence is the closet OTCM will ever come to current affairs/politics)
So in the last few weeks that has been quite a large thing kicking around, but it did mean some jobs needed escalating such as my Mum’s curtains (Ed – I really do not need that mental image)
The curtains have got me thinking on presentation, the ‘should I maybe’ drop the letterbox height is probably now more ‘I am going too’. Some experimenting has been taking place and dropped a few centimetres does make a big difference. So its either a completely new front piece (really do not want too) or a sign made at a signmakers that doesn’t look like I just stuck it on (which it will). Also that picture is by no means at all the finished job, much more to come including how to hide that fiddle yard.
Also it looks like we have its first confirmed exhibition, Uckfield 2017. No big deal, its just Andy Jones and the Gravetts will be debuting as well. Which has epically put the fear of God up me to raise my game on my tiny first ever solo layout. Also as the Gravetts are such personal modelling heroes if they so much as say hello to me I may wet myself and have to hide for the whole weekend.
Also the DJM Austerity nears completion, note to self never ever buy a loco where everything is painted red as repainting it is a grade A nightmare. The red flashes on the wheels you can see will hopefully be blackening soon.
Also I have been having these brain waves of late about sound. Chris and I always have a thing about whether sound is good and actually worth the cost. I think it is good but it is not worth the money. So I wondered if I could somehow do it better but do it for less (the dream right?)
So I have a plan, I take a lot of cheap items and I try and make it sound a million dollars.
Here is the logic and its based on ideas from the Americans mainly. Looking at Broadway imports ‘Rolling Thunder’ (got to love a Yank name) and an article in Model Railroader’s 1000th edition along with an N gauge layout that escapes the mind from here in Blighty I reckons externally mounted sound is the way to go.
So how am I going to do it? I want to mix ambient sound and DCC loco sound to create ‘atmosphere’. My guidelines are:
- atmosphere when no locos are present (ambient noise)
- bass for loco sounds
- sound that has a quality and richness but if you do not want to hear it you can easily channel it out
- as above – it never imposes
- System can be updated and added too (no big money spending)
In other words the sounds fit the layout, they do not overpower or annoy the exhibitor next to you either.
DCC sound chips, especially for steam locos can be shrill and tin like.
I am lucky that I have a small layout, so external sound has no need to ‘travel’.
So I went to my local Maplins to find some portable speakers to set as my bench mark for performance, after all I was going to rely on eBay Chinese peanut price products to get this done. Through some form of miracle however a shop on eBay started selling the benchmark speakers, in hot pink, at £4.99 inc P&P which is a huge decrease in the Maplins RRP.
The brilliant thing about the kitsound cube is they can be lashed together with audio jacks to work together, and charged by a mini USB.
So the plan is in a nutshell is too:
- hidden mounted cube speakers x 2
- Cheap Chinese sound mixer with minimum two input
- Cheap MP3 player with ambient sound
- multi mini USB charger
- Baseboard hardwired DCC sound chip (one for each class of loco rather than one in each)
In terms of costing without the DCC sound chips is under £35 quid.
The plan is to have this operational (ambient only) for Uckfield. DCC sound chips are expensive, but as I mentioned with a sound chip hard wired and a one loco layout you can have one chip per class of loco rather than a chip in each.
So stage 1 is complete with the speakers mounted, they are brilliant at 50x50mm and only 105g.
That is all folks, more soon when either I do it, or am allowed to talk about it,
Thanks for the continued readership,