Amos Gnollies again

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AndyA
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Amos Gnollies again

Postby AndyA » Thu Mar 15, 2012 3:26 pm

When I came to post, I realised that the poor old Amos Gnollies, the traverser ferry, never actually had a thread of its own. 1160(S) did but the poor Gnollies only ever got walk-on parts in the bodge(tm) traverser and 1160(S) threads. So, a new thread.

The ill-fated original, or what remains of it, gets a walk-on part here (she's the bedraggled looking wreck at the back):

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For those unaware of the background, a few years ago we had a flood whilst on holiday, and both the 1160(S) and the Amos Gnollies were write-offs. I could have rebuilt the shell of the Gnollies, but the baseboard, a piece of MDF, warped, and since the traverser unit was trapped, that was a write-off. I couldn't face rebuilding it, so I never really restarted either concept, although I've played around with both over the years. The late Carl Arendt said 'let me know if you get round to it, I'd like to see what you come up with'. Sadly, it's taken his death and the SFER#4 tour to get me off my behind (or actually onto it) to make a start. How unlike me, then, that the start involved three weeks of maths and then building a completely different layout (see 'Salem Street, in Gnine).

All of that really was down to working out how long the ferry deck needed to be, to combine the concept and the puzzles with my variation on Shortliner's concept. To be fair, if Shortliner had posted his great idea before the traverser competition, this is probably what I would have built anyway. The piece of MDF you see there with a box standing on it is exactly the right size, and...

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...fits swinging across the board attached to the pier with about 1cm to spare all round.:) You can see that it was getting dark by then, so I stopped.

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This morning I cut a piece of 0.5mm card which will be the base for the rails. I then shaped the 'wheelhouse' to the sketches I made in Ireland last year, and cut the card to fit around it.

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Applied copious PVA glue, spread it out (note that I took the shot before getting PVA everywhere). And for regulars, here's the obligatory 'pickle jar shot...

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Q: Andy, why is the card over-length?

A: about half an inch will represent the ramp, just as on Pritchard's Wharf. I'm going to stick as much as possible to the original concept, including adapting the original artwork, but I have to make some changes.

Having made this much progress justifies posting the first part of the back-story. I thought I'd done this before, but I can't find it, and if I post the various 'emails home' in this thread, then when I finish the 'tiny Macton loco assembly' thread it's just possible the readers may understand the sequel. For newcomers, Bertrand is, in Michael Mott's back-story, the manager (or perhaps foreman) of Macton Works, Mike excellent locomotive works layout. By this time-frame, Bertrand has retired, but his apprentice, who is visiting Norway to examine a wartime loco built by Macton Works, keeps in regular touch by email. I realise to my dismay that I wrote these in 1998. How time flies.

From: The Apprentice <- - ->

to: Bertrand <- - ->

Bertrand, hello!

I hope this finds you well and that the cottage didn’t suffer too much in the rain I saw on BBC News 24.

I’ve finally made it to Svolvaer – I’ve set the keyboard to English, so I can’t do that slanty cross through the ‘O’, you’ll just have to imagine it. I see what you meant about the journey. I changed planes at Schipol to get to Bergen, having the same meal on both flights. The Bryggen is still there, but I’d guess it’s less ‘colourful’ than it used to be. I ended up drinking with some of the guys from the fishmarket and barely got any sleep before catching the Hurtigrute boat and spending two more days getting here. I think you said you took a week on the boat all the way? I can understand what you said about the food: it was good, but very same-y. The same with the mainland scenery: I spent a lot of time in the upstairs bar, but I reckon there was just one fjord and we went past it many times.

But the light, when I got here in mid-morning, was even more beautiful than the way you described it – worth the trip on its own. And the hotel has given me a room that looks out over the bay, which is beautiful. I wandered around for a bit and watched a film about bird-watching that was actually a thinly disguised sales-pitch for the wildlife paintings in the gallery. They’re very nice paintings, very evocative, but well out of my price bracket.

After the evening meal, a couple of people dropped in to say hello, and then another couple, and so on, so it’s now a lot later than I expected. You said that everyone here was friendly, but I really thought that was just because it was you. Then at first I thought it was because this is a fairly small place and I was someone new. But by now I’ve come to the conclusion that everyone really does want me to see the best side of the islands, and to have a good time while I’m here.

In the morning I will meet up properly with the people from the restoration group, and see the loco’, so I really must try to get some sleep. More tomorrow.

Kindest regards


more when everything is dry. Probably laying the rails.

regards
Andy A
Gn15: Gnot so much a scale, more a state of mind
gnine: less is the gnew more
GnTonic - enjoy irresponsibly

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Postby AndyA » Mon Mar 19, 2012 10:50 am

I eyeballed the 'ramp' and decided that three narrow planks looked okay. This allowed me to cut the 'pier' to length and glue it down. The planks are supposed to look like buffers, and will be reflected at the other end with planking on the wheelhouse and the rear hull.

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Then I clad the pier with 0.5mm card, so that it's the same level as the Gnollies.

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Then I laid the two short tracks on the Gnollies, measuring them from the Lion Tiles board. After that, I aligned the two tracks on the 'pier'. This is just code 100 rail cut to length and filed as flat as a bodger can make it.

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Now to slide the barge across and lay the long track on that.

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Note that although I now know the size of the fomekore I need for the hull, and in fact I've found the original artwork on a backup disc, I'm not going to start on that until the trackwork is tested. Nor am I going to start the wheelhouse until the hull in complete. The point about having made about five versions is that I've made these mistakes already, which leaves me free to make some entirely new ones this time around.

Part of the idea was always to build the 1160(S) dilapidated version as well. I now know that because there are two sets of 'special cases' in the simple grid for Salem Street, I can have two versions of the game as well - a 'call-off' version with the 1160(S), where the computer selects one of sixteen end conditions as the 'next stage', and a timetabled version for the Gnollies where the 'route' is standard and five or six stages are decided in advance, meaning that the operator, as loadmaster, has to plan in advance to minimise the total number of moves.

- - -

From The Apprentice <- - ->

to: Bertrand <- - ->

Bertrand, hello!

I’m glad to hear that all is well out there by the moors. Today I met the preservation group and we planned out a few days’ work. I suspect that they don’t really need my help, and of course this loco was before my time at Macton, but I can see elements of the design I worked on. One of the ones I worked on is apparently preserved – without its engine – at Hedselo, so I hope to get to see it before I come home.

It’s so small, though. No-one will tell me what it was for, but it’s clear that they’re very fond of it. I’m sure that one day you’ll let me in on the secret, but certainly these people are very close-mouthed, even after almost sixty years. It’s been in daily use so mechanically all that’s needed is to do a thorough service on the engine and replace some worn bearings. There’s a reasonable amount of rust but nothing life-threatening, so probably I shall be reverting to type, stripping what remains of the paint, priming with Hammerite (or whatever the local equivalent is) and then rubbing down, painting, rubbing down, painting. Well, they do say that many people visit in the summer and spend their holidays painting.

When it’s finished, the loco will be officially named as ‘Ballblom’, which as the name suggests is a globe-flower that grows all over the place in spring and is bright yellow. I’m not allowed to bring plants back, but the owner of the hotel has agreed to find me some seed for your garden. This, of course, resulted in a long discussion in the bar about the best way to germinate them, where to plant them and what soil they like best. I gather that in fact they grow like weeds, but I didn’t want to spoil the fun. So, prepare a bed of light, well-drained soil, or perhaps one of clay, on a south-facing slope, or maybe a sheltered spot against a west-facing wall, because next spring you’ll need photographic evidence. . .

Regards. . .

- - -

regards
Andy A
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gnine: less is the gnew more

GnTonic - enjoy irresponsibly

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Postby Gerry Bullock » Mon Mar 19, 2012 3:40 pm

AndyA wrote:
--------. The point about having made about five versions is that I've made these mistakes already, which leaves me free to make some entirely new ones this time around.
---------

regards
Andy A


Surely Gnot :!: :lol:
Keep up the good work with both layout and accompanying letters Andy. 8)
So little time, so many ideas!!!!! GerryB.
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Postby AndyA » Mon Apr 16, 2012 9:08 am

I've made some progress since the boat trip. Sticking as far as I could to the original Gnollies concept, I tested the track with croc clips, and the little SPUD-based loco ran over the gaps after a bit of fettling. So then I 'clad' the three sides of the barge with fomekore the right height(! yep, got it right first time, must be getting better).

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Then I painted the inside and the top black. The original had orange edges and those are probably prototypical so you can see what you're doing in the dark (I badly twisted my ankle going down between the boat and the pilings), but it shows every imperfection.

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I found the artwork, cunningly disguised as a file called print_at_57, flattened of course. I wasn't happy with the ae ligature, so I painstakingly modified it pixel by pixel because I couldn't find a matching font on my machine. Then I printed it off and worked out how to modify it for the new hull size.

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Next I glued the card round the outside of the hull, and played trains.

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By playing trains, what I actually mean is that I started by 'solving' one of the three-from-four sorts documented in 'Salem Street' under Gnine, because that only meant putting clips back on the pier. It's doable but the solutions are different from the 'Salem Street' ones, so it took me about half an hour. Then I dusted off the software I used to generate lading lists for 'Bodgeferry Wharf' - my original reaction to Shortliner's ingenious 'Ingleferry Sidings'. I updated this with the maths from 'Salem Street' and 'Lion Tiles'. Then I ran it to generate five sequences. When I say 'ran', I sort of helped it along and now I have a list of errors as long as your arm (longer than mine). A slow process, but the idea of doing card order sequences on a smartphone is just too wacky to ignore.

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The five sequences each leading to the next took me most of the weekend to work through, and I'm nowhere near having the shortest combination solution. Whilst I have no doubt that one can make a smaller layout in Gn15 designed for operation, but I doubt it would give quite so many hours entertainment per square inch.

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Next stage is to produce a backdrop and visualise a building, although first I'll plank the ramp because the edge has already been slightly foxed from carrying the thing up and down stairs. I need to think about cladding for both the deck and the pier. And yes I am trying to put off the day on which I have to start fettling the wheelhouse.:)

Q: Andy, which is going to be that back?

A: I'm going to look at it for a couple of days and decide which side looks best, then I'll put the other side towards the backdrop.

- - -

From The Apprentice <- - ->

to: Bertrand <- - ->

Bertrand, hello!

I’ve stripped the paint from the panels and the frame, and helped the others make a list of spares we need – not much, actually, and Kvaerner reckon they have everything, or can get it for us, so next Monday I’m going to pick them up when I make my trip to Stavanger. There won’t be time to get there and back on the Hurtigrute boat, so I’m going by boat to the mainland and then flying the rest of the way. They wanted to pay my fare – it’s getting embarrassing because they won’t let me pay for anything, so I had to sneak onto the hotel’s computer and book it using my credit card before anyone noticed.

The little raft arrived back today I see now why the loco’ has to be so small: nothing bigger would fit (although at the moment, of course, it doesn’t ride on the raft). The raft’s engines are completely shot, as we knew, so they’re maintaining some kind of ad-hoc service, moving it using a small fishing boat. It doesn’t go regularly like it used to, but everyone has mobile phones. She brought a load of grey primer and canary yellow gloss paint from Liland. It would have been much simpler to get it from the mainland, but everyone is mucking in and the little factory at Liland wanted to do their bit. It’s going over to Hedselo tomorrow with some provisions, Akvavit and two toilet bowls that came off the Hurtigrute boat when I arrived, so I intend to ride over there to see the site.

I finally found time to visit the museum this evening: I’ll have to spend more time but the tribute to Amos Gnollies is very moving. I also went to the graveyard and there’s a rather nice modern ‘Our Lady of the Sea’ pointing out across the bay, right next to his grave. Having heard you talk about him, I’ve photographed it for you and I’ll attach it to tomorrow’s mail if I get time to download it. And when I told the curator that you’d actually met Amos all those years ago, she got very interested, resulting in the inevitable session in the bar with several people asking me for any detail I could recall. They asked me, when I get back, to do a ‘living history’ piece with you, that they can use as the soundtrack for a short AV piece. I know how reluctant you are about things like that, but I said I’d ask. More tomorrow.

Regards. . .

- - -

regards
Andy A
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gnine: less is the gnew more

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Postby AndyA » Thu Apr 19, 2012 9:04 am

I made a start on the scenery. I painted the 'sea' a pale blue. I'll probably darken the edge by the pier when I've worked out how to surface the pier, and I'll probably give it a coat of PVA sealer to gloss it a bit, but unlike Bob and others who are modelling nice choppy water, I can't do that because the Gnollies has to slide across it.

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Q: Andy, isn't the sea a bit pale?
A: No, it really does look that colour - the light in the Lofotens is one reason artists flock there every summer.

Q: What are the cottages from Inversnaid doing there?
A: I was intending to have a pier office, but when I put the smallest feasible building there, I figured it made the thing look even more like a caricature than it is, so I'll just model the end.

I cut a piece of car as high as the cottages - it's a very pale grey, again fairly realistic. Then, I found one of my old photographs, reduced the colour palette to three (posterised), and threw a 1cm grid over it. I copied the near skyline onto a piece of mid-blue paper, and cut it out.

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I repeated the process for the far skyline...

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and cut it up like marquetry, before glueing it to the backdrop...

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Q: Andy, couldn't you make this even more complex?
A: Well, it's a try-out for a larger backdrop I need, and in any case it looks fairly good, probably better than if I'd painted it.

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Q: Which side of the boat will face the front?
A: Not the best side as I thought before: if I do that the last wagon on the long track will be hidden. I'll probably cover the flaws with fenders or something.

- - -

Some musings on operation and shunting puzzles - part one

I was going to put this in a single posting on this thread, but it's got long so I'll split it over the next three or so. This first bit is only peripherally related to this Gnollies, but sets the scene. The next email from the apprentice is below.

About the time I built the first Amos Gnollies, someone on, I think, the 'small railway' forum, posted to the effect that “...the average British modeller has no idea what operation is...” and later”...switching puzzles aren't realistic, they consist of correcting mistakes that wouldn't be made in the first place...”

Well, natch, as a Brit who thinks he has some understanding of operation, I kind of took exception to this. There are a number of reasons. The first is that 'operation' is only really interesting to watch for a second time when it's somehow different. I used the Gosport ferry daily for many years. I have great admiration for the way the crew throw the rope over the bollards, drop two turns and return it to the cleats. But after the second day the only time I looked was when the master had missed his mark, or something else strange had happened. The same is true with model railway operation. I understand where the guy was coming from; he way trying to advocate card order systems and so on. Another way is to have a long sequence of a working timetable – Christopher Payne will probably agree that this generates real mistakes that then need to be corrected.

This operating sequences were the idea behind a number of linked layout designs that my wife and I worked on together, and which were documented in three issues of The Tome. These derived from the late Fried Lagerweij's “Arue”, but we developed an operating principle as well. Essentially, the first and last trains consist of two or three (depending on layout length) coaches and a post-van which has to be shunted to the rear of the train after running round, the next two are one or two coaches (again length dependent) and two inbound and outbound wagons, then one freight-only (four or six wagons) another mixed, and the last train. To operate this on an end-to-end with one loop requires two locomotives, which swap over roles each time and generates a reasonably interesting half hour of realistic operation. So yah booh sucks.

Card order systems are great, and generate lots of thinking and interest, but I'd argue that there are other realistic ways of doing this, of which the Amos Gnollies idea is one. In Norway, we rode the Hurtigrute (post boat), and I got really interested in the freight operation. Sometimes the ship docks for less than fifteen minutes and doesn't fully moor up, the idea is that you get the loads off and the new loads on as quickly as possible and then forklifts inside the boat sort the mess out before she docks again. That model has intrigued me since just after I joined this forum.

more next time...

- - -

From The Apprentice <- - ->

to: Bertrand <- - ->

Bertrand, hello!

Half an hour into today’s adventure I was gripped by the fear that I wouldn’t return to write this. The little fishing boat can hardly power the Amos Gnollies, for all that the latter is just about an over-blown raft, with waves breaking over the flat deck even though it was nearly flat calm. That thing is scary in the extreme and I think I know how the Vikings felt when they pointed the prow to the west, next stop Greenland. The steersman looked quite serene: when he saw how I looked he offered me his hip flask and I soon felt much better. It reminded me of that rum tea we used to have: the first one tasted vile, but after a while you get to like it.

Against all the odds we made it to the jetty, which is really a little causeway to cope with the tides. There are half a dozen houses on the sea-front and we were met by two fishermen and an old lady. We unloaded the cargo – the Akvavit turned out to be all for her – and then she took us into her house for tea and biscuits. With her, the fishermen, our steersman and me all in the room it was pretty crowded. There was a lot of very fast and loud conversation and then some bottles of Akvavit appeared: but this was dark green – the same stuff the steersman had in his hip flask. It turns out that she uses the cheap stuff distilled in Bretesnes and steeps herbs in it, much like making sloe gin but much stronger. This is much sought after in the area and supplements her pension. I have two bottles to bring back, one for you and one for me.

It turned out that Margrethe Reierson – the old lady – was to take me to the display at the old mine whilst the steersman and the fishermen did... something. I was quite surprised, but after another round of the firewater she grabbed her coat and a carbon fibre hiking pole and set off up the hill at a pace that left me breathless. She talked incessantly about the work that’s been done to landscape the old mine area and about what it was like in the old days. After the new locomotives arrived and the wartime ones were retired, she used to be a relief driver. She’s pretty sure that she remembers you from when you came here after the war: apparently she specifically remembers your suit and the fact that you were fed up with fish. So later (I’ll get to the best bit in a short while) she wrote out the recipe for her special veal with a young caper-butter sauce, which she remembers you liking.

Sadly, my memory isn’t as acute after all these years, and it’s difficult to tell with the engine removed, but I think the loco’ is the third one we did, because it has all those modifications you worked out in the evenings at the King Alfred. When she found out that I’d worked on it with you (sorry for the slight exaggeration, blame the local fire-water) she became very excited. Back at the house there was much gabbling into mobile phones, another round of Akvavit, a couple of bottles and some clothes and stuff went into her rucksack and we were off: she rode back to Svolvaer with us. The cabin was very crowded but it was too cold to stand on deck for long. She sang what was obviously a fairly bawdy song, then continued to talk the whole way back. It seemed a much shorter trip coming back. Now we’re going down to look at the ‘Ballblom’. After a day like today I’m not too sure what the evening will bring.

Regards...


- - -

Regards
Andy A
Gn15: Gnot so much a scale, more a state of mind

gnine: less is the gnew more

GnTonic - enjoy irresponsibly

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Postby Steve Bennett » Thu Apr 19, 2012 10:47 am

Making good progress Andy and I do enjoy the backstory :D
Nice to see the old ways being used for the backdrop, still very effective in these days of printed backgrounds as it always was. May even be better, as it is not supposed to be noticed :lol:
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