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Old 11th March 2011, 11:45   #1
MotionMan
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Default Looks Like a Model - Moves Like a Toy

I'm sorry about this folks but after many years of putting up with it I've just got to stick my neck out and make a public complaint about model railway enthusiasts in general. Since my teenage years (in the 70s) it has always amazed me that virtually all model railway enthusiasts are not enough concerned about realistic motion, and it's only my recent discovery of DCC and its ability to create a realistic start / stop that has brought me back to the hobby. OK, I acknowledge that people don't now constantly razz locos around at 100mph. I do see some lovely realistically slow running, and I'm gratefull for that, but, what I consider the most important part, the actual transition from 'stop' to 'go', and visa versa, still seems to be considered an unnecessary act of realism (even when they have DCC).

Many a time I've watched an otherwise superbly detailed model, weathered to perfection, and I'm told that some locos even have the correct number of rivets ... cripes ... but then suddenly the illusion is shattered by the sudden halting of a train / loco in a manner that wouldn't actually be possible for the real thing even if all its wheels jammed (it would slide). Even if a 1:1 scale locomotive was able to stop with such suddenness the result would either be injury or possibly even death to some passengers and crew. Model locomotive drivers seem to be much more interested in getting a certain action done rather than getting it done with realism. I consider this a faulty sense of priorities.

It reminds me of the Operations Rooms during World War 2, and the big map in the centre of the room. The tokens on that map were pushed around in a similar manner.

Yes, I know I exaggerate a bit ... but only a bit

Even if an incident occurs, such as a train loosing some wagons, or a derailment, I see no reason to suddenly dispense with the effect of realism. If your train looses some wagons then just bring it to a realistic stop (emergency stop with brake squeal perhaps) .... and then (no need for the Hand of God) .... reverse the train up to the lost wagons and stay with the realism. OK, so the Hand of God will be needed if there's a derailment, but no need to dispense with a realistic emergency stop in order to deal with it.

When I refer to an emergency stop I don't mean that unrealistic red button emergency stop on DCC controllers. That is the very kind of stop about which I am complaining. Unless I can modify that button to give realism I will be disabling that button (haven't got a layout yet so if anyone knows of a controller that allows such modification please enlighten me).

Have a look at this lovely little video and bear in mind that this is N scale:-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygorZAGyk9w

If this can be done in N scale then surely we can do even better in the bigger scales? (I can't hear this video but I'm not referring to the sound anyway). Also notice the realistic pauses between stop and go.

And for those of you who think that real locos do stop and start suddenly I think you may be getting mixed up with what you see when close up to a loco. Just do an experiment next time you're near a railway. Go some distance away to make it as small as your model railway and just sit and watch it move for a while. I think you'll find that even cars (automobiles) do not usually stop and start with such abruptness. If they do there's noticeable bounce on their suspension and possibly tire screech. I've even taken notice of the movement of people carrying miniature railways, and even they don't do such sudden movements. So come on folks, let's remember that other dimension in model railroading, let's not consentrate so much on just getting things done, but rather getting them done with realism. Quality above quantity.

Right, I'm off ..... TAXI!
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Old 12th March 2011, 01:43   #2
TCWORLD
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Default Re: Looks Like a Model - Moves Like a Toy

I think NCE DCC controllers can do that - If you press the "Option" button while a train is running, it brings it to a stop with whatever momentum settings are programmed.

One of the problems i have found with nice slow running and accelleration - espectially with the small scales (I work in N-Scale), is that the engines aren't heavy enough to keep moving at slow speeds and tend not to have enough force on the wheel pickups and track to keep good electical contact.

I know where you are comng from, and I do agree that if possible it the evil physics bending instant stop should be avoided
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Old 17th March 2011, 13:19   #3
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Default Re: Looks Like a Model - Moves Like a Toy

Even with DC once can find - or construct - controllers with realistic braking rather than a toy-type on-off motion. I've got both a commercial unit and one I built up a bunch of years ago - hand wired on a piece of perf board. (Doesn't look great, but worked very well.)
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Old 18th March 2011, 09:43   #4
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Default Re: Looks Like a Model - Moves Like a Toy

Thanks TCWORLD, but what if the momentum settings are not set for realistic emergency stop? I know that some controllers have two means of stopping a loco, slowing or quickly. Can you set that 'quickly' button so that the loco comes to a brake screeching emergency stop?

EdUSA, I have used and seen many DC layouts and it has been very difficult to produce realism in the start / stop, but recently I was amazed to see an N gauge layout that was DC and produced a better start / stop than I've seen performed on many DCC layouts (but that's only because the users weren't using the controllers properly).

Here's an example of the type of bad stopping to which I am referring:-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tfp8J...feature=relmfu

You'll have to wait untill the loco comes around again. It comes to a stop .... a toy engine stop. Now the thing to realise here is that this is O gauge. Compare this to the other video I linked which was N gauge.

Sorry to the producer of this video but I'm afraid I only give you 5 out of 10 for that stop.


Here's another experiment to try. You know how models are used in films to represent the real thing? Well, imagine your layout is being used by a film director to represent a life sized railway, in other words, a special effect. They allow you to control your locos for the film scenes. You are asked to make your locos perform certain tasks i.e. bring a train into the station and stop, do some shunting etc.. Now, how do you think the motion of your locos would look on film?

Remember, this is going to be used as a special effect. You've got to make the audience for this film believe that this is a life sized railway. The visual detail of your model is very convincing, but ..... are you going to give the game away as soon as that loco moves?
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Old 18th March 2011, 12:29   #5
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Default Re: Looks Like a Model - Moves Like a Toy

I think much of how trains are driven relies upon who is watching and where the watching is being done. It's fine at home, when operating alone or with a couple of friends, to have a brake test before moving off with a freshly made up train. We can talk among ourselves while we wait, but having a train standing still on the main line of an exhibition layout for even a couple of minutes with nothing apparently happening will result in the audience wandering off to look for something that is moving. Therefore the same train on the same layout with the same crew driving it will run differently at home and at an exhibition.

Stopping and starting gently is a different matter, along with maximum speeds, these are a sign of good operating... and good modelling because a train will rarely run well at low speeds on poorly laid or dirty track.

I'm a member of a group which operates a modular layout in On30 and we make a special point of keeping the track clean so that trains can be run at slow speeds. Having a couple of "Magic Train" locos in use helps no end with this because they have sliding contact with the rail made by spring loaded plungers which work wonders for keeping the rail surface clean without any obvious track cleaning operation during the course of the day. I have also just completed converting an old Triang track cleaning wagon from OO to On30, it makes its debut at High Ercall show (near Telford, Shropshire, UK) tomorrow.
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Old 18th March 2011, 15:04   #6
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Default Re: Looks Like a Model - Moves Like a Toy

Gosh Blackcloud, you're local to me, and there's a show down near Telford, but what a shame, I'm going to an O gauge meeting tommorrow.

I'm puzzled by your reference to a brake test. I'm a beginner to DCC, I don't have a system yet, so I presume that's why I don't know what that's about (or is it about setting CVs?). I was watching a DCC On30 layout recently (at the Bolton show) and the locos were being run at a realistic speed but the user kept on stopping and starting them in an unrealistic manner. I asked if he could give them realism but he said he hadn't configured them yet. I went away and when I shortly came back he was starting and stopping them with realism. I said "Wow, you've done it", but actually I don't think he'd done anything with the CVs, he'd just stopped wacking the control knob quickly on and off. So if your brake test is about CVs, I don't see why you would need to reset CVs during a show. How much of the start / stop motion is related to the CV setting and how much to the user's refinement of touch on the speed control? I suppose it's a bit of both.

That's interesting about the sliding contacts that help keep the track clean.

I don't know how the vetting procedure works for exhibitors at a show, I don't even know if there is one. If there is, I think it should also include an operations test. I think they should have to pass the film director's test (see post 4).
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Old 18th March 2011, 17:18   #7
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Default Re: Looks Like a Model - Moves Like a Toy

A brake test is nothing to do with DC/DCC or any other actual function of a model train. But a REAL train would need to test its brakes before moving. When a wagon or coach has been added or removed it will drop the air (or vacuum, depending upon era) pressure in the train's brake pipe. This needs to be restored then tested from the rear of the train to ensure that the brake pipe is open through to the loco. The time taken to do this will vary according to how long the train is but the simple fact that the brake has to be tested from the rear means somebody has to walk the length of the train (and back) if there's no brake van.

Exhibition managers usually take a layout's operations into account when inviting it to a show. They often prefer a layout to have trains moving on it rather than standing having a realistic brake test though.

PS. If you're local you might find the Exhibition Diary page on the CRM website of interest. Many of the events listed are in the North Midlands and North West areas. The next outings for our On30 modules after High Ercall are Manchester in May, Leeds in July and Crewe in August.

Exhibition Diary Link
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Old 20th March 2011, 10:24   #8
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Default Re: Looks Like a Model - Moves Like a Toy

Ah, Blackcloud, I see. Well, yes, that's going too far with the realism, but on the other hand when a loco's got sound, even when it's just standing still 'ticking over' it's an exciting experience. I hope your cleaning wagon performed well at High Ercall. At the O gauge meeting I was allowed to drive a gorgeous DC O gauge brass Pennsylvania 4-6-2. It was a good runner and with delicate touch on the control was able to perform a fairly realistic start and stop back and forth in the sidings. I always feel when I'm driving locos in front of people that they want me to just get it going quickly. Why is that?

When I watch models run with no concern given to realistic motion I just find myself wondering "What's the point?" and very quickly get bored. I'd rather see a static model. For instance, I usually find the most exciting layout at the big Telford O Gauge Guildex meeting in September to be on South West Digital's trade stand.

Can't find out what CRM stands for. Taking a guess at the 'R' and 'M' didn't help me on the web.
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Old 20th March 2011, 14:16   #9
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Default Re: Looks Like a Model - Moves Like a Toy

I'm with you to a certain extent on scale operation. I think at exhibitions, there has to be a compromise, especially when you have children watching who have the attention span of a gnat and want to see trains running. At the exhibitions I've displayed at, I've tried to talor the operation to the people watching, quicker starts for kids, and more scale like for adults. My last layout ( Kingman AZ ), had three main lines, so there would always be something moving in front where the public could see. It was designed as an exhibition layout, with limited switching, focussing on continuous running. The main yard area was at the front of the layout, so the trains were on view most of the time.

As many of you will know, I've flown scale R/C model aircraft around the UK shows for more years than I can remember, and you get the same thing there. People flying a scale model in a mannor the fullsize wouldn't have done. From my point of view, I couldn't see why you would build a large bomber and fly it around like an aerobatic model. From the owners perspective, they may be just wanting to thrill the crowd or themselves.

At the end of the day, if you are happy with what you are doing, that's fine, but like you Motionman, I prefer to see scale operation.
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Old 20th March 2011, 16:34   #10
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Default Re: Looks Like a Model - Moves Like a Toy

Quote:
Originally Posted by MotionMan View Post
Can't find out what CRM stands for.
Connected Railway Modellers, as in the exhibition diary link I posted previously.
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