Monday, 30 March 2015

English Electric GT3 - Mechanical Gas Turbine

Well that didn't take long to guess - Chris Harrison on Facebook got it first, in less than 5 minutes!
We might have known you lot were too clever!

So in a shock "non steam train" development we are excited to reveal that it is indeed the English Electric GT3 Gas Turbine prototype. Only 1 was built and tested as a way to see if a gas turbine with a mechanical gearbox could be an efficient replacement for steam locos. As it turned out the stop/start nature of trains didn't lend itself to the gas turbines best performance which is when it's running at a constant high speed - something that was overcome in later locomotives by converting the energy from the gas turbines into electrical power that could be stored and used at any time.

Some might call it a folly, others an interesting experiment in a different kind of motive power - but as we're not restrained by fuel costs in this simulator to us it is just a lot of fun to drive something that has been gone for a long time and is unlikely to ever be seen again - I can't see this being high on any new build lists, although there is a fantastic 5" model that runs on a real gas turbine.

If you'd like to know more about the original then this is a good link

Performance of the locomotive was never in doubt and it achieved a better time to ascend and a higher speed at the famous Shap summit than a BR Type 4 diesel and a Duchess Coronation class.

The Train Simulator version will have a high detail model of the locomotive and fuel tender, a full gas turbine and gearbox simulation, working exterior features (headcode covers, lights, fan, vents, heat haze) and a full working cab with all controls active and including a complete cold start sequence. We also have to mention the custom sound set for the gas turbine with electric motor starter which will make it sound unlike anything in Train Simulator to date!

Friday, 27 March 2015

Guess the Loco!

Question: So, what does a Train Simulator loco builder do in their spare time - when they're not building locos?
Answer: They build a loco of course!

A few weeks ago a good friend sent me a picture of this locomotive and after a short chat I decided it might be fun to build it in my spare time - as always with these things a vague interest became rather an obsession and after lots of time and funds spent on research the spare time project became a full on new loco build.

So in addition to the unannounced loco that we have stashed away for the unannounced route and the USATC S160 (still progressing well in the day time!) we also have this one in production.

I've been rather cryptic in this blog post as I thought it might be fun to see if anyone can guess what it is. It's unique, nothing like it has been built in Train Simulator before and it's outline looks like this...

So have a guess and we'll announce the answer next week.

Friday, 20 March 2015

USATC S160: Model Progress, March 20th

With the wheels and gear laid out and frames in place (details in the previous blog entry) we've started to build up more of the main components of the loco.

A boiler, smokebox and cab are always useful for checking proportions and layout of other parts, and in the case of the S160 the firebox is a major visible component as well.

So with part of the boiler and smokebox in place we were able to finish the saddle - and we couldn't resist adding some rivets to really bring out the detail in it - and add the outside pipes. Then it was back to the valve gear to add the cover over the combination lever and the mechanical lubricator mounted above it.

Adding the basic shapes of the cab, firebox and shaping the rear of the boiler the locomotive really starts to take shape.

The next step was to add the smokebox end - and again we couldn't resist getting the rivet gun out! - with it's very distinctive offset door and top bracket used to mount numerous types of electric and oil lamps. The running boards and front plate start to take shape as well and the final part of this update was to model 1 of the 4 types of chimney that will come with the final package.

Monday, 9 March 2015

USATC S160: Let's get modelling

After 7 solid days of nothing but research we decided to get our heads out of the books in the middle of last week and actually build something. Research continues in the background but it helps on these projects to actually start to construct the basics so you feel like you're making some progress.
There were literally hundreds of variations and modifications made to these locomotives in their long lives in numerous countries, not to mention liveries, but lots of parts are universal and as ever we started at the bottom.

We always model the animation of the valve gear first using simple circles and rectangles.
Once this is rigged and working then we modelled the components: wheels, rods, etc. You can also see here some basic shapes standing in for the cylinders assisting with the correct alignment.

We then moved onto the frames - which in this case are box frames, something we've not had to build before as our previous projects have all been UK locos with solid frames.

The next part modelled is the cylinder and smoke box saddle, seen here in mid progress - in reality these were cast in 2 halves and bolted together and were symmetrical so they could be fitted either way around making replacement of any that were damaged somewhat simpler. An important feature for their expected wartime usage.

Monday, 2 March 2015

March Madness Sale

The March Madness Sale is here and all of Victory Works add-ons are included with a whopping 50% off until the 9th of March. That's half price, in old money! :-)

GWR 56xx Loco Add-on

GWR Steam Railmotor Loco Add-on

Bulleid Q1 Class Loco Add-on

GWR Class 14XX Loco & Autocoach Add-On

GWR Small Prairies Add-On