Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Fathoming the unfathomable

The mystery that is P4! Funny how the simple matter of a particular gauge/scale can evoke such strong feelings of fear and dread - or at least, a certain reverential distancing of oneself!

Last night, with the arrival of the various P4 gauges, wheels etc. that I ordered at the weekend, I finally nailed the old deception that P4 is somehow an unattainable state of mind beyond the means of mere mortals!

OK, so all I did was build a token length of P4 track and replace the 00 wheelsets in one of my wagons with P4 ones (which, surprisingly, works just fine without any real adjustment needed bar a bit of minor repositioning of brake hangers).

This simple, almost symbolic gesture managed to quell any underlying, irrational fears I may have had about switching to P4. Why? Because it's really no different from anything I've already been doing. Yes of course, there are the obvious dimensional difference, but that's all they are. A piece of handbuilt track is a piece of handbuilt track, and if you take good care over it there's no reason why you shouldn't do just as good a job in P4 as any other gauge. And as for compensation - only weeks ago the very word instilled dread, but when you actually look at what's involved in, for example, compensating a wagon - there's nothing obscure or even particularly difficult about it - all the parts are readily available and easy to assemble.

OK, so the real test will be to get something actually running in P4. That's the next step - to build a short test 'plank' with perhaps one turnout, long enough to run a loco and some wagons up and down for testing purposes (although given the advised delivery timescale for the Ultrascale conversion packs I ordered recently it'll be a good few months before I can actually get a loco running in P4!).

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