Segment Turntable, micro motion
Power options: AC and DC analog; DCC
NOCH micro-motion - Ready-made Model Segment Turntable H0This segment turntable allows locomotives to change tracks even in very confined spaces. As these segment turntables require little space, they were mainly used at rural stations and at small railway roundhouses. The extremely compact NOCH model offers three sidings on an area of 20 x 16 cm (7.87 x 6.3 in.) and presents the model railway fan some very interesting shunting (switching – Ed.) possibilities. This highly detailed Laser-Cut ready-made model can be used with all H0 track systems and is suitable for both 3 Rail and 2 Rail operations. In analogue operation the rotary motion of the segment turntable can be actuated with the switch included. Alternatively, the pre-installed digital decoder allows operation from a digital controller. The digital decoder is programmable and automatically recognizes the Märklin / Motorola and the DCC / NMRA format. Using a smaller digital station (e.g. Märklin mobile station), the rotary motion can be triggered from a locomotive address. Each release starts moving the segment turntable. From the central position each single position can be sequentially approached. Size: 20 x 16 cm (7.87 x 6.3 inch), installation depth 4,8 cm (1.89 inch), lead track length on the ramp 14 cm (5.52 inch).
This style of turntable is used to reroute locomotives where lack of space and tight clearances preclude track arraignments that require more space such as conventional circular turntables, wyes, or three-way switches. Factory areas, wharves, mines, engine facilities, and branch line termini. Three examples of similar setups are the Ventnor railway station and Bembridge railway station terminuses on the Isle of Wight; and at the German Steam Locomotive Museum in Bavaria.
In the Box
The model arrives in a signature yellow NOCH cartonboard box featuring a photo of the model on the NOCH display layout. The top of the box is a hinged lid held tight with a Velcro disk. On the interior of the lid is another quality photograph of the turntable with an engine. A fixed top with a cellophane window displays the model. Removal of the model is via flaps on each end.
The model is securely packed inside a two-piece clear plastic tray with a plastic bag of the accessory parts. An instructional booklet is included as well. The contents are:
• Segment turntable and pit
• 1 X 4 cm of copper wire
• 1 X heavy card pit template
• 1 X laser-cut card “sprue” of control stand parts
• 1 X sheet of paper signs
• 1 X sprue of styrene signposts
• 2 X brick walks
• 2 X laser-cut card bumper timbers
• 2 X plastic railing sprues
• 3 X card shims
The turntable assembly is a 1.89 inch (4,8 cm ) deep box comprising a pit and the factory installed pivoting bridge. It is constructed of heavy card and some wood, laser-cut and glued and screwed together. The steel deck girder bridge is a 5.52 inch (14 cm) long and seems to be constructed of the heavy rigid board favored by NOCH. It pivots at the rear end while the approach end of the bridge rides on an arc of rail. The deck is wood and detailed with a laser to simulate individual planks. Nothing beats real wood for wood decking and it looks great, but it looks like NOCH lased the planks perpendicular to the wood grain. Rails are embedded in the decking and the metal is blackened – excellent! Each side of the deck features a walkway with open metal grating – again, excellent! One curious piece of the bridge is a length of metal screen between the rails; I think it is the electric contact for Märklin AC operation.
Containing the bridge is the pit. Its floor is a concrete color. The arc of rail supporting the approach end of the bridge is affixed to the pit floor. Along the sides and top edges of the pit are sturdy walkways with brick veneer. They act as wings to support the pit atop the layout surface. These are laminated card with the top layer covered with NOCH 3D Textures simulated brickwork. This brick sheet is extremely realistic compared to plastic brickwork as it is textured and lacks the common sheen of styrene. The pair of brick walks are also made of this. These brick walks are cut to fit between the tracks outside of the pit lip.
Below the pit floor is the electronics board. It is pre-wired with feed wires and the analog pushbutton. That completes the basic segment turntable model; as described you can install it and wire it and use it.
Now we’ll look at the detail accessories. Card shims are provided to help raise and steady the model. Each sprue of flexible shiny plastic railings holds two railings. These have some minor flash and are molded joined together at the bottom of their posts. A laser-cut card “sprue” holds four pieces that build the turntable control column; these are sharply cut. The length of copper wire is to be bent into a crank shape for the column. Two signposts of gray styrene support the paper signs. Finally, a pair of laser-cut brown card beams are provided as bumpers for the turntable end of track.
A small 14-page black-and-white instruction booklet guides you through successfully installing your segmented turntable. One cover shows the turntable with the other advertising the Laser-Cut kits "Tannau (Berg)" Station and Tannau Goods Shed (freight depot). This booklet is clearly printed with sharp illustrations and photographs. The text is written in Dutch, English, French, German, and Spanish. Your humble reviewer thought there was an error in printing as the assembly sequence and other content are collated backwards! Not so -- NOCH educated me that this is a common format for instructional booklets in Germany.
That content includes wiring instructions and diagrams for connecting the model to both DCC and analog power systems, both DC and Märklin / Motorola AC systems. The text is very detailed about how to hook up various analog and DCC systems. It is also very specific about what not to do lest you fry your circuit board. A page showing the accessory detail parts follows.
Next comes the fun: 23 steps about how to install those accessory detail parts and mount the unit. The first 11 steps lead you through assembling and attaching the parts and sub-components. Steps 12 through 23 show you how to draw out the footprint and cut the mounting hole, seat the unit, and align the tracks. Märklin C- and K-track is shown. NOCH coaches you to adjust the height of the bridge rails to match whatever brand of track you use with flathead screws. The last two pages show how to fit the two brick walks between the tracks next to the mounted segment turntable. Finally, NOCH includes a page for notes.
Making the Model
After opening the box and inspecting the components, reading the instructions, and cogitating how to display this review, I started the project. Step one was using the template to trace where to cut the mounting hole and align the approach track. I decided to first mount the turntable, wire it up, install the tracks, and then add the detail parts. While that was opposite of the instructional guide – which is backwards, so maybe not – historical data tends to indicate that I would knock off or damage the detail parts while handling and mounting the turntable.
Cutting out the mounting hole and inserting the model was quick and easy, as was wiring the device. I decided to use DC analog; I attached the motor to the power pack 16V accessory terminals, then I wired the tracks and turntable track to the track supply terminals. I triggered the turntable and let the micro motion motor align the bridge with the three positions. The motor makes a soft buzzing sound while smoothly rotating the bridge. At each stop I aligned code 83 Atlas flex track and nailed it down. NOCH emphasizes to ensure the rail tops of the approach tracks are even in height with the rails on the turntable. The code 83 was slightly lower leading me to think the nice blackened rail on the turntable is code 100. It is no problem to shim your rail to match the turntable rail. Be careful that your approach track rails do not foul the turntable as it rotates.
After a couple of tests I was satisfied that the rails were aligned. Now it’s time to assemble the detail parts! First, following the instructions I measured and cut and attached the railings. Although no glue is provided by NOCH, I still have a tube of Uhu glue from building the NOCH Victoria mine kit. It was tricky attaching the railing as there are no mounting holes along the catwalks into which to set the posts; I used a square to try to keep the railing upright while the Uhu set. Second, I attached the bumper “X” and the stop sign. Then I assembled the four-piece laser-cut control column stand. The second plastic signpost was attached to that sub-assembly, as was the formed copper wire crank. After the Uhu had set I simply placed the assembly on the operator platform, held tight by gravity. Gravity works! Finally I placed the two brick walks between the tracks.
With a sharp snap the master power switch energized the power pack, thence the segment turntable and the approach tracks. The moment of truth arrived with the opening of the throttle and the rolling of a 2-6-2 tank loco down the approach track and successfully onto the turntable bridge! I started to commission the event by breaking a bottle of champagne on the model and loco; then I thought better of the idea. With weight on the turntable I triggered the pushbutton. Again the micro motion motor softly buzzed while smoothly turning the locomotive to the next track. The rails aligned and the 2-6-2T successfully rolled forward off the turntable and down the track. The only hitch was that the two brick walks between the tracks set too high atop the track spikes. The loco drivers rode over one of the walks and displaced it. This may not be a problem with Märklin C- and K-track. I took the parts and carved away a small amount of material along the bottom edges so that they would set lower on the track spikes. That helped keep the drivers off the brick but not enough. More carving will be required for the pieces to fit the track I use. Another solution is to displace the walks about 2 mm away from the lip of the turntable; this laterally moves the top away from the driver overhang but it exposes the gap between the turntable pit and the mounting hole.
I spent three-and-a-half occasionally distracted hours working on this model, from the time that I inspected the kit contents until the locomotive rolled off the turntable onto the track. That does not include reading the wiring instructions.
I think this segment turntable is a useful track component. It allows one to redirect locos from one track to another in a short space. This way one does not have to sacrifice an extra foot of siding track length just to turn a loco. The detail NOCH has put into the basic model is very impressive. As are the detail parts; all laser-cut parts are crisp. The textured brickwork is looks great and I appreciate the real wood on the bridge deck. The blackened rail is a nice touch. I am further impressed by the sound and motion of the turntable motor. Equally am I impressed that the electronics automatically senses whether it is running on AC, DC, or DCC. The instruction booklet is well detailed and illustrated.
The wood decking is a nice touch but the tie detail runs contrary to the wood grain. While I cannot test-fit the brick walks to Märklin C- and K-track, I suggest that NOCH remove some material from their bottom along the rail-side edges. This will help lower the part profile to the rail top.
This HO segmented turntable is a wonderful, compact, well detailed offering from NOCH. I happily recommend it!