Monday, October 4, 2010

Layout Construction – September 2010

New Scenery
Now it is starting to look a real railroad. This corner will my experimental area. It has been a long since I did any scenery work. This area will probably change over time as my skills increase and new techniques are tried. I used various sizes and colors of ground foam for grass and weeds.

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The road was created using sheets of black craft foam about 1/8” thick. I tried several ways of covering the foam to simulate blacktop. The first method I read about on a website. You coat the foam with a coat of colored plaster. After the plaster has dried, you use a small object to press down on the foam and create realistic cracks in the pavement. This method did not work for me. The plaster was scraped up and coats of chalk were used to color the foam. Cracks and pot holes will be added over time.
A small dry creek bed was added to vary the terrain and add some interesting scenic possibilities.

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Back Drop Painting
After thinking about it for quite awhile, I decided it was time to try some background painting. I originally wanted a detailed background, but decided on doing something simple. I wanted to avoid the background becoming a distraction to the main thing I want the viewer to see, the trains. This kind of the same principal as a stage play. The background sets the mood or helps to define what, where and why the actors are there. I will probably continue to refine the background as the foreground comes more into focus.

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The wheat field will become an area of interest as it develops. In these photos you can see the one row of wheat stocks. It will take quite a few rows to fill this scene. The harvester will be in the process of cutting the wheat. It will be fun to create a convincing harvest scene.

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New Acquisitions
New cars that were added to my collection over the past few months. Some were from eBay, one purchased at a local hobby shop and the others were acquired at a recent auction held at the Union station in Ogden.

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Sunday, October 3, 2010

Layout Construction – July - August 2010

New Scenery
After getting the itch to start some scenery work, I reworked the the track going into the first tunnel. I did not do a very good job of laying the track correctly the first time. So before any scenery could be started the track had to be redone properly.
With that done, it was now time for a new aspect of the layout to begin. I found some tunnel portals that I liked. There are not an exact replica for the tunnels used by the Milwaukee Road, but are close enough for my tastes. The portal entrance side walls also help to give the feel of the real thing. Now it was time to shape the hillside and begin sculpting the earth. Wow, sounds like I’m playing God.

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Lewistown Yard Tracks
With the basic land forms in place, I turned my attention to finishing the yard tracks and industrial siding in Lewistown. This completes all the track laying for the lower level. Time to run trains!

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Grain Terminal Association’s Elevator
Now that the industrial track for Lewistown is in I needed to start working on some the industries. I had built the Walthers ADM Grain Elevator kit 4 or 5 years ago. It sat on the shelf waiting for the day it would be placed on a layout. The only problem was the fact the building was to tall and to wide for the lower level. After cutting done the main building and splitting the silos in half it fit just fine. The only left to do is add the roof and pipe housing to the top of the silos. Add some other small details and paint.

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New Furnace
All layout work came to a sudden halt. It was time to replace the furnace. The furnace was the original equipment with the house. After serving faithfully for almost 25 years it was time to retire it. This allowed us to replace it with a modern energy efficient furnace with central air. The lower level of the house had never been cooled during the summer months. Plus, I was tired of fighting the swamp cooler every year.
The base work for the helix had to be removed and all the clutter in the corner had to find a new home. The ceiling tiles had to be removed for the addition of new cooling pipes and electrical work. So the layout was tidied up and a layer of protective plastic was used to cover everything for construction dust. Everything went well. As you can see in the last photo the installer did a great job of keeping everything inside the equipment closet.

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Additional Scenery Work
Now that the major house maintenance was complete it was time to get back to work. I finished sculpting the landforms in the corner of the layout. A quick coat of paint to blend everything and then sometime to view the results before continuing on.

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