Sunday, December 1, 2013

Layout Construction - #14

Let There be Light!
The lower swing bridge from the layout to the helix has always had one problem. It is very dark when compared to the rest of the layout. While there is really nothing there that needs a lot of light when viewing, it still looked wrong. One day we were shopping at Costco and needed to get a pack of light bulbs to use around the house. On the lighting aisle I found these flexible LED lighting strips made by Sylvania called Mosaic. The price could not ne beat at $30 and included 8’ of lighting. If you can’t find them at Costco, Lowes also sells them for higher price.


The nice thing was that the strips were broken down into four 2’ strips with connectors, power supply and a remote control. The strips have an adhesive tape on the back making installation easy. While the light color does not match the rest of the layout, it was an easy answer to complicated problem. I could have used the under cabinet fluorescent lights that I used on the rest of the layout, but installation would be difficult and added weight to the upper swing bridge. Below are a few photos to illustrate the results. First a before and then an after. The before shot has been lighten up for more detail. It really looks darker in person. I ended up only using 3 of the 4 strips. The light produced by just three strips did the job very well. Now to work on hiding the “sun light” in the tunnel.




Layout Update - #13

Another Rolling Stock Update
One of the industries on the NML is Fergus Gravel just outside of Geraldine on the way to Falls Yard. This industry loads hoppers and gondolas with ballast, rip-rap and other grades of gravel for various uses.


The gravel pit is actually off the layout and accessed by a road that will go from the ramp to the edge of the layout. I have always liked the empties-in and loads-out part of operations. The only way to make it work realistically enough is with removable loads. Time to build some loads!

Removable Loads for Cars
After searching local hobby shops and the internet, I have not been able to find ready to use loads that have the look I want. Then it hit me! The NML uses ballast pulled from the Fergus Gravel pit. The loads should have a similar look also. I created the loads using the most common method that most modelers use. A pink foam base covered with your favorite material. While the one photo below with the load sitting on top of the car shows a lot of pink foam, once it sits down in the car it doesn’t show.