I think it’s time I stopped looking at lots of structure kits and parts, and start making a place for the inhabitants of the railroad towns to live their lives. Building starts are looking up in this world.
Tag Archives: Model Railroads
1st Scenery Post
Working with my new Noch Gras Master as well as Heki micro flor, and some silflor products all purchased from Scenic Express, I started in on what is my favorite part of model making, the Scenery and what I would call the general mood of the place.
The rocks (Woodland Scenics molds)
were colored with washes of the thinned valspar paint that I talked about in the last post, as well as thinned India ink.
This particular scene will continue to be worked on, but I wanted to show how the 1st section appeared after the initial go round.
I especially like the texture lent by the Gras Master and the hanging vine look from the Heki Micro Flor.
Of course the rocks up front are still just raw Hydrocal.
Morris Arboretum Christmas trains
If you are ever in Philadelphia, it is worth a visit to the Morris Arboretum in the Chestnut Hill section of the city.
It is a wonderful garden experience as well as a terrific garden railroad, that winds under shrubs, trees and has many bridges, including one that passes overhead. There must be 8 or 10 trains running at once as well as Hill climbing geared cars.
It is open during warm weather, from approx April to October and then Holiday themed trains running from Thanksgiving until Jan 2nd.
The buildings are constructed of natural materials (pine cones, bark, reeds, branches etc. and are of historical buildings from the Philadelphia area. For the Holidays the houses are decorated with lights, garlands, candles, wreaths,etc.
Finally went to Lin’s Junction Hobby Shop in Lansdale PA on Saturday to pick up some ribbonrail radius track gauges.
Been wanting to go there after seeing their ads as part of the DC / DCC Dealers Association. Will be going back to switch over to DCC, hopefully in the coming year.
They really seemed to have a good selection of quality items, including the track gauges I was searching for, lots of variety in brands of track available, and as expected, DCC systems, decoders , etc.
Of course there was the mysterious derailment of a train with full size corn cob cargo in their outside display in front of the store. Perhaps full size squirrel intervention!
Greenberg’s Phila Show
Always nice to see the Kids eyes at a train show like the Greenberg’s show I just attended at the Philadelphia Expo center at Oaks PA. Especially the Large G Scale layout they had set up with large lit Christmas trees in the center next to a mountain. Also always fun to see the Phila Ntrack modular layout, especially the modules by Alan Schappel.
The show is of course different than The Great Scale Model Train Show in Timonium MD, which is more serious in keeping with a scale presentation and having more manufacturers and custom model makers, but this is close to Christmas, and seeing the kids in their own fantasy world is a great time too.
About to attend the Philadelphia Greenbergs train and toy show December 11 and 12. Has Been a while since I have gone to a Greenbergs show, so it will be interesting to see how the vendors and audience react compared to The Great Scale Model Train Show, held in Timonium Md 4 times a year, which I have attended, at least once a year, for the past several years. I’ll talk about that in a future post.
The Perils of Humidity
Jumping ahead a little just to relate an “oh no” realization about barge cement and the perils of east coast, Mid Atlantic basements and the changes in humidity and temperature. I laid a fair amount of Central Valley tie strips and Micro Engineering code 70 rail applied with barge cement. As you can see in the photo, the seasonal pressure to expand was too much for the barge to contain. To be fair, Central Valley’s new tie strips are molded with push over mechanical spikes and rail clamps, and this works very well. Sometimes the learning process does seem frustrating, but its all worth it. I have decided to use the NEW central Valley strips and also Micro Engineering code 70 flex track in hidden areas (tunnels,covered connectors, staging). I think it’s all an adventure worth taking.
The whole foam idea
In deciding to go with the foam concept as the base for the layout, I continued to use layers of foam to both build scenery support and with Woodland Scenics incline sets, to create the rising and falling of the track supports to follow the land elevations. All of this again with foam compatible construction adhesive.
I decided to build the basic structure for the layout a little differently than most of the typical L girder or grid structures recommended. After deciding on the basic track plan (which I’ll put up on a later post) I built a frame work hung on the wall in back, and supported by legs somewhat set back from the front. I did this in sections 4 foot wide of 2x3s. Setting on this under frame is a 1×4 four foot wide frame with slightly recessed smaller section interior grid to support 2″ thick extruded foam, which I routed to fit these 1×4 sections, and drop down to contact the smaller sections. This foam is glued to all the members of the 1×4 frame with foam compatible construction adhesive. This gives 4 foot wide sections which are then fastened to the 2×3 under frame with cleats. In theory I could, at a later time take the layout apart in sections if it had to be moved. I stress the “in theory” part.
In the photos you can see the aisle edges of the sections are contoured, because of the track plan and the scenery to follow.
The whole thing is really pretty sturdy and rigid, and even stand able if you put a piece of plywood to stand on, so to spread out the weight. I’m 6’4″ and 200 lb., and I have no trouble with this so it really is possible.
My Dad showing me about building things, to my high school starting of so called “perfect track work” on an early train layout with my friend Joe Braun, to my college summer employment at a precision machine shop, and through a number of years of designing, building and photographing sets for Knex toys box covers, I came back to starting a layout with hopefully some life experiences and skills, to make an interesting and fun layout, that I would like to share, as I go along. Hope you enjoy and share your experiences as well.