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Expat
2nd March 2010, 10:11 AM
I started this in the Model Railways thread but rather than fill that up with my drivel I thought I'd just start over in a new thread. So.......

The name of the thread and the layout I'm building are kind of a misnomer because Brisbane is considered by most people to be "North" not South. I suppose I could easily call it the Brisbane Northern because of where I'm located now and the fact that it'll be modelled as a ficticious branch of the AT&SF/BNSF with the scenery based on the South-Western USA.

At this point the plan is to build three shelves along the longest wall of the basement - 20'8" - with Shelf A being the lowest and holding the majority of the staging. Shelf B at optimum viewing/operating height and having a good sized through yard, changes of elevation and some industry. Shelf C to be at roughly my upper chest level featuring the edge of a large town with possibly auto and steel industries as the major operations. Shelf C I'm going to build in such a way that I can possibly make use of another wall in the basement down the road by leaving a pair of tracks ready for that extension if I get the chance.
148572
Here's my plan for Shelf B which is what I'm starting with as it's the most interesting scenically and can be operated as a stand alone unit till the other shelves are added..... or my patience runs out!
148573
Here's Module 4 where the up and down helix's are located at the left end of the wall. I plan to have a couple of bridges here before the three tracks all disappear into the mountain hiding the helix's.
148574
Once trains come up from Shelf A and cross the Brisbane River they enter Module 1 which I have pretty much finished already.
148575
This was prior to the last of the track being glued down, wiring run and the ground throws for the switches attached. Because it's right at the front of the shelf and at prime height I only need ground throws here. Some scrap hard maple came in handy as the templates for turning flex track into straight track.
http://www.sppss.com/trains/module-3.jpg
Next up is Module 3 where the majority of this shelf's industry is located - Crestmead Furniture and Maleny Dairy. My Dad's side of the family are all from Maleny-Conondale-Merridan Plains-Caloundra and there will be a Merridan Plains cattle operation on this level in the mountains of Module 4 and a Tesch Bros. hardware and sawmill as well as a bakery dedicated to my Dad on Shelf C. Crestmead gets a mention because that's where I stayed with friends on a visit home last year.
148576
Then comes Module 2 which is the next module I'm working on. This has the through yard on this level featuring a car/loco service area and will also have Intermodal services. I christened the yard after the suburb I grew up in. I suppose I could have called it the Gabba yards because I remember them as a kid but I think maybe the yard on Shelf A will get that moniker.

Expat
2nd March 2010, 10:15 AM
I've started on the frames for the shelves. I'm making each section of the frame for Shelf B 32"x281/2". With the wall studs 16"OC they should match up pretty well.
http://www.sppss.com/trains/0011.jpg
You know cheapo 2by comes up pretty nice once you mill it down to 11/4" x 31/4" The mitre gauge sits waiting to handle squaring the ends and final length cuts.
http://www.sppss.com/trains/0012.jpg
Once all the rails and stiles were milled it was time to break out the pocket hole jig on the stiles. I always use the shop vac not just to clear out the chips but it also holds the board in place pretty well prior to clamping.
http://www.sppss.com/trains/0013.jpg
Time for some screwin' and gluin'!
http://www.sppss.com/trains/0014.jpg
Love those Kreg clamps!
http://www.sppss.com/trains/0015.jpg
Tah dah! One down and many, many more to go. I'll be attacking each frame with a 11/2" hole saw to the front rails and the end stiles to reduce weight. The ends can be drilled out because they will be screwed to another frame for added strength but the center stile will only have small holes for the DCC buss and comm lines. The front rail will have a facia attached so it's holes won't be seen and it's cantilevered out so it needs the weight reduction while the rear rail needs as much strength as possible. The cantilever braces will all be routed like a "H" beam to reduce their weight too.

Anyway....... lots more gluin' and screwin' to be done so of I go back to work!

munruben
2nd March 2010, 04:57 PM
Fascinating, I'm sure this thread will be watched with much interest.:2tsup:

Expat
4th March 2010, 03:51 AM
I was locating all the studs in the walls and got to thinking about what the layout would look like over the frame work along with the stud positions and everything that needs to be taken into consideration before I go attaching anything to those walls. So.........
http://www.sppss.com/trains/0016.jpg
Got some changes to make to the framework don't I? Not a big deal really. The frame pieces at the left end need to be changed to allow for the helix going down to/up from Shelf A and I figured as much before I laid the plan in there. The frame at the right end needs to be made around 2" longer to fully support the plan and give me some space for scenery in front of the curve.

However, I was looking at "the lay of the land" in the basement and because the next wall to the right of the layout has the washroom door and it is at 45deg to the end wall of the layout I was thinking about extending a peninsula out from Shelf B into the floor space to handle some more industry. It could be served by the spur that currently handles the dairy and furniture factory inside the loop. Hmmmm.......

Anyway I have 6 of the frame pieces ready to go and surprisingly the plan regardless of any changes and/or additions uses 6 of those 32"x281/2" frames. Rock on!
The line above Shelf B is the top of the Shelf C framework at 62" above the floor. I have no idea what I'm going to do up there!!! Not even the faintest hint of a track plan. The only thing I know is I need to allow for the double main line coming up from Shelf B and a possible expansion "round the bend" on the right end.

Suggestions?

seriph1
4th March 2010, 09:18 AM
spectacular use of KREG - and I love the layout, even though I must confess to being a "OO" British tragic .... will be watching this one with relish! Well done mate

Expat
5th March 2010, 11:43 AM
Love my Kreg! I use it everywhere I can. Never could get into O. Way too big for me. I used to run HO but when N started to take off I made the switch and have never regretted it.
http://www.sppss.com/trains/0018.jpg
Finalised the frame plans for the shelves. Got to go buy another 20 lengths of 2by and get milling. I'd best buy another 500 count box of 2" pocket hole screws too!

Expat
6th March 2010, 08:24 AM
Thought I'd see what the shelf track plans I have so far will look like laid flat on the framework:
http://www.sppss.com/trains/0020.jpg
From this I see I can make some changes to Shelf A's plans. Increasing the radius of the yard loop and also bringing the main line closer to the front of the shelf as it meanders along. Both of those upgrades should give me more room in the yard area so more details and maybe an extra service area track?

Shelf B looks just fine to me.

Shelf C is a real problem for me. I am drawing a blank on ideas. I've started laying it out dozens of times and scrapped each attempt. Suggestions?

Billy
7th March 2010, 01:10 PM
Massive job youve got there.:D Do the trains run from the lower shelf to the middle shelf?:)

Maybe scrap top shelf and put more detail into the other two?:?

Dunno much about train sets but yours looks a beauty.:2tsup:

How big is N gauge? length of a loco for instance?:o

Good luck,

cheers, billy

Expat
8th March 2010, 10:15 AM
Massive job youve got there.:D Do the trains run from the lower shelf to the middle shelf?:)
Maybe scrap top shelf and put more detail into the other two?:?
Dunno much about train sets but yours looks a beauty.:2tsup:
How big is N gauge? length of a loco for instance?:o
Good luck,
cheers, billy
I've already bought and am ready to mill the 2by material to make all three shelf frames so there's no going back. Plus the track plan for Shelf B is such that Shelf C has to be built.
As for detail there will be plenty put into this regardless of if it were a single shelf or all three. I've already started weathering the track on the modules I've built so far and I'd be further along if it weren't for a shortage of flex track from one of the major manufacturers.
No offence taken but N-gauge is what it was called 20 years ago and is considered a bit of a swipe at the people who model it so please don't use that term again. You see those who modelled in larger scales derided N as toys so they called it a gauge and not a scale. N-Scale is roughly 1/160 of prototype size. It gets the moniker N from the fact that the rails are 9mm apart having first been made in Germany and 9 in German is Neun so they called it N-Scale.

Billy
8th March 2010, 08:39 PM
Gee, I would have thought that the smaller the scale the better.:) You could have heaps more stuff in your display than other scales. An HO scale or larger wouldnt fit much on the same area as N scale.:D
Do you have to figure in wiring for all your controls prior to cutting out all the timber, I imagine there will be a fair bit for a set up as complex as yours looks?:o
Low voltage, 12v?
Anyhoo, good luck with it, I'll be watching with interest.:2tsup:
cheers, billy:fireman:

Expat
9th March 2010, 06:19 AM
Gee, I would have thought that the smaller the scale the better.:) You could have heaps more stuff in your display than other scales. An HO scale or larger wouldnt fit much on the same area as N scale.:D
Do you have to figure in wiring for all your controls prior to cutting out all the timber, I imagine there will be a fair bit for a set up as complex as yours looks?:o
Low voltage, 12v?
Anyhoo, good luck with it, I'll be watching with interest.:2tsup:
cheers, billy:fireman:
Controls are all DCC so feeders from every second set of rail joiners plus black separation to avoid shorts shutting everythiong down and computer controlled polarity switching for all the turnout frogs and operation. You run two buss lines from each block booster and then hook all the feeders to them and then polarity boards. It's pretty simple once you lay it all out and it makes running trains way easier. You can program in a route for a particular train and the command station automatically throws the turnouts correctly as it approaches and turns the signals the correct colour as well.

Expat
19th March 2010, 12:54 PM
It's been a while since I posted any updates on the layout but here goes. Due to a lack of Atlas Code 55 flex track all over the world I have no new track laid because I simply ran out of what little I had sitting around. So instead I've been doing detail and scenery work. I hope you find this interesting:
http://www.sppss.com/trains/0023.jpg
Okay why so many wires for two turnouts? Wait, in this photo I have yet to install the two jumpers for the switch tracks on each turnout! That's right there's more! The red and black wires are feeders from the DCC booster for that control block. The green wires are the direct feed to the turnout frog which comes from a little circuit board that detects a train crossing on the frog and instantly sends positive or negative to that frog depending on which path the train is headed. Neat. This was a test fit to make sure the holes for the feeders lined up okay.
http://www.sppss.com/trains/0024.jpg
Ready to be glued down to the roadbed. If those two turnouts look different to the turnout furthest away in this photo that's because I've started to weather that turnout to make it look like it's been out in the sun and rain and had hundreds/thousands of trains pass over it.
http://www.sppss.com/trains/0027.jpg
Like this. Not all of the turnout has been weathered as evidenced by the bright shiny rails at the right of the photo.
http://www.sppss.com/trains/0032.jpg
I started working on scenery as well. Most of the products available today I have never used before so I'm learning as I go with this stuff. One product I really like is called Foam Putty. It's basically the same stuff the risers and supports the track is laid on are made from only in a putty form. Really easy to apply and shape, cleans up with water and once it's dry you can carve it just like the other foam pieces. Plus it weighs almost nothing!
http://www.sppss.com/trains/0033.jpg
With very little effort I got this section looking like a rock wall.
http://www.sppss.com/trains/0034.jpg
Add a little water-based colouring and it begins to look real.
http://www.sppss.com/trains/0035.jpg
I'm about 90% done applying the foam putty here. I have some rock castings to adhere to the smoother sections and I'll fill in the gaps between them with more putty.
http://www.sppss.com/trains/0036.jpg
Just waiting for the rocks to come out of their moulds.

I'll post some more once the rocks harden and I can glue them in place. Then comes the colours to make them look real followed by dirt, grass, bushes, trees (maybe) and of course the ballast for the tracks. A fun way to spend my spare time.

drivesafe
21st March 2010, 01:15 AM
Hi Expat, looks like beautifully straight track. How did you manage that?

Expat
21st March 2010, 04:53 AM
Hi Expat, looks like beautifully straight track. How did you manage that?
I posted that pic earlier in the thread:
http://www.sppss.com/trains/0009.jpg
Took a piece of scrap hard maple and cut it down to 47/128" thick. Fits between the rails with a nice "click". Since this photo I've drilled some holes through it for the foam pins to go through to secure it to the layout while the glue dries (see pic below). I have shorter versions as well. Got to make up my curve templates and double track alignment pieces this weekend as well. Main line double track is 11/4" center-to-center but in the yards it's mostly 11/2".
http://www.sppss.com/trains/0025.jpg

drivesafe
22nd March 2010, 01:20 AM
With it now, I thought the timber was for keeping the track FLAT, didnít realise you actually fitted the timber between the rails.

That a good one.

Expat
31st March 2010, 03:28 PM
With it now, I thought the timber was for keeping the track FLAT, didnít realise you actually fitted the timber between the rails.
That a good one.
Yep. Works well. I've also made some to keep the proper gaps between tracks on straights and curves.

I suppose I should update you all on what's been happening around here so here goes:
http://www.sppss.com/trains/0040.jpg
6 cast rocks and the last of my foam putty later I got this done before the lurgie that hit our family threw me back to bed.

I had a play with some ground cover, scenic cement, matt medium and some dry brushing.
http://www.sppss.com/trains/0042.jpg
The ballast is going to be super important on this layout. I'm going to have to be sure it compliments the rest of the scenery and doesn't draw attention to itself. I've also learned that I can't spray the diluted matt medium and not expect to get "spots". So from now on I'll just brush on the scenic cement first, apply ground cover, spray liberally with "wet water" and then use an eye dropper to place the matt medium and let it spread.
You live, you learn!
http://www.sppss.com/trains/0043.jpg
http://www.sppss.com/trains/0044.jpg
A little watered down black run into crevices and some earth and concrete dry brushed on and I think the rocks are coming together.
Meanwhile at the left end of the module I was busy gluing ground cover and talus into position around my rock outcrops:
http://www.sppss.com/trains/0050.jpg
http://www.sppss.com/trains/0054.jpg
Still some work to do between the branch and main line and on top of the retaining wall but so far I'm happy with it.
Now to the final detail work on the module I've been working on. I've completed the last of the rock carving and once it's completely dry tomorrow I'll colour it and detail it so I should be finished by Sunday, ready for some ballast! In the meantime I put some more ground foam around and more talus.
http://www.sppss.com/trains/0057.jpg
http://www.sppss.com/trains/0058.jpg
As you can see the retaining wall is looking a little "unloved" but there is much more to come for it. Awwwww......... I also have a couple more colours to apply as grass/ground as well as some grass clumps, bushes and other details. All in good time! You'd be surprised how long it takes to paint each piece of talus to get it the colour I want for the place it's laying.
While waiting for the foam putty to dry - it takes a while when you go in early with the grey rock wash - I decided to try adding some accents to the scenery. I even gave ballasting a go. I don't want to go overboard with the accents so I have a feeling that the bags I bought will be more than enough for the entire layout let alone this module or even this shelf!
http://www.sppss.com/trains/0059.jpg
I think I'll bring the ballast down with a couple of black washes once it's all laid and dry.
http://www.sppss.com/trains/0060.jpg
Panorama anyone? This about half of the module. Gotta complete the colouring of the rock above the retaining wall, do some more nasty things to said wall and of course add some scenic detail to the rock above the wall. My local store didn't have the proper brown ballast I want for the branch line so that'll have to wait.
http://www.sppss.com/trains/0061.jpg

http://www.sppss.com/trains/0062.jpg
Starting to lay out the foam base for the next module on Shelf B. You're looking at it from the rear of the module in this shot. The notch for the hvac bulkhead in the corner of the room - which you can see on the layout plan - will be in the left front corner as we look at it here.
Not all of this foam will remain but I thought I may as well start with a 4'x4' area same as the 1/2" ply that's underneath it and then chop out what isn't required. The blue foam is 1" and the white is 11/4". So on top of 1/2" ply that gives me track heights of 11/2" and 13/4" above the shelf frames.
I glued the two sections of blue foam which are 24" wide together with Foam Tack Glue from WS and used tuck tape on the lower side to hold the pieces together and stop the glue oozing out onto the ply or my work centre. Then I used my table saw fence and my 6' steel level to hold the foam down and force the joint together. With the white foam I applied the foam tack glue and let it sit for an hour. Then I slid it into position with some wax paper along the edges to prevent the two surfaces touching and when it was all lined up I removed the wax paper and it was stuck!

Now I get to draw a grid reference over the foam and begin laying out the track and building positions. This will be a fun module because of the different kind of scenery to the last one. There will still be rock carving to do but there is a short tunnel, at least three houses with their yards and two major industries with their service roads and car parks to bring into this area. A mainline and a branch running side by side through the tunnel as well as an X shaped spur for the industries and the mainline splitting out into four lines should make for some interesting viewing eventually. If only I had enough code 55 flex to do it all!

Oh and the red lines through some of the sections of the track plan? Well let's say I'm trying another aspect that's new for me with this layout and leave it at that for now. Little bits and pieces need finishing for Module 1 but nothing real serious and most of it has to wait till I can lay my hands on some more flex track and the proper shade of ballast for the branch line.

Expat
4th March 2011, 12:50 PM
Wow! It's been almost a year since I posted any progress! That's not good. I did get a lot done before the weather and work and family and illness shut me down. Still a long way to go before trains are running though and there's an awful lot of woodworking to be done in there too!

I'll have to set some time aside in the ext few days and post updates on the work so far because right now I can hear it's time for a late supper and then off to bed early for a change. No rest for the wicked!

seriph1
4th March 2011, 02:32 PM
Awesome stuff dude - look forward to seeing any updates that flow in .... take care

crowie
4th March 2011, 05:36 PM
G'Day "Expat" with the maroon blood,
This is a great layout WIP, thank you.
Cheers, Crowie

Expat
5th March 2011, 01:34 AM
Okay so here goes with the updates from the past year!

Because I was waiting for some other items to arrive in the mail and there wasn't that much more I could do on the first "module" I decided to start on another section of Shelf B. This would be the industrial park at the right end of the shelf.
http://sppss.com/trains/0055.jpg
So here we go with the industrial park on Shelf B. I started with a 4'x4' piece of 1/2" ply - again it was just sitting around not doing much except taking up space!
http://sppss.com/trains/0063.jpg
Glued on some 1" foam sheet and two layers of white 5/8" foam sheet in one corner. You're looking from the rear-right corner of the layout here which would put you inside our foundation wall! Any leaks? The shaded area of the ply has to be removed for clearance because there is a HVAC bulkhead running up the wall.
Now why the 2 layers of 5/8" foam? Well two times 5/8" = 11/4" and you add that to the 1/2" ply and you get 13/4" of elevation. It'll all make sense soon enough.
http://sppss.com/trains/0064.jpg
Look closely and you can see the changes in the track plan happening. I've added two curved turnouts and a 3-way turnout where once there were three Y's. Down in the industrial park I've taken away the back-to-back Y's and replaced them with a #6 c40 slipswitch. Fun!
http://sppss.com/trains/0066.jpg
With the subroadbed in place I took some tissue paper and soaked it with Matte Medium from a spray bottle. While it was setting I smoothed it out with a damp brush and once it was hard I lightly sanded it smooth where the roadbed would go.
http://sppss.com/trains/0068.jpg
Tissue paper is dry and finished and I even had some spare foam to make outlines of the buildings going into the industrial park.
http://sppss.com/trains/0071.jpg
What's a layout without at least one tunnel? Still haven't made up my mind where the road servicing the industries is coming in from. I'll figure it out soon I suppose.
http://sppss.com/trains/0075.jpg
It's starting to look like something.
http://sppss.com/trains/0076.jpg
With a little bit of plaster cloth, some brushed on hydrocal, various ground covers, talus and some clumps of foliage it's getting there.
http://sppss.com/trains/0079.jpg
Me like! Now what's needed are some buildings to fill the space.....
http://sppss.com/trains/0080.jpg
Nothing like a train show to empty the pockets and fill the layout! I got the furniture factory and dairy kits for less than the lowest price I had seen for the dairy alone so I was very pleased.
You might have noticed the two stacks of flex track on the left. One stack is Atlas code 55 which despite all the people telling me it was nowhere to be found I came away with 50 pieces all up although only 10 are shown here. The smaller stack is Micro Engineering code 40. Yes, code 40! I've gone completely mad and decided that all of my yards, sidings and spurs will be code 40. So that means A LOT of hand made turnouts doesn't it!?

More to come. Stay tuned.

Expat
5th March 2011, 01:43 AM
I was thinking that I should add a little "something" to the industrial park area just to provide something different and amusing and so......
http://sppss.com/trains/0082.jpg
.....I picked up a couple of WS ready made items and placed them on the foundation I built earlier and.......
http://sppss.com/trains/0083.jpg
......with a bit of abuse and mistreatment we now have ourselves the local drunk's house and jalopy!
http://sppss.com/trains/0087.jpg
I'm going to add a pile of empty XXXX cans under a window.
http://sppss.com/trains/0089.jpg
Meanwhile the other end of the "module" was taking shape as well with retaining walls being installed.
http://sppss.com/trains/0090.jpg
Eventually the car park and driveways of the industrial park will be paved in concrete so I checked to see how many sheets of styrene that would take.
http://sppss.com/trains/0092.jpg
While that was happening a parcel arrived from Fast Tracks! One code 40 #6 Slipswitch has landed. Now the hard work begins.
http://sppss.com/trains/slip32.jpg
After a lot of work and not following the instructions - because they do not work in N Scale - here she is having a fitting for her wiring. Next up is some paint but it looks right at home.
http://sppss.com/trains/0108.jpg
Purty ain't she!?

Well it was but not long after this I had to rip it out! One of the point rails came undone from the throwbar and it couldn't be repaired in place. So I decided to build the slip again because I wasn't all that happy with this one anyway. I made some changes to the build and it worked out a lot better. I'll show photos of the repair later.

Basically many of the steps in the slip building instructions work just fine but there are a few steps that simply cannot be used in the sequence suggested and some that cannot be used at all in N-Scale. The slipswitch I had on the layout was the second one I built but the only one completed at the time because I got to the point of cutting the points rails free on the first one and realised it was never going to be good enough to use. I went back and took a good hard look at the instructions and what I had been doing and worked out a better way. The second attempt proved me right but even then I knew I could do it better if I wanted to. I've had a back and forth with Tim Warris at Fast Tracks about this and he said they didn't release the slipswitch in N at first because they felt many of the measurements wouldn't transfer down properly but they had so many requests that they finally did release it. Well he was right, there are a lot of measurements and steps that do not work for N. Just look at this:
http://www.sppss.com/trains/slip26.jpg

http://www.sppss.com/trains/slip29.jpg
Just look at the lack of space around the rail joiners used for the points rails. Now in N you could certainly build the points rails solid as I did with the outer rails but then the switch would be really stiff and put a lot of strain on the solder joints - which is what happened eventually. Also I had to sand back the wood ties for clearance on those rail joiners so the ties would stick to the rails. Those are just two of the problems you run into in N that apparently don't occur in larger scales.

Time to finally attach the tunnel to the layout and get cracking on the rest of the scenery for this "module"!

Stay tuned for more.

Expat
5th March 2011, 01:45 AM
I thought I'd better get some work done around the tunnel before we headed off to the Canada Day fireworks and then to the in-laws for an extended long weekend back in July! Seems like eons ago now.
http://www.sppss.com/trains/0113.jpg
First some retaining walls needed to go in to define the edge of what will be the paved area of the industrial park.
http://www.sppss.com/trains/0114.jpg
Next some foam scraps get glued in place and the first newspaper "balls" are thrown about. I had to wait for the glue to set up before I could do some foam carving and drape any plaster cloth over this lot but I stuffed a rag into the tunnel entrance to protect the tracks in anticipation.

The Volvo prime mover gives an idea of scale here. The roadway inside the industrial park will be one-way so I'll eventually paint some arrows on the "concrete" and erect some road signs.

Expat
5th March 2011, 01:49 AM
I know I should have been plastering - or is it hydrocaling? whatever - but a parcel arrived while we were off for the Canada Day long weekend.
http://sppss.com/trains/0115.jpg
A couple of minutes after opening the parcel I was this far along on the first of my c55 #8 22/16 curved turnouts. I now prefer to cut the isolation gaps in the pcb ties using a piece of jewellers saw blade that I hold down with my finger tip. Works great and quick too.
http://sppss.com/trains/0116.jpg
After around 30 minutes the turnout was complete waiting for me to glue the QuickSticks on. They're wood so there is some woodworking going on here!
http://sppss.com/trains/0117.jpg
I waited a while till the contact adhesive was cured and then broke off the outside areas of the QuickSticks. I've wired it and painted it and installed it on the layout feeding into the industrial park and the slipswitch so you'll see that soon.

This was WAY easier than the slip. So easy I couldn't help wondering if I was missing something. It runs perfectly and no, I missed nothing. I actually added something that the instructions say you don't need but I put in the pcb tie if this were going to be a hinged point just for some extra strength.

Expat
5th March 2011, 01:54 AM
Finished the second of my curved turnouts. Had to grab a piece of rail from some ME code 55 flex I had laying around because 4 x 18" pieces wasn't enough for me even though there was no wastage! That's a little strange because according to the FT web site they ship 10 pieces with the kits and they're supposed to make 5 turnouts with that lot. Anyway......

http://sppss.com/trains/0118.jpg
I got into the tunnel and mountain again the next morning.
http://sppss.com/trains/0119.jpg
I start with the plaster cloth and drape that over the newspaper and foam scraps using my finger tips to blend it in along the edges till it's seated. Once it have that done I break out the brush dipped in water to smooth out the plaster as much as I can and to get right into the overlaps and blend those.
http://sppss.com/trains/0120.jpg
After about 10 minutes work this appeared. I waited an hour or so then mixed up some hydrocal and poured rock moulds to attach to the area above the tunnel portal at this end. No way I'd leave it with all those flat surfaces! The balance of the hydrocal was brushed onto the cloth to fill any remaining holes and to add some material to carve.
Speaking of carving the foam putty also came out to play so more of my plaster knife rock walls appeared.

I have to add the fascia board so I can lay the rest of the plaster cloth right up to the edge of the layout so that's on the to-do list for later. More woodworking. I love it.

http://sppss.com/trains/0121.jpg
Oh and I got the first curved turnout in place but not permanently attached as yet in this shot. Had to work on the transition from the code 55 branch track to the code 40 spur. On the main line the first of my 3-Way turnouts was the next piece in the puzzle and it was a little more of a challenge than the curved switches were. Fun, fun, fun!

Expat
7th March 2011, 02:35 PM
http://sppss.com/trains/0122.jpg
First things first. I'm not going to be able to mount the fascia until I have the module up on the shelf. So that presents a problem of where does the scenery end? What I decided to do was build a wall of foam scraps to attach the plaster cloth to for now and later, when the module is mounted on the shelf's framework I can mount the fascia and trim it to match the existing line of the terrain. I'll leave the last 1" or so of the plaster bare so I can drape some strips of plaster cloth along the top of the fascia and the existing plaster to match everything up like it was all done at once. Covered with the usual ground covers and such it'll all blend in perfectly....... that's the plan anyway!
http://sppss.com/trains/0123.jpg
Here's the plaster laid up to the edge of the foam and blended into the work I did earlier that day.
http://sppss.com/trains/0124.jpg
I had a bunch of retaining wall pieces to place along the outside of the tracks exiting the tunnel and then the rock wall had to rise up and blend into the foam/fascia. The small piece of plaster cloth I have filling the void in this photo is just to provide some stability for the foam walls.
There's still lots of small holes - and some big ones - that need to be filled at this point as well as general smoothing out of some cloth edges and foam edges but that was fixed when I brushed on the hydrocal. That area above the tunnel portal does look a little better but of course there's now a bunch of rock placed there and blended in.

I'd never used this technique before I found it quick and relatively painless. I think the outcome is okay. I wanted the landscape to be high enough to justify the tunnel but not so much that everything else was out of proportion. I also wanted it high in front - that is the front edge of the layout the foam false fascia is built on - so that as you approached the layout you'd see the mountain area and then as your perspective changed you'd start to see the trackage at the rear of the layout and finally the industrial park and double track cutting rising up as it curves around the end of the layout.

Expat
7th March 2011, 02:37 PM
Some more of the work done last year.

http://sppss.com/trains/0125.jpg
Heret I got the retaining walls in place as well as added to the false fascia support for the cutting walls and surrounding hills.
http://sppss.com/trains/0126.jpg
It filled in nicely.
Once the hydrocal was brushed on I began applying the foam putty to the cutting walls to give them the texture they needed. I can fill any silly looking overhangs or holes that way as well.
http://sppss.com/trains/0127.jpg
This was about as far as I got that day until the hydrocal rocks were cast and dry enough to smooth and shape.

Expat
7th March 2011, 02:40 PM
I'm using two styles of retaining wall - one for the tunnel portals and along the sides of tracks and a random stone style that I'm using for the industrial park walls. The ones alongside the tracks look like WS but they were not as expensive.

http://sppss.com/trains/0128.jpg
I wacked a bit of colour on there for a look see. It makes it easier to find faults. I found a few so I went over the places in question with some hydrocal brushed on.
http://sppss.com/trains/0129.jpg
At this point I really get into applying the cast rocks and foam putty with the majority of the faults sealed up and the plaster cloth dry enough to get after.

Foam putty does not like water so I had to leave applying it till the next morning. I love that stuff. Really easy to apply with a putty knife and easy to carve with the same putty knife or anything else in reach! Cleans up in soap and water and is light as a feather.

Expat
7th March 2011, 02:42 PM
Slowly but surely.......
http://sppss.com/trains/0130.jpg
I got a lot of the "carving" and colouring done. It's a mix of WS concrete, slate grey, raw umber, sienna, black and earth. I slop it on and work it around mixing the colours as I go till I'm happy. If I need to lighten things up then more concrete goes on and if I need to bring up mid-tones then I spray or slop on slate grey. The black I use sparingly but it does wonders for bringing out the peaks and cracks.
Once that was kind of dry I brushed on WS scenic cement and let it run where it may. Then it was a dusting of 6 different ground cover shades in varying thicknesses and textures. It's all very random just like in nature. If it looks too organised then it's wrong IMHO.
http://sppss.com/trains/0131.jpg
If this looks a little strange it's because after I added the mixed talus and some clumps of foliage I always wet everything down with more scenic cement to tie it all together. Once all of this dried I began adding trees and larger rocks, etc...

Expat
7th March 2011, 02:46 PM
At this point I thought seeing as I was going to finish the other end of the tunnel that I should lay out how I do it step by step just in case some poor, misguided soul should ever want to copy what I do. This is not for the feint of heart by the way.

http://sppss.com/trains/0132.jpg
So here's where I left the mountain and the tunnel. I was originally going to have the service road for the industrial park come down from the mountain and turn back on itself but in the end it looked wrong so that road will be consumed by plaster!
The bluish line you see on the plywood is the front edge of the layout. I'll be cutting that with a reciprocating saw and then sanding it smooth and straight with a belt sander. Of course if I hadn't procrastinated for the last few weeks over doing it I could have simply used a circular saw but I was lazy and it didn't get done!
http://sppss.com/trains/0133.jpg
Cut and glued in place a largish piece of scrap foam that mates up to the white foam to form the false fascia. Another piece of scrap foam that I'd cut from the top of something else was glued to the inside wall of the cutting so it's not as sharp a rise from the flat "land".
The WS scenic glue sets up in about 15 minutes so I was able to start applying plaster cloth pretty quickly.
http://sppss.com/trains/0134.jpg
First a little crushed up newspaper for support. Some people use cardboard strips or balls of paper or foam carved to a rough shape or even mesh screen draped over forms. I've done all of those in th past but now I just rush at things and it seems to work. I wouldn't go leaning on any of the results but it'll do the job okay.
http://sppss.com/trains/0135.jpg
I covered the tracks with some rags and lay the plaster cloth where it felt right. Smoothed it out at the overlaps and edges with my finger tips and a brush dipped in water. Lots of holes of course but they'll be gone soon enough.
http://sppss.com/trains/0136.jpg
I tipped out most of the water I had in the tray for the plaster cloth and mixed in some hydrocal to a very soupy consistency. Took my brush and started applying the hydrocal wherever I saw holes or the cloth weave. As the hydrocal began to harden it thickened enough to begin stippling it to get rid of the lines left by brushing. I also used this method to apply more of the now margarine consistency hydrocal in places where cloth seams and holes still appeared.

Then I waited for the hydrocal/plaster to dry so I could glue the retaining walls in place. That was followed by foam putty for the cutting walls and above the tunnel portal. Once that dried on went the ground covers, talus and foliage. Photos of that coming up soon.

Expat
7th March 2011, 02:50 PM
http://sppss.com/trains/0137.jpg
Retaining walls are in! Let that lot dry and the colours and ground covers went in.

In these photos I still have to apply some foliage clumps and think about more of and diversity of trees as well as colouring the retaining wall but here is the tunnel/mountain range.
http://sppss.com/trains/0138.jpg
http://sppss.com/trains/0139.jpg
I think it all works pretty well. It looks a lot different now with the concrete driveways/car park of the industrial park in place of course.
http://sppss.com/trains/0140.jpg
This is looking from the front of the layout. This "module" is 4'x4'.
http://sppss.com/trains/0141.jpg
Looking from the left end of the shelf.
http://sppss.com/trains/0142.jpg

http://sppss.com/trains/0143.jpg
The retaining walls, tunnel portal and rock walls came out okay.

Expat
18th March 2011, 11:38 PM
Time to get to work on the industrial park itself. After sanding the foam roadbed sheets smooth I grabbed a bunch of paper from my printer and went to work making a template for the styrene sheets.
http://sppss.com/trains/0144.jpg
It don't look too bad at all. Now to transfer that to the styrene.
http://sppss.com/trains/0145.jpg
I am holding the sheets together with tape till it's time to glue them so that I don't get any cracks as it's moved around and about.
http://sppss.com/trains/0147.jpg
Trimmed to suit and it actually fits! Woo hoo! Now this of course is the top layer of styrene that will be around .005" below the rail head. To get it at that height I needed two layers of styrene underneath it that will butt up against the sides of the sleepers. So how do I get that pattern and the location of the rail heads to trim the top layer as well?
http://sppss.com/trains/0148.jpg
First one sprays the track with black paint - it has to be sprayed with rail tie brown and some other shades of brown anyway and then the rails hit with rail brown and rust followed by a good cleaning and application of NoOxId so this is no big thing. While it's wet I drop the paper template on top of this and run my hands over the rails to achieve......
http://sppss.com/trains/0146.jpg
..........this! Perfecto. I just use this to cut the sub layers of styrene to a rough shape and then they are glued to the roadbed and each other. Because the roadbed now has the outline of the tracks on it thanks to the black paint I know exactly where to place everything without the need to have the tracks in place. Clever huh? The top layer gets pretty much the same treatment only I use the rails themselves as the guides to make the cuts.

Expat
18th March 2011, 11:43 PM
http://sppss.com/trains/0149.jpg
That's the sub-layers of the concrete area in the Industrial Park. Total thickness is .050" so that's just above the tie height. When the .040" top layer goes on that'll leave it .005" below the rail head which will be just fine. Can't do any more here till I have the buildings done or at least enough so that I can put them in place and mark out their shapes on these layers so I can cut relief holes for them to sit down into.
http://sppss.com/trains/0193.jpg
The buildings are taking shape for the industrial park and so it's time I got stuck into finishing the paved area of the park and all the little details that go along with that.

Okay the dairy does need a better dock than the ones that came with the kit. I've got enough left over brick pieces and sheet styrene to build a good one so I'll hack these off and make something more in keeping with the size of the building.

The top layer of paving styrene is glued together so now it's time to give it some primer before I cut the openings for the track and the furniture building. I need to decrease the depth of the "gaps" in the concrete so they're more N-scale and I'll do that by building up a few layers of primer and then sanding that away leaving only the primer in the gaps. Once I get the right depth I'll give it all one last coat of primer and then it's aged concrete plus lots of weathering before I finally glue the sucker down.

Well after sitting around pondering how I was going to get to the helix's heading for Shelf A and C now that I've altered my plans for some of the trackage on Shelf B I decided that I can in fact block half the non-sliding half of the doors leading out of the basement to the back yard. That means the helix's are being moved and that opens up more shelf space for trackage and scenery. So here is what I've come up with:
http://www.sppss.com/trains/0198.jpg
The rear-most track is the BNSF main that runs along the back of my yard on Shelf B. The double tracks are the BSRC branch line already built on a module and the single line at the front is the BNSF/BSRC joint line also on the module I mentioned that has been built. You can see the turnout that the BSRC branch comes off of.
http://www.sppss.com/trains/0055.jpg
That's it in the background.
Two curved turnouts bring the dual BSRC lines and the BNSF main into a single main line going up to Shelf C. The second turnout will be 3.5" above the main heading down to Shelf A where they both join the helix's.
Where you see one helix there will in fact be two - one up and one down. Lots of large cliffs in this area. I'm thinking about using a kind of avalanche concrete shelter so the single main heading down to Shelf A can be seen below the main heading up to Shelf C. That might be an interesting scenic feature.
http://sppss.com/trains/0203.jpg
I have a feeling that this will not be how the yard shapes up. I'm sure the service area won't be laid out like this! But at least I know the 3-Way's work for the yard throats. "Where's the lead?" I hear you ask. Well way up high and to the left you see that #6 LH turnout? That might be the lead.
I may well shorten this whole yard, keep it at 1 3/4" elevation and then raise the main up to 2 1/2" when it joins up with the BSRC branch again before entering the tunnel that is the start of the helix going up to Shelf C.
I'm even contemplating another loop for the BSRC branch from one of the double tracks back to the other. Now the upper track would still go on to join up with the BNSF main heading to Shelf C but this change would allow another variant to the routes available for the BSRC locals. Maybe even a scenic passenger train? The loop could pass through the mountains and tunnels.

Expat
18th March 2011, 11:44 PM
Okay I scrapped the track plan above - not all of it of course - and it works a lot better for me now. I shortened the yard - a lot - mostly because I reasoned that Shelf A and C will have the big yards whereas Holland Park is more or less stuck between them and so is merely a transfer yard with the BNSF and catering to smaller shippers wishing to use the BSRC. So a freight house and some container handling will be in order. I fiddled with the service area as well and added a much longer lead track plus some funky crossovers in the yard. Funny thing though, XTrackCAD still won't join areas that I know are quite acceptable both in terms of radius and gradient. I'll worry about that when it comes time to actually build the thing! Wish I could export it and post it here but XTrackCAD is being a pain right now and won't export the file. Maybe tomorrow.
http://www.sppss.com/trains/0204.jpg
What I have done this evening is finish the wiring for the industrial park sidings. If I hadn't decided to power the slip's frog rails using the Hex Frog Juicer there would be two more feeders here. So this is the "simplified" version of things!
http://www.sppss.com/trains/0205.jpg
And finally she is down! I think I should a couple more pins..... what do you think? I haven't glued the sidings and spurs down yet because I want the slip firmly in place and then I can insert the SweepSticks for the correct alignment of the c40 flex and pin that down. Then it's on with the styrene for the paving.
http://www.sppss.com/trains/0206.jpg
That wasn't the only piece of hand laid track I glued down. The first of my curved turnouts has been wired, glued down and I even did some....... ulp!... ballasting! Don't worry about the nylon joiners. They'll disappear once I've air brushed the ties and rails. Then it's out with the paint pens to do some detail work and install the crank and servo. BTW... can you spot the feeders?

Expat
18th March 2011, 11:46 PM
Finally!
http://www.sppss.com/trains/0212.jpg
The industrial park siding and spurs are connected to the BSRC line. Now I can.....*shudder* ballast that line and finish the scenery on the inside of the curve.
Oh and yes, the solder is there because I soldered the siding together. It's got nylon connectors at the curved turnout and on one line at the slip but it was made with two pieces of flex so I could solder the short piece to the slip on one track and glue it into a nylon joiner on the other without having 3' long pieces of flex hanging off the slip! The whole thing is part of a reversing Y - well an X really - so it has to be isolated from the rest of the block. And because the frog rails are joined for strength and are connected to a HFJ they had to be isolated from the sidings.

While sitting around waiting for glue and foam putty to dry I got to tinkering in XTrackCAD and came up with this for Shelf A based on three designs I saw elsewhere and liked various aspects of them:
http://www.sppss.com/trains/shelf_a.jpg
Now there are aspects of this that I'll be cleaning up when laying the track but overall I'm happy with it. EDIT: I've included the helix now and I changed around some of the tracks as well as flipping the turntable. I've removed two of the yard tracks which narrowed the shelf down so there's less likelyhood I'll be bumping it when doing things on the upper two shelves. It also smoothed out the throats but was a nightmare to reconfigure! Still better done now then once I start laying track.
I'll probably be looking for a much smaller station too but for now I put the Union Station in there. I think Amtrak and some BSRC local passenger service will fit in well.
Not that much in the way of industry being served directly here but I could run a spur and siding back to the corner and put something in there.
The city of Brisbane will be along the back wall and the left corner. I'll put some 3D backgrounds in the right rear and along the back wall. I'll also have some city buildings in the front left area but not many. Don't want to damage them leaning across the shelf even though this is going to be at 25"-30" high.

So........ opinions?

Expat
18th March 2011, 11:52 PM
http://www.sppss.com/trains/0213.jpg
It'll look a lot better once the glue and the foam putty is dry.

Expat
18th March 2011, 11:54 PM
Nearly 2 weeks later and all I'd done to the layout itself was rip out the slipswitch and clean up the roadbed and scenery around where it used to be. Well finally I thought I should get a start on finishing the hills at the end of the layout so I could also finish the ballasting there (yuck). I know some people must have wondered what I use for my scenery and how I throw it all together so I'll document this end of the module properly.

Oh and I know I keep calling this a module - which it is - but of course it's not anything like a N-Trak module or that kind of thing. I just find it easier to get the detail I want by building one piece of the layout at a time in my workshop and then moving it to the basement to be mounted on the framework and joined to the other modules.
http://sppss.com/trains/0214.jpg
Some more scraps of foam were glued in place. Because the HVAC ducting runs up the corner of the room there is a 10" x 13" area in that back corner that I have to build around. I've actually thought about running tracks through the front corner of the bulkhead in a half tunnel arrangement but I'm too lazy to get into that stuff.
http://sppss.com/trains/0215.jpg
Some of the offcuts from the foam I just installed comes in handy for closer to the tracks. I'll add some more pieces of foam and then balls of newspaper for support and shape and then on goes the plaster cloth.

It's nice to be back building the layout again even though I really do enjoy building turnouts and such.

I was busy last night, early this morning and late this afternoon so here's what I got up to.
http://sppss.com/trains/0216.jpg
Last night I wadded up some newspaper to fill some voids and provide a little extra support for the plaster cloth.
http://sppss.com/trains/0217.jpg
I got my tray ready for the three sizes of cloth I cut from the roll. I use a foam and a small bristle brush to spread the plaster and smooth the edges.
http://sppss.com/trains/0218.jpg
Because the extra foam supports were still drying I only laid out part of the mountains. No use sealing the foam nails inside because they'll rust and spread through the scenery. So I left things like this till the morning.
http://sppss.com/trains/0219.jpg
First thing this morning I pulled all the foam nails, cut a bunch more plaster cloth and wet down the areas where the cloth would overlap the previous evening's efforts. I really don't like this new batch of cloth. Can't remember what brand it is but I'll be going back to WS from now on. This stuff simply doesn't smooth out nearly as well as the WS cloth and the weave is not as easy to hide either.
http://sppss.com/trains/0220.jpg
Mixed up some hydrocal at around 50% of it's normal strength and brushed it on all over the mountains and into the gullies beside the tracks. Filled all the pin holes and hid the cloth weave, seams and overlaps nicely.
All told I'd say to get to this point took about an hour including prepping all the items I needed. Fast and furious, that's me!
http://sppss.com/trains/0221.jpg
I've told people for a while that my scenicing methods are rough as but some still seem to think I know what I'm doing. Here I've wet everything down from this morning using a large bristle brush and then sprayed a watered down WS Stone Gray with some dish washing soap at random onto the moist plaster. I'm not looking for full or even coverage. Nature isn't consistent in how colours appear.
http://sppss.com/trains/0222.jpg
Everything is still pretty wet so I take the tray I used for the plaster cloth and put WS Yellow Ochre, Earth Undercoat, Raw Umber and Concrete in each corner and with a small spray can lid of water I begin applying the colours to the plaster using a small bristle brush. Where the formation is very steep or vertical I go with more of the Ochre and Concrete and apply the Earth and Umber to less steep areas. I try to blend the colours as much as possible but it's not that important AFAIC. NO BLACK yet! At this point if I want to darken or even lighten the scene I can. Once you add black there's no lightening anything.
http://sppss.com/trains/0223.jpg
I've dribbled some black on here mostly along ridge lines and in crevices. I let it run wherever it wants to and then go back over with a dry brush to blend it if it pools.
http://sppss.com/trains/0224.jpg
I applied WS scenic cement using that small bristle brush to areas I want the ground cover to attach to. Then I sprinkled on WS Earth foam ground cover.
http://sppss.com/trains/0225.jpg
Next come two different shades of burnt grass foam.

Expat
18th March 2011, 11:55 PM
http://sppss.com/trains/0226.jpg
Now some grass mix and medium course foam are sprinkled on. Then I take a larger bristle brush and remove any of the foam that collected on sheer rock faces.
http://sppss.com/trains/0227.jpg
In the back corner you can see how I apply the scenic cement for the ground cover - and also for ballast and shrub clumps. I pour the cement into the cap you see and use an old syringe to draw it up. Then I carefully run along an edge letting the wicking action of the ground foam break the surface tension of the cement. Once it starts to spread it's easy to just keep adding more cement near the edge of the flow so it doesn't wash away the ground foam but saturates it. For the steeper areas I apply lots of cement and let it wash away the ground foam in a "natural" erosion manner.
http://sppss.com/trains/0228.jpg
That blended in pretty well. I still have some foam putty work and painting to do along what will be the far end of the layout on the outside of the double tracks. I only painted it there because I had some colours left over in the tray.

The only thing I don't like about this photo is that bloody hole where my slipswitch should be! I have to finish cleaning it out and getting everything ready for the new one. Till then I'll add some bushes and maybe some trees to the new mountains - oops, I'm all out of trees. Ah well bushes it is for now. Then I can ballast the tracks....... yuck!

Expat
18th March 2011, 11:56 PM
http://www.sppss.com/trains/0229.jpg
Added some bushes to the slopes. I can't add any cast rocks or foam putty to carve yet because the whole thing is still damp. Foam putty doesn't like water you see.
http://www.sppss.com/trains/0230.jpg
So what I am doing is preparing to place the 3-Way on the layout. Handy to have one that I can use as the template for the roadbed...... okay it's not really. Next will be drilling the holes for the wiring and the servo wires to the throwbars. By the way, can you see the crank fitted to the curved turnout? Yeah, not unless you look really hard you can't. To think there are people who say these things stand out too much. pfft!

Expat
18th March 2011, 11:57 PM
I had a moment or two today after getting various things ready for the girls first day at school so I decided to add the extra rock to my new mountains, paint the 3-Way and slipswitch and then install said 3-Way and ballast it. So here we go!
http://www.sppss.com/trains/0231.jpg
I used the first attempt 3-Way to pinpoint the holes for the wiring and get the third leg of the roadbed cut and in place. Handy having it now but I wish I didn't, if you know what I mean.
http://www.sppss.com/trains/0232.jpg
Oila! I might add some black wash to the new rocks but I'll wait till everything is dry before making that decision. The ballast is still pretty wet too so it'll lighten up a little as that happens. Just a little more detail work to do right at the end of the layout on the rock walls and the mountain scenery will be done for this module. That's when I'll have to get a move on and install the slipswitch and finish the industrial park.

Expat
19th March 2011, 12:01 AM
http://www.sppss.com/trains/0233.jpg
After adding a few more rocks to the larger side of my mountain I coloured it and stepped back to evaluate it. Needs more rocks.
http://www.sppss.com/trains/0234.jpg
I'm happy with this side of the mountain though. Maybe a little more colour in places but that's about all it needs. The ballasting is done in that area.
http://www.sppss.com/trains/0235.jpg
Here's the 3-Way up close. Just one hole that needs filling so the ballast won't run through. Other than that you can barely see the crank tubes for the throwbars mostly because they haven't been painted yet.
http://www.sppss.com/trains/0236.jpg
Adding some more hydrocal rocks. I also added a lot more talus. I figure with a mountain this large you're going to have a lot of debris at the base. It hasn't been blended in yet but once it is it'll look fine.
http://www.sppss.com/trains/0237.jpg
On the left you can see that I've started to blend the new rock and talus into their surroundings. There's still some more to do there. Middle to right of the photo you see the foam putty applied to the low wall. I can't colour this for a few hours because foam putty doesn't like water when it's drying...... although if you time it just right you can get some amazing erosion effects.
http://www.sppss.com/trains/0238.jpg
I took this shot about 40 minutes later. The middle and outside of the BNSF main is ballasted, the talus has been blended into it's surroundings and I applied a light wash of stone gray to the foam. I also used some earth ground cover on the talus because earth wound also wash down over this stuff.

Next up is the BSRC branch middle and inside to be ballasted. I'll tackle the other sides of those tracks soon enough. I need some time to contemplate them! Tomorrow I'll hit the foam with colour and some ground cover where it seems appropriate.

Once that's done there will really be only one area to complete on this module - the industrial park!

Expat
19th March 2011, 12:02 AM
I decided to apply some colour to the foam putty even though it wasn't quite dry yet. Nothing is drying very well at the moment thanks to the weather.
http://www.sppss.com/trains/0239.jpg
So I got out my tray and after squirting some colours in the corners I sprayed some "wet water" in the middle and went at it with a small bristle brush.
http://www.sppss.com/trains/0240.jpg
While I was at it I also spread the last of the BSRC ballast and all but the last 2' of the BNSF line ballast.
http://www.sppss.com/trains/0241.jpg
About 20 minutes after starting here's the foam putty now blended into it's surroundings.

Expat
19th March 2011, 12:05 AM
At long last there's progress!
http://www.sppss.com/trains/0243.jpg
I know this looks really rough as guts and you're probably wondering why I've painted that slipswitch white?
http://www.sppss.com/trains/0244.jpg
Well that's the old slip that got broken so it's no big deal how rough it gets and besides which it was cut out so the rails match up exactly with the tracks still on the layout so I sprayed the white to show exactly where the new slip goes. That allows me to lay the new slip in place to cut it's rails to match the existing tracks and also to drill the holes for throwbar wires and feeders. Once all of that is done I'll spray a little flat black in there before I glue the slip down.
http://www.sppss.com/trains/0245.jpg
With both ends of the slip's rails cut to length it's time to attach the feeders and prepare to install this puppy.

Just as a handy tip I use a piece of cut off plastic tie - 2 ties to be exact - to determine the length of the cuts at the other end of the slip - and on other handlaid track). I simply trim the ties so they'll sit flush against the wooden ties and then cut the rails to length against the second tie. Neat and square every time.

So time to fire up the iron again and attach those feeders. It feels nice to be working on the layout again.
http://www.sppss.com/trains/0246.jpg
Trimmed all the rails for an exact fit and made sure I had smooth transitions. Can't see the feeders for the frog rails can you?
http://www.sppss.com/trains/0247.jpg
This is a test fit of the entire industrial siding complete with wiring. There are 8 feeders in this shot. I can see one but that's because it's yellow and it does sit fairly high. Love the Fast Tracks SweepSticks!

Now I'll pull all of this out and paint the foam black - not that it'll matter much - and then down it will all go. Once it's down then it'll be time to get out the foam putty again and fill everything in up to the rails and between them. That's one of the reasons why I didn't care if this looked rough for now because there's no ballast to go in, only putty.

Expat
19th March 2011, 08:45 AM
Believe it or not I'm actually doing some work on the layout! Yeah I know hard to accept considering how slack I got there for quite a while.
http://www.sppss.com/trains/0265.jpg
Any way can you spot the magnetic uncouplers? I can spot the one for the dairy on the left siding but I have to admit that even though I know where it is I couldn't spot the right one even when the image was at 200%. Blended in really nice. The black is WS scenery colour that I'm brushing on randomly and will weather even more to make it look like asphalt. The concrete will be blended as well using some rustoleum spray and a mixture of WS concrete and floquil aged concrete all mixed together as best suits the look I'm after. Parking lines, direction arrows and tire marks will come.
http://www.sppss.com/trains/0266.jpg
Just a couple of shots of the latest motive power on the Brisbane Southern's tracks. Kato Dash 9 in Warbonnet livery.
http://www.sppss.com/trains/0267.jpg
Once this section is up on the wall - soon I would hope - there won't be any shots from these angles again.

So that's about where I am now. Because of the weather, family and work commitments and being sick a lot since the girls started school I haven't worked on the layout much except to do little clean up jobs here and there. Mostly I've been scratch building some pieces for the industrial park and painting and weathering locos and rolling stock. Once our family trip to Oz is done and the girls are back to school I can get stuck into finally finishing some more sections and get them all up on the basement wall. That'll mean woodworking! Woo hoo!

NCArcher
19th March 2011, 02:01 PM
Hi Expat,
I've never really been interested in model trains but i am finding this WIP fascinating.
I've found myself googling some of the terms you use so i can better understand what you are doing.
Amazing work :2tsup:
Watching closely with a new found interest.

drivesafe
19th March 2011, 03:39 PM
Hi Expat,
I've never really been interested in model trains but i am finding this WIP fascinating.
I've found myself googling some of the terms you use so i can better understand what you are doing.
Amazing work :2tsup:
Watching closely with a new found interest.

Beware, once hooked!!!!

Expat
19th March 2011, 11:21 PM
Hi Expat,
I've never really been interested in model trains but i am finding this WIP fascinating.
I've found myself googling some of the terms you use so i can better understand what you are doing.
Amazing work :2tsup:
Watching closely with a new found interest.
Well once we're back from our trip and the girls are in school again the weather seems to be warming up so I'll be able to clear some space in the basement and finally move the modules that I've been working on out of the workshop and downstairs. Easier to take them there via the walkout door round back rather than try and get them down the stairs! That'll open up the shop to begin building the framework for the walls to mount the modules on and maybe even get a start on my helix's. Got plenty to do but with workshop space again I can make headway.

Beware, once hooked!!!!
You got that right!

cookie48
20th March 2011, 12:10 AM
As a kid I was amazed by model railways. Seeing this is just great. Well done.No I am not going to join the fad, it is far to complicated for me.

Expat
20th March 2011, 09:29 AM
As a kid I was amazed by model railways. Seeing this is just great. Well done.No I am not going to join the fad, it is far to complicated for me.

It doesn't have to be. I also have a layout I'm putting together for my 4yo daughters using Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends. While I'm not using the plastic tunnel and rolled out grass mat most Thomas layouts seem to favour it's still going to be their layout and not mine so it will be simple and they will help me build it.

My layout is the result of becoming hooked when I was a kid with my first Hornby HO set for Christmas. I've learned a lot of techniques over the years and I'm still learning and trying new ones today. I prefer a highly detailed layout that is prototype realistic but many others don't go as far as I do. I love doing scenery and weathering and laying and building custom track. I don't like building structures very much and I hate ballasting track! I enjoy running trains and especially working a yard to build or break down a consist. That's what I like about this hobby/obsession. But to each their own. Just like with woodworking. There's something in it for everyone at every level.

STAR
20th March 2011, 10:01 AM
I have only just ventured into this Scale modeling area. What fascinates me is the scenery you guys can create.

I am not into trains but I see that I might be able to learn some new techniques to add to my beginner wood carving experience.

Can you give us some pointers on the scenery and some websites that might be of benefit for my learning curve.

Pete

artme
20th March 2011, 10:28 AM
G'day Expet! My thoughts are much the same as those of NCArcher, and like him, I find the WIP fascinating as well as informative>:2tsup::2tsup::):)

It's given me some ideas for a garden job I want to do!!:U

crowie
18th April 2011, 08:24 PM
G'Day Expat,
Just wondering how your return home and holiday to Aussie-land went.
Hoping all is well with you and the family.
Cheers, crowie

Expat
2nd May 2011, 10:02 AM
It was the trip from hell mate! Two banks screwed us over big time by losing all the expenses money we had for the trip. We were without any money for the first 3 days we were there.

To add insult to injury we had to move out of the original apartment hotel after the first night because there was no a/c and it was over 30c all night long. Now I'm not that bad with that but our littlest Maddy is fed by tube all night and in that heat her food would go bad in a couple of hours so we had no choice but to move especially after the manager when asked what she could do to help us replied "Nothing" and hung up!

We've settled with one bank and are waiting on a reply from the second but the apartment hotel refuse to refund the 5 days pre-paid we never used to the Children's Wish Foundation!

At least we got to do some of the things we had planned but it wasn't what we had hoped for.

crowie
2nd May 2011, 10:28 AM
It was the trip from hell mate! Two banks screwed us over big time by losing all the expenses money we had for the trip. We were without any money for the first 3 days we were there.

To add insult to injury we had to move out of the original apartment hotel after the first night because there was no a/c and it was over 30c all night long. Now I'm not that bad with that but our littlest Maddy is fed by tube all night and in that heat her food would go bad in a couple of hours so we had no choice but to move especially after the manager when asked what she could do to help us replied "Nothing" and hung up!

We've settled with one bank and are waiting on a reply from the second but the apartment hotel refuse to refund the 5 days pre-paid we never used to the Children's Wish Foundation!

At least we got to do some of the things we had planned but it wasn't what we had hoped for.
I'm sorry for all your hassles "Expat".
I hope you've given the "hotel" a very bad internet feedback response.
Even a letter to the Children's Wish Foundation about all the mess.
May even be worth a complaint to the Australian Tourism Commission and or the hotel chains head office.
Glad you're home safe; hope the reset of the holiday was better.
Cheers. Crowie

Sometimes one has to make a fuss when things aren't done correctly.

Expat
4th May 2011, 12:33 PM
Children's Wish know all about it. Their travel agent got us out of there and into Q1 by lunch time the second day. The apartment hotel is privately owned and are refusing to refund anything to CWFoC so we've set up a facebook page called Go Get The Cheats! to shame them and the NAB and QTCU for what they did to us to ruin our holiday.

crowie
4th May 2011, 03:48 PM
G'Day Expat, Sounds like you're on top of it.
Have a look on the Queensland Government website for Dept of Fair Trading as we have in NSW as they should be able to take the complaint on the deposit issue with the hotel who didn't provide the service you paid for!!
Anyways, when it all settles down, we'll look forward to seeing some more of you train layout [a diversion & relaxation].
Cheers, Crowie

crowie
7th June 2011, 05:07 PM
G'Day Expat, How you travelling.
Haven't seen any updates lately so thought I quick check up might be in order.
Hoping that alls well.
Cheers, crowie

Expat
13th June 2011, 01:16 PM
Been really busy the past few months since we got back. QTCU finally caved and paid up but NAB and Beachside Towers are still being pricks.

I'll be back in Brissie for the Gridiron Queensland Charity Bowl on Aug 6th at Spencer Park. We're raising money for the Disaster Relief Appeal and Qld Spinal Research Foundation with a game between two teams of over-35 players including the first Auusie drafted by the NFL Colin Scotts.

I'm supplying all the uniforms and lots of the equipment for the teams as well as coming up with the merchandise for sale before and on the day. It's going to be a great day of fun and sport.

Once all of that's out of the way I'll be back here working away on the layout again and maybe even doing some woodworking too!

crowie
13th June 2011, 01:47 PM
Been really busy the past few months since we got back. QTCU finally caved and paid up but NAB and Beachside Towers are still being pricks.

I'll be back in Brissie for the Gridiron Queensland Charity Bowl on Aug 6th at Spencer Park. We're raising money for the Disaster Relief Appeal and Qld Spinal Research Foundation with a game between two teams of over-35 players including the first Auusie drafted by the NFL Colin Scotts.

I'm supplying all the uniforms and lots of the equipment for the teams as well as coming up with the merchandise for sale before and on the day. It's going to be a great day of fun and sport.

Once all of that's out of the way I'll be back here working away on the layout again and maybe even doing some woodworking too!

G'day Expat,
Happy to hear that some of the mess is being sorted.
Forgive my asking, but what is the "Gridiron Queensland Charity Bowl";
am I right to assume it's American Football.
Is there a weblink for publicity & info please.
My family are still in Brissie & talking to my mum last night;
she said it's been cold and that's something for someone raised in Warwick.
Anyways, when you can reply, thank you.
Cheers, Crowie

Expat
17th June 2011, 11:37 AM
http://www.sppss.com/images/linehouse_graphics/charity_bowl_poster.jpg
This is the poster we're selling for the game on August 6th. It's the 25th Anniversary of the first Charity Bowl game played at Seagulls Stadium between the Brisbane Bulldogs and Pine Grove Steelers.

With the revival we are staging a triple header at Spencer Park, Newmarket starting with a Gridiron Queensland Junior division game between the Sunshine Coast Spartans and Western Cougars (noon).

That will be followed by the Ghosts of Gridiron game at 2pm between the Warodgs and Bluesteel, two teams of over-35yo players including the first Aussie ever drafted by the NFL, Colin Scotts plus many members of the Qld 25th Anniversary All-Time Team and many state and national rep players.

Then at 4.30pm the 2010 GQ Charity Bowl will be played between 2 GQ senior division clubs - 2010 semi-finalists Gold Coast Stingrays and the runners-up in the 2010 Sunbowl Bayside Ravens.

Gates open at 11am.
Plenty of parking at the club.
Gold coin donation to enter.
Merchandise on sale.
Charity raffles and auctions during the day including a one-off custom display case and a pair of unique autographed game helmets.
All profits go to the Premier's Disaster Relief Appeal and Qld Spinal Research.