Wednesday, 11 March 2015

March 2015 Update:

Scenery has progressed and wiring clean ups have been done over the last 6 weeks - as well as 2 weeks in Hong Kong with family and grandson, Harley.
I will try to share some of the experiences and lessons from modelling, whilst giving a photo update. Despite over 50 years experience in model railroading one continues to learn and improve techniques.
One thing I have discovered is the ease of spending hours in the train room and achieving little - except enjoyment. This is from a person who was a disciple of "Time Management". I have unfinished "FrogJuicers" to install. I have tracks to the turntable to complete - although the turntable and reversing switch work. I set up a manual signal system for the single track through the mountain area - this can be further enhanced. I have gone back to scenery colours many times and have many extra cans of acrylic paint in everything from sample pots to 4 litre cans. I have also started making pine trees using horsehair rope and wire.  In addition I downloaded JMRI's DecoderPro and am working on getting the SPROG2 working on my Mac computer. I also looked at a road crossing with ding dong bells, and servo controlled boom gates. I have the parts and much of the solution but need several days just for this item.  All of these items take time. All of these items are in a state of partial completeness. They do say a railroad is never finished but it is important to identify steps / tasks and complete them to the level planned. Items like signalling and track ballasting are going to be done later.

Here are some photos of progress. Background scenery is an experiment and here is some work along what will be a desert industrial area. There will be several industries in front of this background eventually. I considered photo backdrops but decided to start with painted backdrops. Most of the backdrop is sky which I am pretty happy with. The rest of the scenery foreground of buildings, hills with trees etc negate the need for a paired backdrop. In real life this backdrop looks better than the photo to me. However studying the photo identifies some shadow details I could add to improve the background, and will add that to my "to do" list.

 In the mountain area the basic landform has been completed. The light makes this look "red" but is actually an ochre / clay colour like the backdrop above. This area needs significant ground cover and vegetation, but I wanted to get the basic landform in first and will gradually finish the scenery.

 Here is another view on the other side of the tunnel.


The last post showed the truss bridge under construction and here it is almost completed in the mountain area. A modern refrigerated train is heading east towards Summit. The pine trees are a mixture of Noch and home made using the bottle brush method. There are many videos and presentations on the web for model pine trees.

Basic landform is being developed across the entire layout. Here is the form at Gleeville. The paper on the backdrop is to protect the background sky scenery. Behind the hills will just be sky backdrop. In most areas there will not be the need to paint hills on the backdrop.

Here is the end of Gleeville with a recycled scrap metal and car yard fitted into the scenery. None of the track has been ballasted yet.

At Summit here is the start of the gravel mine and dump mounds. The mounds (hills) of gravel are actually made from styrofoam covered in scale gravel. I will complete the yard tracks here this month but the gravel complex will take a little longer to build.

Here is Amtrac 970 heading west through the mountain area after leaving Summit.

Here is Amtrac 970 a short distance further west in the mountains after passing over the completed truss bridge - a Central Valley Kit. An excellent kit that produces a great structure.

Another project was to install an end of train flasher in the Amtrac car carrier. The flasher is managed by a decoder. Kato metal wheels and pick ups provide very reliable contacts. Much better than installing contacts yourself - thanks Kato.

Here is the view one gets on entering the room. Summit on the right and Gleeville on the left.


Here is a view of the mountain area further west of the above photo.

The plans are to get the layout operation near 100% reliable. Also we need to finish the turntable tracks and a few other sidings such as at Summit and the Flour Silos.
I am looking forward to gaining ideas for operations from upcoming NMRA meetings and the N Scale National conventions in Brisbane and Sacramento. I hope to have a very basic operation schedule in place before Portland's NMRA convention and to have tested it out with friends - any volunteers?