Control panel designs

So I’ve started working on the control panel design. The work has to be divided up between different functions required. Firstly laying out the space available for the controller, control panel and traction extension (see diagram). Then I need to select and design the hardware solutions and then finally decide on the panel front design. Tonight I attempted to layout the space roughly and get an idea of how to install the hardware pieces to hold the whole thing together.

I don’t enjoy this work. I see it as an evil but essential task if I am to get the design right. I used Sketchup to layout the space and solve some of the issues of suspending platforms for use only during operations. When not being operated the platforms either should be removed or folded away.

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Creek bed water

I went cycling on the Lassen and Fernley railroad near Susanville CA recently. This old logging railroad runs alongside a river I so I was able to take pictures of the wide variety of plants around the water. The challenge will be to figure out how to model some of this plant-life.

The old railway bed has been turned into a cycle path. It runs for about 25 miles through some spectacular scenery.

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Creek bed almost done

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks detailing out the creek bed. It’s a process of layering primarily. I added one class of vegetation (such as grass tufts) each evening and then saw how that looked before continuing with a different class of vegetation (such as flowers). Things are slowly coming together. I’m not sure now if I need to keep working at it. I’m just about ready to add water. While I wait for the Woodland Scenics water to arrive I’ve been working on small details elsewhere – adding a vine to the trestle and flowers here and there. I may still add a fence to the east side to balance things out a little. I’ll do that over the weekend.

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Flowers and plants

So tonight I spent some time adding flowers and plants. Things are coming together slowly. I’m carefully positioning all the elements to try to create nicely composed scene. A rock here, a stone there, some weeds here, some grass there – it should all combine to create a credible picture but one that is nice to look at too. I’m enjoying finding that balance between real life and a pretty picture.

Grass is not one color or texture. There is a gentle variation of color within the strands but a group or area of grass strands can have several ‘sweeps’ of color. By mixing the colors of the static grass you can have a nice variation of color at a ‘granular’ level but by using an airbrush you can capture those colorful sweeps as well.

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Current Projects

I’ve put together a section called ‘Current Projects’ where I keep a diary of the various projects within The Depot universe. Presently these include The Trestle and The Town. I’m currently putting together The Town diary but I’ve finished The Trestle up to the creekbed construction. I’ll add sections as the projects progress.

Coming up in that section will be the construction diary for the cassette system, the station building, and the weathering project. It is a similar section the blog but with the posts gathered in a single place for easy reading.

Trestle west side

I worked on the diorama this weekend. This is a very in-between view of where I’m at and even as I write I’ve made more progress. I worked on the west back corner. I used the same techniques from the east side to do the grass and the brambles. Things are looking a bit rough but over the next week or some I’ll fine tune the vegetation and it should start look more natural and vibrant (it’s a bit flat right now). My only thought right now is that things are looking very green and there is not much variation in color. I’ll fix that by adding plants and more colored vegetation.

In order to add layers of vegetation or rock or stone I have to set the diorama on it’s edge but it’s nice to be reminded that I have just one corner left to do.

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The Modoc Trip – Susanville and Westwood

Back after a three week European trip. Time to wrap up this trip diary and get back to some modeling!

After Wendel I headed west to Susanville and Westwood. By doing this I left the Modoc mainline and was now following the branch line. This branch line was originally built by the Southern Pacific to connect Fernley (and the SP mainline) with the logging areas of the Californian Sierra Nevada.

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The Modoc Trip – Wendel

Next stop on the trip was the settlement of Wendel, CA. I drove along the county road from Flanigan to Wendel which meant crossing the Nevada-California border. Until the border the road was gravel surfaced but it abruptly changed to a paved road as soon as I crossed back into California. As such I was able to drive fast between the two locations. The road pretty much follows the Modoc Line all the way to Wendel and I was able to spot it quite easily from the road.

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