I finally finished my new train room. All modeling had been on hold while the room was remodeled, furnished and organized.
The work took four weeks and was completed by a friend/contractor.
Here’s the empty finished room:
Once that was done. I needed to get all my tools and materials sorted out. I had ton of stuff stored in the crawl space and there was no way I could start modeling until that was brought back up and organized.
After spending a few weeks getting things out I got the room into pretty good shape:
So anyhow that’s where I am at for the moment. I’ve started modeling and will post again on how that is going.
I had to stop all modeling activities due to a change of home. My wife and I got fed up trying to squeeze our family life, child, drums, trains, piano etc into our previous home. With a change of job on my part we had the opportunity to purchase a larger house in the same suburban town where we live. It’s about five miles away from our old house and is set in a redwood grove next to the national park. We are surrounded by greenery and the new house is definitely a step up from our previous home.
The house is 3800 square feet (twice the size of our previous home) and has a separate garage. Underneath the garage there are two more rooms which I decided to use for my hobbies: drums and model trains.
The only hiccup in the overall plan was that the train room was in a bare unfinished state and was not ‘model train ready’. The drum room however was habitable and I had a drum sound booth built in the space to play and practice drum without disturbing my wife and neighbours.
However I am days away from the train room remodeling project being finished and I’m ready to get back to the hobby.
Well after months of procrastination I decided to get started on the buildings for The Town. It’s not my favorite activity as I prefer tracklaying and landscaping to making structures, nevertheless the whole point of choosing a more urban setting for this model was get better at this part of the hobby – so I just got started.
The first decision I needed to make was simply shall I scratchbuild or just build a kit? I looked longingly at several very suitable kits in the Walthers catalog but I decided against purchasing one. I enjoy learning stuff and figuring out how to do things and I felt that building from scratch would be the best way to improve my modeling skills. I may using kits for the background buildings so I haven’t ruled them out completely.
Time for some grass. The secret is layers – short grass first then longer grass later. I’ve stopped using grass right out of the box and now mix different colors, lengths and brands (Heki, Silflor, Noch and more) to create a range of grass types.
Apologies for the delay in the next installment. When looking through the set of photos for this part of the series I realized that I was missing some crucial images. I decided to start over and build a new track study while writing this post. Here are the results:
Once dry the ties were ready for coloring. The white primer equalizes the color of the plastic and wooden ties so that they are able to be weathered and colored leaving no discernible difference between them.
As previously mentioned I made four bases from 1/2 inch foam board of about 5.5″ x 3″. I added a little strip of card to either side in order to bring the level of the surrounding ground up to the height of a tie. I really like that sunken-tie effect on real track. It gives the impression of the track having emerged out of the ground in an almost organic way.
I wanted to model track vignettes – little scenes where I could explore the rapid changes that occur from tie to tie. Three ties may be split or moved over to an angle, others may have been splintered. Dust may have stained a few more and vegetation might have spread across another group. I wanted to model all these effects.
I built series of small testing platforms in order to work on short stretches of track. They were made of foam board and no other support. Once glue goes down on these boards they can warp but these pieces are so small (5.5 inches by 3 inches) that any warping was not noticeable.
I’m about to start working on The Town this upcoming week but before that I wanted to share some results of recent studies. Every now and then I try to get away from the layout to test out new ideas, to work with new materials and generally get experience in different areas of the hobby. As such I spent the last few weeks working in an area of the hobby that fascinates me the most: trackwork.
I’ve always been fascinated by trackwork – nicely eased passenger track, the complex arrangement of track around a station entrance, the spread of yard track, rickety old branch-line or short-line track; even abandoned track. I like the technical aspect of trackwork – how the components of a turnout fit together and how different weights of rail are used in different situations. But mostly I focus on the aesthetics of track and how the environment over the years affects its look and condition and how the look of the track affects the overall railway scene.
The control panel is finished. Here are the final steps.
The diagram was printed on glossy photopaper in my color printer and I sandwiched it between the control panel backing and a sheet of plexiglass. I used a black and white version of the plan as a guide for the drill and held the whole structure tightly using clamps while I drilled the holes in my press drill.
Just a quick note to those wondering where I have gone. Still here but taking a break from the hobby to deal with life events. I spent the last two and a half years working as a sub-contractor (software architect) for Visa. That contract ended last September but while I was out of the marketplace I hadn’t realized how much of my bread and butter work had been automated as well as off-shored to foreign developers. When I came out of my contract many of my previous clients had begun using automated web-building services – leaving me without work! Continue reading “Still here”