Sunday, January 10, 2010

Layout Progress as of 1/10/2010

I have now completed week three of eight weeks of the Second Annual International Winter Layout Party on TrainBoard. Progress continues on the Emerson, GA scene of the layout as shown in the series of photos below.

» Photos

Starting at the southernmost end of the mainline, I applied strips of 2" wide masking tape to the cardboard web. I learned this method from watching Joe Fugate's excellent DVD series on layout scenery construction at Although this is an optional step, it allows you to get a very good idea of what the final terrain profiles will look like before the actual plaster layer is applied. If something doesn't look right, it is pretty simple to redo a section of cardboard web and masking tape.

This photo looks southbound towards the south end of the Emerson passing siding with the southern end of the visible mainline in the distance. You can also see where I have begun to pencil in the treeline and distant hills on the backdrop:

Same scene looking in the opposite direction:

I trimmed some cork to use as shims under the headblock ties of the turnout at South Emerson. I made sure the cork did not interfere with the actuator wire coming up from the Tortoise turnout motor before I used a few carefully placed drops of wood glue to secure the cork:

Farther north along the mainline is the turnback curve at the end of the aisle. I have completed most of the masking tape in this area as well. I have also setup some prototype photos of the area so I can get the correct treeline and distant hills pencilled onto the backdrop:

Here is a current view of the town of Emerson and the north end of the Emerson passing siding. In the distance, I have started roughing in the terrain for the U.S. 41 overpass, but there is still a lot of work to do in this area:

Before I could finish roughing in the terrain around the I-75 underpass, I had to cover the gap below the backdrop. To do this, I used a 2.5" wide strip of plastic that I cutout from a 19" x 15" "For Sale by Owner" sign purchased from ACE Hardware for a cool $3. I secured the plastic strip using Pliobond, a contact cement-like adhesive that stays flexible:

After the adhesive cured, I applied a coat of the same sky blue paint used on the backdrop:

In the previous photo, you can clearly see the seam between the backdrop and the plastic strip. However, this seam will not be visible in typical viewing angles:

The highway in the I-75 underpass scene will be supported on a 3/4" layer of blue extruded foam. Here is a mockup of the completed scene:

Finally, I carved the shoulders and median into the foam and affixed it to the benchwork using latex caulk. I then attached the cardboard web to the foam and covered it with strips of masking tape to finish the rough-in. The openings around the ends of the bridge are to allow the abutments to be placed when the time comes. Two strips of black construction paper are standing in for the highway: