Sunday, January 24, 2010

Layout Progress as of 1/24/2010

I have now completed week five 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

Before continuing with the scenery around Emerson, I finished installing the house track. I had previously built the house track roadbed as described in an earlier post. The house track is laid directly on top of the spline roadbed, so before laying the track, I first had to build a transition ramp down from the turnout off of the siding, which is laid on a single layer of cork roadbed. I built the ramp by installing a short section of cork roadbed and sanding a smooth transition from the turnout down to the house track roadbed:

Next, I installed the house track using a short section of Micro Engineering code 55 weathered rail flex track and acrylic latex caulk:

As with every other piece of track installed on the layout, the Emerson house track had a pair of feeder wires soldered to the rails at the workbench prior to installation. After the caulk had dried and I wired the feeders into the DCC bus lines, a pair of CSX engines decided to try out the latest rails to come online in the CSX Dixie Line system:

While waiting for the caulk to dry on the house track, I started work on painting the distant hills onto the backdrop. In the following three photos, you can see where I have pencilled in the hill profiles using actual prototype photos as a guide:

I used a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to redo the pencil line hill profiles several times. When I was satisfied with the distant hill shapes and proportions, I painted them using a light blue-green color that I obtained by mixing a small amount of my dark green foliage color into my light blue color used to paint the sky on the backdrop. I experimented with the hill color on a scrap piece of hardboard, taking sample photos with my digital camera to determine when I had the green-to-blue ratio just right. I then had a gallon mixed at the local home improvement center. The following three photos show the results of painting the distant hills:

I am not happy at all with the distant hill profile in the last photo above because I feel the middle hill looks way too "lumpy." This should be a simple fix using a bit more of the light blue-green color to smooth out the profile during an upcoming work session. Once that is done, I will paint the foreground tree line onto the backdrop below the distant hills.

Finally, I completed the cardboard web and masking tape layers of the scenery base in the town of Emerson. The gaps between the tracks will need to be filled with narrow strips of foam or some other suitable material: