Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Merry Christmas,...etc.

Despite the lack of an update in a while, work has progressed steadily on the layout - the type of work that isn't probably interesting to anyone - concrete block walls, concrete slab, benchwork,...etc....    Years ago I made an effort to expand my basement by digging out part of a crawl space - not fun work but it was made easier by the fact that I was able to dump the dirt down a well in the corner of my crawl space - we have city water and the 30' deep 6' round well right under our kitchen floor was creeping out my wife a bit - think the killers basement in "The Silence of the Lambs".      Anyway, after this initial push I only went as far as constructing a partial concrete block support wall and a half of a concrete floor - just enough to be able to move the heater there to make room for the trains and workbenches elsewhere.  I had never intended to extend the layout back that way so being a professional builder/carpenter, I did what I usually do when working on my own house - leave the project half finished.    Well flash forward ten years and it looks like the layout is going to extend into this space, so, I finally finished the basic building work.  As usual, my benchwork is all plywood.  I don't use any solid wood, just strips of 3/4" plywood - this material is stable and easy to screw together without splitting.   I don't have any real method, just years of building things sort of give me a feel for what is strong enough and what is overkill.  This isn't the part I like about model railroading so it's the step I just want to get through the fastest.  
As of tonight one track of the two track main is back up and running with the loop completed.   You can see some of the track and the benchwork in the one photo - the yard is to be to the left of the main line and the engine facility will be to the right.    I've also been working on some of the narrow gauge track and will start wiring this soon -  I've included a photo of a narrow gauge engine with scrap buggies right next to the bridge that carries the narrow gauge line to the open hearth furnaces.  The white caulk under the one piece of track will dry clear and will eventually be buried in ballast.   The ironic thing about this photo is that the Grandt Line engine in the photo can't make it up that grade - the other two engines based on N-scale mechanisms can no problem.    The final photo is of a bottle of Vallejo paint.  You might have heard some talk about this paint on the model railroad podcasts - I am fortunate that a local hobby store has carried this paint for a number of years.  The paint covers better than any other brand I have used - great solid pigment coverage, quick dry, and smoothes out nicely.  These bottles cost me $3 each.  The bottles are great as you can just put a few drops on my glass work surface and add as needed - you waste very little paint.   You can probably find a source on-line if it isn't locally available.

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