Wednesday, August 16, 2017

A construction update

I've spent most of 2017 adding benchwork to the southeast wall of the section house. It's been a slow grind. Other other things have sucked up my hobby time. Also, because much of the time I'm working on the layout by myself, there's a limited amount that I can do a few hours a week. Anyway, I thought I'd share some progress photos.

So in March I went to Tulsa for the LDSIG/OPSIG weekend where I was asked to present. Of course, I took the opportunity to operate too, including on one of my favorite layouts, Jim Senese's Kansas City Terminal.

Bernie Kempinski was the featured speaker and I was able to get him in a selfie while he was selling some of his great books.

I also operated on Steve Davis' KCS which I first saw when it was in about the same stage my layout is now.

Tom Fausser has a new layout based on a waterfront warehouse district in New Jersey.

By the end of April I had brackets up and the beginnings of an upper shelf.

I needed to remove the track from the section of spline the was completed because the latex caulk didn't work well. You can see the track has come unglued here.

I had a few folks over for a work session including Matt Latham here with Eric Mumper behind him. Did I mention that you can never have too many clamps?

Things were starting to get messy as I added spline.

After the work session I stuck this piece of curved Masonite backdrop in to help give the illusion of a backdrop. This piece was from my old Camas Prairie layout and it's been held together as a curve for the last 14 years or so.

Sometimes you forget to read the fine print in eBay auctions.

With the track in, by the end of July it was time to add some paint to the valence and backdrop.

 I told TJ about how much fun painting was and he couldn't wait to help.

One of the dangers of painting track above your head.

 My resistance soldering iron is my absolute favorite tool for adding drops.

 In August, I started adding foam base scenery.

Unlike most of the US, 2" foam isn't easy to find in North Texas. This came from a company in Lewisville that makes walk in refrigerators. Foam goobers were everywhere.

It does make a very nice flat surface and is super easy to work with a hot wire cutter of a saw. This section is between Lodge Grass and Parkman and will be rolling hills covered in cheatgrass with the north end of the Bighorns in the distance. Below is the Billings yard.

At the end of the peninsula is Lodge Grass. The buildings below are just being stored, but the Billings freight house and TOFC will be at this end of the yard.

I used small pieces of thin Luan plywood as a screw base for the Tortoises and then hot glued the base to the Masonite spline.

As of August 15, this is the state of the expansion. I spent a couple evenings vacuuming up all the drywall dust and foam goobers before I start removing more drywall to support the lower deck.

I need to build a swing out bridge at the door for emergency egress. The upper deck is wired to the west end of Parkman, which is above the turntable. I still need to add two more Tortoises and more foam scenery to give the area a hilly feel. I also need to figure out how to create some photo backdrops of the distant hills and mountains. I'd like to get back to operating, but I want to have track in along the wall on the right so the trains have some place to go past Billings.

Drop me a line if you are interested in visiting. I work on the layout most Saturdays and Sundays in the afternoon and evening.