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Untitled third layout


Sheffie

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This probably gives a better impression than anything else could, of what the layout is looking like.

 

Edited by Sheffie
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I am dismayed to learn that the patterned green fabric, that I've been using for grass, is no longer available.

 

This throws all my plans into disarray. I was hoping to be able to get some cheap/cheerful ground cover down, make the layout look nice, and then move around improving different parts as I saw fit. The point was, it would be relatively easy to get away from the horrible pink/white polystyrene look, and get to somewhere where I felt happy just looking at it. Now, I don't know when that's going to happen.

 

Theoretically I can just find another green cloth, and perhaps cover the Japanese side differently. Theoretically I can paint the ground after carving it to exactly the right shape. Theoretically I can get static grass and fuzzy bushes and all sorts. But those are all unknown quantities, and it's going to be a very long time before the layout stops looking horrible — which was one of the key reasons, I think, why I never finished the last one. I realized on my first layout that it felt wonderful to get to the point where everything was green - and on that layout the base was only brown cardboard, nowhere near as bad.

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Alright. I've found, and ordered, some vine leaf pattern fabric - enough to cover the whole layout. This has a visible pattern of leaves (perhaps 5-8mm long, or 1/4") and snaking vines. It's a significantly lighter colour than what I was using before. That may work out for the best, though. I don't really want things to be dark and gloomy.

 

I'm feeling a lot more hopeful about the project in general, now that I can expect a consistent appearance over the whole layout.

 

Now if only that carpenter would get back in touch about the display case. It's been over a week.

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Today I made a start on covering the horrible pink foam with the new vine-pattern fabric.

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It looks so much better, even though the leaves are larger than they should be. 

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Martijn Meerts

From a distance, it looks pretty effective. Adding some buildings, bushes, trees etc. should make it less obvious that the leaves are out of scale.

 

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I’m getting the hang of the “cloth trick”

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After laying the fabric out over the layout, pinning it to the front of the framework, and straightening it out, I draw along the middle of each track with a black permanent marker pen (in the US, a “Sharpie”). Then it’s just a question of cutting along the lines, and the cloth can be tucked under the tracks without any interference with wires. 

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The best part of this method is that each section of cloth can be easily lifted out, if I want to work on the contours of the terrain, or replaced altogether. 

Edited by Sheffie
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Today I revised the track layout in the English village area. 

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I’ve added a siding for a passenger train, plus one for a goods train, I moved the goods shed, and added a reverse-facing siding for a shunting loco. 

 

It was tricky to get the power supply set up through the points. I spent a while looking at the internal connections and then got it backwards... but it’s working now, which is how the Class 17 diesel got there. 

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Another small evolution today, after I casually placed some containers out where they’re eventually supposed to live, and realized... this is nowhere near enough space! There’s barely room for a top-lifter truck to turn around, even at the wide end. 

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So after incorporating my new knowledge of point power routing options (by removing an unneeded F62 straight) and adding a good bit of wiggle... room!

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Yes, there’s a lot of pink foam visible now. But it’s due to be covered with Tamiya 5mm foam board anyway. 

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Well, I've hit a problem that I may not be able to resolve.

 

If I string together all of my Koki wagons, and load them with containers, and try to take them up the long hill, it doesn't work. The first wagon is under so much tension that it is pulled sideways off the tracks.

 

I've never seen this problem before, because while I've had 19 Koki wagons for a while, this is the first layout with an uphill gradient that's long enough for all of them to be on the slope at the same time. It doesn't help that they're on an R249 curve at the top there.

 

I may just have to live with this. The japanese container train just won't be able to travel to visit the English hills and village

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Grades + tight curves + lighter cars + longer cars can do this. The koki frames are down low and cars pretty light for their size even full of containers as they have no weights except containers. Have you tried putting some modeling clay or a couple of nuts in a couple of containers per car to see if that will help them from tipping? But weight means more power needed going up the grade.

 

also start smaller and see how big you can get. Maybe a doze should look nice. Many prototype shorter koki strings in japan as well.

 

cheers.

 

jeff

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Sheffie
Posted (edited)

So today I finally broke open the second pack of Tamiya foam board, and cut out the concrete areas around the train repair factory and the yard/crew buildings. I made some mistakes but I still have one untouched board so I’m happy. 

 

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The factory sits on top of the boards because it’s designed to be placed at ground level. The Kato yard buildings are built on ~3mm concrete rafts, though, so they will sit in cutout holes and/or around the edges of the concrete area. I’ll use cardboard to raise them later on. 

 

The boards will will be held together with gaffer tape on the underside, and then painted with a coarse brush. I don’t want to try for uniformity on a surface where trucks will be driving around. 

 

Looks like I'm going to need more Tamiya Dark Sea Grey paint. This is a good reason to visit my local game store, which I haven’t visited since the pandemic started. 

Edited by Sheffie
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Sheffie
Posted (edited)

A couple of changes—one bit of steady progress and one new feature. 

 

The train repair facility and the container yard are progressing nicely. 

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The foam board is all painted and glued together, and the buildings each have a cardboard shim underneath to raise them up to “ground level”. I’ve also added a section of grass/cardboard in the lower right area which I will plant trees and bushes on later. 

 

The new feature is the insane mountain railway (TM)

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The Z scale track in the middle will go into a tunnel entrance (a model I can scratch build based on experiences with my first layout, Spring Story) and the curve is there to foil observers who want to look inside. The gradient was originally going to be 4% but I scaled it back to 2% after realizing that there’s really no point in trying to bridge over any other piece of track, because there just isn’t enough space to make it worthwhile—so I don’t need the height. Any increase is enough to make the branch line stand out from the main loop. Paint with a broad brush. 

 

I’m particularly happy with the compromise I made with the curves. Most are R216, which several of my locos can handle. The last three, though, are R150, which is too tight for almost everything. But that’s okay, because only tiny little wagons will ever need to go onto the last three sections. 

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Sheffie

This feels like quite an achievement. I haven’t gone near a Metcalfe Models kit for a very long time. They can be a little bit daunting, since they are very much a one-chance thing. Get it wrong, and it’s permanently wrong. 

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Anyway, I built an extension platform to the right of the station building. This one is backed by a low wall. The whole thing looks more balanced, now. I think. 

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Very impressive Tim!  Those card kits have always scared me off, but you really make them look good!

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I always toss my preprinted things on the scanner first just in case I do a whoops and need to reprint a piece or want to modify something in the future. I am good and don’t print out 5 of them to build! 
 

jeff

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Sheffie

Smol progress today. The grassy area by the yard buildings is now planted. I decided to use a variety of tree types, and both shades of foliage for the bushes. 

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I know it needs to be more dense to be convincingly wild, and I’m a long way short of the kind of realism that others here have accomplished, but this level of planting is affordable and, I hope, sufficient for a semi industrial semi urban environment. 

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Sheffie
Posted (edited)

Well, I really enjoyed planting trees and bushes there, so I did another hill’s worth. This time I’ve tried to make it look wilder. I'm pretty happy with it.

 

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It will look a lot nicer once the ballast is in.

 

Edited by Sheffie
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Very nice!  I like how the line snakes though the hills.  What method do you use to secure track to the foam?

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Sheffie
Posted (edited)
9 minutes ago, Kiha66 said:

Very nice!  I like how the line snakes though the hills.  What method do you use to secure track to the foam?

 

Thanks. Those are R348 and R381  30° curves, and I really like them. The snake is pretty much required by the track plan, but having said that, the goal was always to have the railways winding through forested hills. 

 

I’m securing the track with a few 3/4” pins right now. Later on there will be ballast with watered-down Mod Podge locking them in place. But there needs to be a lot more test running and tuning before then. 

Edited by Sheffie
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Sheffie

I planted a lot more trees and bushes, and I put down some ballast. Each one still needs further work, but it begins to look like a finished section of track. 

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From the right, you get a good impression of the sheer number of trees and bushes that were needed to cover the ridge between the main line and the freight yard. 

 

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The reverse angle shows how the ballast slopes down to the base board level, covering the “grass cloth”. Also visible is a piece of stiff card that’s covering a gap between base boards, and the all important gaffer tape covering the point switch. Two places I don’t want the ballast to flow. 

 

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For adhesive I’m using 3 parts Mod Podge Matt Medium to 12 parts water to one part 70% isopropyl alcohol. This is good at soaking in and wetting the surfaces, but I’m still getting some issues with surface tension pulling the grains of ballast around. After this dries, I will scatter more ballast over the top. Loose material on the surface sounds pretty crazy but it gives the best final surface texture and I can use a brush to get it into the exact position I want. 

 

Not clearly visible in any of any of these pics: I’m still experimenting with how best to model the transition from full forest to open bushes, which are really the only practical option for slopes right next to the track. 

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Sheffie
Posted (edited)

Here is the difference between dry ballast, on the right hand track, and ballast that’s been soaked in the glue solution. 

 

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The dry stuff is a little lighter than the Kato Unitrack but the difference isn’t as bad to the naked eye as this phone camera makes it look. The texture is great, anyway. And only dry ballast can really be mounded to the correct shape — that is, covering the rounded ‘shoulders’ of the track but not on top of any sleepers. 

 

 

Edited by Sheffie
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