Monday, January 19, 2015

Reworked Lighting and Upper Valence

Some time back, after I had installed and painted my backdro,p I also installed lighting on the ceiling all along the layout.

The layout room has an overall height of 2,50 meters (aprox. 8 feet and something) To get the layout framed in conveniently I had to install a valance extending down roughly 60 cm (2 feet). 

The ceiling is poured concrete and drilling holes into it was a real pain. Also working overhead to screw the light fixtures and valance supports is very tedious. Finally I didn't like the idea of such a deep valance and also the lighting was a bit too far away from the actual layout base.

When I visited my friend Pit Karges' HOn3 Lodores & Silvertown layout, I immediately liked the idea to attach the brackets lower on the wall. This was no big deal because I had glued my backdrop flat against the walls. I screwed the brackets through the backdrop to the brick wall underneath.

I used 38 cm long brackets on the wider and 28 cm on the narrower parts of the layout

The brackets extend as far out as the edge of the layout. The valance fascia boards will be 20cm. This leaves a viewing window of at least 60 cm.

On the picture above you see the difference between the ceiling and the future height of the valance.

The backdrop on the center peninsula is 3mm MDF with no support underneath where I have to attach the brackets

 I drilled 8mm holes into the backdrop and inserted drywall dowels.

The screw is tightened until the end of the dowel is spread against the back of the board. These work very well for all kinds of hollow core supports including plasterboard. 

In the process of reworking the layout lighting I will leave 3 fluorescent lights attached to the ceiling for general room lighting. So I only need to illuminate the layout when I'm running trains and by this save some electricity.

I will use the area above the valance as additional storage.

Stay tuned for the final work session on the valance and fascia.

Friday, December 12, 2014

LCVP's enroute for San Diego

In an earlier post I contemplated about mounting an LCVP on a flatcar.

The 1/72th LCVP fits nicely on a 57'6" flatcar.

Bob Chaparro forwarded me a picture of an LCVP on a flat car sitting in the Pacific Electric Dolores Yard in California during WWII. As you can see, the side overhang is identical to the one of the model. (Metro Tansportation Library and Archives Flickr

Unfortunately I did not find any side shot to see how the cradle looks lik.

Then early this year AIRFIX released a completely new, redesigned kit of the LCVP. They also took better measurements of the prototype because the 1/72 scale model is now smaller than their former 1/76. The details are crisp and clean with no flash to remove from the parts. 

What pleased me most, is the fact that they included a model of the actual cradle these landing craft were shipped on, instead of the clumsy stand they used with the old landing craft model.

These 5 pieces will form an accurate cradle for the LCVP.

The parts for the cradle seem to conform to the procedures used by the Transportation Corps to secure boats and landing crafts to railroad flat cars.

The instructions suggest to paint the cradle the same grey color than the LCVP, but as this was wood, I will paint it a tan color.   

The schematic above shows the wood blocking for the cradle.

This week-end I will paint and secure the LCVP to the flatcar.

Stay tuned for updates!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Preparing for the first operating session

 After my summer vacation I decided to prepare for a first operating session on the layout. In fact I did not run that many trains on it and I want to be sure everything works fine before I continue with ballasting track and adding more scenery. I also want to know if the operating scheme that I figured out would actually work, and that can best be checked out during an ops session.

It's hard to believe how much clutter is gathering on the unfinished parts of the layout. Kit boxes with structures and rolling stock. Locomotives and cars scattered around on most of the tracks. Tools and scenery materials, glue jars and paints, plans, sketches, drawings and certainly know what I mean. It took me a weeks' evenings to get rid of the junk and to store the other items away, so that my tabletop looked like a model railroad again on which I could finally run some trains.

The photo above shows San Juan Capistrano (partly finished) on the left and my staging yard with Vista and Escondido on the small shelf above it.

I've tried a number of waybill and car card systems over the years but finally settled with the system we use at the FREMO (Friends Circle of European Modelers). The late Wolfgang Dudler (MMR 452) created an Excel based database to print waybills. A downloadable version is available HERE.

The system consists in entering the towns and industries of the layout on one side and the off-line shippers and consignees with the appropriate ladings.

 Above is a screenshot of the input screen. I derived a bit from the original program with the center portion for the consignees and lading whether on-line or off-line. To the left are the off-line shippers and to the right of the center portion are the on-line shippers. This makes it easier to assign the different shipments.

On the waybill page I redesigned the waybills for my purpose. The waybill page draws the information from the input page for 12 waybills. On the input page you may select the on- or off-line shipper by its number, which is entered into the orange box on top left. With this you may choose specific shippers or simply replace lost waybills without printing the whole set.

There is another particularity if I choose from the on-line shippers (right side of input page), There is another set of waybills that may be generated, Empty Car requests. In my system the empty cars are not just there when I need them, but I probably have to order them at the nearest yard, and that's what these waybill are for. How my system work will be described later. First I want to try it out and make adjustments if needed.

I then generate PDF files from the excel sheets and print them out on heavier (120 gr.) printer paper. The normal white paper I use has 80 gr. Don't know what this will be in ounces, but I am sure there are similar paper sizes in the US. I use these waybills until they are used and print new ones from the files. To save on inkjet color, I used also 120 gr yellow printer paper for the MTY car requests.

Then I cut the waybills out with a large paper cutter. This makes long, neat cuts and saves time over a pair of scissors.

For my first stock of waybills I came up with about 400 !!! waybills. I doubt that it will be a tad more, because some industries didn't get any assignments yet. But I don't want to over crowd it and will add waybills as needed.

I placed waybill boxes on the fascia around the layout, adjacent to the industries and sorted the waybills to their respective slots. The boxes are a variety of models we use at the FREMO.In the above photo is one from Micro Mark.

In the next installment I will explain my operating system, so stay tuned.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Growing weeds on the depot

As the tower would be completely covered with weeds I only carved the dome and bell tower from a chunk of balsa wood, just enough for the shape.

Then I covered the roof with Plastruct Spanich Tiles using the kit templates

I painted the roof with a red brick color

After the paint had dried I started to cover a part of the roof with Woodland Scenics medium green weeds/turf, held in place with a coat of white glue.

The white glue proves to take too long to set, so I continued with Woodland Scenics Hob-E-Tac sticky glue. That's the same glue for attaching the leaves to tree armatures. It sticks instantly upon contact.

To cover the tower and dome I chose Woodland Scenics bushes (Clump Foliage)

I started from bottom to top, adding "bushes" in several layers until it looked like on the photographs of the 1940's.

The arches of the tower were almost completely overgrown and the dome looked like some kind of mushroom head.

I applied weathering powders on the remaining roof and the walls.

Here are some views of the finished depot .

 The b/w picture above at right was my reference to recreate the track side of the depot. (San Juan Capistrano Historical Society photo)

And the Demorro photo above served to model the Verdugo street side of the depot

 After all this project pleases me as much as the like-new look of the depot.I guess it is some kind of a unique looking depot and really fun to build.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

San Diego Depot (Mock-up)

With Capistrano well under way, I turned to another big work area - San Diego. While I was drawing the parts for the new San Juan Capistrano depot, I also finished a rough drawing for my rendition of the Santa Fe depot in San Diego. I realized that I would not have enough space to put the full size of it on the layout.

After measuring the available space I decided that what is pictured on the photograph above, would perfectly fit. On the original there is almost the same size with another 11 arches to the left.

From measurements on the pictures I took during my last vacation in San Diego, I came up with about 1.25 metres (approx. 50") for the model. I got the wall segments laser-cut and they were basically just a copy/paste of the master and joined with tabs and slots.

The main wall will be flush against the backdrop with only the arched collonade and one tower modeled in 3D. Because I laid the track first I have to make some compromises with the depot now.
I still have to make some minor adjustments to the collonade and trying to get additional information for modeling the tower.

As always .... to be continued.