Saturday, March 27, 2010

Rolling road.

One of my fellow modelers Mike Ruby, build a rolling road to use for his HO loco's when setting up sound etc. Footage from his page on Youtube.
He writes" This is my rolling road. I use it for testing locos and programming Loksound decoders. Now after getting the speedo to work I can use it to set up speed curves in a controlled and easy way. Something I have been trying to make work for the six month"  

Thursday, March 25, 2010

RS Tower at London Festival of Railway Modeling

This weekend it is time for the "London Festival of Railway Modeling" show, in Alexandra Palace, London.
One of the layouts present will be that of Exeter region (UK) based RS tower RS Tower.
A quick preview of this exhibition layout can be found below. I personally can't stop by, but it promises to be an exellent modelrailroad show this year. 

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Taft Yard

Another great layout in the making is that of Trevor Smith in the UK, who has a double layer layout under construction. This Fotopic page shows a nice overview on how he painted his backdrop and is progressing his scenery. The top shelf is california based, while the lower level will be Florida based. He confesses he is influenced by the same modelers as myself, namely Pele Soeeborg from Denmark, and Lance Mindheim from the  USA. Lance models Florida, Pele models California, so this may be more than a coincidence :-)

Parker subdivision

Here is a link to pictures of another US modelrailroad, build by Tom Parker. The layout is largely inspired by Pele Soeeborg's Daneville & Donner River.  You can find it by clicking here.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Bearwood HO group

This footage was shot during a recent railroad exhibition and shows of the modular layout of the Bearwood HO group from Poole in the UK.  One of the builders comments: "It's 30ft x 11 ft but there's no track plan of the whole thing. It is an oval with 20ft long, 10 track yard down one side and one of two available sets of scenicked modules down the other. One set of 180-degree corners is scenicked as shown in the video, the other is totally bareEnjoy!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

ONtrax 2010 once more

Another video was posted this week of Ontrax 2010. You can see it by clicking on this link .
It is nice to see how the layout is enjoyed by young and old. Perhaps a new generation of model railroaders in the making :-) This video is of higher quality than the previous one.

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Wet Stuff

Water, and how to do it. There are so many water products on the market, I'm sure you are familiar with most, so I'm not going to repeat them all, just wanted to highlight one, that I think is really cool. Just my opinion though.
Here is a little video demonstrating it, and if you want to know more, check out the Unreal Details website.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The next stage

Track down and wired, backdrop painted, it's time for the next stage in the construction of the layout. This is to mark out the scenery, and then build it.
I used a black marker to mark out the roads on the layout. I used a width of 25 scale feet, sufficient for a normal two lane road. I've also marked out a service road leading to the location of a signal. Service roads are essential and are a detail that will add realism to your layout, so plan for them where needed.

Ontrax 2010

Last weekend, OnTrax 2010 was held in the dutch national railway museum, in Utrecht, the Netherlands.
Also US model railroading was well represented by dutch modelers that have a modular layout to Fremo USA standards. Here's a youtube video made by my friend 'Chief deadfrog'. he apologises for the poor picture quality as his video camera was defect, so the footage was shot with an iPhone. I recommend to double click the image to view in seperate windows, due to the width restrictions of the blog layout. Enjoy.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


One item that is almost unavoidable on a model railroad are trees. Usually more than you think. As you may know, I plan to model California on my layout, so I feel that a few palm trees are needed, placed on a few strategic urban places.
Palm trees are sometimes a bit harder to find in your average model shop than a birch or pine tree. Although I found a supplier who can supply virtually any type , size and quality of model tree imaginable, suitable for nearly any scale.
This is"themodeltreeshop" . The pic shows a palm tree from their wide range.  Select the type of tree, then select the size and quantity. Some trees are made to order (like the wire wound types ) others are readily in stock. Check them out, I think you may find just what you need here.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Achievement Programme

As you may know, the NMRA has an Achievement Programme, or AP in short. The AP is simply said a recognition system for your modeling skills. Sometimes you can enter the fruits of your labour in a contest, and with enough points, you can get a merit award in that particular catagory. Independent judging outside a contest is also possible. The AP has several catagories, among which Motive Power, Cars, Scenery, Civil Engineer, Volunteer etc.
Depending on the catagory, you need several merit awards to complete that particular part of the AP. Should you do this in sufficient catagories, then you can be awarded the title of Master Model Railroader. I have no illusions that I will reach that goal anytime soon, but rather I want to use the AP program to measure my modeling skills. The point scoring system used is a good way of showing what I could improve, and what I may be good at, and it's a fun way to learn new skills. So at present, besides me building on my own model railroad, I am researching several things towards earning merit awards. Currently collecting drawings and data of several locomotives, and freight car types, for future projects in the Motive Power and Cars catagories. For more on the AP, see  The Achievement Programme .

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Freight train

NE 1623 rolls into the yard with a short local freight.
This locomotive is an Athearn bluebox GP38-2  which I superdetailed with a Cannon&Co cab and nose, and several other details added from several detail companies. It also was painted into my freelance colour scheme and railroad name. At the time I build it (approx 1998) it earned 82 points , just not enough for an NMRA merit award.  It is due to get a DCC & sound upgrade, and wire up the roof beacon etc. A few small cosmetic repairs are also needed. After all that is done, I will probably enter it again to re-earn it's merrit award, but I'll have to check with the NMRA if that's allowed first. :-)

Friday, March 5, 2010

The clouds

Just a piccie of the clouds as they are as present, unedited, and no touch up (yet).

Station Road Baseboards.

I thought just to write something personal here. As I mentioned in an added comment earlier in the week, I ordered some plasticard (sheet styrene for US readers) from Station Road Baseboards in Norfolk UK.
The sheets I ordered were 0.5mm x 325mm x 440 mm in size. These sell for 0.72 pence each (approx $1.05 each) . The sheets arrived today and are of very good quality, and were shipped promptly. I can therefore recommend this company, for quality, speed of dispatch and the very good price of the plastic. (You'd pay a lot more for this for one of the well known brands).  Of course this is smooth plastic, cards with a pattern etc are not available from here (yet?) so you'll have to go to your usual sources for that, but this is great for making templates, trial models, or as a base for a model that will be covered with another layer. Also check out the products they offer for the construction of modules etc.

In the clouds

Well, paint mist actually, that's where I've been residing in for a bit. I can't stress enough at this point that when painting, particularly in a confined space like my loft, you wear sufficient PPE. Latex or similar gloves, a face mask with appropriate filter cartidges (a dust mask won't do!), and try and vent the space a bit. (I used a desk fan to vent more fresh air into the area.).  Paint fumes are not good for your health.
I've just been spray painting on clouds and mist etc on my backdrop, and I have to say I'm fairly pleased with the first try. I may touch it up here and there, but I don't think I'm going to attack it with a roller and fresh blue paint to start again.  The key is work in moderation, mist the paint on, and keep the spray can (or whatever you choose to use) moving. Too long in one spot will result in a white dot and that means start over in many cases.. Misting on the clouds so that a bit of the blue back ground still shows through makes them look the most realistic. Be creative, I cut out only a few templates, but used them upside down, back to front, overlaying each other etc to create variety in my cloud shapes.  Go over the top side of the clouds a few more passes than the bottom so that it looks like the sun is shining on top of them. I used mostly white, but I carefully used a few grey mists here and there (there's a bit of rain in the air). Grey was a much stronger colour though, so I toned that down a bit by carefully passing over with white again. Then finally, I misted the whole back drop from a larger distance, and misted the lower parts more than the top parts to make it all 'blend' together and create a better sense of distance. Now I have to wait until the mist settles down, before I take a picture and show the results to you. Time for a cup of tea first.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Back to the backdrops

After putting old newspaper over the tracks etc to protect it, I painted the backdrop boards. The few replies I received made me deviate from the plan slightly. After the PVA was applied and dried, I first painted the boards with a light blue (left over from an old baby room colour scheme) oil based paint to properly seal the boards. After that I painted the boards with a matt emulsion paint. I used Cobalt Blue from UK's Homebase paint range.  While this may appear very blue and a bit dark on the picture, I chose this colour on purpose. Over this surface, clouds and mist will be painted/sprayed with a variety of white and light grey shades, which will make the back drops appear a lot lighter than they currently are.
First I need to get some materials to cut out cloud templates though, so if you'll excuse me :-)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Fitting backdrop boards

Today I purchased some hardboards of approx 3mm thick, 4Ft long and 2 Ft high. These are used to make the backdrops, which I'm going to paint. In my case I could easily nail them to the roof beams and I used some duct tape to seal the gaps between them.
Once fitted I'm going to 'paint' a layer of PVA glue over them to get a good water tight base to paint on. The method I'm going to use is painting a base coat of blue paint, and then using cloud templates to spray on clouds. To see how that's done have a look here.
The picture shows the first couple of boards fitted to the roof. North Eastern GP38-2 no 1623 is just passing with a short local freight train.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Wiring for DCC

As I'm in the process of wiring my layout, I referred to this very useful site, by Allan Gartner, which explains all sorts of wiring methods and solutions for a variety of scales, brands etc including various turnout (switches/points) manufacturers.
As I have a mix of some Peco and older Shinohara (left over from an older layout) on my  new layout, I wanted to make sure that they were all wired correctly for use with DCC, and this site explains all.
Go to wiring for DCC/ switches to read all about the turnout wiring. I've also included the site main link (to the home page) in the links list.