Layout Update Video by Chris A -

Finally got things cleaned up enough to shoot a short video showing the progress.   Decided to narrate to describe the layout design so that you don't have to try and figure out what I decided to build...  

The whole layout has been built in irregular shaped modules which can be taken apart and moved....  Yes it's alot more work building it and wiring it this way, but I seriously doubt I will be able to start another layout from scratch....  So far, it's worked out well, the engine service facility, classification yard, canyon, and the 2 level section joining the yard to the service facility were built back in 2006 thru 2008 and then moved after my dad passed away 2014...   Thank goodness for the module concept as I was able to get those 3 modules placed, set up and running in less than 2 months.    Video link is attached.  

https://youtu.be/o9ULr0LWk6k

 

Original Post

Nice video Chris, thanks for sharing with the rest of us! I love the detail that you can see in some of the areas like the service area the round house and 2 stall engine house look great! Looking at your layout makes me want to plan for down the road for if I ever want to put a second level on! Thanks again!

Mike

5/11 Battalion Oscar Battery 155 Big Guns!

Semper Fi !

Menards addiction Meeting member! /  LCCA# 41824

thanks Peter, Paul, Rod, Alex, Bob, Bobby and Mike for all the positive feedback.   

Having only shot 2 layout videos, it's always a little nerve racking to know whether you're doing something worth watching.  While I am not particularly fond of hearing my own voice, I figure just showing a lot of track work without explaining what it's there for leaves the viewer wondering if there was any method to the "madness"....    I figured for the first time I would build a layout that I could "operate" with some degree of authenticity, and I decided a "must have", was the ability to store all the locomotives on the layout and interchange them without picking them up.... 

Chris, Thank you for taking the video to better show us your layout out to this point!  It has been fun following along your posts as you build it.  I agree building modules you could move in the future if necessary is a good idea.  I also agree I dislike hearing my own voice very much!    I'll look forward to seeing more in the future.

Chris,

It is always nice to see close-up images of a layout but I really enjoy seeing the "big picture" as you have done for us, in your video.

Not only do I appreciate the regular progress that you are making on your layout but your attention to detail is a big motivation to this procrastinator. Your skill set and creativity is evident and I will echo what has already been said, this IS and WILL BE a heck of a layout! Keep the updates coming!

Question. How do you make your roads and sidewalks (around 1:39 in the video)?

BTW, great speaking voice!

Dave

Dave,   thanks for the positive feedback....  The road/sidewalk in the small 2 city block scene:  

The entire area is on a 1/2 inch sanded plywood base, with 1/8 inch tempered hardboard on top.  The road was painted a dark grimy black latex paint, then I sprinkled extremely fine ground up granite dust out of a sifter while the paint was still wet, yes I applied the paint heavy... 

Problems I ran into with this approach:  I wish I had laid a small mask down the centerline to keep the granite dust off where I later painted the centerline...  Second challenge, the dust coat is hard to apply uniform, as I wasn't completely satisfied, I ended up sanding it with fairly aggressive sandpaper and kept the shop vac running to even it out....  Actually this produced a pretty decent not totally even weathered worn texture for the roadway which is what I was looking for...  After the center lines were down, I had my daughter apply different shades of gray/black  pastels and spread them with a cheap disposable paint brush to blend it in and create the tire tracks..

Sidewalk on the right in the movie is 1/4 inch MDF, scribed for curbs and sidewalk.  This is the long continuous sidewalk under the preformed concrete wall section...  Painted Rust Oleum Camouflage "Sand" for base coat, weathered with diluted acrylics some darker, grayer and lighter than the sand color....     3/4 inch stiff, round stippling or stencil brush is best for making quick work of the weathering 

Sidewalks in front of the store fronts was much more of a project, but something I had been wanting to try for some time....   Base of sidewalk is 1/8 inch tempered hardboard,  ontop of that I glued 1/16 Inch  Fun Foam,  sold at craft stores, Walmart ....  It's very thin foam, over that we applied thin coating of hydrocal.   Scribed the sidewalk lines before it completely cured,  sanded lightly where necessary and then weathered with Woodland Scenics Concrete Dye, acrylics and pastels.   I have seen this done on line, with the very thin coating on top of the foam base, you can come back and create real cracks in the sidewalk rather than draw them in....   It's a fair amount of effort to do this, I wouldn't do this everywhere, just places that are prominent up front locations.   The other challenge with this is tried to build small dams to keep the plaster on the perimeter line of the buildings as I wanted the building sitting in the 1/16" of plaster coat.   Would not have been so challenging if I had left the roadway and sidewalk straight, but I preferred the wide radius curve on on the road.....  Apparently in my old age, I am getting away from building layout elements on  straight and flat surfaces anymore, not realistic enough

Here are 2 photos that I cropped and had on my laptop.... 

DSCN3902 [2)DSCN3904

 

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Mike,  I drew them up after taking some rough measurements and some photos of local 1940's overpass near my house, then my son volunteered to do a CAD drawing and 3D print them for me....   He's been asking me to consider putting them up for sale here on the forum.    I probably should consider it once he gets moved into his new house.... We made one revision to the original plans, but I am really pleased with the way they turned out, a little light sanding then I painted/weathered them with rattle cans,  Khaki, White and flat black......

Chris,

Thanks for the descriptive response. I am experimenting with roads on the layout. Haven't been 100% happy with any of them. Most of them I want to look like yours, grayish with wear from traffic. 

I agree, the curvature of the road gives it a bit more realism as well as some character. 

Dave

Yes Dave I agree....   After years of building, I still really haven't settled on one preferred method for making roads,  after seeing Norm C's roads, I'll probably keep working with the masonite, adding plaster patches gouging and cracking areas up to look old. ... 

I made one discovery the other day, that I meant to mention..  on the mine run, I had to add a curved poured concrete curb as the base of the hill,  I ended up cutting some roadbed cork about 3/8 " wide and stood it on it's edge, and had it follow the road curvature around the back of the factory, down the grade.....  Primed it with  Camo Sand colored paint in the garage before I glued it in place..  I liked it so much, I had to add a simple short sidewalk at the top of the mine run where the company house and plumbing supply store is and decided to make the sidewalk up there out of roadbed cork as well...  Primed it,, weathered it much darker and dirtier since its  down the street from the coal mine.   Scribed the lines by pulling razor saw through the cork after painting and weathering...  The cork actually makes pretty decent concrete, has about the right amount of texture, the acrylic paints will fill in some of the holes and voids, or you can leave it word and broken up.... 

Your layout is shaping up nicely. I like all the different scenic elements. Thanks for sharing.

It is a challenge to build a larger layout, you need to keep the motivation at a high level to get things done within a reasonable amount of time. It is nice that your daughter and son also enjoy the hobby enough to help out Dad. By doing different tasks like you demonstrated, I think it keeps the overall build fresh and creative.

I am in year (3) of my new layout. It is about 750 square feet on two levels. At 63, I hope to hit the finish line before retirement! Thank goodness my wife knows how to use a chop saw and drive wood screws.

Keep up the good work.

Donald

"If two rails are good, than three rails has got to be better."

 

"Give a person a toy train and watch them play for a day. Teach a person to fill their basement with trains and give them a lifetime hobby."

Chris, thanks for the information! I agree with you that your son should build and sell them. I bet her would have lots of buyers, not only from train guys but other molders!

Just like everyone else, Great looking layout!

Mike

5/11 Battalion Oscar Battery 155 Big Guns!

Semper Fi !

Menards addiction Meeting member! /  LCCA# 41824

I was downstairs with the camera this AM and figured I could take some better photos of the roads and sidewalks so you have a better reference point of what to expect.   The first 3 photos are the Roadbed cork converted to sidewalks and curbs...  the last 2 are what I described above. 

I made the uphill road on the Mine Run with pink rigid insulation, and while I like the texture after rolling a wire brush over it before painting it.... It's really fragile and will require some top coating to make it durable... The advantage was that I could bend it easily, glue it down and end up with  realistic grades and transition to level areas....

DSCN4071DSCN4072DSCN4075 [2)DSCN4073DSCN4074

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Excellent modeling Chris. I like it.

Good use of different products to produce pleasing results.

Donald

"If two rails are good, than three rails has got to be better."

 

"Give a person a toy train and watch them play for a day. Teach a person to fill their basement with trains and give them a lifetime hobby."

Donald,   Thanks for your kind comments.   Yes it takes some serious perseverance to keep going on these large projects.   Building it in "removable" modules seems to help break it down into digestible steps..... 

Only reason I have so much time this year is due a really bad slip and fall accident back in February....   Completely tore 3 out 4 roto-cuff tendons off and dislocated one of the 2 bicep tendons in my right arm.  Short story,  I am not restoring any historic wood windows as I work alone,  and getting constant delays by the health insurance provider who finds a reason to sit on every referral for specialist care.   

Anyway, finally got major repair surgery scheduled by a competent sports medical surgeon in Boston, for mid July... 

So, I am really thankful for this model RR  hobby or I'd be going completely nuts keeping myself occupied.   I can't do heavy construction work, but I can do model building projects, do almost any scenery work, as long as I don't get my arm too far from my hip or over my head..  

I am not far behind you, Donald, turning 60 this year, and yes I am determined to be able to run trains on a completed main line hopefully by early to middle of next year.... Lost almost a decade with divorce, family illness challenges with my parents, Life's challenges !!!!.   

Still have about 130 feet of main line to build all of it at 1.25% grades so the lower and upper level meet and they become one long 240+ foot main.  I will add one more "interchange" with another RR and about 4 long hidden storage spurs for passenger trains.   

Thanks also to GG1MAN, Mark, Mike, Dave & John for the positive feedback....

chris a posted:

Yes Dave I agree....   After years of building, I still really haven't settled on one preferred method for making roads,  after seeing Norm C's roads, I'll probably keep working with the masonite, adding plaster patches gouging and cracking areas up to look old. ... 

I made one discovery the other day, that I meant to mention..  on the mine run, I had to add a curved poured concrete curb as the base of the hill,  I ended up cutting some roadbed cork about 3/8 " wide and stood it on it's edge, and had it follow the road curvature around the back of the factory, down the grade.....  Primed it with  Camo Sand colored paint in the garage before I glued it in place..  I liked it so much, I had to add a simple short sidewalk at the top of the mine run where the company house and plumbing supply store is and decided to make the sidewalk up there out of roadbed cork as well...  Primed it,, weathered it much darker and dirtier since its  down the street from the coal mine.   Scribed the lines by pulling razor saw through the cork after painting and weathering...  The cork actually makes pretty decent concrete, has about the right amount of texture, the acrylic paints will fill in some of the holes and voids, or you can leave it word and broken up.... 

What an idea Chris!

Chris, that is a really great layout you have going there.  Very well thought out and executed.  I really like what you are doing and would love to see how you did the modules. Everything on the layout looks terrific, the scenery is coming along really well and the track work is super.

Thanks for sharing and please do keep us posted on your progress.

JEM

sptrainnut

TCA 12-67009

 

Mark and J:   I will start with a description...I have included some photos,  not sure how much they will help

The basic idea for the larger modules starts with using the L - Girder Benchwork method.  1 x 4, plus 1 x 2 (or 1 x 2.5 inch tops forming the L)....  The joists are permanently attached to the table top, in most areas 1/2 inch higher quality plywood, then across the bottom of the joists I ran (2)  1x2's to act as stiffeners.   All the wiring for the module runs through holes drilled in the joists and terminates at each end in terminal blocks, or cinch plugs or a combination of the two.....  When I took them apart, I removed screws that I marked "remove" between the joists and L girders and I could slide the modules apart without having to do any major heavy lifting...  Same goes for re-assembly...    There are a number of reprints of the book done on this L-Girder, method of construction, worth every dime I paid,   and I bought one used at a train show for $3.00

If your familiar with something called the cookie cutter method,  I was able to cut the plywood and remove sections to allow for depressions in the scenery, and also to facilitate smooth grades for the sub-roadbed.   

After the move to my dad's home I upgraded some of the L-girder joists to 1 x 4 mahogany decking boards, it's much stronger than pine, if you pick pieces with really straight grain, it is very stable, meaning it wont warp or twist, and I can have L girders that approach 14 to 16 feet in length with only two sets of legs.   I hate having too many legs, as I inevitably spend some time under there on the creeper I built and the legs are a pain the butt to move around.   All the legs, have 3/8 x 16 carriage bolts threaded into  "T-Nuts" for height adjustment.  All my legs are 2 x 2...  In my case I had kept the original 2 x 4 's from my first layouts in NJ, about 45 year old lumber.... I ripped the 2 x 4's into 2 x 2's because they were incredibly strong, straight lumber...  Back in the good old days before genetically altered lumber (pulpwood)....

On the major 2 level area where the engine service facility meets up with the Main lines, I lowered the L-Girder frame work about 9 inches, and laid the plywood I needed for sub-roadbed on the lower level, then carried the supports off the joists to support the upper level.   As it wasn't practical to have joists for the upper level, I added 1 x 2 bracing to the upper 1/2 inch plywood running parallel to the trackwork, ie parallel the L girders...     but again,  by making the L-girders separable from the joists and table top things can be moved around and positioned.   

The most recent 2 modules the coal mine and coal run are slightly different...  2 ft. x 8 ft. frames purposely made to weigh less than 45 lbs each so I could move them....   1/4 inch plywood with 1 inch thick pink styrene plus another layer of 1/4 inch plywood under the track at the mine....  the mine run is 1/2 inch plywood sub road bed with 3/4 inch oak and pine supports under it for stiffeners so that I could raise and lower the entire roadbed and keep it straight.   The modules slide in an out of place on some 3/4 inch wood support rails and then screw together.   

Major modules with numerous switches have their own control panels, that way switch wires and controls don't have to leave the module,  signal relays were assembled on a bench and mounted near each block signal,  the leads to the signals themselves go through small 4 pin connectors so they are easily removed by unplugging them.  

The large shallow relief mountains were built off the bench and put in place, except for the Coal mine and Mine run modules where they are part of the module.   For these I screwed 1/4 inch plywood to the back rail of the module then when I added the spray foam and mountains etc, it became structurally part of the module.   The large mountain to the left of the Coal Mine was made in a module off the bench on a 1/4 inch plywood base then moved and sits on the benchwork with some struts coming down and screwed to the frame below grade. 

 

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Chris, Thank you for going into such detail.  I have built L-girders before and have the book.  I in fact had set 24"x48" grid type modules on top of the L-girders and they worked out for two moves.  From what I see and read, you have streamlined the module construction a bit.  For the coal mine modules, do you have cross members perpendicular to the front and back boards?  Both module methods look like the modules can be bigger than mine were and still slide into position nicely.  I like what you have done a lot.

I built a module last winter similar to what I did years ago, with the intent i could try some scenery methods and take it outside for photography.  It is a bit too unwieldy for me to easily move even with scenery roughed in only.  I think I will try one half the depth for outdoor photography.

Thank you again!!

Hi Mark,   Yes the coal mine and the mine run modules which are both 2' x 8' are different and not based on the L girder - joist method.   I did this mostly because they will never have to support a load (ME!!!), and I wanted them light enough to move without struggling.   Additionally, since I knew I was going to attach the mountain profile back board (1/4 " plywood),  I pretty much needed a frame member back there to screw into.   

Yes, the frame for these 2 modules, is essentially a Box Frame,  8 foot runners on front and back and some cross-members at 90 degrees...   With the exception of a few cross members everything is 1 x 4, actually 3/4 x 3 1/2.   It worked out well that since I was going downhill at a 3% grade,   3 inches over 8 feet, I mounted the Mine Run box frame about 4 inches lower than the Coal mine and then worked all the scenery in on the grade, and built it up to meet the Coal Mine spurs and the road. 

Also as I was up against the basement wall the back box-frame members sit on frame supports that are attached to the wall, and the front of these modules is supported by the main L-Girder Joist structure of the main layout.   The mine run module slides right 1/4 inch and then pulls out, and the Coal mine slides out along the 8 foot axis.  

I guess the biggest design element for me through out this process is to make modules that can "slide" on a lower but separate frame.   I have seen entire modules built with their own leg assemblies, and I can't imagine fitting these together by having to move the whole thing with legs attached with much precision.  Particularly on top of the 36 x 36 inch carpet tiles, I have installed in my train-room, and I would never trade in my nice padded cushioned carpet tiles for a concrete floor!

Yes Chris, I think you have it worked out pretty well!  I would rather slide the module on the support instead of having that attached as well.  I have carpet in my family room where the layout will now be.  I started building on the concrete floor in the other room because I hadn't decided what to do.  Thank you for the description!!!

Chris, you sure have thought threw everything! It is so great that you are sharing this with us, but most of all guys like me that are really just learning! Thank you so much!

Mike

5/11 Battalion Oscar Battery 155 Big Guns!

Semper Fi !

Menards addiction Meeting member! /  LCCA# 41824

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