Friday, February 24, 2012

Layout overview, by request

I had a request for overview pictures of the layout. Don't let it ruin the magic. "Pay no attention to the man behind the scenes..."

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Night shots around the layout

Updated this post with better night shots.

I'm experimenting with my camera settings trying to take some night shots of the layout under minimal lighting. The only lighting used was from Lionel floodlights and yard lights and the lighted structure themselves.

Concrete and asphalt lot for the transfer warehouse

I've been fighting with this one on and off for several months now. Last year I bought an MTH Ellicott Mills dry goods transfer warehouse and located it on the layout in a nice big spot between the rail lines and the highway. I scenicked the lots and roads around it but couldn't decide how to create a lot for such a relatively large space.

Finally I decided I would first pour concrete pads for the trucks to back up on, and then make asphalt for the rest of the lot.

I started by marking the corners of the warehouse and then drew lines where I wanted the concrete lots to be.

I found some stuff at Scenic Express called Scale Concrete so I thought I'd give it a shot. Here are the tools you may need to do the concrete.

I used Woodland Scenics paving tape to outline the lots, and then masked off the areas around it with masking tape.

I then scooped a bunch of the Scale Concrete product into the masked area and spent a while with various tools spreading and smoothing it. Wetting your tools occasionally can help smooth the concrete, however it was difficult to get a really smooth surface over such a large area. It was not the most fun experience I've had, but came out ok.

About an hour after I poured I cut around the edge with an X-actoI knife and pulled up the masking tape. I came back after 24 hours and tried to sand it, and it was still damp! This stuff took at least 48 hours to dry but it was around 60 degrees in my basement so I'm sure that had an affect on it. I saw some flaws in it and figured that was like real life and let it go.

I then masked off the concrete pads and poured the asphalt lots around them using Woodland Scenics Smooth-It. You gotta work fast with Smooth-It. Once it starts to set up, it gets hard like a rock real fast and your tools get all messy. Smooth-It worked best when I kept it on the runny side.

After it dried, I again masked off the concrete and painted the white Smooth-It with Woodland Scenics Asphalt paint. In retrospect, it probably needed another coat but it’s a little late now.

I replaced the building, did some nearby landscaping, and put the thing to bed. It came out pretty nice and I learned some new techniques.

Monday, February 20, 2012

You want weeds?

It's mid-summer in Bobotville and the weeds around the Railtown General Store parking lot are just about to get out of control.  I used a combination of Super Turf, Heki wildgrasses, dirt, fine turf, and small broken pieces of Super Trees.

Scratch built picnic table on a budget (in 30 minutes)

24 hours later and I'm still waiting for my Scenic Express Concrete pads to dry.

What to do?  Build a picnic table for outside your ice cream shop, of course.

You can buy a 1.5" O-Scale picnic table online for $12, but why, I thought.  I took some thin sheets of balsa wood and a straight edge and started cutting with an X-acto knife.  No plan, no measurements...I just eye-balled it.  I didn't even look at a picture, I just made it up as I went.  I used Crazy Glue to glue it together and hit it with some wood stain.  It took less than 30 minutes in all.  It's a little lop-sided but whatever...not bad for not measuring anything.