New Layout Progress

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by nolatron, May 1, 2006.

  1. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    New Layout Progress (Scenic Ridge Kit)

    After leaving New Orleans in August, and moving 2 times, I'm finally starting work on a new N-scale layout. I'm working with a Scenic Ridge kit and will be tweaking the layout here and there.

    The major mod id adding a runaround loop around the back, while keeping the layout at 3x6 still and the original layout in place. In my head it all makes sense with wrapping the track around back, so we'll see how it plays out in the construction.

    Since I'm a web design geek too, I got a blog I'm keeping updated with pics and stuff, and even have a webcam running (I wanna record timelapse video of construction). Link is down below. :)

    I'm currently putting down some plaster cloth, but here's just some starting images thus far that I've pulled off the camera. More found at the site too:

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    After the past crazy 8 months, it's just a feeling of joy (like being a kid again), working on a railroad again. Now I know why I love the hobby so much.
  2. Wyomingite

    Wyomingite Member

    Looking good there, please keep us posted on your progress

    Ron :thumb: :thumb: :wave:
  3. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    Last night I started plastering the tunnel portions of the layout. Plaster on a roll+++

    One thing I'm still not exactly sure of is where the tunnel portals for the lower lines will go. I picked up a double track portal but I'm not sure if it'll fit. May have to do a little tweaking to the "mountain side" (the left side paneling) to make it work. But I'm more concerned with getting the track down first and make sure the trains can run with decent clearance between each other. I'll cross the tunnel bridge when I get to it.

    One thing I did to make room for the loop track around back so I have some real estate to glue the back paneling is offcenter one of the top 2" risers.

    I used some spare pieces to make support pillars too.

    As always, more/bigger pics in the gallery
  4. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    Today I tried my hand at laying ballast for the first time. Needless to say, I've got some tweaking to do :)

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    I tried using the spray bottle with my scenic cement, but found it made he ballast worst when the water drops hit it. Luckily I found an almost empty Elmer's Glue bottle. So I filled that up and it works GREAT! Next time around I should get some better results. Also gonna try putting down a thin layer of foam ack glue on the roadbed, just to help with the track side ballast.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
  5. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    To aid in running power cables through the foam, I'm using a bamboo stick to "drill" a whole, and then I slide a coffee straw (same size as the bamboo stick even!) through and trim to fit. Perfect size for 20 gauge wire.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I also started testing fitting the walls in place for the tunnel/mountain.


    Really won't do much going forward until my order of track and 20 guage wire arrives. Need to solder some feeder lines in the tunnel area, and I want to finish laying the rest of track to test fit everything before really proceding on the other sections.

    Sooo.... Probably won't see much action for a week or so until my order shows up.
  6. Sir_Prize

    Sir_Prize Member

    Looking sweet!
    Hope home and work become more "solid" for you.
  7. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    The other night I went ahead and made some rocks.

    I used the two included molds, and it was pretty straight forward. I'm not sure if didn't let the stuff dry long enough (2 hours maybe), or maybe even too long, because 2 of the small rocks and 1 medium size rock cracked. They looked rather soft and the broke when the mold flexed as I tried to get them out.

    But overall, good looking rocks. I may get some hyrdocal to make some more.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
  8. pasayten

    pasayten New Member

    Hey nolatron!

    Like your blog and picture galleries... You had commented on my layout over at nsacale net and I see you did get in the outer loop! Great...

    I am just getting ready to start on my layout as scenic kit and track are now here... I revised track plan about 15 times! I am expanding my board to 3.5 by 7 as I have the room.... I tweaked my track layout some more so I have 11inch minimum radius curves... I also changed my crossover method to a kato double crosssover switch to save a little space and $$'s... I have attached my "latest" track plan (all kato unitrak)...

    I will be following your blog to catch more of your construction tricks and tweaks... Looks like you have a fair amount of experience... I am a newbie to n scale and have not had a model train for over 40 years! Was HO and O back then... I have also picked up lots of stuff from the web and a few good books... I like the web cam feature... I might have to do the same...

    Take care and Happy RR!

  9. XavierJ123

    XavierJ123 Member

    If you used plaster-of-paris to mold your rocks and they cracked, then you had too much water in the mix. Check the instructions for the plaster-of-paris again. It takes a while to get the hang of it. You would enjoy making your own rock molds with liquid latex. Good luck and have fun.
  10. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    Thanks for the advice on the rocks. I used the WS included stuff to mix it up, but I'm sure my measurements weren't perfect.

    Nothing really happening on the layout this past week. I’m still waiting on my order from to arrive. That’s why the webcam has been off for a few days also.

    I placed an order on May 2nd for 10 more pieces of flex track andsome switches. I don’t think it’s even shipped yet according to the order status page and it'll be two weeks tomorrow. :(

    I just it hope it ships soon (usually takes another week to ship) because I'm leaving town on the 24th for vacation.
  11. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    I uploaded a new track plan today. A little more true to the layout plan, but not 100%.


    My Internet Trains order finally shipped yesterday, along with my Zephyr unit from Fifer Hobby. So early next week I might be able to get mainline down (and run some trains now!) before I leave town for a week for my wedding/vacation.
  12. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    Yeah, so it's been a while since my last update. That would be because I pratically haven't touched the layout in 3 weeks. Been off getting married and starting a new job.

    Anyway.... today I finally made time and cleaned up the trackwork on the front section. Made the passing siding a wee bit longer, added the 3 siding turnouts, and cleaned up the trackwork so it's all straight now. Looks better than before.

    I also got my Digitrax Zephyr unit so I've been running trains on and off on the layout for testing out track.

    I picked up a new Kato Maxi-Stack unit too. It runs (and looks great) on the outer loop. The 9 3/4" curves on the inner loop just kill it. It'll jump rack on the upper-left tunnel curve.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I hope to start spening more time on the railroad with some projects I've been working on finally getting completed. Hopefully terrain will be making an appearance soon on the layout.

  13. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    Mountains, Gandalf!

    After another a long streak of no news.... I have some! :D

    Well, the layout has finally grown a mountain and some "ground". Using the WS Plaster Cloth made it pretty simple, but for some spots I wanted to just plop a scoop of straight plaster down on some tight squeeze areas. But in the end, it all came out ok.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I'm just applying the finish touchups here and there. I'm mainly waiting on my buildings arrive to get those situated so I can finish laying the spur tracks and plan the roads.

    Since I pretty much suck and building stuff, and didn't wanna spend the time for this layout, I opted to buy some pre-built kits off ebay. Hopefully it should all arrive this coming week.
  14. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    This week I added a new Kato SD-40-2 diesel to the layout, BN #6770, to go along with the BNSF intermodals.


    I also picked up the #2 Maxi-Stack set, so I have 2 of the 3 sets available. I'd pick up the third, but then couldn't hide the parked train in a tunnel. :)

  15. Herc Driver

    Herc Driver Active Member

    Those Maxi-Stack's are great looking! Let us know how that Kato SD40-2 runs, I'd be interested in your review.
  16. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    The Maxi-Stacks are fantastic. The first set I got had a broken prong on the coupling piece, so I need to contact Kato about getting that replaced. It' still couples with just one prong, but I worry that the little extra slack in the cars now will cause derailments, or put stress on the remaining one and break it.

    Otherwise they are some fine looking cars. Soon as I get the tape pulled up tomorrow I'll give the SD-40 a whirl around the layout. Have to order a DCC board from Tony's Trains for it still.
  17. XavierJ123

    XavierJ123 Member

    Looks great and I'm sure it's always a feeling of great accomplishment. Now get ready for the fun part; painting the scenery. I use water base acrylic paints from Walmart or Michaels. and dilute with water. Get some cheap brushes from the Dollar store and have at it. Start with the light colors and darken as you progress. Select different shades of earth colors: browns, tans,orche & greens. Oh yes, and get an extra big size of white; forget the black. Try lightening the colors first with the white, brush on, and then wash (brush) with clear water. Water runs down hill so you can immitate mother nature. You might even want to consider putting "gold in them thar hills:! Have fun!
    I make my own scenic foam. It's fun for me but I don't know if you would enjoy it or not. Woodland scenic foam is about $10 a jar and it takes a lot. I will let some of the other guys discuss adding grass, weeds and trees. Have fun!
  18. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    Thanks for the tips XavierJ123! This is my 4th layout, but actually the first time I've really made it to the "scenery" stage! :)

    Also, I uploaded some hi-res (3456x2304) pictures of the Kato Maxi-IV cars to the gallery today.

    View them here:
  19. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    Planting Rocks

    Last night I added some rocks to the mountain side. Well, more of a slopping hill I learned. The Manual suggest you cut out some plaster to make flat surfaces or whatever for your rocks. Since my hills aren't very steep, this seemed like a pain. The manual then states to mix up some plaster and use it to "glue" your rocks in place. This just seemed like a big ole' mess to me.

    So, my solution? Hot blue and foam scraps. I basically belt little pillars and glued them to the mountain side, and the glued the rocks to them. Worked pretty well. Some areas I'll have to build the landscape and then will just blend in with more plaster cloth. No drying time needed either thanks to the hot glue.

    Also, to save some clicks I'll post just 3 640x480 images from now on. More are usually available in the gallery.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
  20. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    Last week I finished up adding the rocks/cliffs/whatever-you-wanna-call-em to the landscaping. Looks pretty good with the plaster cloth blending them in.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

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