update,my interum layout

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by Virginian, Jul 10, 2001.

  1. Virginian

    Virginian Member

    Hi y'all!
    The 'bedroom' is emptier, but still not ready to become a layout room...I'm doing some model building in there, but have one dresser to relocate, the ceiling needs to be painted, the walls washed down, maybe painted, ..carpet cleaned?? etc.,etc..
    In the meantime, the 4x8 in the 'shop' is up and running.. been fixing the bumps at bad track connections, adding a extra yard spur to the 'coal mine' siding I've got five of the far side turnouts wired and operational, trying to figure out how use an Atlas standard remote switch machine on an Atlas undertable turnout... it's an experiment!..I have an extra L remote machine..Still need to replace a couple of 'used' turnouts I was given by a friend...they work, but... The layout has a double reversing crossover including a wye in the middle... kinda a 'drunk' figure eight!!! with two yards and the coal mine spur with 2 track stub yard...and it works!!! no shorts!! thanks shamus et al!! (remember, if you will...this is my first layout since I was about um..11 and left my Lionel in Tenn. when we moved to Ohioooooh what a sad story that is [​IMG] ...)For the time being, this is a flat land switching layout...I decided to work up to grades when I build the 'real' layout. I may tear out a section and redo with slight grade up a ridge, build some removable 'molehills'., maybe experiment with a tunnel, if the bedroom conversion continues to be delayed. No structures built yet...I have a yard tower and am looking for yard engine 'barns' and old 'wood' stations that sorta match some photos I have. And then there's the coal mine and tipple...Anybody know of any in N scale, circa 1950??? I know of one, but I'll have to order it.
    Still haven't bought a scanner...I've been spending too much on trains...HO, HO, HO....why'd I ever join that club?? [​IMG] but I'll try to get some track plans posted soon, to 'Track planning for the future'.
    Thus ends this wordy update.
    Hope everybody's havin' fun
    Bye y'all
  2. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    Hey Virginian!
    Sounds like you & me are in the same boat, brother! [​IMG]
    I'm waiting for my daughter to get all of her $#@! out of the spare bedroom, so I can start my "dream" layout.
    In the meantime, I'm working on a little N scale switching layout, & am really enjoying it! I'm getting in some practice before I start the "real" thing. (that one's going to be HO)
    Another thing I'm practicing is (I have Shamus to thank for this) photography. Model photography is something that's totally new to me.
    As far as a good coal mine, (does anybody else get tired of seeing that same Walther's mine on 9 out of every 10 layouts?) check out Dave Frary's series on building the Pennsy Middle Division. (it's in book form now, from Kalmbach) It's in HO, but it's a great looking kit-bashed mine, & I would be fairly easy to approximate in N scale.
    Good luck on BOTH layouts Virginian, & keep us posted on your progress.
  3. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    Virgin Ian,

    Sounds good you are getting in the practice. I put hills, inclines tunnels the lot on my small practice layout, so when I do the "real" one at least I can say I've done it before. Keep up the progress!

  4. Virginian

    Virginian Member

    "This is Great"!! (name that film time!)
    I'll get some photos up, eventually...vacation first, then the scanner!!unless we come across a deal we can't pass up in the nexk couple of weeks...(trying to avoid credit except for emergency use...amazing how much "emergent" train stuff there is [​IMG] )
    Thanks for the feedback, Woodie and Charlie..
    The more I work on this thing, the more I want more space so I can go HO for The Bill Kesling Memorial RailRoad (BKMRR)...but for now, N's the thing to get the most out of the space I have...I'm sticking to VGN and N&W for my HO club equipment...we've got the 'lost Virginian coal train' roamin' around the hills of Sonoma County California, HO,HO,HO, searchin for some #3 coal to haul to Norfolk!! So, Ill have a good start if I do change over in the future.

    Please keep sharing your progress...what you learn, what you have success with, what you screw up...'with every mistake, we must surely be learning'.
    Woodie, I plan to 'practice' on the board in the shop...hills, 'mountains', even have a spot for a tunnel. I may do some elevation...depends how soon I get the benchwork done in the 'trainroom'. Everything will be 'pullout' so I can incorporate it into the BKMRR.
    Charlie, there is a model called The Narrows Coal Company..can't recall the maker..the picture looks pretty good..I may order it come fall.
    I've prattled on long enough. See ya!
    VGN [​IMG]
  5. billk

    billk Active Member

    Hey Virginian & Woodie - I've been making some "practice mountains" too. I came up with a way you might want to experiment with.

    I took the pink foam board stuff, 1 in. thick, used a saber saw to cut it to the rough shapes I wanted, stacked it up, and glued the layers together with carpenter's glue (toothpicks worked good for holding it place while the glue dried).

    I then used wire brushes and my trusty Exacto blade for the finer forming, details, etc. The wire brushes are, I think, supposed to be used by plumbers to clean threads in pipes, they look like toothbrushes only are about 2-3 times bigger - one has what appears to be stainless steel bristles, another brass, with the brass one a littler "gentler". They worked great for blending the layers of foam together as well as the various formations I carved with the Exacto, and were a pretty cheap ($2-3) find at the hardware store.

    I also glued some foam boulders, outcroppings, and the like here and there, while doing the above. Toothpicks were used again. When you hit one later, just snip it off and keep on truckin!

    When I got it looking kinda right (pink, but right) I mixed up a batch of Durham's Rock Hard Water Putty, making it very thin, almost like paint, and added a little latex paint to it. I smeared this mess over the foam using my fingers, a disposable brush, popsicle sticks, whatever seemed to work. A little wash with diluted ink and I was done.

    This resulted in a thin rigid shell over the foam. It was (imho) not too bad looking. It was also easy to cut through the shell, to make changes or to poke holes in it for planting trees.
  6. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    Hey Everybody!
    I've become a big believer in extruded styrofoam too. (the pink & blue stuff)
    I use it for my scenery & track base. It's really no more expensive than plywood, & is much quicker, & (this is the part my wife likes) quieter to work with. And for those of us who have wrestled with 4x8 sheets of plywood, well - I need not expound on the advantages of light weight foam! The stuff can be cut cookie-cutter style, & built up into grades, using blocks of foam as risers.
    Hey Virginian, another use I've found for it is cutting & shaping a small piece to fit in an N scale hopper, resembling a load. Then I got me some "#3" coal off the (CSX) tracks down the street, brought it home, wrapped it in an old rag, & pounded it into powder with a hammer. Then I painted the foam form black, glued some real coal on top, & voila - a load of real coal! And it's removable, & it looks a heck of a lot better than those store bought plastic jobs.
  7. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    I think what you all call extruded styrofoam, we call polystyrene. The stuff the make packing out of, and eskies (picnic coolers). I got a few sytene packing cases from the local fruit and vegie shop for a $1. Broke them into pieces, stacked them up, and glued. Covered with plaster bandage, then covered again with a mixture of yellow ochre artics acrylic paint and plaster. painted this on, the washed with other colours to produce weathered rock. Covered with the usual scenic material after that. VIOLA.... weathere sandstone mountains! Try http://www.homepages.ihug.com.au/~niceboys/contruct.htm for some pics.

  8. George

    George Member

    Hello Guys!

    Virginian, try this. Paint EVERYTHING. Steam clean the carpet, even consider getting a new one. Don't relocate that dresser, TOSS IT.

    Depending on climate and location, what does a paint job last? 3-7 years? Once you get that layout up, it's a pain in the butt to get around it for jobs like painting, cleaning, track light installation and especially carpet replacement. Do all these things NOW so you won't be sorry. Nothing like a fresh NEW layout room! [​IMG]

    Why toss the dresser? Because you can get something to fit flush underneath the benchwork that's completely out of the way. Either for seasonal wardrobe rotation, or rolling stock. You should utilize this space most people nail fascia over, or staple cloth up to block from view.

    My last layout was in a large apartment where space was still at a premium. I made shelves and racks along the outside of the benchwork for vinyl albums (don't throw them away!), video tapes and books. At one point, I made a large door with what we joked was "The garage that led to the basement" for easy access to this otherwise large wasted space. Underneath the layout, we stowed all the Christmas decorations, general storage and I even garaged my bicycle underneath nearest the door. This protected my bike from the elements when not in use, and freed up space on the terrace and what precious little closet space we had.

    What a selling point to the wife for a layout upstairs!

    Yes, this is a no-brainer, but too many still disregard that space underneath. Even if you already had this one figured out, spruce up the room for sure.

  9. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    Perhaps this is the subject for a new thread, but you bring up a very good point, George. This is a big reason I've gotten away from island-type, duckunder layouts. With an around-the-wall, shelf type layout, not only do you keep valuabe floor space, but the layout can actualy be more of an accent to a room, instead of an obstruction. And like you said George, this can be a big selling point to the non-modelers in the family.
    Virginian, before you start throwing out furniture, (possibly a bad selling point there) see if you can't design a plan where the furniture fits under the layout. Remember, higher benchwork is better for appearance, & is easier to get under to work on.

    [This message has been edited by Charlie (edited 07-14-2001).]
  10. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Hi VGN,
    At this stage in your proceedings VGN, you must have had some thoughts about what kind of scenery you would like on your layout. You also need a mental picture of the
    finished scenery to be able to make and finish it.

    To make a start, the edge of the baseboards will need some profile boards. (Made from hardboard) Cut the shapes desired for your contours and glue and screw these to the main board. Once all the boards have been cut to shape, you will have a better idea as to how the finished mountains will look.

    Rolled up newspaper will (When held together with masking tape) do for the start of the mountains. The next step I use is a product called MOD-ROC this is a plaster impregnated bandage which comes in small lengths approximately 8” - to -10” when soaked in water for a few seconds and laid over the newspaper formers, it dries rock hard. (Excuse the pun)
    This part of the scenery is called the hard shell; now turn your attention to adding plaster to make proper looking mountains. (Undercoat Plaster Mix up just enough to do a small area, place it on the dried mod roc and start carving it with a knife to try and achieve a rocky strata effect. At first you probably will (like most of us did on our first attempts) make a mess of it. Stay with for a while don’t expect superb results. After awhile, you will get the hang of it and produce good results.
    When all the plaster has dried, (dries off white) it needs to be painted. For this you will need to take a trip to you local art shop and purchase some acrylic paints (Tube form) in the following colours:- Browns -(light and dark) Yellows (light and dark) Greens (light and dark) Black plenty of white and some mid dark red.
    I tend to paint the whole plaster first with a natural earth type colour, then when it is dry, start the real process of transforming it into a variety of colours.

    NARA Member #24
  11. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member


    Shamus is pretty spot on with his "how to do it". I used a very similar method, with the exception of colouring the first layer of plaster mix to the colour of the base rock. My prototype is sandstone, so I used yellow ochre (1/2 teaspoon paint to 1 cup plaster mixed to the consistency of unwhipped cream), then use a paint brush to paint it on the set plater bandage. The brush strokes provided the grain I needed. Use "natural" coloured artist acrylic paint. Just the student (non professional) quality is fine (and cheaper). The colours used should be identified on the jar/tube. eg oxides, burnt sienna, ochres etc. Following the intial plaster layer which is coloured to the natural UNWEATHERED look of your rock, then use a light wash (1/4 teaspoon paint to 1 cup water) and dab this wash at the highest level of you rock and let it run down the crevices you have moulded. Use at least 3 - 4 different washes, starting with the lightest colour first. I used red oxide, burnt sienna and black, using less and less dabs each time, again letting the wash run down the suface of the rock as if it were natural "rain" runnoff. Let each wash dry off a little before applying the next wash. (1/2 hour) Then cover with appropriate groundcover and the like.

    This is my half completed Mt Garahbara

    Good luck!


    [This message has been edited by Woodie (edited 07-16-2001).]
  12. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    I see the layout's shaping up nicely, Woodie! Way to go! I really like your rock work.

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