Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Nursery Wall Layout Update: End of the Line

It's a few weeks later than I originally had planned on, but now I can say I finally have the layout done and on the wall in the nursery. I'll admit I was kind of worried that it would not turn out like I wanted, but in the end it was perfect. It's nice to sit back and admire all the work that went into it now. Sure there are a few things I would do differently if I had the chance, but all that matters is what's done and what's done is pretty nice if you ask me.

This post will just be a lot of pictures of the layout. Up first are a few looks at the entire layout.

A look at the final layout mounted on the wall in our nursery
A straight on look at the full layout
One of the best parts has to be the repaints I did on the houses and church. I had never done any kind of model painting before so this was definitely a learning experience. It was a ton of fun though and the results were exactly what I was looking for. Here are some pictures of the two houses.

I love how the new paint makes this one standout from the background.
The yellow on this one came out looking spectacular.
A look at the small fenced in horse area.
One last look at the two houses together.
When it came to scenery for this one, trees were the easiest thing I could come up with. While I would've liked to have sunk all of them into the baseboard, it was just easier to glue most of them down. The only ones I did sink in were the Woodland Scenics trees I bought at the train show.

One of the pre-made trees I glued down to the grass mat
One of the Woodland Scenics trees I made from the kit I bought
The only structure I didn't do anything with was the station, although I did need to super glue a few pieces back together after dropping it on the table top. Besides, I liked the way the red goes with the yellow and blue of the two houses, so I saw no reason to change it.

A look at the passenger station and platform
Another look at the station and platform
The other structure on the layout, the church, is one that came out surprisingly nice. I wasn't sure on the paint scheme at first, but after getting into it the simple black and white was definitely the way to go. It looks classic and simple, exactly what we were going for with this project.

A nice view of the church sitting nicely on the hill I created.
A closeup look at the tunnel on the right end of the layout.
A closeup look at the tunnel on the left end of the layout.
The only thing left to take a closer look at is the train itself, the real centerpiece of the layout. It definitely fits the overall look we were going for with this layout. I really like the bright colors of the cars and the caboose I repainted.

A closer look at the train sitting in front of the church.
A closer look at the front of UP #4441.
One last look at the center piece of the layout.
So that's it. I had a lot of fun with this project and it's got me hooked on model railroading once again. Now I just need to decide what my next project is going to be. I'm leaning towards another static shelf layout like this due to time and space restrictions. I think a full table layout may still be a ways out for me, but you never know. 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Nursery Wall Layout Update: A Fresh Coat of Paint

When I bought the structures for this layout, I didn't initially plan on repainting them. After bringing them all home and looking at them in the proper light, I decided I had to do something to the yellow and green house. In one of my previous posts I talked about painting this one with some supplies from Hobby Lobby. Well, I did that and then some since then. I actually went ahead and repainted the other houses as well as the church. This post will show some before and after pictures of each. 

Before and after pictures of the structures I repainted.
Just for good measure, I went ahead and repainted the caboose and the two tunnel portals. Here is a look at a before and after of those.

Before and after pictures of the caboose and tunnel portals.
These all look pretty nice on the finished layout, at least when compared to how they used to look. It was definitely worth the time it took to do the repainting. There was a bit of a learning curve for me though as I had never painted small models like these before. Now that I have everything put together, I need to take some nice final pictures of everything. Look for those sometime soon.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Nursery Wall Layout Update: Trial and Error with Foam Scenery and Paper Mache

After finishing up the foam and paper mache mountain I made for the right hand side of the layout, I thought it would be pretty simple to do the same for the left hand side. Well, come to find out, it wasn't. A couple of posts ago I showed the rough shape for that side, which was similar to the right side, just a lot longer on the side towards the middle of the layout. That being said, everything was going fine until the paper mache dried and I went to place the thing back onto the layout. 

The side closest to the end of the track looked and fit great. The other end though, due to the length and the effects of the paper mache, was lifted almost half an inch off the grass mat. I forgot to take a picture of that, so here is a sketch showing what happened: 

Green Line is Before Paper Mache, Red was After
One thing I didn't account for was the warp in the foam boards that would be helped along by the drying paper mache. At this point I thought I would need to redo the entire piece so it would sit flat. I almost did, then realized I could just cut the good side off and redo the large flat span.

The New Version of the Mountain without a Gap at the End
This was all well and good until the next morning when I realized the dry paper mache had once again caused the foam to bend slightly up on the one side. It wasn't nearly as bad this time, but still annoying nonetheless. The solution: driving a few screws through the foam and into the base board. They look pretty ugly now, but after some paint and a little fine turf, you won't even see them.

The Revised Mountain Screwed Down to the Base Board
Just to be safe, I decided it would be a good idea to put screws into the other end to hold everything in place. These were a bit more sketchy, since I had to go through the base board and into the foam from the bottom. I made sure to put some weight on top of the foam so it would hold itself down and allow the screws to grab and bring it down toward the base board.

Adding Screws from the Bottom to Better Secure the Foam
Now that I have this taken care of I can focus on the finish detail work. I have the mountains ready for both sides, all of the trees and other figures ready for placement, and a few newly painted structures ready for placement. This thing is really starting to come together. I hope it looks like I want it to when all is said and done. Even if it doesn't, this has been an excellent project to get myself back into model railroading.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Nursery Wall Layout Update: Getting There

Before I got too far into the finish detail work on the layout, I wanted to bring it up from the basement into the nursery for a test fit and to determine the final placement. Since we started this project, the plan has been to use some Rubbermaid standard shelving brackets to hang the layout on the wall. The only thing left to figure out was how high on the wall it needed to be. 

Well, we ended up deciding to plate it above the long dresser we have in the room. I used that location as a starting point and went looking for studs in the wall to screw the brackets into for extra support. After all, this thing has gotten pretty heavy after putting together four Rubbermaid shelves with a thin sheet of plywood on the back. Once I got those marked, I went ahead and fastened them to the wall. Let's just say there is no worry of this thing falling off the wall now.

A Look at the Brackets we Chose for Hanging the Layout
The brackets are actually pretty cool looking and go well with the blue, white, and grey theme we chose for the room. I originally planned on going with four, but after testing it we realized three would more than do the job and it just looked better this way.

A Look from Above at the Layout Where it Will be on Display
Now that this part is out of the way, its back into the basement to finish up the detail work. I still need to finalize a few of the buildings and put the finishing touches on the mountain for the left side of the layout. The rest of the hard work is assembling everything into a finished layout.