Sunday, November 24, 2013

Nursery Wall Layout Update: More Progress

Since my last post I've gotten a bit more done as far as the foundation of this layout. I've gotten to the point where all I have to do is finish up some of the scenery details. The grass mat has been glued down, the track and cork roadbed are nailed in place, and the lower trim piece has been installed. What that really leaves is the upper trim piece, finishing the two mountain sections and a few finishing touches on the houses and church. 

Here is a look at the basic structure of the layout so far:

A Look at the Layout with the Track and Roadbed in Place
It doesn't look like much yet, but things are definitely coming together. Aside from the "bench work" for this one, the most involved project has been sculpting the mountains from foam for either end of the layout. This is something I've never done, so it's definitely been a learning experience. Here is a look at how the mountain for the right side of the layout has come together. 

Rough Cut Foam for the Right Side Hill/Mountain
Detail Cut Foam Shown Before Gluing
Glued Detail Cut Foam During the Paper Mache Process
After a Layer of Brown Paint and Woodland Scenics Fine Turf
Not a bad look overall if you ask me. I may go in and do some touch-ups on the grass in a few of the lighter areas, otherwise I'm pretty satisfied with the results. I will say the paper mache part of this process worked out great. Originally we were worried that the foam would want to absorb the paint, so we deiced to go with a simple homemade paper mache mix of water and flour. 

Right now I am waiting on the glue to set for the cut sections of the left side hill/mountain. I will try to get some in-process pictures of that one too. Once that one is done, I need to finalize a few other little things and then we are in the home stretch. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Nursery Wall Layout Update: More Progress

Since my last update on this project, I've actually gotten quite a bit accomplished. At that point all I had done was buy the components for the baseboard and back wall of the shelf. Now they are all finally assembled and I have started some of the detail work on the overall look of the layout. 

Its a little hard to tell in the picture, but one of the first things I did after assembling the pieces was paint the back wall a light blue. The plan here is to paint a few clouds and give it a nice looking sky background. I also bought some grass mat from the local hobby shop and have that cut to size along with some cork roadbed for the tracks. 

Assembled Shelf Unit with Blue Background and Some Scenery Work
The next step was getting started on the foam base for the mountain at either end of the layout. On the left side, we plan on having the church sit up on a hill so it will be visible above the train. That's why there is such a large base layer of foam on this side.

First Layer of Foam for the Mountain on the Left Side
It's been forever since I've done any kind of foam sculpting like this so I really had no idea what I was doing at first. The only thing I did know was that I would have to create stepped layers since the foam sheets I bought at Home Depot only came in 1" thickness. Once I got the hang of cutting this stuff with the hand saw I bought, it was pretty easy. I just used the previous layer to trace out and cut the next one up. The nice thing is they don't need to match perfectly.

All we have to do now is get them all glues together and start to sculpt them to look a bit more realistic. We were thinking about doing some paper mache to help blend the pieces together and give us a better base to paint. After that I plan on trying the poured grass method with the spray adhesive. I've never done that before, so we'll see how it turns out.

Additional Layers of Foam for the Mountain on the Left Side
I've got a few more layers to cut for this side and then I need to do the same for the other side of the layout, minus the large flat area. I have no need to create a large sloping hill on the right side since the station will sit pretty close to the tunnel portal and there would be no room to gradually blend it down to the grass mat. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

New Rolling Stock: Detroit & Mackinac

Aside from stuff for the nursery wall layout, I was on the lookout for any Detroit & Mackinac stuff I could find at the train show last weekend. I was just hoping to find at least some rolling stock since I knew there was quite a few pieces that have been produced over the years. Locomotives on the other hand, I wasn't really expecting to find any with how impossible they are to track down. 

I came away with five new pieces of rolling stock for my D&M roster. The first was this Athearn 50' boxcar. This one was a great find at only $5 and has next to nothing wrong with it, I just need to replace the couplers. Click here to see the real life DM2302 boxcar and try to spot the differences. 

Athearn 50' Boxcar, Detroit & Mackinac #2302
Up next was a pair of Atlas 2 bay offset hopper cars, both from the same dealer as the boxcar above. After talking with the guy for a few minutes about the D&M, he was nice enough to give me both for just $10. Click here to see a real life example of these two cars. 

Atlas 2 Bay Offset Hopper Cars, Detroit & Mackinac #5003 (x2)
Up next we have one that isn't exactly a D&M model, but something that was used by them at times. It is a RailBox 50' boxcar from Athearn. This was a nice find for only $4, it even has newer knuckle couplers and looks to be in great shape otherwise. 

Athearn 50' Boxcar, RailBox #10001
Here is another RailBox car, almost ideentical to the first other then the road number. This one does have the old style coupler though, so that will need to be changed eventually. Click here to see an example of these in use by D&M back in the day. 

Athearn 50' Boxcar, RailBox #11058
That's it for now. I think the next step will be trying to find some more of the D&M boxcar from above. That way I can just get some decals and try to renumber them so I can have more than just one on the roster. I'd like to maybe have three or four to start. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Nursery Wall Layout Update: Making Some Progress

As I showed in my last post, I picked up a few things for the nursery wall layout. I really wanted to pickup some structures and definitely managed to do that between two different dealers at the show. I ended up with two houses, a church, and a train station with platform. 

Here is a look at the first house. It's a bit beat up and looks pretty weathered, which made us think we should try to clean it up and repaint it, so I went out and bought some paint and brushes at Hobby Lobby. I'll try to get some before and after pictures posted once I have made some progress.

One of the Pre-Assembled Houses I Bought at the Gibraltar Show
The next house is in a bit better shape and doesn't need as much work, maybe some touch up paint on the one shutter on the left side. Depending on how repainting the other one goes, I may think about doing the same for this one. Maybe a nice green or yellow or something.

Another Pre-Assembled House from the Gibraltar Show
Up next we have a simple church. It looks like the roof has been weathered to show some rust, so I may try to undo that and even repaint if I have to. We want to go with a fresh look on this layout since it will be just a display piece in the nursery.

Pre-Assembled Church from the Gibraltar Show
The last of the structures was this passenger station and platform. It's in pretty good shape and I don't plan on changing anything about it. I just need to do some work on the platform because one of the supports is longer than the other so it sits kind of crooked.

Pre-Assembled Station and Platform from the Gibraltar Show
Moving onto rolling stock, I also got the passenger cars and caboose that I was looking for. I saw them all sitting together marked $2 each, so I offered $6 for all four and got them no problem. They were a little banged up and some of the wheels were not positioned properly, but after some tinkering they roll down the tracks just fine.

Bachmann Union Pacifc Old Time Passenger  Coach #7 (1st One)
Bachmann Union Pacifc Old Time Passenger Coach #7 (2nd One)
Bachmann Union Pacifc Old Time Passenger Coach #9
Bachmann Central Pacific 4-Wheel Caboose
After the show I stopped by my parents house again and picked up the locomotive that I am borrowing from my dad for this layout. It's a Union Pacific 0-6-0 steam locomotive numbered 4441. Not sure who makes it or how old it is, but it works well with the theme we wanted for this project.

Union Pacific 0-6-0 Steam Locomotive
I also got a start on building the shelf that will support this layout. After some shopping around at Home Depot, I decided to buy some of the pre-finished shelves that Rubbermaid makes. To make a six-foot span, I bought four sections that were 36" long, two for the base and two for the backboard. To hold the shelf up, I bought three of the steel support brackets designed for these shelves. 

The Beginning of the Assembly Process for this Shelf Layout
Definitely some decent progress if you ask me. That being said, I still want to get this finished by the end of the month, so I have some work ahead of me. At least I don't need to mess with any wiring or the issues that can come with it. The next step is determining how I want to do the scenery.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Train Show Pickups

Yesterday I did make it out to the Gibraltar train show. I was there primarily to get items for the nursery wall layout, but was also looking for anything I could use on my future layout. After circling through all 400 tables several times, I think I made out pretty well. Here is a look at the haul:

Everything I Bought at the Gibraltar Show on 11/2/2013
I was really hoping to come home with some pre-built structures for the nursery wall layout and I did just that with two houses, a church, and a passenger station with a small platform. The three cars and caboose along with the trees are also for that layout. The rest was for my future layout. I'll try to have some more detailed posts on these items.