Construction Progress – 2008
During the latter part of March I turned back to the roundhouse area in Laurel. I cut a large hole in the subroadbed for the inspection pits, and installed the floor per the turntable instructions. I had to fiddle with the tracks to get the alignment correct, but after only ten or fifteen hours of work, all tracks were installed and wired - fully functioning. I may install a rotary switch on the control panel in the future so that only one track is powered at any one time - no need to run all those decoders all the time!
I discovered, as I half expected, that the foam scenery base above the IRDots reflected too much of the beam back down to the sensor, giving false occupied indications. To eliminate the problem, I attached squares of sandpaper to the bottom of the foam over the detectors. The sandpaper scatters the beam - no more false indications! The pins were just in place until the glue dried.
An event that I've anticipated for years - scenery construction beginning in earnest! The base in the above photos will be used, but it was a test to see if the styrofoam would work, and what sort of pitfalls I might have with it. This is the first real stack to make some hills, which will go behind the track at Glenrock. I glued the foam sheets together using Liquid Nails for Projects.
After I rough carved the first pieces of foam, I realized that I had to put in the upper deck in the area to test out lower level lighting. So on April 19th my good friend Walt, who helps with the heavier work on the layout, came over and helped install the first section of upper deck benchwork. Holy cow - another milestone!
The threaded rod worked so well on the helix that I decided to use it to support the front edge of the upper deck benchwork. The back is attached to the studs you can see in various photos. The backdrop mount - a 1X2, worked great as a rest for the upper deck until it could be secured to the studs (I actually did plan it out that way).
In July I began painting some of the background hills behind Glenrock. Laying across the tracks are photos I took of the area I'm trying to reproduce. At this point the foam is still in place so I can mark out how much of the hills flat will be visible. The plan is to paint from the top to an inch or so below the top of the 3-D hills.
This is the area after I prepped for paint. I installed lighting for the lower deck in the upper deck frame, removed all the foam hills and laid down plastic to protect the tracks from any paint splatters. I left the section of foam in front of the track because it makes a convenient work table, as long as I don't put anything too heavy on it.
Basic hill painting is done, with the addition of some still-green grass and dark soil bare and semi-bare spots.
The whole thing needs to be subdued a bit, but the colors aren't quite as vivid in real life as they look in the photos.
While I'm obviously no artist, if we take that into consideration I think the paint job didn't turn out too terrible. It does need improving at some point.
The notched areas at the bottom of the flat towards the right are the cut-outs for trains to pass through the backdrop. The left notch is for the track that comes out underneath the foam hills, while the right one is where the Glenrock track passes through into the helix. It will be obscured by another hill.