V5 (Casper) Layout

Modeling – The Present – Version 5, The Casper Layout

This page shows current construction on the layout. The most recent entry is at the top, and they get older as you scroll down.

Every now and then, when the page gets too long, I'll move everything into the appropriate link just below. Enjoy!

8 May 2022

Quite a bit has happened in the last couple of weeks.

Work on Wind River Canyon and the area "west" of Powder River got some work done.

First I used a hot wire foam cutter and a Surform tool to shape the big stack of foam I put together for the canyon. That Surform tool sure makes a lot of little foam crumbles!

And on the 27th of April we (my wife and I) started putting down plaster cloth. We collected all the materials and tools:

Then I cut some strips of plaster cloth and we covered the area around the siding at Powder River.

We didn't do a whole lot on the 27th, because I wanted to make sure the cloth would work out okay on top of the foam. On the 28th the cloth was dried and everything looked good, so we pressed on.

We added cloth to the area between Powder River and Shobon...

...then moved on into the south end of the canyon. We used up the entire roll of plaster cloth to get to this point.

I ordered more plaster cloth from Amazon (Woodland Scenics' small rolls are way too expensive!). Once it arrives we'll add a second coat to the area, and I'll arrange it so that the big gaping hole to the left where the CNW line disappears into the mountain isn't so obvious.

Meanwhile I started working on the second CNW waycar. This one went a bit quicker than the first because I had learned how to mount the NCE Light It, I knew the best approach to soldering the wiring, installing the power pickup trucks and all that. Here the wiring is complete and all tucked into place ready for the roof. It's April 29th.

On 2 May I extended the throttle buss through the Douglas benchwork all to way to a connection at the end near my workbench. Now I can test DCC equipment at the workbench with direct connections both to the power buss and the throttle buss. I have the NCE radio throttles, but their performance is spotty.

On 3 May I posted my latest layout update video:

On 5 May I started building the first section of benchwork for the Worland / Greybull peninsula. I started with one of the grid sections I brought with me from the New Jersey layout, reworking it to the configuration I needed. It was 96 X 42 inches, and I narrowed that to about 33 inches. Then, to provide clearance around the wall that hides the furnace and hot water heater, I cut off one corner. It's now been installed and looks like this:
The benchwork in this area is so low to allow room under the towns of Worland and Greybull for the hidden part of the Cody branch underneath.

I finished the second waycar by weathering it yesterday:

23 April 2022

I weathered the CNW waycar and placed it on the layout. Here's a couple of shots.

First in normal lighting:

And with subdued room lighting:

I also added fascia at the south end of Wind River Canyon and began shaping the mountainside there. The fascia will be trimmed down as finish scenery work begins in this area.

And just in case you're curious, here what the back side of the big stack of foam looks like. I ran a train through all the track covered up by this stuff, and clearances are good.

21 April 2022

I completed assembly of the CNW caboose. At this point all that's left is weathering and placing it on the layout.

Mostly I continued working on the south end of Wind River Canyon. Here's a series of shots that show progress over the past week or so.

19 April:

20 April:

At this point I switched over from using Alex Plus caulk to glue the foam together to using low temperature hot glue. It's faster - in about five minutes it's fully cooled and solidified. With the caulk I could do about two layers a day, then I'd have to stop and let the caulk set up for six to eight hours.

The hot glue also makes for a less flexible build.

20 April again:

And today, 21 April. This is as high as the canyon will be at this point. Further down the peninsula it will be even higher. Before I move on "northward" tough, I'll do at least a bit of carving of the basic landforms here, and finish the base of the river (The thin foam at the base of the stack).

Yesterday I ran a few trains through the tunnel to make sure of all the clearances. Here's my Santa Fe type popping out of the tunnel heading towards Thermopolis:

15 April 2022

This past week I did a bit of foam carving for the basic landforms between Powder River and Shobon. This will all be covered with plaster cloth and a layer of plaster in another week or so.

I did some work at the south end of the Wind River Canyon. I wanted a solid base for the mountainside, since it will extend upwards quite a bit, so I attached 3/4" oak plywood to the benchwork as a foundation for the foam. The oak plywood was left over from the library shelves project, otherwise I would have used the plain old 1/2" pine.

After a few sections of the base were secured, I started adding foam. Here's how it looks currently:
Not much to show yet, but I'm waiting on a hot wire foam cutter I ordered this week to arrive to start shaping these bottom layers before I build up too high.

Today I started reassembling a tunnel portal for the canyon I first built nearly 40 years ago(!), when I lived in Kent, Washington. When I moved out of that house, my niece was carrying the tunnel portal, and turned around and banged it smack into a stair railing. The whole thing came apart of course, but I saved all the pieces and now, 35 years later, I'm reassembling it to use on the current layout. It's not quite done yet. The wing wall will be removed, and I still have to reinstall the left hand buttresses.

Here's one of the real portals (that the model is supposed to represent) in the Wind River Canyon. All the portals in the canyon are similar. A couple others look more like the one I'm reassembling.

In the early 2000's most of the portals were replaced or significantly reworked with steel, but one or two are still timber construction. This photo is one I took in 1990.

The caboose project is proceeding - slowly. I was painting railing and grabs (all the wire pieces) and installing them as I went. I managed to break my #79 drill bit and discovered I don't have anymore, so I ordered replacements from Micro Mark (really sucks not having a hobby shop around at times). Meanwhile I continued painting the wire parts.

Here's a closer view. Those eyelets are really small!

On the 11th I drove over to the canyon and spend several hours traveling through it both ways, stopping frequently to observe and photograph everything I could. I took almost 250 pictures! Here's the north portal of the northernmost tunnel. I'm going to try to do justice to that rock outcropping on the layout.

8 April 2022

On April 3rd I posted my latest layout update video.

On the 4th I did more scenery work in the corner near Powder River and Shobon. These are just the base pieces of foam board.

On the 4th I started a waycar (caboose) project. I'm putting together a CNW caboose that was marketed by Walthers over a decade ago. I'm adding Tomar's Adlake Markers, driving them with an NCE Light It board. Power comes from Kadee electrical pickup trucks. Here I'm testing the marker installation.

On the 6th I installed the waycar roof, and yesterday I started painting and installing the grab irons. These require drilling #80 holes in the car body for the wire grabs, and painting the grabs before installation. Here are two of the grab irons in their painting clamps drying.

Here's the back end of the waycar with two of the corner grabs installed.

On the 7th I started working on the Wind River Canyon scenery base. Here I'm positioning foam board chunks to get a sense of how it will look.

And after bit more work on the area. The thin foam boards laying flat next to the track represent the Wind River.

Here's my track cleaning reefer posed on the curve at the south entrance to the canyon. I'll be taking all the foam out again, and putting down a plywood base to make sure the canyon has a solid foundation.