“Hi Al –
This is an update on my project. You first heard from me about a year ago, with my soliloquy about the importance of scale. So about a year later, here I am again with my progress report.
My layout (N Scale) is about 24 feet by three feet, with a “dogbone” right angle section at one end for track return under a mountain. At the other end there is about eight to ten feet jutting inward (away from the viewing front, which forms a harbor, that accomodates a chemical tanker piered for loading at a refinery. The other side of the harbor will have a city, with 1920 era apartment buildings sweeping up to modern 30-40 story high rise construction. Downtown section of city measures about four feet wide, and two feet deep. Tracks underneath eventually terminate into staging yard (in next room of my basement, which up ’til now has housed all my good wine and scotch.) Years ago I was an architect, so I’m looking forward to building the high rise section.
The layout has a curvilinear front face, with masonite facia, so that the layout varies in width from eighteen inches to forty two, which makes it look more natural, I think. I have two rows of fluorescent tubes behind the top facia, together with high intensity incandescent mini-spots. It is very well lit, which helps these old cataracts see what the owner is doing! The entire length of the layout resides underneath a diorama backdrop that curves all the way up and over the layout (layout is 4 feet off floor, “sky” of diorama is at 7 feet, which I built of “Masonite,” and taped and plastered with drywall mud for mural painting. I used to landscape paint in my youth, and felt I had a better chance of designing the backdrop to my layout rather than a photo backdrop, which might have dragged the cart before the horse. I have been working pretty exclusively on the north (dogbone) end of the layout since I laid all the track a year ago, on a fictional rural town that looks a lot like my native New England.
“Maxwell Falls” (Grandson #1 is named Max) is the name of this town. It’s commercial, with brick shops from DPM kits, where the big effort seems to be in the painting and weathering, lighting, detailing, etc. I found a Volmer church kit, and kitbashed it considerably to use the right hand wall of the nave to extend the visible side on the left and give it correct proportions and scale. Landscape is plaster cloth on foam insulation. I used many latex molds to model rocks from hydrocal and plaster of paris. Water in the river and the ravine that holds the hydro plant is by “Magic Water,” and though I leaked about half into buckets during the pour, looks very real once done. painting the rapids was a real challenge. I have audio chips all over the place, and a speaker inside the power plant rushes with water through the turbines as I continue with this fabulous hobby.
Under Spandrel bridge, looking at power plant:
Dam and river:
Aerial view of Powerplant:
The bend at Maxwell Falls: (Note the “interface” between the plaster model road, and the painted road in the backdrop. I put the bridge expansion joint right at the break, and continued with the same color acrylic paint throughout. The painted road begins right at the red van on the bridge.
A Magic Water pond with sheep
Scratch built late Victorian – early 20th Century station
On the way from Maxwell Falls to “Port Charles” (The city)
More Backdrop painting approaching harbor
I’ll send you more in time, but here are some pics: (If I run out of digital room with these pics, I’ll just send them with labels in a separate email)
A huge thank you to Fred for sharing such a stunning layout. Just goes to show how much fun you can have with a theme to bring your layout to life.
That’s all this time folks – don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide if you’re getting borded of sitting in your armchair (and it doesn’t matter how many decades you’ve been sat in it, it’ll really help you to get going).
That’s all this time folks. Please do keep ’em coming.