Thursday, March 9, 2017

NCE system up and running

Beer poster in lieu of photo of Gainesville DCC install crew. 
The Gainesville Mafia, headed by Don Pete LaGuardia, (a.k.a "The Electrician," a.k.a. "Wires", a.k.a. "Watts") stopped by last night to assist with the installation and checkout of my North Coast Engineering Wireless DCC system. 
Understandably, they don't like having their pictures taken so it worked out well that my phone battery was dead. So to have some sort of graphic with this post I've added a vintage beer poster. Enjoy....

We'd planned on a long evening in case of the need for troubleshooting. I'm happy to report the installation of the system, which includes three power districts, each with their own booster and a Tony's Train Exchange short circuit detector, went flawlessly and the system was up and running in record time. 
Thanks to Pete, Mat, Tom, and Brian for their assistance. It was much appreciated!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Essex Junction Backdrop update


Bernie came by for a short, but productive session on Sunday. His main tasker was to complete the Main Street backdrop scene in Essex Junction.  As you might recall, back in January, he came over and started to do a computer drawing of the buildings along one side of Main Street (essentially south east of the trainshed). Before he left that day we printed out a size test version of to make sure the scale and perspective would work and he finished up the drawing at home.
Yesterday he showed up with the final drawing and his bucket of backdrop paints and an assortment of brushes. He dove right into painting the background foliage and distant treeline. We’re keeping the horizon line fairly low in this section of the layout since it represents a relatively flat town.
Instead of cutting out the buildings entirely, he actually painted the sidewalks, and some bushes and grass texture onto the paper.  This proved pretty effective.
Then he cut out the printed sky from the upper portion of the printed buildings, sprayed the back of the paper with photo adhesive, and placed it on the backdrop. 

After blending the road coloration, and adding some leafless “foreground” trees, I think the finished section of backdrop looks pretty good (the 3-d structures shown here are strictly stand ins!)  Next step is on me to finish the three-dimensional scenery in the foreground, and add the “real” structures to both sides of the street to not only get the right look but to hide the edges of the backdrop section, and add the foreground foliage.
That has to wait until I finish the tracklaying/wiring in this area. While Bernie was working on his art project (and after he took off), I managed to get the track complete from north staging to the trainshed.  Over the last couple of weeks I’ve handlaid a half dozen or so turnouts in Essex Junction, so it should be a simple matter to “connect the dots” with the rest of the track. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Wordless Wednesday #148


I've been sick on and off for several weeks. But the fascia is complete (Thanks Stic!). And pictures of me laying track aren't that interesting....so here's a treat from Dick Ewell's magnificent Hoosac Valley. 


Friday, February 3, 2017

Where (might) we be heading (maybe)?

As I mentioned before about a year ago I removed the White River Junction scene from the layout - it was simply too cramped in the space to effectively capture the look and function of the prototype. 
Despite rumors to the contrary, I do think through things before I start tearing into the layout, even if I don't draw up lots of detailed plans. 
White River Junction is a perfect example of that. I have several of the key structures completed, so it's merely a matter of finding a place for the scene that makes the most sense. 
When you descend the stairs into the basement and look straight ahead you're looking at the longest, straightest wall in the basement - one with no obstructions along it's entire 30+ foot length. Seems to me THAT'S the best place to put a long, skinny, and relatively straight scene such as White River Junction. 
Here's a quick sketch worked up from the White River Junction elements in Bernie's book. (This same plan also shows where Essex Junction fits in). Obviously this isn't a full track plan but it will give you an idea of how the pieces could fit together - rather effectively I think. 
Two things - I'll likely build this scene as a series of Free-Mo compatible module sections with the idea that it would be easy to move it or sell it at some point. 
Secondly, don't be looking for construction to start anytime soon - I made a commitment to the better half that the existing layout will look "finished" before adding any more benchwork to the space!