Thursday, March 14, 2013

Getting Serious

The framework sat for months without me doing much.  Then the bug bit.

In the photo below you'll notice that I've done several things, not the least of which is place the foam base and painted it.  You'll see that Modules 1 and 2 are painted.  Also, Modules 2 and 3 have picked up another extension.  This is the 8-inch extension discussed in the last entry.
Every journey begins with a single step.
And strangely enough, the width of this module equals the length of one of my steps.

I chose foam for a base, rather than the open-lattice-work style, because a fair amount of my layout is going to be relatively flat.  Hills and water features and rising mainline and even a planned-for mountain for a timber industry scene can be added by cutting into the foam, adding to it with more foam, or using the old newspaper and Hydrocal plaster-soaked paper towels, all to great effect.  In the end, the flat areas will be flat, but all around them will be rising and falling topography.  Maybe not perfectly prototypical, but good enough for me.

I decided to start modeling with Module 2.  I haven't done this kind of work in a while and need lots of practice before I head into the tougher modules (the town and the timbered mountain).  This module will give me practice on a lot of things like laying track, creating tunnels, building hills, working with water, and building roads.

You will see some spray foam filling some cracks between the 2-inch foam base on the main part of the module and the extension.  My hand is none to steady with the hot wire foam cutter. Remarkably, though, the foam between the modules is relatively level, allowing for less futzing around to get the tracks to line up when I power and run the whole layout.

This module will have two tracks converging into one and two turnouts for industries: a Feed Mill (the Sunrise Feed Mill kit from Walthers Cornerstone) and across the tracks a cattle pen and loading dock kitbashed from N Scale Architect's inaccurately designed model.  They use a tab-and-slot method for building the kit (which makes kitbashing difficult, even if it makes kit building easier), but their chute design is very different from most cattle pens of the era I'm looking to build and fixing it will take some doing and maybe some extra fence building.

Also, the piece of cardboard you see standing up between Modules 1 and 2 represents the ultimate placement of a hill that will rise on either side of the break (unconnected to each other so that each module can be moved independently) and will run front to back along the entire length of the modules.  These hills will only be about 4 inches high, but will provide a visual break between the wide-varying designs of each module.

This was a major step forward for me.  Actual track planning has been a goal for several years but has mostly existed in my head.  That I'm already starting to lock down the cork and track is a great victory for me.

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