Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Advancing on All Fronts

Here we are nearly a month into 2016 and I'm finally making my first post of the new year. I have been busy working on the layout but just haven't had a chance to write it up. So, here's what I've been up to:

First and foremost, it's pink slips all around for the track gang. The last bits of track have been laid. This consisted of a pair of sidings in Gallitzin. One siding serves American Model Builders "Heitzman Feed Mill" and Cornerstone's "Stateline Farm Supply." I decided to combine the two into a full feed, seed and implement. Operationally, this will give me the opportunity to handle  a greater variety of freight.  

The second siding curves off to serve Vulcan Manufacturing. This siding presented a challenge being that its so far from the edge of the layout. Normally, I uncouple cars with picks. But that's not going to be an option here. An uncoupling magnet was required. So I opted for an S&L enterprises "Totally hidden uncoupler," (link) which consists of a small steel plate and four rare earth magnets. 

 Now, all I need to do is get these siding wired up. But, since I've been kind of burning myself out on wiring as of late, I think that will have to wait a little longer.

I've also started work on the ridge of mountains that will frame out the Gallitzin area. I'm going with the tried and true method of plaster-soaked paper towels over cardboard strips describes elsewhere on this blog. As you can see, I also used some Great Stuff spray foam to fill in some of the gaps in the foam sheets.

The area between the industries and Route 53 posed a bit of a challenge as well. The space between the tracks and the backdrop is only about 2 1/2 inches wide in some areas. I had to cram a road running from Gallitzin to Route 53 into that space. I started by using the Great Stuff foam to build up a small shelf. After the foam cured, I cut it to shape with a razor saw.

My origonal plan was to run the ridge of mountains behind Vulcan all the way to Route 53. However, in the back of my mind, I knew that's not how it is real life. So I ripped out all the cardboard webbing I'd built and used some Elmer's spray adhesive to affix some bulletin board paper with a sky pattern printed on it. Ultimately I plan to paint some distand hills on it to add depth to the scene. 

The the backdrop affixed, I covered all the foam with more plaster-soaked paper towels. I found myself with a small wedge of space where the two roads will intersect that just cried out for a structure of some kind. I decided to kidnap my Lifelike country store and move it here. I may try and pick up some gas pumps for it too.