Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Lighting up Gallitzin

Last night I sucked it up and wired up the remaining building lights in Gallitzin. All told, it wasn't that bad. I must say the results are quite impressive. Now, one problem I consistently find myself running into with these LEDs is they are so bright, the make the  buildings glow. The only real solution is to paint the inside black. 

Anyway, with that out of the way, Gallitzin is one major step closer to being done.

Friday, August 26, 2016

More Structures for Gallitzin

 I finished up a few more structures to round out Gallitzin. First and foremost, we needed a depot. For that I turned to Model Power and their built up station. The first thing I did was pull out the filament bulb and replace it with an LED. Next I painted the walls Floquil "Depot Buff," the roof "Grimy Black," and the trim and doors Polyscale "PRR Tuscan." I also lopped off most of the structure base.

For weathering, I started off with a coat of weather wash. Once that dried, I sprayed on some Dulcote and then some chalks followed by one more coat of Dulcote.

Overall, I think the station turned out quite nice. Granted, it only serves the westbound trains, so I will need something else still for the eastbound tracks.

 Next up, Gallitzin has churches, lots of them. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of N Scale! Can I get an amen? Basically you have a couple of goofy-looking prebuilts or a wood kit from Banchline Trains. Given my experience the latter's "Tower House" kit, I opted for the goofy prebuilt, Bachmann as it turns out.

Out of the box, this kit is fairly lame looking. The walls are slid white and the roof and windows black. And there were the fake-looking bushes painted on the side; those had to go! The first thing I did was attempt to remove the windows and doors so I could spray paint the walls. Unfortunately, no dice, they weren't coming out. So I painted the wall Floquil "Antique White." This presented it's own set of problems as said color is very thin and runny. As such I had to lay on several coats over the course of several days to cover the bushses.

With the walls done, I painted the corner blocks Floquil "Roof Brown" and the windows "Southern Freight Car Red." The roof got, you guessed it, "Grimy Black." After the paint, it was time for weathering. I followed the exact same procedure I followed with the depot so no point in repeating it.The building did turn out a little dingy looking but since it's a white building right next a heavily-traveled main line during steam days, it would be covered with soot and cinders.

The last structure I tackled was a Model Power house kit I had tucked away, "Mr. & Mrs. Diggers" as it turns out. What a name, could you imagin if the Mrs' maiden name was "Gold?"

Anway, one problem I've been having with most of my structures is the LEDs are so bright they make the walls glow. So I started things off by spraying the sided of the wall with some cheap Walmart black paint. Not wanting to use more of my precious and dwindling supply of Floquil paint, I used Rustoleum "Hunter Green" for the walls and Krylon "Meringue" for the windows and doors. I did end up using "Grimy Black" on the roof (don't look so shocked).

As you can see, I also started mockin up the area between the two sets of tracks. Once I'm satisfied with everything, I'll install the lights and start permanentizing things.

Monday, August 22, 2016

More Progress at Gallitzin

This poor couple has broken down in front of the Haunted House. All that's missing is Vincent Price.

Gallitsin Business District looking north.

The gas station is doing a brisk business.

Ballasted track looking towards the Gallitzin Tunnel

Looking west.

Overall view
Wow, where to even begin. I've planted trees, added details, ballasted the westbound tracks, got the business district installed and installed the western portal of Portage Tunnel. All that remains in a relativly small area between the two sets of tracks and then it's time to head west.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Entering the Home Strecth at Gallitzin


I'm continuing to make major progress at Gallitzin. The earthworks inside the westbound tracks is completed. All that remains is a small area of turfing, rock staining and planting some trees.  One major project I'd been dragging my feet on was the utility poles and power lines. For the low voltage poles, I used some Model Power poles, which I painted Floquil "Roof Brown" and then removed two of the three cross arms. 

As for the high voltage poles, these required a bit of head scratching. High voltage pylons are available in N Scale but they are quite costly. In search of a cheaper solution, I decided to take a peak over the wall and see if HO had anything I could use. I got lucky and found some HO telephone poles that would make perfect HV pylons in N Scale. Wire for the poles is black sewing thread. To secure the line, I wrap it around the pole's arm and then brush i with a bit of acetone, which melts the plastic and provides an instant bond.

With the interior largely done, I started on the area between the east and westbound tracks. This included taking the block of foam that holds Gallitzin's business district and fixing it to stanchions. All building lights were installed and attached to a single pair of leads that needed to be routed through the table top. With the foam in place, I used plaster-soaked paper towels to blend it into the existing scenery. 

The next project was the overpass to carry Main Street over the westbound tracks. This is simply a Rix Early Highway Overpass kit on some Chooch Enterprises abutments.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

And Yet More Progress at Gallitzin (These titles are getting hard to come up with)

The road leading to Horseshoe Curve. Notice how it tapers towards the far end. this also seemed like a good place for Model Power's Haunted House.

Another Pleasant Valley Sunday, charcoal burnin' everywhere!

Last night was yet another very productive night on the layout. For starters, I got the driveways and the road between the houses and the industrial area plastered up and painted. With that out of the way, I was able to go ahead and get the hillside next to Vulcan painted and turfed. The entire residential area received turf as well.  

Speaking of roads, I decided to go ahead and repaint all of the roads in Gallitzin a weathered gray color. Unfortunately I think it might have been a tad too light and the roads look a bit more like Florida than Pennsylvania. Oh well, it works though. 

I think the next major projects will be situating the Gallitzin Depot along the eastbound tracks and installing utility poles and power lines.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

More Progress at Gallitzin

It's been another productive night and once again, I got a fair amount accomplished. I started with some detailing in the Gallitzin residential area. I planted a few Woodland Scenics trees around the houses, which really accented them quite nicely.  I'll be adding a few stands of trees beyond the houses as well.

Each house also received a Gold Medal Models TV antenna. These are CA glued to a dress shirt pin stuck through the roofs of the houses. I think the next project will be to add some picket fences.

Looking west from Gallitzin

New scenery at Route 53
With the houses done, I turned my attention to Route 53 once more. I began adding lichen to the mountains I built the other night and added some Woodland Scenics turf to the area to the left of the overpass. Once that was done, I went head and ballasted the track in the area.

Although I didn't take any photos, so you'll have to take my word for it, I wet ahead and plastered up some roads. I attempted to create a rock cut along the westbound tacks leading out of Gallitzin tunnel, but my hard shell scenery evidently wasn't hard enough and collapsed under the weight of the additional plaster. So I ended up having to rebuild the scenery in this area. Kind of annoying but no sense in crying about it.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

And then there were more mountains to go tell it on

Last night was certainly productive. I was in the zone and managed to get a lot of mountains built. First I extended the ridge dividing the east and westbound tracks in the Gallitzin industrial area. Next I filled in the gap between Vulcan and the tracks except for a small area that will be occupied by a passenger depot. Lastly, I plastered up some mountains between Route 53 and the beginning of Cassandra.  I also covered up the risers in this area on the opposite side of the tracks. 

In between Route 53 and Cassandra, will be a small farm. I have an American Model Builder farm house and barn as well as a Cornerstone windmill to complete the scene. 

once I was done building mountains, I decided to go ahead and paint the ones I told you about in my last entry. I feel like raw umber gives the best earth color for my money. The next step will be to cover it over with Lichen. I also have yet another roll of paving tape on order. Once it arrives, I should be able to finish most of the roads in Gallitzin.

While I was working last night, I realized that once Gallitzin is finished and I move on to the section between Cassandra and the Conemaugh River, most of the layout will have scenery. It's kind of mind boggling to realize I've done so much in only three years time.

Another realization I came to is this whole confining myself to one area at a time approach may not be the best fit for me. If I hit a roadblock under that approach, work on the layout stopped. But if I can do something somewhere else on the layout, why not do it? Rather than getting frustrated, just move on and come back later.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Go Tell it on the Mountain

Last night's project entailed plastering up the rest of the mountain range dividing the center peninsula between Horseshoe Curve and Gallitzin. The next step is yo get it painted brown and covered with lichen. The houses on the right side of the residential street also need driveways and some telephone polls. Once that's complete, the next step will be to fill in the area between the road and Vulcan Manufacturing.

One constant annoyance with working on the peninsula is the fact that the middle of it is so damn hard to access. This requires all projects be done in an exact order. Mess up the order and you've got a nightmare on your hands. The good news is I have  pretty good idea of what needs to be done in what order to finish Gallitzin. And it's a good thing because I'm certainly ready to move on.

Friday, August 5, 2016

A River Runs Through It

One problem I run into with confining myself to working on one section of the layout at a time is my interest in working on said area tends to peter out. Gallitzin has been no exception. Also, I rather annoyingly ran out of needed materials to finish that area. So with that in mind, I decided to tackle a project I've been wanting to sink my teeth into for a while, the Conemaugh River.

Most of the river was actually dug out almost a year ago and the bridge carrying the Southfork Branch has been in place since. It consists of a pair of Atlas warren truss bridges sitting on a Chooch Enterpirses pier.

The main line crossed the river on a stone viaduct. For this, I used a single Monroe Models stone bridge kit. Normally, this kit is meant for a single track, but I took both sides of the bridge kit and glued them end to end. The underside of the bridge is mealy a pair of PVC pipe couplings cu in half and painted black. The backside of the bridge isn't visible to layout viewers so there's really no point in finishing it.

The river bed was also a bit of a departure for me. Normally I paint the bed in a series of darker colors to simulate depth. This time, I covered the river bed with various grades of Woodland Scenics Talus to simulate a rocky river. Next I lined both sides of the river with tufts of Woodland Scenics Field Grass to simulate reeds and bulrushes. I placed a few pieces of WS Dead Fall to simulate falen trees and suncken logs.

For the water itself, I've been following the advice of expert scenery maker Dave Frarry and used Mod Podge Gloss Medium for the water. It works just as well as Woodland Scenics' Realistic Water but costs about half as much. And it's readily available at Wal Mart.

The scene is still very much a work in progress, but I like how it's coming together.