2013-2014 Sixth Annual International Winter Layout Party

ppuinn Dec 30, 2013

  1. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    The 2013-2014 Sixth Annual International Winter Layout Party

    Since the first one in Spring 2002, the Layout Parties have traditionally been hosted in the Layout Design Forum.
    Why International? Trainboard has members from over 75 countries around the world, so the Layout Party draws its participants from throughout the international community.
    Why Winter? Threads for the 6 Layout Parties held in the Spring had 180 to 240 posts. The 2009 Winter thread had more than twice as many posts…so we decided to arrange future Winter Layout Parties.

    We know you're out there!

    Yeah, you… and you… and you with the potato chip hanging off your lip and the half drunk beverage sitting beside you. We know you're not working on your layout as much as you hoped to.
    You may have ideas for a new project that you always wanted to try but never got around to. Or there is a stack of kits on your workbench you’ve been meaning to start. Or you have a partially completed project that has been neglected for far too long. Or you have an almost-finished project that just needs some final fine-tuning and attention to complete.

    The purpose of the Layout Party is to offer recognition, encouragement, and support to all participants who are working on a layout project, and to provide inspiration to those following others’ progress in the thread. We hope to have a group of people who will post about the work completed on their layout at least once a week for 8 weeks. We will, of course, congratulate those who have worked on their layout, and encourage those who haven't.


    This year's Layout Party begins today (Monday, December 30, 2013) and will run for 2 months until Sunday, March 2, 2014.




    Rules for The 2013-2014 Sixth Annual International Winter Layout Party thread:

    1. In your first post, please include descriptions of:


    • your layout (brief),
    • the area of your layout that you intend to work on (“before” pictures, please…if available), and
    • a description of what you hope to accomplish in the 8 weeks of the Layout Party.

    2. At least once each week, post a brief description and/or pictures of your progress--or lack of progress--so far, and what you hope to accomplish in the next week. The object of the Layout Party is to have fun, so plan accordingly...and feel free to revise your goal as you go along.

    3. At the end of the Layout Party, post a description and/or picture(s) of your accomplishments.



    FWIW: Some observations and suggestions:


    • Life Happens. The idea here is for us to have some fun and act as an electronic support group so we can each get more done on our layouts.
    • Make a firm commitment to post at least once each week about progress on your layout project.
    • If you fall off the Layout Project Work Wagon, acknowledge it by reporting it honestly.
    • Then climb back on the Layout Project Work Wagon. Declaring exactly what you plan to work on during the next week will help you get back on the Layout Party Work Wagon.
    • When we have others coming over to see our layouts, we tend to get more done because we plan and prepare better, and then actually follow through so we have something to show our visitors and can garner some strokes for all our efforts. Posting in the Annual Layout Party works in much the same way…we plan, prepare, and follow through a little better when we know someone will be seeing our progress.
    • If you encounter difficulties on the layout project, remember that the other participants and all the Trainboard members following the Layout Party thread can be a resource for encouragement and problem-solving.
    • If you have any problems posting pics, let us know so we can do appropriate problem-solving.


    Many participants have enjoyed this format and have commented that they accomplished more work on their layout in the short time we ran a Layout Party thread than they had in long time. Many members posted pictures, asked questions, moaned about problems, and encouraged others who were working through their frustrations. Check out these links to our past layout parties.

    2012-2013 Fourth Annual International Winter Layout Party

    2011-2012 Third Annual International Winter Layout Party

    2010-2011 Third Annual International Winter Layout Party

    2009-2010 Second Annual International Winter Layout Party

    2008-2009

    2009 - First Annual International Winter Layout Party


    2008 - Spring Layout Party
    Sixth Annual International Spring Layout Party - TrainBoard.com

    2007 - Spring Layout Party
    Fifth Annual International Spring Layout Party - TrainBoard.com

    2005 – Spring Layout Party
    http://www.trainboard.com/grapevine/...=door+knockers

    2004 – Spring Layout Party
    http://www.trainboard.com/grapevine/...light=Armchair

    2003 – Spring Layout Party
    http://www.trainboard.com/grapevine/...2&pp=25&page=3

    2002 – Spring Layout party
    http://www.trainboard.com/grapevine/...light=Armchair
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 31, 2013
  2. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    In the past few months, I have added benchwork, installed track, and soldered feeders for 4 more visible staging yards on the lower level of my layout, and recently started making some background tree flats for the new areas.

    My Layout Party "to do" list is long, but I don't think it is too ambitious, because I'm retired now and have a lot more time to work on my layout.

    For this year's Layout Party, I hope to:
    1. finish installing about 50 ground throws and 12 Tortoises for turnouts in the new staging areas;
    2. finish making the background tree flats for the new visible staging areas;
    3. add basic scenery (trees and grass) around the edges of the new visible staging areas.
    4. repair/replace some of the existing fascia boards, and install new fascia boards in the new staging areas.
    5. on the rest of the layout and in existing staging areas, replace about 10 manual ground throws with tortoises;
    6. wire all the Tortoises to stationary decoders and program routes to/from the old and new staging areas.

    I am a member of a model railroaders group that meets once/month in different members' homes...and I'm hosting the group in mid-February. I want to have the basic scenery and fascia boards installed in the new staging areas in time for the open house, but will probably only run one or two trains for "show", rather than having an actual operating session, so installing Tortoises and programming routes may not get started until near the end of (or after) the Layout Party.

    I will post pics of the starting status of the 4 areas later today.
     
  3. FLG

    FLG TrainBoard Member

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    I'm building a small 4x8 due to the limited time I will be here in San Antonio. Set in southeastern AZ with intent to look like the San Pedro and Southwestern RR. I have the bench work and foam top in with a roughed out mountain form on the "rural" side. Track is also down with wiring complete so I can stop and just run a train.

    Goals: Scenic base (no blue or yellow foam), industries established (in but not detailed), scratch build a gas station, and the rural side complete.
     
  4. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    Welcome to the Party, FLG!

    I looked in RailImages and saw a mountain (mesa?) in the background of 2 of your RI Gallery railfanning pics. Will your rural side mountain be similar (a 3D representation of a distant mountain visible in the distance close to or against the backdrop, with more detailed flatland/desert scenery between the tracks and the distant mountain, as in the railfanning pics)?...or are you modeling a portion of a RR line as it passes through detailed mountainside scenery?
    When I see a well-done contrast between 2 scenes on a layout (urban/rural, desert/forest, flatland/mountains), it heightens the illusion that the train is traveling miles between scenes instead of just inches, and makes me think the layout is much bigger than it actually is.
     
  5. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    I put in 38 ground throws yesterday and today...still need to order about 2 dozen more.
    Background tree flats have had their base coat of paint for a few weeks now, but only 3 out of 25 have any ground foam on them, and only 1 has ground foam and lichen, so far (you can see it in the Hillery picture). This week, I'll mostly be working on the tree flats and tweaking (straightening) the yard tracks. 3D trees and grass will come after the flats are in and the tracks are as straight as I can get them. Tortoises will go in last.

    Decatur-
    [​IMG]
    Hillery-
    [​IMG]

    Galesburg-
    [​IMG]
    Indianapolis-
    [​IMG]
     
  6. Primavw

    Primavw TrainBoard Member

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    My Layout: Nittany and Lock Haven HCD Layout

    This is my third layout, and is yet another learning experience. I intend to model modern coal operations (in a smaller scale) in the central PA area. My hopes for the layout is to be able to run trains from four different roads (NS, Amtrak, Nittany and Bald Eagle and RJ Corman). I completed the benchwork sometime in November and have begun laying track.

    Over the next 8 weeks I hope to:
    -Lay Risers
    -Lay Track
    -Begin Wiring Feeders
    -Hopefully Run Trains!

    Trackplan:
    [​IMG]

    Before pic:
    [​IMG]
     
  7. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    Welcome to the Party, Primavw!

    Nice pics of your 2010 layout in your RailImages Gallery.
    Will you be using any of the structures or trees from the previous layout(s) on this one?

    If you run your cursor over FLG's name in his post above, a menu will appear and you can click to go to his RailImages pics. He has some railfanning pics of locos sitting in front of an RJ Corman building.
     
  8. Doug A.

    Doug A. TrainBoard Supporter

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    Well, I'll toss my name in the hat again. I got virtually nothing done from my post last year, so I'm just gonna rubber stamp that plan for this year. Google "Saginaw Transfer N-Scale" or see the link above from last year. Here's the candidate for surgery:

    layout20110529-2.jpg
     

    Attached Files:

  9. Philip H

    Philip H TrainBoard Member

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    well, I've got so many projects half done that my first order of business will be getting all my projects listed, described, and sorted. That will probably take 7 of the 8 weeks.

    Seriously, I'm actually ready to lay track in the last major zone of my layout, finish the trestle connecting my yard leads across the bayou to the refinery, and then start scenery work on the rest. And I want to get a real inventory and switchlist generator going.
     
  10. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    Welcome to the Party, Doug and Philip...it looks like several participants will be working on wiring!

    Doug, that grain elevator you created/printed a year or so ago for your backdrop is impressive...what sort of drawing program did you use?
     
  11. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    This first pic shows the bare blue backdrop at the east (left) end of the visible staging at Hillery Yard. Near the Conrail tanks, there is a painted tree flat with Woodland Scenics blended turf, WS clump foliage, and lichen.
    [​IMG]

    The next pic shows a tree flat with WS clump foliage, lichen trees on toothpicks, JTT Scenery Products wire trees, and large WS fine leaf foliage trees.
    [​IMG]

    This pic shows JTT and WS trees in the distance and a tree flat behind 2 paper mock-ups of some ag service buildings behind the Hillery Yard.
    [​IMG]

    The WS fine leaf foliage trees are so fragile, all the smaller branches break when trying to "plant" them. So, for these smaller trees by the yellow tool sheds, I formed the JTT wire branches into a sort of basket and tucked several WS branches into the basket. For future trees, I think I'll glue the WS branches in and use spray adhesive or hairspray to attach more fine leaf foliage/ground foam to hide the branches better and make the smaller trees a little denser.
    [​IMG]
     
  12. Philip H

    Philip H TrainBoard Member

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    Yes, wiring and track. never sexy, but really important. Had to spend this past weekend cleaning out the "temporary" storage stuff relating to Christmas. with working space once again freed up, I can get to my supplies and my layout for work.
     
  13. Doug A.

    Doug A. TrainBoard Supporter

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    Dave, thanks. It was actually an elevator graphic, ahem, "borrowed" from Google and I chopped it up (using MS Paint, I think) and modified it, added a bit of height, added the UE logo, and printed it using an 11x17 format printer. It is loosely based on the real UE elevator in Saginaw, TX.

    Looks like you're making some real progress, especially churning out those ground throws! I started to work on soldering feeders on Saturday, but realized my wiring diagrams were still in my storage building. I did break out my new soldering iron rig, (Hakko FX888D) it's pretty nice and I learned the hard way that it does NOT take as long to heat up as a $10 iron from Radio Shack! I also took the opportunity to clean out my electronics toolbox, which was actually a very productive, almost-model-railroading chore.

    Here's the graphic I used (resized for posting) for the elevator...

    UE_Elevator2_sm.jpg

    And the real one...
    https://www.google.com/maps/preview...levard!5m2!1s7hGAyy7UX-HLNnINo7jKHw!2e0&fid=5
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 6, 2014
  14. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    Over the weekend, we had a half foot of snow and temp 10-15 below zero...so I got a lot done on the layout.

    As of Friday, in the area at the end of the aisle where tracks curve 180 degrees from Hillery on the peninsula sticking out of the west wall into Mattoon as it runs along the west wall, I had about 1/4 of the grass done and just one tree flat in place near Hillery; and, behind the field and Mattoon bridge, I only had bare blue backdrop (with some white splotches where I had spackled some holes in the hardboard [which was salvaged from a previous layout]).

    This weekend, I worked at the dead end of the aisle where tracks come onto the lower level from the Peoria Helix deep in the shelf between the left end of Hillery (on the peninsula that sticks out of the west wall) and the right end of Mattoon (along the south wall). I sanded and painted the repaired holes, and made several tree flats to go against the backdrop on the west and south walls. There are several tracks deep in the shelf that I want to hide, but which I must be able to access for cleaning or repair, so any tree flats or view blocks need to be movable. Although there are some permanent trees near the Hillery Engine Facility, in the field between Hillery and Mattoon, and near the road bridge that passes over the tracks into Mattoon, there are also 7 movable tree bases: pieces of foam board about 2 inches wide and 5 to 9 inches long with trees, shrubs, and bushes planted densely enough to provide view blocks. This pic shows the 3 Hillery tree bases and 2 of the backdrop flats for behind the field:

    [​IMG]

    This pic shows one of the 3 movable tree bases to the left...hmmm...and that I need to tweak the height of the shrubs in front of the tree base to hide its front edge better.

    [​IMG]

    This pic shows the field without the 4 tree bases in place...but one of the Hillery tree bases and the 2 backdrop tree flats are visible in the background.

    [​IMG]

    With the field tree bases in place, the tracks from Hillery and the track from the lower exit of the Peoria Helix to the Mattoon road bridge are not visible.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 7, 2014
  15. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    The road bridge at Mattoon without the tree bases around the field (along the far side of the closest bridge ramp). All of the trees in this pic are permanent.


    [​IMG]

    The bridge with the movable tree bases in place. Oops, I see that I'll need to tweak the toothpick tree trunk. And, yes, that is a railroad truss bridge that I used to mock-up the road highway bridge. The final 2-lane bridge will look more like an interstate bridge (green girders and concrete side rails with 3 round pillars supporting the middle).

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 7, 2014
  16. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    Doug:
    Thanks for the graphic file and the link. I may be able to use your 2D backdrop idea to solve a 3D problem that tripped me up years ago.

    This is a 1940's pic of Allied Mills (later, Continental Grain and then Wayne Foods) which I'm modeling on my layout (1970s-80s era).
    [​IMG]

    In 2004 or 2005, I made this mock-up of Allied Mills:
    [​IMG]
    Somewhere in my picture collections, I have color photos of the brick/concrete structure that I'll print/cut and paste onto a wooden or plastic box (using higher resolution images and more care than I did with the black and white mock-up). But the saline canisters aren't as close to the prototype shape as I'd like, so I've never gotten past the mock-up stage.

    I've thought of using PVC pipes that come closer to the proper diameter than the canisters, but again, the shape where the silos join isn't quite right; however, seeing your 2D version made me think I could recreate the subtle concave curve joining the silos by gluing the PVC pipes together and then draping them to the proper concave curve using paper printed in the correct color. It would also be possible to enhance the soft shadows on the concave portion with MS Paint.
     
  17. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    Layout Party Progress, Week 2
    This week I cut out some foamboard for the 2-lane highway that runs in front of ConRail's Hillery Yard and used colored pencils to stripe the lanes. In the next week or so, I hope to secure the foamboard to the ground and put in some gravel and grass along the road's shoulders.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    On the other side of the aisle, I planted trees and grass behind the Illinois Central Yard at Mattoon from the bridge at the north end to the south end of the IC Mattoon passing track (about 11 feet). The trees included Woodland Scenics Fine Foliage trees, MRC/JTT wire trees, and lichen trees on toothpicks positioned with larger trees closer to the front of the shelf and smaller ones back (hopefully) to force perspective. I also made several foam board tree flats with WS clump foliage, underbrush, and fine blended turf...also in a way that (I hope) will give the illusion of trees in the distance. This week, I'll install the Rix modern highway bridge and make the roadway down the bridge ramp.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  18. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    I'm having some issues with upper deck supports over Mattoon casting shadows from Hillery Yard's lower deck lights from across the aisle when I take pics of Mattoon; and, when shooting down the length of the shelf without the flash, low light is causing dark pics and adversely affecting focus. I'll experiment with some additional lighting and manual camera settings this week to see if I can improve the pics in next week's progress report.

    This week I'll be working on trees behind the Chicago&Illinois Midland's Havana Yard and Coal Barge Facility, the north end of which are just barely visible in the distant left of the 3rd pic.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 14, 2014
  19. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Dave-

    I am really enjoying your scenery efforts! :)
     
  20. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    Yesterday, I repositioned the fluorescent lights that illuminate Hillery Yard on the lower level of the peninsula. The two 4' single bulb fixtures mounted end-to-end were originally directly over the yard tracks at Hillery suspended from the stringers that extend out from the L-girders that support the upper deck. They were midway between the aisle and the backdrop and the bulbs were about 6 inches above the railheads. This led to several problems:
    1. the front of cars closer to the aisle (on the main, passing siding, and 1st yard track of the yard) were in shadow;
    2. the bulbs hung down close to the cars, so that, operators standing in the middle of the aisle, could see the bulbs (although, when operators stood closer to the Hillery side of the aisle, the fascia board of the upper deck prevented seeing the bulbs);
    3. the low hanging lights over Hillery caused unwanted shadows on the backdrop at Mattoon, on the lower level deck across the aisle;
    4. because the bulbs were so close to the tops of the rolling stock, they often intruded into the composition of photos when attempting to take pictures of Hillery at railfan height...and necessitated special lighting arrangements when taking photos of trains on the front 3 tracks from helicopter height.

    The upper deck is supported by 1x3 stringers on (approximately) 16 inch centers. To get better lighting, I cut the last 3.5 inches off of the 2nd, 3rd, 5th, and 6th stringers and suspended the fixtures on their sides from the under side of the upper deck instead of the stringers, so the back of the fixture (which had originally been against the bottom of the stringers) was against the fascia board, and the bulb was facing toward the backdrop. This raised the bulbs by about 3 inches. The new position allows the fascia to hide the fixtures and bulbs even when operators stand back away from the benchwork, allows the bulbs to properly illuminate the front part of the lower deck, makes photo composition much easier (because the bulbs are much less intrusive), and eliminates the unwanted shadows on the backdrop across the aisle.

    I also added about 4 inches to the front of the lower deck along the left half of the Hillery Yard where the tracks ran too close to the fascia board. Adding this extra depth to the shelf will let me model the full width of the signature feature highway that runs right next to the Hillery Yard, and it will also make it easier to take pictures of the yard throat without showing the fascia board.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 16, 2014

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