Sweethome Alabama

Jon Grant Aug 23, 2009

  1. Jon Grant

    Jon Grant TrainBoard Member

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    I've made a start on the baseboards for the new HO layout, so I can run some of my more modern locos and freight cars. Set in Northern Alabama during the 90s-00s, It will be a small switching layout - 10ft scenic and 4ft fiddle yard at one end, but with the option of adding another scenic layout to the other end of the fiddle yard. I will be running NS, Southern, CSX and BN/BNSF diesels on the layout (one at a time on a switch job) and the freight cars will reflect the area - mostly NS/SOU, BN and CSX/CSX predecessors.

    I am constructing the boards with integral legs and the 2 scenic boards will bolt together into a box structure so I can fit it into the car. The layout will use Tortoise switches and run with a NCE ProCab and be operated from the front. The backscenes will be removable to keep weight down and location dowels used to mate the boards together. The fiddle yard has been buiklt to use the cassette tracks that I retired from Sweethome Chicago.

    First job was to cut the end pieces for each of the three boards and fit the location dowels


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    I made the basic frame deep enough to fit the Tortoise motors and to house the folding legs. The frame was cut from 2-by-1 pine.

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    Next job is to fit the lid (track bed)


    Jon
     
  2. Tbone

    Tbone Permanently dispatched

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    Nice Jon,It will be good to have a fresh HO thread going.Why the purpose of fitting it in a car?Will this match up to someone else's layout?Keep the photos coming.
     
  3. gregamer

    gregamer TrainBoard Supporter

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    This ought to be a good thread. Any track plans?
     
  4. Jon Grant

    Jon Grant TrainBoard Member

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    I'll be taking the new layout to exhibitions.

    Jon
     
  5. stewarttrains98

    stewarttrains98 TrainBoard Member

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    Well I am ready to see this come to be. I have read about you wanting to do this from quite some time and I think that this is going to be a great thread. Really looking forward to this.
     
  6. Wolfgang Dudler

    Wolfgang Dudler Passed away August 25, 2012 TrainBoard Supporter In Memoriam

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    Great start, Jon.

    I guess you have a track plan? :angel: :angel: :angel:

    Wolfgang
     
  7. Jon Grant

    Jon Grant TrainBoard Member

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    Once the frames had been cobbled together, I added the Sundeala baseboard. At the moment it is a solid rectangle (5ft x 21in) but the intention is to remove the unwanted bits as and when the scenery is added, to reduce the overall weight.

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    The two main boards were supported on Sweethome Chicago's exhibition legs to get an idea of the overall size and height of the layout. I intend to add one pair of legs to each board which will fold inside the structure for transit. Only 1 pair is needed as the boards will piggyback together.

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    Now for the fiddle yard

    Jon
     
  8. Wolfgang Dudler

    Wolfgang Dudler Passed away August 25, 2012 TrainBoard Supporter In Memoriam

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    Jon,
    I would like to see a picture with your loaded car. :angel:

    This is what my car looks, about 7 segments with legs, and other stuff:

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    Wolfgang
     
  9. Jon Grant

    Jon Grant TrainBoard Member

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    I don't seem to have one at the moment, but the theory is the same for Sweethome Chicago

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    Half of SWC travels in my Ford Focus estate and the rest in my pal John's (newer and larger) Ford Focus estate.

    SWA has been designed to fit in my car only with 2 operators.

    Jon
     
  10. Jon Grant

    Jon Grant TrainBoard Member

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    With the main scenic boards done, I painted the top, bottom and sides of the Sundeala/Homasote and set them aside to dry, before adding integral legs. I will be adding cross-bracing under the Homasote to stop it sagging, but only after I have laid the track and fixed the Tortoise motors in place.

    I then set to work on the fiddle yard. This is just a flat board to support the fiddle cassettes that were retired from Sweethome Chicago when I upgraded to turntable fiddle yards - waste not, want not.

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    The new fiddle yard for SWA has 2 sets of integral legs so it stands independently, the legs being braced with metal bars

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    I also built a fascia panel - to hide the 'magic and mystery' that goes on 'Stage Left'

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    Finally, a shot of the legs folded into the fiddle yard - the whole thing folds flat to only 4in wide.

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    Now for some integral legs and backscenes for the scenic boards

    Jon
     
  11. Jon Grant

    Jon Grant TrainBoard Member

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    Things are starting to take shape quickly now the big jobs are out of the way.

    Here's a shot of the metal bracing for the fiddle yard legs, held in place with wing nuts for speed of removal

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    I also got a delivery of adjustable feet so that the boards can be easily levelled on uneven floor, a must-have for my cellar

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    The newly-painted scenic boards now have their folding legs and adjustable feet, one pair of legs per board, as they piggy-back onto the free-standing fiddle yard. Here is the first shot of the layout in its entirity - just under 15ft long by 21in wide - and it didn't collapse under the weight.

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    Next for some backscenes....

    Jon
     
  12. Jon Grant

    Jon Grant TrainBoard Member

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    We're bang up to date with the layout, now.

    I took these photos this evening with the painted backscenes and fascia board in place. I've included a shot of me to indicate the track height - I'm 5'10" and the track height is about 46"

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    I've also added the drapes to give an impression of the overall presentation. So far it has taken just over three weeks and I havent laid a single piece of track yet. The wooden support sticking up above the view block will be part of the name board and lighting rig.

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    So, that's Sweethome Alabama completely up to date. I want to make the lighting supports and name board next before painting the backscene sky, which should be done by the weekend. Then I can start laying some track.

    Jon
     
  13. Jon Grant

    Jon Grant TrainBoard Member

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    Finally for now, some of you may be wondering what happened to Sweethome Chicago, to get the room to build Sweethome Alabama. Maybe it was shelved, sold, scrapped for parts, or given a Viking funeral?

    To answer the question I took a panned photo of my cellar this evening......


    Sweethome Alabama

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    Wall

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    Sweethome Chicago

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    I realise the basement/cellar looks tatty but, hey, there's a layout to build.

    Jon
     
  14. MOPMAN

    MOPMAN TrainBoard Member

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    Looking good so far. Keep up the good work.
     
  15. Tbone

    Tbone Permanently dispatched

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    Jon the Sweethome Chicago is gorgeous.Do you have more photos of it so I can get some ideas from your background buildings?
     
  16. Jon Grant

    Jon Grant TrainBoard Member

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  17. stewarttrains98

    stewarttrains98 TrainBoard Member

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    looking good. Like the progress that you are making. I think that this may even beat the SHC out.
     
  18. Jon Grant

    Jon Grant TrainBoard Member

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    The lighting brackets have now been built (and modified twice, so far) and have been bolted in place.

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    I have also had time to fit the fascia board to the front of the lighting brackets.

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    Jon
     
  19. Jon Grant

    Jon Grant TrainBoard Member

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    The fascia is held in place by 4 bolts and wingnuts for ease of removal and a 'suitcase clasp' holds the 2 parts together.

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    I will be experimenting with the lighting effects by using fluorescent lights with 'warm white' tubes, at the rear of the layout and spotlamps at the front, behing the fascia boards. Here is the first of the 2 fluorescents in place, and the quick-and-easy way of attaching them.

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    Now to go and paint the fascia boards and lighting brackets


    Jon
     
  20. Wolfgang Dudler

    Wolfgang Dudler Passed away August 25, 2012 TrainBoard Supporter In Memoriam

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    Jon,
    how many tube ( how much Watt) do you have?
    And how do you transport them?

    Wolfgang
     

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