Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Building a switching layout (Part 6: Ballasting and ground cover)


I ballasted the track with a grey blend mix from Woodland Scenics.

After the ballast is leveled between the ties, I wet the whole area with wet water from a spray bottle. I use distilled water with a few drops of Isopropy Alcohol added. You could also use a drop of dishwashing solution, but it tends to bubble if you add too much.

With a pipette or eye dropper, I drizzle the scenic glue onto the wetted ballast. I usually use matte medium or carpenters' white glue thinned 1:7 with distilled water and again a few drops of Isopropy Alcohol added to make the glue creep between the ballast.

Extra care should be taken on turnouts. After the glue has dried, the points and closure rails may stick to the ties. Also the switch tie may have bonded to the subroadbed.

To avoid glueing the moving parts of a turnout, I simply don't add glue to the switch tie area. If the rails and ties are weathered or painted, this isn't visible right away, especially if the turnouts are farther back. The crossing above will be located behind a building, so it cannot be seen anyway.

While the glue sets, I add fine turf and static grass to the ballasted area. This of course only on indutry trackage or rarely used tracks.

Asphalt or tarmac

For some time now, I use 3mm cork sheets under my tracks or to model parking or loading areas and roads. It lifts these spaces above the surrounding subroadbed.

I painted these areas with Heki Asphalt Paint. This paint is thick enough, so that normally one coat is sufficiant.

Another advantage of cork is, that you may scratch out small pieces to represent potholes.

The area between the rails is filled with wall compound. Before it hardened, I scribed the flangeways free along the rails.

Potholes and asphalted cobblestones

As already mentioned before, potholes are easily modeled using cork sheet for roadbed.

On my loading area between the tracks, I wanted to represent a special kind of road damage. Many loading areas and street used to be laid out with cobblestones, which were simply covered with asphalt, to achieve a smoother surface. Unfortunately, heavy traffic and the weather caused the asphalt to break occasionally. These broken asphalt bits were torn away over time and exposed the cobblestones underneath, causing a rather bumpy road surface.

To do this I randomly cut out some more or less round shapes from a Vollmer cobblestone pattern styrene sheet using a pair of scissors. Then I placed the pieces on the cork and traced the outlines with a black permanent marker.

With a chisel blade, I carved the cork out following the outlines.

The styrene sheet is approximately 1 mm thick, so it gives a nice recess.

I glued the cobbelstone pieces down into the recess and painted them a light brown/kakhi color.

Then I filled the edges with wall compound and touched up the paint.

Now the loading area looks a bit worn out from the heavy traffic.

Next step will be weathering and detailing.

Stay tuned!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Building a switching layout (Part 5: Building interiors)

ACME Tool & Die Manufacturing

 One of my industries is build from an old Revell kit. I build it straight out of the box and added some vents and blowers to the outside. Bu because it's located near the edge, people can easily see the interior. The kit even had no floor so looking into a bare empty building was not an option for me. Building these ancient kits is always some kind of a challenge, so I've cut a floor and a separation wall from .040" Evergreen plain styrene.

I also gave it a new name. A bit of weathering and rust and the outside looked about right.

To avoid that one could look right through the building I installed a styren wall at an angle to hide the rear windows. I added a couple of signs and posters to simulate the back wall of the machine shop. I also installed lighting to make the machinery inside visible.

I had a bunch of workshop machinery from Preiser (??) lying around for years and now they finally got a purpose. I painted the machines and glued them to the styrene floor.

As workers I chose several auto mechanics from Woodland Scenics, because they came in appropriate poses of kneeling or holding a hood open etc. I placed them next to the machines as if they were working on them.

PROCTER & GAMBLE Distribution Center

I needed an industry with truck loading doors and loading doors to spot railcars inside the building on the left side of my layout. As no appropriate kit was available I decided to build what I needed from scratch.

I build almost all my buildings using plain and textures styrene sheets from Evergreen or Plastruct. A wall consists normally of a plain styrene base with textured sheets like siding or brick pattern laminated on top. All window and door openings are cut into the plain styrene either with a hobby knife or a Micro Mark nibbler tool. The final textured siding is cut and sanded exactly around the openings so that the door and window castings fit snuggly. Here I also build the loading doors and trim from scratch. 

I wanted the loading doors open to show a fake interior. I had tryied this already on another model and it added a nice touch to a backdrop model. To do this I had to install small shadow boxes behind the door openings. I built them with pieces of scrap styrene.

On the internet I googled for pictures of interior shots of storage facilities. There are plenty. I chose pictures which are taken straight on or showing the right or left side of a row of storage racks, depending from which side the door may be viewed.

I scaled the pictures to fit into the shadow boxes. I installed them curved like in the picture. This eliminates sharp corners. Then I closed the shadow boxes with a lid from plain styrene.

The fake interior gives the impression of a large storage area.

Oil Distributor

I used the small office building from the Oil Distributor kit from Pola/Model Power to fill a small spot on the right side of my layout.

I built the kit right out of the box and also included an office interior. Faller and Preiser both offer various interiors with furniture and everything need for an interesting scene.

I installed Micro SMD interior lights to show what's going on inside. The little dude seems to watch something interesting. If you want to know visit me at the US Convention in Rodgau Germany in October 2017.

As always, stay tuned for updates.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

APA Micro Layout - Detailing the Fiddle Yard (Part 5)

Most of the structures for my second box of the APA Micro Layout came from left-over parts from different kits.

I also wanted to try out another weathering technique using oil paints and turpentine to recreate fading and running colors. An old boxcar shell came in handy for this project.

I also dusted the shell with pigments. On the Ford Coupe for my hobo camp scene, I used one of the IHC body castings that came with a structure kit. I applied some rust patches and sprinkled rust powder into the still wet paint.

Here is a view of the finished scene.

I installed two light sockets from Brawa by drilling two 6mm holes into the baseboard

I like to add small scenes telling a story. Here a Bekins truck is backing to the loading door. A worker is giving hand signs to guide the driver.

The forementioned hobo camp.

Another over-all scene with trucks and cars in place.

I applied some weathering to the shop walls. A clerk is watching the truck's manoeuvres.

The lights are installed and working, while another truck driver prepares to leave.

Overall view of the fiddle yard box. Note the effect of the box art backdrop.

Thanks for dropping by. More to come. Stay tuned.

Building a switching layout (Part 4: Naming the industries)

For my idustries I always try to find some "real" brand names that actually existed or still exist for the locale I am modeling.

The easiest way to search for the appropriate industries is doing an internet search.

I settled on three major companies for my switching layout.

1. Georgia-Pacific, well-known for its paper and tissue products

I assembled the backdrop structure on the left side from DPM wall sections and for the right brick wall I used plain styrene and laminated the brick sheets to it. The walls are all attached to the backdrop with double sided tape.

2. Acme Packing Company, formerly known as Indian Packing Company that was involved in the canned meat industry. Today the company is remembered as the namesake of the Green Bay Packers. The football team took its name after Curly Lambeau, a shipping clerk for the company, successfully asked the company's owner for money for jerseys and use of the company's athletic field in 1919 (the stadium of the Green Bay Packers is named Lambeau Field)

The Acme Meat Packing Company cloese in June 1943 because of supply shortages related to WWII and never reopened after the war.

I absolutely wanted a reference to the famous football team on my layout, so although the company doesn't exist any more, I still have a warehouse with a faded sign, remebering it. 

This structure is completely scratchbuilt by laminating brick sheets to a plain styrene sub-base. The windows and loading doors came from my scrap box. The canopies above the loading doors are from Auhagen.

I added blowers and air vents from Rix, Kibri and Auhagen

3. Procter & Gamble is manufacturing paper products in Green Bay, but as I already have GP as a paper industry I use the P&G structure as a distribution center for the other brands they sell.

This distribution center was scratchbuilt to fit the available space with a sub-base of plain styrene. I added brick sheet to the lower parts and metal siding above.

I had no idea what kind of buildings I would put on the layout when I started building it. So I first laid the track and then imagined the industries. Why do it the easy way if you can do it the hard way.
But hey, model railroading is fun, right?

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

APA Micro Layout - Detailing the Fiddle Yard (Part 4) - Trucks

I still had a couple of Athearn truck kits lying around and after close examination I found that they needed a bit of upgrading.

One model was a cabover tractor and trailer lettered for Bekins Moving. The other one was a Freightliner long nose tractor.

All these models come without cab interior and almost snap together.

From my scrap box I used bits of styrene to add a floor and shaped the backs of the seats. I test fitted a Preiser driver figure behind the steering wheel. These plain unpainted figures are cheaper than the painted ones and a box has over 52 different poses.

Then I painted interior medium grey and glued the painted driver figure on the seat.

I touched up the lights on top of the cab and added A-Line side mirrors.

I also painted the side and rear lights on the trailer. A feature that is often forgotten are the license plates. I downloaded a bunch from the internet, scaled them down to HO and printed them out on a sheet of paper. I cut out a pair and attached the plates with a dot of tacky glue.

Another nice touch are the air hoses. I wound a piece of wire around a small dowel to achieve the coiled look.

To give the trucks another realistic touch, I bent the front axle and attached the wheels so as if they take a turn.

The long nose tractor received the same treatment, by touching up the lights and adding side mirrors.

As a final touch I added a bar across the rear and attached mud flaps from A-Line.

This is a fairly easy evening upgrading project if you don't have a Herpa truck on hand.

Stay tuned as I continue with the detailing of my APA micro layout.