Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Update - making use of the warm weather

Yesterday (Mar. 3, 2009) morning I was helping give the state-mandated tests at a local school. It's very rigidly scripted procedure, quite stressful. So, when I got home, I needed a bit of stress relief.

In the afternoon, with temps in the mid 80's, I base coat painted a new module (thanks to Allen for the construction), ballasted three (including the new one) and scenery coated one. All of these modules still need a coat of black around the sides.

The new module is a TTrak-HO double (~40" wide.) It is to become a WW II RAF Fighter field. This module is mine, but Darrell has put a lot of 'sweat equity' into it by building the kits for it. And, he will finish the module as well. He is another local modeler here in Shallowater.

The second and third modules are TTrak-HO singles (~20" wide.) They are club owned. With a display coming at the local Arts Festival, I just couldn't bear to see plain, bare modules with no scenery at all sitting there. Far too ugly.
I apply my base scenery coat (ground foam, ballast, etc.) by painting the base color (supposedly 'bare earth') rather thickly and sprinkling the material onto the wet paint. Then, I tip the module and recover what doesn't stick. I get a good even coverage by doing this.

The first of this pair of modules has a hill about 3" (that's ~22' scale) high, running front to rear. It's made of some white beaded foam I was given recently. Nasty stuff, I'll stick to the blue hereafter.

The tracks pass through a cut. The coating I used here is a bit different. Rather than ground foam, a mixture of sand and fine rock pellets was used. They were scraped up locally by Darrell. I think he 'liberated' some of the excess around a new baseball field. Next is adding a bit of scrub brush and some cacti, seal it all and it will be done.

The third module is to become an Christmas tree farm. It will take a bit more work, bit I believe I have everything I need to finish it. I have some neat figures, including a man with an axe. The plan is for the rows of trees to have a missing tree every so often. The harvested tree stumps will be round toothpick fragments, lightly stained or painted.
All these modules will be finished with a final coat of black around the sides.

Also, I'm working on my other two TTrak-HO double modules, the 'esses' that have been displayed in the past. Cactus and scrub plants are being added to one, and the campground scene is (far too slowly) evolving on the other. Again, all (or almost all) items are on hand, awaiting their turn in all my 'spare time.'
When I scrapped an N layout last year, I kept four module bases, all doubles. One has been rebuilt as a double trestle scene. It's shown in the storage and transport frame. All the modules mentioned here, except the RAF double, have a frame already built for them.
I've decided to resurrect the other three TTrak-N double modules. Right now, I have no idea how these three will be sceniced. They do need a new base coat of paint to start with, so maybe later today...

Another local modeler (Allen) has begun to build some TTrak-N modules. So, I'm no longer alone out here in this format. We recently got together and connected some of his modules with some of mine and had a blast running trains across them.
Here's a couple of pictures of the fun. That's Allen in the first one. My modules are on this end, his on the far end.
In the second picture, note the Super Chief running the outside track. The engines are down at this end, while the Obs car is still in the middle of the straight at the top of the picture!
Between the two of us, we have several more modules ready to run. The table we used that day just would hold this little setup.
Finally, I bought a bash kit from Backwoods Minatures. It's the Side Tank conversion for a Bachmann Porter. The parts have been washed and are ready for primer coating. That will not happen until after the Lubbock Arts Festival show on May 1 and 2. All modeling work is pointing towards having modules ready, so other things will just have to wait.

It's getting warm, so I'd best post this and get back to the shop for another day of modeling. It's a tough job, but someone has to do it .


  1. Very nice. It seems you guys have an active group, and do a lot of shows. I wish our local guys would get interested in more of that...

  2. You're welcome to come up and run trains with us. We'll be setting up March 14 at Groves library in west lubbock. Then, trains will be run 12:00 noon - 9:00 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday, March 16-17. Wednesday-Saturday, March 18-21, running times are 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. Teardown will start about 3:00 Saturday afternoon.

    We're looking to have two HO and one or two N layouts. DC on the N, DC and DCC on the HO is the usual approach, and DCC on the N can be arranged.

    If you can come up, give me a shout for directions.