Thursday, July 30, 2009

45-Degree Modules

Here's a little project that's been festering in the back on my mind.

Lately, we have been getting away from the 'going nowhere' loops to "W-shaped" layouts with small loops of modules on the ends. These show the layout as it was for the July club meeting/fajita fest at a member's place. There seems to be a real pleasure factor in watching medium and long trains snake around a layout. These pictures are sequenced from right to left across the layout.

However, there is a need to handle the 12' yard (two 6x modules) and the as yet unbuilt terminal with passing sidings that will be 6' (two 3x modules) within a show setup. In the "W" arrangement, modules that long will require a bit of space sticking out from a wall. This is problematic in that we try to include as many layouts as we can, and still make the safety people happy with the aisle widths.

After giving it some thought these seemed to offer a solution. By placing the long modules flat against a wall, a pair of small 45-degree corners would then give a 'kick-out' and allow the ends to zig-zag in the "W" shape. I decided to build a pair of small, reversable 45-degree corners for use with the setups. Here's a couple of pics of the two new modules.

I am looking forward to a chance to use these in the future. When, I don't know. Due to insurance reasons, we have lost the large space that had been used in the past for public showing "Playday" setups. I will go ahead and add simple scenery in the meantime.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

An update on the structure progress being made in the shop. With the cooler weather 69F rather than 105+F) I finally got my general contractor (me) up and doing something.

The two tenement buildings (two Walthers kits) are progressing together. Everything seen here is glued in, except the roof. I'm leaving that for later. The stairs and storm gutters are next.

Finally, finished as defined by Walthers. Walthers calls these "background" buildings. Since they are meant to go near or against a skyboard or backdrop. So, they have no rear walls. I am making rear walls from Plastruct brick sheet. Before they are installed, I am considering the installation of partial floors and interiors behind some windows, possibly with lighting.

Certainly, they will need figures on the landings and stairs. Maybe elsewhere, too. I have a couple of the 'Roof Accessories' packages. Right now I'm thinking a large A/C system for the building. That would require a wood walkway from the hatch to the unit. And, that would require a sunbather laying on a towel, eh?

A decision as to whether the basement stairs will be installed will have to wait. That would require cutting a hole in the mounting surface. Right now, I don't know if that surface will be the plywood or a layer of foam on it.

The next set of four buildings is a single kit from Greenmax, kit #46-4. They are three-story buildings. The kit has four different front facades, and an assortment of side and rear walls. The facades not only have different styles, but different textures as well.

A nice set to work with, and certainly good bashing material. I chose to paint each building a different color, as all were styrene grey.

There are quite a few detail parts to add to the roof, too, making each one unique.

The final six two-story buildings are a single Greenmax kit as well, #33. The walls are a mix-and match system.

There are 24 wall panels, and six front facades in three styles, cast in gray and white.

Also, there are six separate gables for the walls. A variety of roofs are included.

Looking inside the preliminary assembly, note the small stubs on the walls. These are to align the gables. However, the wall is deeply scored, indicating that it can easily be shortened to one story.

And, the stubs look like good supports for an interior floor, too. Again, I think this is good bashing material.

I painted all the side and rear walls a light sand color to resemble stucco. When I get really, really industrious, I may paint the trim on each.

The facades were each painted a different color to brighten up the scene. How bright depends on how much weathering I do. Probably a lot, to look like a dingy, lower-income area.

So, the structures for the city scenes are starting to come out of the boxes. Once some more of these progress to 'adequately finished,' I will attack the next ones. The sequence should be directed by the order I decide to use in 'finishing' modules. Nothing is ever really finished, is it?

For now, I need to check into interiors and lighting. If I do go that way, the interior walls will need a layer of flat black to stop any light leak-through.

Enough rambling for today.