30 March 2011

Laying Track

Big milestone this one. I started laying down the first pieces of track. Actually not yet tracks, however I marked down where the tracks should be on the entire right section and glued down some cork strips as road bed.

This section is going to represent the area close to Fruitvale Ave., Glasscock St. and will end up the curve to the ConAgra mill and Cemex Aggregates. I'm still in the process of refining the design of the layout that is somewhat changed with respect to the latest published version. In fact, I'm planning to move Cemex Aggregates from the left to the right corner of the middle section. So, instead of 27th St. crossing with Kennedy St. I though to put Cemex Aggregates.
This -in addition to be more close to the order of industries on the prototype- will leave more space for the ConAgra mill better using the available space in the right corner that previously was used simply for scenery.
I'm still refining the layout plan since the current arrangement of tracks at the ConAgra mill doesn't look totally good to me. I'm thinking to have the mill building more closely resembling the prototype -even with a lot of selective compression- using up all the space in the middle section of the layout.
I hope to update the layout project page soon.

In the past weeks I also did some more weathering, well a sort of. I painted a bunch of wheelsets with a brown color to give a rust look. That's not perfect but looks better than shiny wheels.

Here are two Athearn cars with the painted wheelsets.

See you soon...

17 March 2011

Working here and there

Mixed post this one. Few days ago I received my last order from Model Train Stuff. Two very nice Atlas EMD SD9, SP3914 and SP3943 and two Digitrax decoders. So, I started installing decoders in the new locos and also in an Atlas EMD GP35, SP6622 I bought some months ago that I put aside since I bought the wrong decoder. This time I ordered the right ones and I could digitize that loco as well.
Using plug-in replacement decoders it's a very easy task and Atlas locos are really well thought in this regard. Removing the loco shell is a matter of seconds and then you're left with only two screws to remove and take apart the two loco frames. Replace the factory installed PCB board and you're done.
At the end three new very nice SP locos joined my roster.

Then, I went back to work on the scenery applying a second coat of paint on the foam sheets. I wanted to darken the first coat so I used a diluted terracotta brown paint to have a non-uniform ground texture. It didn't come out exactly the way I wanted however it's getting better.

Lastly, I replaced few more wheelsets with Fox Valley Models metal wheelsets. Still some more cars to do, though.

Next time I'll post some pictures of the truck replacement I did on two Bachmann flat cars and an "experiment" I did with the Bachmann GE 44Ton switcher. Stay tuned...

See you soon...

09 March 2011

Extruded Foam Sheets in Place

I'm done gluing down sheets of 3/4" extruded foams on top of the plywood. I've also put a first coat of paint on the two layout sections where foam was already in place. I used a yellowish tan color, maybe it's a bit too yellow. I'll try to adjust the color with the second coat. Here are few shots of the current status.

I've also replaced few more plastic wheelsets with metal ones from Fox Valley Models I received with my last order. The more I replace the more convinced I'm doing right. Metal wheelsets are much better.

See you soon...