Image above captured on the upper deck of the layout where scenery has progressed to some extent...
Shot with Olympus C-750

Welcome to the SP Oregon Division!

An N Scale RR depicting the good old days along "The Friendly".

Sunday, October 4, 2015

May / October Status Report

   I've been keeping up to date on all my Blogspot Follower's latest layout progress, and I appreciate you guys posting even if I dont respond very well....  It has been a good motivator to keep me pushing forward instead of sitting on the couch with a cold one in hand.   :(

   Been tough finding much spare time, but still have a bit of forward progress to report:
Art visited a few times to help work on the layout, and made more progress on the base foam layers for the peninsula scenery.  Thanks Art!

   Meanwhile Eugene Yard trackage has been painted / weathered (airbrushed) from both sides of the layout with good old Floquil Rail Brown and Railroad Tie Brown colors.  What a difference that makes.  I wanted to leave the opportunity to photograph the layout from any angle, so this needed to be done from both sides of the layout before I could install any of the lower deck skyboards.  Before I could start any weathering / painting, it was necessary to install mass quantities of Micro Engineering wood sleeper ties on all the yard turnouts, but once on a roll, I ended up pushing through to complete all the layout's missing sleeper ties in numerous locations.  A fairly large scale project (think - bags o' stained ties), but not too overwhelming since I could just work on it as I had small time slots to keep moving forward with.  Going from switch stands to ground throws was a last minute observation for Eugene Yard after photo study (not much available on the internet back when I started handlaying turnouts, and friendships with data have helped immensely), so converting them for proper tie placement has been stretching things a bit for me...

   Large sections of the layout's trackage had already received painting, so additional locations that received painting after sleeper tie installs, included virtually any trackage left that I could get access to, which did not have rolling stock stored on it....  Remaining track sections still needing to get painted will be done once I complete the current phase of the skyboard install project, as this will allow me to relocate rolling stock to the completed areas. 

   Lower deck skyboards have been put off extensively in hopes of being able to match detailing to the represented locations on an actual workbench, but I have finally given up on the idea, as it should not be too difficult to complete backdrops in place before pushing ahead too far with adjacent scenery.  I cut all sheets of masonite for the skyboards to approx dimensions ahead of time, and painted the lower level's blue shade before install.  All sections were furred out with 2x2s to hide upper deck shelf brackets:

    A different approach to mounting the backdrop sections:
   Overall it looks a lot better than the open benchwork and white drywall we have all looked at for so many years.  I lost count of how many times I tried to sand and patch the screw holes and joints.  I have been holding a light up at various angles against the patching to make it as seamless as possible, but has been an exercise in meeting my satisfaction levels...  A bit of touch up painting with the roller and things are looking pretty good.
Eugene Yard played nice for being able to utilize sweeping radius of the masonite for the backdrop corners:

   Springfield - disarray of structure placement due to backdrop project:

   That big hole on the last image gets a highway overpass to mask the opening.  Not sure what to stick in the corner to hide that 90 deg angle... but typically the layout is making use of dense clusters of Conifers to hide most of these backdrop joints.
   Once the remainder of trackage is painted, the remaining sections for lower deck skyboards (that have also been prefabbed), will go in at the entrances to Staging, the Return adjacent to Springfield, and Hampton.

   Upper deck skyboards have also received multiple attempts of patching screw holes and repainting since their first appearance, and have been rehung again sporting their same high altitude shade of blue.  I have styrene backdrop sheets pre-cut for mounting directly on the remaining two wall sections for the upper deck eventually, but they still need some degree of painting and detailing (due to pine trees already in place) before then.  Once I am ready to revisit for detailed painting on backdrops, I anticipate a production run effort to complete all similar sections in phases to the overall project.   yya...

   The layout endured some minor damage to the mainline at W. Natron during the backdrop install project, so repairs on that are nearly complete except for running a test train or two, and matching adjacent track weathering.

   If I dont lapse too bad, the layout has a chance of seeing some good scenery progress before the bi-annual SoCalOps meet here next June.

   Since we missed the last ops due to this ongoing skyboard project, I am anticipating we will be back on schedule for the Oct Ops Sess at the end of the month, but moving trains around have found a few minor repairs needed (a wire splice that never got soldered and is now intermittent at Irving, completion of the repairs at Natron, and another dead spot that needs to be looked into at Portland yard).  Unfortunately no time for further implementation of the revisions to the SP's CS-1306 and CS-1307 forms (conductors work / industry reports) paperwork, but that is on the priority list to get us closer to Espee style Ops...

   Cant sign off without a departing shot of the current state of E. Eugene Yard, sporting a string of the new Wheels O' Time Espee bulkhead flats!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Cascade Sub Ops Sess Changes, and Update

   No Ops on the RR since last.... June.  Wow, didn't realize it took that long to get the new business location up and running.  Last time I even had time to work on the RR was when John and Chip came over to help around xmas.  Now that our shop is open for business, I am able to resume work on many things around the house, including the RR.  As preparations were being made for our first ops sess of the year, news came that our signalling / communications engineer had been hospitalized.  We are all trying to remain optimistic on a speedy and thorough recovery.   Intent is to start ops on a regular bi-montly schedule (on the same day of month), from a revolving call list order so that I have less coordination to deal with, and crews can either sign up ahead, or wait for a harassing call during the interim.
   Issues with sound decoder stability, and a rare intermittent false overload issue (since rewiring some of the power distribution sections), were mostly resolved due to a mis-wiring issue in the staging yard, as well as the installation of a new 8 amp power supply... Time will tell, but preliminary testing appears quite optimistic.
   I have installed all the remaining sections of curtain, except for a few that still need a bit of finish trim work.  To complete the look from layout height down thru the floor, I am finally filling in the remaining cushioned floor tile sections that were 45 degree angle cuts and partial sections.  This just seals the overall black finish look, which Im having a hard time getting pics of due to the black colors lacking any detail.... it looks pretty sweet (IMHO).
edit- phone pic added

   Eagerly awaiting the release on Wheels of time Flats, Bulkead Flats, and their most recent announcement, the Evergreen PC&F Evergreen boxes (woo hoo).  The MT SW1500 should be out any time now, and looking forward to doing a tug-o-war with one of those and our modified tungsten LL SW1200 yard goat.
     Looking out the back door of our shop, is a bit of mainline action, and bagged this phone pic of the Oakland one afternoon:

Thats the shop down below in the right corner.  That shot made me do a double-take with that kids face on the container behind the power...  Regular traffic passing by with a step out the back door, is currently down to the daily Rock train (with three sets of distributed power throughout), the Oakland, Saugus Local, and boring parade of commuters.  Hopefully traffic picks up again soon.
   Back to work on the SP Oregon Division.   :)

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Cascade Sub New Year's Update

Over the Holidays I have been able to make some layout progress again.
The last of the curtains are back from the seamstress (Thanks Mom!), and ready to be hung when all the dust settles from latest scenery work.
 Trying a new approach to scenery construction instead of the old plaster ways.  I dont like how my pine trees repeatedly lean over in the plaster shell if you look at them wrong, and also wanted to see how use of foam techniques would play out.  Foam will allow for stabbing those pines in without revisiting for maintenance, and sculpting of the contour more accurately than trying to camouflage a bunch of humps and ravines / crevices via multiple passes.  Most notably, there are a number of locations with long benchwork spans that I think the foam will save some grief (not user friendly areas for cardboard lattice), like for the main river crossing contours below and around Hampton bridge.  Also I have some narrow areas that need a plethora of conifers to convincingly force the viewer's perspective at both ends of Hampton.  So Chip and John motivated me to get going by offering to come up and help out, where we made some good progress on installing the scenery base foam for the Expansion section.  This was my first adventure using foam, and grateful to them for showing me their techniques on working with the stuff.  Unfortunately the expansion section is mostly all curved radius, significantly slowing our productivity.  It looks like a good number of man hours still left to get all the foam down and shaped there, plus a few sections that need it on the lower deck as well.  Thanks for gettin me off to a good start guys!  It wasnt as bad as I thought to clean up the foam remnants the next day, but still a little more work as compared to just regular sawdust (think static). 
Here is a pic that Chip bagged while we all contributed to spreading the mess out in the driveway:

I think next time I will hook up the shop vac first, then cut and shave it all in the bed of the truck for easier clean up.... (no I won't drop the tailgate at 65mph.... lol).  
Got a number of scenes off to a good start, including these areas where Chip caught a couple more images of the early progress...
around the backside from the KN interchange:

fitting pieces around the lower deck of Hampton siding:

Kinda' taking a liking to what can be done with the pink stuff... but gonna have to drag these guys back up again to continue making any decent headway.   :)
Happy New Year!