Monday, July 25, 2011

Swamp Logger Layout Design 'Thinking' Continues

My thoughts have definitely been "Narrow-Minded" these past weeks, sitting down with a note pad and coffee writing and sketching, putting thoughts and goals to paper for the new Blackwater & Mosquito Creek Lumber Co. On30 modular layout. After sketching numerous track plans and toying with sizes the modules would be, I think I have nailed down a good track plan along with a manageable size for each module and the portable layout in general.


Layout Construction Concepts
Make it light and sturdy. I've decided to build each module from the lightest materials I can. My plan is to use 2-inch thick insulating foam cut into 16-inch x 4-foot sections - one for each module. Since I have "tons" of left over sections of 2x2 furring strips in the wood pile, I will cut and mount these under the foam as additional support and as an "open" area below the foam sub-roadbed to route wires for the power bus, lighting and sound. I plan to frame these supported foam sections with 1/2-inch plywood, ripped to about 4-inches wide. I will use the "tired and true" 1/8-inch tempered Masonite as the fascia finish panels on the front "display" side of the layout. I got the idea for using the framed foam from an article in the 2004 Great Model Railroads by Tony Michel and Jerry Strangarity. They build the benchwork using this method for their 2-foot x 16-foot, 4-section logging On3 layout.

I will also add an overhead fascia panel from the 1/8-inch Masonite to each module to give the layout a finished "Shadow Box" display look (See Below). This will conceal the overhead lighting and tree tops and provide framing for the backdrop board. I will use the 2x2's for the framework on this as well. Each module will get locked into place to the adjoining module using pull latches front and behind.

I'm thinking of using the folding, plastic "Saw Horses" for the layout supports rather than folding tables. Lighter and a little cheaper!

Plan B
I want to have the largest percentage of the layout consist of scenery, i.e. swamp and trees, with a minimal amount of track and buildings. I want to convey the sense of a logging coperation being in the "Boonies" or deep in "The Sticks" far away from any town. Here is my working track plan (See Above) for the Blackwater & Mosquito Creek Lumber Company layout. It consists of three 16-inch wide x 4-foot long modules and a 16-inch x 3-foot end module for the Logging Camp. Still in the "R&D" stage will be two "Turntable Sector Plates," one at each end. These will contain two tracks each and will have a pivot in the center to allow, locos, railbus, speeders and complete trains to be turned without handling during an operating/train show session. I'm still working on how to design them to be portable and how to mount these to the other sections of layout and how long they will end up being, etc.
As always please feel free to drop me a note, comment, or share ideas.

Until next time, "Keep swattin' 'em buggers!"

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