Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Layout Work Begins!

Not being one to keep putting off things indefinitely that seem like they will be fun, I have begun actual construction of the first module on my new "Blackwater & Mosquito Creek Lumber Co." On30 portable logging layout. Since posting the Plan B layout track plan a few days ago, I have up-dated the plan, adding a second 16-inch x 3-foot "End Cap" section which will highlight a locomotive service facility.

Using materials I had on hand (since the local building materials place didn't have the foam I plan to use) I have begun actual building of the engine house module. This will be one of two planned "short" end modules that will "cap" the three main 16-inch x 4 foot modules of the the Blackwater & Mosquito Creek Lumber Co. layout. The main objective is to keep it light and keep it portable - but at the same time, make it sturdy enough to withstand travel and repeated set-up and tear-down.

Follow along as I build this first layout section.

I trued-up the ends of this 16-inch x 3 foot section of 2-inch-thick insulation foam using a carpenter's square and a razor knife. (Above photo)

Using foam-safe building adheasive and a brad nailer, I attached sections of 4-inch-wide, 1/2-inch plywood as a frame around the foam, making the top edge even and leaving 1 1/2-inches underneath for the support boards (Above photo).

Four 2x2-inch support boards were cut to size and used as extra supports below the foam. I drilled a 1/2-inch hole through each support to route furure power, lighting and sound wiring. I adheared the 2x2's using the adheasive and small brads from the nail gun.

Once the module was framed and bottom supports in place I flipped the module over and glued the sub-roadbed to the top of the foam framework. I used 2x4-foot sections of accoustic drop-ceiling tiles. I've used this material before with good results. I actually like this as roadbed material more than the thin foam sheets (Photo below)..
Getting the small module to this stage only took about an hour after I gathered tools, extension cords, and materials. This 16-inch x 3-foot module, topped with the ceiling tile subroadbed, weighed in at only 9.5 lbs.!! Pretty light and very solid.

Now the fun begins with setting the roadbed and testing track and structure placement.

I will be hand-laying my On30 track, but to see how the module arrangement was going to work, I scavenged an old piece of On3 flex track as a test track. This single-stall engine house was leftover from a long-gone On3 logging layout and with some "uber-detailing" and an added machine shop will fit in very nicely!

Here's the loco service facility module so far with the enginehouse, fuel tank (hidden behind the enginehouse) and water tank (top) a Westside Lumber hillside model, (also a "leftover" from layouts past), sitting in place. The depression will become Mosquito Creek. The enginehouse lead will cross a short low piling trestle across the creek where rails will join the next module.

This is becoming a fun project and I am using it to test out my design and constructuion ideas before I commit to buying more materials to build the main modules. Next will be laying some ties and rails, building a trestle and getting that engine house and water tank back out of mothballs-status in into service.

Until next time..."Keep swatin' 'em buggers!"

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