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T O P I C    R E V I E W
deemery Posted - 04/11/2018 : 10:24:02 AM
I'll start a blog to talk about constructing my new layout.

First, the space. We finished part of the basement to serve as layout space, shop space and some extra living space. It's my 'playground' but that doesn't mean I get to use all of it for the layout.

This room is dedicated layout space. Unfortunately the building inspector insisted I had to build a closet around the electrical panel in the left corner, and that really messes things up.

I can also extend into part of the general living space.

The shop area is against the back wall, and I'll use the near right wall for the main yard.

We also built a 3/4 bath in the basement (and that drove the construction budget well over estimates, since we had to do an up-flushing drain system to the septic field.)

I did some special electrical arrangements in the basement. First, one of every pair of outlets is switched. That means I can hit one switch and make sure all tools and DCC equipment is turned off. I also added some ceiling outlets for layout lighting, and those are switched separately from the main room overhead lights. The flooring is high quality vinyl plank with integral thick cork base. This stuff is supposed to be 'waterproof' (but the basement is very dry), and it's a lot more comfortable to stand on than the concrete slab. The oak color matches the flooring in the rest of the house, and more importantly it's relatively easy to find most things I drop on the floor.

15   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
deemery Posted - 07/15/2019 : 8:28:04 PM
The coal trestle behind the brick mill. This is a close-up of a scene that I don't expect people to look at intensely (so they won't notice it's a terrible design for a coal trestle!)

That's the track that has been giving me fits, particularly getting that curve correct just before the trestle starts. I think I may just hand-lay it.

Mark, if you look at the last picture in the previous set, you can see the plywood dam between the two mills in the distance. There'll be a corridor between the two buildings (at the top of the stone mill level) to help hide the transition to the backdrop.

mark_dalrymple Posted - 07/14/2019 : 11:57:39 PM
I agree - the darker grey works much better.

I'm interested to see this scene come together. With the bare bones it is difficult to know what the finished product will look like - which makes it quite an adventure.

Cheers, Mark.
Michael Hohn Posted - 07/14/2019 : 11:12:43 PM
Yes, dark looks good. You achieved a nice differentiation between the different stones.
railman28 Posted - 07/14/2019 : 10:17:37 PM
I think it looks better darker
TRAINS1941 Posted - 07/14/2019 : 8:30:06 PM
Well done Dave.
deemery Posted - 07/14/2019 : 3:51:01 PM
I'm working on the foundation coloring. (The stone mill's foundation is drying on the workbench, I added another section to it.) The goal was to get coloring that was distinct from the bridge and the stone walls. It's my usual sponge-painting technique with overlays of multiple (craft paint) colors.

First attempt. Looks too much like the bridge.

And not enough contrast with the stone walls:

So I darkened it, and this definitely looks better. (Stone mill sitting there just for the color check.)

Tomorrow, once the glue is dry, I'll do the other foundation with the same set of colors. They don't have to match exactly, but the idea is the stone was taken from the same quarry but at different times.

deemery Posted - 07/12/2019 : 7:01:17 PM
My approach for coloring stone is to prime the mortar color, then sponge-paint the stone. This works best when there's a lot of relief between the stone and mortar lines, which is certainly true for NE Brownstone castings. Before priming, I filled the gaps where the pieces went together with small amounts of plaster. I re-roughened the stones and dug out the mortar lines to match the rest of the wall.

Then I primed with "Bob Ross" grey gesso, lightened with a shot of cream color craft paint, and thinned. I apply this with a chip brush, scrubbing the color into the mortar lines. One disadvantage of this technique is that I lose some of the great rough rock facings on the castings. But that's OK, the foundation stones would have probably been weathered smooth.

It looks a lot better already.

Michael Hohn Posted - 07/11/2019 : 12:48:02 PM

I have a couple of curves in the area of 20Ē radius and have been able to curve the track by hand. I donít know how small a radius the method Tony uses could go. He makes the point that once the track is curved some it moves a bit more freely so hand curving should be easier to finish things off.

For various reasons I donít use the weathered track so itís probably easier for me.

Wouldnít 40Ē minimum radius be nice?

deemery Posted - 07/11/2019 : 11:16:22 AM
The Koester technique looks particularly useful. I'll try it and report back. I'm dealing with tighter radii than Tony, though :-)

Michael Hohn Posted - 07/11/2019 : 09:30:52 AM
Bill, Thatís a neat technique. Dave, there you go.

I noticed Tony ended with a couple of observations including the advantage that once bent it stays put. The flexibility of the other brands drives me crazy.

Bill Gill Posted - 07/11/2019 : 07:50:59 AM
Dave, Here's a 5 minute YouTube video where Tony Koester shows a technique for curving ME code 70 weathered flextrack
Michael Hohn Posted - 07/10/2019 : 11:50:49 PM

The only trick I know (I use ME code 70) is to go slow. You start at one end and carefully bend it a little bit, then work your way up a couple of inches and bend a little, go back to the first part you did and rebend. Repeat this process over and over while working your way up the length of track.

Or, you can start in the middle like in this video: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOCiIRGoBR0

deemery Posted - 07/10/2019 : 1:38:01 PM
Originally posted by jbvb

I've only worked with ME code 83 flextrack, which didn't give much of an argument.The pennypincher runs strong in me; could you just put down the track which lost ties, then insert wooden ties to replace the missing and spike them to hold the gauge? You'd need to use their 'Micro' spikes, which require pre-drilling in anything harder than Homasote.

Yeah, I'm thinking about that. It would require a good substrate (cork, etc) that the spikes can penetrate and hold (even if the ties themselves are glued down.) If I use some FastTrack tie strips (I have some of those), they come pre-drilled!

Of course, what I -really want- is to follow Dave Frary's lead (described in his PRR Middle Division book), and figure out how to talk someone else into doing my trackwork for me!

On the positive side, the foundation walls are finally glued together (corners and all). I'll flow some plaster into the joints tomorrow, then start coloring.

jbvb Posted - 07/10/2019 : 12:22:23 PM
I've only worked with ME code 83 flextrack, which didn't give much of an argument.The pennypincher runs strong in me; could you just put down the track which lost ties, then insert wooden ties to replace the missing and spike them to hold the gauge? You'd need to use their 'Micro' spikes, which require pre-drilling in anything harder than Homasote.
deemery Posted - 07/10/2019 : 11:49:08 AM
It was a frustrating day yesterday. I grabbed a piece of ME Code 55 flextrack, figuring that would be good for the spur to the mills. I needed to curve that track to fit. The darn stuff wouldn't curve (and keep the curve). Then I clipped the connecting pieces between ties under the rail. The track would bend, but the ties kept on popping off. Losing some ties was OK, losing a lot of them was not.

Anyone know any tricks for forming ME flextrack?


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