Sunday, December 04, 2011

Christmas Tree Layout

So I've settled on a new track plan for around the tree. It's a neat little three time around loop with some tunnels and hills and trees. As I said in my last post I don't plan on this being for realistic operations, it's mainly for display purposes at Christmas time and for constant running. The primary audience will be kids and people who are not really into operations. So if you want to be critical about the track arrangement feel free but remember it's not meant to be realistic just real nice looking.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

New projects

So lots of new projects going on lately. On the railroad front I have two major projects going on. First I'm working on an around the tree layout for Christmas. N scale of course. The track plan calls for nearly 30 feet of "mainline" that will loop around three times. I would like to be able to have one or two trains running on this at a time for display purposes only. It's meant to look good and not necessarily be realistic or operable.

On the operations side I'm still considering a point to point shelf layout for operations. I'm thinking of a proto-freelanced shelf based on Latrobe, PA and the mixture of the Ligoneer Valley Railroad, Pennsylvania Railroad Latrobe/Unity/Hostetter branches and the West Penn Railways lines. This will be a big undertaking so I'm doing some experimenting on the around the tree layout for some additional practice.

I'm also working on converting some more engines to DCC and building a DCC sound car. I have some older life like locomotives that I like and work well and I would like to be able to run on my layout. Since my NCE Powercab doesn't have support for DC I needed to get some more equipment updated.

I'm going to work on some more write ups about all these and I'll be posting them with pictures and links sometime soon.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Hobby Mash-Up (aka: You Never Forget Your First Doctor)

So admittedly I haven't done any modeling, railroad or otherwise recently. My little layout has been sitting in the corner mostly untouched for months, and my track sketches for a larger more robust layout have been sitting on a shelf or in my My Documents folder also for months. There are doubtless many reason for it, but a large one is likely that the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Holidays all just were here, and I have a nice new TV and Netflix account that I have been enjoying with the family.

One of the "new" things we have discovered on Netflix is Doctor Who. We started with the 2005 Series and have worked both forward and backward in the series. I think we've seen the first, second, third, fourth and ninth Doctors thus far.

Back on the model railroading front most of what I've done has been around operations. I joined OpSig this year in an effort to learn more about operations and maybe even find some local groups that I can guest operate with for a session or two to learn the ropes (if you know of any in Western PA please let me know). While learning operations and building a layout that allows me to run a good session is a goal I have to admit that Structure building really is what I enjoy the most about the hobby. So after breaking all the ice on the drive way and realizing that I was just too sore to do anymore around the house this weekend I thought about pulling out some card stock scratch building supplies and just messing around when I had a great idea. Why not build something that me and the kids would get a kick out of on the layout. Something we had been enjoying on TV currently, say an n-scale TARDIS.

Here is a picture of the mostly finished product on my layout. It's sitting under a tree near the train station. I can't help but think that this just might be the first time the Doctor has been in Pennsylvania. The base needs a bit of trimming and molding to the layout still, but that will come with time as I decide where to keep this piece at.

Here's a close up of the piece. The TARDIS itself came from a Deviant Art site, the sidewalk came from Scale Scenes, one of my favorite sources for card stock modeling products. The figures I bought online from a guy named Jens in a big multipack. They have been custom painted to match the scene as the Ninth Doctor and Rose. If you want to duplicate this Take the Image from Deviant Art and scale it to around 900 DPI. I did some simple math and a bit of trial and error to get that figure. If you want you can do what I did and rotate the page so that it's square to the TARDIS pattern and cut it down and then print it out to the right height. I found that somewhere around 1.6 in high for the pattern was pretty good to make the Doctor's head be at about the right height on the door.
All in all this was a quick project that I just threw together with the kids so that we weren't totally bored this weekend while my shoulder was healing from all the work around the house. It was pretty fun to watch the kids look for it on the layout after I installed it too. Even my four year old was able to find and it recognize it. While it's simple, made of paper and not the greatest it does look nice when viewed from the 2 foot rule. Now let's just hope some major disaster doesn't follow the Doctor to West Forge.