Monday, June 30, 2014

More Locomotive Upgrades

As we settle in to the newly-completed signal system, testing all the aspects under regular traffic, I have turned back to the mechanical side of things.  I have a drawer full of models that I completed more than 10 years ago that were wired up for conventional DC control, and all of these are eventually going to be updated to modern DCC control and working headlights.  

Here's a 'night shot' of the latest unit to be upgraded with a working LED headlight and a DCC decoder, as well as new nickel-plated wheels - CSXT 6126, a GP40-2 I superdetailed in 1998.  A nice bonus is that the Athearn cab allows headlight glow to reach the numberboards, and when those are painted white, you get the bonus of lit numberboards!

As summer sets in, time for the layout is more limited, but progress will continue - one step at a time.


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Finally, More Fascia!

Now that the signal system is complete (it still makes me smile to write that!), the vast majority of the wiring is now complete on the railroad, which will allow me to move ahead with the long process of adding scenery to the layout.  For me, the first step in that process is adding the fascia panel boards on the front edge of the railroad.

First, a quick iPhone snapshot of a late-running TV80, coming east in morning light at CP282, under the recently installed signal bridge which is also displaying approach-medium for a westbound:

If I take a few steps away from the layout, this is the overview of that same area, with the new fascia panels hung and the edge of the Yardmaster's 'Office' at the lower right:

The fascia is cut from 4'X8' sheets of simple 1/4" 'Masonite' hardboard, a wood product available at most home-supply stores and lumber yards.  It's flexible and smooth when curved in plane, but provides a nice hard surface once it is edge-mounted on the benchwork.  This will be primed and painted a darker color once scenery is further along so as to be less distracting, but even with the unpainted surface I think it lends a much more finished look to the areas where it is installed.  It forms a nice, definite edge to the railroad, which helps me visualize and construct the terrain.

Scenery will be a learning experience for me, as I have only very limited history with scenery construction.  I will share that process here!