Friday, January 16, 2015

Inch By Inch....

Slowly, surely, inch-by-inch, the Onondaga Cutoff is getting quite a bit more interesting to look at, as scenery spreads across the layout.   This is a time-consuming process of learning and trial & error - but there is progress.  I have found that a layered approach with lots of variety of materials is giving the best results.

The M&E continues to be the start for the scenery.  Here, just upgrade from the Skaneateles Creek bridge scene, the M&E's right of way comes out of a rock cut and across an overgrown field to a grade crossing on the climb to the top of Clarence Hill.  Here the track is on plywood strips, and the surrounding area is made from cardboard strips weaved into place and then covered with plaster gauze.  Once that sets, it is covered with 'Hydrocal' plaster and then painted brownish black.  

Once that dries, I am trying a new technique I saw on several local layouts that uses patio paver sand as a top coat for the smooth plaster.  Once that is saturated with diluted matte medium, I hit the area with several applications of static grass and then accent it with some tufts of ground foam and course turf.  I think it's a convincing representation of northeastern scenery!

The family is well, we are learning about being a foursome and everyone is doing their part.  The layout continues to be a very satisfying way to spend a few hours a week - each time I get to work on it, the previous work remains in place, a reminder of persistence and progress.  

The best is yet to come!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

New Beginnings

7 years into the construction of the Onondaga Cutoff, it's still very possible for new beginnings.  38 years into life, new beginnings are not just possible, but actually happening!

While mostly focused on the model railroad, this blog would be incomplete without mention of my daughter Susie, and in that light I'd like to introduce my baby son to the Onondaga Cutoff community.  Theodore Ellis Abeles was born healthy on December 27, 2014 at 8:41 a.m., weighing 7 lb 8.5 oz, and 21 inches long!! 

Teddy is doing well, and so far the process of getting him established seems to be a bit more fluid than was Susie's arrival home.  Experience matters, and so does having an amazing wife and mother in Kristen!  Susie, too, is amazing in her ability to accommodate change.   Having to suddenly share Kristen's attention is a challenge for her, but through our consistent effort to prepare her and her amazing positive attitude, Susie was very excited for the baby's arrival.  Sure enough, she is very excited to have a little brother - and doesn't hesitate to show it!
As far as the Onondaga Cutoff is concerned, here's a token layout photograph for you all of the Island Yard, Phase II of which is now complete, including wiring. A backdrop will follow here, connecting to the backdrop on the main layout, which will help to tie the whole thing together.  Admittedly there will be less progress than we have been used to for the next few months- the schedule is packed full of diaper changes, bathtimes, mealtimes, and general house cleanup, in addition to plenty of time spent playing with Susie and holding Teddy. 

Happy New Year to one and all!