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Version 5 of The CB&Q in Wyoming

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  • Member since
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  • From: Bradford, Ontario
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Posted by hon30critter on Monday, July 13, 2020 1:12 AM

Pruitt
I ordered several packs of joiners, but it will be a week to ten days before they arrive. One of the few downsides to living in boondocks USA - I have to order almost everything I need for the layout. No local hobby shop to visit. I sure miss Sattler's in Westmont right now!

Patience Mark, patience!

Personally I think I could give up the convenience of a local hobby shop for the wilds of Wyoming any day! Dianne and I have dreams of moving to a nice place on the water in cottage country. Alas, we will have to win the lottery first!GrumpySighSmile, Wink & GrinLaugh

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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  • From: Wyoming, where men are men, and sheep are nervous!
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Posted by Pruitt on Sunday, July 19, 2020 2:20 PM

19 July 2020

Rail joiners have still not arrived.

The last few days I spent repowering the entire engine facility, including all the radial tracks off the turntable. Speaking of the turntable, when I got it fired up, I found that all the stops I programmed in back in New Jersey in 2018 were still in memory! I didn't have to do any reprogramming. I zeroed it out, and it was ready to go!

Even though two of the classification tracks are still not spliced back together, I put my rolling stock back into the yard:

A friend bought a hundred semi-scale wheelsets (.088 wheel tread width) some time ago, and discovered they didn't work on his Atlas switches. The frog point gap is too large or something. So he loaned me a couple cars' worth, and I installed them to try them out on my Fast Tracks turnouts.

They work just fine! So we're trading his semi-scale wheelsets for my standard (.110 tread width) Kadee wheelsets. The new wheelsets fit perfectly in my sprung Kadee truck frames. You can see a pile of the new wheelsets in front of the reefers in the photos above.

I've begun swapping out the wheelsets. Here's a comparison of the semi-scale wheels (car on the left) with the standard Kadee wheels. Once the blackening on the wheels have worn off, those thinner treads are going to look great!

 

  • Member since
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  • From: Wyoming, where men are men, and sheep are nervous!
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Posted by Pruitt on Sunday, July 26, 2020 11:14 AM

26 July 2020

Progress on the layout this past week was pretty minimal. I replaced the wheelsets on 13 cars with the semi-scale ones and worked out how to mount the newly received light panels in the train room (they're the same brand as the others I have, but they've been redesigned and the back is totally different now).

Most importantly, the rail joiners arrived and I've finished reconnecting the yard tracks in Casper!

Obviously I still need to replace the removed ties and weather the track.

I also reconnected the runaround track, so aside from a couple of ground throws that got cranky during the move, the yard is fully operational again.

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  • From: Dearborn Station
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Posted by richhotrain on Sunday, July 26, 2020 1:45 PM

Mark, I am going to be interested to see how you fill in those gaps in the ties where the rail joiners are connected. When I slip ties under those areas, I shave off the spikes and they fit it up sort of snug and look fine to the naked eye. But, when I film the trains running over those spots with my Mobius portable camera, you can tell the difference because those slip-in ties do not fit completely snug.

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by Pruitt on Sunday, July 26, 2020 7:23 PM

I've always done the same thing you do, Rich. Since photography isn't the main reason for me being a model railroader, I'll just live with the visibility in photographs.

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  • From: Dearborn Station
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Posted by richhotrain on Sunday, July 26, 2020 8:31 PM

Pruitt

I've always done the same thing you do, Rich. Since photography isn't the main reason for me being a model railroader, I'll just live with the visibility in photographs. 

Not to worry, Mark. Everything will look good in photographs. It is the mini camera videos shot from a piece of rolling stock running down the rails that shows up every little flaw.

Rich

Alton Junction

  • Member since
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  • From: Wyoming, where men are men, and sheep are nervous!
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Posted by Pruitt on Friday, July 31, 2020 9:44 AM

31 July 2020

I finally got my workbench set up! Now I have no excuse not to make progress on the layout.

I added several industries to Casper (labeled in red), taking advantage of space freed up by the removal of the mainline behind the town:

I cleared most of the clutter off Casper (usual problem with horiontal surfaces collecting stuff). Behind the yard was the beginnings of the Frannie / Orin interchange yard I'd brought from the previous layout. I hadn't found anyplace to store it, so it wound up on the Casper tables. Then I had an epiphany, and there it will stay until I'm ready to install it across the room from Casper:

And finally Casper yard is fully functional again! To celebrate, I made up the first train in Casper on the new layout. I made a video of it:

  • Member since
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  • From: Bradford, Ontario
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Posted by hon30critter on Friday, July 31, 2020 2:12 PM

Hi Mark,

Great video! One of the things my new layout lacks is a yard. However, down the road I hope to be able to build a separate visible staging yard to address that issue.

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
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  • From: A Comfy Cave, New Zealand
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Posted by "JaBear" on Saturday, August 1, 2020 1:05 AM
Yahoo!!! Looking Good!! 
However, Mark, what’s the reasoning behind the yard rule limiting the number of cars in a cut to the number of drivers on the switcher?
 
Cheers, the curious Bear.Smile

"One difference between pessimists and optimists is that while pessimists are more often right, optimists have far more fun."

  • Member since
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  • From: Wyoming, where men are men, and sheep are nervous!
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Posted by Pruitt on Saturday, August 1, 2020 10:16 AM

Thanks Dave! Be sure to share your staging yard build with us here.

JaBear, Thanks for the compliment.

Regarding the yard rule about cut length - it goes back to an MR editorial written by John Page in the 1950's about "scale powering" a model railroad.

Almost all of my locomotives would be able to haul my longest train, 20 cars counting the caboose, over my entire layout at scale speeds (except maybe the 0-6-0's, the Doodlebugs and the small ten-wheeler). My 0-8-0's could certainly toss that length of cars around the flat yard in Casper no problem. Probably the 0-6-0's would come close to that as well, since there are no grades to contend with. 

I arbitrarily came up with these rules:

  • Yard switchers can handle as many freight cars as they have drivers
  • Road locomotives can handle two times the number of freight cars as they have drivers.

So my 2-10-2 can haul 20 cars. The 2-8-2's can haul 16 cars. The ten-wheeler can haul ten (adjustment of minus two cars because it's a small locomotive for its class).

So in theory, the yard switchers will make up a train they could not move as a single block. Actually they could, but this is make-believe. 

This is a gross simplification of real life in the steam era, ignoring most of the actual variables involved, but it serves my purposes. It forces one to pick motive power based on theoretical tonnage, and can affect train length based on available power. If my layout was designed for longer trains, I'd make adjustments to the rules.

Sorry for the long answer.

  • Member since
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  • From: Vancouver Island, BC
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Posted by selector on Saturday, August 1, 2020 12:00 PM

Mark, I think those are sensible 'guidelines' for people who want to craft a satisfying model train experience.  We both know about the steep grades we sometimes have to accept to get it all to work and come together if it's a loop of some description.  While a real 2-10-2 might be able to handle twice as many cars as drivers on grades up to about 1.5% in the real world, our layouts are likely to make it have to work on 3% grades, which makes your rule a good self-check for assumptions about crossed fingers coming through when the rails are first powered.  And I like your thinking about cuts on ladders, especially if, as I'm just in the process of building, it has to be stub-ended ladders taking up all of about 4-6' when the diagonal lead is figured.  Your yard seems to be somewhat longer, but my entire yard module is ten feet long, plus I squeezed out another 18" at the stub ends.  Once that long Micro Engineering #5 ladder system makes up the branches off to the various ladder tracks, there ain't much left to play with.  Thank God for double-slips, too.

  • Member since
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  • From: A Comfy Cave, New Zealand
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Posted by "JaBear" on Saturday, August 1, 2020 2:52 PM

Pruitt
Sorry for the long answer.

No need to be sorry Mark.
 
Your answer and Selectors follow up make great sense and is a practical solution for model railroaders wishing to take in account the limitations of their layout i.e. lack of distance, excessive grades etc. It is a solution that I will incorperate when I actually build my own layout
 
Besides your answer, while comprehensive, was easily comprehended by the Bears brain cell, so thank you.
Cheers, the Bear.Smile

"One difference between pessimists and optimists is that while pessimists are more often right, optimists have far more fun."

  • Member since
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  • From: Bradford, Ontario
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Posted by hon30critter on Sunday, August 2, 2020 12:51 AM

Pruitt
Dave! Be sure to share your staging yard build with us here.

I think I'd better get the main layout running before starting any more projects!Smile, Wink & GrinLaughLaugh

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
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  • From: Wyoming, where men are men, and sheep are nervous!
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Posted by Pruitt on Monday, August 3, 2020 10:28 AM

Thanks, Selector. I kinda pulled those rules out of thin air after a bit of thought, but I think they'll do. If not, I'll simply change them when I start operations.

My shortest classification track is about 6 1/2 feet long, with the longest being about 11 feet.

3 August 2020

I just posted my latest video update to YouTube:

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  • From: Wyoming, where men are men, and sheep are nervous!
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Posted by Pruitt on Wednesday, August 12, 2020 6:29 PM

12 August 2020

The last week+ I've spent on a variety of tasks. I installed some new baseboard and ceiling trim in the train room, and also installed the last ceiling fixture (I hope!):

I spent several hours building turnouts for the new industries in Casper. I've finished three and am working on the fourth one. I'll need to build one more.

I also ordered and finally received a 48" X 50' roll of 3mm cork. I'll use that for siding roadbed and underlayment in some industrial areas. It cost about $95 including tax. The same amount of square footage in 3mm Midwest cork sheets would cost almost $7,000! I think I got a bargain! I might have a bit more than I need, though...

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Posted by selector on Wednesday, August 12, 2020 7:26 PM

Two questions, if it wouldn't be intrusive or inappropriate:

a. How much were those LED panels?  I ask because, when I did my train room a short 5 years ago, the two-by panels at HD locally were close to CDN$180...per.  Indifferent  I'm sure they are less than a fifth of that by now; and

b. What's yer plan for cutting strips of a length, and then curving the cork?  For my mains, I sourced a sheet of underlay at a smaller chain hardware store, I think about 4-5mm, locally, and stripped it in 5' lengths.  I asked for a five foot length of the stuff, so that's why 5'.  To keep it in place on curves, I used track nails.  Under it, I used DAP 'clear' Alex Plus with silicone.  That 4' level/straightedge sure came in handy when cutting the cork. 

Okay, third question [added on edit]: Do you use a handy hardboard/masonite template or something on your mains to be darned sure you haven't curved below a minimum radius?  I have one all-brass loco, a 2-10-4, that requires 30" radius, so I cut out a 33" curve template that was always handy to slap over the cork to make sure I wasn't going to have slap myself later. 

  • Member since
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  • From: Wyoming, where men are men, and sheep are nervous!
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Posted by Pruitt on Wednesday, August 12, 2020 10:54 PM

Three answers for your two questions, SelectorBig Smile

a. The LEDs were about $33 each in a box of two, from Lightup.com. Theyre made by LumaGen. Good, evenly lit panels. If you prefer a more familiar name, they also have Sylvania panels for about $212 each. Roughly the same specs.

b. I actually started doing roadbed this way years ago on my first Merchantville NJ layout. Here's the set-up I used. A friend is doing the cutting: 

Each strip is cut 5/8 inch wide. With the amount of roadbed I needed, a commercial product would have cost two fortunes!

c. No, I just mark the centerline (along with the two edges) on the subroadbed with a radius rod before cutting it out, then just follow the centerline on the plywood with one edge of the cork. The second strip is butted against the first. The ends are staggered by at least half a foot. I lay the cork pretty much like you, except I use long pins to hold the curve until the glue dries (wood glue is my adhesive of choice for cork to plywood). Here's an example from several layouts ago:

I do have Ribbonrail radius gauges in several sizes, and a couple of 30" radius Sweepsticks (from Fast Tracks), but I never use them. The Atlas code 83 I use on the mainline seems to curve very evenly along the length of the curve as I lay it. I use DAP 230 clear caulk to adhere the track to the cork.

But hey, if you need slapping sometime, don't hesitate to call! Stick out tongue

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  • From: Vancouver Island, BC
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Posted by selector on Thursday, August 13, 2020 11:39 PM

Aw, you're breaking my heart with those photos!!   Tongue Tied  That was some of the very finest craftsmanship I have ever seen depicted on any forum.

Thanks for the responses.  I wonder if the Sylvania variants are warranted for 15 years or something.  Confused

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  • From: Rimrock, Arizona
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Posted by SpaceMouse on Friday, August 14, 2020 9:40 PM

It took several days but I worked through all your progress. I can't wait to start laying track myself. 

The scary part was realizing that I was 3 layouts behind. I still tell people about using allthread to get your helix right.

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

  • Member since
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  • From: Wyoming, where men are men, and sheep are nervous!
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Posted by Pruitt on Monday, August 17, 2020 11:55 PM

Crandell, clearly you need to get out more! But thanks, that's about the nicest thing anyone has ever said regarding my model railroading! Embarrassed

You know Chip, I'd be much farther along, but my progress seems to reset itself back to the beginning every few years. Huh?

17 August 2020

The last few days have been busy. First I set up my "roadbed factory" and began cutting cork.

First up were a few sheets to go under the industries in Casper.

But that didn't go any farther, because I need to get the benchwork for the Chicago & North Western line up over Casper. So I picked up a sheet of 3/4" oak plywood to cut into strips. The sheet:

And an hour later, it was converted to 15 3" X 8' strips:

So Today it was time to build the benchwork. The raw materials to start:

And the working drawing to make it a reality.

After a few hours' work, it's really taking shape! Since this will be only a single track, the benchwork is only 5 1/2 inches wide:

Another few hours, and the first section (16' long) is permanently mounted to the wall above Casper. My wife hasn't seen it yet - she'll probably have an apoplexy when she sees that I've screwed raw wood to the newly finished walls!

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Tuesday, August 18, 2020 8:48 AM

A light sky blue on the walls might make a good background color for the layout and brighten the room up too.  The dark maroon is something I've never seen for a layout room - not something usually seen behind a layout.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road  - Focus 1977-1983

  • Member since
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  • From: Wyoming, where men are men, and sheep are nervous!
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Posted by Pruitt on Tuesday, August 18, 2020 10:01 AM

Backdrops are not installed yet.

  • Member since
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  • From: Wyoming, where men are men, and sheep are nervous!
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Posted by Pruitt on Saturday, August 22, 2020 8:29 PM

22 August 2020

At this point I need some opinions, folks. I'm at the point of mounting backdrops on the CNW line between Riverton and Hudson, which over Casper is just a single line on a 5" wide deck. I've settled on one of two backdrop heights - 10" or 6". I'd like to hear wht you all think, based on these mock-ups. Keep in mind that the Casper backdrop will extend to the bottom of the CNW deck. The CNW deck will also have a fascia that extends about 1" below the benchwork.

First, the 10" backdrop:

And now the 6" one:

So what do you think? Is the 6" one adequate? In Riverton and Hudson, some structures and / or trees will come close to 6" tall, so probably 10" would work best from that perspective. But I also want to minimize the distraction above Casper. 

I could always "grow" the backdrop height at Riverton and Hudson - neither are directly above Casper. So...

  • Would a constant height clear across look better?
  • Would the tapers from one height to another look funky?
  • Would the 10" height even be more distracting than the 6" over Casper, or in your experience will the two decks be completely decoupled from each other from an observer's point of view?

Looking for honest feedback here - fire away, please!

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Posted by carl425 on Saturday, August 22, 2020 10:01 PM

Frankly, I'd prefer 10" AND 6".  In my experience, the distraction is the top of the backdrop.  I'd try to get it as high as practical.

Pruitt
Would a constant height clear across look better?

Definitely go with a constant height.

Pruitt
will the two decks be completely decoupled from each other from an observer's point of view?

Yes! Maybe not completely, but your mind has an interesting ability to filter out what's not relevant to what you're looking at - just ask your wife.  The other deck will tend to disappear. Concern yourself instead with how each deck looks when you're following a train on that deck.

You should do your testing at the viewing distance you'll be at when following a train. Maybe get out your camera and mock up some scenes in the viewfinder as a further experiment.

I have the right to remain silent.  By posting here I have given up that right and accept that anything I say can and will be used as evidence to critique me.

  • Member since
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Posted by "JaBear" on Saturday, August 22, 2020 10:17 PM

Pruitt
 So... Would a constant height clear across look better?

But I also want to minimize the distraction above Casper.  .

I think you’ve already answered your own question there, Mark.Smile, Wink & Grin
Pruitt
Would the tapers from one height to another look funky?
 
Not necessarily, in fact I’d probably go for a gentle “S” curve rather than a straight-line taper.
Pruitt
Would the 10" height even be more distracting than the 6" over Casper, or in your experience will the two decks be completely decoupled from each other from an observer's point of view?
I’m not really experienced with double deck layouts, which is another reason for following your layout development, but with my own personal experience, no matter whatever type of layout I’m viewing, I’m more focusing on the train and its immediate surroundings.
 
That said, first impressions on walking into a layout room can account for a lot of WOW Factor, but at the risk of repeating myself, it’s the actual trains and their immediate surrounding I’m really going to be focussed on.
 
The big trick for me, and I’m not suggesting I know how to do it, is seamlessly melding the foreground into the backdrop, done right, now there’s a lot of WOW Factor in my opinion.

“All opinions are not equal. Some are a very great deal more robust, sophisticated and well supported in logic and argument than others.”     -Douglas Adams

 
Cheers, the Bear.Smile

 

"One difference between pessimists and optimists is that while pessimists are more often right, optimists have far more fun."

  • Member since
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  • From: Bradford, Ontario
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Posted by hon30critter on Sunday, August 23, 2020 12:03 AM

Hi Mark,

My personal preference would be the 10" backdrop all the way along. I don't think it will be distracting at all. In fact I think a 6" tall backdrop with buildings almost the same height would be very distracting. Buildings have some sky above them. If the top of the backdrop is the same height of the building it will look like something is missing IMHO.

Another visual effect that I think the 10" backdrop achieves is that it looks like the train is in a wide open space. Subways have low ceilings. Trains have the whole sky.

My 2 Cents

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
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  • From: Vancouver Island, BC
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Posted by selector on Sunday, August 23, 2020 12:04 AM

Mark, when it comes to taking the odd photo, and I do, I have to have a reasonable height for the 'sky' or whatever the backdrop is.  Buildings in scale, trees in scale, mountains so far away in scale, or sky that extends out of the camera's field of view from any one position.  Accordingly, I'll always paint the entire wall sky blue and then put what I need at the right heights to cover the applicable trackage area.  So, for me, go high.  Six months from now, if you feel it's not right, take 'em down and shear 'em.

For places where you must taper, I think it would look least obvious if you used the same type of vertical curve that you'd find at a change of grade; shallow and long. So, a long S-curve.

  • Member since
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  • From: Wyoming, where men are men, and sheep are nervous!
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Posted by Pruitt on Monday, August 24, 2020 8:08 PM

Thanks for all the input guys! Collectively, you helped me clarify what I was going for here and the best way to achieve it. I concluded that the only advantage to a 6" backdrop was that it saved a bit of material, but possibly at the expense of appearance later on.

So I went with the 10" height.

Here's a couple of in-progress shots.

16 feet of upper and lower backdrop supports - garbage-quality 1X2's - have been installed:

And 16' of backdrop - .080 styrene sheet - is in place. Today I filled the seam with squadron white putty. I'll sand it later tonight or in the morning. That should give me a seamless skyboard. An additional 8' of supports have been installed, but the third section of backdrop isn't up yet.

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Posted by hon30critter on Monday, August 24, 2020 9:53 PM

Looks good Mark!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    February 2001
  • From: Wyoming, where men are men, and sheep are nervous!
  • 2,797 posts
Posted by Pruitt on Friday, August 28, 2020 4:32 PM

Thanks, Dave!

28 August 2020

I've got about 22 feet of backdrop installed now. The seams have been filled, and the entire thing sanded, washed and painted:

Roadbed is in down the entire length:

And today I laid the first nine feet of track. The soda can express will stay on the track until tomorrow morning, when the caulk has dried.

I'll probably go back and Dullcote the entire backdrop to knock down the slight shininess you can see in the photos.

I also posted a short video showing me installing one of the backdrop sections:

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