Blue Skies in Liberty Village

Well, I suspect in Toronto of the 1950’s, when coal still ruled as a fuel, there maybe weren’t a lot of bright blue sky days, but the first part of my backdrop is indeed a nice blue sky day.

BackdropPrePaintBackdropPainted.jpgPre and Post painting panoramas of the layout room.  The blue is Behr “Spacious Skies” from Home Depot, which was the palest blue tint that still looked blue to me.

From here, I plan on adding clouds by painting them on, using a technique from a TrainmastersTV video (subscription required).  These are nice simple clouds, and what I need to add some sky texture behind the buildings that will fill large parts of the lower backdrop, filling the space so it doesn’t look blank, but not drawing attention away from the buildings and trains in the foreground.  I can add some haze and other details as I move forward, I will also be painting at least a representation of the Mercer Reformatory (woman’s prison) as it fills a large area along the backdrop, but the buildings were set far enough from Liberty Street to not be modeled.  My intention isn’t to create a photorealistic representation of the building, more a shadow in the distance with the prison yard fences and trees helping screen the view.

Painting clouds will be a down the road task.  Up next is to install the foam board layer on top of the plywood.  Once I have the foam layer installed on the plywood, I want to get mock ups of the buildings in place to help me guide where the horizon and clouds need to be, so that the backdrop helps fill in and make the space feel bigger behind the buildings and don’t draw the eye of a viewer away from what’s important in the foreground.


Tuesday Train #122

10040016Taking Water at Rawtenstall on the East Lancashire Railway.  It’s hard to see, but the water spray out the rear of British Railways (Ex-London Midland & Scottish Railway) Fowler 3F 0-6-0 is not overflow from the water filling, but the 3rd member of the crew spraying down the coal bunker to help control dust as they run.

Backdrop Part 3

Over the weekend I kept moving on with the Backdrop, and got the most complicated, or at least the fiddliest bits of it done.  You can read about the previous work here and here.

IMG_6097Starting to work into the closet past the door frame. I trimmed a bit much and left a nasty gap to fill outside the closet.

The layout extends into the closet, and the first 2′ or so of the closet are part of the sceniced area before you hit the staging access.  Basically in the image above, where the styrene stops and the wire closet shelf starts is the dividing line between scenery and staging.  Much as with the main part of the room, new lighting in the closet is needed as well to direct a bit more/better light at the layout area, but that will come in time.

This section of the backdrop is also shorter, as the closet is only 27″ to the ceiling from the benchwork, as opposed to a bit over 3′ in the main part of the bedroom.  This brings the ceiling in, and it does look a bit odd, but because our Townhouse is a Condo, I can’t just rip out the door frame and have run the backdrop straight through, which is fine, but it means some fun sections to give me a backdrop area that hides the door frame as best I can

IMG_6109.jpgThe door fully framed around and filling the gaps. The area at the bottom where there is no styrene will be behind a building that will wrap around the door frame, so I didn’t bother to install backdrop there.

I’ve been really happy with the 0.060 Styrene backdrop material choice.  It’s been easy to work with, and was reasonably cost-effective.  I also know that styrene paints well, So no fear about doing all this work, and getting a nasty surprise.

One thing that I haven’t been as happy with is the sealing of joints and covering of nails/holes from supporting while the No More Nails adhesive was curing.  On the advice of a friend, I tried 3M’s Glazing and Spot Putty (the red in the picture).  It seems to go on nice, but exposed a flaw I hadn’t fully considered.  Because this is an auto body bondo type putty, it stinks, and made a lot more dust than drywall compound like I used in the past.  There is no opening window in the 3rd floor room (the skylight is a good 15′ up above the floor, and doesn’t open).  As such, I gave up on it and went back to drywall compound. You can see the pink in the image above, it’s Drywall compound that goes on pink and cures white so you can see where it is when you are putting it on.  Maybe it won’t smooth as nice as the bondo, but without opening windows, I can’t use the other in the layout room/house.  Live and Learn.  I won’t cover over where it is, at least not outside the areas where a second coat was going to be needed to fill the gaps where I’m going to put drywall compound over top and hope that once its all sanded and painted, and line disappears.  Next update should be a short one, with just a picture of sky blue paint across the benchwork!!

A CPR U3e 0-6-0 Switcher – A Project for Liberty Village

I mentioned back in April in a post about learning how the railroads served Liberty Village that a friend had gifted me half a Walthers/Life-Like Proto 2000 0-6-0 steam locomotive that very closely matches the dimensions of the CPR U3e class that worked in Toronto in the 1950’s.  I say half, as he wasn’t able to give me a tender.  Today, at the Mississauga Model Railroad Flea Market, I was able to buy a correct CPR Tender for the U3e locomotive.  Another vendor had a brass CPR tender that was missing the locomotive.  Put the two together, and I now have a plastic locomotive that I can strip down and modify the details on, and a brass tender that I can disassemble to add electrical pickups and a DCC decoder into.  I’ve been assembling the needed detail parts for the locomotive and to build the tender from scratch, but now I don’t have to scratch build the tender. I can focus on the engine and the electronics to make a reliable operating engine.

Brass_TenderIt looks something like a U3e, and will look a lot more like it by the time I’m done modifying it. May be while still before it gets to the top of the to-do pile, but it will get there.

It was a nice find at the show, and at a price where using it was light years better than the time and effort to build one in this case, as when I start working on the project in earnest, it has another big head start with the tender I now have.



Mississauga Model Railroad Flea Market – September 16/2018

This Sunday I will be at the Mississauga Model Railroad Flea Market in Mississauga, at the John Paul II Polish Cultural Centre, located at 4300 Cawthra Road.  Show details on the flyer below:

Flea Market September 2018

The list of what I still have after the show of September 16/2018, feel free to leave a comment if you are interested in anything and we can see what we can do:

Part Number Manufacturer Description  Asking 
7812 Athearn Heavyweight Coach CN Green Cape Chignecto  $     20
Trueline Trains 36′ Fowler Boxcar (Grounded Body) $        5
Life-Like 40 CP boxcar  $     10
Athearn Steel CN Caboose 78344  $     10
Walthers Arrowhead Brewery Background  $     30
Walthers Hardwood Furniture Background  $     20
Walthers George Roberts Printing  $     30
Walthers 90′ Turntable w Motor $      50
Walthers 3 Stall Roundhouse $      50
Wills Stone Engine House $     40
Wills Coal/Water Servicing Platform $     25
City Classics A&P Supermarket $     75
Kanamodel CNR Interlocking Signal Box (Wood) $     50
DPM/Woodland Kelly’s Saloon  $     15
R4063B Hornby LNER Brake Coach 5550  $     20
Lledo Monk Bar Truck  $       5
R474 Hornby LMS Composite Coach  $     20
LL239715 Life-like CN D-250 RDC  $    100
220003 Rapido FP9 CN Green 6517 DC  $    250
104009 Rapido Bay Sleeper Chaleur Bay 2024 CN 1954  $     75
R2198A Hornby GWR 0-6-0 Class 2721 #2759  $     75
Atlas #4 or #6 Code 83 Switches (used)  $10/Each
Various Snap Track Varies Per Bundle



Backdrop Part 2

Another night, and another 8′ of backdrop installed! I got home from work early enough that I could hammer the support frame into the wall before it got too late and it would risk bothering the neighbours at a time where one shouldn’t make noise that would impact your neighbours in a townhouse.

Figuring out where the support frame needs to go, and tacked up in place along the second half of the layout.

After the first night of backdrop installation, I had a good idea of what I was doing, but even then, things never go as you plan.  For this end to work, I was going to need to take an 8′ strip, and shorten it just a bit so I could put a blender piece into the corner, I debated doing the curve with the end of the large piece, and having the blender in the middle between two large pieces, but the corner I was making was sufficiently tight that the large piece wouldn’t be supported while I was getting the corner into place. I had visions of falling sheets of styrene and cursing and swearing, so I chose what I hoped would be the path of least resistance.

IMG_6086A 4’x8′ sheet of 0.060 styrene.  Showing the reason we didn’t build the peninsula initially, I wouldn’t have any room to work if it was in place, the sheet basically fills the open floor completely!!

Once I had the 30″ wide strip cut off the sheet, I test fit it to see how much I would need to take off.  Based on where I thought the corner piece would need to go to let me curve it, the large strip needed cut down from 96″ to 82″, easy enough to do, and once the sheet is split, its much easier to maneuver around the floor for subsequent cuts!!

Framing for the corner, and the corner piece installed.  Suffice to say, getting the corner held in with the “No More Nails” was as close to cursing as I came, as it was a fight to get it into place while the glue bit, but I got there!

Once the corner was in, I was able to fit the main piece and get it adjusted so the tops are more or less aligned.  I will need to trim a hair at either end to get it looking perfect, but the styrene allows for that.  One more evening of backdrop work should see the portion of the sceniced part of the layout in the closet with a backrop installed, and some screening over the door frame.  These are complicated bits, but small bits, no more 8′ long sections being maneuvered into place by myself (and believe me, half way though manhandling them, even as light as the styrene is I wish I’d invited someone over to come help me!!).

IMG_5873IMG_6091The layout room, looking ever more layout-y (compare tonight in the bottom to where it started in top image).  It also demonstrates that I will definitely need to do something about replacing the single off-centre light fixture (because of the large skylight centred on the room) with some form of track light to spread light around the room.

I’ve got two bathrooms in our house to paint this weekend (well, two walls in one and one wall in the other), and I’m really hoping to be able to put paint on the backdrop as well, but for that I need to get the remaining styrene up, get it puttied and the putty sanded down, and then give it a good clean!  Before I can do any of that though, another trip to Home Depot is in order for one more piece of trim strip so I can frame in the closet to fasten the styrene to (I miscalculated my amount of material, better to have less than a stack to return, but inconvenient none the less).