Foaming the Layout and Testing the Peninsula

Another non-glamorous task of layout building got underway today.  Putting on a layer of insulation foam on top of the plywood  This will be the base for the scenery.  It is easier to insert details into than the plywood, and gives me the ability to have smoothed out some of the imperfections in the alignment of the plywood with the foam later.  I can both cut away at the foam if needed for the limited terrain of Liberty Village, or add cork roadbed for the tracks on top.

IMG_6262.jpgNot the most exciting picture, but showing the benchwork with 1/2″” insulation foam installed on top, and a piece in place to let me check spacing for the eventual peninsula to be built to complete the benchwork.

I’ve got a bit of foam to do in the closet for the 2nd staging traverser.  It’s a tight spot to work in, and I just ran out of gas and motivation to work on cutting foam and getting it sorted.  At that point, I realized the largest piece of foam I had left was more or less the size of the peninsula.  Its a couple of inches wider, and a couple of inches shorter than I’ve designed, but it let me more or less get a feel for how impactful it will be in the room, and to be sure that it will generally work.  Most importantly, there is room to maneuver between the benchwork on the wall and the peninsula for an operator.  Depending on how tired I am after the train show Saturday and Sunday, I’ll try to finish the foam work this weekend.  Not glamorous at all, but another step closer to being ready to lay track.

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2018 Greater Toronto Train Show – September 29/30

My apologies on the late notice, but the show had slipped my mind.  I will be at the 2018 Greater Toronto Train Show (formerly the Brampton Train Show) with the Toronto Railway Museum display.  The show runs from 10am to 4pm on Saturday and Sunday.  An admission coupon for $1.00 off Adult Admission is at the bottom of this post.

Pictures of the TRHA Display at the 2017 Brampton Train Show (now Greater Toronto Train Show).

I will be at the show all day Saturday, and Sunday afternoon from around 1pm onward.  Please feel free to come by and chat about the Museum and our restoration work, the models of the TRHA on display, or any other aspect of modelling and 3D printing.

2018GTTS-Admission+Coupon.jpgAdmission Coupon. Print and bring to the show for $1.00 off entry.

Tuesday Train #123

HelpingHandsForFallingSands.jpgSomething different for today, the above picture is not mine, but is taken from the Severn Valley Railway’s twitter feed.  For those who know me, by virtue of most of my family being in the UK, but me being born and raised and living in Canada, I have a foot in the railfan community on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.  As such, I’m an active volunteer with the Toronto Railway Historical Association/Toronto Railway Museum, and a financial contributor to groups in the United Kingdom including the Severn Valley Railway and the 6880 Betton Grange Society.

So back to the image, the Falling Sands Viaduct shown in the picture was constructed in 1877, it connects the southern terminus of the SVR at Kidderminster with the next main station at Bewdley.  The viaduct is reaching the point of being life expired, and significant investment is required to restore it and ensure that it can stand for another 141 years.  Without the bridge, the railway would be severed, and its future operations put at risk.  With that in mind, the SVR has successfully obtained the first stage financing from the UK’s “Heritage Lottery Fund”, which enables them to fund raise the required contributing share from the railway to receive the balance of the funding from the lottery for the needed repairs. They are doing this through the “Helping Hands for Falling Sands” campaign during 2018.

I’ve been to the SVR three times for the Autumn Steam Gala, an event which is unparalleled in my mind in terms of the quality of the operations, and the rare opportunity to ride behind steam all night long as the now four day long (Thursday-Sunday) annual even sees trains running non-stop from around 8am Friday morning to 6pm Sunday night, including a limited overnight service. As someone whose favourite time for photography is in the night and long exposures, steam locomotives in the dark with smoke and steam are a dream to shoot.

I finally made a donation to Helping Hands for Falling Sands on the weekend, as I couldn’t attend the Gala and spend money at the railway to support it as a customer.  One of the few places on the line where there are good photographic opportunities that I haven’t been to is Falling Sands, so I want to do my part to make sure it’s still standing for when I next go there.  I’ve talked for years about trying to organize an Introduction to UK Heritage Railways trips for some railfan friends who’ve never been to the UK with the Severn Valley Fall Gala as a centerpiece of the trip, maybe 2019 will be the year that trip finally occurs.

A Couple of taster shots of what the Severn Valley can offer are below, along with a more on my Flickr account here.  If you like what you see, please consider supporting their appeal to ensure the funds to restore the Falling Sands Viaduct are raised before the end of the year.

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.

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!!