Starting to build roads in Liberty Village

I’m working to make the most of the days of working from home as I can. While I’m mostly being work productive at my job between 9am and 5pm, I am finding that my days have changed. My old routine was up at 6am, on the bus to the subway at 6:40, at my desk by 8ish, leave the office sometime between 4:00-4:30pm and home by 6:00pm or so. Then make dinner and such, and it would be 8pm before I’d even think about heading up to the layout room. Now, even though I’m not starting working as early, by 5:00pm I’m done, and sitting at my workbench ready to go immediately from day job to building models. I’m doing some work, then making dinner. The hour and a half gained from not commuting home is becoming super productive hobby time, but, making progress quickly is exposing an issue that I’ve had as my modelling supplies are a bit of the “just in time” delivery model, where I am used to buying things as I need them, a paint here, glue there, a single package of styrene strips, etc. In an era where you can’t just pop out to the hobby store, I’m finding that I’ve been placing regular online orders as I discover things I need from my local hobby shops to try and help make sure they are still here to pop out to on the other side. So far, I’ve ordered from The Credit Valley Railway Company, Meeplemart and Sunward Hobbies, and I have friends who have ordered from Wheels and Wings and I likely will at some point as well.

That said, I am still advancing the layout, and will continue to do so so long as I have supplies or can get them online. As I work to move scenery out of the closet and into the main layout room, the next thing I want to start to do is start to pave the roads. This will set the areas for buildings, and once I have the materials to make the building foundations, do scenery around them, even while the buildings remain matte board mockups for the most part.

IMG_2287Starting to build up boundaries for laying roads.

My technique for building roads is well developed, I’m happy with it, and it works well and looks good when finished in my opinion. I “pave” the roads using drywall compound, then sand to get a smoothish surface, add in cracks or joints, paint and weather with Pan Pastels. I wrote about it on building a diorama here. I like to use Polyfilla Big Hole Repair, it has a grey lid if you’re looking for it. It can be spread deep as its designed for large holes, and doesn’t contract when it dries. It can be sanded, and paints nicely. To create the roads, I am using 0.156″ x 0.060″ styrene strip (Evergreen 157) as the 0.156″ gets me to the track height, so when I put in putty, I can bring it smoothly to the rail level.

For the roads, which cross the tracks in many locations, in order to make good flangeways and have reliable operation, I am adding guard rails, then I can plaster between the guard rails, and keep a good clear flangeways. It will wind up being a bit over scale, but I can live with that compromise for operational reliability, plus, most of the track is viewed parallel to the rail, so it won’t be that noticeable to operators. I have a supply of Micro Engineering Code 70 rail left from my friend who built my switches (though inevitably, not enough for the whole layout – see above comment re my supply situation).

IMG_2291Using up my stock of Code 70 rail from my hand built switches to create guard rails for paving the roads.

While I had no drywall compound when I started at this on Wednesday, we placed a pickup order at Canadian Tire for some gardening and cleaning supplies, and I tacked on some more glue and a tub of drywall compound, which we picked up on Thursday, so now at some point this weekend, I may pave some roads!

Pictures showing the road edge rafts and guard rails glued in place at Liberty Steet and Atlantic Ave and Hanna Ave intersections.

This morning I’ve been working on getting the guards down and installed, running test trains through to look for any possible impingement’s, and getting them filed down and ready for paving. At some point I will switch and do some more ground cover in the closet to advance out, but it’s nice to have options for projects depending on what I feel like doing to keep moving forward. I’ll report back in due course once the roads are laid as to how its going.

2 thoughts on “Starting to build roads in Liberty Village

  1. I’m struggling with building roads in my layout too.
    You like the polyfilla? I found that I ended up obsessively sanding plaster, and the whole layout room was a mess when I’d finished sanding a small sample. I’m experimenting with ‘fun foam’ at the moment, black sheets can be found at dollar stores or Micahels for pretty cheap. This is where I got the technique:

    It looks like you’ve got ‘borders’ for the roads, and you are going to pour the polyfilla in between them. How do you fasten them down? push pins work, or is there something else that you’re using? Do you smooth the polyfilla out with some sort of applicator, or do you leave it rough, and just sand it all down when it is dry?

    Finally, one thing that I really like about polyfilla, is that you can put some grey paint into the polyfilla, when you are mixing it up. The whole road will be grey, so in the future, if something happens, and your paint job gets chipped, you will get ashphalt grey down below the chips.

    Anyway, it looks good, and may just encourage me to really get back to it.

    • The styrene rafts to form an edge are glued down to the foam with weldbond glue. The Polyfilla will get put in and I’ll use a putty knife wider than the road that can rest on the stryene edges to get a level and generally smooth surface. The majority of the surface prep is done before it hardens by wetting the surface and smoothing. I have found that I don’t have to do much sanding to the surface when its done, just to get the worst done and clear rail heads/etc.

      I’ll write more about it when I am doing it and can take pictures. The notion of mixing paint into the drywall plaster is interesting. I haven’t tried that before. I’ll have to take a look and see if that works for me, that would be nice to know the roads are safe from being painfully white looking if they get chipped in the future.


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