Sunday, December 30, 2012

Still working on buildings

With the holidays, there hasn't been a lot of time to work on the layout. But, I've done some more work on my three new retail buildings.

I still need to paint and add a lot of details, but I've been working on all three at once.

The three story building on the right/foreground in the above picture will be "cut" in half by the front of the layout. I will paint the "wall" that is even with the front of the layout black,

I am going for a look where the buildings are closer to the tracks for this section of the layout.

I still need to add the windows to the larger building in the background. I initially cut the openings for the windows and then add the windows next. This usually involves a large amount of filing and sanding. This makes for a tighter fit of the windows. I also have a fire escape to add to the back of this building.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Merry Christmas to all

Merry Christmas to all!

When I made this we had no snow, of course now Chicago is under a blizzard watch, so maybe it'll be a white Christmas afterall!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The start of a building boom

To switch gears, I decided to start working on some buildings that will go along my short stretch of Southport Ave.  So far I've got the fronts done on two buildings and the shell of another. Just like the CTA, I decided to lease out the space underneath the tracks for a retail building.

Construction is pretty simple: brick sheets from the N Scale Architect (facades) or JTT (sides and back ... save some $$$), and Evergreen sheet and strip styrene.

I have also started work on the Southport station...

I always build the facade first, then the rest of the building. The sheets and strips are layered to give the buildings some depth. Small sections of bricks are also cut out to give the brick facades more relief. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Inbound Platform is finally done

I have finally finished the inbound platform at my Southport station.

I still need to create the stairways and the station house. I am planning on having the stairways laser cut. I just need to create the drawings.

And of course I need to finish the ground underneath the tracks, the background buildings, and a whole lot more. One step at a time.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Not the best background

I am still working on the new fuse box curve. I've started adding some ground cover to the removable section.

And, as can be seen in the photo, the fuse panel doesn't make for a very scenic or realistic background for an L train. In addition, the structure does block access to the panel, which is a no-no. But, since the track isn't attached to the main structure and track by the station, the whole track/structure combo can be removed in one piece. I may also just leave the door open to the panel, if the trains will clear the open door.

But, in the meantime, it's a bit distracting for a background. I may try a painted panel attached by magnets just to add a better color.

I use pretty basic ground foam as shown below:

Since the structure is visible from only one side, the following photo show how I only detail one side of the girder. This saves a little time and money in materials.

This is why I use Gargraves track ... the ties are solid wood when view from below:

The structure where it crosses the street is 1/2" higher than the rest of the structure on the layout. The track is level, but this section of benchwork is removable and the section was lowered so the door to the fuse panel can open when it is in place. It isn't too noticeable.

Thanks again,

Monday, November 5, 2012

Good advice is always welcome

In my last post, I mentioned how I had clearance issues with my Sheridan Road station platform and the installation of the fuse box curve. I was contemplating the removal of about 4 inches of the platform so the trains wouldn't hit the platform as they entered the curve..

Shortly after writing the post, renowned traction modeler Ed Halstead (you must visit his blog Modeling Insull's Empire in O Scale ) sent me an email. He suggested that I taper the platform to allow clearance for the trains. I told him I had thought about doing that, but thought that shortening the platform would be the best course of action.

Well, knowing Ed's level of knowledge and skills, I decided to take another look at his suggestion. And, much to my delight, tapering each side ever so slightly has allowed me the clearance I need to clear the trains on both sides of the platform! 

Five minutes of work in removing the end railings and then cutting a small taper on each side worked like a charm! I still need to touch up the paint and build a new end railing, but that work is nominal compared to shortening the platform. Plus, I retain the original length of the platform.

Only the platform needed to be tapered. Since it was the car body that was hitting the platform, i was able to leave the girder alone.

Its a tight squeeze, but the car body clears the platform edge. Close enough, which works in horseshoes, hand grenades and nuclear war ... and now elevated modeling.

Running a test train on the other track. No problems here either.

So, in the end, crisis averted. Thanks to Ed for providing the solution. His assistance is greatly appreciated. 

Also this weekend I had some extra time so I made a video of some four car 3200 series trains. Unfortunately I can't really run four car trains since my station platforms are too short (the trains is about four feet long), but it looks nice.


Monday, October 29, 2012

New curve, new video and podcasts

The new Sheridan / fuse panel curve has been added:

But, there is a problem. When I originally built the Sheridan Road station, I didn't give a lot of thought to the eventual expansion beyond the station. So, I built the platform right up to the end of the structure. Now, there is some interference with the swing of the trains as they round the curve, as shown below:

I haven't tested the other track, but I'm sure it'll have the same issue. I tried to "push" the curve as far out as I could, but the above picture shows the least amount of interference that I was able to achieve.

So, I will probably have to shorten the Sheridan Road platform, as shown below:

The reason why I will shorten this much is that I do have cross beam at the left side of the red box. That way, the end of the station platform girders rest on a cross girder rather than float in mid-air. A poorly photo-shopped after view would look like:

I'm not sure how I like the looks of this, but its probably the best solution I can come up with. I can't move the curve any more since the fuse panel is in the way. Shortening the platform by this  much is overkill, but I really don't have too many other options.

I have also uploaded a new video to Youtube, showing the new Southport Station and some of the finished residential area;

In addition, I recently appeared on the October 1, 2012 edition of the Model Railway Show podcast to talk about the layout. It was a lot of fun being interviewed for the show. The link to the podcast's web page is:

And the episode that I appear on is the October 1 show: October show notes

Have a listen if you find the time. Trevor and Jim do a really good job on creating a high quality podcast.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Progress on the Southport Station

One platform is mostly done. I still need to build the stairs (will be laser cut) and add a few more details. But for now, it'll do.

The "Midway" roll sign on the 3200 is a result of a Brown Line / Midway through routing due to Loop elevated track work.