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The Catch-Up Post

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A lot has happened on my layout since I've updated this...Let's go in order:

NOVEMBER 10, 2006:

I had started to draw up the roadbed outlines on the track. I know most people draw track centers, but what's the point when you can't see the centers, especially when you use the WS foam roadbed?

Being a former HO scaler, I made use of my available HO resources by using some of my old Atlas snap-track. Why HO? Because the outline of the HO track is exactly the same width as N scale roadbed!

I drew the outlines of the track with markers:

NOVEMBER 24, 2006:

The day before Thanksgiving, my N scale flextrack order finally arrives at my LHS! (Temple City Trains and Toys)! It's Micro Engineering Code 55 weathered flextrack with concrete ties, as I'm doing the modern era.

The track is much "stiffer" than the Atlas "sliding rail" flextrack. But the advantage is that it can be lifted out of place and its shape would remain.

I finally got some 3/8" plywood from Home Depot (cut into quarters to fit in my car) and screwed them to the benchwork:

I noticed though that there's a very narrow gap between the two pieces plywood, placed latitudinally. No worries, since the foam goes over it longitudinally, which I glued down with Elmer's Carpeneter's Wood Glue (Yellow Glue).

Here I install the first WS foam riser. It's not installed permanently yet, as it's secured with map pins. Here I have a 2% riser on the left and a 3% on the right, with a piece of HO track on it to give me the 18" radius template:

NOVEMBER 25, 2006

Happy Birthday to me! I celebrate by running a test train over a couple pieces of flextrack:

Though I plan to make this layout DCC, I'm using my trusty MRC Tech 3 power pack to run trains back and forth in the interim.

I can't add any more flextrack for the moment as I don't have a proper cutting instrument yet to snip off excess flextrack.

NOVEMBER 27, 2006

I dropped by my local Lowe's and got a Dremel 300 series motor tool! Finally I can cut track now!

NOVEMBER 28, 2006

I try out the Dremel for the first time. It seems a bit intimidating and my first attempt to cut track was a little extreme. Later I borrowed a wirecutter-like tool from my sister, who was using it to make homemade jewelry. Then I use a file to straighten out the end.

So much for the Dremel! Oh well, it'll probably come in handy for other uses later on...

I spend the rest of the month running trains back and forth on the few flextrack pieces I have put down. I don't plan to caulk them down until later.

DECEMBER 8, 2006

I suddenly made lots of additions to my N-scale collection. Last week I won a bid on an Atlas SD60M in the UP scheme on eBay, which arrived a few days ago. Then I went to my LHS last week and got myself an Atlas articulated auto carrier. Then I went to another LHS and got a couple MTL 89' auto carriers. But today I made even more additions...N scale is like a crack addiction! So I saw my "dealer" (who are a couple who sell trains and craft items on eBay and happen to live just 20 minutes away from me) today. This is the third time I've bought from them and they let me in their house to show me whatever's not on auction. I went on to buy five reefers, two boxcars (Roundhouse and MTL - all for $30!!!) and an Atlas Dash-840B in SP scheme for $60.
More trains to run back and foth on my flextrack!

DECEMBER 13, 2006

I went to another LHS (Allied Model Trains in Culver City) to get a few things for the layout...namely a switch machine, a #10 turnout and some HO cork roadbed (more on this later). I also got some Intermountain metal wheels which were on sale as well. I ended up getting an Atlas "Code 55" switch machine to go with the Atlas #10. But after taking it home, the Atlas (which is freaking huge for an N scale turnout machine!) didn't seem to fit. So I decided to take it back and get it exchanged for a Tortoise.

The HO reoadbed was to add some height to my white styrofoam boards - My boards are 1 1/2" and 1/2" thick, but when stacked, they only give me 1 3/4." Being that HO roadbed is 1/4" thick, I plan to use this as subroadbed in the tunnel section so it's a proper 2" high, especially where it crosses over the bottom tracks in the mountain.

DECEMBER 15, 2006

Went back to Allied today and had no problems making the exchange (plus a couple bucks cash). I also bought a basswood board to use as a ""bridge" since the turnout will be on a piece of WS foam riser. So I did some measuring, cut the board to the length of the turnout, glued some cork roadbed, shaped to the profile of the turnout, drilled a hole under the throwarm and notched-out the foam riser to make suire the "bridge" was a snug fit. Then I installed the Tortoise and cut a hole in the 1" foam base and in the plywood ( I used my trusty Dremel to do the job...see, I knew it would come in handy!) and voila!

DECEMBER 18, 2006

Laid me some more flextrak. I worked out a way to use the Dremel after all, still using the clamp cutter to trim the rail, but using the Dremel with a sanding attachment to even out the end. Now I have about 16 feet of track put down:

I also added some white foam and carved out a "canyon" for the bottom track. Part of this will be hidden by a mountain, but the canyon will be a geographical feature in the layout. I know white foam isn't cool in the hobby, but blue foam where I live is expensive and hard to find, while I can pick up white foam for cheap at the local Home Depot. I do have a method planned for making the rock faces more realistic. More on that later...

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