2019-2020 Twelfth Annual International Winter Layout Party

ppuinn Dec 12, 2019

  1. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

    "We know you're out there!
    Yeah, you… and you… and you with the potato chip hanging off your lip and the half-drunk beverage sitting beside you. We know you're not working on your layout as much as you hoped to. "

    Rick Nicholson (Screen name: rsn48) issuing the first Layout Party invitation in Spring 2002.

    Welcome to the 2019-2020 Twelfth Annual International Winter Layout Party

    You may have ideas for a new project that you always wanted to try but never got around to.
    Or there is a stack of kits on your workbench you’ve been meaning to start.
    Or you have a partially completed project that has been neglected for far too long.
    Or you have an almost-finished project that just needs some final fine-tuning and attention to complete.
    Or you are already in the midst of a project and you want to participate in the Party to share your progress with everyone else.

    The purpose of the Layout Party is to offer recognition, encouragement, and support to all participants who are working on a layout project, and to provide inspiration to those following others’ progress in the thread. We hope to have a group of people who will post about the work completed on their layout at least once a week for the next 11 weeks. We will, of course, congratulate those who have worked on their layout, and encourage those who haven't.

    This year's Layout Party officially begins this weekend (Sunday, December 15, 2019), and will run for 11 weeks until Sunday, March 1, 2020. (Okay... since the thread is open now, you can start posting today.)

    Guidelines for The 2019-2020 Twelfth Annual International Winter Layout Party Thread

    1. In your first post, please include descriptions of:
    --your layout (brief),
    --the area of your layout that you intend to work on (“before” pictures, please…if available), and
    --a description of what you hope to accomplish in the 11 weeks of the Layout Party.

    2. At least once each week, post a brief description and/or pictures of your progress--or lack of progress--so far, and what you hope to accomplish in the next week. The object of the Layout Party is to have fun, so plan accordingly: set a reasonable goal...and feel free to revise your goal upward or downward as you go along, so you are having fun instead of feeling stressed.

    3. At the end of the Layout Party, post a description and/or picture(s) of your accomplishments.

    FWIW: Some observations and suggestions:

    • Life Happens. The idea here is for us to have some fun and act as an electronic support group so we can each get more done on our layouts.
    • Make a firm commitment to post at least once each week about progress on your layout project.
    • If you fall off the Layout Party Work Wagon, acknowledge it by reporting it honestly.
    • Then climb back on the Layout Party Work Wagon. Declaring exactly what you plan to work on during the next week will help you get back on the Layout Party Work Wagon.
    • When we have others coming over to see our layouts, we tend to get more done because we plan and prepare better, and then actually follow through so we have something to show our visitors and can garner some strokes for all our efforts. Posting in the Annual Layout Party works in much the same way: we plan, prepare, and follow through a little better when we know someone will be seeing our progress.
    • If you encounter difficulties on the layout project, remember that the other participants and all the TrainBoard members following the Layout Party thread can be a resource for encouragement and problem-solving.
    • If you have any problems posting pics, let us know so we can do appropriate problem-solving.

    Many participants have enjoyed this format and have commented that they accomplished more work on their layout in the short time we ran a Layout Party thread than they had in long time. Many members posted pictures, asked questions, moaned about problems, and encouraged others who were working through their own frustrations. Check out these links to our past layout parties.

    2018-2019 Eleventh Annual International Winter Layout Party

    2017-2018 Tenth Annual International Winter Layout Party

    2016-2017 Ninth Annual International Winter Layout Party

    2015-2016 Eighth Annual International Winter Layout Party

    2014-2015 Seventh Annual International Winter Layout Party

    2013-2014 Sixth Annual International Winter Layout Party

    2012-2013 Fourth Annual International Winter Layout Party (Really, it was the Fifth Annual)

    2011-2012 Third Annual International Winter Layout Party (Really, it was the Fourth Annual)

    2010-2011 Third Annual International Winter Layout Party

    2009-2010 Second Annual International Winter Layout Party

    2009 - First Annual International Winter Layout Party

    2008 - Spring Layout Party
    Sixth Annual International Spring Layout Party - TrainBoard.com

    2007 - Spring Layout Party
    Fifth Annual International Spring Layout Party - TrainBoard.com

    2005 – Spring Layout Party
    Door Knocker's Delight

    2004 – Spring Layout Party

    2003 – Spring Layout Party
    From Armchair to Benchwork

    2002 – Spring Layout party
    Lonely Heart's Club Band
  2. Grey One

    Grey One TrainBoard Supporter

    The Grey and Grandure X - Is in the living room. As such construction is slow and painful.
    Is, um, will be 2 or 3 railroads depending on how you count them.
    1. The freight / switching line along the front edge.
    2. The excursion line with has running rights over the GandG
    3. The Fast passenger service bullet train portion which will be further back
    Foot Print
    • West Wall: 8'X3' is mostly behind the TV, (currently being framed)
    • South Wall: 19'x3' with two windows, (currently being framed)
    • East Wall: 13'X3' will be constructed last as time and budget permit.
    My overall hope / goal is to get all 3 walls completely framed and covered in foam with some form of trains running. Pics and such to follow when trains are actually running.
    Framing West Wall and 1/2 of South Wall 'Should' be done tomorrow but life happens.
    Build Thread:
  3. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

    Welcome to The Party, Steve!
  4. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

    My layout will be on the Layout Tour for the NMRA Peoria Rocket 2020 Mid-West Regional Convention held in East Peoria IL in May, 2020...and a lot of projects on my layout need to be completed by then.

    My Layout Party Goals will include:
    1. Several of the step-up benches that operators and visitors use to access the upper deck have wheels, so they can be rolled under the benchwork when not in use. I am going to modify (raise, lower, shorten) some of them, and remove the wheels from others.
    2. All of the existing fascia will be repainted, repaired and/or replaced, and new fascia will be installed in 4 areas.

    3. We are replacing a 3-panel patio door in the trainroom during the last week of December, and I've already disconnected the Bartonville Helix and about 7 feet of double decks that were passing in front of the patio door. The helix is a 54"x54" structure which, after disconnecting wires and track from the adjacent benchwork on either side, was shifted about 2 feet back from the patio door to provide enough room for the workers to take out the old door and insert a new one. The upper and lower decks are Homasote screwed to OSB panels on stringers and L-girders, and, by cutting the L-girders just short of the next legs where the Homasote and OSB panels were spliced to the rest of the benchwork, the space in front of the patio door was cleared relatively easily.
    3a. After the replacement door is in, the upper deck tracks and wiring will be reconnected, the backdrop will be put back in place, and any necessary scenery repairs will be made.
    3b. The lower deck, which was a single level at about 49 inches elevation, will stay 49 inches in the front half, but the L-girders will be redesigned/reconfigured to support the Homasote and OSB panels at 51.5 inches in the back half of the shelf. Lower deck lighting will be re-installed.
    3c. The lower deck track will be re-laid in a much different configuration.
    3d. A new backdrop and new scenery will be put on the lower deck.

    If the activities above are completed before March 1, my Layout Party goals will shift to upgrading many of the buildings and structures on my layout. In no particular order or priority:
    a. Numerous card stock, cardboard, or foam board building mock-ups will receive necessary repairs or replacement.
    b. There are 7 unfinished kitbashes that I no longer view as "good enough", so I will finish them (or at least bring them up to the new "good enough"): The counterweight tower for my Peoria and Pekin Union Rwy drawbridge; the P&PU Diesel Shop; the 3 Keystone Steel and Wire Mill gantry cranes; the 2 KSW Billet Storage overhead cranes; Smith-Scharff Paper; Kickapoo Substation; and Edwards Power Plant.
    c. I will paint the dozens of unpainted medicine bottles, PVC caps, pipes, dowels, and tubes that I've used for tanks in many industries on my layout.

    I'll post some Before pics in a few days.
    BNSF FAN likes this.
  5. nscalestation

    nscalestation TrainBoard Supporter

    Great ! I'll be participating again this year.

    I have been going through a lot of progress photos I had taken over the last 5 years and it is noticeable that quite a bit gets done on the layout while the layout party is going on. Since the party ended last year I have mostly been doing little things here and there on the layout but this fall committed to the next expansion. Up to now the layout has been expanded by added a section at a time ranging from 3 to 8 feet in length. Because this next area has to span across a window and because I doubt I would ever re-use this area if we were ever to move it is being built in place. This means that through traffic on the main line is shut down so I am motivated to get this area done to a point where I can get a return loop back in and run trains again.

    This view shows the area to be worked on soon after I put up the bench work in October. From side to side is about 9-1/2 feet with about 2 feet extending on the right side and 3-1/2 feet extending on the left side. During the course of the party I hope to extend the track and basic scenery from the right around to the left side of the window where I can install a temporary return loop. This area will represent the Palisade Canyon in Nevada and will be mountainous scenery with several rail bridges.


    Here is a more recent view of that right corner. A lot has been done but it has been slow going with all the rock castings. The reach from the edge of the layout to the mountains is about 30 inches so I want to finish back there before installing the bridges and track in the front. I have been developing the right of ways, building the bridges and abutments, and some of the land forms in between rock casting work.

    Glad to be here again.
    Kurt Moose and BNSF FAN like this.
  6. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

    Glad to have you here again, Brad!
    Two fellow modelers were helping me on my layout this morning, and we took a break to look through last year's Layout Party thread. They were impressed by your work.
  7. RailMix

    RailMix TrainBoard Member

    Initially, I was thinking about building benchwork, but that can't yet be done in the layout's eventual location. When the time comes I will be building benchwork on the side porch at home, so that time isn't gonna come until spring.

    What I've decided to do is commandeer an unused upstairs bathroom, set up a 2'X8' piece of plywood and draw a full size plan for the area outlined on the rendering. From there I intend to build and locate structures and locate track components. Some of the structures are unbuilt kits, while others are train show finds that need paint, details and minor repair. If I can make them work, I'm going try working in some building flats. I'm going to leave the whole thing open ended as to how much gets completed. My main goal is to keep things moving. If, by some stroke of luck I finish that area, I'll pick another.
  8. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

    Welcome aboard, RailMix.
    When I got into N scale in the 1970s, I did something similar with a roll of brown craft paper, and a dozen turnouts made by tracing my single right hand turnout on notebook paper and turning some of them over for left hand TOs.
    LOL: I discovered my pencil-drawn track plans would only be possible with #2 turnouts and WAY too tight curves!

    BNSF FAN TrainBoard Supporter

    Hi all! Joining the party this year. Hopefully this will not be the Charlie Brown moment when you all tell me that if I got an invitation, it was obviously a mistake. :D

    Some of you already know my layout in progress is named the JPT sub and is a fictional section of the BNSF/ATSF. It's a basic 4x8 N scale layout with a simple double track main and several switching opportunities. There is an ongoing thread of the layout build in the N scale forum.

    Several things going on that I hope to accomplish over the course of the party. Except for the shelves noted first, there is no particular order to the list at this point.
    1. Complete shelves in the storage closet. That will give me some space to set out things I still have in boxes and places to move things off the workbench while glue or paint is drying on projects. Hopefully this bit of organization will help me with other projects. Here's a look at the closet space that I cleaned out yesterday for the start to the shelves.

    2. Finish the creek scene on the layout.
    a. Cut some plexi glass to cover the ends on the creek scene
    b. Finish up the rockwork for the creek bed and banks of the creek.
    c. Pour water
    d. Add canoers in the creek
    e. add trees, shrubs and brush around the creek.
    layout party 1.JPG

    3. Add fascia to the layout:
    a. Cut some 1/8" birch plywood to use for the fascia including cut outs for the creek scene
    b. Paint the fascia (currently planning a medium/dark green with black trim)
    c. Apply fascia to layout
    d. Begin work on the trim around the fascia
    e. Add accessories and controls to fascia.

    4. Need to create a new wiring plan for lights and accessories on the layout. All track and turnouts are already powered.

    5. Lots of random scenery, roads, and building scenes to work on (as you can tell in the pictures above and below). Will plan those as the opportunities present themselves.

    Thanks for following along and let's hope it all goes well. Feel like all of this should be easily obtainable over the next 11 weeks but then again, I will say a lot of this is really dependent on how my bad knee is feeling on the weekends.

    Looking forward to seeing how everyone does. Now since it's a party, who's bringing the Sam Adams? :D:p:cool:
    ppuinn, Joe Lovett, dalebaker and 3 others like this.
  10. Grey One

    Grey One TrainBoard Supporter

    So far I am on schedule.
    • 16 Feet of bench work done
    • Bench work covered in foam, (left over from pre-fire layout)
    • One very temporary oval of track down and trains running
    • Further exploration of paper buildings continued
    • Prepare 'Solstice Recorder' for the 22nd.
    • Work on 'Holiday Train' for the families Christmas
    • Continue paper building designs in preparation for cardstock
    • Continue research of lighting methods
    • No more bench work till mid to late January.
    • Consider helix to drop balence of table height 12 inches. That is a big if but will explore possible.
    • Build 24 inch card stock building while teaching grandson about the process.
    dalebaker likes this.
  11. Gary Helriegel

    Gary Helriegel TrainBoard Member

    Perfect timing on this for me, as so far my layout is just bits and bytes and I've -just- finished coursework for a bachelor's degree (finally) and will actually have free time to work on it. I've finalized the initial sectional design, so at least I know what I need to do to fit the space I have. I'm basing this on a lightly fictionalized GN Minot Division. Initially, I'll be modeling GN in the early 60s save for occasionally running steam, but I'd like to be able to bring it up to closer to current (BN or even BNSF) occasionally, mostly by swapping out vehicles and rolling stock. The Minot area downtown where my industries will be still has the grain elevators I'll be modeling, and enough of the other buildings are even still the same.
    Current Status:

    Goals by the end of 11 weeks:
    1. Complete framing and subroadbed for at least two or three modules (upper right, Minot in-town yard facilities)
    2. Trackwork for at least the main and one industry spur completed
    3. At least one industry assembled and installed
    4. Install DCC modules in the F-units I picked up recently
    5. Install my Digitrax Zephyr control as a fascia-mount fixed control box on the 'straight' yard module
    6. Most important of all: Run a train.
    7. If I have time, get modules on legs, add fascia on both sides, start ballasting and weathering, etc.
    8. If I STILL have time, start working on fixing up the old GN E unit loco I got as part of a lot and see if there's space to add a decoder.
    Shouldn't be too rough, and it'll finally get something in place.

    This week: Finalize yard and industry module design.

    I'll be using more or less FreeMoN standards, so that apart from the yard, everything can connect together in any orientation. It'll be nice to be able to add mainline runs between things when I have more space available, and the generous minimum curves will let me run passenger and freight without issue.
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2019
    ppuinn, HemiAdda2d, RailMix and 3 others like this.
  12. RailMix

    RailMix TrainBoard Member

    Still working on getting stored stuff out of my appropriated work space and arranging other stuff. Plans will be taking a temporary detour this weekend, as I have received the lab report on my future train room. The ceiling tile turned out to be made of cellulose with no asbestos content (many thanks to my dad for having selected and installed that product 60 years ago) so I will be heading up north tomorrow to rip out the damaged part of the ceiling. Will hopefully be back on track (no pun intended) by Monday.

  13. nscalestation

    nscalestation TrainBoard Supporter

    Hi All. Wife and I went to Las Vegas for a few days so did not get much done. In the past couple of years we have been gone to Arizona during the Layout Party time but the family we visit there will be coming here over Christmas so I should be around for regular weekly updates this year.

    This photo shows the type of canyon walls I am trying to re-create on this part of my layout.

    To make the rocky parts on the tops I have been using the crumpled up aluminum foil method using about a 2 inch x 4 inch piece of aluminum foil at a time. After pouring the Hydrocal plaster I let it firm up then put the foil onto the mountain while it is still a bit soft working the edge into the previous section so the pattern will be blended.

    After the plaster has hardened the foil is removed. I don't start the next section until the next day so this has been a slow process.

    This view shows the area that was already done on the Harney section of the layout. I hope to get the same effect throughout the canyon.
  14. Grey One

    Grey One TrainBoard Supporter

    I'm taking notes on 'aluminum foil method'. I think the grandson will like that.
    gjslsffan, vince p and nscalestation like this.
  15. vince p

    vince p TrainBoard Member

    Count me in as i have returned to n scale and will be building a new layout in a 7'X11' room.

    It'll be 3 levels

    Level 1

    Level 2
    City aka Small Town USA.

    Level 3
    Mountains, rivers, tunnels, Bridges.

    Will post pics and update after the first when I get the needed lumber and can start on it.

    Level 1
    Will be at a minimum height of 40" to clear my workbench and ain't booth.
  16. vince p

    vince p TrainBoard Member


    Looking really great
    nscalestation likes this.
  17. BNSF FAN

    BNSF FAN TrainBoard Supporter

    End of week 1 update. Finished the shelves on one side if the closet. still have two to go on the other side to completely finish the train room closet. This is a big step in making a lot of space for being able to access my train materials better.

    Did some scenery work as well so feel like I am still on track at the end of week 1. More pics in my N scale JPT Sub thread.

    It's Christmas week so I would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas!!! Enjoy the week.
    vince p, RailMix and nscalestation like this.
  18. nscalestation

    nscalestation TrainBoard Supporter

    Still plugging along with the mountains but was finished enough in the far corner to start building out the area in the front of the corner and install a 6ft long section of hard board fascia. Up to now on this layout I had glued and nailed fascia up with my nailer but that left all those nail spots to repair to get it to look good. This time I just clamped it after applying glue so that will save to time. Clamped it with the welders clamps we use to hold the modules together in the Asian modular layout I belong to.

    And applied a coat of weathering wash to some of the bridge abutments that I had already painted. This particular one is for the skewed thru truss bridge that will be right at the corner.
    You all have a nice Christmas and I'll post another update maybe sometime next weekend depending on how much I get done.
    JSL, HemiAdda2d, vince p and 2 others like this.
  19. BNSF FAN

    BNSF FAN TrainBoard Supporter

    Great work Brad. The rock work is coming along nicely
    nscalestation likes this.
  20. TrainzLuvr

    TrainzLuvr TrainBoard Member


    I will timidly join this time, as I've just begun converting this:


    into ... this:


    Ok...perhaps not. :(

    Rather humbly resemble this:

    Mark Lestico's UP Cascade Subdivision

    This will be a N Scale point-to-point layout with through staging, 120 ft. main line on a fictional railroad.

    A very loose layout plan:


    Since December 13, I got the following things done:

    Staging benchwork and top surface (not shown):

    First bench for one of the peninsulas:

    First "domino" module:

    I have most of the wood cut for the benchwork (spent last two weeks on and off), and am in the process of assembling and mounting modules.

    Posting progress to my website at https://trainsluvr.com and also started with some short YouTube videos documenting the construction.

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