Italian HO scale modular layout - WIP

minesweeper Feb 27, 2018

  1. minesweeper

    minesweeper TrainBoard Member

    Hallo guys, since i am starting to really put things on wood, here I post the WIP, first to share with others my thoughts and progress, second, but most important, to get constructive critiques on how to proceed. Planning is done, but all plans do not survive first contact with the enemy (wood, tracks, and rolling stock).

    The layout is a series of modules that will eventually go around my 25 by 10 feet garage.

    The focal point is a station located in the Italian Appenine mountains the started up as a terminal but ended up as a through station.

    I do not want to overload the post, so you can read the full story HERE and in the other linked pages on my website

    Here is one of the latest plans for the station...
    The curve on the left will not happen as I changed two houses in the meantime, and now have a lot of space on the left.
    Blue tracks will be wired for electric service, yellow will be diesels.
    On the left there will be a local branch (freelanced).
    The blue track on the right is the mainline, and the yellow one is a lesser local branch, also run by the freelanced company.
    The mainline and the left branch actually were in real world planned to be built in the early 920, however road traffic took over and still in the area (Is a National Park) the only possibility you have to go around is by car or bus.
    Here the first module (from the right on the plan)

    The diesel fueling station

    and the still WIP loco house

    How do you see it is going on?
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  2. traingeekboy

    traingeekboy TrainBoard Member

    Hey Minesweeper. Looking pretty good. Some of your linked images do not appear for me. But I will link to the other site. I always find it interesting how different european modeler's track plans are. There is a lot more use of smaller size switches and what to US modelers are sort of exotic switches like double slip and triple Whye.
  3. minesweeper

    minesweeper TrainBoard Member

    Sorry, trying again
    Loco house

    Fueling area


    All switches, except 2 in the yard area, are #5 or TILLIG equivalent, I would have used #6, but the space is limited and even 85' cars do not look that bad on 5s.
    The triple is custom made by Weinert, also with TILLIG profiles, and is due to a planning error, (as you can see is not on the plan): it allows me to use track 3 to run around the locos on both tracks 2 and 4.
    The double slip was initially planned on the loco house track, but placed elsewhere due to the complexity of laying overhead wires (in the end the loco house will not be wired, but the track was already laid).
    Most of the switches are handlaid using fastracks tools, some others are german TILLIG Elite code 83 with burnished rails; the same rail profiles are used for the handlaid parts. Tillig flex track has been used for the rest.
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2018
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  4. minesweeper

    minesweeper TrainBoard Member

    Here a view of the other two modules, with the triple and the double slip...
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  5. minesweeper

    minesweeper TrainBoard Member

    A little pause, but mostly to refine working on the shed (it is finally complete, with all lamps and capbles, roof is finished and the interior also).
    You can see one of the lifting jacks inside.

    The freight shed, is almost complete (lights and cables fixed), need just to assemble the roof and fit the stuff (goods to be transported) inside.


    You can also see the progress on the module. After the shed, I will fix the platform on the left (track 1), make the ones between tracks 1/2 and 3/4.
    Then, ballast (grey for the mainline), limestone white for the rest.

    Suggestions, comments?
  6. minesweeper

    minesweeper TrainBoard Member

    After a long pause and a battle with the freight shed, now completed, I started ballasting the fuelling track, putting a "bumped" bumper.
    I used an IKEA white decorating sand (to be weathered and dirtied due to the refueling pit) to represent the white limestone used in the appennines area for ballast.
    Here is the "bumped" bumper (this also will be weathered)

    and here the track


    What do you think about?
    How could I add a slight rusty touch without an airbrush?
  7. minesweeper

    minesweeper TrainBoard Member

    A friend of mine told me the ballast grain is too coarse (big).
    It has been glued with a mix of white glue, water and isopropyl alcohol.
    If I decide to try to remove it, how should I do without removing and destroying all the track?
  8. jwb3

    jwb3 TrainBoard Member

    Just spray it with plain water, let it soak -- the white glue will soften and turn white again -- and either spray harder to make the ballast flow out by itsellf, or use a tool like a screwdriver or toothbrush to pry the ballast loose.

    I've been to Italy several times, and the loco shed in particular looks very Italian!
  9. minesweeper

    minesweeper TrainBoard Member

    Thank you jwb..
    I will try next week.
    This week I got to work on the pavement of the platforms....

    That is the better looking concrete for platform 1 (the toilet shed is just for reference)

    The freight shed ramp did not end up so good,

    And, after weathering with india ink and some green paint on the sidewalls od the ramp, the almost complete shed..

    What do you think?
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  10. minesweeper

    minesweeper TrainBoard Member

    More weeks and the detailing is almost complete....

    The inside .. from above

    External views




    Details inside


    Bookbear1, Yannis, ddechamp71 and 3 others like this.
  11. VinceP

    VinceP TrainBoard Member

    Nice looking start ballast can be a real pain sometimes.
  12. minesweeper

    minesweeper TrainBoard Member

    Hi guys, got some more hours on the layout...
    Platform one, (extension due to repositioning of freight shed)

    Just to remind, the layout is situated on the Italian Appennines (similar to the appalachian) in late winter / early spring (there is no fifth season there, like in Mike Confalone's Allagash, but I liked his idea).
    I still have to know how to make the melting snow patches....
    The tiles on the platform are there do deceive the junction between the main piece and the later extension.

    View from the other direction.

    Please comment now beacuse it is better to do something now to make it better than when the piece is on the module.
    Bookbear1 and Hardcoaler like this.
  13. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

    I suggest a light spray of water, then let it sit for a few minutes to soften the glue. Use a small vacuum in one hand and a stiff brush in your other hand to loosen the ballast allowing the vacuum to suck it up. It doesn't matter if some of the ballast does not come up, it will be mixed with and covered by the new ballast.

    If the light spray of water bubbles and does not soak in, add some detergent or alcohol as a wetting agent.
    RailMix likes this.
  14. md11

    md11 TrainBoard Member

    Really good job. Love the italian trains. I also have three different passenger trains on my layout. I.e. the Brennero-Bologna Express from Vi-Trains.
  15. minesweeper

    minesweeper TrainBoard Member

    Hi Hytec, I did as you said, but used a 50/50 mix of water and vinegar, plus a squirt of isopropylic alcohol. A few passes with the brush and all ballast came off.
    Here it is..., while I was working thank you for the tip.

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  16. minesweeper

    minesweeper TrainBoard Member

    Good day, some small advances during the evenings:
    I moved the water coloumn on the platform as it was placed just on top of the switch, and a friend told me that "real world" electric switches equipment do not like to be drenched in water quite often, and water will also impact on the grease used to ease the points movement. IMG_5484.JPG

    Then a more panoramic view of the first module as work progresses (the water column is in the former place)
  17. minesweeper

    minesweeper TrainBoard Member

    Here the new pictures of the progress this weekend:
    Cabin view (the signals are new)

    panoramic view with ballast 75% complete
    The areas you see black are actually where a change in the station plan happened, I would like to show the former ballast (beige) with the traces of where the old sleepers were. How can I do that? Is there enough space? Or would the ballast have been completely removed and recycled.
    (New ballast is dark grey).
    Details of the "light track" close to the freight shed, tried to use code 55 rails, but could not have most of the stock going there.

    Transition from old to new track (and ballast)

    "Bumped up terminal"

    and other track details

    what can I improve?
    what about some grass tufts here and there (it is winter)?
    other things?
  18. Mr. Trainiac

    Mr. Trainiac TrainBoard Member

    I think some green might do you some good. I am digging the ballast, so I think you are set on that, but it looks too clean, and everyone knows real life isn’t like that. You could do some ground cover or static grass on the sidings for some contrast with the main line.
  19. traingeekboy

    traingeekboy TrainBoard Member

    The layout is looking very good. I am impressed with your structure lighting. If you wait till a few days after a storm you can gather real mud flakes from a puddle that has dried and cracked. It naturally settles to make the finer particles end up on the surface. A very inexpensive... FREE... modeling material that looks amazingly like real dirt. ;)
  20. minesweeper

    minesweeper TrainBoard Member

    Trainiac, I am experimenting to see what kind of green should get where.
    Geek, will try when i can.
    By the way I am building the last structure of the module, a fully enclosed water tower (water had to be protected from freezing in winter).
    No kit, so it is all scratchbuilt with a plate of plastic material I do not remember and styrene stripes for the edges.
    Here the prototype
    Senza titolo.jpg
    I am not modeling that station, so i took inspiration and got my own details.


    and here the first test location on the module

    Still to be done:
    lamp and station marks over the door
    trimming the underside with something to reduce the "just dropped there" effect.

    How does it look like?
    Bookbear1 likes this.

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