Aug 12, 2011
Congratulations M.C. ! :thumbs_up:
When I submitted the car float article to Model Railroad Hobbyist back in September, the rail barge was the only thing scenicked on the whole layout!
Since then we've scenicked pretty much the entire layout.
Now the area behind the rail barge looks like this:
Guess I'll have to do another article to keep things up to date
I encourage you all to write up all the fab stuff you do & get it out there!
Enjoyed this thread very much. Great to see what can be accomplished in a small (and portable) space. Inspiring modeling.
Than hand laid turnouts gave you a lot of freedom for the plan.
The plan originally comes from Byron Henderson's folding "Alameda Belt Line" design.
[We just stuck a 3" spacer between the two sections, added a pair of hinges so it folds into a box, and played with a brewery and carfloat]
You can do it with Atlas Code 55 turnouts.
I just like to handlay & build multiple-turnout fixtures (reduces joints and produces smoother rails).
Plus I don't like to pay $20 for an inferior turnout.
Speaking of portability, I'm getting worried about the hinges and the strain on the screws into the MDF (which turns to powder quickly) when folded up.
This thing is getting a little heavy with all the scenicking!
So I'll probably glue/screw a strap or two under & over the hinges to help take the weight off.
Thanks again for the comments.
Wow, what an incredible thread, thanks for sharing your great lay out.
Congrats on the published article, and you should totally should submit a layout feature in MRH. Your layout shows you don't need a basement empire to have a rewarding layout, and that sharing your hobbies with your kids can be just as rewarding. Hope you have a happy new year of modeling.
Thanks, Rowan & y0chang.
I'm working on a bunch of articles right now, including one on railroad modeling with kids and one on the whole layout.
Been adding little details here & there while I build the cannery for the Mt. Coffin layout:
Next up: wiring a Stonebridge Models e-Z throttle to take a wall wart and using it to replace the current power pack brick.
This will reduce weight and give a mobile, tethered throttle to the layout, and 9 volts should be fine for a layout this small.
Thanks for looking!
outstanding work! congrats on the article!
Thanks, Dave, especially coming from a great model railroader as yourself.
Always enjoy seeing your work!
"Sacrificed" a Fine N Scale 36' boxcar to build the yard maintanence shed:
Tried a salt-weathering technique for the first time, but the weathering powders over it seem to have obliterated the effect.
Boxcar still seems too new, so will hit with some more weathering soon.
Probably should have done some dry-brushing ahead of time, but oh well.
Will come out okie dokie in the end.
Some wider shots of the right 11"x36" section of the layout:
Still working on the building "cover" for the powerpack (which, because we use the e-Z throttle, now is a storage area).
Should have that done pretty soon: trying to get the layout done for show-&-tell at the NMRA Coast Division Meet March 11.
It's free and you're all invited!
Thanks for looking.
Excellent modeling, M.C. Great that you can involve your kids in your hobby.
What was the reasoning behind having your building flats extend over the entire backdrop? Is it in order to avoid the issue of dealing with the missing sides of the buildings? I ask this question as I also have an area which has backdrop flats and some partial buildings sticking out of the backdrop. I realized that I cannot easily have gaps between the buildings as it will look odd at any angle other than straight on.
The flats extend all the way across because the layout can be folding up into a 3'x12"x4" box for easy transportation, which limits the backdrop to 3 1/2" high.
In order for the backdrop on each section (36", 3", 36") to clear each other, the sections are staggered from left to right at 12" deep, 11 1/2", and 11", which gives less than a 1/2" of "stick-out" clearance on the left and middle sections.
You can see the thinness of the backdrop & flats in the photo of my son operating the layout:
The flats stick out more on the right section [top of above photo] because that's the inner-most backdrop.
The large brick building on the left and the twin small oil tanks are removeable and cover the two sets of hinges.
I tried not to have a consistant flatness across: the brewery has a 1/2-building that accepts cars, the wooden flat has a couple layers of styrene behind it so it sticks out more than the brick wall between it and the white dockside warehouse, which also has some protruding features.
I think you could have gaps between the flats & use photos to "fill" the scene.
This backdrop section between the Bella Fonte Cannery (left of the smokestack) and some brick flat on the right is just a photo of a real building in Alameda stuck on the backboard with a fence in front:
I realize now that, since the left side backdrop is actually "outside" of the box, I could have had a more varied "skyline" instead of straight across.
I still could create detachable backdrops that stick on the back of the backdrop when open, but Alameda is pretty low anyway so it's okie dokie.
With flats & low-relief buildings it's a nifty trick to angle some out (i.e. not have everything parallel to the backdrop like I have), but I didn't have the space to do that here.
Check out Paul Dolkos' article "How to plan and build an urban scene" (MR Oct. 2011 pages 50-57) as well as John Pryke's fab book Building City Scenery for Your Model Railroad (Kalmbach, 2000) for many great ideas for flats, low-relief buildings and backdrops.
Hope this helps.
Thanks M.C. for the explanation of what you did and why.
Its neat how you figured out the staggering of the flats so that you can fold the layout.
I'll have to see what I will do with my flats. I think I should maybe start my own thread with photos and ask for opinions that way. After all a picture is worth 1000 words as you and others have demonstrated on TB.
Sir, I hereby recommend you receive the N-Scale Hero award. Really good work. A lot of good work.
Just wondering if you would show some of the details about how it folds up for storage or transportation and unfolds for running.
Thanks for the kind words.
I showed the two removeable structures back on page 8 (I think) of this thread.
Once those are off (and all the rolling stock and trucks), then the right 1'x3' section swings up, over a 3" spacer section in the middle, and then latches to the top of the backdrop on the far left of the left 1'x3' section.
I think there's a picture of the "box" on the first page of the thread.
At train shows it takes me 4 times longer to put the cars on the rails than it does setting up the layout
Almost done with it, too.
Finally got some signs up on the buildings, so everyone (especially the engineer) knows what is where.
Doolittle Freight & Bella Fonte Cannery:
(Jimmy Doolittle of WWII fame was from Alameda, while Bella Fonte sounds similar to the real Del Monte cannery and plus we all love Harry Bellafonte, especially on The Muppet Show)
[motto: "First you flotsam, then you jetsam!"]
Rosie the Riveteer hangs out at Doolittle Freight waiting for the loco to finish the "Banana Boat" job at the Bella Fonte Cannery:
She's getting a little impatient because daylight comin', she wanna go home
We also finished the big building that covers the powerpack space (you can see a little of it behind Doolittle Freight in the first photo), but I'll need to get some photos of it tomorrow in some good light.
Until then, thanks for looking.
Hauled the layout out onto some tables in the sun, which was playing peek-a-boo behind some clouds, so somewhat iffy photos.
Continuing the sign-a-polooza, The Woodstock Warehouse and Morrison Pier got labeled:
[Woodstock is an early name for one end of Alameda, and Jim Morrison of the Doors went to high school in Alameda]
A closer look:
The motto of Morrison Pier is "Opening the Doors to the World".
A sunny day at the yard office in front of Flotsam Brewery:
And the completed cover for the now-defunct powerpack space:
So this area was going to house the powerpack, but since we switched to the e-Z throttle, we don't need access to it during ops, so it became the throttle storage area.
Since much of the layout is so flat, we wanted a little height and depth:
We stuck a cabinet magnet on the far side & gorillaglued a small plate under the styrene base, so it's firmly attached but also pops off easily.
So now there's a bit of "heft", and the layout moves from three-story left to pier/carfloat flat right, hopefully making things more interesting than straight across.
Here's the backside:
In terms of visual elements & composition, not too bad.
But it does bring the total of structures to remove before transport up to 5.
Model Railroading as History Lesson
But what to make of this non-rail-served industry building?
My daughter is in the 4th grade which, in California, is the year students start to study California history in earnest.
The layout is set in Alameda soon after WWII (1946-9).
So we turned this project into a mini history lesson / tribute.
We large building we labeled "Fujiwara Trading Company" and tried to make it look older (with fire damage) and unoccupied:
[hmm... need more / grainier soot above fire-damaged windows...]
Then we found some U.S. wartime posters and put them on the walls of Doolittle Freight:
Left to right, the posters read: "Jap... You're Next! We'll Finish the Job," "Jap Hunting Licenses Sold Here Free" and "Remember Pearl Harbor: Buy War Bonds Now! Or Else...."
As this layout is after the end of the war, we wanted them to look older and faded, with the "Hunting License" posted scratched and torn.
Next to the Fujiwara Trading Company door we posted the U.S. Government "Executive Order 9066" sign declaring "Instructions to Persons of Japanese Ancestry" to be ready to be removed to Internment Camps within the week:
After Pearl Harbor, many Japanese-American citizens living in the Bay Area put up signs on their stores to remind others that "I am an American," so I had it painted on the door. Didn't matter to Roosevelt or the Supreme Court, many Americans were stripped of their rights, locked up, and then forced to fight for the U.S. in WWII (the 442nd).
[Here's more info on Japanese-American Internment, if you'd like]
So instead of making the building another generic industry, we took the opportunity to do a little research and create something that has a lot of significance for us as a family:we have relatives who fought & died on both sides of the war, as well as friends who were born or lived in the Internment Camps.
The best moment was when my daughter realised that, if the same situation happened today, that she would be sent off to the camps with her brother and Mom (who'd actually be deported back to Japan) while Dad would be drafted into the army and out fighting against the Japanese (or Germans, which we're also part). She looked near tears and proclaimed "That's stupid."
Yes, yes it is.
And all this is next to the "Rosie the Riveteer" boxcar waiting to unload at Doolittle Frieght, which is next to the Bella Fonte Cannery, which is down the tracks from Morrison Pier, so I guess at the end there's a "Peace Frog."
Model Railroads are certainly teachable moments, well beyond the solder and plaster!
Thanks for looking.
This has been great following this work. Excellent on everything I've seen and it flows nicely.