Wrightsville Port: N-Scale Waterfront Layout

Nimo Nov 20, 2010

  1. Nimo

    Nimo TrainBoard Member

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  2. Nimo

    Nimo TrainBoard Member

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    The next step in the conveyor belt portion was to add the 'stairway to heaven!' Pretty straight forward - glue the Plastruct stairs using model cement, and then add the railings. I have used small styrene pieces as the top floor and landings, and some spare parts from the trestle kit to support the first landing from the ground.

    The next step was the time consuming painting! However, I have moved away from acrylic in this one (because my matt medium stock is over) and decided to use leftover paint from one of my airfix kits that I built a few days back (A Messerschmitt Bf109 for interested souls). As you can see the humbrol enamel paint does a fantastic job even without an airbrush. I have never achieved this finish with acrylic using paint brush.

    as you can see, the wires for lights is in place as well (actual lights yet to be installed).

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  3. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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  4. Nimo

    Nimo TrainBoard Member

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    The next step was to add the shades at the end/joint of the each conveyor segment. I had simply cut the appropriate sizes of the corrugated sheets, painted them, and glued them using model cement. Given there are no removable parts, I just used the existing structure as reinforcements for these structures and didn't really waste any time creating reinforcements of their own - after all time is short!

    The next phase was to create the hopper car loading facility. Here, I need to mention that like most of my other structures, this one will also be removable to aide easier maintenance down the line. So, I made a simple structure using the corrugated styrene sheets and glued it to the edge of the concrete base of the coveyor structures using additional cardboard reinforcements and small ABS pillars - this structure doesn't really have a base and when moved will be held in place just by that one edge.

    So, here are some photos. My aging Fuji camera is not really in best of its abilities but that's the one I had right on top of the layout - so, just took some quick shots - you have to excuse that extra noise.

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    The remaining pieces in this facility are the conveyor section to connect the HAC and the elevator tower, connecting the rail car loading section to the elevator tower and finally building the barge loading arm - and of course necessary painting and weathering. Given I will be on vacation the whole of next week, I am assuming this would take at least 2 more weeks to see completion.
     
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  5. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Any trains involved? :) What Fuji camera are you using? I have had an S5100 for years now. Great outdoors, in natural light. Indoors... Many suggestions and ideas tried, but.... :(
     
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  6. Nimo

    Nimo TrainBoard Member

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    Unfortunately not trains! :( I had to plan for this vacation in less than a week's time, so have to be satisfied with a 'normal' vacation. Mine is a Fuji 2000 HD - it still works wonderfully outdoors and higher shutter speed, but is not as good as it used to be in indoors and low light situations.
     
  7. Nimo

    Nimo TrainBoard Member

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    Had some progress made on the grain elevator in last couple of days. The conveyor belt is now complete, and all the components are now painted. The facility is more or less done, requires just a loading chute for the barges, some grain on the open part of the conveyor and a barge full of grain!

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  8. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    This is one of the best little port scenes I have ever seen in person, or photos.
     
  9. Nimo

    Nimo TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks Ken! That's quite a compliment. :)
     
  10. Nimo

    Nimo TrainBoard Member

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    This not really is an update on the layout as much it is about my new camera - Sony Nex 3 Mirror-less. With my astrophotography bug forcing me to do modifications in my Canon 1100D and making it virtually non-usable for anything else other than astrophotography, and my aging Fuji S2000HD, I desperately needed a reasonably priced option that caters to all my photography needs, including light astro-photography - hence Nex 3. Old enough to be reasonably priced, small enough for travel and casual photography, interchangeable lens to get the benefits of a DSLR - all in all a good deal for me.

    Now enough about the camera intro - let's see what it can do in terms of model photography.

    Here are some shots - taken real quick using the smart features of the camera and some with full manual settings. I might need a macro lens, but as a start, this camera definitely have the potential to take good miniature photos:

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    And then there was time to test the videos. Now this came to me as a complete surprise, but this camera's video features are better than many dedicated video cameras! Video is synched with the still photography mode (If you are taking still photos using smart setting, the same settings will apply to your videos, if you are using manual, then you can set your video settings as well), giving you a wide range of options to adjust aperture, ISO, gain and other setting. So here is a video of the layout taken with the same camera.



    Now something about the sound - this is a Train Tech Sound Capsule installed as a over-sized load in the depressed flat car. This is a truly plug and play - battery operated and motion sensing. The sound sequence is pre-programmed, so you cannot really make it sound the way you want, but with a little practice and variation of speed, you can achieve decent sound simulation. This is a very good way to add sound to any DC layout - no wiring, expensive DC sound units or sound cars. For HO/OO this thing is very easy to conceal in any carriage (it actually is meant for OO scale), you have to be creative to make it fit in a N scale car - easiest way I found is to use it on top of a flat car as you can see in the video.
     
  11. badlandnp

    badlandnp TrainBoard Member

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    Very nice, Kaustav! The sound is awfully convincing, but the package is a large challenge.
    The camera does some excellent photography and video! Looks like you got a great deal!
    Alan
     
  12. Nimo

    Nimo TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks Alan! Yes, packaging the sound unit is definitely a challenge and I am still trying to find a better way to represent the oversized load - I went for a covered large transformer sort of load for now, but that doesn't go well with my theme. Another reason packaging is a challenge for this is because you have to remove the battery after every session. The system is programmed to shut down after 30 seconds of inactivity, however, given it's motion sensor and I have my layout right in my living room, it gets activated even if someone walk by hurriedly or if the door is closed loudly - basically any vibration or movement. They should think about an enhancement of a magnetic switch or something to switch it off and on completely.
     
  13. Nimo

    Nimo TrainBoard Member

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    Well, despite having very less time for modeling, it seems I have renewed energy to see this project through somehow. Though nothing major, I added some more odd details around the layout, one of the major ones being installing over 20 bitts around the quay. Previously, I used various methods to make bitts, but this time I took to an easier path that can make really strong bitts - strong enough to take mooring line of size 8 threads anyway!

    Couple of important aspect of my method is that firstly, my port surfaces are all cardboard. Secondly, underneath that cardboard throughout the edge of the port it's foam.

    What I did first was painted a bunch of wooden toothpick burnt sienna. Notice those curving on top of the toothpicks and the big crevice right below the top 'blob' - that makes them natural selection for bitts.

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    I then drilled pair of holes in failry equal distanc at the edge of the port using #61 drill

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    I had then taken the pair of painted toothpicks and marked the required length to which they need to be trimmed to meet the required height.

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    Once the toothpicks are cut to size, I just pushed them through the holes that I just drilled

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    And finally when both are pushed all the way through, I got a pair of bitts

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    Once all the bitts are 'nailed' down, I did half the mooring for the largest ship on my layout Betelgeuse - just the bow line and one of the springers. The Stern line and the other springer will be moored in due time. The water level is pretty 'low' and looks pretty 'solid' to ensure that the stern of the ship doesn't start drifting towards the upcoming boat yard. After all, there hasn't been any serious accidnt in Wrightsville Port for last 5+ years though none of the boats had mooring on them all this while, so it is, truly, 'cosmetic'

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  14. badlandnp

    badlandnp TrainBoard Member

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    Ther eyou go 'imagineering' an awesome and inexpensive detail again! It is amazing how much that adds to the scene.
    Showed this to two of my sons here tonight, 'wow!' was their word!
     
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  15. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I like those tire fenders!
     
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  16. Nimo

    Nimo TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks Ken! Making those were another story - wrapped rolls of cheap muscle tapes on a plastic tube (don't remember where I got it from) - different thickness in different places. Cut them with a hobby knife and then painted them black. Didn't go for much perfection, because those decades old tire fenders are never really in proper shape!

    Thanks Alan. :) Imagineering - I should use that along with my version scrap-building more often! :) Love the term.
     
  17. Nimo

    Nimo TrainBoard Member

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    When I'd set out to build this Model Railroad back in 2010, very little I knew about the road ahead of me. Well, you might say that you never really know the road ahead, but you have a general idea most of the time, you tend to follow a 'track' (Pun intended!) - you know where you are going, you know the 'stations' to come and you know the timetable. For me, it has always been more of a free flowing road trip for last 5 years - I worked in 4 different companies, all in very demanding jobs, moved to 5 different apartments and 3 different cities. Now, I had no idea back in 2010 that stability will be so hard to get - especially when we bought our own apartment back in Calcutta, but life had different things in store for me than what I'd thought, and things changed. Just to make it clear, it changed for better.

    That's where I see the biggest success of Wrightsville Port - It stayed with me for last 6 years and never been a headache during all these movements! It was built as a portable layout, yes, but I never thought that it would travel to so many places (and I can assure you, it's not done yet!). Every new move also presents me with the opportunity of fixing and improving a few things. The layout is generally made clear of all buildings, ships and most of the details - they are removed, packed and shipped separately; only the permanently glued details and the main lights remain on the layout. This gives me the opportunity to work on the wiring when the layout is taken down (it takes 2 people to take down the baseboard - so far it has always been Mouli and I), so we did it this time too. However, this time I also took the opportunity to build a brand new acrylic dust cover for the layout. A dust cover was long over due, and 6 years of dust already made some damage despite my best efforts to clean the layout. I bought a sheet of 2mm clear acrylic, cut them in strips of 18" width and used a heat gun to shape according to the unique contour of the layout. The top is made of PVC foam in two halves. All in all, it takes about 60-90 seconds to remove them, and about 30 seconds more to assemble - pretty acceptable before and after an operating session.

    So, here is Wrightsville Port, happily settled in it's 5th home! This time even the dimension of the room is just made for the layout - 9' X 8' - gives snug fit to the layout and the staging-cum-bookshelf, with enough room for me to stand and operate.

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    This experience of working with acrylic sheets and PVC foam board is going to be important though, because I think I found my ideal material for modern benchwork that is far easy to work with and has many benefits over plywood - so the next project is definitely going to have these two as the base construction material - however, more on that later.
     
  18. idomagic

    idomagic New Member

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    This was a fun read for the past couple hours. Amazing to see your progress from the ground up to such a unique layout... I'm glad I came upon it late so I could digest it all at once. I am impressed with your scratch building skill, I love scratch building as well and you inspired me to dig in and make something for my layout. Maybe I should try cardboard? Thanks for following through with this and keeping it going.
     
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  19. Nimo

    Nimo TrainBoard Member

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    Thank you! Glad that you like it. I would always vote for cardboard for smaller scales - they are easy to work with, mistakes are far less costlier, and if you build it right, they are long lasting. Give it a try. :)
     
  20. Nimo

    Nimo TrainBoard Member

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    First project in the new apartment, again something that is long pending.

    Though I made the lighthouse nearly 5 years back (Gosh! time flies!), I never got around to motorize it. While re-assembling the layout in the new apartment, I decided to start with this one since I already have all the materials needed to motorize the already built structure - it's just about attaching the lens housing (which was also made nearly 4 years back) to a slow motion motor.

    The first step was to measure the space and clearance for the motor:

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    Then I'd cut a Masonite circular disk matching the inner diameter of the base of the lighthouse

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    The central hole was made to fit the motor bolt thread of the motor housing

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    The motor was then fixed to the board,

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    And then test fitted at the bottom of the lighthouse to check for clearance etc.

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    If you see the original construction details of the lighthouse (and many pictures thereafter), you would notice that the beacon housing already had a light installed. I just tested it's position and made sure everything is in it's place

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    Next step was to attach a shaft to the motor. Now this is where I again switched to 'scrap-building' mode. I didn't have a hollow shaft of suitable diameter with me - neither styrene, nor metal. So I went scrap hunting that can be made into a suitable hollow shaft, and I found a non-working pen. This was a gift from Brooklyn Locomotive Works, so I thought what could be a better place to utilize this than on an N scale Layout!

    All the internal mechanism of the pen was removed - the tip side of the pen meshed nicely with the motor shaft, so I just secured it by drilling a through hole on the pen and securing it to the motor shaft using a pin (which was actually a part of a paper clip):

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    If you follow my work closely you would notice that one of my major focuses is always easier maintenance, because in my experience, things can go wrong at any time. So I decided not to permanently attach the lens housing to the shaft. So I created a removable section that tightly fits to the upper portion of the pen, but can be removed if required.

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    Now, if you are wondering how I found that lens - it is actually a contact lens packet! Some of the contact lens packaging have a perfect lens for model making - perfectly shaped, made of tough plastic and has very short focal length which is perfect for a lighthouse animation.

    Here is the final shaft assembly with the lens:

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    And here is how the assembly looks when you 'cover' the shaft with the lighthouse structure. The light bulb hangs from the ceiling of the beacon housing and sit along the axis of the rotating, hollow lens housing.

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    And here is the lighthouse totally assembled:

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    Final test before installing on the layout

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    And that's how it looks when installed:

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    Here is a very short video to show it in action - Technically this is a 'fixed and flash' lighthouse with no eclipse:



    All the photos and videos are with my phone, hoping to get a better composed video soon - may be after I finish some more work on the layout. :)
     

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