Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Cutting T-Trak Boxes

Here are some dimensions used for a few of the modules. The big quad I have planned and the two singles that are already done are standard widths and depths. Shown in the picture is an inside corner that is also pretty standard as is the double.Also in the drawing is the proposed modification to my end caps, knocking the corners off. I have no idea how you'd scenic those corners so I just eliminated them.

The real variance from typical T-Trak specs are the polygons for the s curve and the s curve with a couple of spur extensions. These ought to be a real challenge to get glued up...

To make the boxes I'm ripping 1/4" sanded plywood into 2 1/4" strips. This will allow a 2" piece of foam to slip in and have 1/4" of clearance for wires and the mounting pads for feet. I screwed up several cuts, but all modules on the proposed arrangement were cut from two 2'x4' panels.


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

River Valley Central: T-Trak Division

Gosh it seems like only yesterday I abandoned my permanent layout plans and embarked on some t-trak to satisfy my railroad bug. My how things have changed in the past year. My family has moved into our 2nd home, which is much more suited to our needs, including a magnificent 10'x10' layout space.

I still really like the t-trak method, and intend to build my home layout one section at a time using t-track sections setup on top of the benchwork with scenes that can be mix and matched. Here's a peek at a first set of modules for a complete layout. There are some nonstandard shapes in here, but they follow the standard length dimensions either single, double, or quad. The two end caps connect to a permanent return loop behind the backdrop. The intention is to add passing sidings back there for staging.


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

CNW Gondolas: Let's Get Going

I took the summer off from ndecisive. We moved to a different house, family changes, lots to do. Now that the weather is starting to turn and it's getting close to the NMRA Kate Shelley Division's fall swap meet I've got the urge to do some railroading again.

First up this season is a couple simple gondola builds. The BN and PC will both be patched into CNW letters and numbers, the big CNW one is getting a strip, bulkheads added, and PRIDE lettering for crushed auto service like this 134000 series car. All 3 will be pretty well beaten and weathered.


Saturday, March 26, 2016

DME T-Trak Action

Long time no update! Here's a brief video I shot on an old cell phone this evening. It's choppy and fuzzy and there's quite a lot of noise, but it's action!


Sunday, February 28, 2016

Farm Site: Trees and Grass

This weekend I hit the Farm Site module hard and got quite a lot done. I started with ballasting the tracks (yuck) to get that out of the way, then moved on to the rest.

outlines of the buildings and driveway were drawn on the base first, then I moved through each type of ground cover one at a time until all the pink was covered up. I've got roughly half of the Landscape Learning Kit left after the next module I'll probably need to replenish some of the ground foam.

The trees are built from the Woodland Scenics Trees learning kit. They're ok, but they look like foam clumps stuck to two dimensional trees that have been cranked around to 3 dimensions. I don't know if that's just what a WS tree is or if I need to practice a bit more. They were pretty simple to do I guess.

The general idea is coming together. The potential exists for a ton of details, this module may never be "finished". Old cars are needed under the windbreak trees, these people need a burn barrel and maybe a dumpster, a mailbox, some farmy utility looking junk by the bins, maybe a lilac bush in the yard, maybe a cloths line, a path from the front step to the driveway, more weeds and bushes around the tracks, and on and on and on...






Thursday, February 11, 2016

DME 2nd Hand Diesels: Decals!

I was able to finish the artwork for some custom decals and sent them off to Highball Graphics to be printed. Jim @ Highball was great, he answered a couple questions and the decals arrived about a week later. The print quality was outstanding, the price was very inexpensive (I sent artwork that was more or less ready to go so no setup or design fees). None of it was very complex artwork, mostly just letters and numbers. I'll show you the fun stuff later, but here are the 3 DME units lettered and ready for finishing.


Sunday, January 31, 2016

DME 2nd Hand Diesels: 2nd Gen Joins the Roster

This week a 2nd Gen EMD joined my DM&E roster. Received as an undercoated Kato SD40-2, I went right to work on it getting ready to replicate the 6360 City of Mankato.

I started by grinding away the inside of the shell behind the radiator grilles. This is a model car trick to open up the radiator grille, and worked really well here. There was quite a lot of meat on this part of the shell so it should still be plenty strong. Why am I cutting the radiator grille open? Sound of course! I've got an MRC 1806 decoder on order, and the way the shell is designed girding open the radiator grilles to let the sound out made logical sense.



For paint I headed back to the acrylic craft paint aisle and came back with some Craft Smart Dark Yellow and Bright Blue. DM&E used several different shades of blue and gold over the years, these two struck me as close enough for the look of 6360 after a few years of service.

Here is the City of Mankato with it's running mates, all waiting for decals, decoders, and dirt.