Another Project In Oklahoma

Last month, while working on the H0 project in Oklahoma, I received a phone call from Jeff, He told me that "The Whistle Stop"- a hobby shop in Oklahoma City - referred him to me and wanted me to help him build his N-scale layout.

Jeff was pretty frustrated as his plans and work didn't pan out as intended. So I went to visit him and see what he issues were. First, he used a 4x8 ft particle board as base for his layout. Second, the used track he had waspretty beaten up and not really usable. I recommended to build a solid frame out of 3/4 inch plywood and use pink foam as base for the track.

Next day, Jeff called to tell me that he had all the ply and foamboard and asked when I was able to come and start building... Well, that happened the next day - after I finished my work for the day on the other poject...

So, that evening I build the frame and covered it with foam. I also laid out Jeff's old track plan, albeit with a few changes like transition curves and a more "fluent" feeling to it. Jeff followed my advice to buy some new flex track that made short work of this task. The track is temporarily fixed in place with double sided carpet tape. It will be permanently glued to the pink foam during ballasting.

Here are some pictures of his layout as it looks now (12/08/2017):

4x8 N-Scale 4x8 N-Scale 4x8 N-Scale
4x8 N-Scale   4x8 N-Scale

Day 2 on the 4x8 layout

After spending the best part of the day on the H0 layout, I drove over to Jeff's place again,only to find out that one switch was a tad out of scale and another one was broken. The former switch could be tweaked a bit using small needle nose pliers, an N-scale track gauge, and a lot of patience -after all, we don't want to break it. We were not so luck with the second switch - it had broken frog rails and had to be replaced. That in turn set back the actual track work since we were one switch short that was needed for a spur on the right right hill. At least I lad the track up the incline, marked down the location of the switch and laid another piece of flex track from the bridge towards the (missing) switch. Bummer, but the hobby shop closd at 5 PM and won't be open before Monday morning.

Jeff roughed in the hill on the right side of the layout before I arrived. So I glued the foam down and cut and engraved tunnel portals in pink foam.

Tomorrow - Yes, I also work on a Sunday - we will build some removable scenery which will cover the tunnel tracks. I'll also paint the tunnel portals and ballast the tunnel entries as this task would be pretty tedious once everything is covered.

Here are today's pics:

4x8 N-Scale 4x8 N-Scale

Engraved tunnel portal

Future hill - missing switch

Day 3

Today was the first full day of work on this 4 x 8 layout. Well, not really a full day - we had to go shopping for some paint, glue, and of course the missing switch. I got some stuff done, though:

All tunnel portals are engraved painted and glued into their respective locations. The tunnel is finished as well, including a removable cover. And some track got ballasted, as wellas some color tests done on the rock faces.

Here are today's pictures:

Overview Overview
Color test Double track tunnel portal
Carved sandstone strata Single track portal
Lightly weathered bridge  

I use aacrylics for painting the rock faces and other scenery, going from a dark base coat to gradually lighter acccent colors which will later be blended in by a couple "dirty" washes so the crevisses stay dark and the accent colors are toned down a bit.

The weathering on the bridge is just a quick and dirty wash of pastell chalks dissolved in rubbing alcohol. This light weathering takes the plastic sheen of the Kato bridges.

The tunnel portals are cut from the same pink foam I use for scenery. After cutting the shape and the portal out, I engrave the masonry with a ballpoint pen. After that they get a brush painted base coat which is later covered with the final color. After that dried, I added a grey wash to accentuate the mortar lines.

Day 4

This was the second full day of work on this layout (out of three full days). The (formrl missing) turnout is now built in and the upper loop is closed as well. Test runs showed that a Kato SD45 with 8 cars in tow easily managed the 4% grade. The Atlas SD40 struggled a bit but also managed to climb up the steep grade. Jeff wants a hidden still on his layout so I hd to carve out a creek since, as we all know, a still needs fresh water :-). Two stained match sticks have to stand in as a short bridge over the creek as even a small trestle would be overkill for such a small span. It is just under one inch wide. Another test pad for color was also established and was approved by Jeff. I mainly used Raw Sienna as base color and accentuated it with Oxide yellow, dark gray, and just a little bit of red. This brings out the sandstone strata really well.quite nicely. Since I wanted some texture on the desert ground, I looked for some fine sand but could only find aquarium sand which basicall is crushed limestone and (for my taste) a tad too coarse. A bit of a raw sienna wash and some sprinkled on fine turf (burnt grass) toned it down and it also distracts from the coarse grain.

The outer loop is now completely ballasted. Tomorrow evening, I'll have to add a dirt road to the future industry on the left side of the layout, two grade crossings, a fuelling pad on the spur leading to the industry, ballast the upper loop, and continue with the overall scenery. So, here are today's pics:

Overview Overview Double portal worked in
Overview Scenery Scenery


To be continued...