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Loveably weird
Thanks, Jerry! That sub is a resin model. They aren't exactly cheap, though, each one being handmade and painted.
I don't remember who I ordered it from. I saw one and just had to have it! I had to hold it down on the belt sander for a few seconds to sand off the keel so it would sit upright. It's not actually "deep" enough in the river, but then all that would be showing would be the top of the deck and the conning tower. I checked my modeler's license and it says I'm allowed to do it this way, though!
I'm planning to start on the plaster cloth on the unfinished side later today.


Loveably weird
I spent some time on the layout this afternoon. No, really, I literally mean ON the layout this afternoon! That's the only way to ensure getting the plaster cloth exactly where I wanted it. That's why the "build it from back to front" philosophy is a good one to follow. I applied plaster cloth on the areas that appear darker in this pic. I probably used a roll and a half today. That's about 8" wide x 22 feet of cloth. The rest can be done from ground level. I tried to soften some of the severe angles of the foam.

Once the rest of the plaster cloth is in place and dried I can get plastered in the layout room. Err...... I mean the layout can get plastered in the basement.... I mean I can apply a thin layer of Struct-O-Lite base coat plaster to the hills. Yeah, that's what I meant to say! :oops:
This weekend is supposed to be nice, though, so I have some vehicle maintenance that needs to be done. I want to do an oil change on the wife's '06 Trailblazer and my '04 Trailblazer, plus change the fluid in both differentials and the transfer case on both vehicles. I have heard that the fill plug on the T-case can be a real fight to get loose. It likes to become rusted/corroded into place. I do have two new plugs coming, but hopefully I won't need them. That's why you should always loosen the fill plug before you drain the component. If you drain the component and then can't get the fill plug out, you get to pay a tow truck to have the vehicle towed to the shop! Time to start soaking the plugs with PB Blaster!


Loveably weird
Some things came up, so I didn't get around to the vehicle maintenance I wanted to get done. Oh, well. As the song says "There's always tomorrow......"
I got the rest of the plaster cloth applied. I sanded the risers as best I could to get any bumps out. It's just about impossible to get a glass smooth finish with plaster cloth, but there are no obvious ridges or inconsistencies, so I think it will be fine once the cork roadbed is down. Speaking of which, I decided to do that next. My original plan was to put down a light coat of Struct-O-Lite, but thinking about it I decided to put down the cork first for 2 reasons:
1. I don't want to get any plaster on the risers where it might get under the roadbed and cause issues.
2. I also decided to put the track down on the outer loop so I could check for any clearance issues between rolling stock and the curves. I should be fine on the straights, but if there are any clearance issues in the curves, I would like to deal with them before the plaster gets applied. I'll use my Athearn Genesis Big Boy for this test. If it can make it through the curves without problems, then anything else I have will make it without problems!
2a. I want to see trains run!
The first order of business was to mark the centerline of the risers. They are 2-1/2" wide, so the centerline is 1-1/4" from the edge. I made a marking jig from a couple pieces of 1/4" thick poplar. I made one piece short so I could get as close to the end of the riser as I could. I glued it to the longer piece with some Titebond carpenters glue. I also drilled some .047" holes through the end and drove some thin brads for my brad nailer into the holes. Another hole was drilled with a step drill 1-1/4" from the joint.

I put a pencil through the hole and I had a jig that would draw a line 1-1/4" from the edge of the riser. I just hold the short piece along the side of the riser and move the jig along the side.

It works great! (I just love those rare occurrences when that happens!)
I did have to use a straight edge on the and of the riser that was too short to allow the jig to fit next to it.

Now that I have the centerline marked I can put down the cork roadbed. I've already got 6 feet of cork installed and drying. I'm attaching it with cheap white latex caulk. The track will be installed with DAP Alex+ siliconized latex caulk. I do need to pick some of that up in gray. The clear dries with a rather glossy sheen. If ballast were going to be used, that wouldn't be an issue. But since the cork roadbed IS the ballast, I'm going to go with gray.
Slowly but surely, it's getting there!


Loveably weird
Work continues on the money pit... err, model railroad. :oops:
I have the bridge installed, and my 0-6-0 poses proudly for a picture while Wally supervises.

I was able to install the bridge because I finally got the track laid all around the outer loop!

The bridge is removable. It is not glued to the abutments. It sits on them and is held in position by rail joiners. I can slide the rail joiners back onto the bridge rails and lift the bridge off if I need to. I may have to redo the track approaching the bridge from the left because I cut the bridge rails a little too short on that side, leaving a gap larger than I would really like.

The right side of the bridge looks OK, though.

I will have to remove the bridge at least once more because I want to scenic the interchange area before "permanently" installing the bridge. As you can see, the transition between the tabletop and the backdrop is just too abrupt to be credible.

I plan to apply another coat of tan paint to the area, and while the paint is wet apply ground cover comprised of a 50/50 mix of Woodland Scenics Fine Turf Green Blend and Earth Blend colors. The two former Parmesan cheese containers on the left have the 50/50 mix in them and the two on the right have the base colors.

This is supposed to be western Nebraska, so I don't want things TOO green. It's a semi-arid climate out there, after all. Along the transition from tabletop to backdrop I plan to apply some hedges to hide the transition. The hedgerows on the right are left over from the previous layout. Hobby Lobby doesn't carry them in-store any more, so I bought some boxwood plants. I think between the two I can hide it.

It wasn't until I got home that I noticed that the boxwood's are O scale. :(
Oh, well. I'll make them work.

The tracks from the turnouts to the crossing will be electrically dead. I think I'll install insulated rail joiners at the turnout frogs, or rather at the end of the 1/3 18" radius section coming off the frog. I don't plan to wire the crossing at this point, but If I do so later I'll install a SPST switch in one wire to kill power to it. The straight piece from the turnout to the crossing is going to need a bit of... persuasion, if ya knows what I means. Sounds like a job for Luigi, he's real good at "persuasion". ;)

I'll let the abutments dry overnight, then tomorrow after work I'll see about dealing with that track on the left side of the bridge. There will be track feeders immediately before and after the bridge. I need to clean the paint off of the end of the bridge rails, also. I will cut the guard rails so they extend 3" from the bridge. Union Pacific's standard for guard rails calls for them to be 50 feet from the bridge, but that comes to about 6-3/4" in HO scale. I don't even have that much guard rail! standard drawings/4002.pdf

3" comes to about 21.75 feet, so that will have to do.
Once I get the bridge/interchange area done, I will run track feeders and test clearances with the Big Boy. If that makes it OK, then anything else I have will make it OK.
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Grandson of ALCO Bldr
Nice progress! I like how you re-purposed the two former Parmesan cheese containers! I have about 30 of them lol I do the same thing but I try real hard to re-purpose a lot of different containers. I even use the large mouth style plastic jars that you get when you buy a pound of cashews from wally world as well. I got a ton of those cause well I eat a lot of nuts....there fore I am... 😁


Loveably weird
It's weekly update time!
I've been working on it as best I can, given the insanity of life lately. I got some Structo-Lite applied to the tunnel area. Being a base coat plaster it definitely has some texture to it! It dries a lighter shade of gray than it goes on as.

I haven't applied any to the roof of the tunnels yet.
I also got the tan paint and ground cover applied to the interchange crossing area. I masked off the track and roadbed before applying the paint, applied the paint and then applied a thick coating of ground cover. After letting the paint dry, I vacuumed up the loose ground cover. I have a dedicated filter for my hand held cordless Black & Decker Dust Buster that I use only for ground cover. I clean the vacuum thoroughly before and after vacuuming it up. That way I can reuse the left over ground cover. I need to do some some touch up painting on the roadbed.

I applied diluted matte medium and wet water (water with a bit of isopropyl alcohol to break the surface tension of the matte medium) and will let it dry overnight. I prefer matte medium rather than diluted white glue. It seems I just don't have good luck with the glue. Maybe I just don't hold my tongue properly as I apply it. Diluted matte medium has always worked for me, though. Speaking of matte medium, I had to go buy some more as I'm running a bit low on it. Before I use it, I prepare it according to a tip I read in a book somewhere: I pour the matte medium into a glass jar (I use a Mason canning jar, but any wide mouth glass jar would work), add water to make a 50/50 solution of matte medium and water, then let the jar sit undisturbed for a week. During this time, the solids (usually talcum powder) will settle out of the mixture and form a layer on the bottom of the jar. Carefully pour the liquid off into another container. Dispose of the talcum powder and clean the jar for the next use. I find that this gives a really nice adhesive for ground cover. My next batch should be ready in a week!

I've also started installing installing the track feeders. Not one of my favorite tasks, but it has to be done! :(
I don't know how much I'll get done this week. It's supposed to be cold this week, but warm up for the weekend, so next weekend may be dedicated to yard work (translation: bagging leaves. Oh joy and happiness).

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