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Discussion Starter #1
178 feet of ballasted track
Including a 3-track terminal.


[No photos -- my utility icons are muted.]

Most of mainline & industrial ballast is fine gray gravel, local stone, talus, and scrabble. Terminal ballast is mostly black cinder.

Much of the landscape replicates the desert southwest, with rock formations, dry gulches, weeds, and cactus. I've started adding some forestry in another section, mostly with several dozen western pines that I purchased at a show... majestic and beautiful, but way too expensive online to continue. I'll have to mix-in some cheaper stuff, or make my own.

Seven structures are in place, plus 3 functional signal bridges (Alkem brass kit-builds). I'm not sure if they're accurately lit & sequenced, but they do function, and I'm impressed.
One structure is a lengthy trackside (lighted) warehouse that I bashed from DPM and Evergreen parts. Took me a full year to detail and weather. Others I've shown in past threads, including a Cornerstone rail/truck warehouse.

About 18 square feet of landscape & scenery is in progress, including a narrow rocky river bed, spanned by two Walthers #4521 single trusses. They're very nice bridge kits, and I've weathered them nicely, which makes them look really good.

Miraculously, all the trackwork and turnouts are functional, and DCC control is working nicely. After several hours of running, there haven't been any stutters or derails (knock on wood).
One Walthers turnout needed tweaking. None are currently powered, and one is in a very p.i.t.a. location.

All uncoupling is currently manual with a Kadee DualTool (eeesh!). I must've derailed a dozen cars that way... shaky senior hands.

Since my early days with my Alameda & South Coast RR, this is the first time in over 30 years I've had a running train in my house, or anything at all that resembles scenery.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
BTW, I can't take credit for good wiring. I needed (and got) a lot of help.
 

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I got single loop of Kato working only in the same time, so great work! (I had trouble with an incline decline and experimented, finally caving and buying the wood land scenics offerings which helped a lot. I also had to flatten some bumpy areas it all rests on and I decided it wasn't a good to premake bumps with no route. Which is kinda obvious ...)
 

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Today I assembled a freight with a speed-matched (hybrid) 3-diesel consist... SD7, SD9, and an 'Alligator' on point.

Only 30 cars plus caboose, but on this size layout it looks pretty cool. When the landscape is filled-in, it should look even better.
A friend added a switch motor to that p.i.t.a. turnout, so now I don't need the tricked-out coat hanger anymore.

Started at 9 a.m.
I played with the Gator's sound volume a lot. All my BLI horn & bell volumes are defaulted too loud.
I stopped for intermittent warehouse switching cutouts, (manual uncoupling) but kept on running all day. Had too much fun really... I lost all track of time, and before I knew it, dinner was calling.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Only one mainline track is currently a complete (outer) loop.
I need more rail and three turnouts to complete the inner loop.
And of course, very little industrial and maintenance trackage, spurs, etc, are in place... only a run-in to the warehouse tracks.

I put four background structures and a large storage tank in place, all featured in previous threads.
No roads, streets, or parking lots have yet been completed, but some of their surfaces (both asphalt & concrete) are ready for the airbrush. I can't wait to fill them with all my CMW, Oxford, MotorMax, and Sylvan vehicles. Sidewalks are being fashioned with styrene and/or basswood. I have very few figures to adorn them with. I concentrated mostly on rail and dock workers... short sighted on my part.

One superelevated curve has developed an annoying wave... not catastrophic, but a pain nonetheless.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Beginning to look like my posts are toxic.
 

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I should probably not bother.
 

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It's great that you have trains running, but without photos there's not much to comment on.

What do you mean by this and why is it so; [No photos -- my utility icons are muted.]

Photos links can be pasted into the body of the post without needing any icons. They can also be typed manually if the link does not already include the tags.
 

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One of the things I did manage to get accomplished before my recent trip to the hospital was to get enough feeders hooked up so I could run a locomotive around half of the outer loop. Gonna be a week or so before I can get back under there to do the rest. But it is always a nice feeling of accomplishment to finally see a locomotive run on your layout, even if it is only for a few feet! Nice job, LateStarter! (y)
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Sooo now that you can post pics again...
:)
So far I only have closeup glamor pics with manipulated local lighting (the room still has only one pitiful overhead light). I'll shoot the benchwork when good room-light gets installed.
I'd love to install remote overhead LED's like the club has, but it'd cost about two grand.

It looks good to the eye, but these pics were just to see if the scenery and ground cover were photogenic. It's part of a small 4-foot section where trees are planted.
The backdrop is just airbrushed paper artboard.

The Dash 2's are for running at the club, (they're out of my era) but I'd recently weathered them, so they were railed-up for the photos.
The 44 ton is on a small urban diorama that'll be placed-in later. It reflects what I prefer on 'off-mainline' tracks for ballast... local talus and scrabble instead of gray gravel.
Then too, there's weedy bare ground (my favorite) and black cinder for spurs, industrial, and terminal tracks.

SD40-2_8558_004.jpg
SD40-2_8307_002~2.jpg
SD40-2_8307_004.jpg
f7_Halloween_003.jpg
image2~2.JPG
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Trees are mostly Woodland Scenics, JTT, and Grand Central Gems which I purchased (cheap) by the hundreds at shows. Others are handmade.

Bare ground cover and dirt was done with earth-powders mixed with plaster of Paris, and dropped with a baker's sifter... then water sprayed to fix.
It's a technique I've employed since I was a teenager. These days I add airbrush touchups.
In most cases, the underlying base is just ol' fashion paper mache on wire mesh.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Truly outstanding work. I'm amazed at the realism.
Thanks, Michael.
Coming from you, I consider that a supreme compliment. Your work is exemplary!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
BTW, the F7 is an old (no longer available) plain vanilla Athearn RTR...
It's not been altered in any way.
It's an example of what Athearn was headed toward some years ago just before the Genesis line.
It's as good as (if not better than) a typical Genesis model is today.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I used to subscribe to a conviction that I shouldn't weather premium cars and locomotives... too squeamish.
But since I started doing Kadee cars, I got a groove on, and never looked back.
These two RivetCounter Dash 2's were done to match photos of their prototypes.
 
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