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Discussion Starter · #242 · (Edited)
Thanks for askin' Christian, as I am in full decorating mode for the holidays and getting every room ready for about 4 Christmas Partys in my home as many relatives, friends, and family will come together here, during the last week of December.
I got Grandma's 1949 S gauge train layout up, around the tree but no ordiments on the tree yet.
So I am waiting to take pictures with a clean living room and update that thread I made for that whole project.
The living room is a mess with containers everywhere.
I have stocking to hang, gifts to wrap and a lot to clean, containers to put away......
Event Plastic Souvenir Carmine Sweetness

In the HO scale Big "L" train lounge I did finish placing "all" the backdrops on the layout just to get them off the floor. I did finish the fiber optics on the St. Louis backdrop but no pics in nite mode yet....
Water Water resources Beach Landscape Lake

In between all that, I am "tweeking" the tracks, finding minor issues with joints, and making the layout, locomotives, and as many cars I can, robust and dependable.
I am close to running 3 consists around the main without fail so I can move cars in the various yards and inner reverse loops, with a 4th locomotive...DCC is awesome, isn't it!!!!
But there is a lot of tweeking to do as this layout has been down for over 10 years without ever being finished, Coupled with Altas switches and adding a loop, this layout will keep me busy well after the holidays and for the rest of my quality of life years.....
A Work in Progress!....Stay tuned!...

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Discussion Starter · #243 · (Edited)
Oops double post.

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Thanks to all for the nice comments. I am pretty happy with how the backdrops are turning out.
They really make the whole layout seem a little more professionally done.
Here is the back of the 3rd out of 6 panels I am doing to give you an idea of the scope of fiber optics placement I am doing ...
View attachment 593259
(The panels, if you remember from previous posts, were church boards about various bible stories)
The fiber ends get taped down so they don't poke out of the holes.
Below shows how they get cut uniformly and a plastic straw is slid back and taped to allow one 3mm LED to align "perfectly" with the fibers, inside the straw. On this backdrop, with towns and sky lighted, I will have 4 LED tubes packed full of fibers...
View attachment 593260
Since the backdrops are made with two rigid external plastic faces with a styrofoam core, I cut the backside and hollow out a small area to accept the tubes that will be wrapped with black construction paper to hide the light from bleeding through the face of the backdrop.
Below shows 2 straws buried into the second backdrop I started.
Since no heat is generated, it is a wonderful application for this project.
View attachment 593265

Below, I still have one town to the right of the middle building on this 3rd backdrop to work on as I usually just add street lights and maybe a building light or two...
View attachment 593269
I'll post up the finished panel on my next post. So nice to be moving along with these backdrops.

I am also "engineering ideas" to drive streetlights and mainline track lights even though I started mounting some of them on the layout.
I found these kids toy traffic lights with sound, on Amazon, for less than $2 USD. I was thinking I could disassemble it and used the electronics to power a traffic signal. or two...on the layout.

As far as the mainline lighting system, I have no frugal way of making the lighting work besides using nails and foil to make contacts on turnout switch actuator bars. But it is an option.
I was looking at Walters DCC switch machines ....

... but at $93 a five pack, I hesitate to pull the trigger, as they say. Hence the "engineering ideas" blurb.
That's all for this weekends follies.....
...A Work in Progress!....Stay tuned!...

At least your lights are blessed :p

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Discussion Starter · #245 · (Edited)
I was at Hobby Lobby and bought some fake mini faceted colored diamonds.
I am going to use them as planets on my backdrop in conjunction with my lighted fiber optics...
Gas Font Earrings Technology Jewellery

They are really tiny and had to use my reverse tweesers to just hold them and add a drop of glue. folly is a kind of a test to see how it looks.... so I put a few on the backdrop.
The pic belows shows the fiber optics not lit and lit...the lighter colored diamonds look pretty good in either light.
They help define closer planets in space at all times, I'm looks pretty cool in person!
It is kind of hard for you to see how cool this faceted glass look as planets.....
Atmosphere World Output device Font Sky

So it looks like I am giving myself the green light to go ahead with diamonds on the backdrop.
My Mom left me some costume jewelry a while back and I have it squirreled away somewhere... if I find that treasure, I maybe able to save a little cash and upscond the jems off of clip on earrings, bracelets, rings, and pendants.
If you remember my other freebie tip was to use old cosmetics for weathering stuff.
Another re-purpose for using girly things on the layout!
On a different note, I ran 3 consists on the mainline and am getting good at multitasking.
It was also nice to install this flatcar load I found at Lombard hobbies for $ was a impulse buy...
Train Wheel Rolling stock Vehicle Wood

I went to the store to buy a NCE - P515 15 Volt AC 5 Amp Power Supply to replace a MRC transformer I had been using for the same task.
It was a old varible transformer I was getting nervious using as it was over 15 yrs old.
Piece of mind is a issue with me.
While at the store, I didn't pull the trigger but I am thinking of adding another NCE hand held connection port and handheld for another user to control locomotives for a two person operation. If you have DCC might as well use it! About a $200 add on so I am mulling it over.

A Work in Progress!....Stay tuned!...

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Not sure if I missed this or not but I love the idea of fiber optics for stars! I purchased some color changing GU10 bulbs to experiment with for nighttime options as my buddy with the B&M layout has some. Granted he only has 6-8 normal bulbs and I have almost 30 GU10 bulbs so it would be a tad expensive which is why I only purchased 4 to test out!

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Discussion Starter · #248 ·
Now that the holidays have passed and a family tragedy has passed, I "just" started spending some time at the workbench and another backdrop panel. I recently aquired a used cornerstone building last fall at the local train show.
I am using it on a backdrop in the yard area. So I started.... I actually cut the building down to accomidate the already laid track that runs under the upper floors for the loading dock. Set the location, on the backdrop....
Building Water Property Window Azure

Painted the back wall, added LED's and added floors.....
Azure Rectangle Water Building Window

I mounted LED's on tongue depressors, soldered them together, tested, and hot glued them in place....
Light Shade Building Line Tints and shades

I have one last Miller Engineering Billboard, the Coppertone Girl should catch your attention, right?!?!
I bought last summer and started mounting the electronics in the building....
Green Circuit component Passive circuit component Hardware programmer Electronic engineering

So I plan on making crates from scratch to hide the wires since this is a furnature warehouse.
I've marked out elevator doors on the backdrops back wall and thinking up more outside lighting.
But that is as far as I got with this. Got to do some work this week to afford more stuff so this is on hold till next week.
A Work in Progress!....Stay tuned!...

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Ohio Central Systems
2,146 Posts
I really like what you're doing with lights. I think that lighting and DCC sound are the two parts of model railroading where HO truly stands above N scale.

I may end up retro-fitting some lights into my layout. They add such a cool ambiance, and really add depth to a scene. BUt doing that with N scale stuff is a lot more challenging. I really like what you're doing!!

For example... Imagine this John Stobart print without the lighting. The "depth" perception, especially the light from within the little cabin on the raft... It wouldn't be the same without the lighting. not even close!
Water Boat Vehicle Sky Watercraft

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Discussion Starter · #255 ·
Happy New Year to you all and thanks for the nice comments.
They say "necessity is the mother of invention" and this Gal needed a way to mount multiple lights in a building.
I saw these tongue depressors in the wood craft aisle at Hobby Lobby and "ding".
Drill holes for each prong and cut wood to size.
Most of my buildings have this assembly.
Jeff, just 20 years ago, you had to use a grain of wheat bulb. Today with nano LEDs and fiber optics, you could really make N Scale sparkle with lights, it's really easier than ever.
I really would use fiber optics on all of my N scale would add a lot of realism to your alraedy realistic layout.
I don't know about talented VetteKid, just like a taste of whimsy in my diaoramas. My desk does get cleaned once in the while, than another project happens and it is a mess again...sigh ....same with all of us, I bet.

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Ohio Central Systems
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I'll play around with lighting a bit over this Winter. The river area of my layout took a lot less time than I thought it would, so I'll have some time I wasn't expecting. I still have many tweaks to make to the river, but basically, the only real big part of my layout that isn't complete is the ballasting, and even that is about 1/3 complete.

I'd rather fiddle with lighting than do the ballasting, LOL!

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Discussion Starter · #257 · (Edited)
So I am wondering if I should change this thread to "My Backdrops Thread"?!?!?
Seems like all I am doing with the layout as of late!
As mentioned in the thread "Get Anything New?" I bought myself a Walters freight transfer building
Lego Computer hardware Toy Engineering Electronic component

Above, I am just placing random stuff to get an idea where stuff should go. The buildings to the upper right (and far left) are just cut out from printer screen captures I found on an O-gauge backdrop sheets on Ebay.
I wanted to mention I am closer to finishing the furnature warehouse. Still needs outside lights and rooftop air handlers...maybe some weathering....
Building Sky Window Plant Light

I cutout little pieces of wood and made boxes and crates using colored pencils and fine tip sharpies.
I didn't get a picture of me doing all the artwork. But you can see them through the windows...
Automotive exterior Display case Fence Building Rectangle

Wild "E" Coyote Buys from this store..^^^^^^ AKA, ACME ...giggle
Building Window Fixture Tints and shades Glass

Window Building Wood Wall Facade

Window Wood Fixture Door Facade

I thought the crates and boxes came out okay for HO scale.
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAnyway, I found that with the dock, this building needs to be flush with the backdrop and EVEN then, I may have to cut down the docka bit. So it is totally flush and I will use the sides on another backdrop. I cut out holes in the panel and painted the rooms...the black are rooms with no'll see.
Liquid Fluid Rectangle Water bottle Plastic bottle

I took the building back to the workbench and installed blue craft paper as a light block and white craftpaper roller shade in "All" of the room windows. Looks terrible, doesnt it!!!!! But the other side looks okay...
Green Blue Rectangle Font Hardware programmer

Building Window Property Urban design Interior design

I added interior doors and people. Still have to add interior and exterior lights, a dock roof overhang, signage, more crates and boxes, people....
Window Building Azure Rectangle Urban design


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Discussion Starter · #258 · (Edited)
The below picture is kind of how it will look once I get it off the tailgate table. The picture buildings are still in the mockup stages and I have some fence to build with shrubs and trees, some parking lot area to the left...I don't know, still engineering ideas...want it to have interest as a viewer will only be about 2 feet away while viewing this shelf part of the layout.
Building Window Lighting Architecture Facade

A Work in Progress!....Stay tuned!...
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