Monday, May 23, 2016

Late May Update

Well it has been quite a few weeks since my last update post for your the reader. The month of May has been busy to say the least with items such as vacation, work travel, and being the parent of two children. After all it is a hobby, but in the last few weeks there have been a few happenings on the St. Clair Sub so let's take a look.

Trains and Walt Disney World
I have talked about Walt Disney and Walt Disney World numerous times on this blog, but it would be wrong to not show a photo or two from our trip there. There are more items to do with trains than most folks would expect.

Main Street USA station at The Magic Kingdom. 

   Train approaching Main Street station.

Neat artwork recently added to the queue on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at The Magic Kingdom.

Photos above and below of the large LGB garden railroad at the Germany Pavilion at Epcot. Intersting fact: This layout was originally intended to be temporary, but garnered so much interest that it has become a permanent exhibit.

Sound Decoder Installs
The month of May saw me complete decoder installs into three Intermountain ES44 engines. When it comes to installs the engine can be a hit or miss on the ease to add a sound decoder / speaker, luckily the Intermountain engines are dead on for making a simple, efficient, and effective install. For the ES44s I used the specific Soundtraxx IM-1000 GEVO sound decoder which is a direct designed replacement of the factory board. Two of the engines required lengthening the motor wires since they were produced post Soundtraxx-Intermountain partnership, but that was not a big deal compared to a full hard wire. Speaker wise I used the Railmaster 28mm on two engines and the TCS 28mm speaker for the third. Intermountain hit the mark on these installing a speaker baffle / housing in the radiators which made speaker install go very smooth. Both speakers have great sound and when partnered with the Seven band equalizer on the Tsunami, the results were fantastic. It is a good time to be in the hobby, quality choices available to us modelers are endless. You may be asking... GEVO, but the MCIS is all EMD. You are correct, the motors completed were a BNSF and UP for a good friend and the third was a CN motor which roams the St. Clair Sub on the CN overhead trains. Included are a few photos post install. One day I will get my Youtube channel where it needs to be showcasing the great sound results from the install.

BNSF 5803 leading M-BAPH-18. After work complete at Mac Rail, the motors were tested out and back from Port Huron.

        Heading east out of Bay Yard

  Operating via passing track at Grays siding while a business car train holds down the main with a customers appreciation trip. 

With the IM-1000 decoder being directly compatible with original board, I was able to program ditch lights to flash with grade crossing logic when the horn is used. The ease of JMRI DecoderPro making all of the programming work graphical on a screen is one of the best enhancements to DCC in my opinion. 

Soundtraxx Announcement
Being a fan of Soundtraxx Tsunami and Econami products, I am very excited about the Tsunami2 announcement coming out in two days. Be sure to checkout Soundtraxxs website and Facebook page on May 25th.

Grays Lake (Grays Siding) Scenery
After beginning the scenery and ballastinf process at Grays Siding we are now really seeing results. With corn field and soybean fields are installed and complete, we could now begin the gluing process for the terrain and track. Over the weekend around five square feet of layout was glued down. This process included the base dirt layer and ballast for the mainline, passing siding, and local siding. While i use white glue and a white glue / water mix on scenery, I prefer Scenic Cement for the ballast due to the consistency and pre-mixed nature. While there is a cost, the time savings is appreciated when working in 45-60 work sessions. 

      Ballast complete from the bridge through curve. Ready to glue.

That's not rain, it's isopropyl alcohol wetting the scene prior to scenic cement.

The gluing begins with pipette from back to front. The home made dirt mixture and real ballast colors come to life when they are wet down.

Tools of the trade - bowls for the alcohol, cement, and water to rinse the pipette.

Moving right along with the work - you can see a good saturation with the scenic cement showing through the granules. Real dirt and ballast are very easy to work with and don't float.

       Complete and not complete

  Overall work scene completed in a 45 minutes session. Figure this week another 1.5-2 hours will be needed to complete the initial scenery securement.

With everything dry, the roadmaster drives along reviewing the work complete. There a few areas that will require ballast touch up but that happens.

With ballast and initial scenic layer installed, we will be moving into the more lush materials next week to bring this area to life tying the railroad, crops, and overall mid-Michigan scenery together.

Thanks for stopping by!


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