Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Early February Update

Time fly’s when you are having fun, or in this case while working on the layout. As discussed in early January I wanted to focus on working specific scenes one a time to make noticeable progress on the St. Clair Sub. The past few weeks have produced great results so let’s review the work completed and what’s on the workbench, and even checkout photos provided from the 2017 Amherst Show.


While developing the Town of Grays Lake I made sure that as work took place it was from backdrop to foreground. Helping provide a sense of the elevator, I took a few minutes to sketch out a rendering. Key items I wanted to include were the overhead conveyor bridges, and fall protection system. The facility will ship various grains and dry beans like the prototype Cooperative. 

Cooperative Elevator and Crop Production Services @ Grays Lake, Michigan

I wanted to capture 10' concrete form lines the best I could. Looking at alot of techniques I combined them to create a believable product. Using 3M 1.5" painters tape I tape from top to bottom. After each strip of tape I lightly traced a line using mechanical pencil. Then added the next strip of tape up to the top of the tower. For paint I used Humbrol Gray and Modelmaster Light Sea Gray in rattle cans. The base of the tower was already tan so the gray colors help dusted together helped create a nice effect. After spraying I then removed each strip to tape from top to bottom so each 1.5" strip on the tower was a little different. I let the paint setup until it was not tacky, then used the back edge of a no. 11 hobby knife to trace the line made with mechanical pencil. After this light "gouge" was completed I finished off with a alcohol / ink wash using a small brush along the form like and then pulling the wash straight down. Once dry you can apply more wash depending on your liking. 

Rendering of what Cooperative Elevator would look like

Fall Protection System Inspiration - Courtesy CAI Safety Systems

 Closeup view of facility showcasing the fall protection system made using Plastruct components

 Overall view of the four silos, conveyor bridge, and elevator tower

Closeup of elevator tower concrete form lines

This month I will finish tying the facility together, but everything you see with exception of the fall protection system is from Walthers kits. 
- ADM Grain Elevator
- Conveyors 
- Ladder with safety caged
- Grain Bin


A few years ago Blair Line released their Fertilizer Plant kit and I have always waited for the day I could add it as an industry. Just like the prototype in this part of Michigan's Thumb I found a compelling story that could be told with this kit. Never having built a laser wood kit before I was absolutely impressed with the directions, components, and sequence for assembly. The industry will sit on a three car spur on the same spur as Cooperative Elevator. Provided are a few photos of the build process over a week or so. 

 Follow the instructions provided with kit and Blair Line tip guide online - it is bullet proof

 Primary walls in place, beginning to add doors, trim, and roof

 Main structure completed, all that is left is loading conveyor

Completed structure test fitting at Grays Lake


The foreground portion of Grays Lake will be comprised of a Michigan Trunk Highway "M-XX" crossing the mainline and heading into town. We only see a small portion of the town, but the scene helps tell the story that we are entering the downtown business district. Currently the primary road layout has been completed. This month we will complete road markings using Summit USA road decals. Additionally grade crossing signals and street lamps have been acquired. As we work back to front these details will be added and showcased probably in the Early or Late March Update. 

Test fitting the town structures  

Cork installed as base layer - sidewalks are laser cut from Minuteman Scale Models

While the station is no longer rail served, it has become home to new business. 

Laying road base (cork and adhesive) across tracks which parallel the Grays industrial spur 

 Sidewalks getting paint - primary styrene road painted and glossed awaiting decal markings

BLMA Rubber grade crossing installed in town. The road will but up flush to crossing panels once complete

AMHERST 2017 - The One Module Approach (T.O.M.A.) Layout

While I did not have the opportunity to attend this years Amherst show, a good friend of mind Mike Thidemann does attend. Mike was my eyes, ears, and shopping cart during the trip.Please enjoy photos of the new T.O.M.A. layout which we should be seeing more of soon. Thanks to Mike for the photos and picking up more Minuteman Scale Models sidewalk kits. 

All photos are from left to right starting at staging yard and terminating at processing plant.

I am very excited to follow along on this T.O.M.A. series as it hosts modern techniques, well formatted scenes, contemporary industries, and contemporary railroading! 

AMHERST 2017 - Mike McNamara's Modules

Could forget to show off a few photos of fellow model railroad blogger Mikes awesome Woodsville Terminal free-mo modules. For my photos of Mike's layout please follow the link to his blog on the right sidebar of this blogs homepage. 

Alot of work complete in January setting up this month to be very successful as well. Over the next few weeks I will be adding the backdrop for Grays Lake, shaping and painting the foam to establish land contours, and mocking up the Altogas LPG Terminal. Where is the 3M plant? We will touch on the industry change up next month. 

Have a great February!