Thursday, March 2, 2017

Early March Update

I had hoped originally to get an update post out at the end of February. Well here we are on March 2nd, so we'll call it a Early March post. The past few weeks have brought great progress to key projects in my work plan. The Grays Lake project has helped reinforce many basic steps of scene development such as working back to front, making a list of materials ahead of time, and planning the work in manageable bites.

Propane terminal, where did the 3M plant go?

Huron Gas LP. 
Regular readers will quickly catch that Huron Gas is something new to Grays Lake. As I have developed the area, I re-evaluated the 3M plant that was originally planned for the east end of the industrial lead. 
Mockup of propane distribution terminal

However above the proposed plant is a display shelf so the backdrop is not very tall. That said I then decided it would be best to have an industry that did share airspace with the shelf. The railroad working with state and county economic development teams to help customers make the move. The 3M plant moved to Gerhard and Huron Gas established operations here instead. With 3M moving to Gerhard, the original idea of Huron Malting at Gerhard has been scraped. When we tackle Gerhard scenery we will dive more into the genesis of its industry selection.

The industry itself will be a regional distribution center for propane gas moving from inbound tanks cars to storage tanks and then being reloaded into semi tankers for distribution to service centers or loaded into bobtails for local delivery based in Grays Lake area. Railcar capacity will allow for two cars to be unloaded with a third stored within the gated area. 

Using my Walthers kits I embarked on building the Propane tanks. I decided on three for the facility. Of course building those tanks required plenty of Squadron Putty and patience to make them more respectable. Once smooth to my satisfaction, I used Rustoleum Painters Touch 2X Almond for the tank color. 
LPG tanks done - Facility base taking shape

The entire facility is mounted on Elmers foam board which is mounted to the pink foam base. I then used Busch's asphalt road material to create the pavement around the tanks. Looking at the photo above the white strip in the foreground represented where the rail spur would be located. This portion was cut and discarded and replaced with n scale cork to lower the track.

Once the cork was in I moved ahead with my standard scenic process.
- Paint ground area latex tan
- Install any necessary railroad track no already in place 
- Paint track
- Add base layer of real dirt 
- Add ballast to scene in preparation for wet-wet technique

The photos below show the later steps as we had the dirt and ballast getting installed for this area. The second photo shows the area just left of the propane terminal with pink foam. 

Amazing how a little paint, dirt, and rock really change a scene

 Looking east at propane terminal and highway overpass from downtown Grays Lake

Lead into propane terminal - security gate will cross tracks 

Additional details that have gone in on the scene are three Woodland Scenics modern street light poles and plenty of Walthers chain link fence. 

Highway Overpass
Working right to left from the previous completed corn field scene, one specific item that needed to be installed was the highway overpass. This is made up of Rix components that were painted with different grays, tans, and given a ink wash. 

 Vegetation and traffic coming soon.

Miscellaneous components drying after being painted and weathered

Modeling Tips 
For anyone wondering how I built the Walthers chain link fence, I used the posts from the kit but instead used 0.020 steel wire in 3' lengths. This made assembly much easier with CA glue and once dry very strong and flexible. The mesh material was used for the fence. One tip I found online from Ryan Kunkle's model train site was using removable contact paper to help keep the mesh taught while cutting. Here is a link to his page which was very helpful on building this kit. A few simple changes like the wire and contact paper made install much easier. I actually built mine on the workbench using wax paper so the posts wouldn't stick to anything. 

Another tip for ballasting around signals or fragile items is using a plastic cup to cover the item. While you can still bump the cup, it will move slightly not damaging the signal or detail and make enough noise that you stop before destroying the item.

Thanks for stopping in and reading my Early March Update. By end of this month this scene should be wrapping up nicely which we will recap before moving towards downtown next.


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