Monday, June 5, 2017

May Recap

Sometimes even the best intentions of publishing a blog post monthly does not go as planned. The month of May was by far the busiest for me in terms of traveling in 2017 for both work and pleasure. June is well underway and with that will come great content on the layout and MAC Rail but this post we are going to recap the on-goings during the month of May. 

Grays Lake Update
One goal I had for the layout was taking my time and really building character into each scene. My current focus is the Town of Grays Lake. The middle of May ended up being the largest push to "Pave" the scene and "Bring Light" to things.... Sorry for the puns, could not resist. Well the answer is in the words, as I ended up getting the pavement, pavement markings, and lighting added into the scene.

 Looking east down First Ave. 

 Overhead view of First's parking spots, sidewalks, lights, and weathering

Looking north on Main St.

So far in downtown Grays Lake I have installed 9 street lights with an additional 5 of this ornate design required. Additionally a few wooden lamp posts will be installed at the fertilizer plant, track access road, and side street. The Woodland Scenics Just Plug system makes this process very easy to install and just takes minute to connect and lighting. I believe you would agree with the following photos that the finished result is amazing.

 Overview of entire modeled downtown

 Corner of Main and First. 

View north on Main St. 

Additional work on Grays Lake included the addition of Railroad St. which runs between First and Second Avenues. The road runs parallel to the Michigan Interstate St. Clair Sub mainline. Along Railroad St. is Dean's Garage which is a small town auto repair shop. Pretty sure the scene will have the owner Dean sitting out front with cold suds watching trains versus fixing autos...

Deans Garage located beside Railroad St. The shop will actually be located on Second Ave.(Cork).

In the month of June you can expect to see further progress on Second Avenue and getting scenery such as shrubs and trees more permanently in place. Additional lighting will be added as purchased. I will cover the entire install and wiring process for these lights in a future summer post.

Quick word on the streets and sidewalks - they are styrene and created following Lance Mindheim's Road How To on his blog. Basically rustoleum gray for the aged asphalt and india ink / alcohol airbrushed following his technique. Prior to weathering I did use Summit Custom Cuts road marking decals which I must say were easy to use and turned out great. Lastly the sidewalks are laser cut wood from Minuteman Scale Models. They offer different angles and the detail is perfect for further detailing and weathering. 

Travels - East
Early in the month of May our family traveled to Walt Disney World. Anyone who has followed my blog for sometime knows I try to provide a few pictures and recap on the love of railroading that Walt Disney had. To this day trains play a large part in the parks. Here are a few photos. 

 Main Street Station at The Magic Kingdom

 Garden Railroad at Epcot's Germany Pavilion - versus the past they had trains running with mutliple car consists. This is a nice change to just seeing a engine running light. 

Great view of creek, tunnels, and multiple loops on setup. There are four loops with two in the foreground, one in the upper right background, and another in upper left corner beyond the bridges. 

Travels - West
The back end of May require me to be in Southern California for a work conference so while traveling on my off time I did have a chance to stop in a Railmaster Hobbies in Bellflower, CA. and Arnie's Model Trains in Westminster, CA. My first reaction to both of these stores is wow what great staff, great customer service, and great selection to the modeler. Both stores had items that we do not always see in Texas. Lets take a look at both stores and run by what I picked up. 

Railmaster Hobbies - Bellflower, California
I prefer using Railmaster Speakers for my DCC sound installs and no better place to get them then the source! I picked up 2 of the DS1240-Box speakers, 4 DS1425-8 speakers, the American Model Builders Wind Blade 3 Pack, BLMA detail parts, and Athearn Genesis 89' flat. Funny story I actually bought everything and I got to talking with Dave at the store so i accidently left my detail parts behind. A week later after tearing apart my suitcase thinking I had misplaced them I gave em a call and they had set the 2 parts aside. Soon enough the parts were in the mail heading to Texas. 

Arnie's Model Trains - Westminster, CA
I had been to California back in 2012 and visited Milepost 38 ToyTrains when they were still in Anaheim Hills. Since then Milepost 38 and Arnie's have co-located side by side in the same shopping center. If you are looking for HO and N then you go into Arnie's. Looking for O and G scale step next door to Milepost 38. 

Great store, great staff, great selection. The modelers in Southern California are very fortunate to have two great stores that support the hobby and if one doesnt have the item you are looking for they suggest to check the other. Nothing against ordering from Walthers or OEM direct, but it is always nice to support local model train stores. Beings I spent quite a bit at Railmaster Hobbies, I opted to keep this trip light and picked up one of the new Athearn R-T-R 60' Gunderson TTX repaints in the TOBX marks. Additionally this car comes faded with patchwork. Thanks to James working that day for pointing this out. I saw the re-stenciled reporting marks but was unaware of the factory pre-fade. 

If you are in the Southern California area make time on your trip to stop by both of these shops, you will not be disappointed. Make sure to make room to bring home items in your checked bag as well. 

Wrapping up the trip was a quick trip to Disneyland. I couldn't miss out on having both Main Street Stations in the same post. 

Main Street Station at Disneyland Park

That wraps up my May recap. Pretty busy month of traveling but as you saw I got a little more done on the Grays Lake scene. Stayed tuned in June for two updates once showcasing the purchases from my California trip and MAC Rail projects. Later in the month we will head back to the layout to see progress at Grays Lake.

Have a great week.


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