Layout Valance and Staging – Part 1

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The layout with its new valance and staging yard all custom built to accommodate my apartment and furniture.

I’ve been writing a lot about my adventures trackside lately, but have neglected to mention the progress I’ve made on the layout.  A couple of huge leaps were made over the last few months.

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Practice makes Perfect: Building a Diorama – Part 1.

diorama1

The foam diorama I created to test my ideas. It matches the profile of the layout bases. The square hole is where the switch machine will be mounted.

In order to better visualize how my layout plan will work, I built a small diorama to test my ideas.  It’s the same thickness as the layout baseboards (a 1″ piece of foam with a 2″ piece of foam on top where the track is and a 3/4″ piece of foam for the water, so the maximum thickness is 3″, minimum thickness is 1 3/4″).  This will allow me to test my switch machine mounting system, turnout construction and placement, sub-roadbed, and scenery techniques.  Read on to see what I’ve done so far.

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Building Foam Baseboards

baseboard3

Railroad books have many uses!

I’m slowly working my way towards being able to lay track on my model railroad.  One big step that I’d been putting off due to the finicky nature of getting it right, was final assembly on all the foam baseboards.  Since I live in an apartment and the layout will eventually need to move, the baseboard is divided into three equal sections.  That creates two joints that will have many tracks and a large expanse of “water” spanning them.  I have a little experience building modules, and I know that if the joints have large gaps and don’t line up vertically, it’s a huge headache later in the building process, so I’m trying to get everything as tight as possible from the very beginning.

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Let There Be Light

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Lighting has been installed on the layout.

After a frustrating, but important and ultimately successful couple of months, I’ve finished installing the canopy lighting on the layout.  I used two parallel runs of LED light strips operating off of their own dedicated power supply to provide consistent illumination to the entire layout.  It took some experimentation, but now that it’s done I’m happy with the result.

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