Wednesday 17 September 2014

The Good Stuff

Well as reported in the last blog I had spent a few weeks diving under the baseboards redoing the wiring for Candelo. So far so good and the wiring still seems to work. And my back and arms are now feeling OK.
Wiring is a thankless job we have to do to get the systems operating. No one comes to view your layout and says "Gee can I see the wiring in your control panel?" You can spend hours doing it, then we go and hide it all away.
Scenery is another matter. It is meant to be looked at and appreciated. Its what gives a layout character, some of course do it better than others and some just completely ignore it and just like running trains. Each to their own.
This week I have finally started go do some ballasting and started with Nos 1 and 2 storage roads.
When I pulled up Candelo tracks I tried to rescue as much ballast as possible. No need to buy ballast twice for the same spot. Luckily I had used the old pva glue and detergent system of laying the ballast. The spray bottle got to work over the tracks and after ten minutes the track was able to be lifted once the brads had been taken up. The spent ballast went into a container and after going through the sifter was once again ready for re-use.
Storage sidings 1 and 2 will be mainly used for holding the BCH coal hoppers as they are split up and taken to the two close by coal mines. These two roads will effectively have more dropped coal around them.
In redoing Candelo I should be working my way from the back to front so as not to be knocking poles, structures etc along the way. But I was itching to get some ballast down to see how it goes. I don't use any underlay in the yard as in real life there are no shoulders under the track, all just flat dirt. I also make sure I paint the sides of the rails as I go, you never see silver rails in real life. My preferred colour in the yard is Tamiya Khaki drab which is a muddy, dirty colour.
Looking the other direction this is the current extent of ballasting. Track is easy to do, its the ballasting around points which is tedious and slow, making sure the point blades don't get glued up along the way.
This shot shows the other side of the ridge not normally seen from the aisle. I am using florist foam, pushed into shape and glued to the plaster. The foam will make it easier to push shrubbery into this area rather than having to drill holes. I have painted this with a brown paint since which helps to blend it in with other scenery. The point motor is not seen from the other side as well and the point motor to the left will eventually be covered in with a removable flap for access.

Slowly but surely Candelo becomes reality as the scenery spreads. Compare this shot with the first shot from last posting and the microswitch has been hidden under the foam. As I have had to cut out along this existing ridge to fit in new points motors, I will work my way along redoing the scenery. Then the rest of the yard will be ballasted.

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