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Lennart's Model Railroad Blog

About this blog

This blog is about my current model railroad layout project; The N scale "Summit" layout, which is a freelanced interpretation of the Southern Pacific Tehachapi tunnels and their surroundings. Or at least, that is what it is meant to be. What it will turn out to be is another matter. The banner photo above shows what I want to recreate in N scale.

Blue sky

Benchwork and backdrop Posted on Sun, January 31, 2010 18:43:35

Earlier today I painted the backdrop. First two coates of white latex paint and then a coat of very light blue.

I have no intention of varying the shades of blue or painting clouds or anything. I want it to show as little as possible.

Turning to the window I caught the view below. A very pale winter sun above my neighbour’s roof. Outside it is -8 degrees Celsius (17.6 Fahrenheit, if I have done my calculations correctly).

Tonight I also cut som MDF board for the staging yard. It is not properly installed yet (on risers). It just lies there for a test fit.

Hardboard in place

Benchwork and backdrop Posted on Sat, January 30, 2010 20:34:10

The 3 mm hardboard (Masonite) backdrop is in place, and the screw holes have been spackled.

I have serious thoughts about building a spline roadbed, cutting splines from the left-overs from the Masonite backdrop board. I have not tried splines before, but it looks really cool. Smooth curves and easements more or less by themself.

Backdrop frame

Benchwork and backdrop Posted on Sun, January 24, 2010 16:26:56

A quick update. Today I made a frame for the backdrop from some 1″ x 1/2″ which I screwed to the back of the benchwork. Here are some pictures.

Down under

Benchwork and backdrop Posted on Thu, January 14, 2010 21:59:09

I have continued the work on the underside of the layout. I started by flipping the benchwork so that is was resting on its back. That made it easier for me to work on the underside. The first thing I did was to paint the underside. I simply rolled it twice with white latex paint. The kind you normally use for walls or ceilings.

Next I wanted a way to be able to easily fold down the “hatches”, in order to be able to access the layout from in under. I decided to use a piece of threaded steel rod and a wing-nut to hold each hatch in its up position. Unscrewing the wing-nut would loosen the front side of the hatch and it would swing down.

I begun by cutting a suitable length of threaded rod.

Next I drilled a hole in the front benchwork girder. I made the hole slightly narrower than the rod and forced the rod into the hole with a hammer. That seems to be enough to hold the rod in place, even under the weight of the MDF board hatch.

A hole in the hatch, a washer and a wing-nut completes the whole thing.

Last is a picture of the benchwork when flipped back in its correct position. One of the hatches is down and the others are up. A nice and tidy underside, suitable in a room also used by the rest of the family.

Benchwork more or less done

Benchwork and backdrop Posted on Fri, January 08, 2010 20:57:56

The benchwork is more or less in place. It is an open grid made out of 1×4’s (or rather the Swedish metric equivalent). It is quite sturdy, for N scale. But that is partly because I wanted to keep the number of steel wall studs down and at the same time be sure that the layout would not sag.

I built the complete structure on the floor. I figured it would be easier to get everyhing even and square in that way. Here is the complete box, standing on its front.

Next I screwed the wall steel studs and brackets to the wall.

Next it was a simple thing to lift the benchwork and lay it down on the brackets. The benchwork has not yet been screwed to the brackets, partly because I have not yet decided on the best height. The brackets can be easily moved to test different heights.

When coming up the stairway you have a good view of the underside of the benchwork, as seen in the next photo. Since that part of a layout will be mostly wires, I decided to try to hide it.

So I used MDF (Medium Density Fiber) board to make some hatches. They will easily fold down when I need to work under the layout, but will otherwise hide all the wires and stuff. In the next photo you can see the MDF board hatches, in their “up” position. They will soon become “foldable”.

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