Tuesday, September 25, 2012

What's Growing

Being that I wanted to try and break-up the sea-of-green on the layout, I decided to use some lichen from Woodland Scenics. Had a light green and a darker green on hand. Cut the light green into very small pieces and glued them to the layout. This seems to have broken-up the green a bit. I still want to add some dirt here and there to make it look more natural.

Then I used a combination of both green lichens to simulate overgrowth along the brick wall. Again this was glued to the base and carefully to the wall with white glue.

The building door and the wagons were weathered by using charcoal powder. This was applied with a #2 brush and dabbed on sparingly. Then a 1/4 inch soft brissled brush was used to soften and spread the powder around. I was quite pleased with the effect.

Lastly I decided to change the paper on the Critter hood to a more rusted look. This makes it look more used and old. Still need to buy a driver so that I can finish the deck and add details.

Next time we'll discuss some more scenery on other areas of the layout. Stay tuned.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The "Critter"

In order to have a proper, functioning layout I needed some sort of motive power. I stripped down a Ho 0-4-0 switcher for the basis for my "Critter". Here's what it looked like with the basic planking for the rear deck and ends re-worked. The pic also shows the 17 inch "fiddle yard":

Next came the hood or bonnet for the front over the motor. The hood is made out of cardboard with small pieces of wood on the inside for bracing and to hold the shape:

The next step was to give the black frame and the ends some weathering to give it the look of heavy usage and many years of service:

The hood is covered with a texture from the internet rescaled and applied with double-stick tape. I'm pretty happy with the look, but I may change the hood covering to make it look even more worn. The rear deck will have to wait for paint and detailing until my "driver" arrives in the mail, then I'll finish the Critter and the weathering.

Well that's it for now until the next installment. Stay tuned. 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Ground Cover

The next step in the build was to put down some basic " ground cover ". Even though I had never used this before, I decided to use Woodland Scenics foam ground cover in a medium green. Little did I know that when I sprayed it with a 50/50 mix of water and white glue, that this stuff would fly everywhere.

So, after cleaning-up this stuff, I decided to try again. This time I worked in small areas and used a cheap hairspray to hold the foam in place. Covered the top of the rails, with a ruler, to keep the spray off them. Then I sprayed the hair spray from about 2 feet above the layout. By spraying in this fashion the fixative gently landed on the foam, thereby staying where I had placed it.  I finished the layout with this method and also tried to use the foam somewhat sparingly. Here is how it came out:

Will either add some real dirt or a different colored lichen, or both, to break up the green color. I'm pretty satisfied with this, but I really need to break up the green color to make it look more natural.

We will discuss more on the layout build in the next installment. Stay tuned.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Flat Cars (Wagons)

Here is a close-up of the flatcar (wagon) that I built from scratch.  The car measures about 5.5 feet long in Gn15 scale, which is a reasonable size. The  process was actually a lot easier than I had first thought. Take a Ho freight car and remove the body. Then I cut off the couplers and pockets next because I was going to use a link & pin system. A cut was made just behind both sets of wheels after the cross-beams which gave me a flat area to apply glue. Next I cut a piece of styrene the width of the wheels and the length of both sets together. The styrene kept the wheels aligned and square so that the flat car would track well and go around curves properly. 

Then came the wood deck. It is made out of craft sticks the same size as an ice-cream stick. First I cut the sides and ends; glued them together with wood glue and made it square by using a jig that I had made out of scrap pine. When dryed it was glued to the wheel assembly with plastic cement. the deck planks were cut to size so that they would be flush with the frame. The couplers were made with a double layer of sticks with a hole made using a pin-vise where the two are glued together. A short piece of brass rod was cut for the pin and inserted into the hole. 

After making the second flat-car, the only thing that is left to do is paint and weather the cars to taste. 

In the next installment I'll discuss the process used to do the basic ground cover on the layout. Stay tuned.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Here We Go


This is " C.A. Farms "; it is named in honor of Carl Arendt who passed away in 2011. We lost a brilliant man who pioneered the art of small/micro model railroading. The website has since been taken over by three other people who are keeping his dream alive - THANK-YOU.

The base is made out of foam-core and has been sealed with cheap spray-paint to keep out any moisture. This will keep it from warping the base during scenery placement and also gives the look of dirt. The building is also made of foam-core with the roof made from card stock. The whole thing is finished with textures from the internet scaled to 1/2 inch = 1 foot. Likewise the brick and stone walls are made from double thick foam-core and finished with the same treatment as the building. 

The track has every third tie (sleeper) removed and the remaining two pushed together to give it a short-line, rural look. They are held in place with double-stick tape and painted to tone down the black ties. The track was balested sparingly and is held in place with a 50/50 mixture of white glue and water applied with an eye-dropper. When dryed the track was permantly held in place.

The turnout (point) is only half visable in the scene with the rest making up a 17 inch off-scene " fiddle yard " which goes past the opening in the layout. This will be the place to change out loads or cars then re-enter the scene. This a trick used to represent the " rest of the world " and to give variety to the operation of C.A. Farms.  

The layout can also be seen at http://railroad-line.com . Click on the forums tab; the layout is under the mini/micro layout section. This is a great website with very friendly people.

We will continue discussing the build in the next installment and I will share some more photos of C.A. Farms.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Beginning

Now that I had decided to do a shoebox layout, the matter of scale had to be decided and I wanted to do narrow guage of some sort. After poking around the internet for a while, Gn15 seemed to be a good choice. If you go to http://www.gn15.info , you will find a fantastic site that has Gn15 layouts, as well as other scales.

Gn15 is "G" scale buildings, people, and scenery combined with 16 mm track which figures out to be 15 inches wide. Actually Ho scale track is the same size; which allows me to use Ho scale car chassis and engine mechanisms. It just so happens that I have plenty of each. Also with this scale it gave me the chance to "scratch-build" almost everything and it is large enough not the strain the eyes.

Materials were the next thing on my list. I wanted them to be inexpensive and easy to work with, not requiring a lot of tools. After some more internet research, I found what would be my materials of choice: foam-core sheets, cardboard (pasteboard), paper, craft-sticks, styrene, double-stick tape, white glue, and a cheap can of spray paint (to seal the foam-core and paint the track).

Tools were kept very basic. Some I already owned and others were purchased as needed. They consisted of: ruler, small square, x-acto knife, pencil, steel scale, small piece of thin plywood (to cut on), a jig (to keep buildings square), single-stage air brush, a small metal miter box with a razor saw (for cutting materials), and a pair of rail-cutters.

All of the above was accomplished  over the course of several months. This is a hobby, so time spent was a few hours here and there. In the next installment we will start to get into the actual construction of the layout.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Welcome to Shoebox Railroad

Since 1972 I've been dabbling in Model Railroading. The keyword here is dabbling. Never seemed to get past the laying of some track; nor had the room, time, or money to commit to a large project. Although, small layouts always did seem to catch my eye. About two years ago I happen to come across a website http://www.carendt.com called " Micro/Small Layouts for Model Railroads ". This was Carl Arendt's site which not only had valuable how-to articles, but also a scrapbook with about 10 years worth of monthly installments of modelers sharing their work from all over the world. Wow, what a find; I spent the next couple of months reading just about every article. If you want to try your hand at Model Railroading and don't have much space or money or time then Carl's website is for you. The one area that caught my interest was several Micro Layouts which were built in an actual  shoebox; thus came the inspiration for this blog. In the next installment I will start sharing my current project with you.