Saturday, January 31, 2009

It's mostly done!

Here it is, just about finished! I need to order some cacti and plant some scraggly bushes, but what I'm calling "Matthew's Mine" is otherwise done.

If you are wondering where the mine is, the guys digging at the hill in the background are just getting started on it....

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Today's progress

As you can see, today is more of the same. I just thought I'd post a few pictures. Enjoy...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


I've started on the scenery, and it looks like it'll work out well. I have a 70 pound bag of general purpose sand that I got at Home Depot, and I bought a quart of paint that pretty much matches. So my scenery will have a kind of reddish hue.

I painted the ground and then sprinkled sand over it. I'll vacuum up the extra later. You can see a wet area where I had to add some sand to cover where I put card under the track. The grey rock in the background will get painted to match everything else.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Building Scenery

I've started roughing in the scenery on my micro layout. So far, I've got a gentle hill climbing out to the edge of the layout over by the turntable, the area where the waste water will be is dug out, and I've started building up the mountain for the tunnel.

You can see the wood grade crossing I built for the dirt road, and where the road will probably be, on the left. The mountain in the back doesn't have a top yet, but the rough shapes are progressing. The hill by the turntable doesn't show up too well in this picture.

The mine train is nosing it's way out of what will be the tunnel. The water area is in the front, and the black dot indicates where a water pipe will come out of the ground. Oh, you can also see that I've replaced the stock Atlas turnout control with a Caboose Industries ground throw. I think they look a lot better.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

First Run at Matthew's Mine

I got the wiring done, and decided to run a train around. Here is the video I made to commemorate the occasion.

Now that everything is running, I can start to work on the scenery, which is always the fun part.

I stuck a few buildings and people on the layout, just to have them there, and you can see where I have been doodling out hills and valleys.

I'll be posting more pictures as the scenery work progresses.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Micro Layout

This morning I started on an On30 micro layout, after many months of threatening...

Here is the base...22 inches by 32 inches, made with 1X4 stock. The top is 1/4 plywood.

Here is the underside of the base. I drilled holes for running wires.

I put a layer of 1 inch foam over the plywood. I can carve little dips and hollows into it later.

I've got the main loop of track laid. The curves are 10 inch radius, so only small equipment will run.

I've noticed that the base under the track going to the turntable will need to be built up a bit. I'm thinking I'll use something like matte board. In case you're wondering, I made the turntable from a CD and case.

The main loop has been wired, and a train is running! Once I finish with all the track work and am satisfied that it all works reliably, then I'll start building up the scenery. Eventually, the engine will push a string of cars out of a mine tunnel and into an ore processing building. There should be a small pond with scummy water, a mountain (or at least enough of one for the mine) and little hills and dips.

There will also be plenty of trees and greenery. One of the reasons I'm building this layout is to experiment with some interesting looking techniques I've read about.

But, I think I've done enough for one day....

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Plano Train Show

I got to The Favorite Spot, in Denton, alright. The place is amazing! If Bachmann makes it, they have it in stock. I spent about an hour weighing my options and drooling over the things I could choose from. I only went a little bit over budget, so feel pretty good about that. I should point out that the owner, Ray, and his workers are all really nice people, and eager to help or answer questions.

I attended most of the first day of the Plano Train Show, and had an absolute ball! Lots of layouts to see, lots of venders to buy from, and of course, I was there to run trains with the Texas On30 Outlaws. They are a great bunch of guys, and we had fun running trains, explaining On30 to the visitors, and admiring each other's work.

Here is a brand new On30 0-4-2 Porter pushing a string of side-dump cars across a bridge at the show.

This is a picture of a Push-Me-Pull-You, we made with a couple of Davenports, on the auto-reversing trolley track. We had about eight feet of track on the auto-reversing line.

This is part of Mike Duva's swamp module. Beautiful work! The water has depth, and everything is dirty looking.

Part of Don Culverson's Maydell module. This one inspired me so much that I made one of my own!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A short vacation coming up

Tomorrow, I head to the Dallas area for the annual Plano Model Train Show. My first stop will be in Denton, Texas to visit a store named "The Favorite Spot". This place is Bachmann On30 mecca, and I am planning on picking up quite a few new pieces there. Saturday, I'll be spending most of the day at the train show, and am looking forward to seeing some friends and running some trains.

I'll have a report, and probably some pictures when I get back....

Friday, January 9, 2009

News from one of the kids...

Good news from Spokane: the snow is finally melting! Bad news is that the basement is now flooded! My daughter-in-law talked to the people at the base housing office, and they say there's nothing they can do until it finally dries up a bit, which makes some sense, but it's still got to be annoying having half an inch of water in your basement.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


I read Don's Mind yesterday, and he got me to thinking about hamburgers. I really like hamburgers, and have had some pretty good ones.

My favorite all time hamburger is at Hudson's Hamburgers in Coeur d' Alene, Idaho. They have been there since 1910, and you can buy a burger, pepsi, and a piece of pie; there are no fries or chips to clog things up. Hudson's has spicy mustard, spicy ketchup, and regular ketchup, you can get pickle, onion, or cheese. When I'm in town, I try to go to Hudson's at least once each day, and I usually eat two burgers. They have been nationally recognized for their burgers, and I highly recommend them!

Closer to home, we have a convenience store chain named Town and Country. Oddly enough, they make one of the best burgers in town! All the usual toppings and vegetables are available, and the price is reasonable. Don't forget to pick up an order of fried okra to go with your burger.

Believe it or not, I like McDonalds burgers. they may have gotten smaller (I haven't eaten there in a while), but McDonalds is predictable. You know exactly what it will taste like, no matter where you go. I ate at a McDonalds in Seoul Korea, and their cheeseburger tasted just like a cheeseburger here. Every once in a while, I just get a hankering for a Big Mac. Call it a character flaw....

Then there's Burger King, Whataburger, Dairy Queen, on and on... They all have good burgers. I like to get burgers at "yuppie" restaurants, like Applebees and Cheddars. They are always big and juicy...and a bit expensive, but what can you do?

My all time, favorite burger is the one I cook. I can grill a mean hamburger any time I want one!

Maybe tomorrow will be hotdogs.