Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Holiday Progress

Here we are, the first post of the new year (2011). I was fortunate enough to have a few days off over the holidays, and took advantage of that time to press ahead with a couple of key projects. First, I continued to flesh out the scenery around Thomas, West Virginia, closing up the chasm between the yard there and the masonite fascia. This also included finishing out the base scenery along the Connellsville line on the lower level along the river bank.

This also involved completing the highway bridge leading out of Thomas. I used an old Atlas Warren Truss bridge as the basic component, and tricked it out with some Evergreen H beams and a styrene deck, then added some road striping with a yellow pencil. Finally, for the sake of the safety of my N scale motorists, I added some guardrails using Evergreen strip stock.

All that's left to do in Thomas is to construct the iconic brick station building, a couple of more company houses, and then work on detailing out the post and frame foundations. I have a stand in for the lumber mill operation, and a kit to bash to finish it, and of course, some trees, figures vehicles and so forth.

Next, I moved around the corner to start roughing in the framework for Cumberland, which will be my urban section. Since the benchwork is fairly deep at this area, I have to work from the back wall out, as I won't be able to easily reach the far sections once the mainline is installed through town. The Thomas Sub line to the helix runs behind Cumberland, and parallels my version of US 40 into the Narrows, a scene showcased in our last installment. Working forward from Route 40, I'm creating a typical highway commercial scene, replete with billboard signs, gasoline stations and fast food joints. So far things are just slapped in "for placement only" consideration, but I'll be refining this area in the coming weeks.

My time frame is around 1970, and I've been told that there wasn't a Pizza Hut in Cumberland until 1972, but I'll take that under advisement. The Pizza Hut got a "snow" job when I used it on a slap-dash Christmas Garden a few years ago, so I'll need to be repainting that. I'll also add some more details to the roof and landscape to make it look a little less Plasticville. Either that or I'll build a proper road side greasy spoon, but for now we'll stick with pizza. In the background you can see the larger buildings of Cumberland's main thoroughfare, Baltimore Street.

I'll be using some DPM structures, and kitbashing a few others to get the downtown feel here. I've also seen some Japanese Tomix buildings that look like they might work for the newer buildings that were constructed in the 1950's and '60's. We'll see what the budget allows for in the coming months.

As we proceed back toward the aisle, we pick up the segment of the mainline through town where the Western Maryland Station is to be located. I've been working on a scratchbuild of the station for some time, and this will give me the motivation to try to finish it.

The station scene will represent how the building looked in the early 1970's, with the middle platform removed. Baltimore Street crosses the tracks just to the left of the station, and there will be an interchange track for the B&O just to the right like the prototype. The panel in the foreground will be the stream bed for Wills Creek, which in this area is enclosed in a concrete flood control channel, as shown in the map below.
The challenge for me will be to patiently work on these background scenes and get them to a level of completeness so I can confidently finish running Wills Creek from the back to the front, and then install the remainder of the main line. Usually I'm too impatient to do things in the proper order, and I end up regretting it later. I'm already struggling with myself on this one, as I really want to get the track installed in front of the station. Somehow I'll manage, I'm sure.

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