Thursday, September 14, 2017

MVRR Layout Update 009 - Track down!





This update we do what all model railroaders dread, clean the layout room!  And we lay some track on the junction module!  Join us to see the progress on the railroad since we saw you last!  And stay tuned for a couple of run by's!



Let me know what you think of it!



Hope all is well with everyone!



Keep 'er in Notch 8!


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Building a Free-Mo Corner Module

Corner Module construction


Down on the Corner

I had recently finished putting the foam sub roadbed on my three yard modules and had just started to lay the track plan on the sub roadbed.  It was looking like I could get away with making the yard and not the junction module, saving me time and potentially space.  In theory, everything looked to support this strategy, life was good.  Then I put the actual turnouts for the yard in place, I quickly found that reality and strategy did not match.  Its funny how a track plan never really lines up to what you can create.  That was the catalyst in getting me to build the junction corner module.  Should have just stuck to the plan in the first place and not tried to take a short cut!!!  By the end of the weekend I was able to plan and build the framework for the corner module!

Check out this video on the behind the scenes of making the module:


The Cornerstone - Making a Plan

The plan for the corner module was to too difficult to create.  I basically transposed a frame work over the track plan I had created in AnyRail.  I added some cross braces to ensure the frame would be ridged and I identified what dimensions of plywood would need to be cut to create the corner.

The corner in question

Corner Construction 

Cut the lumber -  I like to use a miter saw and table saw.  You can perform cuts with a handheld circular saw if a miter saw and table saw are not available!  Always MEASURE TWICE, CUT ONCE!  If you cut a board too short you are S-O-L.  They don’t make a tool that stretches boards.

Always measure twice!


Use Kreg Jig – I like to pre drill all my holes in the lumber using the Kreg Jig pocket screw jig.  This method allows you to screw into a face perpendicular to the board and hide the screws and do a dry run to make sure they line up before I fasten any of them together.

Square it up – It is important to make sure that all of the corners are “square.” If your corners are off by a considerable amount it will make it difficult to connect your module to other modules and may throw off the dimensions of the bigger layout!

Need to add the corner brace

Shore it up – I added cross members and bracing to endure that the frame stayed true and would not twist with handling.  It is important that the frame work provide some rigidity so it can be a good foundation for the foam sub roadbed.


It works!  Standing up and connected to the rest of the yard!

What's next?

Now that the Corner is up and connects nicely to the rest of the modules I’ve built its time to put foam on the corner and get the track on this.  Goal is to be running trains on the corner junction and yard by Halloween!!!

Friday, August 4, 2017

Solving my problems with my legs...need a good waxing


Issues with my legs - Modutrak Legs

Last time I left you we made 12 feet of benchwork for my free mo yard but the Modutrak legs I decided to use didn't work too great.  Loads of people came to my aid and offered a bunch of great suggestions!  Thank you!  So I made a video demonstrating what methods I tried and what ones worked best.
Take a look at this video talking about my legs...uh my Modutrak Legs.  Follow the link below.

Modutrak Leg issues Video

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Reboot the Blog

Lets get the blog going again

I've been kicking around the idea of firing up my blog again.  The Mascoutin Valley Railroad has kind of gone through a rebirth as of late and I should probably start to document it.  I'm going to try and blog more and not make them so extensive that way I can kind of treat this as journal of sorts and not so much a how to do it.

Current State of the Mascoutin Valley Railroad

We've started to build a "visible staging yard" for the MVRR.  The yard is going to be made from free-mo modules and will be used on my railroad and a joint free-mo project layout with my pal Jeremy Dummler. 

Visible Staging Yard Trackplan
Construction on the yard modules has started and its not without its trials.  I've kind of gotten "stuck" on the legs.  The project calls for the use of the Modutrak leg standard.  Now I will say they are a great design with one flaw.  The tolerances were a bit tight in the module pockets where the legs slide into.  So I've had to put a call to the masses to get some ideas to get the legs to slide more easily into the module pockets.  See the video below.


Wrap Up

So that's where we are at.  Some things have been going on the railroad and we are excited to start blogging again.  Basically after a four month layoff.  If you're still out there let me know!  Post a comment or question. I always get back to people that take the time to comment!
Be sure to check out my Facebook page!  Even though spring is upon us there is still time to work on the layout!!! Who knows you may even see a few pictures of the fish I catch when I'm not working on the layout! I am posting updates about once per week so check it out and please provide feedback!
You can find my Facebook Page here.  Make Sure to give it a 'like' to keep up with my progress!
https://m.facebook.com/MascoutinValleyRR/

Thanks for reading!  Until next time keep 'er in Notch 8!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Oh Lord! Stuck in 'Groveland' again!

Mascoutin Valley Railroad March/April Update:

TOMA!  TOMA!  TOMA!  (Toga! Toga! Toga!)

I’ve been bitten by the module bug.  Hard.  I’ve been looking at my current layout and the state that it is in and realized that even though I tried to build it in a modular fashion, it really wasn’t modular.  I lacked the discipline to not allow “scope creep” in and ended up building a bunch of bench work and having this daunting massive layout in front of me. 

I’ve made enough progress on the layout, where we have the track laid down, and I was able to start running trains.  And I started to see some of the flaws in the design.  It is really important to take the advice of others especially when it comes to layout design.  You never think of how trains flow around the layout or having more than one person standing in an aisle when you’re designing and constructing.  I lost myself in the moment and the short term goal of getting something running.
Possible Yard Designs
The Rebirth Begins

Check out this video of the "rebirth" in progress MVRR Layout Update 003.
So it is back to the drawing board.  I’m thinking of a redesign where I construct a layout of modules, Free-Mo Modules.  The appeal of being able to work on one small section at a time vs. having a whole room sized layout along with the portability to potentially take my stuff to shows is a what put me over the top on the redesign.  I think that the most important part of the  

Track Plan of the yard for the first modules

Free-Mo Module Yard Design

MVRR Layout trackplan version 2.1.

Overall layout design

What's next?

Next steps build some modules!  I'm pretty excited to get started transforming my layout into a more modular set up.  It should be an "easy" transition where I just have to lower the frame work and build some boxes for the modules.  The goal for May is to have one section of one module build.  That is if yardwork doesn't creep up on me.

Be sure to check out my Facebook page!  Even though spring is upon us there is still time to work on the layout!!! Who knows you may even see a few pictures of the fish I catch when I'm not working on the layout! I am posting updates about once per week so check it out and please provide feedback!

You can find my Facebook Page here.  Make Sure to give it a 'like' to keep up with my progress!

https://m.facebook.com/MascoutinValleyRR/

Please post question and comments!  I will get back to you!

Thanks for reading!  Until next time keep 'er in Notch 8!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Over the Hills and Far Away

Talking about Backdrops

Hello Everybody!  I hope everyone had a good Christmas!  I certainly did.  Over the Christmas Break I've been working on two things:
  1. Finishing the Track Loop for the entire layout.
  2. Working on the Backdrop on the Iron Ore Pellet Plant Module.
So since we've already covered track work, I'm going to talk about painting my backdrop and the process that I developed to create mine.


I do want to caveat that this is a method that worked for me.  There are many methods to make a backdrop that are very effective and have very good results.  Remember, I'm no Bob Ross! I will post some links to some videos that do things differently so you can see what you like, and what you can do.

What Type of Backdrop?

There are all sorts of ways to create a backdrop for your model railroad.  Hand Painted, Photo backdrop, Airbrush, Bob Ross...all sorts of ways. 


I chose to combine hand painting and using an air brush.  I want the backdrop to be just that, part of the background.  I wanted it to add depth, but not over power the scene.  Remember the TRAINS are the main players on my stage so I didn't want a high fidelity photo backdrop stealing the show (even though when done well the photo backdrops do look amazing). 


Below are some links to some videos that better show how to paint or display photo backdrops
Links

Trial and Error

So one day I woke up and said, Hey I'm going to paint a backdrop on my model railroad and its going to be right on the money the first time I try it.  FALSE!  It took me many failed attempts before I actually got a method and result that I liked. 


  • Trying the Bob Ross Method - Hand Painting Everything
Using acrylic paints I started with painting the whole scene white.  While the white was blended in the blue, top down so the sky would get lighter as it approached the horizon.

Here you can see me trying to add gray as the far background to simulate dormant deciduous trees in November.  Added some green for pines and the some brown to simulate earth or falls from trees on the forest floor. 

Here's a close up, the one thing its lacking in my opinion is depth, and detail.  More detail than just "blobs" of color.



  • Airbrush

Hand Painted the Sky using the same "Bob Ross" Blending Technique.  I used the Airbrush to add a stripe of white to simulate the horizon line.

Started adding the background.  Using a "stencil" I made from cardstock.  Mixed Green and Gray at various levels to create the depth.

Started to add the middle ground. Same technique using stencils. More Green Less Gray.

Added the open pit part of the mine in brown.  Just to give the impression that the pit is visible in the background.

What's next?

I may still tinker a bit with the backdrop here.  Add some Pine Tree groves and a few poplar trees in the foreground.  I think we're going to start the scenery on the first portion of the Iron Mine.  I've been playing around with some designs and am thinking that once that area gets built up its really going to be a special/signature scene on my Railroad. 


Be sure to check out my Facebook page!  Its prime model railroad season!!! Work on the layout, locomotives and rolling stock is in high gear! I am posting updates multiple times per week so check it out and please provide feedback!

You can find my Facebook Page here.  Make Sure to give it a 'like' to keep up with my progress!

https://m.facebook.com/MascoutinValleyRR/

Please post question and comments!  I will get back to you!

Thanks for reading!  Until next time keep 'er in Notch 8!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Ch ch ch ch Changes!

Hey everybody!

Its been along time since I've posted and we've had a couple of changes of here at the Mascoutin Valley.  Big Changes!  I was going to provide a tutorial on creating cheap and easy method for pulpwood log loads but I figured I'd catch everyone up to speed as to why I haven't posted much lately.

New Engineer in Training

Welcome Henry Aaron Dorsch!  He's the newest edition to the Mascoutin Valley Railroad.  Born August 9th, 2016.  He has been a wonderful addition to the family!  He is a healthy baby boy who is already learning the basics about model railroading!  ;-)

Henry (3 Months) and his best buddy Barnaby.

Layout Update

Trackwork Complete at the Mine

Track is complete and switch machines operational.  I've run a couple of trains over the tracks to test operation theory and the quality of the track work.  No derailments!  I still need to do more testing with different types of rolling stock.  But for now it looks like all my locomotives will run right through the mine!

So here is a picture of Iron Ore Pellet Plant Module with bullfrogs installed.

Fascia Painted with Bullfrogs installed.

First Ore Jenny

I've started creating my Mascoutin Valley Ore Jenny Fleet.  I stripped down some old MDC/Roundhouse Jennies and repainted them in "ugly green."  They don't have to be pretty, they are going to get weathered pretty heavily. 

Here's a picture of the production line for the jennies. 
Stripped down and repainted Jennies.


Here's a finished one - Weathered up.


MVRR 102 - First Road Specific Ore Jenny

Next Steps

Start scenery and structures for mine!  Look at this sweet mock-up I made with cardboard!  This mock-up may result in being the skeleton for the structure of the mine.  I saw a technique recently that used cardboard as the walls and then styrene was a "laminate" over the cardboard.  This could save me tons of time!

Iron Ore Pellet Plant - Styrofoam Stock Pile and a 12-pack represents the Pellet Plant
At some point I should post a revised track plan.  I'm pretty good with the one I have now, just need to finish it in Adobe Illustrator and make an electronic file to upload.

I want to thank everyone for reading and following along.  Its going to be interesting how Henry fits into the railroad!

Be sure to check out my facebook page!  Winter is coming so that means its "back to the basement!" Work on the layout and equipment will be at an awesome rate! I am posting updates multiple times per week so check it out and please provide feedback!

You can find my Facebook Page here.  Make Sure to give it a 'like' to keep up with my progress!

https://m.facebook.com/MascoutinValleyRR/

Please post question and comments!  I will get back to you!

Thanks for reading!  Until next time keep 'er in Notch 8!