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BMWorks
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Well it was inevitable, it all had to start somewhere. So here we go;
I started simple, just planning to build a bookshelf for my office and as it turned out the upper surface was just screaming for a display of some type. So I started this concept for a small single themed scene to test out my skills as a refresher to modeling and a test bed for some new technologies in lighting. This will keep the time to complete down and hopefully the learning curve and cost that go with it down also.
The unit will be 72 5/8" wide, 20" deep at its max. and around 16" tall. The following images show where I am starting from. The width and depth are kind of set to the bookshelves. It is the height I am all concerned about. Current elevation will be at 56" top of rail to floor. I am 6ft tall and this looks as good a starting point as any.
How much of a vertical opening is enough? How much valance? ...etc.
I will be testing out LED strip lighting, so how to arrange and angle the strips will be important to achieve a shadow free display.
The scene will be a station, water tower, and a short bridge over a stream to feed the tower. Looking at just a single rail line with no siding or switches. Will be using a very large radius curve to give gentle turn to the scene.
Have a look, and if you have any suggestions I am open for discussion.
All of the design is being done in 3D CAD so change and experimentation at this time is easy and only cost is time.











Last edited on Tue Feb 26th, 2013 01:28 am by BMWorks

SJSlots
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I love the idea... I would do the same if I didn't fear some smart-arse co-worker of mine would walk off with my engine or rolling stock.

Last edited on Tue Feb 26th, 2013 12:46 pm by SJSlots

on2rails
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A great idea and project. 16" is plenty tall as I have a bookcase in front of me now that I built for display of my On30 equip. My shelves are separated 3 sections each about 12 inches. Now these do not have scenery, so I am just thinking here with you.

On my old HO layout - track height from floor was lower but I had 16" openings between track height and bottom of valance and 20 between track height and bottom of cover (meaning the valance Masonite hung 4 inches into the scene).

BMWorks
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Have assembled the bookshelves to the backer board and ready to locate the wall stud and get this unit hung on the wall. Took a few iPad photos of the unit in the room and with a old display box on top. The back board is 13" tall for ref. The pictures of the shay are from my eye height.
Going to make a cardboard template to mockup the concept to see if the whole thing in place looks right.
This weekend if the weather improves I will be out cutting the diorama sheet goods.







Dallas_M
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I think the whole thing is a great idea! Are those Ikea units? Look familiar ... actually thinking of doing something similar here. If yes on the Ikea, can they be built without the dividers?

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Looks great Brad

BMWorks
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Dallas,
Yes they are Ikea. I used a five cube unit and a two cube unit. Mounted them to a piece of 1/2" maple plywood, glued and screwed to the Ikea bookshelves. This whole assembly will mount free standing to the wall.with lags into the studs.
The diorama structure will sit atop this assembly freely. I can then take it up or down to work on it.

BMWorks
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Heading to the Midwest Annual Narrow Gauge show in Canfield, Ohio tomorrow.
Anyone else?
If so I will look for you when I am there.
:glad:

BMWorks
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Finally back at it.
Had some time this weekend to get back at building the base framework. Made all the sheet cuts, laid out the sub panels and started the assembly.
Box of screws and 30 biscuits later here we are. All that's left is the lower valance board. Will get at this tomorrow.
Will have to play with some landforms and contours before this gets finalized.





Dallas_M
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The curved face is very nice! :thumb:

Now a thought ... (and we all know how dangerous those can be, so ignore at will) ...

If the station is positioned in the center and a train is displayed ... the station will be largely obstructed from view ...

Perhaps place the station 3/4 of the way toward the right, so a train could be positioned just approaching that station, allowing a clear view of each? :us:

BMWorks
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Dallas,
I know what your getting at. I have been struggling with this also.
The plan is to have a few town buildings to the right of the depot, and a stream and the water tank and column off to the left. How this all spaces out is hurting the gray matter.
Thanks for the comments. That's what makes this site great, is the many eyes helping out spotting things hidden in plain sight,L:

Last edited on Mon Apr 8th, 2013 02:32 am by BMWorks

BMWorks
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Getting ready to lay the right of way, and the choices are endless. I plan on hand laying all track on this diorama as this is my test bed for skills leading up to the home layout.
So hear we go.
What to use as a base, spline, blue foam, homasote or a combination?
What to put down the ties with on the best base?
I will be hand spiking and machine (Kadee) spiking the track, so this plays into the decision as some posts I have read, warn of ties compressing into the foam.
The ties being used are Mt? Albert 5" x 7" x 6' white pine. Rail will be code 100 as I found a great deal on a tube full at a swap meet.
This Saturday, the 13th, we are off to Schromberg, Ontario for the 8th annual "Ontario Narrow Gauge Show". I will be picking up the track gauges, some ballast, gound cover materials and anything else that happens to fall into my bag.

:thumb:

Paladin
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In regard to using foam for a base, just let me say.

My layout is in a 20 x 20 foot space. About 200 feet of track overall. All on a base of foam.

Would I go up this path again the answer is NO. It is easy to work but care is vital.

The foam can be compresed just by leaning a arm or such like to the layout  If you are working a large area this becomes an issue

I am sure others will give foam the nod. each to his own

Don

BMWorks
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Don,
Thanks for your opinion.
I have come to the same conclusion. A the show this weekend I talked to each builder about the pros and cons. Overall the pros were for ties on a solid substrate while hand laying. Some people like the simple plane foam approch, but had warnings about being "careful" and "gentle" and it would work out. The convincing construction method was by a group with a long traveling module system. They had a aluminum frame with foam and plywood composite sandwich construction. The trackwork was all hand laid and was fantastic. They used custom sized ties and Kadee spiked code 83 rail. I will post pictures and more information when I organize myself from this weekends trip.
So today I have begun ripping Masonite for a spline type construction. I will lay the foam and other elements up to this for the landform shaping.
Will take pictures of where I end up tonight and post.

Last edited on Mon Apr 15th, 2013 11:04 pm by BMWorks

BMWorks
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Laying spline!:glad:
Cut 1/4 in. X 1 1/2in. Masonite strips a little longer than the cord of the radius, then sanded down the ends to fit up to the centre line of the right of way. Set the first spine of centre to the line in a bed of carpenters glue and let it set up.
Once the first spline had set, I moved on to the next three on the back side. These are photos up to this point.
I will let this harden and then glue in the front four splines.

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Someone years ago said "you can never have enough clamps", I am starting to see the wisdom.

on2rails
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Wow that thing is looking good Brad! And I know what you mean about the clamps, I never have enough or the ones I have are too short.

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I have LOTS of clamps--they just run and hide when they know that I need them.


Herb

BMWorks
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Herb,
I know what you mean. I set things down and they grow legs and walk away.
Last night I got the spine in place, glued, smoothed, and ready for track base.
Do I glue ties to the spine?
Or
Do I glue cork roadbed to the spine??
I will be placing rail down with a Kadee Spiker, and hand spiking. Kadee into tie and cork I know works. Spiker into tie and into Masonite, I have no experience with.
Another experiment for the one foot square foam test bed.
Opinions?
Anyone have used this type of stack-up?

Some work pictures from last night.


Last edited on Wed Apr 17th, 2013 11:29 pm by BMWorks

jtrain
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To throw in my two cents BM, I've never seen a display like this, but using wood as a base like this is genius. Whoever thought of that was thinking.

I would personally throw down the cork first, if this was to be an operating display. The cork not only deadens some of the sound, but ballast would hold better to a grade when rough cork is used as the roadbed.

But since this at least appears to be a static display, spiking the ties straight to the wood road base would provide a more steady hold.

In reality, I don't see why you couldn't do either. Both would work the way I see it, it comes down to personal preference.

--James:java:

BMWorks
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Had a few hours on Saturday to work on the display. Pulled it into the house and up on the shelving units. Need a pass with a circular saw blade width on each side of the lower side overhang to create clearance and it will drop into place. Scribe the back overhang to the wall and all the major woodwork to locate it in location will be done.
Started the contouring of the land forms and when I get it out int the workshop again I will add the last piece of birch, the lower front curved valance. Shopped at "orange" yesterday and picked up a 18in. x 120in. roll of aluminum soffit material. Going to trim this down and see what I can do with it to get the curved corner ( tight rad.) I am looking for.

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I use the pre-painted soffit material for my backdrop, and it will roll to a nice tight curve in the corners. I bought a roll painted white on one side, blue on the other. Installed it blue side out, the overall color was close to the sky color looking straight up, but too intense for down near the horizon where backdrops are, so had to repaint. Very satisfactory material for a backdrop.

Herb

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Added a close-up image of the small display I made back in 79. This was done with real dirt and I think some kind of coal like material as ballast. Ground foam of the day, other sifted forest material from the patch of trees in the subdivision. The blonde weeds were tuff's pulled from a old scrub brush (ha ha) we had in the basement sink. I think it was the dirt at the base that gives it the darker tone at ground level. Now we can go to the store and buy a sheet full of weeds that are just peel and stick.
Back to the future??
To make the new track work standout I want to go much lighter on the ballast.

Dallas_M
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Beautiful construction! Are you going to cove the internal corners for a seamless backdrop?

BMWorks
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Herb,
What did you glue the aluminum it the back structure with?

Dallas,
Trying to get down to a 6in. radius in the vertical corners.

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"Herb,
What did you glue the aluminum it the back structure with?"

I didn't. My "layout room" is a 40' over the road trailer, originally a reefer,so it is insulated. The interior is corrugated fiberglass panels, so I pop-riveted the aluminum to the panels top and bottom about every 6".
The bottom rivet is covered by scenery or buildings, the top, once painted, blends right in with the rest of the panel.
You wont have vertical joints. I have at the trailer ends, since the rolls of aluminum are 50' long. There, the two pieces are overlapped and riveted at about 9" intervals as I recall. Thought that I might have trouble with expansion and contraction--not of the backdrop, but of the room, since the trailer is almost ½" longer on a hot day than a cold one, but this is nicely taken up by the coved corners, which aren't backed up, but are rigid non the less.

Herb     

BMWorks
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Tried the aluminum sheet material from the blue store. Got it in and cut to fit without a band-aide. Now I am looking for some glue to bond the aluminum to the plywood structure. Have a look and if you have any suggestions, let them fly.
Tonight I am going to build the track test bed.


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Looks good Brad. I really love your wood work. How thick is that aluminum sheet? You know, I was tempted to say that it is possible that Spray 77 from 3M might do it, but not sure how it will act. That or construction adhesive (real sticky stuff) might do it.

BMWorks
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Joey,
That was one I had used before to glue the mat to my drafting table. If I find the can I will read what it can do. I have a foot of material left over and I will test out a few glues. A trip to old blue on the way home tomorrow will get me a few types of adhesive for a good variation test.
The material is around .020" thick. I will get a dial vernier out and measure it correctly, and give you a update.

Joey,
Measured out at .012" = 28 gage on the aluminum sheet chart.

Last edited on Wed May 1st, 2013 01:47 am by BMWorks

BMWorks
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Built the tracklaying test section. Drop a coat of paint on it, stain and glue ties down and I can start swinging the spike hammer.
I have three cross sections to test. Ties on foam, ties on Masonite, and ties on a cork / Masonite sandwich.
When I get to ballast, I will divide each length in two and this will give me six segments to try different technics.


on2rails
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This is a good way to see - not only what works which way and which is best, but what "you like" from the outcome of each. Interesting!

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Brad

I would think, based on my experience with the aluminum, that all you need to do is to mechanically fasten the sheet to the outer edge of the end walls, and perhaps cover the fasteners with a small, inconspicuous strip of molding--or just blend the flat head screws into the aluminum surface with bondo, or the like. No need to fasten it across the back, the tension created by the coves will hold it very snug against the surface.

Herb

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BMWorks wrote:
Built the tracklaying test section. Drop a coat of paint on it, stain and glue ties down and I can start swinging the spike hammer.
I have three cross sections to test. Ties on foam, ties on Masonite, and ties on a cork / Masonite sandwich.
When I get to ballast, I will divide each length in two and this will give me six segments to try different technics.




Going to try Joey's idea with drywall in half the foam lane.
Like they say, "You never know if you don't try". So try we must!

BMWorks
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Back at it again.
Added a lane of drywall to test out the base Joey is using.
From left to right, we have drywall, MDF, and cork roadbed over MDF. Painted with earth coloured latex and ready to lay ties.

BMWorks
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Bought a few Fast Tracks tie jigs, mounted to some scrap board. A little sanding, Varathane spray coating and we have a lifetime tie jig station.

Dropped some Hunterline ties into a few of their weathering stains. Let the whole batch dry overnight and then into the jig.

Picked up the grouping with some masking tape.
Then transferred over to the test bed.


Once the glue dries overnight I will hit the tie tops with a flat sanding block to true up the rail surface.
Tomorrow a little file card distressing and on to final weathering with Pan Pastels.

BMWorks
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Also tonight I snapped a few pictures back inside the display. Have the stream roughed in and the bridge mock-up in place. The backdrop aluminum sheet is glued in place and coped to the side board profile.




If time frees up this weekend I may get into setting foamboard in place and begin some rough contouring.

Found a old photo image that may work for the backdrop. Need to get some advice on the stretching and blending to create a 8ft x 18in photo, but there's time for this later.

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This is going to make a neat little scene.

Dave D
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Nice photo Brad.

Give Power Grab a try sometime for gluing down ties.

You can re-position ties for a minute or two and then after about 20 minutes you can start spiking....great stuff.

BMWorks
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Dave,
Thanks for the tip. I will stop by the BLUE store after work and pick-up a tube.
Any specific formula?, as I see on the web they make a few different brew's.

This is pump out of a gun and spread with a blade of some sort?
Or, a toothed / notched thing to leave ridges like when doing floor tiles?

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I've just used the general purpose stuff.

It's the tube type you use a calking gun with.

You don't need a lot to hold down the ties.

Just run a bead down the center and press that down by sliding your finger along the bead to spread it out.

It's white and stays that way but it will be under the ballast so no worries.

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Wow... Very cool. The only it could be any more impressive is if you'd carved the whole thing from a single block of wood.

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Mike,
The woodwork is overkill for a display, but as this is going in my home office I went nuts. It is also designed for traveling to shows (local only). This display will be one side leg of a simple oval and a second more conventional module will be the other leg. This unit will be made to some standard (freemo?)so I can take it to distant meets. Two 180° curves will complete the ends.
I will post the 3D model of the design when its more than onion skin sketches. i am just :slow:

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I'm with these guys Brad, very, very nice! I wish I had the patience to be as particular as you, it sure pays off in quality...looking forward to following your progress...
Mark

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Brad, you are really moving along now, what a great scene this will be!

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Glued ties down this afternoon as thunderstorms kept me indoors. Took a few weeks off from work to rebuild the grill area of my deck, and other home projects, so you know it has to rain!!!
Next I was planning to rough out the foam landforms, but the lighting of the display seams to be calling for attention. Planning this out now will help keep the surprises down later on (crossed fingers). To keep the heat down I was looking into LED strip lighting. Wow does this open up Pandora's box.
Anything and everything is available in this new technology.
Help!!
Anyone have any suggestions, observations, or lessons learned?

:bang::bang::bang:

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Here's how I've gotten around heat issues in the past:

1. Keep the top of the layout open, this way heat isn't trapped inside the display.

2. I use florescent lights on my past layouts. They do not put out nearly as much heat. If needed, the light can be supplemented with 1-2 smaller spot lights to light up a scene on the layout such as a special building.

Hope this helps. Of course, everybody does things differently, so maybe something else would work better for you.

--James:java:

BMWorks
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James,
Thank for the input. The open top idea was passed over as in my office I was going to use the top as a shelf to display things, so I closed in the top. I also had seen a few projects done with LED and said "cool, let's try this", went off and finished the top and valance with this style of lighting in mind. Due to the valance overhang depth, only a under counter type fluorescent, or other style compact fixture will fit. I picked up a cheap LED kit from Costco that does multi colours, has a RF controller and transformer. Was going to play with this to work out what's what.
This is when I started the Internet reading and seeing not all LED's are created equal. This is why I am looking for those who have taken the plunge and may have the wisdom (spent the money, made the mistakes) and are willing to share the experience. I am going to search this site and others for more data before I buy the final setup.

:doh:

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Glued in the ties, sanded flat and true. Distressed with a file card. Next step add a little pan pastel in various wood tones and a wash of Hunterline weathering mix;


Painted the sky and add a set of color LED strip lights;

White;

The other colors that can be selected;






Took these with my IPad and the colors look off online. I also plan on using this first color LED to augment the main lighting when to comes in. And also attempt artificial night with the blues.
When I get all the lighting in I will use my camera and a tripod to get true white balanced photos. I need to get a few other objects in the scene to compare the lighting against. These all were taken with the LED at full power. It can be dimmed down to zero.
Will start on the foam landform rough outs next week.

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Looking good there Brad!

John Mc
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I've been considering using LED strips for lighting.  They look good in your application.   Does it need two rows side by side to make enough light?

There is a 5 meter set on sale today at MidnightBox $24 shipped.

 

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Using LED's for 3 years now. Still think the white in a RGB is to blue. Throw in a strip of warm white to get the color balance in white right..just my thoughts..

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Still think the white in a RGB is too blue

Agreed.

Herb

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John,
This kit was from Costco. I will dig up the exact call-out and specifications when I get home tonight. And with these you would need the four strips from the kit and more if the transformer can handle it. They are too weak for my tastes.

Martin,
I have on order a few optional strips to test this with warm-white, cool-white, ...etc. I think the issue is power and lumens per foot. I paid 20 dollars and did not expect much. Searching online and other forums, it seems its all down to LED type, spacing and power. The better you get, the more you spend. We should start a practical LED guide post and collet what we have individually tried and learned (failures also). Also we need to get rid of the common text descriptions as what passes as warm-white, and cool-white are as varied as the earth we live on.

Maybe we can get a vendor to send a complete sample set to someone who can test and report objectivly. I will see if MRH has anything on the go with anyone. Maybe they can pull the trigger and get something in the works.

:thumb:

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Hi Brad, would be a great one, special topic 'bout LED lighting. Use this stuff for 6 years in the kitchens I build and there's only one real bright SMD. If you order take notice it is a 5050. The 60 LED / meter will provide 14,4W. Enough for layout lighting when 2 strips are used. Personaly I only use the warmwhite. With a depth of 70cm wich my modules are I use one in front one in the back and the RGB with 5050 SMD for light effects like day / night sunrise and so on in the middle. Friend of mine is working on a module for control based on Arduino and controls it by computer. After that it works as stand alone in a sequence..

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Couple of pics of my show layout, LED only





just as an example

Milocomarty
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Btw maybe one of the mods could split this to a seperate topic on LED's for layout lighting ?

BMWorks
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Martin,
OK, Great idea I will start one tonight when I get home. This has great possiblities. I have followed your work here and on RRL forum. Also seen your name / comments on a few LED threads elswhere.

Great Stuff!!:2t:

on2rails
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Martin, I hope you know that your work has been a big inspiration to myself all of us that follow here and on the other forums. Simple outstanding in every way.

Milocomarty
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Thanks Joey ! Now we get back on topic ;)

BMWorks
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All I have started a LED post here;

http://www.freerails.com/view_topic.php?id=5392&forum_id=20

Hope I did this right.

Last edited on Tue Jul 9th, 2013 01:04 am by BMWorks

Milocomarty
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Check it, seems right to me..

Herb Kephart
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Good to go, Brad


Herb

Craig H
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Brad, Any new progress?

BMWorks
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Craig,
Not much. I did get some foam carved and when I snap a few shots I will post. With the heat index over 115 deg and 95% humidity today, and the past week either thunderstorms or heat like this I have found other, cooler distractions.
Nothing beats laying by the pool, and ten minuets later running like mad to get out of the lightning.
I need some low humidity days to stain the outer case and then I can move it back indoors and work on the other items that do not need to be done out in the workshop.

Dog days of summer for sure!

:slow:

Craig H
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Brad, Yes I know what you mean...This HEAT and when you get the high Humidity to :shocked: My air has been running straight 24-7 for the last 2 weeks.

BMWorks
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Had a few hours over the weekend and started with the foam landforms.
I am making a few mock structures to see how things may look in different locations.





Off work for a vacation the next two weeks so no modeling till I do my list done. Planning to get in a day trip or two. There is a photo day at the Hucklberry Railroad first of August and looking for a good day get to the train museum in Toronto. May have to have a Steam Whistle or two when I'm there also.

on2rails
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Looking good Brad! I am anxious to see you moving into the scenery portion of this creative project.


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