An Hour at a Time

It’s frustrating when life gets in the way of having fun.  All those pesky commitments that pay for my food and shelter can seem to sap my energy and make it feel like I have no time for a hobby.

Lately, I’ve been making a habit of spending an hour a day working on the layout.  Two projects that I was able to work on over the past week or so: ballast some track and build a new warehouse structure core.  I found more than hour of time today, but this was a rare exception.  Here’s a photo of my progress.IMG_9540 I know it doesn’t look like much, but a little bit of ballast has helped to take this part of the layout a small step away from looking like the Plywood Pacific.

The styrene building in the background is the new building core.  This replaces my first attempt at the warehouse, in which I was trying to compress the building’s height in order to give the illusion of more length.  That was a fail.  I’m estimating the dimensions from photos, so a bit of trial and error is to be expected.  The proportions look better now.  At some point I’ll put a layer of styrene over what you see and I’ll be adding three rows of windows and other finishing touches to it.

After I finished working on the warehouse, I cleaned all the dried glue from the rail heads and did some pointless shuffling of cars.


5 thoughts on “An Hour at a Time

    • Hi Phil. I used a range of things for ballast. It might help if I describe what I was after.

      I wanted all of the tracks in the factory to look like they’d been ballasted predominantly with cinders for many years. I designed some places to look like they were quickly repaired at different times, and the turnouts were made to look like they’d received somewhat more regular maintenance.

      To accomplish this, I put down a base of Highball N scale cinder ballast along the edges of all of the tracks. Most of the repaired places were done with ballast that I made from sand that I collected from a Lake Ontario beach near Hamilton. I also used Highball N scale limestone ballast mixed in with some clay that came from the fence posts holes in my backyard to represent smaller gravel mixed with mud and dirt. In one spot, I used clay on its own. I’m constantly experimenting. I haven’t had to tear anything out yet, but I wouldn’t hesitate to scrap any experiment that doesn’t turn out to my liking.

      All of the materials that I collected locally were baked in the oven and then screened with a flour sifter. I checked everything with a magnet, but there was no ferrous material in any of the clay and sand that I collected.

      The only other material I’ve used so far is egg coal from Scenic Express, and this was used to represent coal spilled all over the ground at the bulk storage track.


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