High narrow scenes (hits: 9688)

Design trick: Using high, narrow benchwork

Rice Hill (upper deck) ... The benchwork here at Rice Hill is on the upper deck of my mushroom layout and is the highest location on the entire layout. Here the track reaches 80" off the floor -- however, with the 15" raised floor the apparent track level is 65" -- or about 5' - 5". The operarator in this photo is [read more]
 8.0 - 2 votes
Layout design analysis (hits: 70802)

Design secret: Find out if your layout will work before you build it

Find out if your layout will work before you build it ... You've just located two published track plans that both fit the space you have, and they're both for one of your favorite roads. But, you wonder, which plan will better meet your operating expectations? Even though you like the aesthetics of both designs, which will take less money and [read more]
 9.1 - 9 votes
Realistic tall grass (hits: 25069)

Scenery tip: How to model realistic tall grass

Tall grass in south Roseburg ... Here's some of the "August in southern Oregon" tall summer grass I have modeled. I am a firm believer that ground foam is not enough to model many kinds of scenery textures accurately. And tall grass is one of those all-important and common textures you find in nature. On the pages of this modeling note, I [read more]
 8.3 - 3 votes
Incandescent lighting (hits: 17742)

Design trick: Incandescent lighting that runs cool

Behind the valance at Coos Bay ... This photo clearly shows the 15 watt and 25 watt bulbs mounted every two feet along the valance. This is Coos Bay yard, which is the lower deck of the mushroomed part of the layout. You are looking at the underside of the upper deck in this location. That's Roseburg above you, facing the [read more]
 8.5 - 2 votes
EasySpline Roadbed (hits: 15278)

Construction tip: Advantages of spline roadbed

Closeup cutaway of EasySpline roadbed ... Here is a cut-away close up of the spline roadbed I use. Notice I use 5 splines under the track, then I take one additional spline and rip it at a 45 angle and glue it on each side of the roadbed to form the ballast shoulders. The lip underneath the ballast shoulder provides an [read more]
 8.0 - 2 votes
Shadowbox scenes (hits: 12465)

Design trick: Using shadowbox scenes

Camas Valley, Oregon (lower deck) ... This is Camas Valley on the lower deck. The basic scenery and painted backdrop are in, but there is no vegetation or trees on the scenery yet. Even so, I think the scene is quite attractive! You can clearly see the shadowbox look here. The layout shelf is about 12" wide in this location, which sounds [read more]
 8.0 - 1 vote
Modeling paved roads (hits: 11873)

Scenery tip: Realistic paved roads

Making a model road ... I've tried many different ways of creating paved HO scale model roads. None works as well in my opinion as sheet styrene. I made Highway 42 shown here using .030 styrene sheet glued down with latex caulking. To prepare the scenery area for the road, I cut a piece of thin cardboard in the shape of the [read more]
 8.6 - 3 votes
DCC layout short-proofing (hits: 10912)

DCC tip: Short-proofing your DCC layout wiring

Wiring DCC to be "short resistant" ... The nicest part about doing the wiring as shown here is how "short resistant" it makes the layout. The two main power busses in this photo are the blue and blue / black stripped wires. The blue wire feeds the train block bus (the white wire with "main" written on it). The power feeder to this [read more]
 8.5 - 2 votes

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