Selecting a prototype railroad

New scale new prototype. I have started my journey to north american railroads with a lot inspiration from Lance Mindheims books. Thus I was attracted by the modern prototype and CSX Transportation.

On the FREMO-meeting my son ran switchers in the yard and an Alco RS-1 for the local jobs. My daughter loved running steam locos and waiting for the water to be refilled. So the new timeframe should be right in the transition era, late 1940s to mid 1950s. This allows running steam locomotives besides diesels.

To allow the use of the rolling stock and especially locomotives in a wide timeframe on FREMO meetings, it would be nice to use a railroad company that has not made large changes to its paint scheme. Additionally it would be nice to allow to operated it in interchanges with other railroads.

I did some research and looked for the available models for different railroad companies. I discussed the candidates with my kids and finally we  settled on the Union Pacific Railroad. It fits my criteria. The paint scheme has not been changed radically and the UP operates in a large area and thus interchanges with a lot of other railroads in many locations. The kids like the colors. So here we go now.

Tipped over

Last weekend my kids and I were guests at a FREMO-meeting of the local americaN-group. The subject of this meeting was set in the early transition era with a focus of steam operations. I’m more into diesels nevertheless it was a lot of fun. We stayed for a little more than four hours. Most of the time we spent holding a throttle and running trains.

My seven year old daughter was a little reluctant and didn’t want to run a train on her own in the first place. After we had completed our first “jobs” she ran a steam powered passenger train from the staging yard into the large yard. I helped her with coupling and operating turnouts and she enjoyed it a lot. Especially filling up the water tanks of the locomotive, which was symbolised with hourglasses: “There is an hourglass that takes five minutes!”

My nine year old son ran the trains on his own and just needed help with uncoupling. He likes switching most and his special love is running locals with some switching at the local industries.

On our way home the kids where enthusiastic and wanted to build some N-scale modules on their own. As I was thinking in this direction before, it didn’t take a lot work to convince me. So I’m tipped over towards N-Scale.

Plaster, Trackwork and Groundpreparations

IMG_3844After the preparation of the backdrop and the installation of the lights the plastering continued. The first coat of plaster was sanded to remove any rough bumps and to detect spots with too less or no coverage. I mixed up a new batch of plaster with 45 minutes of working time to fill the some holes and make some corrections to the landscape. After drying this the whole plaster was sanded again. I vacuumed the layout and cleaned the track – which is not so enjoyable with K-Track. A slow test-drive ensured smooth operation of Märklin locomotives.

 

IMG_3845Before painting the plaster, I decided to give my new airbrush a try and painted the rails. Before spraying the rails, I covered the “Pukos” with some tape to reduce the amount of cleaning that will be required after painting the track. To paint the rails I used a mix of black, rust and leather brown email colours from Revell and about the same amount of thinner. I like the result. The paint covers the shiny code 100 rails very good and makes them less dominant.

 

The plaster got a basic coat of wall paint. I made a mix of yellow and brown for the area around the drainage channel. For the rest of the layout I added black to this mix and painted all visible surfaces.

IMG_3853IMG_3852When the paint was dry, I started ballasting the track. A while ago I ordered a sample package of ballast at Koemo Modellbahnschotter. It consists of six 40 ml bags of different ballast colours. I made a test with every single single type. For this layout I have mixed all colours. The uncoloured types stood out pretty obviously. To blend them in I added a small amount of “dirt” and rust weathering powders. That worked well so I the games could begin.  After applying the glue, the ballast looked much darker.