The third line will be made from standard sectional track on a roadbed. When I figure out
what roadbed works best (HO or N, cork or foam or ??) I will post the results on the Ideas page. I
have not decided if I will duplicate the third track on the right hand corners. Triple track on both
ends might look too much like a race track.
I was thinking scenically of showing it a as track under construction. With finished ballast at the
front and progressing to the rear down to bush with a line of survey stakes through it. Does
anybody know where I can find some TT Scale construction equipment? Found some Match Box
pieces that will do for now.
After that works it will be time to experiment with a foam module. A double wide with three
through tracks and three yard tracks can be used two ways. Connected the normal way it gives a
small three track yard inside the loop and another storage track connected to the third line..
Connected backwards you would end up with a four track yard connected to the third line. This
setup needs a backdrop. (heavy blue line) The single spur on the former back module now leads
nowhere. With careful planning of scenery on the corner you could add a piece or two of track to
make a short spur.
After that who knows. Hopefully by then there will be other modules to join in a setup and
that will inspire more ideas.
The package arrived today (April 12, 2011). After customs sat on it for 11 days Canada post
only took a day and a half to get it to me. The track is setup on the dining room table (TT stands
for 'Table Top' doesn't it) and equipment is running - see pictures on pictures page. After a
few days of play it will come down and module work will start. Don't have much time for the
next two weeks but hope to make some progress and two side modules: one wood and one foam.
Will order product for the next two modules this weekend.
| Progress on the Corners. Week of April 24 to 30, 2011 |
Today I am gluing down the inner circle of track on the corner modules.
After this is dry and a short test run, I will start on the outer circle. One module will be done at a
time using the space jigs. That will take four days to do so with a bit of luck this time next week I
will have all four corner modules ready to run and scenic.
| Track is down. April 30, 2011
Both circles of track are down on the four corners and basic testing with a battery was done. It
took a while to get the second circle of track glued down as my spacer jigs kept breaking.
Eventually I remade them using ABS and a better plastic glue (Pro weld). These have not failed
under use - yet. After basic testing the corners were painted.
| Siku Models
Siku a maker of die cast model in various scales makes a few items that they say are 1:120. This
is the Diesel and gondola set they make. I think they look a bit big but they might be Ok in a
scrap yard scene.
| Modules with basic Scenery. May 1, 2011
Had a busy day putting some basic scenery on a corner and a side module.
My idea of running ballast up the side of the track base is not working as well as I hopped. Will
back off on that idea for now.
The step in the module faces came about because I have the track located I the wrong position on
the side module. On the corner the dirt area is where the third track will go when my next
shipment of track arrives. The tree line in the back is a Woodland Scenics hedgerow Scene.
Looks OK but needs to be set into the surface. The lone tree like object near the centre is a failed
tree making attempt. I think that I will cut it up and use the branches as underbrush. Although
you cannot clearly see the difference, the grass in the front is is Woodland Scenics blended green.
In the back there is a mix of static grass added.
| Old and New
An image showing old and new equipment. There is a world of difference in operating quality. I
can now see that I need to acquire a new steam engine. Any suggestions.
Looking at the two modules it is apparent that we need to add scenic elements in front of the
trains as well as to the rear to make the module look bigger.
| Working with Foam
I am really starting to like working with foam. Not only are the modules very light but they are
also easy to fix. The too wide straight module was trimmed with a sharp knife and the front
fascia glued back on. A five minute fix!
| Signal Tower
I am starting to think that this tower may be N Scale. Still looks good so I will use it for now.
The base has been cleaned up so that it can be set into the foam.
| A module before scenery
Here is a corner module before the basic spar glue scenery step. The track and other areas that
will receive track have been taped over. Then a quick coat of spray glue is applied to the area to
receive scenery and the basic scenery cover is sprinkled on and lightly patted down. Because the
spray glue dries quickly one area at a time is done. For this module the strip at the front was done
first, then the area to the outside of the curve and then the area inside the curves. Doing it one
area at a time allows you to use different textures in each area. The front strip and inside the cure
are basic grass. The area outside the curve has a slightly rougher texture.
After the spray glue has dried a while the tape is removed. Then I apply ballast along the edges of
the track and dirt where I want dirt roads or where track I do not have yet is going to go.
Again let things dry then apply a second layer of scenery to the grassy areas. I start by flooding
the area with scenic cement (diluted acrylic matt medium) then sprinkle on grass, weeds, shrubs,
bushes. As the scenic cement flows into the ballast / dirt areas the trick here is to be careful to not
sprinkle the grass to far into those areas. A bit of overlap is good.
Clumps of bush receive a final dribble of scenic cement with an eye dropper.
Set the whole thing aside to dry completely over night. When dry shake off any loose scenery
material into a container for reuse.
| Four Corners Drying
Here are the four corners after scenery material was applied. They are drying so some of the
colours are darker than they will be dry.
I would like to fence some of the right of way. Here is a wire on wood post fence. The posts are
about a scale 6"x 8" drilled for five wires. The posts were drilled, stained then planted. Then a
needle was used to thread gray thread though all the holes. The effect is interesting but tedious to
do Not sure how much more of this type of fence I will do.
| May 26, 2011
Yesterday (May 25th) I received my shipment of BG3s (and a few other items) from Euro Train
Hobby and was finally able to layout out my crossovers. It took some juggling of track pieces to
get the ends to line up right. I think that I am a half mm out on the center track on the left but
there is no way to eliminate this.
For now I will have two crossover modules, the one shown and the mirror image.
The special rail joiners shown are joiners with half the base cut off. The standard special joiners
come with the turnouts. The special insulated joiners are made buy cutting off part of the base of
a standard insulated rail joiner.
| June 5, 2011
After a dismal Spring (not quite the wettest ever but close) we finally had a nice weekend. Much
progress was made. Track work and basic scenery on the two wood crossover modules was
completed. Then everything was assembled and tested. The surface I used was not quite wide
enough for the modules so they hung over the edges. I will scrounge a pair of 3'x4' plywood
pieces to resolve the issue. Many issues were found with differing module heights. I will use the
power module as a reference and adjust everything else to match.
| First Run
Here is a short video of the first run. If you look closely you can see the hi-tech power supply
in the upper left corner. (Copper tops work quite well)
| June 5, 2011
After some play time work resumed. Fascias were applied where needed. Here I found to my
dismay that one of my wood topped modules had bowed up. I pinned the fascia on to reduce this
An experiment with static grass on my first straight module was removed. It came out too dark. I
redid it in my now standard grass method. (First layer spray glue. Second layer - flood area with
scenic cement and then apply grass. Third layer flood again with scenic cement, add brush and
more grass). Gives a nice deep grass look.
Started on third line on left end. You can see the track in the Tillig roadbed lying on the module.
I need to put a .030" layer of styrene under the track pieces before gluing on. I think spraying a
darker gray colour would also help.
| June 13, 2011
Despite a busy weekend time was found to add a coat of paint or two to the two plywood
surfaces I made. I should have spent another $10.00 for a better grade of plywood. This stuff is
| July 25, 2011
Here are the current state of some of the modules.
You can see some of the issues. I need to find a paint that matches the fascia colour to hide the
cut edges of the fascias.
You can see the open backs of modules. That is why I think they need a fascia.
The third line of track is sitting on the left modules. I sprayed the ballast pieces to get rid of the
salt and pepper ballast effect but it ended up a lighter grey than the bedding track. I haven't
decided if this is a problem or a feature. It does stay in place nicely without gluing down.
The starter set train is running on the third line. Power by Duracell 9V battery.
The beige surface under the modules is the plywood I cut to make a 40" wide module surface. It
has bowed a bit but is useable. If I decide that the bow is too bothersome I will start over with a
better grade of plywood.
| July 31, 2011
Weather was great today. Was able to paint and work on scenery.
Made backside fascias today. Really improves the look of the display.
Worked on all the joints where I added grass to try and disguise the joins. Cleaned them out so
they all connect well.
Added some trees and more scenic detail to some of the modules.
Tomorrow while scenery glue dries on an HO scale Thomas layout I will check out equipment on
the display. I have a few boxes of older stuff. Time to see what actually runs
| August 1, 2011
Another great day to work on the display. I started by fixing mistakes. When I put the track
down on one module I rushed too much and did not get one rail in a rail joiner. After fixing that I
started testing equipment. I acquired a collection of TT more than decade ago and have not been
able to run it until now. There were several locomotives:
For passenger equipment
- 2 x Berliner T set locomotives. Of course they do not run well.
- a Tillig 2-8-0 +T (3 axle tender), noisy but runs OK. Will be serviced first.
- a ??? 2-8-2T tank engine. Runs noisy. Second on the list to be serviced.
- two 0-4-0T tank engines. Not running.
- a railbuss set. Not running but trying to.
- a six axle diesel. Needs work.
Lots of freight equipment.
- three long Tillig bogie cars.
- an articulated bi-level passenger car.
- some shorter cars.
and some Triang. A GWR 0-6-0 Panier tank, a Castle Class 4-6-0+T, two passenger cars and a
lot of track.
The overall display looks OK:
Signs were added and a bit of US equipment was run.
Not a bad day.
| August 2, 2011
Another great day to work on the display but I didn't get much done. Too many important issues
to deal with. Happily all have turned out well for now.
I worked on the turnout that had issues. I traced it to poor connections between the points, stock
rail and point rail. I soldered a small jumper (decoder wire) between the stock rail and the point
rail. You can barely see the wire. (Red arrow)
The points still have a very loose connection to the point rail by a railjoiner. For now I will leave
it alone. If this still acts up (locomotives stalling) I will solder a very fine wire between the point
and point rail.
| August 14, 2011
Not that great a day to work on modules. The weather was not cooperating and neither was
After a long slow start to the day I started putting trees inside the curves on the right hand
modules. I used Woodland Scenics Forest Canopy.
Following their instructions does work but as usual I deviated from them. I tried spray glue
instead of dipping in scenic cement. Worked but not enough better to justify continuing that way.
You are supposed to sprinkle the foliage on. I dipped the tree armatures instead. That worked OK
until the remaining foliage got wet with scenic cement (used that as scenery on a module). There
was not enough foliage in the package so I added some from stock on hand. I used the colour
included in the kit as well as different colours and textures from Busch, Scenic Express and
The semi finished grove of trees showed where the foliage had not adhered so following
instructions I sprayed with Scenic Cement and sprinkled on additional foliage, again varying
colours. Sprayed on more Scenic Cement and let dry over night. The results look pretty good. .
Speaking of scenic cement I find that the Woodland Scenics product is a bit thin. I have been
buying Scenic Express concentrated scenic cement and making my own. You are supposed to
dilute I four parts water to one part glue. I am only diluting with three parts water to make a glue
with a bit more stick.
| August 15, 2011
A better day to work on the modules.
I have used several different types of trees on the modules. Here is what I have used.
This picture shows four types of tree: (Note - all the modules have a piece of styrene behind them
to act as a backdrop)
We will come back to this picture later.
- The tree on the front left is a home made bottle brush tree using raffia for the branches,
spray with glue and add an appropriate colour of ground foam.
- The tree in the center left is by Busch made with the new expanded foam foliage. I am as yet
undecided on this product. It may be OK for a few tress but I am not sure about a whole forest.
- The tree to the right of the signal tower is by Woodland Scenics. It is a nice tree except that
it is the wrong colour of foliage. It is spring green instead of summer green. I will be fixing that
later today with spray glue and a better colour of foliage.
- The tree in the back right is a tree on unknown manufacture, probably an European
company. OK where it is but I will not be using many more on the modules.
We have seen the forest canopy earlier. This corner is filled with more home made bottle brush
tree using raffia for the branches. I used various colours of Busch, Noch, Scenic Express and
Woodland Scenics ground foam for the foliage. Some colours are good, some will not be reused
(avoid any colour called Spruce!). Some trees came out OK, some need work. In a forest they
average out and look OK. Not as fast to make as I would like but it is possible to production line
them to speed up the process.
Here is another product from Woodland Scenics - their Hedge Row. Looks pretty good right out
of the package. The only problem is that the base is warped badly. I put a heavy bead of WS
Foam Glue on the bottom and then pinned it to the module surface with t-pins every inch or so.
Let dry overnight and removed the pins. OK now.
All the commercial products I used that have bases need more work to better hide their bases.
| August 15, 2011
Backdrops - I am undecided about backdrops.
Here is a picture (shown earlier) of one module with a backdrop. It is just light blue fabric
(borrowed from my wife - with permission!) Draped over a sheet of styrene behind the module.
Given the height that the modules will usually be displayed at I do not think that a plain backdrop
adds much to the display. If it were a larger display with unfinished modules in the back (for
staging and such) then a finished backdrop, one with buildings, scenery, etc would probably be
good. There is going to be an issue when the backdrop reaches the corners. There is going to
have to be a curve in the backdrop to look good.
A backdrop behind the whole display might be interesting. Going to experiment with that idea.
The building on the module is a Half-Relief building from NOCH. They sell several CDs with
buildings on them in several scales (Z, N, TT and HO). You print out the pdf (or jpg) on the
cardstock supplied (or you can supply your own) then cut them out and fold and glue. The
buildings look very nice. I think the product is worth what they are asking especially since the
buildings come in four scales. I may not use the HO Scale buildings but my wife will use the N
and Z Scale ones.
| August 15, 2011
More about Backdrops.
As I was going out grocery shopping I stopped at a $ 1.25 store and picked up some light blue
card stock to try s a basic backdrop.
Adds a bit to the display but is too plain.
Then I remembered I had a Faller backdrop somewhere that I had purchased a long time ago. The
price tag on it said Georges Trains and I haven't been to Toronto since the 80's. This being a stiff
paper that has been tightly rolled up for a few decades it was a bit of a pain to set up. The picture
shows the results. It is better than the plain back drop but emphasizes the basic flatness of the
So where to go from here? I think a backdrop behind the whole display would be a good idea.
Forest and rolling hills will be better than mountains.
The modules need some relief so time for some hills on the left corners and some buildings on
other modules. At the very least some bush or more groves of trees. It looks like I am going to be
making more fences.
| August 15, 2011
Fixed the tree and signs.
A quick search on the internet found the CMYK value for the Hunter green we are using for the
fascias. It is CMYK # 89, 42, 98, 48. This prints closer to the painted colour. Good enough for
Reflocked the tree, it might be too dark now but it blends in better than the spring colour it used
| Last weekend in August and first (long) weekend in September
Having thought about the two foot corner and having four by G4 straights and two pieces of flex
track on hand, I proceeded to make one.
I glued four pieces of Woodland Scenics 1' x 2' x 1/2" foam sheets to make a two foot square.
Mistake the pieces are a nominal 1' x 2' so my square was a bit off. A bit of bodging and it was
The next issue is the flex track needs to be on a raised roadbed to match the Tillig Bedding track.
I used N-Scale road bed and .040' styrene strips on top of that. I used weathered HOn3 ties to fill
in the spaces at the end of the flex track. A good idea - the ties fit near perfectly, and a bad idea -
the colour ran a bit when I ballasted them.
After that had dried came my scenery nemesis - ballasting. The track is ballasted but on close
view looks crappy. When time permits I will dig it up - one of the benefits of Scenic Cement is it
is soft and can be removed - and do it again.
So how does it look? Equipment does look better on the wider curve. Now to decide what to do
scenically to the corner to remove the flatness but still leave the view of the trains on the wider
Lessons learned - Don't rush. You'll just have to go back and do it again i.e. ballasting. Had
trouble with the fascias until I trimmed the foam edges straight. WS foam bits are nominal sizes.
They vary a bit from the advertised dimensions. If you need pieces that are exactly the same size
buy extras and pick a set that matches.
Now I need the track for another standard corner.
Two Foot Corner under construction.
| Last weekend in August and first (long) weekend in September
A few images of a near finished (ends, back and bottom need painting. Need back fascia. Need
more scenery) Two Foot Corner.
Current state of the Two Foot Corner.
Triang equipment on the Two Foot Corner.
Roco Loco with Tillig equipment on the Two Foot Corner.
| October 10, 2011
All the modules that I will be using for the display at Trains 2011 are now useable. They could
all use work, touch up and more scenery but will do for now.
Still need to work out the power setup.
Current state of the display. Note that it is reversed. The long leg should be on the left and the
short leg on the right but the space I have here does not allow me to set it up that way.
Here is a short video of the first run on the L-Shaped display. The Hi-tech power supply
is hidden behind the trees in the upper left corner. (Copper tops still work well)
| Late November 2011
Post Trains 2011 show report.
Trains has been and gone. Despite the best efforts of Murphy we had a running display. Fun was
had lessons were learned. From what I can tell this was the ONLY running TT layout at a show
in North America in 2011.
- Need wider tables for more space.
- The curves on the corner modules are too sharp! Short European Equipment runs OK but
longer North American equipment does not.
- All motive power needs to be thoroughly tested on the display before the show. The Loc-n-
Roll chassis in my Lionel GP9 failed quickly both days, fixed it Saturday evening, failed again on
Sunday. My Lionel F3 conversion had problems with the rear coupler.
- If you ever acquire a Tillig 83740 BG 1 Straight Road Bed Track (166.0 mm) with Filter
Capacitor IMMEDIATELY remove the filter capacitor. It shorts out the DCC signal.
- Have spare track bits on hand.