I built some more simple trees and added a lot of bushes to this back corner area. It is starting to look nice now.
Back in October I completed this area that I had cut-up. Now it is time for some track work. I am interested in scratchbuilding all of the track, so that's what I am going to do here. I put down the AMI Roadbed based on my latest track plan. The front area of the layout (to the left of this photo) will be a small town setting.
I put down wood and PC-board ties on top of the roadbed.
While I was in the track-laying mood, I decided to tackle the reversing loop I wanted to build on top of the helix. Most of this loop with have a radius of 15.5 inches, but there is a section that will go down to 8.5" radius. I plan to hide that from view. In the photo below I am gluing pieces of 1/4" luaun board together.
Next, I put down the AMI Roadbed and then installed the necessary flextrack. I want to spray-paint the rails, so I covered the area around the track with plastic.
Since this is a reverse loop, I have to use a polarity reverser, which is what this Digitrax PM4 will be used for.
I finished ballasting the reverse loop after thoroughly testing it. I ran a small diesel locomotive on it and it ran fine. Next, I figured I'd test the worse-case scenario and ran the ConCor S2 (4-8-4) on the track. The locomotive's wheel were grinding and more juice was necessary from the throttle but much to my amazement, it worked! I also tried some passenger and freight cars with truck-mounted and body-mounted couplers and they, too, worked! With plenty of cardboard strips cut up, it is time to start on the big mountain. I want to make it tall enough to where I can stand up inside the helix. I'm 6'4".
Of special concern are the three tunnel portals I will be building (the two shown here and the third one in the back). The cardboard strips just create a rough opening. The opening needs to be bigger than the final (scratchbuild) tunnel portals, but it gives you a bit of an idea of where things are going to be.
Here's the final shape.
This is the view from within the closet. It shows the third tunnel portal leading to the reversing loop.
Now comes the arduous task of covering that monster with plaster cloth and Sculptamold. A fun thing to do on New Years Eve.