The PRR Chartiers Branch - Progress Report - 2010-03 Report
03/31/2010
03/31/2010
To protect the stained cabinets under the layout, I applied some newspaper with masking tape. I then painted the front fascia panels with the same dark green color I used for the other parts of the layout benchwork.
2010-03 Report
Here's a photo of the finished, painted front fascia panels on the left side of the layout. The green looks nice with the brown of the cabinets.
2010-03 Report
I wanted to allow plenty of time for testing the track before I start covering things up with scenery. Because of the way I constructed my layout, there is no access to wires once the scenery is in place. The center section of the layout has no turnouts, but it does have two tight curves. I wanted to make sure that there were no problems with operating the equipment I have. However, should I ever have any problems in the future, I'd have no problem with removing sections of scenery, fixing the problem, and replacing the scenery again. Scenery is relatively disposable in my view.

One thing I have learned from previous layouts is to start from the back of the layout and work your way to the front. I want to show some rolling hills in this part of the layout. My preferred method for building hills and mountains is to use strips of cardboard. Those need to be glued to something. The way I designed my layout, the blue-sky backdrop is a removable section (it holds the layout's lighting and needs to be removable for future transportation). Because of that, I had planned on using Masonite hardboard as a support piece against which to glue the cardboard strips, so that the backdrop can be removed without destroying the scenery.

The photo below shows a sheet of Masonite hardboard placed against the backdrop of this part of the layout. The black marker pen line drawn on it shows my initial plan for the shape of the hill that was going to be in this area. Since this area consists of two modules, a vertical line was drawn where the two modules meet. I then left that up for some time to help in visualizing what this part of the layout was going to look like if I were to fill up that three-dimensional space as drawn.
2010-03 Report
After thinking about what I want to do in this area, which is to have lots of trees, I decided that a steep hill like that wasn't going to work. It would make the hill be too close to the track (a mistake I had made in an early version of my Bear Creek & Eastern N-scale layout), and it would preclude trees. I therefore decided to go for a much lower, rolling hills kind of a look. I got out another piece of left-over Masonite and drew a different, much lower-profile line on the boards. You might be able to make it out in this photo.
2010-03 Report