I completed my NASG "Greeley's Place" contest entry and took it to the 2013 NASG Convention in Scranton, PA. I was very surprised to discover that it won the popular vote contest. To see the award and how I built the structure, see my article. This page covers how I integrated the structure into my layout. The first photo shows the diorama as it was when it returned from the convention. The green grass-covered empty area to the right of the track is where the structure will be placed. Note that the diorama has a hill-top base which was used to hide the battery box wherein three AA batteries were placed to power the LEDs in the structure. The LEDs are now going to be connected to the accessories bus wires under the layout, so that base is no longer necessary.
The first order of business was to remove the scenery shell in that part of the layout. Smitty's Rod-n-Reel is a small weekend-only shop owned by Smitty to provide local fishermen with bait, sodas, and some repair items for their fishing gear. Smitty built this small shop himself when he noticed that there were a lot of fishermen in the area catching the fresh fish in the Chartiers creek. (Or at least, that is my story). That is, of course, why he built it right next to the creek.
It took a little bit of effort to find the nearest connection to the 12-volt accessories bus, and then route some new wires to the area. The LEDs in the structure are connected with magnet wire. Since the voltage I used with the battery set-up was lower than my 12-volt bus line, I needed to replace the resistors. I have soldered the wires and resistors to the structure in this photo below. I kept the structure on a piece of foam to protect it while I was working in the area.
I decided that I wanted to have a nice, smooth surface upon which to put the structure. I used some left-over styrene. I cut it to fit the area, and then I used some styrene parts from my scrap box and strategically glued those to the bottom of the styrene sheet, so that the sheet sat at the right height. I cut a slot in the back area. This will take the styrene tube that protects the magnet wires of the structure. By making it a slot, I can slide this base onto the structure, since the structure is now hard-wired to the layout.
I also reinforced the sheet with some I-beam styrene stock. On the left side of the sheet, I will glue some blocks of plastic to the layout to provide support for that section. I couldn't put legs there because the Tortoise is in the way.
I used five-minute epoxy to glue the legs down onto the base of the layout. The structure is still loose, because I want to paint the styrene sheet first. I adjusted the slot in the sheet such that the structure just cleared my widest car.
I painted several coats of my scenery base latex paint, and, when that was dry, I used Aleen's Tacky Glue to glue the structure's flooring to the styrene base. I decided to leave the upper half (walls, etc.) of the building loose from its flooring, so that the building can take the occasional hit without breaking (this proved to be a good idea, since I did it several times while working on this area). The building just kind of pops off the flooring, and it can be guided back on to it easily.
I wanted to have a road pass by Smitty's and lead to the hardware store/lumber yard that is on the other side of the track. I used some scale 5" x 6" strip wood and made an 18-foot wide grade crossing.
To make the grade crossing match the height of the rails, I made two "up ramps" from styrene.
These were then glued to the tops of the ties on one side and the "ground" on the other side using five-minute epoxy. Here the weights are used to make sure that there is a smooth slope to the styrene up ramps.
Next, I distressed the wood of the grade crossing, and proceeded to paint and weather the entire road.
Previously I had a large bump in the scenery above the Tortoise mechanism for controlling the turnout in that spur. I thought it looked unnatural, so I had also removed that part of the scenery base. I made another sheet of styrene and cut it to fit the remaining open area. I had to test its clearance to make sure it left enough space for the throwbar movement and its actuating mechanism.
Next, I used Sculptamold to make a thin, but smooth layer of "ground". In the photo it looks green, but it is actually the same dark brown color with which I painted the styrene base sheet. The Sculptamold is still wet in this photo and that reflects the light in an odd way. I carefully applied the Sculptamold around the base of the structure to make it look like it is embedded in the ground.
Several days passed between the above photo and this one. I scratchbuilt a three and a half foot tall fence, which I thought might be good to keep kids and dogs away from the railroad track. It was made out of scale 4"x4" poles with 2"x4" horizontal supports, and 1"x4" slats. The slats had their top corners filed off to make them look like fence boards you see at the local home improvement store. I made one long fence that stretched from the road to the creek. Next, I applied some green foam to represent grass and bushes. I wanted to simulate a bare-earth drive way as well. I was quite happy with the result. Then I grabbed a box car to move onto the spur, because I wanted to take a photo with it behind the property. Oops! The side of the box car hit my new fence! Ouch!
I then cut the fence into pieces and moved it closer toward the front. I glued one section to the building, and used a left-over piece to put a fence next to the road. There is another piece of the fence from the building to the creek. I had to re-apply some new bushes, but in the end it looks nice. And, the box car fits!