It took me two days to connect and route all the wiring for the lights, the DCC, and the accessories lines. There is only about 9 inches between the top of the modules and the ceiling, so it was hard, cramped, and hot working up there, but it is all done. This next photo was taken holding the camera above the modules. It shows all the wiring behind the valance.
And this is the view from the room's entrance.
I have completed painting all the exposed surfaces of the benchwork. In the next photo you can see the top valance painted my favorite dark green, the main viewing area has been painted a light blue, and the bottom "tray" has been painted a brown. I painted the tray so that if any liquid ever falls on it, the wood will not warp. The light blue background color is just the base color for the future sky. I just wanted to paint the Masonite so that it would be protected.
The next step was to more securely mount the modules to the storage cabinets underneath. The reason is that it is too easy to bump the modules out of their alignment, which would later affect the track work. The first step was to make sure the modules' edges lined up with cabinets. The fronts of the modules will eventually have a front fascia panel made of 1/8" Masonite board, so I used a stand-in piece to align the modules.
Next, I clamped them down, drilled holes, and installed 1-1/4" drywall screws. I drilled three holes into each of the modules, except for the smaller module, which only has two screws. For my own records, each screw is one inch from each inside corner of the module, and one is in the center. The screw is set back from the inside front edge by one inch. I need to track that so that I can find them again when it is time to dismantle this layout. A portion of the scenery will have to be "dug up" to gain access to these screws. I also need to take care not to place any track work over the screws' locations.
I had planned on using two layers of insulation foam glued to a sheet of Masonite hardboard to be the inserts into these modules. However, after building them I discovered that they take days for the glue to dry, they are not entirely flat, and they are not even. It doesn't allow me to make them level with each other. After much thought I decided to abandon the idea and switch to building my track using the "cookie cutter" method. To start off with that, I bought and cut 1/2" MDF to cover the entire layout. I will draw the track and scenery plan on these sheets, and then cut out the parts that are to become the sub-roadbed for the track and structure placement.
The next step was to come up with a trackplan. I tried drawing one in a CAD program, but, since I am new to S-scale, I wanted to do the planning on the layout rather than on the computer. This gave me a better feel for what was possible. I cut a number of MDF blocks to represent 40-foot freight cars given the dimensions of an S-scale boxcar. Using these blocks I could see how many cars I could get on a spur, whether there would be enough space for an engine and a car to do the switching, etc. Also shown in the photo below is a one-inch strip of Masonite which is used to lay out curves. Using a strip like this automatically incorporates easements into the curves.
I downloaded a variety of turnout templates from Fast Tracks' web site. For S-scale these don't fit on a single sheet of paper so I taped them together and trimmed around the ties. I decided on the industries I wanted to model and used 3x5 sticky pads to represent them. Using all these tools I was able to draw a trackplan that would accomplish what I wanted for this area, a lot of switching. A run-around track is critical here to reach all of the industries.