The new layout slowly develops...currently my focus is on arranging the city, which is defined by the placement of roads and sidewalks.  This is both fun and somewhat complicated; it's nice to try different placements of structures, but also complicated trying to allow for somewhat realistic looking streets and placing buildings so that they look right when lined up next to each other.

For my previous layout, I used styrene sheets for the 'sidewalks/city blocks' (see here), which was adequate. However, styrene sheets are somewhat expensive for this role and are a little difficult to cut. This time I am using card stock.  I paint it with a 'Dark Aircraft Grey', and then using a pencil add gridlines and then some weathering powder to 'dirty it up' and then finish up with a matte coat of spray paint:
In another new method, I'm actually glueing the sidewalks to the streets. Previously they were held in place by the streetlights, but since I''' me using a different type of streetlight this time, I decided to permanently affix the sidewalks to the street base using contact cement:
 The advantages of both the cardstock and applying the sidewalks with contact cement is that the sidewalks now have a more realistic looking lower profile, and they now always sit flush to the street itself.
As I mentioned above, building placement is a tricky thing.  I have small buildings, old buildings, new buildings, tall buildings, apartments, offices, retail, etc... so trying to combine them appropriately so it appears to be how a city could naturally evolve is kind of a challenge.  There's a certain commitment level to it as well since the sidewalks are basically designd to fit a certain group of buildings.

I say all that to point out that my next blog post with any visible updates may take a while! So in the meantime, thanks for reading and check back soon!



Finally! After months and months or planning, building, delaying and so on, we have activity on Quinntopia again! Whoohoo!

Here are some 'action photos'...

On the girder section approaching the station...

On the high extension over the main railway right of way....
Another angle...this portion of the structure was complicated to build as each of my elevated sections is meant to come apart, and also need to be level, stable and look good (while also allowing for four or five tracks below!)
 This shot sort of shows the entire loop. Ultimately you won't be able to see the entire loop as much of it will be blocked by buildings!
While much of the time was spent trying to figure out how to scratch build an elevated trestle system, an equally large share of time (and money!) was spent trying to figure out how to automate DCC equipped trains so that they automatically stop, wait, and then depart from the station.  The solution to that problem came from the Viessmann 5208.  This is an automatic timer unit that connects to insulated rails (a total of four blocks) and allows for automatic detection, stopping and then acceleration.
I was curious about how this unit would work with my Digitrax DZ-125 Equipped Kato Ginza Line Metro, and it does seem to work just fine! Although the 'crawling' section' portion does not feature the deceleration proposed in the items feature lists, which may be due to the decoder (more on this later). These units are not particularly cheap (about $80) and will only operate on one track, but compared to  upgrading to a Z21 or Viessmann Commander or ESU ECOS, these are much more affordable options at this time.

Now that I've proven I can get train automation to work, I need to get a second 5208, another 'metro' train (I debate whether I should go for an identical or similar Kato Ginza, or something a bit more 'vintage' looking...any suggestions?) so that the elevated line has real 'action' with two trains running in opposite directions!

Then I can finish the station - platforms, roof, lighting (you can see the electrical leads for my eventual lighting of the station interior in the video!) and then start mapping out streets and building placement! And then, and THEN...its on to laying down track for the 'main' railway lines!



The elevated Metro line is almost complete: All tracks and elevated structures are done with soldered leads, color-coded drop lines, rust painted rails, and flat black base coat.  The only thing actually keeping me from running trains is that I still need to add track to the station and wire everything up....
With the basic form of the elevated line now established, I can actually start to move on to other areas....like setting up the actual city and the main rail lines! But, not so fast...
First, all of the elevated structures have come off the layout for two reasons - one additional pass with the airbrush to add a bit more color to the side-wall girder sections (whatever they are called) and to also lay down the sintra material I decided to stick with for my streets/city underlayment. Unlike with my last layout, I felt my city streets were too 'black' and decided to go with a grey color this time (I think it looks more 'worn' and has a slightly older feel).

In addition to the 'flat' city area, my little hill on the north end of the layout is getting straights laid across its terrain!
In my next post, I hope to have the final paint for the elevated structures complete, and have the elevated section completely operating. I have another 'automated stop' device that I will be testing as well. So stay tuned!