With the tram line almost complete, at least in the city center, I can now finally start to plan out my urban grid! The above photo conceptualizes what I think I'm going to end up with, and I think its going to be pretty good.
The plastic sheeting was used to cover and protect the rest of the layout from the paint that I sprayed on the sintra/streets. I ended up using spray paint from the hardware/home improvement store for the street as my original plan was to use my airbrush for this part of the job was foiled by either bad paint or a bad compressor.
While this was very frustrating, I like the color of the end result. I used a very dark grey, nearly black, automotive primer that was almost the perfect color of black asphalt. I then sprayed over this with some refer grey to give some lighter highlights, and then sprayed over everything with a coat of flat clear paint. The last coat of clear flat paint was a necessity as the dark grey primer needs some protecting and would othewise show marks from the most simple contact on its surface.
I resisted using spray paint at this stage as I was primarily concerned about either messing up my track with the spray paint, or trying to figure out how to precisley mask the rails to protect them from the spray paint. In the end, as it turns out, both of these fears were not necessary as the spray paint came off the rails with the use of a 'rubber' rail cleaning eraser. I was very impressed that this little piece of rubber did such a great job of cleaning the paint off the rails that I will likely give this cleaning method a lot more credit than I did in the past!
The tram project is now past its biggest hurdle and I can start to work on the city! However, once I laid out the structures as shown in the top photo, I discovered that I may have a few too many buildings! This is not a bad problem, of course, as it will allow me the chance to select the best for the layout. I even have a few more structures that I've been accumulating that will make some nice additions I think (more on that in a later post!).
I really can't tell you how happy I am that this part is over! While the Kato Unitram system would have made it a lot easier, there are still no 'straight' sections, and an extended wait until (and if?) Kato comes out with these is something I'm not that patient for! It was a real learning experience to do it this way, but in the end, I'm glad its done and pretty pleased with how it turned out!