the bridge is still under consideration as well, what I do know is that I want to do as much as possible myself: trees, a log cabin (maybe 2), tunnel portals and the bridge.
I guess the final design depends on what I can make look good in the space I have
The spray foam is a bit of a gamble for me now as well, but as I needed it for some work around the house I noticed it said suitable for model landscaping on the tin so I guess it's worth a shot.
The foam, while requiring a lot of cutting when dry, is pretty easy to work with although I can't seem to get it fully solid. I always get rather big gaps or air pockets inside, still nothing that can't be worked around at a later stage.
You can see the general landscape taking form now, the top right and bottom right halves will require a bit of thinking on how to best proceed.
My girlfriend suggested it would look better to have a longer tunnel so instead of a small mountain and short tunnel in the top right I will extend it so the tunnel starts in the bottom left somewhere.
This makes a bit of thinking of general shape needed (I have a height limit after all) as well as some consideration on how to make it and still have easy access to the hidden track for cleaning etc.
For the cliff sides that enclose the inner 'ring' on both sides I am also debating how to carry on. Do I dremel & cut a rough rock-like shape into the foam or do I remove the foam and cast plaster of paris that I can sculpt into cliffs?
While sculpting (ie use a small chisel & hammer) plaster would give me no doubt a more natural look it would also entail even more new techniques & materials to get to grips with.
I'll think it over but I am currently edging towards the 'more work for more realism' side.
I have to admit, I love the challenges I am presented with but I'm glad I'm doing this for my second layout and didn't attempt this 3 years ago when I really had no experience at all
Well that's it so far, once I get to another point I feel is worth a progress photo another update will follow.
I think we all know the feeling of having come to the realisation of being unhappy with a certain part of the completed work, so I did today.
A combination of 2 factors has led me to take out half what I had of the mountain and the complete scenery on the right hand side of the layout.
One was I was very unhappy with the air bubbles of the spray on foam on that side, the other was the size limitation I had set myself with my existing briefcase that would house the layout.
I came to the conclusion I would have to make compromises on the general appearance, compromises I am not willing to make.
I have decided to start that side from scratch and disregard the biefcases height limitation so I can make the mountain an actual mountain, or at least hill, instead of the kind of nearly flat top a skier would not be able to slide down were the entire surface made of pure ice.
I'll see afterwards what dimensions I end up with and have some wood cut to size to make my own case for it.
This way the layout will still be easy to store and remain protected while in storage.
As to what has been accomplished so far:
-cliffs of the inner ring have been cast in plaster and chiselled to resemble what I hope is a rock face
-ballasting of the left hand side of the layout and glueing down the track
-the lakebed has been dremeled out
A few things have also been decided in the meanwhile:
-the type of bridge and material has also been decided, it will be a box girder bridge cut out of styrene
-the tunnel, as with most tunnels in Europes mountainous areas, has been named.
The name shall be a surprise that will be revealed in a photo once that part of the layout is completed to a level I find acceptable enough for me to show it to you all
Currently under consideration is the lighting of the log cabin I will be putting in.
The maiden run has also been made and all locos can make the circuit with ease.
That concludes this litte update, I hope I have something nice to show you soon.
I've managed to get some further work done today and the general landscape is now nearly complete.
Most of the larger airholes from the spray on foam have been filled, the lakebed has been textured with some fine sand, the cliffsides have been chiselled some more to allow enough space for the larger locomotives to pass through and the mountain is taking shape.
This time I elected to just build the thing out of my foam sheets and filled in smaller areas with the spray on foam.
My dremel has proven to be my new best friend in this little part of the process
The mountain is kept reasonable flat for now as I intend to place a pasture on the front half above the tunnel, I may add some height in the rear later on if I feel it needed.
This week nothing much will happen except some cutting/dremeling of the newly added material as I need supplies from the (not so local) LHS.
I'll be picking up some static grass for sure and do some tests if I prefer that look over normal ground cover as well as place an order for the unpainted full set of preiser figures.
I've also picked up some dry leaves that I'm letting dry some more, these will be crushed as fine as possible later to make up the forest floor.
I'm also contemplating painting the areas that need to be sceniced a nice earthen brown but I'm still deciding on what type of paint to get, I'm leaning towards latex paint at the moment as it will fill smaller holes and make the whole thing a bit smoother.
Work on the bridge in styrene has already started (actually, this is attempt nr 3) and while the .75mm styrene I have is good for the general shape I'll be needing something thinner and easier to cut for detail work, maybe .3 or .25mm, I'll see what what they have in stock.
That's it so far, with not much to do this week on the layout I'll have plenty of time to do more research and look at techniques and other layouts to guide and inspire me.
I know I am inexperienced at this, but it is my hope and intention that me describing the process as a 'new guy' will one day be of help to someone else new.
Because if I can do this with some research, a litle thought and a bit of experimenting then so can others.
edit: forgot to mention that I've also been looking up information about LED lighting and circuits to convert the 10VAC from my power to something the LEDs can use, I'm starting to think I may have to slow down on my ideas
Regarding LED lighting, I can make a few suggestions. Unless you already have electronic components around the shop, the cheapest, fastest solution for powering LEDs is a DC "wall-wart" power supply, rather than adding a converter your existing 10 VAC.
I'd suggest a 9 VDC unit, that would give you the option of powering your lighting with a battery.
As for LED specifics. Nearly all LEDs require a resistor between them and the power source. The value of the resistor can be calculated by:
R =(Vsupply-Vled)/ Iled
The Vled is the intrinsic voltage across the LED ( varies by color: about 1.3V for red to 3.6V for white) and Iled is the current the LED draws ( about 10mA to 30mA). These numbers will come from the LED specification. The resistor value is typically 500 to 1500 ohms. Also, you can increase the resistor value if you find the LED too bright.
Hope this helps.
BTW: I like the headroom you've got on layout. And if you're lighting a log cabin, you might want to look into one of the fire/flicker circuits.
That's really great info Mark, and I don't want to sound like a smarta** here, but it's really only for those that read electronic gibberish, because that's all that formula is to me.
I mean, have you tried to Google the phrase “Intrinsic Voltage”? You get things like “Intrinsic voltage dependence of the epithelial Na+ channel is masked by a conserved transmembrane domain tryptophan.” Or, “Intrinsic voltage dependence and Ca2+ regulation of mslo large conductance ...” What the??? I tell you, I just don’t speak electronics.
I recently picked up a 6V walwart which I’m thinking of using to power some SMD LEDs (I picked up around 350 of them in various colors for use in numerous applications). The LEDs range in voltage from 2.0V to 3.5V. But figuring out which resistor(s) to use is the baffling part, (and all I’ve got on hand right now is around a hundred 750 Ohm Resistors). I know there can be some degree of variance in what resistor to use, ie. a higher rated resistor would just let less voltage through and produce a dimmer light, but after that I’m lost.
Plus there’s that wiring “inline” thing that confuses me. Where does one put the resistor(s) if one is wiring up a string of lights? Can one simply wire in one resistor in line with the power and that will reduce the voltage on down the line? How many LEDs could be powered in this way? Or does one need to wire a resistor before each LED? And the resistor goes on the positive side, correct? And how does one know which wire from the walwart is positive?
Nope Mark, you opened a whole can of worms here for me when you mentioned LED wiring! But thanks anyway.
Thanks for the comments. As a Silicon Valley guy, I can get too techy to easily, so I try to use more descriptive terms such as "intrinsic voltage" instead of the correct term "forward-bias voltage". I try to post just enough information that a person can decide if they want to discuss the issue further (like you did).
Actually, I see questions/comments like yours posted regularly and I wonder if a "Diodes for Dummies" document might be an appropriate post? I'd do it if I thought there was community interest.
For the moment the answers to your questions:
A 1000 ohm resistor is almost always a safe resistor to start with. Varying the resistor value affects the LED brightness, however component variation (usually about 10%) isn't usually visable in the light output. For your LEDs you could go down to 500 ohms, but I think you'd find them too bright.
Usually a wall wart will identify the the + side wire with a red stripe. The best LED wiring method is supply + to resistor, resistor to LED, LED to ground; for each LED. The resistor does not need to be close to the LED, but the LED always needs a resistor.
Technically, you can stack multiple LEDs in series with a resistor, although due to component variation, one is generally brighter than the others.
Hope this helps.
If you have more worm cans to open, we should probably continue this as a new post.
I for one wouldn't mind seeing a 'diodes for dummies' post, while there is a lot of info out there on this subject matter, it is hard for someone without an electronics background to get some understandable and practical information.
Unfortunately I haven't been able to find earth colored lates paint in the local home inprovement stores so I started on the rockwork already.
rocks in progress
I started with a light color and then tried to fill in the recessed areas with a darker shade but this didn't work out for me, so after that I mixed up some lighther shades again and dabbed the plaster with a piece of sponge dipped in the paint.
As you can see my technique needs some work but I feel the overall effect is getting there (at least on the left hand side).
The phote doesn't show it very well but there are 5 or 6 different shades of grey used, some admittedly are very close and it's hard to see the difference between.
I still need to pass by a crafts store for some India ink so I can make a wash and make those little crevices stand out a bit more.
Ah yes, my little bridge, it is coming along nicely I think.
I included the plan in the picture to show a change from the original design, I had planned to use less segments but this would appear unrealistic I believe.
So I made smaller segments, they are still a bit too large I think but I am not confident in my ability to make them smaller than this.
The main structure now is 1.5mm foamcore top and cottom with .75mm styrene sideings.
The segemnt strip (for lack of a better word) is cut from .3mm styrene.
Well so far my progress, I'll be back with another update next week or so.
You can always use artist water colors (if the surfaces are not sealed already) as they just soak into the plaster and papers. Get some Burnt Siena, Raw and Burnt Umber, Sepia and a touch of Yellow Ochre (makes a tan [light brown] color), Mix about 1/2cm long in 250-500ml water. Shake for a very long time, it takes a lot to dissolve the mixture. Spray until you get the darkness you want. (will dry slighly darker, normally). Just spray more or less of one of the colors to vary. I use 1~2mm of a black shade in a 100mm bowl to wash on. Collects in cracks and corners. Sometimes looks better if applied first, sometimes after the browns.
If you use the 'stain' method above, do NOT use arylic or latex paints or they will seal the surfaces and you will NOT be able to further color with the stains.
Jeff, alas my paints were acrylic, but I'll figure something out.
It's been a busy week and weekend and no further work has been done on the layout, I did however do something train related today and that was visiting the local tourist line.
Today they were running a visiting pacific steam loco and not just their own little 3 axle steamers.
Having used acrylics may be a blessing in disguise. Although you may not be able to do further staining, you will be saved from the all-too common issue of over-staining, which can be a much bigger problem (ask me how I know). Further color tweaking can always be done with acrylic washes--paints thinned with water and applied in layers. This method offers more control on the final effect.
The lighting will be battery driven, I've purchased the needed LEDS, resistors and a battery holder for 3AA batteries.
The LEDs are already soldered to resistors and tested, everything working nicely too.
Unfortunately the only shop with small electronic parts near me only stocked bright white LEDS so a solution will have to be found, I think I'll just ask my lovely girlfriend (a kindergarten teacher) if I can use a dab of that yellow paint she has in school to paint on glass. That should lessen the brightness without turning the light wholly yellow.
I've also decided on a cleaner solution to connect power to the layout, I had planned on using the Marklin connectors as I have a small supply of those from my HO days as a kid but that's 2 connectors. Not very refined.
So I will go the way of 3.5mm stereo jacks, already picked up at the electronics store while I was there.
As I mentioned earlier I planned to paint to paint the ground a nice earthy brown with latex paint before I added the grass, alas no home improvent stores had any so this plan was also scratched. Instead I used actual sand.
Very fine, light sand which colored darker due to the glue resulting in a rather realistic ground layer.
When visiting the crafts store last time I found and immediately purchased a few 1mm thick wooden rods, both round and square as they seemed ideal to build my log cabins with, much finer than the toothpicks I used years ago.
This time I wanted to have the ends overlap to make the structure seem more realistic so I started on a slightly larger structure to test building techniques.
Building it up layer by layer did not result in success, after 9 or so layers it wasn't straight anymore and it wasn't light proof.
Hence, once I get my hands on some paper with printed 1mm squares I'll just draw the plan and glue the cut to size sticks on that. This way I should be able to make the walls interlockable and end up with an easier to lightproof and structurally more sound cabin.
India ink wash. This worked rather well on my rockwork apart from one silly oversight on my part: it's not because it's nice and sunny outside and I want to combine enjoying the sun and some scenicing that I should do work like this in bright sunlight.
While it looked good at the time I worked on it, I realised my mistake the day after when it was overcast and I reviewed my work inside. Too dark.
Still, I bought those chalks for a reason at the crafts store didn't I? Foresight had me also purchase a light gray color apart from the usual (burned)umber, (burnt)sienna, ochre and rust.
Some fine tuning will be needed still but this will be for the weekend.
I've also noticed, maybe due to paint choose, the rockwork being a bit shiny. Once I'm happy with the final coloring I figure a dull clearcoat should sort that out as well.
That's it for now, as you see, much small jobs and experimentation going on.
While not really picture worthy it is a very educational part of the process for me.