Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year from The SD&AE Blog

Friday, December 30, 2011

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Come on in and join

Railwire is a great model railroading forum. Lots of fun and great modeling information and tips.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Back to railroading on The SD&AE

Christmas is over and here comes the new year. I started this layout the first week of Jan this year, so in one year, I have learned and developed a lot for a small hollow core door layout. Several plans have been altered, areas of the layout changed, track plans used and not used and different modeling techniques tried. I have hit a snag with the fascia and have run out of sand. If I was in Coyote Wells in real life, boy that wouldn't be a problem. I tried another color of craft paint and it's too light. Only in a small area. I need to find the right paint, Wal-Mart here is thinning their craft departments and I need to go on a hunt and find it.

Season's Greetings from Campo

Saturday, December 17, 2011

El Centro fascia going up after a weird story

Ask the wife to stop by Home Depot on the way home from work last night. Get a 1/4 2x4 and cut it in half for my new scenic divider. Also 2 1/8th inch 2x4 panels. Instead of putting in the backseat, I put it in the trunk, new car never have hauled wood. No bungee cords, used the complimentary HD rope. I heard a bump/noise on the short trip home and we paid it no mind. Got home, short trip. No wood, it all fell out. She's laughing her a$$ off. We go back to where we heard the noise. Masonite on the roadway. I run out and grab it, tire tracks on it, skid marks...Sanded it down and painted - No worse for wear.

Friday, December 16, 2011

We love the SD&AE

I will be working the day away and my mind will drift off to the days of yesteryear. The days I remember going to Harborside Elementary School in Chula Vista, CA on the mainline of the SD&AE. I was there in 1961-65. Use to watch those sugar beet trains, refers, hoppers from US Gypsum in Plaster City and more roll through. Boy they were loud, screaming SD's, EMD's and GP's all smokin' bloody noses.

I would walk to school through The Turkey Trail in Chula Vista, lined with fruit and produce shipping facilities. it was awesome. Non-stop trains too. You would have thought this was the real SP. I lost touch with the lines when my mom passed away in 1964 and my dad remarried and we moved to Clairemont Mesa, a northern suburb of San Diego. No more playing around the refers parked on the sidings, putting pennies on the track and just plain train watching.

Just a dream to the past....

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Santa Wife is getting me the depots we need!

Am I only the one that gets the Walthers joke "Clarksville Station", the Last Train To Clarksville and I'll meet you at the station. The depot is named after the Monkeys song. I am going to use that depot for the El Centro Depot. Even though it looks nothing like it. Who cares, it's gone and it's a memory. I will paint it SP colors, yellow, walls and sides, green roof and brown trim.

Also on it's way is the Imex Small Town Depot, which does look amazingly like The SD&AE Depot. I just need to add the columns.

I am not happy with the way the backdrop turned out, so I'm printing the mountains out and redoing the backdrop. Also switching from 1/8" Masonite to 1/4" stuff. Going to add the fascia with a 6" by 4' run along the edges. I'm going to use the desert color paint for the fascia as well. Whole thing should blend in nicely.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

New SD&AE article on line

At the dawn of the twentieth century, the sleepy town of San Diego seemed to be cut off to progress from the rest of the nation. For many years, San Diego leaders had sought a direct-line railroad in order to provide for the military, develop the port, and be connected to outside markets. Finally, in December of 1906, local newspaper headlines reported: “Rail from San Diego to Yuma assured.”

Friday, December 9, 2011

Pics used for backdrop (requests for them)

Cutting them out and matching them is kind of a pain, it leaves a seam, unless you overlap. I would recommend taking the pictures to a Kinko's or Fed Ex Store and having them print them as one continuous roll. It will come out to four feet or so. You will need to use Photoshop, Gimp or related and butt the pictures against each other. I tried it in Paint and it works. In the last few shots, cut out the rocks and the over pass. This is what the sample of three of the photos butted together look like: (as you add the photos, you can move them into and on each other, match the natural breaks in the pictures.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

How Coyote Wells was created:

 I had an "A" and "B" side of a large hollow core door layout I've been working on since Jan 2011. The "A" side is El Centro, CA and the interchange with The SP. I planned for Plaster City and then Dos Cabezos on the San Diego and Arizona Eastern Railroad. I didn't like what was coming up on the plans so I shifted to Coyote Wells, CA. This was a division point on The old SD&AE and later just used for car storage for The U.S. Gypsum Plant in Plaster City, CA.

To get the right texture and look for desert scenery and the sand, I had to resort to some unconventional means. I will share the secret with you. You are not going to get sand, dirt or ground cover to look right in N scale. I started a test area on the layout in early 2011. I used a color of craft paint from Folk Art called Linen #420 at Wal-Mart, Michael s or any craft store.

The test area results were outstanding. I painted the foam tabletop with the craft paint and sifted real desert sand from the banks of the Colorado River near Yuma, AZ on the sand with a strainer. I let it dry overnight. Next day I took a sanding block and roughed up the sand that was adhered to the paint. Then took the shop vac to the area, and took a mixture of 3/4 paint and 1/4 water and dabbed it on the dry sand. the same color. I screwed up the test area up by adding more sand over the painted sand and the color darkened. I need to fix that area to blend in with Coyote Wells. 

When it was time to work on Coyote Wells, I used Code 80 for the main line and Code 55 for the sidings. I painted the rails with a craft store Burnt Sienna color. I airbrushed a mixture of the paint and water to break it up. After it dried. I began to sift sand in copious amounts in the small yard in Coyote Wells. Enough to cover the track ties and up to the rails like the prototype. The wind blows so hard in that area, you can barely see the rails and ties. I sprayed the entire yard area with alcohol and then a mixture of 50/50 water and white glue. Let it dry real good and do it again. I dabbed the craft paint and water on real good. When it dried it looked like sand had piled up on the ties and around the rails.

The vegetation in the test area was pretty simple, 3-4 kinds of Woodland Scenics Course Turf:

Burnt Grass

Yellow Grass


While painted sand was drying, I would take pinches of the turf and let it fall where it may, creating a random effect. This worked well, so I used this in Coyote Wells, same exact way. For the few trees that are in the area, they are pieces or clumps of lichen that I rolled in ground foam years ago. I picked and processed my own lichen years ago and rolled it in ground foam like flour and it made great trees. The tanks were from left over Walters HO assortment. The poles are from Osborn, a great Canadian manufacture. Popped in a leftover Walthers HO propane tank and an assortment of MOW buildings painted in SP colors.

The backdrop was made with 1/8" masonite painted with a medium-darker blue color. Light blue doesn't come out well in photos. I took about 8 shots in an area off I-8 on the grade from The Imperial Valley to the first exit, where you can pull off. I took the pics in April 2009 knowing I was going to build this layout. I printed them on regular paper and cut them with a blade. No need to cut out all the detail. I rubber cemented the cut out photos to the masonite. Working on covering up the seams and areas where the backdrop shows through. I lined up the photos, that caused the cut out photos to be lined up all over the
backdrop due to the lack of a real horizon when I took the pics.

Coyote Wells in the future:

Add more sifted sand to the grey ballast on the mainline
String the telegraph poles
Add figures to the scene
Paint MOW buildings window and door frames SP brown

Here's the actual area:

Across Carrizo Gorge

The Carizzo Gorge Railway (NOTE: Mission Impossible Theme for The Impossible Railroad)