Sunday, June 21, 2009

Finished Track Plan

Finished drawings are listed on the left of the Blog screen. I'm very interested in getting your comments before I call this complete. Thanks!

Final overall track plan.

Benchwork drawing.

Track and Grade detail.


Finished The Track Plan! Ole!

"It is a good thing to finish anything but a bottle."
- Pedro

Alas, Seniors! I have finished the design. She is ready for critique, which basically means that some bozo will tell me that it needs to be built in N scale. No matter, a lot of good ideas come from critiques.

I drew in the El Diablo trestle. This should make for a nice little isolated scene.

The Durango tunnel was changed to tunnel tracks and named.
The compound trestle bridge over Mapimi is now called the Grande Puente (great bridge).

The large suspension bridge is now drawn in, called Puente Colgante.

The electrical blocks for the reversing loop are now marked and noted.

The rest of the structures are now installed at Ojeulo. I've added a cook house, the shacks, the office and the guard house.

The town of Mapimi is now populated with a house for Peppy, the water tower and oil tank, a retaining wall for the steep hill and a fancy adobe engine house. There is also a railroad office.

In East Mapimi we now have the important warehouse, oil distributor, the smelter ored dump with office and Pedro's palace. I've also added the towers for the suspension bridge. Very crowded indeed.
I broke out a separate drawing for the shadow box. It now contains the depot for lime loading, Rose's Cantina, water tower and oil, and homes for the Rojos and Baxters.
Excellent! Now I'll set up the main plans in a separate box on the blog and invite the folks from the LDSIG to take a look. The On30 folks too.

Please post comments or email them to me at Thanks

Friday, June 19, 2009

Not So Quick On The Draw...

"When at first you don't succeed, drown your sorrows in tequila!"
- Pedro

After tremendous outcry from the people, I have been told that I WILL finish the Penoles layout design. They are holding my child as ransom. win. I'll keep working on it.

After messing with the swamp layout ( I decided to go clean up the shop. There was my mess from the last adobe building #2. Yuck
I used a glue stick to hold the drawing template to the wood for cutting. It works well with little mess!

You can see here where I cut out the boards for Adobe #2. I then coated them all with Spackle and let them dry. When I came back they were completely warped! Crap! Project two down the drain.
Adobe #1 still is winning, but I don't like it at all. I'm going to try more ideas.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Moth Balls

"You know the smell of moth balls? Say, how did you get their tiny little legs apart?"
- Peppy

It's official. The Penoles Mining Railroad is being moth balled. I like the way its going, but its not meeting the criteria I need for the raffle layout. Also, another group has bid on the raffle layout, so we most likely won't get the chance to build this one.

Oh well....we'll keep it on ice for a while.

Meantime...more work on the Swamp!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Finish? Shrink? or Discontinue

"The road less traveled should be the one that goes to the Police station."
- Pedro

A puzzlement...

The Penoles Mine layout doesn't meet the raffle layout criteria. She is too big. Too long. Too complicated. Too many scratchbuilt structures. Too bad.

I have some options...

Complete the Penoles and send it in to a magazine to publish for someone else to build.

Shrink it and remove 50% of the structures and make it the raffle layout.

Stop working on it and start something else.

I'll ponder this. You ponder it, too. Post a comment when you can.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Raffle Layout Review

"I like perfection! I even married a perfect idiot!"
- Pedro

We discussed the Penoles layout as a raffle layout tonight at the NCI meeting ( see the swamp blog at ) and decided it has a few issues.

One, its a bit larger than it should be.
Two, it is a bit complicated to build.
Three, most of the structures have to be scratch built.
It has fantastic curb appeal, which sells tickets.
Also, it would look fantastic in Mike's store.
Worst case, it winds up in a magazine.

When Do You Get Time?

"Time can slip through your fingers! So can taco sauce."
- Peppy

A friend sent me an email and asked "when do you find time to design layouts like you are doing on the blog?" Good question.

In Atlanta we have this thing called a long commute. I'm on the road about 1.5 hours per day. With an extra half hour on Friday that makes 8 hours per week driving. God blessed me with the ability to draw and design things in my head, in 3D and remember them long enough to write them down. My brother and father can do this as well. Also, I keep a pocket recorder hanging from my rear view mirror and a notebook and pen close by.

I also eat lunch which is about 45 minutes a day. Often I carry my notebook and jot down sketches and notes. Then in the late evening, usually about 9:30 or 10:00, we are very quiet in the house while my 4-year-old sleeps. I'll sit at the computer and draw up the sketches, make notes and write copy for about 30 minutes or so.

So when you look at it...

8 hours on the road
3.5 hours at lunch
2.5 hours in the evenings

Up to 14 hours a week can be spent on trains! You can get a lot done in that amount of time.

Keep in mind, the date the post is issued is seldom the actual day I write it. In fact, many times the stuff you see is two or more weeks old. I just jot this stuff down as I go and when I get to the end of a concept, I send it. Sometimes I'll write two posts on a rainy saturday and schedule them to post at different times.


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Time for Structures!

"And just how are you going to build an adobe trailer park?"
- Pedro

It is now time to add the structures as the track plan is pretty much completed and the grades checked. I'm really liking this railroad! Let's start with the mine. I always like to add mandatory structures first, then ancillary ones. That way you make sure your priority buildings get their fair share of real estate. In O scale, you can run out of room fast.
Just some CAD tips here. I draw my drawings in layers. A layer meaning all like components are drawn together and saves as a separate and distinct group, and usually all one similar color. These layers can be turned off and on so that you can either focus on them or move them to work on other areas. Not sure if I really explained that well. So here I'm starting a structures layer and making it brown. I do this with every layout. I'll leave it on as I work with them and turn the Grade layer off.

The mine complex needs several buildings. I'll start with the main power and machinery building. Power is generated from a oil fired boiler. We'll put double doors on it and make it a machine shop. Its the largest mine building at one foot long and six inches wide. This is so that the interior can be detailed if we want it to be.

The powerhouse can move around so I just kind of sat it in the middle. Then I drew the tipple, which is nothing but a two car length trestle over a ramp that dumps the ore into the awaiting hopper. We'll deliver the ore by Bachman's V shaped skip dump ore car. The tied track drawings are starting to get in the way, so we'll convert them to hidden trackage as both are socked away under the scenery. The top mine loop is under the rock of the mine face. The ore car track goes right to the edge of the layout and we'll put about four inches of mine tunnel and a portal there so a person can feel like they are in the mine looking out onto the mine complex. Neat, huh?

Bachman's V Dump Ore Car

The first thing I did was add the timber tunnel portals. These things are huge in On30, so be sure to make room for them. Timber portals are hard to come by in On30, but you can get them from Dr. Ben's website. These will work nicely and we'll need a ton of them. I also drew in the mine cribbing section and the trestle work to get the mine track over to the tipple. Looking good!

That's all for tonight. We'll pick it up from there on the next post. Meanwhile, use the comments section and let me know what you think!