Work officially began on the 10x32 addition on March 30th. So far, the floor has been framed and sheathed with 3/4-inch tongue-in-groove plywood. Prior to that, the hedges, gutters, porch and ramp were removed. Vertical construction should begin this weekend with the side walls going up first. Exciting times!!
Happy New Year everyone! There are some big changes coming to the layout in 2018. However, at this point I'm not 100% sure how these changes will manifest themselves. I know this will horrify many of you, but I've actually given serious consideration to dismantling the layout and starting over with a clean slate! Simply put, I have completely lost interest in it. I can count on one hand the number of times I even go out to the building at all in a given year...and this has been happening for many years now. Basically I'm paying to heat and cool an unoccupied building. The layout has proven one thing to me for certain; I have no interest in operations. Even though the layout was designed from its inception to support prototype operations, I have never once felt compelled to pursue it. I approach the hobby from the standpoint of a builder, artist and craftsman. The layout building is simply a blank canvas upon which I like to create. And once the creation is complete, the level of pleasure it brings diminishes greatly. So here is my dilemma...do I 1) expand the building and create a new addition for the original layout, 2) keep the building as-is and just start over in the same space, or 3) expand the building and start over in a larger space?? I imagine most of you are screaming "NUMBER ONE" in your head. On some days I do, too. It would be a daunting and emotional task to say good-bye to the MA&G. It's been a good friend and big part of my life for many, many years. It makes the most sense, both financially and logically, to keep what I have and simply expand with an addition. But the theme/setting/locale of the layout has become uninteresting to me. It would greatly hinder my current vision, which I'll share later. The other issue is that I have accumulated around 80 un-built craftsman kits...primarily FSM, FOS scale, Bar Mills, Sierra West and SRMW. Of these, nearly half are waterfront-based (and not in a New Orleans sort of way). Because so many of them were big buck limited edition kits that are no longer available, I hate to waste my investment on anything that would be, in my mind, a compromise of what I really want to do. It would be akin to painting the Mona Lisa on roofing felt (LOL).I do know one thing for sure. I have begun work on a 4x16-foot working diorama which will represent an accurate recreation of the Royal American Shows carnival in the 1960's. Regardless of what I decide to do with the original MA&G, this peninsular display will become a part of the railroad. I've spent the last several months researching the RAS and collecting kits. Benchwork has been built for the first 8-foot section (due to space limitations in our store room, it will be built in two halves), and this weekend I formally laid out the footprint based on a prototype site drawing dated 1966. It will be extremely accurate and include 33 rides/attractions (most will be motorized), 7 shows, 9 concession stands, 20 game booths and, most likely, in excess of 1000 figures! I'm really, REALLY excited about it!
Today I began a project I've wanted to do for the past few years - install night lighting! I found some rolls of 100 blue LED's marked down 50% (now $11) in the Christmas department at Walmart. The "bulb" is actually just a screw on cover that can be removed so that the lights aren't visible from the aisles. This also creates a slightly brighter glow from the blue LED's. The beauty of this product, aside from price, is the fact that you can connect up to 22 of the 60-foot strings. I started with enough to do the lower level just as an experiment. I love the resulting effect! As it turns out, I even had enough left over to also light the area above the upper level waterfront. Here are a few shots of my progress thus far.
I finally completed and posted a new video. This one documents a run through the entire second level and combines the previous separate videos of Wharton, Hines Lumber Co., Kiln, and Edna. My next project will be to completely re-shoot and edit a new video of the New Orleans waterfront. The background buildings were added after the original video was produced. Hopefully I'll have it posted before the end of the year!
I'm excited to finally be updating my website! Actually, this is a complete overhaul with a new web builder and complete new look. I hope you like the changes and, in particular, find it easier to view on tablets and smart devices. You may notice that the captions are gone from the photos. This was because of the new slideshow format - the captions obstructed about a fifth of the photos. However, these are still available to view on my facebook page. Also gone are many of the "under construction" photos as I wanted to present a more final product presentation. However, these will be available to view through the provided links to the RR-line forums. In fact, there are many, many photos in those posts that were never shared on the MA&G website!
One of the long overdue changes can be found on my video gallery page. When Google took over youtube a few years ago, the majority of my videos were forcibly changed to widescreen orientation, which makes them now appear stretched out and distorted. To make matters worse, I can't access my account to make the necessary corrections (for the life of me I can't remember the correct combination of email address, username, and password) or deletions. Luckily, my two most recent videos survived the change, and you will find them posted here. During the Christmas holidays I will be posting a new video of the entire Mississippi level with all new footage. Look for it soon!
Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas,
I have been a model railroader for nearly 50 years. I received my first HO train set from Santa at the age of 10. I have built 5 layouts as an adult; 2 of which were in N-scale. My wife, Jennifer, and I have been married for 26 years and have three children. By profession, I am a lower school STEM instructor (science-technology-engineering-mathematics) which brings me more joy, excitement and enthusiasm than any other aspect of my life. My other interests include playing the piano and anything related to Walt Disney World which we visit at least once a year (March 2018 marked my 25th visit).