With Christmas come and gone, and Little Christmas come and gone too, we’re very happy to present the final article in our Post-Christmas 2016 Grinched layout series. I now prefer to think of this as the very first Christmas layout build of 2017. As well as being a slightly late Christmas delivery, Grinched actually took a turn, lost its multi-color LED string and associated Christmas tree lot, but we’ll get to that in a minute.
I realized I had some old N scale fence material in one of my part boxes, the Bar Mills Insta-Fence kit, so I thought let’s add some fencing. Things are a bit tight on this layout so I had to run some trains around as I was positioning the fence sections to make sure we had clearance, which we do by the narrowest of margins.
On the topic of narrow margins, I also had to carve off some areas of earth and rock as our loco would catch on some last minute ground cover I had added. I wanted to go for some nice, gentle (if abbreviated) transitions between the small rock formations and the track, but given the layout size constraints, we had to lose several of these transitions in favor of the trains actually running.
Next, we added foliage to our filter furnace and dowel pine trees. To secure the foliage I used Mod Podge matte, thinned at roughly a 4:1 ratio with water and sprayed on the branches. The foliage was then lightly sprinkled onto the wet branches and then another coat of Mod Podge was applied to secure the foliage. Given that this was my first crack at making furnace filter trees, I’m overall pleased with the results and look forward to making more trees in this style and improving my technique.
Before we begin planting the trees, let’s talk about the Christmas tree lot and Christmas LEDs that are noticeably absent. I had purchased a string of multi-color LEDs that are rated to run at 3VDC. I had my buck converter all set at slightly less than 3VDC and began installing the lights. As I gently placed this LED string around the poles I cut, lights began flickering. I double-checked the power source and wiring and all looked good. I then realized some of the connections on the LED solder pads had come off and as I repaired one, another would pop loose. Soldering more and more solder pads on Pico LEDs soon became a little more Bah Humbug than Ho Ho Ho, so I decided to lose the Christmas tree lot and keep my calm happy place intact.
The 3VDC feed for these lights is still in place, hidden under ground cover so I can revisit Christmas lights later this year. Once I decided the Christmas lights were off the menu, I sat back with a cup of tea and gave the snow a rethink as well. I then made the turn from the Christmas theme to a woodsy, not-quite-Christmas-yet theme. Grinched indeed! Initially disappointed about delaying the Christmas theme, I took a breath, ran my MTL SW1500 for awhile and simply put, was happy. I planted my trees, tidied up a bit, and took photos while running the trains.
On this build I played with a PC board for the first time, built furnace filter trees for the first time and built my first 18” pizza layout. While not the result I planned, I think it’s a good result nonetheless. If I was going to get all philosophical about this build I could say that I learned some good things along the way building this layout, and got even more good ideas for the next project and I’ve got a nice little working layout, and that’s always good thing.
Category: Raildig Build Projects