In this installment of the MTL Haunted Hamlet build, we get down to fleshing out the layout, and we begin with the layout base. I wanted to give the layout a good authentic Halloween feel. As we wrote earlier, the base inspiration came from a rustic serving tray with rope handles. I do like to try new techniques whenever I build, and I read about aging wood with a propane torch and thought that might be a good alternative to stain.
I ended up torching the wood pretty soundly and then had to sand off the excess ash before painting. In retrospect, I’m not sure if paint or stain wouldn’t have accomplished the same effect as I achieved with the torch. One nice result from using the torch though was that after I cleaned off the excess ash, the wood had some nice subtle dips and grooves in it where it was more heavily burned.
Next up was a paint called Pumpkin Patch from Glidden. I applied several coats with a cheap bristle brush to get the rustic effect and when dry, I took different sandpaper grades to the paint to reveal the burned wood underneath. I think it’s a reasonable aged facsimile. As nice as this look was, I wanted to add just a bit more… something, for the Halloween effect. Since I’ve been shooting in front of burlap for this series, I thought why not use that? I cut up some random shapes and applied the burlap to the wood with hot glue. I then brushed on a coat of Mod Podge to harden and seal the burlap. I think it has a nice scarecrow, patched effect. I don’t want to do too much more to the base and run the risk of taking away the impact of the buildings, so I’ll probably stop here.
The Kato Compact track was attached to the foam base using PL Premium adhesive, nice because it’s foam safe. A very light coating of ballast went on the track and then got an equally light weathering from the airbrush. And yes, I’ll admit it, the curves are superelevated. Mock me if you must, but I do find superelevation causes a little less wheel grind on really tight curves, like these 7” curves. And yes, I do like the way it looks in almost all situations!
The LEDs were next, and I knew I’d want quite a few to add atmosphere. I’ll go in to a little more electrical detail in the next article, but I finally ended up with a series-parallel power configuration. This will allow me to get all 25 LEDs powered easily. I’m also installing a remote on/off/dimmer switch so I can tailor the brightness of the scene for any room brightness.
I’m using a couple of terminal blocks to act as the parallel portion of the series-parallel lighting. I figured it would be a little easier to make the connections under the board rather than carved in the foam base or under the foam base covered in adhesive. Not that there will be a heat issue with the resistors (going with all ½ watt instead of ¼ watt resistors) but in case an LED(s) blows, I can still have access to the wire path and resistors.
I also picked up a good variety of Scenic Express SuperLeaf foliage in seasonal colors. These colors are muted enough to let the buildings really stand out, but colorful enough to clearly show off the season.
Getting the lights wired to the buses is next, and then scenery and we’re off to the (Halloween) races!
Micro-Trains Line Haunted Hamlet Buildings
Haunted Hamlet Buildings
Category: Raildig Build Projects