Sunday 19 September 2021

HI everybody. Well its been a long time since I posted a Blog update. I've done a few linked YouTube DvD's but no actual blog updates. Soooooo I thought it was time to update all on the latest projects on  the UPBNSF Joint Division.

I held the last Ops session on the UPBNSF JD on 22nd May 2021. Then I decided I needed a break from modelling as I had been going hard at it for quiet some time and to be honest my NMRA AR Division 1 commitments were pretty insane at that time.  

 August came and I was feeling reinvigorated and decided to focus some attention to doing more scenery on the layout. SO I've taken on some scenery projects in the house garage area of the layout as I'm determined to have this area significantly first scenery pass completed by early 2022.

So lets dig in and I'll see if I can't share some of the scenery build processes over each area in the next couple weeks.  


I have a bridge crossing Francis Creek at Ayer (along the Snake River). The bridge is manufactured by Kato. I removed the Kato bridge track and then installed Micro Engineering bridge track and rail. This has a closer tie spacing to the Kato track that comes with the bridge. The closer tie spacing is A typical for a US prototype bridge. After this I added guard rails, to make this scene more prototypical to what I model.  

My good mate, Garry Paper then weathered the bridge and track before it was reinstalled onto the layout. 

Blending the scenery into the bridge abutments would become an interesting task.

Then the task of fitout of the scenery began. Test fitting the rock moulds for fit and size to the location is all important. The hard bit would be to blend the bridge piers into the surrounding scenery and the acute angles of the river  edges. 

Moulds with wet plaster were applied to the scene one at a time and slowly I blended the scene into the river embankments and bridge abutments.


Failed moulds were broken up and some fragments were used on the river bed and earthen areas near the rivers edge. These were sprayed with Diluted Indian ink to accentuate the detail before installation. 

Rock chips have been used to simulate exposed rock surfaces at ground level 

So as it stands right now, the below photos show the current status of the Ayer project to date. The longer term will see apple farms simulated either side of the bridge which is A typical of the location represented. 

Saturday 11 April 2020

Boardman - Columbia River Transition scene UPDATE 2

12/4/2020 (AEST) 

Well its been a busy two week on the layout since the last update. I've been concentrating on the trasition scene, up to the UP bridge at Nelle Bay (Formerly Nelle Inlet). 

Follow the photos below and I'll take you through the latest changes!!!

Adding ground cover "Dirt & soil" at the work bench to a section styrofoam scenery. 

Looking at the opposite side to the previous photo. This shows the rock face and coloring. This section will be added to the scene. The dark sections of rock face has been lightened up since this photo was taken. This was done by dry brushing light tones over the black. This rock face is not seen when standing in the Columbia River Errr I mean isleway, only when looking from end on!!!

Here the section has been located in its postion, Glued with Hot glue to the baseboard. static grass was applied at the work bench. In the background are the basalt ciffs of the Columbia River Gorge

Looking down the valley, between the basalt rocks. Fortunately for the UP, the river and time have created a water level route to follow. 
Here I'm standing on the opposite side of the Columbia River looking at the scene

Onto Nelle Bay!

Here I had to use a mirror to see what I was doing. I was putting scenery in a very difficult place and I couldn't see from the front so I had to use a mirror. You've heard of painting by numbers ...Well this is painting by Mirrors. 
Here I'm separating rocks by size fraction. Not a lot of science here, just grabbed the strainers I had available

I've mocked up the rock erosion protecion wall, to visualise the scene. I sprinkled some of the fine talus I had on it. It looked horrible so lucky I had only mocked the scene. The beauty of this hobby is to be able to trial things and see what works and what doesn't!

Here I've added more rocks to the embankment. Notice I remove odd coloured and oversized rocks.

Here I've glued the rocks that protect the land from erosion.

Having removed the tape from the mainline and making ready to ballast the track. I really like the way the dirt road meanders down the hill to the R/R track. Oh and photos help you notice things. This reminded me that I needed to add sleepers to the track joint in the middle of the photo. 

Whilst the glue was drying on the river bank, I ballasted the mainline, and added some grass to the dirt road!!!

Looking R/R Westbound
A final photo of the west bank. Note how the meandering road and backdrop just seems to extend the scene. Track grade crossing signs, trees, farm animals and maybe a vehicle will fill out this scene. That will be done in stage 2. But for now its time to focus on the East side of Nelle Bay. 

I've jumped about 3 days ahead now. The land behind the bridge has been sceniced. The front of the embankment is recieving the rock protection. The boat ramp will be blended in a little more along the edges but the scene is taking shape. Note the suttle weathering on the UP Bridge sides. 

I'm on the opposite bank of the Columbia Rver, checking out the scene. 

This photo was taken by a drone. Surveying the overall scene. Still have the riverbed to do but you can get a feel here for the scene.

Wednesday 1 April 2020

Boardman - Columbia River transition scene


WOW its been over two years since I posted on this blog!

I was sitting here and thinking what I could do to send to people, acquaintances, and internet contacts in our wonderful hobby, that could distract them in a nice way, from the current issues going on across the globe.

SO I thought that I would do a short "latest project" update so you all can see what my most recent  efforts have been aimed at. I've been working on this project for about 5 weeks now. When I started there was bare plywood and a blue backdrop behind the scene. I vaguely understood what I wanted but was struggling for artistic licence. But I forged ahead anyhow and very soon I had a clear vision on how it was all going to come together. Thats the beauty of this hobby. Jumping in can be the best thing!!!!! 

Nelle Inlet at Boardman. This inlet leads to a small boat Harbor (not modeled) The rocks are currently loose and are positioned so I can see and visualize how the scene will look!

Mocked up rock protection for the banks of Nelle Inlet

Here I've placed some loose rocks as a mock up as a test to determine what I want the scene to look like. The concrete road is a boat ramp!!!

In this photo I've roughed in an access road that the UP would use to access the mainline for maintenance. The cliffs on the opposite side of the main are basalt cliffs and these transition the scene from flat rolling hills to the cliffs along the Columbia River

Here I've added a DIRT road. I'm using powder pigments to simulate dirt. I used sculptamold as the road base , which I didn't really like the result. After this photo I painted over the top with house paint, earth color, and then put the powdered pigment on again. 

Here I've made the road run between the basalt cliffs. Maintaining access with the mainline, just so us "FOAMERS" can access and take photos up close and personal

Now I'm adding grass down the center of the road. Its been down for a long time and only randomly used. Although I do think the locals use this road to access the Columbia River for fishing and camping!!

Same same

Sometime in the long long past there was a landslip in this part of the Canyon. The earth has since settled and the UP railroad deemed it safe to run the tracks right by the resultant slip.

Them there cliffs are starting to get serious! 
Looking back towards Boardman

Ballasting the class 1 mainline has now commenced. 

Saturday 14 April 2018

UPBNSF JD Ops session - 14/4/18

Yesterday afternoon I held the scheduled 2 monthly operations session on the UPBNSF Joint Division. There were 16 starters for the session.

Ops session Gang. Missing Duncan Cabassi (taking photo) and Jeff Grenfell, (running late)
The session commenced at 2:30pm with the official opening of the Rogers Run branch line. A small opening ceremony was held, with the official cutting of the SIGN by no other than ROGER. In recognition of this momentous occassion , the UPBNSF JD management had a directors special available for the first run out to the PGE power plant and back.

Looking at PGE Loop
Looking back at Boardman North

None other than ..."ROGER"

Upon completion of official ceremonies, the pre-start was held and then we proceeded to get into the operations session. We ran 22 trains for the session and considering that some of these trains take 2 hrs to complete that was no mean feat!! Just ask Steve O and John B how long the Millwood turn takes!!!

It was great to see Merv Bagnall run the first revenue train on the Rogers Run branch. Merv and I go back 35+ years and it was without question that he would get to engineer the first revenue train across the branch line.

Operations ran from 3:00pm to 6:30pm where we stopped for Pizza. Some said their good byes for the night and a few guys stayed on to do another hr of ops.

The night wasn't without a couple of issues. The premier train on the layout, the UP Potash train had multiple (and I mean multiple) uncoupling issues and the engines, all equipped with sound decided to play up going up the spiral. Considering this is the most expensive train on the layout in real dollars ...yours truly is not happy!!!! I've been onto the manufacturer of the potash cars regarding the uncoupling issue previously but to date have not had any success in remedying the problem. They are MT 1015's and the reliability on this freight car is abysmal.

I also had a similar issue with a unit grain train. On this occasion I just think the weight of the grain train cars is just way to light, so I'll try and address that issue over the coming days.

All in all outside of those frustrations, the ops session went pretty smoothly. Everybody seemed to enjoy themselves and the effort put into the paperwork side of administering the ops session is starting to pay off.

Photos below of Ops session.

BNSFMWB entering Yardley

Jeff (Yardmaster) working out his moves for the next train. T2 (Far end) is performing the switching

Cheney being switched by Alan


Anthony and Iain watching UPMEB
negotiate hangman curve

BNSFMWB passing Tyson meat
at Wallula East

Anthony and Darren working the
UPMEB at Wallula

Anthony and Darren working the 
UPMEB at Boardman

Steve and Wayne switching
Boardman Industries

King Laurie (Dispatcher extraordinaire)

And then there is the paperwork!
Your truly giving the pre start speech

 Thanks to all the participants. looking forward to the next ops in June.