Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A bold fascia color choice?

I haven’t posted on this blog lately simply because I’ve not done much on the layout.  Oh, I’ve done plenty of thinking about the layout, but not much actual progress has been made.  The reasons are many, including spring fever, a large amount of landscaping work that started in late March and is only now winding down, and simply a loss of inertia.  A little bit of planning never hurt anyone.  And daydreaming about that next layout is perfectly harmless, provided it doesn’t overshadow progress on the layout you’re actually trying to build. 
But this bout of analysis paralysis has been the worst I’ve ever experienced.  In short, I’d taken down all but the basic benchwork for a large, basement filling layout (that I’d built in near record time) and things haven’t fallen back into place as quickly as I thought they would.  I have a number of structures and building mockups – I must have arranged, rearranged, and then re-rearranged them a bunch of times. Nothing seemed to look right, nothing was working right.  In short, I was frustrated – burned out – and somewhat ticked off at myself and the layout. 
So, as I’ve been busy at work at and puttering around the house for the last few months I’ve been doing a lot of second guessing what I’m planning to do in the basement.  “Is this the “best” benchwork footprint?”  “Should I model this town or that town?”  I’ve even questioned era and prototype – after all, I’ve been doing some form of the Central Vermont steam era thing for well over a couple of decades.  Perhaps it’s time to do something truly different?
I’ve decided the answer, at this time, for me, is “no.” I have the necessary collection of rolling stock and locomotives (too many of the latter, but that’s a story for another day) to come pretty close to accurately recreating the CV of the late steam era. I have a plan for most of the layout that I think will be interesting to build and operate.  A huge question still remaining is what “Town 3” will represent.  Perhaps some form of White River Junction?  Perhaps a semi-freelanced industry such as a paper mill or limestone quarry. Or maybe another “typical” Northern division CV town – (If that’s the route I choose then the two most likely candidates at this point are Swanton or Randolph). Since I don’t really know what I’m going to do about the south end of the railroad, I’m going to loosely glue a few Atlas code 83 turnouts and lengths of flextrack in place as a temporary staging yard.
What I need to do is focus on those sections of the layout that are fairly firm in my mind – Waterbury and Essex Junction.  After all, there’s no reason to let over thinking prevent me from making some headway on the rest of the railroad.
What does any of this have to do with installing fascia panels?

The Essex Junction trainshed mockup in place.
Plenty. You see, one of the best cures for analysis paralysis is to do something – anything – that resembles progress. In my case, I was sick of tripping over the strips of Masonite and other wood cluttering the basement. Rather than wait until I had a “perfect” track plan I decided my immediate goal was to get the benchwork completed. This in my case meant installing the fascia panels. Once that’s done, the benchwork will, at long last, be complete.
So, what comes after that? All the track is laid in Waterbury – and even wired and painted. But there’s still a lot of track in Essex Junction that needs to be installed. Refining the Essex Junction track arrangement is the next “big” project. I've got the mockup of the trainshed built and have been using it to determine the exact position of these key element in the scene.

For reference, the mockup is about 28" long in HO scale.

View from looking south towards the trainshed.
NOTE: Sky blue is not the final fascia color. Those are actually leftover pieces of Masonite from the lower-level backdrops on the formerly double-decked peninsula.


  1. Why the stepped edge along the bottom? Do you plan to trim it later? I think a flush bottom looks neater.

  2. Bottom is flush - I think what you're seeing is a strip of unpainted Masonite on a couple of the sky blue panels. - Marty