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General Layout Updates for August 2021

Greetings friends of the NWR! Thought I would provide at least a quick look at what we have been up to over the last month or so. Do I expect this to become a regular update thing? HA! But we'll see.


Project focus has shifted for now to the third Aisle, with a push to finally get the Monon Sub finished. Specifically, I (Morgan) had been waiting for Ray to get the bridge pier the Monon Bridge over Morgan-Monroe Reservoir leveled so I could put one final pour of Water down and turn my focus to the Spillway.

Below the Spillway, several layers of Water have been poured, but its going to take quite a few more to reach the depth I desire. My goal is to get the pumphouse pipe submerged, and there will be a couple of Fishermen wading in the water as well, so I will need a good depth for them.

For "Water" I use a 2-part Epoxy Resin from Lowe's. Its the same stuff you would use to put a clear coat on a tabletop or counter, and basically the same as the "Magic Water" you get at a hobby shop; except you get twice as much for the same price. The Resin Mix is 50-50. While mixing, I tend to add two drops of Brown acrylic paint from the 50c paints you can get at Walmart and one tiny drop of green. This helps give the water a muddy, silty color. For Ponds, use more green for an algae look. Miss Madison, sunning herself under the bridges, probably wishes I had use a nice deep blue for her home instead. :) (Did you notice her the first time?)

Between the two bodies of water I am starting the first of two Waterfalls. These are made from a Gloss Matte Medium; a product intended for sealing a finished art canvas. You can find this in the artist section of a craft store like Hobby Lobby or Michael's

Start with a large, cheap picture frame. Put a piece of paper behind the glass marked with the relative dimensions of your waterfall. You'll want to make several of varying sizes so you can build it in layers. Then smear the Gloss Matte Medium onto the glass in the shape, and give it a rippling effect like water. It'll take about a day to fully dry and cure. When its done, it should be clear. if you have white streaks, that means your gloss was too thick; but that's okay. Remember waterfalls can have white in them, so don't be afraid to use your mistake. Once it has cured, we'll carefully peel it off the glass. If it tears; remember we are layering the waterfall, and reuse the pieces along the top or bottom. Remember that as this dries out it will try to shrink and may fall apart on you, in which case you'll need to make more with a thicker layer of Matte Medium. For reference, see the falls I made for Naptown.

For a far better tutorial on water and waterfalls, click here to watch Boulder Creek Railroad's Youtube Video.

Whew. I sure talked a lot for my section. Gotta get some guest editors on here to toot their own horns.


Nearby, Geoff "Johnny Appleseed" Batchelor and Ray have been working on a Cabin-in-the-woods scene behind Hunter's Ridge Farm. The Cabin is a Woodland Scenics and both it and the Covered Bridge are equipped with Just-Plug Lights. There's plenty of surface work and paint to do still, but its coming along very nicely. Looking good so far, guys!

photos by Geoff Batchelor


Moving back toward LaSalle, LaSalle Power and Light has just added a Transformer Station coming out of the Powerplant. The Substation is most of a Walthers Cornerstone Kit, assembled without its plastic base. The fence comes from our friend and frequent Vendor Paul Hester. The Gate was salvaged off Lehigh-Portland Cement in Cementville. It was knocked off during the clean up and ended up in a pile-o'-parts. We plan to rehab the sidings in front of LaSalle Power and relocate a switch so that one of the sidings is not being blocked by a Kingan Packing car-spot.

Let there be Light!


The Hobo Camp under the railyard got an upgraded fire thanks to a gentleman who attended the NMRA show in Van Wert, Ohio (A fabulous 2-day show. Add it to your plans for 2022). He 3D Prints 55gal drums with and without holes in the sides, sticks them on an orange LED and adds some cotton smoke. I kinda wish the LED came with a flicker circuit, but for $6 and an old Bachmann powerpack I scrounged up I am very happy with this over the Woodland Scenics campfire that was there.


In a project that has taken on a life of its own, Tom Carroll and John Lockwood have notched out the old sub grade in LaSalle for the new LaSalle Mills complex and other buildings. You may have seen it in a previous Faceook Post as part of a photo-module.To think this all started with a train station. Gonna be fabulous when its done.


Shifting Focus to Naptown for a moment, The Eldritch-Horror of a Wiring Project that is the McCurdy Hotel has been installed. This one building has 20 Woodland Scenics Just Plug Lights on 5 4-1 harnesses, 1 Seqencing Hub and one standard Lighting Hub:

  1. 1 on the Main Lobby

  2. 1 for the Restaurant (not lit in the demo video)

  3. 1 for the store (bottom right)

  4. 1 for the Second Floor Balcony

  5. 14 Individual Hotel Rooms

  6. 2 Top Floor Suites.

The Main Lobby, Ballroom, Restaurant, and Boutique are always on. The Other 16 are randomly grouped together in sets of 4 and alternate on and off on a Woodland Scenics Just Plug Sequencer. The actual cycle rate is turned down compared to the demonstration video below; this just gives you an idea of what it looks like. Each room is a folded cardstock design I made and printed myself with a Just Plug light installed inside.


Last, I want to mention a new undertaking by the NWR Membership. Several of our more experienced members have, as a teaching tool, begun building a 2x8 switching layout based on the old Time Saver. It is built out of a metal frame with a foam core. Who woulda thought metal modules would be cheaper than wood, huh? Here's a photo of Tom guiding Bill and Mike on laying out the cork.


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