#30 status report

April 3, 2009

As in the past, work has continued on the EnterTRAINment Junction layout, with improvements both big and small.


Lately the MVGRS team’s attention has been focused on subtleties – details to make it look better and more finished, even though some of the elements are just temporary.  We’ve added building facades at the right and left edges of the hillside behind the modern city to ease the transition from city to background (Figure 1 and Figure 2).  These serve to hide some unfinished areas like the back of the capitol building and the hillside behind it, which is currently just black cloth.



Figure 1  Transition Building at the Right Edge of the Modern City




Figure 2  Transition Building at the Left Edge of the Modern City


Gordon Havens has been adding further details to the Modern City building.  In this example, the building shown in the right of the picture in Figure 2, has been turned into a US Post Office (Figure 3), complete with postal vehicles and customers.

Figure 3  The Post Office


The roundhouse is again complete in the Middle Era engine servicing facility, after alternating removal of each half for upgrading (Figure 4).  All six stalls now include the doors which Wil Davis cast for them (Figure 5).  The roof sections have improved details and floors have been added between the tracks in each of the stalls.  Additional elements still needed are the rain deflectors over the exhaust stacks, interior details (like tools and equipment), and interior and exterior lighting.  We’ve also been working to raise the ground level adjacent the roundhouse and turntable tracks to almost the height of the rail tops to make the area look more like the real facilities of the period.  That will supplant (pardon the pun) the “grass” that now covers most of the area with the what we hope will look like oiled dirt and cinders.



Figure 4  The Roundhouse, Turntable, and Water Tower


Figure 5  The Roundhouse Doors


In the areas the MVGRS team isn’t working, there are changes as well.  The Middle Era City how has all of its major buildings installed, including the large triangular building shown in the foreground of Figure 6.  It’s reminiscent of the “Flat Iron” building in Times Square (NY).  Also new is the city hall building in the very center with its art-deco porticoes.



Figure 6  The Central Part of the Middle Era City


Little added details now include a car crash scene (Figure 7), more cars, and more people.  Such details are being added all the time.



Figure 7  The Car Crash


Another new building near the car crash scene is the city jail (Figure 8), perhaps to be the new residence for the driver of the errant car.

Figure 8  The Jail House


Another new addition in the Middle Era City is the Hughes manufacturing building (Figure 9).  It’s complete with machine tools inside, a rail spur, a loading platform, and the advertising sign, listing the products: Kanootin rods, Rada status valves, muffler bearings, and mixed free gases at elevated temperatures (i.e., hot air?), all very fitting for its namesake (Ray Hughes).  Fortunately, its very close to the aisle so that visitors can see and appreciate the details that have been included.

Figure 9  The Hughes Manufacturing Building



Finally, another new addition in the Early Period by the lake, is a warehouse adjacent to the spur behind the town (Figure 10).

Figure 10  The Warehouse Behind the Town by the Lake


Projects underway now by the MVGRS team are aimed at Middle Period service facility.  In addition to elevating the ground level around the turntable, we’re in the process of building another water tower, a diesel engine maintenance building, a sand tower, and a power house.  All these details will make the area more complete, but they also continue to beg for additional scenic elements: figures, vehicles, lighting, animation, and more sounds.


The little details add life and interest to layout, and there are a lot of opportunities to create little vignettes within the larger scenes to do just that.  This requires not only the people, vehicles, hardware, and related accoutrements, but, more importantly, ideas for what the scenes should portray.  Such ideas can be serious, humorous, satirical, etc.  Their purpose should be to show ordinary and recognizable parts of life in the time period in which they’re located, but they can also included little attention-getting quirks.  You can help us with this.  You can participate in creating the scenes or just supplying us with the ideas.  Producing and communicating the ideas to us are valid volunteer participation activities and the time spent can count toward your and MVGRS’s volunteer benefits.  Tapping into your creativity will help us a lot.  Give it a thought or two, and let us know what you come up with.


© 2008 Tom Bartsch

MVGRS Big Train Project Coordinator