Aug 24, 2016

Exporail 2016 is in the books

Several members of the S Scale Workshop headed to Saint-Constant, Quebec over the weekend to take part in A Great Passion For Model Trains - an annual train show held in the main building at Exporail: Canada's Railway Museum.

On deck with modules were Andy Malette, Trevor Marshall and Simon Parent. They were joined by Workshop members Fredrick Adlhoch and Brian Nicholson.

(L-R: Simon, Trevor, Brian, Andy, Fredrick)
This is our second appearance at Exporail and - as was the case last year - the Workshop was very well received. As with last year, we were set up on the mezzanine overlooking an exhibit of (mostly) Canadian locomotives, rolling stock, interurban equipment and other artifacts.

We set up in a loop-to-loop configuration that allowed us to run fairly long trains - including a few trains double-headed by CNR T-3-a 2-10-2s.

(Click on any image to view a larger version)

Internal combustion engines were also well represented, adding some colour to the consists.

But as is often the case, steam rules the rails on the Workshop layout. It's great fun to run well-detailed models of Canadian steam, then look over the railing of the mezzanine and see the real thing right below you...

After set-up and tweaking of the connections between modules, the layout ran well for the entire weekend and Exporail is a very pleasant venue in which to exhibit. A good time was had by all.

We're looking forward to future events at Exporail!

(Thanks to Simon and Fredrick for providing photos for this post.)

Aug 16, 2016

NASG 2016 in the books

(Click on the image to view a larger size)
The 2016 National Association of S Gaugers convention in Novi, Michigan is in the books, with several members of the S Scale Workshop taking part in the fun.

Attendees with modules included Andy Malette, Jim Martin and Simon Parent. They were joined by Jamie Bothwell and Claude Demers. A good time was had by all and the Workshop's free-mo style exhibition layout was well received.

With gatherings dating back several decades, the NASG annual convention is the place to be for S scale enthusiasts. Watch the NASG's convention website for information on the next convention - and maybe we'll see you there!

Aug 9, 2016

The meadows at Division Street

With the Workshop's appearance at Exporail less than two weeks away, I decided to haul out my modules to dust them and give them a pre-exhibition check.

Everything looks in order, and while I had them laid out on the work table I decided to punch up their appearance a bit with a bit of scenery work. I added meadow flowers to the Division Street module set:

(Click on the image for a larger version)
The flowers are the summer flower assortment from Scenic Express. One package nicely covered the entire, four-section module.

Scenic Express describes the colours as "white mums, pink peonies, bluebells, and red roses". But I prefer to think of them as "white dandelions, pink clover, blue cornflowers, and red poppies"...

Aug 1, 2016

Upcoming appearances (August 2016)

Just a reminder that the S Scale Workshop will be making two appearances this month...

First, members of the Workshop will exhibit August 10-14 at the 2016 NASG National Convention in Novi, Michigan.

Later in the month, members of the Workshop will exhibit as part of a train show August 20-21 at Exporail: the Canadian Railway Museum in Saint-Constant, Qu├ębec. Some of us exhibited last year and really enjoyed the experience.

The Workshop's appearance at Exporail in 2015 was very well received
We hope to see you in August!

Jul 26, 2016

CNR 4204 (Trevor's 2-10-2, because why not?)

A year ago at Exporail, Workshop member Simon Parent introduced his latest creation - a beautiful CNR 2-10-2 - and took orders from interested parties.

I sure didn't need one of these for my Port Rowan layout, but Simon's work is so nice - and the model is so impressive - that I just couldn't resist.

Last night, Simon sent me a photo of my model - fresh out of the paint shop - and it's just too good to keep it to myself:

(Bigger than my layout. Click on the image to view a larger version)
This brute will get a good workout on the S Scale Workshop layout at upcoming exhibitions - including our return to Exporail in Saint-Constant, Quebec and our first appearance at a major model railway exhibition in Brampton, Ontario. Why not come out and see us?

(Thanks, Simon: I'm very excited. It's Christmas in July!)

- Trevor

Jun 20, 2016

Brian introduces his S scale adventure

Brian Nicholson is one of the newest members of the S Scale Workshop - but membership comes at a price. When we met Brian, he was happily working on an HO scale layout - but the lure of 1:64 was strong. He picks up the story...


An S Scale Adventure
Building a switching layout in a small space

Inspired by my participation at frequent shows with the S Scale Workshop, I decided that I would like to attempt to build a small switching layout in S scale in my spare bedroom - a space that was already occupied by an HO scale layout, which has been in operation in two places for over 20 years.

I still enjoyed switching the HO layout and didn't want to lose all the work (mostly hand laid track work). So the decision was made to build a simple 'L' shape layout over the existing HO!

The new, modular, S scale layout is located above the existing HO empire.
This ALCo S2 will eventually be repainted into ERIE RR colours

At first the idea of building to a larger scale in a small room seemed futile. But after laying out some plans I decided I would forge ahead anyway.

I layed out the complete layout full scale on my living room floor, using full size templates printed from the "Track Template Library" on the Fast Tracks website.

Planning with paper and templates

When I had a plan I was happy with, construction began in earnest.

There were some criteria I wanted to employ during construction. A few of those are listed here:
  1. The layout had to be light (the result was too light, which created some issues later)
  2. The layout had to be modular to allow trackwork and wiring to be done away from the layout room, as the height would make it difficult to work on otherwise
  3. The layout would have a scenic backdrop to enhance the feeling of distance on a very small layout
  4. The layout would have to be well lit as the single central light fixture just wouldn't be enough with the backdrop
With these rules established, construction continued. I started in January of 2016, and by the end of May the basic track work, wiring, and basic ground cover were completed.

Adding cork sheet under the tracks in the yard
Bullfrog manual switch machines (Fast Tracks) control the turnouts
Modular construction makes wiring a treat!
There's more to do, but basic ground cover
gives the modules a finished look
Static grass adds to the realism

The biggest issue was the backdrop - and how to mount it and attach it. The Backdrop Junction backdrop was mounted to plastic sheet using double sided sticky 'dots' purchased from a local art supply store. It worked great!

HDPE plastic sheet supports the backdrop. It's easy to work with.
The backdrop (Backdrop Junction) adds lots of depth to the scene.

Track lighting is the most recent addition.
With good lighting, the next steps include more scenery and more details

The layout is now at a stage where I can switch a small yard and service a few industry sidings.

Operating fun in a modest space, in 1:64

Now I can relax a bit and get to structures, painting a couple of engines, and adding trees and shrubs.

I would encourage anyone interested in getting started in S scale to take the plunge! I learned a lot. I continue to learn and enjoy the hobby and I'm inspired by the larger size. Give it a try!


(We're glad you joined us, Brian!)

Jun 9, 2016

We'll see you at the show (2016 exhibition schedule)

The S Scale Workshop has several major appearances on the calendar this year. Hopefully, we'll see you at one or more of these:

NASG National Convention
August 10-14, 2016 in Novi, Michigan.
Several members will be exhibiting our modular layout at this annual gathering of those who love to work in 1:64.

A great passion for model trains
August 20-21, 2016 in Saint-Constant, Quebec.
We return to Canada's national railway museum for their annual exhibit of model railways. (At this writing, this one's a little hard to find on the museum's website. I did find it listed in their brochure.)

Brampton Model Railway Show
October 1-2, 2016 in Brampton, Ontario.
This has turned into the region's largest model railway show, and we have just confirmed our attendance at it.

And remember: you can always find out where we're going to be exhibiting by checking out the "Visiting the S Scale Workshop" page on this blog.

We'll see you at the show: Come over and say hi!