Evolution of an n-scale Christmas Display....

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by DahlELama, Dec 2, 2007.

  1. DahlELama

    DahlELama New Member

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    I thought I would share this project with folks. I dreamed up an n-scale Christmas display to build and give to my wife as an early Christmas present. I gotta move fast and get this done in the next couple days....

    I got into this as my twin 5yr old boys are train crazies and I quickly built a small empire of n-scale gear..(mostly off ebay YIKES!). However... I have yet to get any rails operational. I started a layout for the boys but have not gotten beyond building the table and expirimenting with making a couple elevations using the plaster matte. I'm low budget and low tech... so I use what is at hand. You'll see some garage sale HO stuff in the mix that I make use of.

    Here we go...
    Part I. (I did all this part last night.. went to bed at 4am)
    Some Life Like track from eBay, Woodlands scenic tunnel portal, some HO scale brick work that I made by cutting up a Woodlands scenic HO wall piece and a couple HO scale piers. I cut up an atlas truss bridge so it would fit around the LL Track. Add in a piece of 3'x2' birch and some trim. Base elevations are end cut pieces of MDF left over from some shelving I did for my wife.
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    Cut up an old cardboard box for the tunnel... google the web for a picture of a brick wall... print a few copies... cut them up and glue stick them inside the tunnel....
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    Cut up some odd shapes of leftover styro-board to give some base elevation forms... glue down with craft glue....
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    Some newspaper... tape and plaster cloth later and the tunnel end of the Christmas Express is starting to take shape...
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    If anyone wants to see more of this as it comes together I'll keep this as a running update. It's my first real effort so be gentle with me ;)
  2. w8jy

    w8jy Member

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    Pretty speedy work! Keep the updates coming - it will be interesting to watch your progress.
    That is a really neat looking tunnel interior.
  3. rogerw

    rogerw Active Member

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    Very nice work keep the pics coming
  4. jesso

    jesso Member

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    Great job so far! I definately want to see more pictures!!! Keep up the good work!
  5. Clerk

    Clerk Active Member

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    WOW! Looking good:wave::mrgreen:
  6. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

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    How to build a layout in two days - WOW! Quite the ambitious project! Good luck with it. Depending on what kind of person your wife is, you may want to leave some things unfinished so she can finish them giving her some pride in the layout as well.
  7. DahlELama

    DahlELama New Member

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    Thanks for the comments everyone! I didnt get to do much Saturday night but I jammed along this afternoon and made some more progress.

    Part II.

    I drilled some holes and ran some wiring for some Christmas lighting that will be installed towards the end. I added a little house that I got on ebay and of course when it showed up it was broken. It was also canary yellow with a green roof so I glued it back together and painted it last night. I added a flat box for some elevation and built some supports for ....... well... when I add those items you will see.
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    Tape down some wadded newspaper like before....
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    Plaster cloth applied and a coat of podge (?), A view from the back side....
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    Add some paint for the river running down the mountain into a little lake. Look closely and you will see that most of the lake bed is painted grey... that will be the frozen part. Gotta have ice skating in a Christmas display yeah?
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    Added Woodlands Scenic 'Realistic Water'. Kinda cool stuff. Just pour it out of the bottle. I poured it down my falls section and it just flowed nicely where I wanted it to.
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    So that's all she wrote for Part II. I'm liking how it is turning out. Next up is where it will probably take a turn for the worse... PAINTING. I experimented with the blue and grey for the water and just drybrushed light grey to get the waterfall effect. That was lucky... Good thing this is a winter scene as most of it will be white!

    Any helpful hints before I crack open some paint tomorrow would be much appreciated!!
    :thumb:

    e.
  8. DahlELama

    DahlELama New Member

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    If I left anything unfinished she would just say "hey... big suprise!! Another unfinished project you started and are dumping on me" jk... this kind of project really isnt her thing. She would probably get the most pleasure out of being the project manager on this so she could direct the construction... ;)
  9. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

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    Awesome job!! Things look ilke they are moving FAST!! your landscaping is great, where did you get the plaster cloth from?
  10. DahlELama

    DahlELama New Member

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    Hey YmeBP - The plaster cloth comes in rolls and you can get it from any hobbyshop that carries the woodlands scenics stuff or do like I did and go to Walmart or any craft shop and get it. Same stuff... just cheaper there.


    OK... had a bit more time to dig in on this last night and a bit today.

    Part III.

    Things are moving along nicely and it is getting close. Painting wasnt too bad....
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    The States represent where the family lives around the country.
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  11. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

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    It looks as if you painted that darker blue and more grey ice on top of the WS realistic water you previously applied???:confused: Care to elaborate any on that?
    The state "billboards" are an interesting touch.
  12. DahlELama

    DahlELama New Member

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    TrainNut - The reason the blue looks darker is simply because I didnt use the flash when taking these latest pics. I havent changed the water/ice since I originally added it.

    The state 'billboards' are actually tree ornaments and having the states represented was a big part of my vision for this. My wifes family lives a long way from us so I wanted to incorporate where everyone lives into this as a very prominent element of the scene. The theme is that the Christmas Express travels around the country and brings us all together during the Holidays... dig?

    e.
  13. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

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    the open sided tunnel look great w/ everything painted. What did you use to paint the tops of your rocks?
  14. Herc Driver

    Herc Driver Active Member

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    I like it! That's creativity. (Ya got a large rodent attacking Oregon though.)
  15. DahlELama

    DahlELama New Member

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    LOL! Thanks Herc... Yeah I've laid a trap for that guy.
  16. DahlELama

    DahlELama New Member

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    Finished!!!!

    OK... Here it is.... Finally finished!

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  17. DahlELama

    DahlELama New Member

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    And a couple videos..... sorry for the poor quality... I used my still camera to get these.

    Right Click these Links and 'Save As' Or you can just click on them... but depending on your connection speed they may be jerky (jerkier than they already are!)


    http://www.all-dahl.com/images/xmas/vids/MOV00010.mpg
    http://www.all-dahl.com/images/xmas/vids/MOV00012.mpg
    http://www.all-dahl.com/images/xmas/vids/MOV00013.mpg

    The boys and I are excited to show this to the wifey today!


    What y'all think of all this?
  18. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

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    That is some of the fastest work i think i've ever seen!! :eek:sign1

    It looks great!! I wish i had that kind of talent. :wave:
  19. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

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    Great idea and well carried out..!!! Did the wife like it..??
  20. DahlELama

    DahlELama New Member

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    Thanks guys... much appreciated.

    Oh yeah... the wife loves it.