Sunday, January 13, 2019

2019 Challenge - Scenicking Wieland

2019 and the first true work session on Hedley Junction was held yesterday. The program for the next few weeks/months will be to scenic Wieland and improve the track plan according to recent operation sessions.

An ordinary day in Wieland

The fascia is now completely installed, though the final profile will be cut later depending on topology.

The large Rocky Mountains-type cliffs were partially removed. While they were somewhat OK for the stretch of track running along St. Lawrence river, they don't fit at all the old and eroded hills of Clermont. Fortunately, they were built with foam layers with a hollow core. Quite easy to remove with a scissor without disturbing the scenery on the other side. The new hills will be made using the same technique, being not a fan of "wet" methods.

On the other side of Wieland, the alcove will be enlarged and completed. The pencil marks on the wall visible on the picture show you the extent of the final opening. It should take care of unwanted shadows.

As for track plan, it is possible some changes will be done. You probably recall I was on the fence about adding the other wye leg to store locomotives between jobs. We did a few tests months ago, but weren't satisfied. However, it was evident not having a dedicated locomotive storage spot was a little bit annoying in term of operation. Given Hedley Junction is fundamentally operation-oriented, we decided to give it another try.

The locomotive storage area will be left from the electric panel.
Basically, a curved turnout will provide access to this new track that will hold about 3 locomotives, which was common in Wieland. To keep with with policy of mundane scenery, we will keep things quite simple. I always recall the area being completely overtaken by grass and weeds and believe that with careful implementation, this new track won't look out of place in the overall scheme. Achieving visual balance with the scene is the main goal and I'm certainly not ready to transform my vision into a Walthers Catalog's carnival.

Since our tracks aren't ballasted yet, it is still time to experiment. And by the way, the annoying drain pipe will probably be relocated soon too.

And finally, Jérôme summoned up his courage and decided to finally venture seriously into hell... I mean using ESU LokProgrammer. Well, this particular software is somewhat not user-friendly. The learning curve at first is fairly steep and it was evident he was about to abandon the project all together. I must admit I share his view DCC technologies are from another era. Electronics and IT have evolved at a crazy rate during the 21th century, however, DCC seems to struggle in a 20th century straight jacket. Quite baffling to see LokProgrammer looking like a VisualBasic student software from the late 1990s... annoying to have to rewrite all CVs (which take a hell of time) when you only want to tweak one. But fortunately, by the end of the day, Jérôme did figure out LokProgrammer and started to get really interesting results. Given he started the day wanting to thrown LokProgrammer by the window and that a few hours later he was doing function mapping, I guess we can look at a bright future for our locomotives.

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