Saturday, July 25, 2015

Reaching Your Goals

As you know, I'm actually working on recreating Erie's 149th Street Harlem Station in HO scale. That project was a departure from my habitual work and a challenge to myself. Would it be a real achievable layout or just another bitter false start?

I gave myself two weeks to "complete" this project. The deadline was my own vacations. I'm glad to tell you I reach this step in a week. At a rate of 8 to 12 hours per day, it moved at a steady pace.

I consider I have now completed all the messy basic stuff including painting track and roads in basic colors. To me, this is a true achievement. Thought I started to build many layouts in my life - probably over 20 - this is the second time I reach that point where only building structures, scenery and detail cars remain. The first time was when I was 7 years old and I built my first 4' x 4' train layout with my father, sister and brother. Good to be back on track after a 25 years hiatus! Seriously, never reaching some level of achievement can be quite distressing at some point.

I've learned a few things bout myself while doing this project. I didn't over design the project, but took a decent amount of time to plan carefully the project. When I started to rip wood, I knew there was no turning point and decided to address issues as they appeared. I didn't let small things stop the project and thought about alternate way to get the job done in due time. I was ready to sacrifice my obsession for perfection which had always been my most major pitfall. Funnily, I can't say I cut corners on quality as the final product is quite good. Finally, I didn't set a real schedule but each time I started a job, I made a point I would complete it on the same day if possible. That was particularly important to get over boring or painstaking work.


  1. Nice work Matt, are the roads sheet styrene?

    1. Greg, the road are 3mm thick (1/8") cardboard. I prefer cardboard because it is easy to glue, cut and already have some texture in it. It also holds paint better than styrene. It is surprisingly "stable" when painted and glued down. I have a station built in cereal box and a road that are stored in my very damp basement since two years and both are in perfect shape. Also, cardboard is cheap and lightweight. Less fear to mess up high quality material. You could use 1/16" thick cardboard for regular road. For this particular layout, I needed the extra height.