Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Starting the Saybrook Backdrop

Over the weekend I finished the the rest of the L-girder supports and calculated how many joists I'll need (esp. now that I discovered more 1x3s) and approximately how long they need to be (though length can be adjusted later). Next, I turned my focus back to the Old Saybrook area.

Seems just about every task in this area is tied to another and needs to be done in a certain order. I'd already mocked up the wye benchwork, but removing it would give me better access for tracklaying. So out it came (for now). And if I laid track before putting in the backdrop, it'd be harder to try and get it in without damaging the track.

So my next step was clear: I'd have to put in the Saybrook backdrop.

The length of the backdrop here measures more than 8' so I knew a seam would be unavoidable. Given that, I decided to use a scrap 2x3 as a seam backer - 2" deep to provide clearance in front of the concrete rebar ties, 3" wide to provide enough material to screw into. Thus:

I used a couple of small 90 degree angle brackets to secure the splice backer top & bottom and marked a line for reference where the seam would go.

Here's the left side done - it goes from the door molding on the left to the seam backer on the right. The 4-track mainline will go through the backdrop to the left - through a hole I have yet to cut.

You'll notice that there's still a little bit of masonite needed on the right. I was just about ready to cut a section from the other 2x8' piece I had, but then I remembered my lesson from yesterday and checked my scrap stash...

Yup - that piece will do nicely!

Here it is in place. I only went to the edge of the proscenium at this end since there will be two turnouts where the upright drill is. I'll continue the backdrop here with vinyl so I can use sharper coved corners.

And here's the Saybrook backdrop done. Well, almost. I still have to install the vinyl, cut out the mainline hole on the left, and paint it. But at least that unsightly foundation wall is finally, totally covered. Once I install a valence, this should start to look a little like a museum exhibit - at least that's the look I'm going for, which would be especially nice since Saybrook will be the first thing folks see when they come down the stairs.

Since I want to have trains running on the mainline by the time I have my layout tour, I may just have to turn my attention to laying some track next. Now that wouldn't be so bad at all...

(BTW, while drafting this post I noticed my blog went past 40,000 hits! WhooHoo!! I just hope those hits aren't all just me clicking around...)


  1. The proscenium is a very cool feature and especially fortuitous to be at the base of the stairs as its own little 'greeting'... nice handling of it!... I love layouts that cross at the bottom of basement stairs because you immediately get a glimpse of things from the top of the stairs... that anticipation is like what I felt as a kid entering a stadium and catching that first glimpse of the manicured infield... nice work.

    1. Thanks Jim - that's exactly the effect I'm looking to create. I just hope my reach doesn't exceed my grasp. I know how I want it to look in my mind's eye, but I don't know if I have the skills to hit that target. But I'm certainly gonna try - and will hopefully learn a lot from the inevitable mistakes. Thanks for dropping by and checking in!