"Scale Tinplate" Christmas

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#1
As the saying goes, "When you begin to see Christmas items for sale in stores, you know that Halloween can't be far away." Inflatable Santas are showing up at places like Tar-JAY and Wally's! That means it's time for...

Our Christmas layout!

The C+D System Mountain Division is shameless tinplate. The people are too big, the rails are too tall (though there is the right number of them :D ), the track ballast too rubbery... lots and lots of "anomalies."

It's basic structure built in 1987, the mountain tourist town of Tinplate Corners is depicted with plaster buildings, a hard shell mountain, trees of varied types, felt "snow", and of course, AF track. Trackage has remained constant, but much has been added or modified each year.

Over the coming weeks approaching Christmas 2004, I'll be posting pix of the layout from past seasons. Hopefully, this will get me "ramped up" for the holidays this year. :rolleyes:

Update: We're approaching Christmas 2015! So, as of 11-5-2015, I'll be replacing images that were deleted (which was ALL of them!) a page at a time. Hopefully. :rolleyes:
 

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CBCNSfan

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#3
Boy OH! boy Christmas, keep em coming. Chuck I have a couple of pic's with the kids at a lego layout so I'm going to steal a page from your book and add a few captions. By the time I discovered the Lego layout and the kids I was out of camera batterys, choked me up a bit too. Ah! well lifes like that.

Cheers Willis
 
#5
From 2001...

A '39 Chevy is forced to wait as another GM product bullies its way across Gilbert Blvd. 2001 was The Year Of the Hotrod, sanctioned by the Tinplate Corners Society for the Preservation of Really Fast Old Cars. The town was overrun with fast, noisy, vintage vehicles. (2002, shown above, was The Year of the Muscle Car.)

The diesel loco is an American Models SD60M, brand new when this was taken.
 

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#7
Some hotrod owners are, understandably, a little skittish about driving their hotrods long distances through snow. This year a few chose to make the trip to the auto festival by rail.

These specimens are Tyco and AFX slot cars, riding on a Marx auto carrier. Decades ago, a friend of mine had a Marx train set with one of these cars, and it always fascinated me. Something about the texture and maroon color of the plastic base struck a chord somewhere. I was delighted to find one of these cars at a local train meet, even more when it became obvious how appropriate an 0-to-S conversion would be. Amazingly, whenever I pick up the car, I'm reminded of a late '50s day in southern Michigan. It's sorta like smelling Gilbert steam engine smoke. One whiff of that vapor and... Christmas time!
 

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CBCNSfan

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#8
Beautiful, yep back in the 70's we had a fleet of 1/32 slot cars, my son laid waste to them while growing up, too bad because they were nicely painted and detailed, somewhat of a pain when they cracked up while racing. Another one please :D

Cheers Willis
 
#9
The RR crossing at South Gilbert Blvd is widely photographed, probably because Tinplate Corners Station is located right here. Heavy rail traffic through this artery provides plenty of subjects.

This "moon rocket" must be somebody's Christmas present.
The stubby-but-versatile little Marx flatcar makes a perfect vehicle.
 

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#10
A short walk East brings us to another railfanning spot, where an SW1 (by SHS) slowly catches up with us. Those tiger stripes really stand out against snow...
 

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#11
This "helicopter shot' reveals the switcher's course, right through Tinplate Mountain.

Engineers never know what interesting things will greet them within this tunnel...
 

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#13
Look out for the Abominable Snowman!!!

Aka: "Bumbles"?

Late in the steam era, a wayward 4-8-4 loco hopped from the curve within Tinplate Mountain Tunnel, punching a hole in the outer wall. After the debris was cleared, a very large and deep cave was found beyond the concrete. It didn't take long for a polar bear to set up housekeeping in the cave, which tended to hamper repair efforts.

The bear seemed to tire of the place when diesel took over completely. By the early '60s he was rarely seen, at least not anywhere within sight of the main line.

Almost immediately thereafter, the current tenant seen here made himself known. He seems to be attracted to the rumbling of rail traffic, and loves to "greet" the crews. Apparently some sort of counter-culture recluse, he's never seen in town. Not so far, anyway.
 

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#15
A helicopter view shows the north tunnel exit. No, the SW1 has not turned into a New Haven I4. This shot was taken in the mid 1990s, when one of Di's favorite steamers, our AF 293 Pacific, was assigned the routine hauling.

Tinplate Pond hasn't changed much since Tinplate Mountain was ...uh, formed. Nevertheless, new and exciting things are planned for the area. They may even happen in this century!
 

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#16
Moving West from the Tinplate River Bridge, the next event is the North Gilbert Blvd. crossing, where a Reading Atlantic interrupts street traffic after dark.

This shot of Gilbert Blvd. was taken late on an overcast day, with nice, bluish light filtering through windows to the left and above. (The camera's light balance was set for incandescent light.) Sorta looks like moonlight, or so I imagine.

The Year of the Hotrod was in full swing that winter. Don't these people ever turn on their headlights?
 

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#17
Back to daylight, and our helicopter...

Beyond the crossing, a local freight threads its way between a farm and an alley behind the commercial district. Bill's Christmas Trees, where holiday foliage is on sale, envelopes the mainline with the pleasant scent of pine trees. (Unless the wind is contrary, in which case train crews are immersed in the aroma of horse manure... :p )

The tree lot is one of the earliest features of the layout. It has undergone many upgrades since 1987, when the basic layout was first set up. As seen here (2002), the trees, fencing, and light poles are all permanently mounted to a sub-platform that is lifted from the layout base board as a unit for storage. Basically, it's like any accessory. Very stable and easy to set out.

Before it was built as a unit, the tree lot had to be put down tree by tree. Very cumbersome, especially when the slightest seismic distubance (such as a cat hopping onto the scene) would topple the pesky little shrubs. (Some pix of earlier days will be posted eventually.)

Still, the scene is not complete. Needs another street light or two for the alley, some flood lights in the lot, a hut for Bill and his laptop to keep warm, make some tea, surf the 'net...
 

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CBCNSfan

Registered Member
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#18
Don't these people ever turn on their headlights?
Yuh means yuh never drove around at night with the lights off? Sheesh even in the 50's we did that. ( in all honesty there were times on the main streets where it was bright enough I forgot to turn them on, not too bright of me but then I wasn't the only one :D )
Hmmm! that carload of "SMARTIES" looks enticing. :D
 
#19
Here's the tree lot "nekkid" (w/o snow.)

The Lemax string of Christmas lights came with a battery case that includes a jack for connecting a "wall wart" power supply. I HATE goofing with batteries on something that will be on for long hours at a time, so supply power is my preferred method. The battery cases are awkward though, so I cut away the battery holder section, painted the remaining box silver to look like a scale breaker box, and mounted the whole thing jack down so the wall wart plug in is hidden. The plug also helps to locate the accessory, since it must come up through a hole the layout base board. Works pretty well.

Note the government mandated warning over the power switch... :rolleyes:
 

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