The Blackwing and Western division

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Well-Known Member
How well do the cans work at holding down the track and cork underlay?

I use "t"-pins on my layout when I'm gluing down the underlay and track. Really easy to use and remove in the 1 1/2" foam I have under the layout.


Active Member
I use push pins when I'm gluing down the cork, they work pretty well. I use the cans to do the track and it works well enough. This track work was on top of 3/4" plywood, so T-Pins would have been difficult to push in. :)


Section Hand
Good Morning Everyone....nice day in Wisconsin and partly cloudy.

Speaking about lumber....I used 1x4 lumber from Home Depot when I constructed my layout and the boards were mostly clear of knots and imperfections. The boards were stamped "Product of Sweden". I didn't have to pick and choose from the stack since the majority of the boards were true. I have several left and they are either in the basement or in a shed up at the cabin and show no shows of warping after 12+ years aftr purchasing them.

Short and sweet....later.



MSN Loco 1.JPG


Active Member
No pictures today, but over the last couple of days I got the control rods all hooked up for the four turnouts on the SW (I've been saying SE, but that's wrong) end of the layout. I also tweaked the turnouts to make them more in gauge and work better, but they still need a little more work.

I also added some labels to the fascia, so from now on I should have my compass directions straight.

Tonight I hope to get the wiring done on the SW extension. And if my additional BullFrogs arrive today I can get those turnout controls mounted up.


Active Member
Last night I finished up the wiring, installed the last two BullFrogs on the extension and got the control rods installed for them. I still have a turnout or two that occasionally derail the locomotive, so I need to clean those up a little more, but other than that the track work is DONE. Still needs ballast, but that comes a little later.

Some photos:

The Southwest end control panel.

A train staged on the extension (forgot to add a caboose...)

A glamour shot just for fun.

Time to start working hard on the scenery. I'm going to start on the Northeast end and work my way along.


Active Member
Man, that photo of the end of the layout makes it look like the corner is sagging really badly. It's not, it's level. :)

Guess I need to work on my photography too. Though TBH it was just a quick cell phone snap to show progress.


Active Member
Last night I got tired of looking at all the pink on the Southwest end and painted the ground tan. Since I'm planning on starting the scenery on the Northeast end and working over, it would remain pink for a while yet.

Unfortunately while I was painting I managed to hook the shelf for the throttle with my belt and busted it apart.

I'm gluing it back together but I may want to re-think it and turn it into an under-the-layout drawer or something.


Active Member
Friday evening I put down some ballast on the Northeast end.

I had purchased some "Iron Ore" medium sized ballast, but now that it's down I think it looks too large.

I think I'll buy some fine grade and see if I can glue some on top to make it look better.

I also had some black material that I got from a friend that might actually be "coal" but I thought it looked like cinders so I used it on one of the sidings. I think it looks pretty good. But I sure hope I can find some more ballast that looks like it.

I'll hit one of the local hobby shops tomorrow.

I am also now firmly a believer that the ballast should come before the static grass, not after. It's a lot easier to make it look nice if you aren't trying to brush ballast out of the grass.


Active Member
More ballasting work. I stopped at the hobby shop and bought some fine black and fine iron ore ballast and did a section in the back in black and put another layer on the existing medium iron ore ballast. I think it's going to work out pretty well. It looks much better. (No pics yet really, it's still wet.)

I also laid down a bunch more 1/4" cork in the town/yard area so the track is almost level with the ground. I used some acrylic caulk to fill the gaps so it won't use as much material when ballasting.

I also started building the Right on Track Enterprise Stove and Range kit.

The brick foundation. If you look closely there are subtle variations in brick colors. Hard to see in the photo.

Edited to add a question if anyone is reading this: What happens to the ballast when the main line (Iron Ore ballast) enters the "yard" area. Does it just turn into the yard ballast (cinders) or does the main line stay Iron Ore through the yard area? is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to - An online railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used railroad books. Railroad pictorials, railroad history, steam locomotives, passenger trains, modern railroading. Hundreds of titles available, most at discount prices! We also have a video and children's book section. - An online model railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used books. Layout design, track plans, scenery and structure building, wiring, DCC, Tinplate, Toy Trains, Price Guides and more.