Coy. It’s a thing.

In my previous post I introduced the overall plan for the Claremont & Concord, Coy Paper, layout and starting a couple weeks ago I’ve been working on it. To express that urgent need to share the excitement of working on things I’ve been bombarding the Facebook page for Prince Street with updates but always promising that it needed to be properly introduced where it belongs, here on the Prince Street proper.

Foam, cork, PC ties, etc. are all things I’ve written about here extensively so there’s no real need to update on those things or how I did them so in a set of three photos, well, there’s that update.

Something that I am doing very differently here is in the ties themselves. Previously I had built a series of turnouts using rail salvaged from Micro Engineering flex track. Those tie strips are beautifully cast and it seemed a shame to simply fire them into the trash. Central Valley sell a track system that is based on cast plastic tie strips into which you fit rail. I had previously read how other modellers, using the Central Valley turnout tie strips, replace some of the ties with PC board ties to build a stronger turnout and I liked that idea so thought I could combine that with this collecting of Micro Engineering tie strips I’d “saved”. As you can see in the photos, I’ve glued down a copy of the track plan Id drawn in Templot. Since the ties are already spaced I really didn’t need to adjust the Templot tie spacing to suit this plan – I just needed to know where the rails go. I’m using PC board ties from Fast Tracks and they’re a little thicker than the Micro Engineering ties so I am shimming the plastic ties up with a rectangle of cardstock.

Ever since reading Matthieu Lachance’s blog post about painting ties, starting from white primer, I’ve been wanting to try that process out. My impatience to push through the early stages of construction had that singular goal in mind. Here at the house, in winter, on a layout in a shared space in our home spraying oil-based paint is simply never going to be an option I can exercise so I was searching for a brushable white primer and eventually settled on one from Revell that I could buy from Maritime Hobbies. After that, layers of coloured washes from water-based craft paints to build up a silvered-grey colour.

Once that basic silvered-grey colour is built up I dry-brushed in some rust along the cast tie plates. Throughout this work to this point the idea was to build colour and texture as I work and accept that it willl evolve as the complete model comes together (e.g. rail is added, ballast, etc.)

Most of the track on this layout I “see” as being very overgrown, predominantly buried in the grass, where the grass and weeds themselves provide structural integrity to rotten ties and share the weight of passing railcars with rail two sizes too light for this kind of work.

Zooming in on one early photo I noticed something else that really works: because the ties are plastic I can apply a little heat to them to warp their shape and create a twisted tie like this one. It was at this point I started to realise that this isn’t just a layout I’m building this year but this layout is addressing a shopping list of things I’ve wanted in a layout, a list accumulating for decades. I was, like, twelve years old and trying to replicate grassy, overgrown track like this using sawdust and ground foam. Here in 2020 I’m poking in static grass one tweezer-sized load at a time. It’s patient work but the reward is worth it and I feel fantastic. I love how this is turning out.

I remarked to Krista: “I can’t believe how much joy I derive from simply rolling a freight car truck through a finished turnout. I mean, at times, it feels like as much if not more than the joy of actually running the train!”

Highlighted in the above drawing is a summary of where the track is out by this point:

  • All the roadbed is stuck down;
  • Green ties are glued down, painted, grass is in place, and code 40 rails are all soldered into place;
  • Blue ties are stuck down, some experimental ballasting happened that I’m not pleased with and will likely remove, code 55 rails here;
  • Yellow ties are stuck down and primed white; code 55 rails here once the turnouts are stuck down;

On my mind as I write this is the question of paving the roads. Highlighted in yellow in the above image, I have a fair amount of paved roads and about half of it has railway track in it, including both turnouts. James Hilton has done some nice paving work using styrene on his amazing Kinross (PEI!) layout and I’ll be keeping his technique in mind for my project and think it may be the way forward. I hate(!) using plaster to pave roads and will not be using that.

The nicest roads I ever made were on that HO module back I made back in the early 1990’s. Heck, that was the nicest work I’ve probably ever done in HO scale and if Coy Paper can be at least this nice I’m going to feel quite accomplished.

Thank you for sticking with me, supporting me when I needed it, and inspiring my work. I can’t see anything I do without thinking of my friends on their influence in my work.

Categories: Coy Paper (HO) model railway

Tags: , , , , , ,

6 replies

  1. Your ties look so real. They truly are the best colored and weathered ties I have ever seen in model form. I have seen many in real life! Keep up your fine work in honoring my beloved Claremont & Concord. Bruce Davison.

  2. Yes this is really coming along and now I can see it really coming to life. I think the time spent in the detail is well worth it and love the whole plan that you are working towards. Unfortunately as a Facebook exile I follow your progress here and really enjoy the comfy front room feeling of blogs. I have my tea and here for the duration! Tom

  3. This is really looking good, Chris! You are proving that one doesn’t need a giant basement-sized layout to derive a great deal of enjoyment from the hobby.

    Have you seen this video? Especially the beginning? I love how the yard in Trail BC looks so weathered and worn, and looking at the ties made me think of the work you’re doing to weather them.

    • Thank you Steve. I’ve never had a room or basement for a layout so wonder how I’d cope in that kind of space? I’d love to find out. I really like what you’re doing with this iteration of your layout and see so many things I want to try.

      I don’t think I have seen that video. Thank you! Very interest.


  1. Sunday evening – Prince Street

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