A Division of the Northeastern Region (NER) of the National Model Railroad Association (NMRA)

Member Activities

Hudson Berkshire Division Links

HBD Facebook

HBD Yahoo Group

Great Train Extravaganza - December 3rd 2023

Here are some of the modeling activities that our members are working on during our Division activity hiatus. Click on the members name to go to their page to see what they have been working on

Jack Cutler

You all know how much I like to do scenery - NOT! Well, I just thought I would share with you what I am working on now – yes, scenery. When I am doing electrical/benchwork/trackwor/signaling/operations etc., I don’t need any motivation to go down to the basement and spend 8 hours or more each day. But scenery? Connie had to motivate me by offering to help, and we started working the scenery around Brearton Gravel. A few ../Photos are attached.

We put up a photo backdrop of a background scene I found from one of Bill Browns LARC CDs. The backdrop you see in an attached photo is not permanent – it is simply a quick-and-dirty printout on standard 8.5” x 11” sheets taped in place (using my favorite blue painters tape) to get an idea of location and look. We then started with land forms. In the ../Photos, you can see the various stages of progress from the bare cardboard strip lattice to covering with plaster gauze to filling in open sections with white foam material.

To fill-in open sections, this time I used the expanded polystyrene (EPS) “bead-board” white foam because I read that when it is shaped using hot wire tools, there are no toxic fumes. In other parts of the layout, I had used extruded polystyrene (XPS) insulation foam (you know, the pink or blue foam sheets) and immediately after shaping it, I was sick for days. And this apparent cause and effect seemed to occur whether I was using hot wire tools or abrasive shaping tools (i.e., inhaling toxic foam fumes or inhaling small foam particles) at different times (months apart). Coincidence? Maybe, but with the pandemic situation we are in, I am taking no chances with my respiratory health. Anyway, I am glad to report that I have no symptoms of being sick after cutting/shaping the white bead foam with hot wire tools. Additionally, the white bead foam I am using cost me nothing because it was packing material I obtained from inside boxes that contained the new appliances for our kitchen renovation project. Safe and cheap!

The last photo is actually on the upper deck at the west end of Abbiville. It shows another progression of land forms, including a section in the back of the photo (under the clock) where I used the pink and blue XPS foam to build a mountain. That section under the clock was done probably 7 or 8 months ago, and working with the XPS foam there is what I think caused me to get sick. So I may name that mountain “Bronchitis Bluff”, or something clever like that!

Stay safe and healthy.

+ + + + +  Back to top  + + + + +