YEARLY LAYOUT MAINTENANCE

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New Year’s.  For me, and I think many, a time of renewal.  A chance to clean up and be ready for the future.  One morning during the holidays I decided to give Fillmore the yearly maintenance it deserves.

Beforehand I had decided that I would give it a good going-over that may take the better part of the day.  It would be at a leisurely pace; just doing whatever needed to be done without looking at the clock.  It would be a big  job, after all – you know cleaning (ugh).

But my grandiose plan was totally unnecessary because it really doesn’t take much to clean-up the layout while doing some fix-ups here and there.  Here’s what I did…

Even though there is a cloth cover over the layout when in storage, fine dust infiltrates over time, so a vacuuming with a soft brush attachment restored the scenery quickly.  In delicate areas, I used a ladies make-up brush to stir the dust away.  However, I found that the one I had kept losing bristles and was creating more work for me.  Fortunately I have a proper model dusting brush, although it is much smaller, and that did the job.

In the picture below, we see the Fillmore 300 Ton coaling tower and associated sub-structures scattered about the yard while I was vacuuming the grounds where they normally stand.  Except for the roundhouse and passenger car service building, all structures are removable and the lighting wiring has quick-connectors for easy removal.

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In the picture below, the pockets for locating the various items are evident.  They are typically made with .060″ x .100″ styrene strip and cinder ballast is carried over top.

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The dust got inside the roundhouse too.  Accessing these areas was possible with the removable roof sections.  Using the straight/flat attachment and the small dusting brush, I went inside without much trouble.

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In a few places I noticed some small cracks in the cinder ballast ground cover.  I scraped away the area, added new ballast, and secured it with Woodland Scenics Scenic Cement.

At the turntable pit, I used contact cleaner on the electrical wipers and contact face of the bridge.

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At the ash/wash pits I knocked over a man (I was wondering how long it would take me to do this; he’s been standing there for years!).  All I had to do was CA him in place, but the glue (as careful as I was) left a shiny spot at his left foot, below.  This naturally bugged me.

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I corrected this by spraying (just a squirt) Tamiya TS-80 Flat Clear lacquer (rattle can) into a small, low container and using a fine brush, I applied it to the shiny area.  TS-80 – is there anything it can’t do (yes, I’m still in love with this product), and as seen below, the model is as good as new.

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Clean the track…ah yes, the track.  Well, it seems, that I haven’t had to in more than two and a half years.  And I’m not going to, until I have to, either.  I applied a graphite stick (2B or 4B) to it long ago and it seems to be working.  I learned this from a posting by skilled railway modeller Trevor Marshall (CNR Port Rowan).  I took a chance and tried it and am pleased so far.

As I vacuumed in sections, I re-applied the graphite;  I suppose the act of rubbing the stick on the rail tops does clean the rails somewhat, but it was more for keeping the application up.  A graphite stick (shown below) can be obtained from an art shop. When applying it, ensure that track power is off.  The tracks inside the roundhouse do not get the treatment.  I wonder how long I can get away with this….

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Total elapsed time spent?  Exactly two hours.

Cheers

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