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16  Discussion Boards / HO / Bachmann "Scenic Classics" kits on: March 17, 2018, 07:40:32 PM
Time for another post from me about a vintage Bachmann model train product! This time it's about their "Scenic Classics" line...

In 1979, when Bachmann started making landscaping products as part of their model train line (a precursor to their SceneScapes line) they also came out with the "Scenic Classics" line, which included a Plasticville building kit or similar accessories and some landscaping (to be set on a small square grass mat).
It was a pretty neat concept, especially for young model railroaders who were starting out in wanting to do landscaping.

The back side of the box; same as on the boxes for their action accessories of the time. Believe it or not, Bachmann still sells some of their operating accessories in the older late 70s box style from time to time, just with the product number updated. At the hobby shop I often go to, I've seen the Wayside Steam Whistle Warehouse sold in the original 1980 packaging style, complete with the back showing some of those long-discontinued products. Talk about a throwback! (The only products seen here still made by Bachmann include the dual crossing gates and blinking bridge (now modified to work with E-Z Track) and the diesel horn oil tank.)

Here are links to old catalog images showing different Scenic Classics kits...

Then in 1982, Bachmann refreshed the line into the "Lighted Scenic Classics," where the included Plasticville kit would also include an interior light unit to be set up in the building. Bachmann also made them in O-scale as well.
Bachmann eventually discontinued them after the 80s. But I know Life-Like had also come out with their own equivalent in the 80s, with their "Build-a-Scene" kits, which remained available until the early 2000s.

Here's how I put the vegetable garden together on my layout! I didn't need to use the little grass mat, since I already applied ground cover to the layout (i.e. I paint the foam surface in an earth color and sprinkle on the ground cover material while the paint is still wet.) It was kind of tricky applying the "vegetables" to the garden, but I am pleased with how it came out. The kit was missing the little wooden poles to apply tomatoes to, but I suppose I can make them myself. It also came with a couple of unpainted figures, wheelbarrow and a PINK tree. (What was Bachmann thinking back in 1979?) Maybe I'll get around to painting the figures at some point; I already have the paints I would need...

I think it'd be cool if Bachmann brought back something like this on the market. Of course the landscaping materials would the newer (and much better-looking) SceneScapes variety, and several of those Plasticville kits and accessories are still in production. After all it's neat how Bachmann makes some interesting kits and packages for beginning modelers to expand their train sets (like the new E-Z Track siding sets coming out this year.)
17  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout for the new house! on: March 17, 2018, 07:24:50 PM
Thanks! And there's more where that came from...

I've added a vegetable garden to the farm! It's from a Bachmann "Scenic Classics" kit from cira 1979. It was kind of tricky applying the "vegetables" to the garden, but I am pleased with how it came out. The kit was missing the little wooden poles to apply tomatoes to, but I suppose I can make them myself. It also came with a couple of unpainted figures, wheelbarrow and a PINK tree. (What was Bachmann thinking back in 1979?) Maybe I'll get around to painting the figures at some point; I have the paints I would need already...

Some action at the commuter train station platform next to the coal yard and gas station.

Since the switches and trains were currently configured not to run on that outer curve in the photo, I placed my TYCO crane car and boom tender there for now. (Again, I went with the Santa Fe versions from the 70s to fit with my BNSF freight trains.)

Camping underneath the railroad line here! The brakeman figure you see is, again, to mark an undertrack magnet for any freight operations with the nearby logging mill.

An overview of the residential area, along with the gas station, some of the coal yard, two of the schools, the library and church, and the TYCO Freight Unloading Depot and Lighted Signal Crossing.

I thought seeing the Amtrak train going around the curve through the woods looked pretty cool, so I figured I'd get a shot of it. As for the trees, I may get pins to drill into the bottom of the trunks after clipping the bases to "plant" them into the ground firmly.
18  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout for the new house! on: March 17, 2018, 04:24:56 PM
Yet more pictures...

The Life-Like SceneMaster operating semaphore in action. I will either disguise the wire with lychen, or once I finally get an extended-length drill bit so I can drill through the insulation foam and plywood tabletop I can run the wires underneath.

Showing some more installations of the Walthers Cornerstone Street System sections. I will soon get around to striping them.

I now have the Life-Like operating logging mill set up, along with having applied ground cover to the roadway behind it. Soon I will get some kind of material for the creek to simulate the water (either Artist's Gloss or the Woodland Scenics Realistic Water system.)

The TYCO billboard (need to get a new bulb for it) and some animal figures are placed on this ledge.

The farm now set up with fencing and figures.

I have now posed a couple of hoboes (Woodland Scenics figures) in one of my boxcars!

More hoboes found in the rail yard with a small bonfire. The Bachmann brakeman figure is to mark where an undertrack magnet is located.

The Amtrak train stopped at the downtown train station. The stairs I bought from a Chinese manufacturer on eBay.

Another shot of the downtown area showing some more of the Street System in place.

Yet another shot of downtown showing the 1982 TYCO Center St. Series building kits in place, with figures on them too.

The industrial rail yard section of my layout with landscaping, structures and such in place.

An overview from a different angle of the layout.
19  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout for the new house! on: March 17, 2018, 12:18:44 AM
Ah; I will work on that one when I get the chance.

But anyways, I was finally able to restock on some landscaping materials (paint and ground cover) and make a lot more progress with the layout!

More painting and ground cover planting has been done now!

I've finally been able to paint and sprinkle ground cover on this ledge as well! Makes a big difference.

Just after more landscaping...

The same area with structures placed on hours later.

In the downtown area I am still using the Walthers Cornerstone street system for the roads. In other areas once they come out I will use the new Walthers SceneMaster adhesive roads.

The residential area from another angle, now with more detailing applied to the farm! I still need to get the stuff ready to make the water body under the bridge.

An overview with two trains set up on the layout!
20  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout for the new house! on: March 16, 2018, 12:04:05 PM
Which one? Next to the station platforms? Sort of; I'm going to make a foam road incline that goes to the rerailer track.
21  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout for the new house! on: March 11, 2018, 04:14:55 PM
I've been working on landscaping the layout since last week!

There's a feeling of satisfaction I get when I do model railroad layout landscaping like this, watching the bare platform being covered bit-by-bit.

Getting started on the ballast gravel ground for the industrial yard section of the layout.

I applied more grass on another end of the layout, using Life-Like SceneMaster light green ground cover.

I have now painted and added ground cover to the hill on one corner of my layout, where my "Lovers' Lane" will be going.

For this area on the layout, I am using older Life-Like "grass" ground cover, which was basically sawdust dyed green. It seems to look as good as the ground foam stuff. Several other model railroad companies that made scenic products also used to have grass that was made this way, including Bachmann.

Another angle of the grass "growing."

I'm also decorating the styrofoam "building sites" that certain structures that have to be raised to the height of the track are to be placed on.

Here I am trying out the Woodland Scenics Smooth-It Road System, which involves a plaster-like material. Kind of messy to work with and hard to make it exactly smooth, but the paving tape helps!

I've got the dirt patch for the farm ready here. I used a mix of Woodland Scenics earth-colored fine turf and some Life-Like SceneMaster light-brown ground cover.

More grass has been added, and I also painted and applied ground cover to the other ledge.

Just after painting my attempt at using the Smooth-It road system. The light-colored parts are supposed to look like concrete (Woodland Scenics's "concrete' top coat), but it's a rather odd color. I just use that for areas where rows of city buildings are to be set up.

A lot more gravel has been added to the industrial yard area.

I have also "planted" more grass here (for this area I used the Woodland Scenics green blend fine turf; I'm varying the grass in different parts of the layout to allow for a bit of variety and more realism.)

The area where the coal yard will be going.

More grass "planting," still using the older-style Life-Like grass. Once I get more earth-colored paint, I'll do that ledge in the foreground. (I've discovered when I paint the cut foam looking like that, the finished result looks a lot like actual dirt! But I still enhance it with ground cover anyways.) The paved area is where the drive-in theater will be going.

Still working on putting the coal yard together...

More painting of the surface and placement of structures and track. Note the Pola Truck Terminal; that's new. I bought the Walthers Trainline version, but it's otherwise the exact same kit that TYCO, IHC and Model Power used to sell. (I don't think AHM sold it though...)

This side is practically almost finished with the landscaping and scenery. Once I get more asphalt-colored paint, I will paint that piece of foam between the two track rerailers near the station. Then I may eventually replace that AHM dummy crossing signal down the line with an operating flashing crossing signal (even though I'm only going to be using one.)

The coal yard is practically finished! The reason for the boxes there is to show how I'll often combine different companies' products on a train layout for greater realism and variety.

This farm provides another instance of me doing so: the farmhouse is Pola's "Aunt Millie's House" (TYCO version), and the barn and other farm buildings are Bachmann Plasticville kits. I added some white trim paint to the barn to make it look more realistic. Then I just need to apply the fences, crops, trackside stock pen and figures.

The TYCO Freight Unloading Depot and Lighted Signal Crossing now positioned on the layout. I will reinforce the track joints at the crossing with duct tape on the bottom.

The TYCO manual piggyback loader/unloader setup. I just need to get some gray paint for the styrofoam base under the loader/unloader and a few other similar building sites I've made as well...

For the downtown area, I am trying out the Walthers Cornerstone Street System. They haven't been completely painted yet (I had a small paint accident on one section), but I will do that before I glue them together and down. Then for the residental area I will use the Walthers SceneMaster adhesive roads once it comes out.
22  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout for the new house! on: March 06, 2018, 06:34:46 PM
Did some more carving of foam for the scenery!

Trying to improve the water body a bit.

On this corner, this ledge is going to be a "lover's lane" that overlooks the downtown area.

Testing clearance of another ledge that will be placed alongside the tracks.

Then I decided to add a second layer like this to make it more visually interesting.

Preparing a small stream that will go to the logging mill.

I have now glued the extruded insulation foam to the plywood, along with the ledges and such. The stuff on the table is to help push the foam down until the glue dries, to allow a firmer bond.
23  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout for the new house! on: March 05, 2018, 10:15:19 PM
Well, it's almost time for me to begin the landscaping part of building my train layout!

I've been removing the track and buildings and such from the foam base so I can get ready to glue them to the plywood, and then I can start using the paint and ground cover. I will probably end up saving the roads for last, as I am waiting for Walthers to come out with their new SceneMaster flexible adhesive paved roads.
24  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout for the new house! on: February 21, 2018, 10:38:48 PM
Thanks; I think I'll try that. I seem to remember they did it that way in the "Building Your First Model Railroad" video.
And I will try to make some diagonal edges for the water bed as well, probably once I begin the actual landscaping process but before I apply ground cover.
I also recently set up a couple of those Bachmann uncoupling magnets near a couple of sidings, and so far I haven't had much trouble with them. Though I found to get cars to uncouple efficiently, once I've stopped the train with the couplers I want to disengage over the magnet (marked by the brakeman figure), I need to back up the train a very short amount at a relatively slow speed, but it works. Doing it that way kind of reminds me of how in the past that would be done with those springy uncoupling ramps for the old horn-hook couplers. (Bachmann made a snap-in uncoupling ramp for that purpose, as did their rival TYCO; AHM and Atlas made uncoupling track sections with the springy ramp built in.) But of course the big difference is that a magnet is used, and the knuckle couplers look far more realistic than those old horn-hooks. (As I've often said, I'll often replace the horn-hook couplers with knuckles on any older rolling stock I get, so I can run them on my layout easily and improve the realism.)
25  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout for the new house! on: February 20, 2018, 04:56:04 PM
Will that be a stream or a canal under that bridge?

Something like a stream. With the finished result, the "water" won't be very shallow, and I may put a couple fishers in a rowboat at the "end". I'm thinking to use dark blue glossy paints on the bottom, maybe with a few bits of seaweed sticking up from them, and then a couple layers of blue shrink-wrap above it. This is to be my first layout where I've done something like this.
26  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout for the new house! on: February 19, 2018, 12:32:01 PM
I won't be starting the landscaping process until March, but I have been gathering up the materials to use...

It probably won't be enough for the entire layout, but it's a start. I'll probably get a couple of cans of earth and dark green latex paints to use as well, instead of just relying on the Woodland Scenics undercoatings. I am also considering trying some Bachmann SceneScapes products (I already have some of their trees, left from the previous layout.)

I bought some cheap HO-scale plastic stairs from an eBay seller from China to use with these train station platforms elevated on the Woodland Scenics 1/4-inch foam. When I do landscaping, these styrofoam pieces will be painted gray.

Another styrofoam base under one of the train stations.

Just a shot of my Amtrak train passing on the ledge. Again, all rolling stock is Bachmann, while the locomotive is from Athearn. Yeah, it does look more like a stereotypical model passenger train in this show, but so what? This is supposed to be fun!

Both of my current train consists in action. My Bachmann BNSF GP40 (the first DCC locomotive I ever bought, which came with my E-Z Command control unit) is still going strong.

A nice close-up shot of the Amtrak train parked on the bridge next to the station.
27  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Can other model trains work on Bachmann EZ track and Bachmann couplers on: February 18, 2018, 10:30:35 PM
The E-Z Mate knuckle couplers are based off Kadee's knuckle coupler design that dates back to the 1940s. Originally, only Kadee made them, but in the late 90s when their patent expired, other model train companies began making couplers using a nearly identical design, including Bachmann. The E-Z Mate couplers will work with Kadee couplers, along with other companies' couplers like McHenry and Walthers. While Kadee's are the highest quality (and I use them on some of my locomotives and rolling stock), I have had nearly no problems with the other companies' couplers. Until last year, Walthers also made knuckle couplers sold under the Life-Like brand that could easily be installed in older Life-Like, AHM and TYCO rolling stock and locomotives. They could work with pre-1990s Bachmann locos and rolling stock as well, but you would have to drill the hole a tad larger to fit Bachmann's unusual coupler hole size of the time that had to be screwed in (maybe it was proprietary or something?)

As for E-Z Track, virtually any HO-scale two-rail train will work on Bachmann's E-Z Track. While my current layout uses Bachmann E-Z Track, I do run other companies' trains on them as well. (In fact, the train sets made by Athearn and Walthers include E-Z Track as well.)
28  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout for the new house! on: February 11, 2018, 11:11:38 PM

Trying out some realistic railroad switching operations... (I will soon install uncoupling magnets under the track once the landscaping is done.)

I've got the control panel built on my train table! (The reason for the TYCO pack is because with the Bachmann power speed controller I got, the AC terminals don't work.) I will have a lot of drilling into the panel to do in order to hook up the remote switches for the turnouts (along with a lot of those 10" switch extension wires)...
29  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout for the new house! on: February 10, 2018, 09:20:38 PM
One of the interesting things is recognizing some of the structure kits.  Among the ones you have is a one-story industrial building visible behind a silver or grey Virginian hopper in one photo.  I don't know who currently offers it, but it's original offering, based on ads in a bunch of old Model Railroaders I have, was by Ulrich back in the 1950s. 

It's amazing how many old structure models like that are still around, reissued or still in production by other firms who bought the tooling.

That industrial building was later sold by Life-Like from the 80s until this decade. Mine is the Life-Like version; it came new-old-stock in the 80s-style packaging, and I applied some weathering as I built it.
Yeah, it's amazing how several are those old structures are still around. Many of the old Pola building kits that AHM and TYCO sold in the 70s and 80s are currently being sold by Walthers under their Trainline series. And of course many of the Plasticville kits date back to the 40s and 50s! (One thing I really like about Bachmann is how they are making products that they've been making for decades, with several of them in new and improved versions (like the locomotives and rolling stock.)
30  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: A new layout for the new house! on: February 10, 2018, 04:10:24 PM
Time for some more updates, yet again!

The longer Amtrak consist looks better when running on the outer loop and onto the second platform. It's worth noting that regarding the Amtrak dome car (currently the only piece of Amtrak rolling stock Bachmann makes!), Amtrak really does have a dome car that looks very much like that (complete with Phase III paint scheme) that they use on the Downeaster train in August and September. And since Budd made the car way back when, it doesn't look too out of place with the Amfleet cars (up here in New England, we just use the Amfleet I cars, which is what Bachmann's Amfleet models were of.)

Testing out the TYCO Freight Unloading Depot. I set it on a 1/4-inch piece of Woodland Scenics styrofoam cut to fit, and the clearance and height is just about perfect! I got a few nice big sheets pf 1/4-inch styrofoam to use as "building sites" for some railroad structures that will be right alongside the tracks (such as stations.)

The TYCO Lighted Signal Crossing in action. Even if the lights get their power from the track, it doesn't affect train operation very much, including compared to on the previous layout (I did give the rails a good cleaning with a Walthers Bright Boy track cleaner before setting uo the crossing.)

The TYCO hopper car unloading set all set up on the layout. I recently replaced the horn/hook couplers on the hopper with E-Z Mate Mark II couplers using Kadee talgo truck adapters. The doors on the bottom seem keen on staying open a crack, so I will probably use a thicker "coal" material than what came with the set.

I just carved the stream to go under the bridge!

A slope along side one of the curves. The bottom of it separated from the rest of the foam by accident, but I'll just glue it all together once I actually glue the foam base to the plywood when I am ready for landscaping.

The Amtrak train stopped at the train station near the stream.
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