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May-July 2006

During the month of May, progress the layout basically came to a halt. I started the construction of my model for the contest at the Lone Star Region (NMRA) Convention in San Antonio. Progress was going well and then, 10 days before the show, it all fell apart. I had the building I was working on basically together at that point. I was giving a clinic at the Division 3 meeting on the ways contest models get judged and the use of the scoring matrix. Thatís when it dawned on me that the project I was building wouldnít be considered a ĎComplexí model and wouldnít score very well. I drove home and set that one aside and started working on a new version of the same building. This time I went board on board with a full stud wall construction.

I spent all that night building jigs and all the next day building stud wall to frame out the building. I had taken the week off for the show so I had all day Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to finish the model. I needed all of it. I literally stayed up all night Wednesday night and took the model with me to the Convention unfinished. When we checked into the hotel I went up to my room and put the finishing touches on it. The next morning I attached the sign to the building and took it down to enter it in the contest. I was very pleased that it merited, which leaves me only 3 more to complete Structures, but it also won Off-Line Structures. (Insert Link here).

Progress began again after the convention and Iíve been making good time. Over the last 5 weeks or so Iíve installed the DCC system (Easy DCC) and Iíve installed a decoder into a PFM K-27. Track testing began and Iíve done a little tuning to Timberline. Iím going to change the bracing under one corner of the mainline and it will be ready to ballast.

The staging yard is also taking shape. I finished the wiring for the drops and the return loop. The reversing module is in place and the control panel has been wired and mounted. I have tested the turnouts and LED colors and all of that it perfect. Iíll be cleaning track and testing my kill switches over the next few days.

Once all of that passes muster, and the curve has been re-braced, Iíll ballast and call the judges. With any luck Iíll have Civil and Electrical OKíd sometime in August.


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