In the layout room, nobody can hear you scream


T minus 3 days and counting

The National N-Scale Convention is next week, and the Mightly MKT will be a busy layout indeed that week.

We kick off the week with an operating session for the Denver Group (plus an Aussie and a Washingtonian) on Monday. We'll be on the layout tour all day Wednesday and Thursday morning, and have another operating session Thursday at noon.

I also have helper duties at Joe's fabulous BN layout Tuesday night and Thursday night. So I'll be a busy bee.

It's all good, though, and I am really looking forward to the Convention, especially the trade show. I hope to be able to keep my credit card in my pocket, but I suspect that it will be a hopeless cause!

At the moment, I'm in the final throes of prepping and staging for the operating session. And cleaning track, the bane of a sceniced N-scale layout. Thank goodness I have the weekend, and I should be in pretty good shape by Monday night.

I'll post pictures of the Convention and the op sessions, so check back for updates!

Seven days and counting...



Only seven days until the N-Scale Collectors Convention descends on the Kanas City area. 
I have a busy week coming up – the layout will be on tour several days and I have scheduled two operating sessions during the week.  The first session is in seven days. 
So of course, I’m in a panic, working on last-minute projects and cleaning everything.  Since I’ve recently painted and ballasted lots of track (and don’t forget the yummy new Kasper MKVII, Rev 2 turnouts in St. Charles and East Rhineland), I need to clean all the track on the layout, because the paint overspray tends to get everywhere.  Every mainline, siding, staging, and industry track is cleaned and inspected.
Cleaning track is not difficult, it’s just time consuming, and it’s easy to miss a track.  After cleaning, I try to run a locomotive over every piece of track, just to check the turnout operation and smooth running.
In my opinion, the death knell to operating enjoyment is crappy running locomotives. Clean track is important to good running, and in N-scale (and DCC in particular) it is crucial.  I’m so jealous of the HO guys, with their heavier locos, and wider wheel treads, and more forgiving turnouts, and the new awesome DCC current keepers.  We N-scalers need to always go the extra mile to get the layout running smoothly. 
I have a week to go, and the layout is in pretty good shape, all things considered.  So if you are attending the N-Scale Collectors Convention next week, please stop by and say hi.  I’ll be the nervous-looking guy over in the corning, mumbling to himself.

Bonus Elite Operator™ tip: Don’t build a layout bigger than you are willing to maintain.