October 6, 2016

Speed Module Challenge - Appomattox Station

Last weekend Joel Salmons mentioned to me that he had an extra TTRAK module that was unfinished. He asked if I would be interested in finishing it.  First a little background, the ACWRRHS started a TTRAK project a few years ago at one of the annual meets. Since then several members have built TTRAK modules with ACW themes.   I agreed to take on the project to join in the fun. The only drawback was, it had to be ready by next Tuesday as Joel departs for Memphis via automobile on Wednesday. I will fly out on Thursday. Can I do it?

Before Joel delivered the module, I thought about what I could do.   A standard TTRAK module is only about 1 foot square. Not a lot of room, even for N scale.  I looked at what N Scale ACW stuff I had on had. It wasn't much. I have lots of N scale locos, cars etc, but almost all oriented on 20th century.  So I decided to keep it simple- a scene in the woods with a dirt road, worm fence, trees and perhaps some wagons and cannons marching past since I had those miniatures on hand. Perhaps a farm house on the backdrop.

As I thought about it, I remembered the famous photo of Appomattox Station after the battle (see lead photo above). It had most of the elements I was looking for, and it would make a nice "book end" for the ACW RR story as it depicts the last strategic use of rail by CSA forces (see plaque below), which ended with a burned train. That would be simple to model. The sketch below is the final design.

Nothing like a good cavalry charge to get you fired up.
This scene will not be included in the module.
Tonight Joel delivered the unfinished module.  I started work. The ACW modules use one track, while standard TTRAK uses two tracks. Since this prototype photo shows a main line and a siding on the Southside RR, I decided to use both TTRAK tracks. I glued the tracks to the wood with acrylic caulk.

A challenge will be to make the perfect Kato Unitrack that the TTRAk standard calls for look more like poorly maintained CSA track at the end of the war.

Next I cut out a piece of ground foam and caulked it to the plywood frame to create the basic terrain. Once the caulk is cured, I will do the initial terrain carving.

While the caulk was setting, I made about 10 N scale sized Super trees.  That's it for the first night. Early golf tee time tomorrow.

Planning the scene
Stay tuned to see if I can make the deadline.

Miniatures I have on hand
some N Scale "Supertrees"

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