Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Great Lakes Northern Update #2

While I haven't made a ton of physical progress on the layout since my last update, I've been working on the planning side of things a lot lately. That includes everything from the track plan to locomotive paint scheme ideas. I love planning and designing stuff like this so I am having a ton of fun with this whole proto-freelance thing.

GLN Logo Changes
For whatever reason, I can never leave things like this alone. I haven't even really used the GLN logo for anything just yet and I've already made some changes to it. In my last post I detailed the symbolism contained within it and how the negative space of the two arched lines represented the two main lines. Well, after messing around a bit with the logo design in Inkscape I've decided to simplify it and eliminate the whole negative space idea. Now there are just two arched lines with a thickness similar to the perimeter pentagon. I think this gives the logo a cleaner look overall.

The revised GLN logo shown in blue and in white.
Track Plan Changes
I've also significantly changed the track plan once again. I've abandoned the idea of having the large wye in the one corner. That means I no longer have the ability to turn a train around, but that's ok with me. I plan on having two locomotives to work this layout, so I will just have one facing each direction.

Revised track plan as of November 21, 2017.
This update was also about simplifying the entire layout. I have a smaller yard in this case and it is directly connected to the paper mill, so that will make moving cars around a bit easier me. The town area is also a bit simper with fewer roads and more open spaces. I don't want to take on more than I should and this feels about right.

Planning Downtown Hawkins, MI
Outside of designing the logo and locomotive paint schemes, I think I will have the most fun with planning and building the Hawkins town scene. I've laid it out so there will be a single main street running parallel to the track. This means I only need to build up the one row of buildings and that is probably a good thing for someone like me without a ton of experience building kits. Now I just need to pick one to get started with.

Planning a Paper Mill
As I am searching for structures to use on the layout, the one thing that has not changed is the plan to go with a paper mill as the primary industry on the layout. I tossed around some other ideas, but keep coming back to this so I am going to stick with it for now. I feel like this is something that will fit nicely with my 1990's northern Michigan theme. The plan for this layout is a standalone paper mill. This means the mill will receive it's pulp from outside sources by rail or truck. I feel like I do not have the room to make this an integrated mill and I do not want to over complicate things.

Right now I am leaning towards using the Superior Paper Mill kit from Walthers. I really like the Cornerstone kits from them and this one seems like it would work well in the space I have available.

An example of  what the Walthers paper mill kit could look like.
For this paper mill, I wanted to come up with my own name and logo for a Michigan based paper company. While it's not the most original or unique name, I went with "Michigan Paper" for the company that will be represented in the fictional Hawkins, Michigan. Part of the reason I chose this name was the aesthetics of it. When arranged in a certain way, I was able to come up with a neat logo that turns the "A" from both words into part of a tree. The horizontal lines were just filler to avoid empty space in the corners, but they could represent finished sheets of paper.

My first attempt at a logo for the fictional Michigan Paper company.
Layout Progress
Now that I have the new track plan kind of nailed down, I've started laying down some cork so I can give it a good test run. If I am happy with it at that point I will try to work on getting the main line glued down and wired up for my DCC system. That should be a fun little project as I've never wired a layout like this before.

Now that it's becoming winter around here, I've been finding myself a lot more motivated to get things done on the layout. I would really like to get the track down so I can get the fun part of building up the town of Hawkins. 

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