Saturday, April 2, 2011

Facing Up To Fascia

Track, scenery, wiring, buildings, locomotives, rolling stock—all things that are part of building a layout. But what about the fascia?

The fascia is one of those things we probably think about last, if at all, when creating a model railroad. Yet it plays an important role in making the layout, and the layout room, look finished.

My fascia is 1/8th inch hardboard, or Masonite (which is what we also call it up here in Canada). It’s light, and bends easily around layout corners.

When I ordered my fascia from a local lumberyard, I paid extra to have them cut 4 by 8 sheets into six inch strips for the top level and 12 inch strips for the bottom. That way I got clean, straight lines.

I fasten my fascia to the benchwork with screws. I painted it flat green to match the ground cover.

On the top level, the fascia follows the contours of the subroadbed. To make it match, I first carved out the contours (in the two-inch Styrofoam), then fastened each strip to the benchwork. Using a pencil, I traced the contour onto the fascia, then cut it with a jig saw.

After fastening it back on the benchwork, I filled the gaps between the fascia and the subroadbed with cheap spackling paste. Some paint and ground foam hid the patchwork.

I also left tiny gaps between the strips to accommodate movement—the humidity in Manitoba varies greatly from winter (very dry) to summer (when it can be very humid).

The fascia also provides a place for place names, so operators know where they are on the layout.

For me, a good fascia makes the layout look complete and finished. Plus, it provides a place to hang the throttles!

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