A Railroad with Relevance

Control Panels Complete

Written By: Alan - Nov• 23•20

The upper deck fascia control panel project is for all intents and purposes complete. Everything works as designed, ergonomic functionality is good, and I like the overall appearance. I am happy. This post serves to document the panel installation before I move on to the next project.

Panel Tour

The layout is shaped like a big “G” so you walk in and sort of wind your way to the center and then back out. Beginning at the door into the train room these photos are in that sequence.

Individual Panels

Photographing the panels turned out to be quite challenging due primarily to the fact I’m not a photographer. Basically, just set the camera to Auto and take snapshots is all I do. This approach applied to taking pictures of the fascia panels was made difficult by reflections on the panel faces (they are shiny acrylic), layout lighting being above and behind the fascia, and the 36″ wide aisles forced positioning the camera awfully close to the subject.

The reflections on the panel faces were the biggest issue. In person, the panels look fine and your eye doesn’t much notice the reflections. But take a picture and kaboom, the reflections standout like a sore thumb almost as if they are part of the printed art. After much trial and err I ended up using a big piece of black poster board in front of the camera with a cutout for the lens to go through. Stepping around the tripod trying to set up the shot and press the shutter while not disturbing the camera all the while holding a huge chunk of cardboard on the lens all within narrow aisles was no fun. With my wife’s help we got it done. Although, I see on a couple of the Lapeer panels the cardboard wasn’t positioned quite right. Oh well.

Something else I don’t care for with the pictures is they do a poor job of showing the LED colors and brightness correctly. In the pictures the color shades aren’t right and they look washed out compared to real life. The green LEDs appear way too bright and have a halo. The yellow LEDs appear orange and the red LEDs look pink and dim in the photos. They really are rich, vivid color in person. Specifically, the green are 520nm, yellow are 590nm, and the red are 645nm. Note to self: Read the camera instruction manual.

If you haven’t first read the previous post I suggest you do. It explains what’s going on with the wiring arrangements in the panel backside photos.

Spur 4

Brittain Service

(Not finished. Pending construction of respective track module.)

Brittain Yard West

Brittain Yard

Brittain Yard East

Market St.

East Akron 1

East Akron 2

East Akron 3

Lapeer 1

Lapeer 2

Lapeer 3

Mettiki Coal 1

Mettiki Coal 2

Kitzmiller 1

Kitzmiller 2

Happy Thanksgiving!


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  1. Lloyd says:

    Hi Alan,
    I’ve been following your panel work and I find it amazing.
    I know I’ve asked this before, but could you explain the art work? What software, ink or laser printer, how you do the curves so that they look perfect. Thanks and keep up the great work.


  2. Ron Ventura says:

    Hi Alan.
    As always, a very enjoyable instalment. I think you’re being hard on yourself as far as your photographic skills go. All the photos are in focus, and I didn’t notice any reflections as I was looking at them, so you did something right. I’m sure if you hadn’t mentioned the colours, no-one would have noticed. Unless you have the LEDs to use as a direct comparison, They look fine in photos. I look forward to your ongoing progress reports.
    Happy Thanksgiving.
    Regards, Ron.

  3. Greg Amer says:

    Wow! Nice documentation. Your layout looks amazing. The panels are really cool. Is the layout room always that clean? 🙂

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