Back in January, I made my to-do list of big, risky, time-consuming projects I hoped to do this year.
Some haven't gotten anywhere, such as building Ainsley Cannery.
Others have only gotten to the planning stages, with the revamped sidings in Campbell only getting as far as buying new switches, and the Moody Gulch oil wells only getting as far as research. It's been good research, though. Early California Oil gave me a few details on Moody Gulch, and gave me a much better understanding of the oil boom in Coalinga, Bakersfield, Los Angeles, and Long Beach; I don't think I realized how big a deal each of these oil booms were, and just how much they changed each area. Crude Politics, which I'm only partly through, highlights how the style of the boom was affected by land issues. While Coalinga and the Elk Hills fields were methodically pumped out, the multiple owners of oil in Los Angeles and Long Beach meant that every residential lot dweller dug a well and started pumping as fast as possible in order to get their share of the oil wealth, resulting in poorer fields and worse prices as the fields were overpumped and glutted the market.
Luckily, some of the projects have had real progress. I spent this weekend wiring two new light fixtures for the garage, and the scenery in Vasona Junction is starting to take shape.
First, the light fixtures: I knew the garage was dark, so adding new lights and repositioning others was primarily to improve visibility for operators. I was a bit worried about pulling down the 1960's era large fluorescent fixtures and getting new fixtures up without crushing the layout, but had no mishaps at all. (Whew!). The new lights also make the garage more homey for me. My biggest problem is that I tended to build scenery in the past where the light was good, and now that the light has shifted, attention tends to aim at different spots… with inferior scenery. Time to build out some ignored locations.
American Limited Models semaphore kits. These don't move, but they look nice, and I unfortunately don't have space under Vasona Junction for the mechanisms. A pair of their wig-wag grade crossing signals protects Winchester Road, and assorted signal equipment castings from Tomar/Alexander Scale Models provide battery boxes and a remote signal indicator on the Campbell - Cupertino branch of the wye ensures maintenance crews only move their speeder when the track is unoccupied.
I'm also trying the Silflor sheets of tall grass. I'd already used their static grass in the past, but found that while the rolled sheets look denser and better from above, the sheets are much thicker than the static grass, and I'm having trouble hiding the edges. I'm currently using some of the grass tufts, but the height difference is still annoying. I'm still plugging along, though; I'm hoping it'll all start pulling together as a scene more as it gets closer to completion.