See all new photos from 01/11/2003
Note: To preserve the quality of these digital photos, I left
some of them rather large (up to 125K). Please be patient
with the loading. I think it will be worth the wait.
Do not hump!
On Jan. 12, 2002 Steve Sherrill was gracious enough to hold an openhouse at his
beautiful On30 layout. He also let me take a few photos. I won't comment much on the
models because Steve's work speaks for itself. The layout looked as good in person
as it does in the photos, even without the smoke and steam. So...let's take a look
at the Shady Grove and Sherrill or SG&S for short. Shall we!?
We'll follow number 22 around while we chat. Steve has been in On30 for about
four years after abandoning Sn3. He has been in the
hobby for 20 years and this is his third scale. The layout occupies
its own building out back of his home. The measurements are 12' X 32'
and the height is about 54" off the floor.
The track plan for the layout was designed by Bill Miller. It is currently a single track,
linear, point-to-point main. One reversing loop is included so you can run easily
for open houses.
You spend most of your time talking at your open house so the trains need to take care
of themselves for the most part.
The layout appears
to be about half finished. The existing areas seem to be completed with structures and
scenery. Steve is using Digitrax/Soundtraxx DCC for sound and power.
The layout runs smoothly and the sound is GREAT!!
When the layout is complete (whoever heard of a completed model railroad) there will be
125' of mainline track and 75' of sidings and yards. The track is Peco flex track
and all the
turnouts are manual throws using Caboose Hobbies ground throws and high level switch
Most of the rolling stock is Bachmann's relatively new On30 stuff. Steve painted, lettered,
and weathered it so it looks great on the layout.
The railroad is suppose to be a West Virginia coal hauler with a logging operation.
This is a believable scenerio when you see the layout.
I guess the logging crew has called it quits for the day. So we won't get to watch
them work. But anyway, the scenery conveys that
W. Virginia, Appalachian Mountains feeling. There is a logging operation off-layout
that is simulated with a steam donkey sound unit by Miller Models.
Log cars are brought
to an area where full ones are exchanged for empties. The full ones are taken to
Horner Sawmill for processing. A sawmill sound unit is used to effectively create
a saw mill atmosphere. Steve Fisher built the sawmill.
You get a good feel for the scenery
material in photo 7. Steve uses lots of tree covered mountains running up the
backdrops to help divide the scenes and give that mountain feeling.
Most of the trees are natural materials covered with
Speaking of backdrops, Steve used a continuous piece of linoleum so it is
seamless. It is nicely painted so it adds to the scenes but is not distracting. I
didn't have to fool with these pictures to get a nice background. Steve took care
of that himself. Actually for photos the mountains take care of the background.
If I didn't know better I would think I was in Cass.
Most of the buildings are small and S scale is used where appropriate.
Actually Steve uses different scale buildings (1/43, 1/48, and 1/64)
for a forced perspective in some areas.
It is done so well you don't notice you are being tricked. Everything looks RIGHT!
Well I've run outa chatter but not photos. So, let's continue to follow Number 22
around the layout. Oh, that tunnel is the reversing loop.
What would a narrow gauge layout be without a gas 'n electric?
Nice detailing job here. The stuff also gives you a feel for the time period. I'd
say the 30's by looking at the car and gas pump. Of course, in this part of
W. Virginia it could
be the 70's, ya know.
22 is passing that same spot. You can see the little structure in the background.
This blacksmith must be accustomed to the trains, he doesn't even lookup from
22 passed a passenger train lead by number 16. Passenger isn't that important
here as far as schedule. In fact I think that train was scheduled for two days
ago. No one is in a hurry here anyway. 16 will be getting underway shortly.
Well, I think that wraps it up for our first visit to the SG&S.
Hopefully Steve will let us come back for another visit and more photos when he
is further along. Then I can redo the shots that I screwed up the first time.
Wave good bye guys.
About the photos: Steve's lighting is a general lighting using
fluorescent fixtures with some areas highlighted with
This mixed lighting can be a challenge for photos, but I
think it worked out ok. I used an
Olympus C-3040 digital camera set on aperature priority. The
f-stop was f10 (max for this camera) and I let the camera choose
the shutter speed. With Steve's lighting, exposer times ran as
high as 4 seconds. This lead to some "stuck pixels" which is a
typical problem with long exposers using a digital camera. This
is not particular noticeable in these reduced size photos. The
Olympus has five white balance settings including an auto
setting (what I normally use) and a completely manual setting.
one of the pre-sets (fluorescent) and adjusted it with the
color balance to suit my eye. If you are considering a
for model railroad photography, I suggest you consider one
with the above mentioned features.