Operation Dark Winter - HO scale micro layout

Discussion in 'Planks' started by danielb, Jun 17, 2019.

  1. danielb

    danielb Full Member

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    Hi everyone,

    Recently I've been drawn to a new micro layout project in memory of our dear departed Shortliner, and have been umming and ahhing about what theme to go for. As I've been playing a lot of xbox recently, in particularly Tom Clancy's The Division, I thought about potentially crossing the streams of my hobbies and potentially making the layout set within the world of the video game.

    A brief history of the game to set the context of the layout - the game was inspired by a real life US military training scenario called Operation Dark Winter, which was put together to test the resiliency of the US infrastructure in the event of a large scale bioterrorist attack - theorised as a release of a weapons grade strain of smallpox. In the game, the virus was spread on Black Friday using infected dollar bills, and thus became known as the Green Poison, or Dollar Flu.

    In an attempt to contain the spread, the emergency responders - EMS, FDNY, NYPD, National Guard, CDC - grouped together into a single organisation known as the Joint Task Force, and they tried to create a quarantine area from 56th street along the southern edge of Central Park, all the way down to 29th street. The walls of the Dark Zone, as it became known, ran from Columbus Circle down Broadway, along 29th Street, then back up Park Avenue all the way back up to 56th street.

    These walls were built from huge quantities of concrete blocks, steel girders and miles of razor wire. The layout represents as small open space between the canyons of the city streets where part of the metro lines were used to ship in the materials used to build these walls, as well as shipping contaminated materials to disposal locations known as burn pits - infected cash, clothing, materials, hospital waste, etc.

    The layout backscene will represent one of the western edges of the dark zone, with concrete/stone blocks used to build the walls covering most of the backdrop, and will include huge gates used by the JTF to send in bioterror response teams to try to contain the virus. The layout will be set at night, and lit almost entriely by scale lighting - building interiors, street lamps, spot lights, etc. I've always wanted to make a winter layout, so the scenery will be mostly snow and ice. The game itself contains hundreds of murals, graffiti and other artwork commissioned by the game developers and created by New York based graffiti artists, and I am hoping to add in a lot of these into the layout, likely by painting them freehand.

    In terms of operation, the layout is built in an APA box and is a small inglenook - using 40ft cars to allow for full use of the minimal space. A lot of the features of the layout will need to be scratchbuilt, so it might be a bit of a slow burner. Traffic will be mainly boxcars and repurposed ore cars, short flat cars, beer can tank cars, etc.

    I have ordered a large amount of cast resin detail packs from a railways/wargaming supplier called Anyscale models, so when those turn up I'll need to spent time painting them up and blending them into the scene.

    The layout has been fully tested and works perfectly. :)

    Enough of my rabbiting on, here's some pictures!

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  2. Toto

    Toto I'm best ignored Staff Member Founder Administrator

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    Certainly different. Progressing nicely as well. Looking forward to more.:thumbs:
     
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  3. Gary

    Gary Wants more time for modelling.... Staff Member Administrator

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    I have been following along with this build elsewhere and I'm looking forward to seeing more. Keep it up Daniel, it's a very interesting blend.

    Cheers, Gary.
     
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  4. danielb

    danielb Full Member

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    Thanks chaps!

    Updated progress photos:

     
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  5. ianvolvo46

    ianvolvo46 Staff Member Moderator

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    very atmospheric Dan :thumbup::thumbup::thumbup:

    Ian vt
     
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  6. Splitpin

    Splitpin Full Member

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    OMG! :thumbs: totally …. something.

    I must confess to being one who can justifiably testify as to the authenticity of this modeling.

    Really cool, great job Dan I'll be smiling for hours. Thanks!
     
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  7. danielb

    danielb Full Member

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    Thanks :)

    Splitpin, I take it you have played the game? :D

    For those who haven't, here's some concept art/in game screenshots from the game to give an idea of the subject I'm attempting to capture:

    https://christofferradsby.com/projects/JOgxn

    Most of the relevant images are right near the top - they are for a game level set in the Hudson Rail Yards, which - in the in game world - have been converted into a refugee camp for survivors of the virus.
     
  8. Splitpin

    Splitpin Full Member

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    LOL yes Dan 'the confession' was to some hundreds of hours Div 1 & 2. The snow told me which one you'd chosen.
    I think you've captured the atmosphere and feel perfectly.
    Is there lighting to come ? Given the wires seen in the first photo.

    Cheers
    John
     
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  9. danielb

    danielb Full Member

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    Hi John,

    I'm at almost 1300 hours spent in both games.

    There will be lighting, and hopefully sound too. I'm hoping to get the backscene progressed a little bit more this weekend, to cement the "cold winters night" look that I'm going for. The theme is eventually going to have the layout set at night, so I might have to see about some sort of blackout setup for exhibitions.

    I've got a lot more snow to add first though
     
  10. danielb

    danielb Full Member

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    Feeling a bit burnt out from working on my O scale layout, I've done some more on O:DW. Lots of forward momentum now. :)

    Mainly, I'm focusing on getting the backscene done so I can focus on other projects. Mostly that has meant painting concrete, and replicating graffiti found in game. :)

    Let me know what you think.

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  11. Andy_Sollis

    Andy_Sollis Full Member

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    The games not my cup of tea, so sadly some of it is lost on me....

    but...

    the artwork is brilliant and really does set a scene. Love the dumpy unicorn! :thumbs:
    What’s the stock going to be?
     
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  12. Gloria Aldridge

    Gloria Aldridge Full Member

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    I agree with Andy_Sollis,
    I am not into games although I have a PlayStation ps4. The art work is lovely must have taken a lot of patience to get it that good.Looking forward to seeing more.
    Regards,
    Gloria.
     
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  13. danielb

    danielb Full Member

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    Thanks guys, I know the theme won't be everyone's cup of tea, but I'm hoping it will at least catch some eyes at exhibitions - something a little different.

    Andy, the rolling stock will be mostly bachmann 40' high cubes, short wheelbase hopper cars and the pennsy style shorty ore gons, as those are the shortest wheelbase freight cars I have. Motive power will be a bachmann 44T switcher, or perhaps an Alco S2/S4.
     
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  14. danielb

    danielb Full Member

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    Progress from the last few days - I've done more on the backscenes but I still have a lot more to do yet. I did have a bit of a brainwave with a way to build a second APA box to expand the layout if I ever fancy it, but I want to focus on getting this one done to the best it can be first.

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  15. MalcT

    MalcT Full Member

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    Great artwork Dan :tophat:
     
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  16. danielb

    danielb Full Member

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    Thanks Malc! :)
     
  17. danielb

    danielb Full Member

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    With a vague idea of maybe having the layout ready to take to an NMRA meet on 2nd Feb, just in case the organisers say yes, I've been doing the only thing I can do to progress the layout whilst on a night shift at work... shopping! :p

    I've ordered a reel of blue LEDs, with the hope that they might help give the impression of the layout being at night, even in the relative light of an exhibition hall. With the lid put back on the APA box, I'm hoping it will work. We'll see :)

    I've also got a rather interesting (well I think so) layout name board on order, we'll see how that turns out too when it arrives.

    Finally, I'm not really happy with how the printed out screenshots from the game that I've used as the backdrop have come out, due to the way Xbox.com displays screenshots taken in game - they're always too dark. I've gotten around this, I think, by emailing the screenshots to my phone and using the inbuilt editing software to lighten the images. I've sent them back to my laptop and have printed them out again, and I think they look much better. I'll cut them out and apply them to the layout later today, with any luck. :)

    Here's a before and after example:

    BEFORE:
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    AFTER:
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  18. Gloria Aldridge

    Gloria Aldridge Full Member

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    Hi,
    It's looking good well done yes I think the blue l.e.ds will show it off.
    Regards,
    Gloria.
     
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  19. Andy_Sollis

    Andy_Sollis Full Member

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    Hi Daniel,
    Personally I’m not so sure about blue LED’s? Where in life (or even in gaming?) do we see blue lights other than emergency services (flashing) or Christmas lights? If your simulating an electrical flash it may be ok (sparking or similar) otherwise I may be more inclined to go for the ice white LED’s (like the £2 ones you now get from the cheapo shops with a fake bottle top cork for illuminating bottles). Sure you know some electric tricks to add a variable resistor to lower the voltage to them to get a lower glow if you were to power off your transformer rather than the three button cells they come with?
    Just my thoughts ... (although I’m trying to find some warm white ones for the engine shed and can’t find any in Mansfield)

    There is also the added issue that some folk can’t focus on blue LED’s (due to the closeness to ultra violet according to my optician)

    Andy
     
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  20. Keith M

    Keith M Staff Member Moderator

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    There is an electronics shop in Chesterfield who may well have what you want Andy. It's called JPG Electronics and is on Old Road, Brampton. Take Chatsworth Road out of Chesterfield and bear right about 150 yards after the new Lidl supermarket onto Old Road. JPG is about 100 yards further on your right, by Poplar Motors.
    Not easy to find electronics stuff in shops nowadays after the demise of 'Maplin Electronics'.
    Keith.
     
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