Winwood Shadowbox

Winwood is a section of my layout that is in an adjacent unfinished room. My initial plan was to leave this part of the layout unfinished as well to serve as a staging and fiddle yard only. But the potential of being able to model the transfer point with the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad along the James River made it worthwhile to build Winwood as a finished section of the railroad.

Winwood is in a room that is primarily used as a shop and for storage. It stays cluttered and somewhat dirty, and has no climate control. To protect the layout, and make it easier for an operator to focus his attention on the layout itself, I decided to enclose Winwood in a shadowbox.

2 by 2 blocks were used to make cleats on the wall at either end of the Winwood shelf and on wall stud in between.

Vertical support strips for a shelf above Winwood were used to hold shelf brackets that will support the top of the shadowbox. The 2x2 cleats allowed installing a 1x3 stringer across the back of the shadowbox in front of the support strips.

I used 3/8 inch plywood and 1x2 firring strips to make a “hollow door” shelf for the top of the shadowbox, supported by the shelf brackets.

3/8 inch plywood was used to make partitions for the ends of the shadowbox. The partitions were installed on the 2x2 cleats. Strips of flat moulding were installed on the partitions for backdrop support.

The backdrop I had painted earlier was test fit for trim and position. The backdrop was trimmed to height, and a 2 inch strip of Velcro was applied to the back of the backdrop, the 1x3 stringer, and the support moulding.

The backdrop was installed in the shadowbox again. After a few days, the vinyl flooring I painted the backdrop on displayed a tendency to curl along the bottom edge. I pulled the backdrop out again, and added firring strips with 1 inch strips of Velcro to provide additional support for the bottom edge of the backdrop to prevent curling. I also added under-cabinet kitchen lighting to the underside of the top shelf. Wiring was tucked behind the 1x3 stringer against the wall, and a light switch installed in the left side partition.

The backdrop was reinstalled. The sides were then trimmed to width.

Shelving boards were used to trim the sides and front of the shadowbox, and for the valence. The valence was painted white on the back to help reflect and diffuse the lighting inside.

Callaghan's Crossing - Display

The second module I am building as my participation in the James River Division On30 Module Group is half-sized, which is 4 ft. long by 1 ft. wide. This module is very light and easy to transport.

Besides being set up at Module Meets, I plan to use it as a diorama for photography. For these photos, I sat the module on the benchwork of my layout to take advantage of the backdrop.

There is room on the module for a short train to be displayed, which will allow me to take it to model railroad gatherings and use it as a display diorama for my models.

Building modules is a great way to gain experience at model railroad construction quickly. Regular work sessions allow the members of the module group to share techniques and troubleshoot one another’s problems.