Monday, December 9, 2013

Dressing up the Helix..

The latest progress made on the layout has been to finish up installing the last of the fascia and valance, which needed to be installed on the helix.  A couple of problems were causing me to put this off: I had some 3/16th Masonite that I had cut down and spliced together to form the fascia, and I tried to install it one day when a few of the guys came over.  But the stresses from the bend I was trying to make the pieces go around caused the joints to fail, much to the amusement of my helpers.  I had to rethink what to do here.  Eventually I settled on going with thinner Masonite and this time I managed to get it installed (without any help from the peanut gallery). 

Here is a the helix with the fascia, valance and backdrop installed and painted.

The valance presented another problem:  How do I get the valance up without support from up above?  The solution was to buy small angle brackets and attach short pieces of 1x2 wood to them, then secure them to risers that support the backdrop.  I then used left over pieces of curved plywood from helix construction to form the proper radius to match the bottom deck fascia/valance and attached that to the 1x3 angle bracket combo. 

Here we see the curved plywood/angle bracket combo used to form the valance radius.

Next up was to figure out how to get the black foam-core to bend smoothly.  The answer was to lightly score the back of the foam-core at one inch intervals.  That created enough flexibility to bend the foam-core smoothly to the desired radius.

The valance came out good and the curve looks very smooth, no kinks at all.

 Last up was to paint the previously installed vinyl flashing backdrop.  I used the same method used on all the other backdrops. 

Blue hazy skies.

With some black paint for the fascia, and signage installed, the helix will look as good as the rest of the layout. :)


  1. Hi Ted,
    I really like the improvement to the helix since the visit in November. The open design is something I might try on my Ma & Pa.....if I ever start building again! In spite of the peanut gallery, the fascia turned out very well. 8>)
    Art Kuperstein

  2. Sure makes for a striking contrast. Looking good!
    Lol my basement is painted that same color!

  3. Art, it turned out well because the peanut gallery stayed home. LOL

  4. Darel, Just finished painting the fascia and now it matches the rest of the layout. I can't take credit for the basement color. Amy had that painted before we met so it's all her. :)