Scenery progress on my HO scale micro tropical layout went slowly at first, but progress has sped up more recently.

Since the last post about my Tropical Pizza layout, which technically is probably not really a “pizza” layout as it doesn’t have a continuous loop of track, I have been doing a lot of scenery work on it and completed the very simple wiring. The progress had been slow for quite a while, but in the last week or so I have made a concerted effort to get as much scenery done on this layout as possible.

Scenery work over the last week or so has progressed steadily, and now the scenery is very much enhanced, and can even be used for photography in most parts of the layout. I have added foliage, bushes, grass, a concrete port wall, various wooden retaining walls, larger tropical looking plants, and part of a bamboo plantation. I have also added ‘character’ items, such as some bamboo sitting on racks, cars, an abandoned and rusted ute, and general clutter.

I also ordered and received the motive power for the layout – an NSWGR (New South Wales Government Railways) X200 class 4 wheel rail tractor, by IDR Models ( website ). My wife called it “cute”! I think the purchasing of the motive power was really the motivation for getting the scenery as close to complete as possible so I can actual put the layout in situ under my Petra Pizza layout and start operating it. Here are some photos of the rail tractor and two 4 wheel open wagons, also of NSWGR origin, on the layout.

There is still some scenery work to do, and I have ordered a pack of 27 HO scale palm trees of various sizes whose delivery I eagerly await.

I had been wondering what control system the layout will have. The rail tractor I purchased is DCC ready, but instead of adding a decoder to that locomotive I wired a decoder into the wiring under the layout and set the decoder address to 21 (the rail tractor has the number “210”, so 21 is fairly easy to remember). Instead of buying a decoder and then risk it not working on the layout for some reason, I removed the decoder from a locomotive that I never use. This layout would be strictly a single loco railway, so there is really no need to have a decoder in the loco. Having a decoder wired into the layout will mean I can control it using the same DCC system as my Box Street, Pier 39 and Petra Pizza layouts instead of having to connect a DC controller independent of the DCC system used for the other mentioned layouts.

DCC decoder wired in under the layout

After I wired the decoder in, I did a quick test using a H&M DC controller to see if the decoder would work with DC (it did), and then I temporarily attached my DCC system to the layout and tested the layout on channel 21 (it worked too). It lives!


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