With the annus horribilis that was 2020 done, I’m hopeful that 2021 will be just a little bit better for everyone. As far as The Hills Line is concerned, the start of a new year gives me opportunity to define my goals for the layout over the next 365 days.
Producing The Hills Line with James McNab for Model Railroader Video Plus has moved me outside my normal processes when constructing a model railroad. Normally I work in fits and spurts, alternating between periods of rapid completion and pure lethargy. The MRVP series forced me to be more methodical in my execution, since there were parts of the layout that I needed to wait to complete until I had the cameras rolling.
For this year, I’m hoping to get back to my usual style of progress, even if the result is more of a patchwork outcome. Lafayette Street in Iowa City with its convoluted photo backdrop is high on my to-do agenda, as is the brick canyon of industrial buildings along the road. The namesake town of Hills and the imposing Stutsman Ag Products complex also make an appearance, although that may still be a ways off.
To ease into the new year, I’ll probably start with some small projects before I kick off something major on the layout. Fortunately I picked up a Cricut Explore Air 2 for the holidays, which should help significantly with details on the layout. Ultimately I hope to end 2021 in roughly the same state that I ended 2020: being able to step back and take stock of all that was accomplished in the past 365 days despite obstacles.