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What a finale!
Becoming second by half a point. Just barely won. Sure that does hurt a little bit, well just a little bit. Because what an experience this was! Just the fact that we had made it to the finals is a victory in itself. Of course we wanted to win, but if we are really honest and objective, losing by half a point difference to a team that has performed very strongly and consistently across the league. Surely that doesn’t feel like losing. We started with nothing, a bunch of inexperienced scenery builders on a TV show, all techies and “airframe” layout builders. And there you are with your nose in the finals in front of a great team and again over 2 million viewers on national television. That has been our gain.

But it didn’t look that way after our win with the trunk job. The panic was very strong with us at that time. The day after the broadcast we only received about 80% of the gear for the finals, and again we only had two days to prepare everything. Long days and nights without sleep awaited us in order to perform well in the finals.

We did have a very nice plan already, something that has never been done before. A lunar landscape…. How we came up with that? That’s totally to Ellen’s credit. In the fifth episode we talked about how the future could not be predicted, and philosophizing a bit about what the future would look like we got visions of the moon. Ellen’s story was clear and strong, we are going to seek refuge on other planets. We are slowly destroying the earth, and fossil fuels are running out. Science is already investigating the possibility of life on the moon. And on this we wanted to anticipate. In the story, we as humanity discovered extraterrestrial life and formed a partnership with it. His build for us stays with earthly atmosphere, and we in turn take earthly products such as transportation and transport but also relaxation and pleasure.

Our “lunar orbit” was to show a piece of such a world. Where the aliens built an amusement park for us. Every day a rocket lands from Earth in the space station full of humans and aliens traveling between Earth and the moon. Here is a reception for the aliens who, of course, can just walk out. People can also go out here to visit the lunar landscape, albeit with helmets on. To moonboard, or travel on the moon by train, visit a moon museum or moon wellness. There was also a supermarket for the Aliens. People also took the bad things of the earth with them unfortunately, such as Covid, so measures had to be used in the museum and supermarket. And mouth caps at the amusement park. But there is also a bus station that buses humans and aliens to the amusement park. here they can enjoy relaxation and fun.

Energy transition has also been considered. For example, the bus drove on induction over a copper-colored road surface. There were solar panels hanging everywhere and the train… Finally a good excuse for the pimples between the rails, this was the replacement for catenary for the train. Salient detail was that we ended up taking everything into account. For example, the rails are steel-colored instead of rust-colored. After all, there is no atmosphere on the moon. Also, the solar panels were facing the sun as was the earth in the background.

In short, a fun job with tremendous detail. But these still needed some preparation. The Aliens, for example, here Ellen made a total of something like 200 of them. And for observant viewers, even from the very first lane you will find them hiding on the lanes. For example, at Unstoppable, an Alien was chatting with Andre. Near Mother Earth, a glow of kryptonite formed after the impact and Aliens looked out along the crater wall. At Dutch Glory, an Alien was shopping at the supermarket. And at the trunk line, an Alien was cross-country skiing … But now a lot of aliens had to be made. Aliens au naturel, as well as version with mouth caps. And space helmets and mouth caps had to be made for the humans as well. The Aliens were made from standard figures on which Ellen modeled an alien head with clay and a tail. The mouth caps are made of paper and the helmets of hollow beads. At the station, we also depicted what happens to people who don’t listen to the rules and take off their helmets…. Have you noticed?

There was only time left for two preparations; the fourth was the bus lane. We had to do those there on the spot because the bus simply wasn’t ready to go until the first day at the studio. By the way, the bus lane is painted a copper color and fitted with cool-white LED strips along the sides. Over this we placed a transparent PVC pipe. So we got a very cool futuristic busway we thought. And that one popped out pretty violently, too.

The two preparations we could still do was the Dome and the amusement park. The houses were glued together and provided with light and movement. The dome was made out of a transparent umbrella. We attached these to a wooden board that we wanted to rotate with a window display tray. But there was the big challenge there, how do we then run the lighting? In addition to a DC voltage, we also needed an AC voltage for the Ferris wheel. We ran out of time to make a stable structure of turning and power take-off, which would be days of work on print times and delivery times of materials. Something simple had to be thought of.

We chose to use N gauge rails to mount two circles at the bottom of the plate. So with phosphor bronze, we could make tugs that could transmit voltage from the ground to the rails. Soldered to the rails were all the wires of the LEDs and motors. Because the phosphor bronze proved to give quite a few contact problems, we installed an anti-cutting buffer in one of the buildings. Arnaud and Martin worked late into the night to make this happen. In addition to making the aliens, Ellen did the dome lining and decorating the amusement park. But two days are really very short.

As a fourth preparation, instead of the busway, we chose to make a landing rig for the rocket. That one was initially supposed to land in public, but then the story didn’t quite fit with the bus stop. Surely people had to be able to get out in an atmosphere. A servo-controlled rocket hatch was printed out on the 3D printer. Martin mounted these on a shelf with small hinges. Under the board again a piece of PVC pipe into which the rocket could disappear. The rocket from the trunk line returns!

This time we chose to use a spectacular background. We asked one of our neighbors, Bert, who has an advertising agency if he would print the background and he was willing to do so, despite being very busy. Because by the end of the day we already had to have the background. And with success, we want to thank Bert for the quick turnaround and commitment!

Day 1: It has yet to land

We are tired, broken, having been building, building and building for 4 weeks straight. 3 days shooting, 2 days preparing and again and again. Everyone was wrecked, tired and running on their last legs, at least what was left of them… But we still had 2 days to go… 2 days to make the Moon Runway a reality. And then a third day to link all the jobs from the previous episodes. By the way, this was not only true for our team; the Orange were also visibly running on their last legs. This time we were allowed to take an extra member to compensate for the two days of building. And despite the fatigue, the enthusiasm and fun was not less, in fact we were more motivated than ever before. Collapsing is not allowed until 3 days from now, not yet. And so after Andre gave the starting signal we flew into the wings to get wood and materials. Martin, along with Marcel, began marking out the rails. Tijn and Arnaud started cutting the roadways while Ellen and Alwin started preparing the scenes.How on earth do you build a lunar landscape? We have never been there, nor do we know anyone who has been there. Nor could we find anyone anywhere who had already built a lunar landscape…. This was going to be a first for us, that was already certain. After the driving plates and rails were laid, Martin started milling the contact wire for the bus. But this was only to shortened duration. Because the hardwood was used, the milling machine overheated causing a short circuit. The tension was gone and both teams paused for a moment. Fortunately not too long and from team Orange we were able to borrow a new router. Fortunately, this one kept working so that after just under half an hour a van was driving around nicely. By now the train was also ready for testing, and this was a good sign. Because now that the train and bus were running we could start with the moonscape.Of course we have to talk about the bridge, because yes Martin did make Ellen cry for a while here. The idea of the futuristic bridge was an improvisation with straws which did not quite work out as planned by Ellen and Alwin. After Martin took care of it, it quickly became apparent that the idea was not going to work because the coaches would hit the pillars. Because of time constraints, and somewhat on the Jury’s advice, he decided that another path would be better. Ellen had a bit of trouble with this, with the fatigue and tension also coming to the surface, but after it became clear to her that it was not going to work, she too had made peace with it. A new idea would emerge during construction.To make the lunar landscape, we chose to use textured plaster and color it with gray paint. But before this could be done, the large crater wall had to be built in which the rocket would land, the train would disappear and the bus station would have a place. With 4 men, we started stacking and cutting XPS to size like crazy. Meanwhile, at the worktable, Alwin had built the bus station. After it was put in place, the crater could be finally finished with XPS and structural plaster.That smearing of the track went smoothly when you can get going with 4 men. Arnaud took care of the dome and turn installation. While Alwin concentrated on all the scenes we wanted in the job such as the hot tubs, museum, supermarket, train station, Ufo, moonboarders and yes even a cave with an evil professor. This time a female bad guy for variety.Everything started to get a place and by the end of the day the job was drying. With an hour left on the clock, we still had to finish the crater rim. The raised edges so characteristic of a crater. These were made from skewers inserted vertically into the XPS. Over this, Ellen stretched a blanket with plaster cloths which when cured should give the idea of a crater rim.The first day was at an end, the job is completely in plaster and hopefully dry the next morning. With 1 day to go, we left home for an evening on time to bed. At least as far as this was possible.

Day 2: To the moon with the story
The final touches, the last day of construction. We were in good shape after it appeared that the plaster had hardened. Production had put some fans on it the day before and it paid off. Now we could focus all day on finishing and detailing.

Because plain plaster is obviously not a sight, the moon is dusty and gray, not plaster. At the hardware store, we had gotten grout. This is fine powder that you can grout tile work with. With a sieve, the entire track was sprinkled with this. Because we used different colors we also got a depth effect in it. We used drybrushes and airbrushes to add further highlights and coloring to the landscape. The lunar landscape was already beginning to take considerable shape.

Meanwhile, Ellen had started on the background, which we applied to a plywood sheet. And after placement, it turned out that all the puzzle pieces fell nicely into place. The whole thing made sense and the transition from the crater to the landscape became a complete whole. Here we were all as proud as a peacock!

Evan stopped by again with the idea of lighting in the dome, and that again shows the value of a professional jury. Martin went right to work building lighting in the dome with LED strips. However, the success of this upgrade also brought a downside. The lights in the dome started flashing tremendously as they turned. The addition of LED strips which added up to half a meter drew too much current from the buffer so it could not buffer enough to stop the flashing. By mutual agreement, and with the reluctance of Arnaud, who put many hours into it, we chose to drop the running.

Now that time was starting to run out, time for the finishes. Ellen and Alwin did the detailing, while Marcel further detailed the landscape. Tijn and Arnaud finished the engineering together while Martin painted the rails a steel color. Meanwhile, the little fun details like the moonboarders, the Evil Docter in the mountain and Elon Musk’s flying Tesla also emerged. A UFO also came to take a look and Aliens in modified spider trucks were working around the crater.

And then there it was again, that whistle from Andre — the last time. It was over! AND more importantly, IT WAS ours!

The layout was completely finished the way we wanted it, there was just a model layout. A unique layout which no one has ever built before: The Moon!!!

Satisfied, we all left for the last day, the final day!

Day 3: When all the puzzles come together to form a whole

Today, the big day. What we have been working towards for so long, the final day. The day that all the tracks will be connected. When the trucks arrived with our model railroads and the doors opened, it was quite a shock. Although it had only been a few weeks since we had built the first layout, it seemed to have taken forever. Together we started to lift the tracks inside until all 10 were in place. What a beautiful sight that was. And our growth was obvious. 3 layouts in a row that would not be out of place as a module layout, followed by two layouts that really stood out in creativity. No high quality scenery model layouts but in line with the program. What a brilliant sight that was! Connecting all the layouts was also very fast and simple due to the use of C-rails and good planning. It was just a matter of clicking on a piece of track and placing it at the correct distance. Arnaud could in the meantime connect all tracks electrically while the rest of the team repaired the damage caused by the transport.And then the presentation, to our surprise, all teams that had dropped out were present to encourage us. The presentation to the jury of the Moon track went well, but then the difficult part, the train that had to run on all tracks. In itself not scary, we had already tested it. But the production would not do their job well if there was no twist: A wagon with a box. Top-heavy of course and just over the edge of the free profile. But as you could see in the broadcast, that too went just fine! Mission accomplished and now we had to wait for the results, as we were under the impression that we had a good chance of winning, but unfortunately that was not to be. With half a point difference we finished second. And honestly, we could understand it. Orange had been very stable over the entire competition and you could see that nicely when all the lanes were together. Our job was certainly not bad, but all of Orange’s jobs surpassed it. Our jobs started as model railroads and only after Hollands Glorie did we start thinking Out-of-the-box.But just to be honest, when you lose by half a point in a final you never thought you would make it in the first place…. Then you can’t help but be proud of the team, and the performance. We overcame ourselves, and not unimportantly learned a tremendous amount. Never before have we built so many model jobs with scenery. Usually we build runways to the point of scenery and then they go to the customer. Now we just built 5 model layouts including scenery and in only 3 days. This is an experience they will never take away from us again, despite the physical and mental attack we would not have missed it for the world. We want to thank the entire production of Concept Street and the Jury for this great experience. We would also like to thank all the fans for their beautiful and encouraging words during the broadcasts. The hobby is definitely on the map with the general public!

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