Monday, June 19, 2017

Modeling an Interstate highway

As mentioned in the very first post on this blog, I had first gotten the idea for this layout while driving along Interstate highway 80 parallel to the rail lines.  In fact 80 closely follows the path of Southern Pacific line much of the way across Nevada and crosses over the tracks a few times along the way so I plan to represent the highway at some of those locations.

The first such area to be modeled will be at the west end of the layout where the Southern Pacific and Western Pacific lines diverge just west of the junction at Wesso.  This will a convenient way to have the tracks exit the layout.

Here is an overhead view from Bing maps of the area I am speaking of.  The orientation is about the same as it would be on the layout.  That is the SP tracks that are going under the freeway.  To simplify the scene I am going to leave out the 2nd street off ramp overpass.

The dirt roads are no doubt used by the railroad for access of MOW trucks.


I started with laminating 2 layers of 1/4 inch hard board together, one layer for the roads with a gap in the middle and the other to hold them together. Plastic strip was added along the edges where the bridge will be.

Then I built up the hillside / embankments that support the the highway assembly along the front edge.

As seen in this photo I have started to add base scenery to the area.  The .010 sheet of plastic protects the back drop.



A wood support was installed to support the highway on the rear side.  With built up edges on both supports the highway assembly will snugly fit into place but can be removed to access the track.






Here is an over all view of the area as it is now.  Still lots to do on the highway assembly, retaining walls, etc.

The base scenery on the hillside is still a bit damp but as it dries will blend in nicely with the existing scenery.  It's drying fast as it is really hot today.


Thursday, June 15, 2017

New cover photo

With about 10 feet of the layout having most of it's scenery finished I thought it would be nice to get some good photos and pick one to replace the prototype photo I have been using for about 3-1/2 years now.  Here is the one I choose.












The fascia is not finished yet in this location so I put in a Photoshop fascia and used the space for titles.  As I finish more scenes on the layout I plan to add a gallery of some sort to the blog, fun stuff !

Sunday, April 30, 2017

The white hills of Winnemucca

After taking some time off from working on the home layout to work on my Japanese prototype modules and take part in a 1 week long layout exhibition I am now back to working on some scenery in the Winnemucca area.


Winnemucca is the western end of the scenery on this layout.  On the prototype both the Southern Pacific and Western Pacific rail lines pass under bridges so I am using this feature to exit the tracks from the layout.   First step was to build up some low hills from building foam and some wadded packing paper then drape on the plaster cloth.

In the photo above the SP line is on the left and will pass under the Interstate 80 overpass.  The WP line curves off to the right and will pass under the Melarkey Street / US 95 overpass.  In reality these two spots are almost a mile apart and a couple miles from Wesso but as we often do on our layouts I am compressing the scene into a smaller space.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Line side poles

Look at a photo of any 20th century railroad line and you will see line side poles of some kind. These have been used to carry the wires that have done many things for the railroad including telegraph, telephone, signal control, remote turnout control, etc.  As the railroads adopted newer technology many of these overhead wires were no longer needed.  Often the poles have remained.

After working with a few different types of poles I over the years on various layouts I have decided to used the Atlas 2801 Telephone pole sets as line side poles on this layout. 

 As I have known I would need quite a few of these poles on this layout, I always have my eye out for any deals on ebay or at train shows for the Atlas 2801 telephone pole set.

Recently I found a stash of Atlas poles at a train show which I ended up paying $1.25 per box.  The boxes were quite beat up but the poles were just fine.


The Atlas set has 12 poles.  Some have transformers and trolley wire supports which I don't need.  The trolley wire supports are easy to cut off but I have not been able to remove the transformers without damaging the two top cross arms.
I normally combine multiple sets in a single box to save space.  The color of the stock poles vary from set to set which can be seen in this photo so I paint them Testors roof brown.




Before painting I cut off the trolley wire supports on the poles that have them and clean up any mold lines for flash.  Then I run my razor saw down the length of pole to give it a more wood look.





Here are three poles at different stages of work.  First I paint the top half brown, then after that has dried overnight hold it by the cross arms and paint the bottom half.  The after that dries I paint the insulators and cross arm braces. As a last step I then apply some high gloss to the insulators.


Thursday, February 16, 2017

Finishing the river at Gloconda

After touching up the base scenery around the bridge abutments and adding a few rock outcroppings I decided to finish the river with a coat of gloss medium.  The blending of different color shades when painting the river bed gives the illusion of depth.

I have been trying out the Silfourettes grass tufts from Scenic Express and really like them.  Some of the greener ones were placed along the waters edge.







I took this photo after securing the Gloconda section into it's place in the layout  and with the bridges set temporarily in place to see what it would look with the backdrop behind it.





Saturday, February 11, 2017

Finishing the concrete bridge at Gloconda

Finishing the segmented concrete trestle on the SP line required a bit more work than the thru truss bridge on the WP line.

A printout of this photo has been posted above the work area as a reference for me to follow.
The 3 bents that I had started got trimmed to fit into place under the layout.  Because this bridge is on a slight grade, each bent is a different length and the marks on the top indicate their relative position under the bridge. The bents and bridge were air brushed Testors aged concrete and after drying for a couple days were glued into their positions.
A layer of Hydrocal plaster was poured into the river that was deep enough to cover the cross bracing on the bottom of the pilings so it appears that they are driven into the riverbed.  The bents were covered with sensitive surface painters tape to protect them from getting any plaster on them.

When I removed the painters tape from the bents some of the paint was pulled off and had to be touched up with a brush.

The bents, deck, and abutments are being weathered with acrylic washes and powders.

At this point the bridge deck fits nicely into place but can be easily removed for working on the river and the areas around the river under the bridge.  When I am satisfied with those things, the bridge deck and track can be installed.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Finishing the thru truss bridge at Gloconda

Last summer in the post First crossing of the Humboldt River I had started building a Central Valley Models thru truss bridge for the WP line and was scratch building a segmented concrete trestle for the SP line to match the bridges in this photo that I show again here as reference.




Completing the area around the river is a combination of several different projects including the two bridges that are all interrelated.  In this post I will cover the the finishing of the Western Pacific thru truss bridge which is in the foreground of the scene.

After assembling the Central Valley Model Works bridge,  the abutments that it would rest on were made from 1/4 inch plastic material and installed into the scenery on each side of the river.  They were then brush painted with Testors aged concrete.  One of those is shown in this photo.

I have always noticed that none of the bridge model kits include the bridge shoes that attach the ends of the bridge to the abutments.  I found a set on the KD Models Shapeways shop designed by Dwayne Ward who is modeling the Texas and Pacific in N Scale and has a blog for his T&P layout.



The bridge structure itself was then air brushed with Floquil Old Silver. After drying overnight it was given a wash of Testors black acrylic weathering wash.  The weathering wash really brings out the details such as rivets and the year of construction that is cut into the top plate on each end of the bridge.

I am now applying some weathering powers to highlight some areas of rust.

Here is the same abutment shown in the earlier photo after the same weathering wash had been applied.

Those bridge feet seemed understated until they also received the weathering wash when the bridge was done, now I think they really show off nicely.  I will be ordering more of these for my other bridges.



The ties were removed from the middle of a section of Micro Engineering flex track and the bridge ties that came with the kit were popped into place after ACC was applied to the rail bottoms.
This assembly will be air brushed a rail tie brown color and be ready when the time comes to install the bridge.