Model Train Forum banner
41 - 60 of 80 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
219 Posts
Discussion Starter · #42 · (Edited)
I've been working on some other mountainous areas of the layout, blending them into the backdrop.

The first area is on the back left, where the trains emerge from behind the backdrop. This area is inspired by the Rimrocks near Billings, MT. I constructed it using styrofoam and Sculptamold and then painted it using several washes followed by drybrushing. I then finished the area by adding some talus and trees.

561961


This area serves as a sort of secondary backdrop. I've considered adding hikers, but I'm not sure. They would add visual interest, but they also might draw too much attention to an area that is intended to remain in the background.


A more complicated area I've been working on is the tunnel entrance near the middle of the layout. This is an area where the mountain must be rather steep in order to fit and also must blend into the printed backdrop behind it.

561962


I shaped and painted the mountain here based on the backdrop and used similar techniques to what I had used elsewhere. I also used lichens and ground foam to create bushes that would blend into the backdrop and provide some vegetation among the rocks. My inclination was to add more vegetation than was appropriate, so I constantly had to restrain myself.

561963



I added a rockslide at the bottom right side using talus. Ground foam on lichens made some surprisingly realistic shrubs.

561965



I finished it off by adding trees, brush, etc. near the tunnel entrance, adding weathered telegraph poles, and also placing a water tower.

561966


561967
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
219 Posts
Discussion Starter · #44 ·
I haven't done much work on the layout this summer, except for a few small projects here and there. One of these has been updating and weathering an InterMountain (?) Texaco tank car.

Train Wheel Motor vehicle Vehicle Automotive tire


The first step was adding metal wheels and Kadee couplers. From there it was a matter of figuring out how to add weight. As it turns out, I could remove the end of the car to access the existing weight, which I supplemented with additional weights.

Gas Cylinder Electric blue Pollution Soil


I also added ladders, to replace the ones that were missing. (Thanks, @Old_Hobo, for sharing some from your supply!)

The final step was weathering. I have begun weathering the couplers on all my cars the same way: dry-brushing a rust brown color on the coupler itself and painting the trip pins to resemble hoses and gladhands. For the tank itself, I wanted to apply a lot of rust, as this car would have been nearing the end of its service life in 1965. However, I had difficulty finding a picture of a prototype. (Apparently Texaco tank cars are far more common on model railroads than they were on actual railroads!) I did, however, find some pictures of broadly similar cars, which allowed me to study the pattern of rust. I dry-brushed several shades of brown, working from the top of the tank downwards. I also drybrushed the car frame and trucks underneath with some gray and dark brown. I finished with a thin wash of dark brown over the entire car.

Train Motor vehicle Wheel Steam engine Track


I added a 1202 DOT placard to each end, signifying diesel fuel, so that I could use it to supply fuel to my locomotive facility.

Train Plant Wheel Tree Wood
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
219 Posts
Discussion Starter · #46 · (Edited)
I've been working on a few small projects at the center of the layout, which is intended to be a semi-rural area on the outskirts of town. It includes a recently paved road, a general store, and a couple of houses. I had done basic landscape work here a few months ago and now have added final details.

There are two houses with a shared driveway on the right side of this area. I fabricated concrete parking slabs for both houses using cardstock, painted with light gray paint and finished with flat white and dark brown camouflage spray paint at a distance to add some flecking. The automobiles are by Oxford and the figures are by Woodland Scenics, with some painting and shading added. My daughter purchased the kids and dogs, which add some interest to this area. (She also painted the mortar on the large house, which she purchased second-hand from our local train store.) The patio furniture behind the smaller house on the right is fabricated from cardstock and styrene scraps.

Plant Building Mountain Window Natural landscape


To the left of these two houses is a paved road, which separates them from J & J's General Store. The road disappears into the background trees. The mailboxes are by Tichy.

Tire Plant Wheel Car Vehicle


On the other side of the road, the proprietor of the general store sits on the front porch steps to catch some early autumn sun and chat with her favorite customer. The rocking chair behind her, unused on this fine afternoon, is fabricated from cardstock.

Plant Window Tree Leisure Landscape


Around the side of the store, a father helps his son to pick out a pumpkin while two young men load supplies into their truck. A grandmother and grandson sit and wait for the grandfather, who has just completed his shopping.

Plant Building Vehicle Window Wood


Farther to the left is another house, which my son painted yellow with black and white trim. In the back yard, a mother and daughter hang clothes on the line, while the son and his dog play in the midst of their hard work. Porch furniture here was extra from another kit.

Plant Building Property Window Nature
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
219 Posts
Discussion Starter · #47 ·
I worked on another tanker car this weekend. This one is a Burlington tanker by Rivarossi. I haven't seen many of these around, so I was pleased to purchase this one online in good condition.

Vehicle Camera accessory Bicycle part Electronic instrument Train


The first thing that I needed to do was to replace the truck-mounted hook-horn couplers with body-mounted knuckle couplers. I had everything that I needed, in terms of the right size box and correct height couplers, already in my box of supplies, so that step was relatively easy. I also was pleasantly surprised how easy it was to disassemble the tank so that I could put additional weight inside of it.

Automotive lighting Vehicle Motor vehicle Bumper Rolling stock


The next step was to fabricate new railings for the top of the car and then weather it for use on my layout. For both of these tasks, I consulted rrpicturearchives.net. The photos not only provided guidance on how to weather this car, but also showed me that there existed no car of this type with such a substantial platform at the top. Instead, these cars typically had only a small walkway along each side with simple railings extending between the two walkways across the top of the car. Accordingly, I cut down the platform into two small walkways and shortened the side ladders. I then fabricated railings from some extra cab door railings I had purchased for my FT-A. Here is how it turned out.

Train Window Vehicle Tree Track


Initially, this task made me unenthusiastic about adding grab irons to some of my locomotives. I soon realized, however, that if I could be successful drilling holes in the small, narrow, angled, unstable surface of these walkways without any template to guide me, I should be alright drilling holes into flat, level, stable surfaces on my locomotive bodies using templates to guide me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
248 Posts
That is some great work, especially on the cars. IMHO, I think I would have given the lowest level of mountains on your backdrop a very light airbrush misting of your foreground mountain tan and brown colors to help the transition from foreground to background. The overall bluish color of the background is too strong a contrast difference, at least in the pictures.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
219 Posts
Discussion Starter · #54 ·
IMHO, I think I would have given the lowest level of mountains on your backdrop a very light airbrush misting of your foreground mountain tan and brown colors to help the transition from foreground to background.
Thank you for the suggestion. I'll have to look into that. The contrast is not quite as dramatic as it appears in the photos, but it certainly could be improved.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
219 Posts
Discussion Starter · #58 · (Edited)
I spent some time over Christmas working on my track.

The first issue I addressed was the seams between the modules my layout comprises. I built the layout in my garage as three modules, which I then moved to my basement and assembled into a single layout. With seasonal changes in temperature and moisture, the track joints across these seams sometimes were a bit rough. I fixed this issue by replacing some of the track so that the track joints were a few inches offset from the seams in the foam and plywood. This was a relatively simple and effective solution.

The second issue I addressed was the geometry of some of my turnouts. Since I began working on the layout at the beginning of the Pandemic, I had to use what was available. This meant that some of my main line turnouts were Atlas Snap switches. They had worked reasonably well, but the geometry was tighter than I wanted. I replaced them with Atlas Customline turnouts to improve the geometry. The straight leg is an exact replacement, so that was quite simple. The diverging leg required some adjustments, but I was able to do so without much difficulty. The result is more reliable turnouts on my mainline.

The third issue I addressed was points on some of my turnouts not holding firmly. I had intended to try Caboose Industries ground throws, but found them too big to look good or to fit in tighter spaces within my rail yard. The solution I used is one suggested by Lance Mindheim: thin plastic shims underneath the sliding rail of the turnouts. These use friction to hold the points in place when I throw them by hand. They function well and look good, too, as there is no oversized switch machine next to the track. I used narrow strips of clear plastic cut from product packaging, sliding them one at a time under the sliding rail until there were enough to hold the points in place firmly when I slid them back and forth (usually 2-4 strips per turnout). I'm happy that I found this simple, low-cost solution online.

I've also been weathering and detailing some locomotives and rolling stock. I will post additional updates soon.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
219 Posts
Discussion Starter · #59 ·
I've spent some time recently working on the streets on the town side of my layout. I applied several washes of gray, working from dark to light and sponging on the last layer. I used black ink to mark out cracks in the streets and a white paint pen to apply stripes. I applied several different types of sidewalks, layering paint colors from light to dark. Here is the result:

Building Vehicle Car Property Window


I need to do some work on the buildings yet, but this is a big improvement from how things were and incentive to get to work on the buildings. I'll probably begin with the buildings on the left side of this street: gas station, movie theater, diner, and passenger station before talking the various brick buildings on the right side of the street.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
219 Posts
Discussion Starter · #60 ·
I've weathered several cars recently, paying careful attention to differentiating among different materials used in construction of the prototype models.

Here are three exterior braced cars, to which I added rust to the metal bracing. I also worked to make the wooden walkways distinct from the metal roofs. (The lighting makes these differences difficult to see on the car in the foreground, but hopefully you can get some idea from the cars in the background.) Still much work to be done here in my yard area.

Sky Cloud Mountain Building Wood



Here is a gondola loaded with cinder ash. I made the load using extra extruded foam from my layout, painted black with ash from my wood-fired grill glued over top. I like how it turned out (although this part of my yard area needs work, too!).

Motor vehicle Watercraft Vehicle Rolling stock Wood



Finally, here is a caboose that I worked on, adding window glass, rust and grime, and making the wooden walkway distinct from the metal roof. I was able to achieve some good effects with various acrylic washes, which helped to bring out some of the details.

Train Rolling stock Wheel Track Motor vehicle


Updates on some locomotives coming soon.
 
41 - 60 of 80 Posts
Top