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Discussion Starter #41
I think when I get back to it I'll just try the drywall saw. The utility knife works, it's just a bit of a pain depending on the cut.

The outer track is pretty close to the wall as is, but I may be able to gain a little there. Maybe just a little once inch piece at the start of the turn to push it out a bit. I might mess with that tomorrow. The problem is I don't think I can push the apex out any. So the end effect would be a flatter apex with slightly sharper corners. That may be doable as it was around a 21- 22" radius as it sits. So I would have two corners that are around 20" radius with a flatter, but not quite straight, apex.

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I use a keyhole saw for rough cuts, and a rasp and / or sanding block for final smoothing.
 

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Discussion Starter #43
After adding a one inch extension on both ends of the curve I think I got us to where e can run passenger service on one and long freight on the other and still clear the portal I'm using. It's still not perfect, but short of pulling up the entire loop I don't think it ever will be.

Making progress on the foam. 2" boards would make this go a TON faster. .75" at a time is slow going. 5 layers before I had enough to clear everything. A few observations. Drywall jab saw is MUCH faster but also MUCH messier! Utility blade works and is clean, but also slow and probably more dangerous. But with just those two you can make it work, and most of us have at least one of those in the house already. I had both.

I was surprised to find some of the layers still had wet glue. They weren't moving at all, but I had to make a few cuts and there was wet glue after more than a day. Florida humidity I guess.



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Discussion Starter #44
Got started on final shaping today. I decided to use some plaster inside the tunnel. One, I wanted to see how it went (took almost 8yrds... Way more than I expected). Two, I wanted to give some extra support to the back supports, add they don't have a lot of contact patch glued to the main part. The thought is that the player would at least lend some stability there. It holds fine under it's own weight, but I'm afraid of it gets moved much they won't hold up.

I also decided to paint inside the tunnel. My son loves to stare into the tunnel while the trains are running, so I want to add to the illusion. I used rust-oleum accents stone texture. I gotta say, in my opinion this stuff looks awesome! Added benefit is it adds a little build up, so it easily another over the player cloth squares if you miss any. I think I'm going to use this stuff on the front door any rock surfaces and try the brown the front.



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Discussion Starter #45
Thinking ahead a little. I plan to do a stream on top going to a waterfall and pond below. The stream and waterfall can be clear with a few white caps, but what's the best way to convey depth in the pond? I want it to look deeper where the falls are and more shallow on the other side. I assume some darker color on that side, but I can find a good video or article explaining that aspect. Colored resin maybe? I have some liquid water type stuff from home depot that's clear and I have some epoxy resin and some color tints I can use. Or I'll have to order something.

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You paint the bottom progressively darker colors, which provides the illusion of depth. An airbrush works best for fading the colors together, but it can be done with a bristle brush. The key is to gradually fade the lighter colors near the shore to the darker colors which convey depth. Look at some overhead imagery of a lake sir slow-moving river and you'll see what it should look like. Coloring the water product does not create the illusion of depth, but of water clarity.
 

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After adding a one inch extension on both ends of the curve I think I got us to where e can run passenger service on one and long freight on the other and still clear the portal I'm using. It's still not perfect, but short of pulling up the entire loop I don't think it ever will be.

Making progress on the foam. 2" boards would make this go a TON faster. .75" at a time is slow going. 5 layers before I had enough to clear everything. A few observations. Drywall jab saw is MUCH faster but also MUCH messier! Utility blade works and is clean, but also slow and probably more dangerous. But with just those two you can make it work, and most of us have at least one of those in the house already. I had both.

I was surprised to find some of the layers still had wet glue. They weren't moving at all, but I had to make a few cuts and there was wet glue after more than a day. Florida humidity I guess.



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vette-kid;

Your tunnel/mountain is starting to take shape. Good work.
As for the still wet glue issue, are you using Elmer's Glue? It will work, but much of the area between layers of foam won't get much air, and that's what makes the glue set up, exposure to air. On a slab glue job like this, you can use Elmer's glue a bit like contact cement. Cover the full surface of both sheets with a thin layer of glue. A small, trim type, paint roller, or a wide putty knife helps with spreading the glue, but I just use my fingers, and then wipe them with a wet rag. Let the glue dry with the foam pieces still separated. You can either let it dry until it's tacky to the touch, or dry completely overnight. If you do the "tacky feel" method, line the foam pieces up carefully before joining them. The tacky glue will grab to the point where foam movement is very difficult, almost on contact. If you let the glue dry overnight, apply another thin layer of glue to one sheet, and wait about 3-5 minutes. Then join the pieces. The dried overnight glue helps make the joint faster and stronger. Alternative bonding materials are actual (non-solvent) contact cement, or double-sided tape. Both bond instantly, and permanently, which is why I didn't suggest them earlier. Either of these gives you only one shot at positioning layers.

Keep having fun;

Traction Fan 🙂
 

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Discussion Starter #48
Thanks guys. The water is the part I have the most doubt on. But it's not the end of the world of it's not perfect.

I used mod podge for the glue. It seems to be fully cured now and feels pretty strong. I brushed it on when a foam brush and let it tack up a little, as you say. Some layers may not have gotten tacky enough. That's me trying to get one or two more layers on before I ran out of time.

I think I should have used larger slabs to start and shape then not with a knife. I tried cutting sheets to the desired end shape, but I may end up cutting away more material than I would like in order to get the contours right. It I'll have to add some pieces back in.

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The stone looks great. I might have to think of a use for this just to try it out somewhere.
 

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Discussion Starter #50
Put the portals on today for a test fit... It's just too tight. I'm going to leave them off and just make a natural stone opening. May not be as realistic, but it will work. I'm not thrilled with my track work either. A few engine struggle on one corner at low speed as it's a little too tight, a consequence of improper spacing and poor radius turns. Funny thing is, my Bachmann E7 will glide through that corner at a barely perceptible crawl without any issues. The barely longer (0.25") Amtrak get stuck if you aren't going at a good clip??? Ah well. I will love with the imperfections until I can't.

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Put the portals on today for a test fit... It's just too tight. I'm going to leave them off and just make a natural stone opening. May not be as realistic, but it will work. I'm not thrilled with my track work either. A few engine struggle on one corner at low speed as it's a little too tight, a consequence of improper spacing and poor radius turns. Funny thing is, my Bachmann E7 will glide through that corner at a barely perceptible crawl without any issues. The barely longer (0.25") Amtrak get stuck if you aren't going at a good clip??? Ah well. I will love with the imperfections until I can't.

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vette-kid;

Your Amtrak engine's trucks may not swivel as far as the Bachmann E-7's, or the trucks may be a bit further apart from each other on the Amtrak. Wheelbase counts more than overall body length, and some loco's trucks turn further than others. The Milwaukee Road's Bipolar electrics were big locomotives, but they rode on four separate trucks and thus had a short rigid wheelbase. This helped them negotiate that railroad's many tight curves. These "tight" (by prototype standards) were ten degree curves. The HO-scale equivalent would be a 48" radius curve!

Regards;

Traction Fan 🙂
 

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Discussion Starter #52
Getting close. Grass goes in next. I went for more of a tan color. Actually, there is grey white and tan in there for variation. I ran out of grey and switched to tan, so call it a happy little accident (Bob Ross anyone?). It's not perfect, a few of the layers can still be seen between the foam. I think I can hide those with some foliage.



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Discussion Starter #54
Do you guys use a spray sealer, like mod podge spray (clear mat) on grasses?

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Discussion Starter #55
Grass added,I think it's shaping up nicely. Next will be trees/shrubs and water features. Oddly enough, as we were putting the rocks down around the pond my son pointed out that it looks like an alien head... So welcome to Alien Lake! Now I'm on the look out for a flying saucer and maybe some little green men!


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Discussion Starter #56
In its final place and trees and animals added. my son couldn't resist putting a few people in there. And of course for fun we have dragons and unicorns!


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Discussion Starter #58
First attempt at the waterfall is a fail. I used the water product from hobby lobby. The idea was to use crumpled up foil that would give the water some texture. And I could then dry brush some white. That concept seems sounds, but the product dried a little brittle and stuck too much to the foil. I'll try again with some modifications. Clear silicone might be better for the falls. I was thinking a thin layer of the blue behind the clear would give a nice effect, but not sure it's doable.


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First attempt at the waterfall is a fail. I used the water product from hobby lobby. The idea was to use crumpled up foil that would give the water some texture. And I could then dry brush some white. That concept seems sounds, but the product dried a little brittle and stuck too much to the foil. I'll try again with some modifications. Clear silicone might be better for the falls. I was thinking a thin layer of the blue behind the clear would give a nice effect, but not sure it's doable.


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vette-kid;

One waterfall technique I've tried is to stick a small, thinly-stretched bit from a cotton ball to a piece of clear box sealing tape. I then paint the back, non-sticky side of the tape with a mix of green and blue clear stains. I use Tamiya brand model paints which have clear colors available. Glass stains, or even food coloring, might work too.
The cotton fibers look like the white water of the fall and the back color represents the main body of the water.

Traction Fan 🙂
 

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Discussion Starter #60
Interesting idea! I'm going to try this again and spray some mold release agent in the foil first. Wax paper may be a better surface, but it won't give the texture.

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