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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Many of you have seen my thread "considering N scale". Well the adventure begins! Our location gives me 30" wide and 30' long with a tunnel through the wall into an adjacent room. The other room is just enough room to turn the train around in.

This will also be "kid friendly" and my 7yo seems to be calling the shots! We aren't going for a specific location or railway. Right now we just have a JNR Hayabusa bullet train and are strongly considering a fantasy, jurassic park style location with typical forest, a caretakers village and maybe a "tourist town".

...yep... dinosaurs. Many here might look down on this idea, but it's our railroad..
So, our rules. And it keeps the kids interested, fosters imagination and interest in the sciences. And it's fun!

All that said, we have a good collection of kato unitrack and have laid down a foamboard foundation. I need to finalize the track plan and start on the topography.



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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
One question so far. My HO layout is on a solid wood surface. This time I am using foam board and plan to use brown paint and woodlands scenics grass. Because the layout is so long, there are multiple seems between foam panels. How do you cover these up? I had thought of taping them but assume I would then have lines from the tape edge. Putty?

Second question,I want to make some rolling hills, maybe some rocky outcroppings. The easiest would be to use plaster cloth. That would make it more difficult to plant trees after the fact (I planned to use the type you can just push into the foam). So what other methods would work? Spray foam shaped with a putty knife?

3rd, anyone have a source for 1:160 dinosaurs or jurassic park items!?

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Sealing the seams with tape could be problematic if the sticky on the tape failed with age and started to peel up. I've never done it, but I'd think plaster would do well. A caulk would also work, and would be flexible to allow small movements of the foam panels. Once you paint it and apply some grass and/or dirt the seam should be pretty well hidden, especially if you do some rolling hills in those areas.

Simply poking a hole in the hills would allow you to insert tree trunks. Gluing them in place would hold them vertical. Spray foam is so sticky and gooey, I'd never use it on a layout. Once it sets it's OK, but trying to shape it could be a nightmare!

I like your idea of the dinosaurs! Might as well make a fantasy layout a true fantasy land.

You are so fortunate to have all that space to build. And sharing with your son...Awesome!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The blade went at an angle on a few. Probably because I had to cut them in the Lowes parking lot so they would fit in my car !


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I wouldn't be concerned with scale dinosaurs on a fantasy railroad.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I wouldn't be concerned with scale dinosaurs on a fantasy railroad.
I get what your saying, but what we have is comically large. Even my 7yo isn't happy with that, so something smaller is needed. If they exist in scale, great; if not, I'll just find something that's close enough

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vette I used joint compound to fill seems in my foam.
With big seems like yours might take two application to get smooth.
I just sanded the compound down once dry.
Where its real wide you might stuff something in there as a filler.
Even heavy paper (grocery bag?) would work if pushed down tightly.

Magic
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Only a few are wide like that. Most are factory edges and fit nice and tight. I'll see if I can tighten them a little and look into some joint compound

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The dinosaurs are going to be more difficult than I thought. While they do not have to be 1:160 or 150 scale, I think they need to be at least no larger than around 1:100 and they need to be somewhat scaled to each other. Brachiosaurus needs to be roughly twice the size of TRex.

May seem odd to many of you, but I do want it to look somewhat realistic. I think it will make a fun and interesting scene if done right. And my son is into dinosaurs enough that he highlights the sizes aren't right on the ones he has (T Rex bigger than Brachiosaurus). I'm sure we can find some jeeps to paint in a rough jurassic park theme.

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Here is one from Shapeways I found: David Krentz Dinosaurs by dkrentz - Shapeways Shops. He says they are 1/144th scale, which should be close enough that you can make it work, and they are at least all the same scale. You will probably have to paint them after you get them.

For a fun alternative, there is a group that makes dioramas based on Kato N scale buildings and Godzilla attacking. My son showed it to me one time (he likes to do miniatures for war gaming) and I cannot find it now, but I will get with him next week about it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Those are perfect! Thank you. Painting scares me a bit, I've never done that level of detail paint. But I'll give it a go!

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Those are perfect! Thank you. Painting scares me a bit, I've never done that level of detail paint. But I'll give it a go!

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vette_kid;

You and your son are not the first to feature dinosaurs on a train layout. I've seen modular layouts at train shows that had a dinosaur section. Of course I've also seen my share of (human) "dinosaurs" standing next to train layouts, and now, I are one! o_O
As for painting your dinosaurs, the ideal way would be with an airbrush. If you don't have an airbrush, but do have an air compressor, or access to one, Harbor freight sells a basic, but perfectly functional, airbrush for $10. (see photo)
I have one, and find it so easy and convenient to use, that I seldom use my much more expensive model.

They could also be brush painted. That way, you could use simple, inexpensive craft paints available at Walmart or any craft store. These water-based paints are too thick for an airbrush, but will work fine with simple artist's type brushes. They cover well, dry to a flat finish and can be cleaned up with soap & water.

If you use drywall joint compound to fill the cracks between foam panels, you can also use drywall tape to cover the wider cracks & coat that with the joint compound. Drywall pros, and amateurs' do this all the time.
Do not use expanding spray foam around your little guy. That stuff is an extremely powerful adhesive, and nearly impossible to get off. Think of it as super glue in a high-capacity, hard to control, spray can.

Traction Fan 🙂
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks TF! I'm all too familiar with the properties of expanding spray foam! I carried it around for a week on my hand!!

If line to try my hand at air brushing. Are the cheap compressors at HF worth trying? I have a large garage compressor, but it isn't filtered enough for painting and is expensive and difficult to do that.

Id love to create the large gates from the movie for the tunnel entrance too. I'd think a true modeler would find 3d printer and some software to be really useful.

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If you don't have compressor then I think your better off with a small compressor build tor an airbrush that has the moisture trap and all built in and is QUIET! Nothing like spraying away and have the compressor kick in and make you jump and spray goes everywhere. Also the big compressor are sometimes not oilless and you don't want the paint contaminated with a little oil! I think Harbor freight also sells them.
 

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Thanks TF! I'm all too familiar with the properties of expanding spray foam! I carried it around for a week on my hand!!

If line to try my hand at air brushing. Are the cheap compressors at HF worth trying? I have a large garage compressor, but it isn't filtered enough for painting and is expensive and difficult to do that.

Id love to create the large gates from the movie for the tunnel entrance too. I'd think a true modeler would find 3d printer and some software to be really useful.

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vette_kid;

I've never owned a small air compressor from Harbor Freight, so I can't say if they are good or not. Generally speaking, Harbor freight's products are pretty low quality, but you do find the occasional item that's fine for a given job. The $10 airbrush is a good example.
I have a small oil less diaphragm type made by Paasche, which is a very good brand of airbrushes and compressors. I paid $50 for it about 45 years ago, and it still works well, and quietly. I have never had to fix it.
I also have a big air compressor made by Ridgid which I can use for an airbrush, though it is normally used for other purposes. It is also an oil less model and is a lot louder. To use an airbrush with a big compressor, it needs a pressure regulator, (built-into my Ridgid) and a moisture trap. To be effective, the moisture trap needs to be about 15-20 feet down a hose, to let the warm air from the compressor cool down enough for the moisture in that air to condense into water.
There are also compressed air cans that can be used to operate an airbrush. But, if you do much airbrushing, you soon get tired of the considerable limitations of the cans, and buy a compressor. You might look on Amazon, and read the reviews. I usually start first with the negative, one star, reviews t find out what's wrong with the product, and then move on to the positive ones.
An airbrush, and compressor, are very handy items for model railroading. I've used mine for everything from repainting locomotives, to painting clouds on backdrops, to weathering cars & structures.

Traction Fan 🙂
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Ok, a little lesson in failure today. I'm making a mini diorama for my daughter (unicorns and fairies!). It's a great test bed for the larger scale that will be my layout. Anyway, I did not have sculptamold available, assuming it's a molding compound, I used perfect mold. If this is anything like sculptamold then this is going to be a challenge. This stuff set VERY quickly making it hard to work it in appropriately and I'm concerned about it taking paint as it seems to have a glossy sheen to it.

On a plus side, I think it will make great mold for when i find a dinosaur I like, i can recreate them!



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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Hind sight I realize a grossly misunderstood this process and the fact that sculptamold is entirely different from molding compound...doh! Ah well, live and learn.

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Hind sight I realize a grossly misunderstood this process and the fact that sculptamold is entirely different from molding compound...doh! Ah well, live and learn.

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Yep! it is. And you can't make Penicillin from it either. 😄 I use Elmer's wood filler for some of my scenery work. It gives you a long working time as it sets up hard overnight. Its water soluble and takes paint well.

Traction Fan 🙂
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Well thankfully all the mold compound peeled up overnight. No harm, no foul.

On another note, playing with the track some and added a siding for a passenger terminal. For some reason the track lost power past the turnout. So something wrong with the turnouts? I'll have to do some investigating on that.

I'm still tempted to get the license for anyrail, but with unitrack is fairly easy to experiment until you get what you want. At least with my layout. Although it's large, it's fairly simple. One loop with a siding for passenger terminal and one for cargo (eventually).



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Are they power routing with the point position? If so, wire a drop to the diverging leg.
 
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