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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
I honestly don't know. They are the standard kato unitrack turnouts.

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I don't use unitrack, I use Peco turnouts and flex track for my N scale layout, so I don't know how unitrack turnouts are wired, but the turnout should have come with instructions. You know the old saying: "if at first you don't succeed, get a bigger hammer..." Oh wait that's auto mechanics... "When all else fails, read the instructions!" Are you using DC or DCC? You can always add a couple electrical feeder drops past the turnout, a good idea no matter what to add a pair of feeders soldered to the outside web of the rails about every 3 feet, especially with sectional track. NEVER trust the rail joiners to make and keep electrical supply. Doubly important with DCC! (to go along with that don't use feeders soldered to the rail joiners either.)
Again, read the directions! Even tho they have similar names scupltamold and perfect mold are for exactly opposite applications. Sculptamold is a modelling compound used to build up area and meant to be the final permanent surface. Perfect mold is a mold making compound meant to be used to take an impression of an object or surface, be lifted off that surface and then filled with plaster or resin to cast a reproduction of the surface. One use on a model RR would be to coat actual rock surface to mold and cast a thinner lighter version of that surface to make mountains, rock faces etc.
I'm hoping you'll start reading directions and/or asking for advice BEFORE you make all the possible novice mistakes and learn it all the hard way. That's the beauty of having the internet! Had you cut the foam sheets in 1/2 the LONG way, you would have ended up with far fewer joints to deal with, but a bigger problem for you is you are going to have to stabilize that foam in place before attempting to cover, fill or seal the seams. That means gluing them down to the cabinet tops or at least a subbase of plywood or OSB, staggering the foam seams and the subbase seams. Otherwise the seams in the foam will just keep opening up every time the foam is disturbed. An alternative would be to glue a second layer of foam sheet covering over the foam layer you have without filling the seams, again alternating/bridging the seams in the first layer with the second sheet. It could be a thin covering of 1/2" foam sheet, or a thicker foam sheet that can also be carved to start your scenery contours. I would use Liquid Nails FOR PROJECTS since it is foam safe and available in inexpensive caulking tubes, Just gun it onto the lower sheet and spread into a thin even layer with a wide putty knife or plastic spreader. Lay the second sheet on top and weight down with whatever is available, weights, bricks, paint cans, gallon water jugs, etc and let dry over night. Now you can fill the top seams with joint compound, latex caulk (NOT silicone caulk!), or low expansion spray foam.
If you want to give track planning software a go, I'd highly recommend downloading xtrackcad, It is free, and there are versions available for Windows, Mac, and Unix operating systems. It is well supported and is continuously being further developed. It has a large user base/forum of friendly and helpful people. It is as complete as most anything else out there, and covers all scales and every brand of commercial track and hand laid track. I am using it to plan my N scale 8' x 18' 2 level layout with > 400 actual feet of track which equals > 13 scale miles! and > 60 turnouts.
Another suggestion for you: on a long narrow track plan like that, try to avoid long straight runs parallel to the edges, add some curves and waves, and run most at an angle to the edge. That adds a lot of visual interest to watching the trains run and gives space for scenery both inside and outside the track. You might look at some N scale track plans meant for 30" wide doors, a popular base for N scale layouts, then when you find one you like, stretch it or combine two into one to fit your space or look at shelf layouts and widen. One good thing about unitrack is you can build just a portion of the layout at first then open it up and add to it as the interest grows.
As far as dinosaurs, have you checked out your local Michael's craft store, they have good selection of dinosaurs in various scales that are very well done. Painting isn't really a problem pick up a few bottles of flat finish latex craft paints while there, and some painting or makeup sponges. Dinosaurs were reptiles so were colored earth colors in irregular patterns, perfect for sponge painting. Cut off a small irregular section of sponge, thin a small amount of paint about 50-50 with water and dip the sponge lightly into the paint, Dab onto paper towel until paint is almost gone from sponge then dab lightly and randomly on the model applying just a small amount of paint. Remember you can always add more paint but it's hard to take off too much. Look at modern color illustrations of dinosaurs as they likely were colored and patterned and try to get the same effect on the model.
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
Don't be so quick to judge! Most of the turnouts I have are non selectable. The directions for these things are basically correct to your track, plug in and go. The selectable ones do have directions, but they are pretty easy to figure out. Regardless, that wasn't the problem. I find 3 track joiners that were missing the little metal thingy (technical term) that makes the electrical connection between sections. Problem solved. They are easy to miss if you are using used track and have a long run like this.

As to the gaps, most are cut length wise for 8ft runs with factory edges. 3 sheets was the perfect amount with the 18" rip being used to fill the 6ft gap (3×8=24 leaves 6 feet to cover). I could have eliminated that with another sheet, but my car was full as it was and I had to cut them down in the Lowes parking lot. So it's a trade off.

We are also more or less set on the track plan. I think I'll just lengthen the siding for a passenger terminal and a cargo terminal. Either that or add another turnout to go under the bridge and have the freight area on its own line (maybe a wildlife unloading area!?). The loop needs one more turnout to complete it and will go around a pond. All of it is temporarily tacked down with HO track nails to the side to keep it straight. It will get glued down somehow once we are set.


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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
That first comment was meant to be in jest. Reading it, it didn't come out that way without emojis and I hadn't figured that out on Tapatalk. No offense was taken and I appreciate your comments.

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
Been a slow week, but I got some work done today. Mostly squaring up joints on the foam board and working on track design. Turnouts are wired, still waiting on one more to arrive.

I've decided on the water feature. This will be a watering hole fed by a few streams. I need to workout how to cross the streams. I can use girder plate bridges for straight sections, but kato doesn't make one in a tighter radius than 448, which is to wide for my needs. So what is an alternative way to cross here. I dont want a lot of elevation, I want it no more than a half inch off the water line.


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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
One other question that has come up with regard to what order your do things. This is only my second layout, my first I cheated a bit and used grass mat to be more kid friendly. This layout will be (from what I gather)a bit more traditional with foam board base and sculptamold/ foam/ plaster cloth terrain.

How do you paint around/near the track? Do you lay track first and then trim around it with paint and grass, or do you pull the track up and paint under? I can see advantages and disadvantages either way. I think it's because to put track down first to decide how and where the terrain will go, and with unitrack pulling it up isn't that difficult (I would trace where it goes first).

So what's the common way to do this and why?

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
Little progress over the last few days. The main hill is mostly done. I need a little more sculptamold to smooth it out.

Got started on the river and lake. I found 1/4 foam paneling at Lowes. Just enough to give me something to work with for the water. Much easier than carving into the other panels. I considered going with 1/2", but that would be a lot to fill with the resin. So waiting on my bridges to arrive, but as long as I can make them work with only 1/4" I'll keep it as is.

Also got the first round of dinosaurs in. They look great, hopefully I can paint them well enough to do them justice. I have found different files that will allow me to scale them for slightly different sizes, so I may try them next. That will give me multiple poses and size variation to break up a herd (pod? School???)


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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
Not much new going on yet, been a busy couple of weeks. I did pick these guys up, used but NIB. Needed since lube, but they run great and will be the backbone of JP railways freight operations. Unlike the film, our island is connected to the mainland by a rail service. Passengers arrive at the island via high speed bullet trainor by boat. Goods are shipped regularly by rail and an additional train will provide sightseeing tours. Since it's a tropical island, much of the produce is grown there and will have a fourth, small train that will fairy produce from the fields to the dock for processing.

The gentlemen that has the C44s had one more that I may go back for later if he still has it. I can double head the freight train and use the third for tours. Although I feel like a small steamy might be better for that operation. Undecided. The nice part about these is that they are undecorated and a perfect platform for a jurassic park themed paint job. In fact, I may just leave them grey and add some orange/ red stripes that mimic the jeep and some decals. The Hayabusa will get waterside decals and that's it. I hope to do similar with some rolling stock and already have a custom livestock transport on the way. Should be fun!

Also still missing is a passenger terminal and freight loading dock. For passengers i think a simple outdoor platform will work. For freight, I'm not sure yet. I want to keep it small for space considerations, but we plan to have a decent freight operation to include delivery of vehicles from the mainland. So the search continues.


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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
Looking for road bridges to get a gravel/ dirt road across smallish rivers/ streams. Any suggestions?

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Looking for road bridges to get a gravel/ dirt road across smallish rivers/ streams. Any suggestions?

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Down here we have retired flatcars used to make single lane bridges. Railings, when installed, get built using the stake pockets.
 

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Looking for road bridges to get a gravel/ dirt road across smallish rivers/ streams. Any suggestions?

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vette_kid

Almost any kind of small bridge would do, depending on how wide the gap to be crossed is.
I have seen the converted flatcar bridges that shaygetz mentioned, in fact I've crossed a few on a hiking trail. I haven't seen one used to carry a road, but there's no reason why they couldn't be.

Don't discount railroad bridges when you want one for a road. Some of the same basic designs are used for either road or rail. The main difference being the load rating. Beefier construction is needed for rail use, but smaller plate girder, and truss, bridges are widely used to carry roads as well.
One idea would be to use Micro Engineering's 40' N-scale deck girder bridge. It's not only half the length of the 80' models shown in photo 1, but a considerably smaller girder too. It would make a very nice little road bridge. Atlas offers built-up through truss and plate girder bridges in the 60-70' range. I would turn the plate girder bridge upside down, since deck girder bridges are common on roads, and through girder bridges a lot less common, but it will work either way.

Another possibility would be a concrete arch "small bridge/big culvert." These are super easy to scratchbuild using a piece of scrap lumber with a large hole drilled through it, and the bottom part of the hole cut off. Commercial tunnel portals can also be cut down to make arched masonry bridges.

If you look at only the small truss crossing directly over the rail line in photo 2, it would be only about 60 feet long, which is a pretty small bridge. The overall structure is large, and complex, but scratchbuilding only the one small part would be a lot easier. There is an even smaller example in photo 3. Again, you would model only the small truss section, and discount the rest of the trestle.

Good Luck & Have Fun;

Traction Fan 🙂
 

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Discussion Starter · #37 ·
Thanks for ask the bridge ideas. I've got a flat trailer on the way to experiment with ($5 eBay find).

In the meantime, InGen had contacted with Conrail for shipping logistics. While InGen will maintain its own small fleet for on island use, Conrail will provide freight logistics to and from the island.

The main reasoning here in the real, is that it's much cheaper to use these Conrail trailers that come with the piggybacks than it is to buy the piggyback and undecorated trailer separately. I have 2 -9s that are undecorated and will get jurassic park livery, they may get a Conrail logo as well. I'd live to find a pair or trio of matching modern diesels to handle the freight to and from island as well.

More to follow as I get more done hopefully this week. I've gotten started on securing the track down to the foam and the inclines sorted. Door shims and stops of corroplast make the transition from the higher levels. Contractor door shims are an almost perfect 2% grade or 1.25deg.


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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
My 3d printed jeeps turned out to be a bit small. These are closer to 180 scale at a smudge over .75". I was hoping to have a fleet of these being delivered on an open autorack, but they are just too small I think. Paint turned out ok...ish. maybe some liquid tape to help sharpen the lines. The surface is a bit rough though, so it's going to be a challenge. Thoughts?


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Discussion Starter · #39 ·
Hah a few hours today to play with the layout, so I finally got the rest (more or less) of the sculptamold down. Turned out fairly well I think, well see when I get the rest of the landscaping down. The edges of the lake will get gravel along with the "shelf" at the edge of the river. It's not perfect, but I think it will turn out well. You can see the shim stock I used for the grade. That actually worked pretty well and has a nice smooth transition to the different levels.

On the sculptamold, HOT water and a paint blade on the drill worked to keep it fairly smooth.

I've only got about a week left before I head out of country for a few months, I'd love to get grass and water in before then, but I still need to do the road first. Primary goal is getting the track hooked back up so my son can play with it while I'm gone, and I have some cars to do coupler conversions so he can use them.



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Discussion Starter · #40 ·
Can someone explain the best way to create a dirt road crossing on kato unitrack? I know they have grade crossing sections, but those are obviously for paved roads.

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