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Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys,

I have an HO layout. Up I have an elevated section (about 20ft long) that runs along a wall.

The track is about 7 inches from the wall and my son wants a mountain/hill that is 17 inches tall.

I told him that is too steep to have a realistic angle.

We plan on covering it with clumps of green so it looks like a VT hill full of trees.

I bought a bunch of pink foam but now I am leaning towards plaster of paris and cardboard or maybe a combo of the two.

Is it possible to build a realistic hill with trees/clump stuff that has a run of 7 inches and a rise of 17 inches?

I enclosed some pics.

Thanks in advance,
Peter
 

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Peter,

Realism folks might disagree with me, buy my suggestion is to go for broke. Set up a simulated climb with just bare wood and some track, line up the engine and cars and see if she's pull the hill. If she fails, your son will see you tried and the train failed---but you listened and took him seriously. If it makes it, then you have the downslope to deal with.
The bottom line is what pleases you and your son. As long as you both like it, realism takes a back seat to fun.
 

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Peter if I'm reading you correctly you just want to use the mountain as a backdrop type item?
If so then I would go with cardboard strips and cover them with plaster cloth. Once that dries then fill in the holes with Scultamold or the Woodland Scenic brand stuff; once dry you may want to scrape to achieve the desired texture. Then you can paint with some cheap brand stuff and place your foliage on top before it dries and you should be set. 17" is slightly unrealistic however as Reckers stated go for it and if it looks out of scale too bad at least your Son knows that you tried "for him".
Most of all have fun; "it's built right in."
Hope that helps in your project.

PS: Pink or Blue Foamboard would work also but the Cardboard strips would be lots cheaper.;)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Profile of proposed hill

Thanks for the replies.

So I am trying to build a background tree covered hill.

I am worried that what my son wants is way too steep.

He wants it about 17 inches tall and I think 8 inches is better.

I included a pic with cardboard cut outs as samples.

Peter
 

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Peter, I'm sure you understand the issue is not "how high?", but rather, "how steep a climb?" Given enough track length, it could be done. I'm going to quote a segment from an article; keep in mind the maximum angle of the grade just happens to be the max they sell: "You can buy these inclines in different grades of elevation from 1-4%. You don’t want your grade, or slope, to be any greater than 4% because some locomotives won’t have the power or the traction to carry many cars, if any, much steeper than that."

So...a 10% grade means, for a 10" track, one end is an inch higher than the other end---very steep. A 5% grade is a one-inch rise over two connected 10" track lengths. Better, but still mighty steep. A 2.5% grade is a 1" rise over 4 lengths of 10" track, or 40 inches of length for every inch of rise. Definitely doable. For 17" of rise with a 2.5% grade, you need 17 x 40" of straight track to go from 0" to 17" with a 2.5% grade, or 680" (56 feet) of track to enable the engine to climb it. (It's early Sunday morning, so if my math is off, someone step in and correct me!) You'll need a similar distance to descend the hill.

There are two alternate ways to attack the problem. One is to do what a real railroad would do, and tunnel through the hill. The other is to use a helix to get your elevation: build a second hill and do multiple circles around it, climbing higher, so you get your elevation without needing a lot of linear feet. Then use a flat or climbing trestle to reach the hilltop in question.

Hope this helps!
 

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Peter, I'm sure you understand the issue is not "how high?", but rather, "how steep a climb?" Given enough track length, it could be done. I'm going to quote a segment from an article; keep in mind the maximum angle of the grade just happens to be the max they sell: "You can buy these inclines in different grades of elevation from 1-4%. You don’t want your grade, or slope, to be any greater than 4% because some locomotives won’t have the power or the traction to carry many cars, if any, much steeper than that."

So...a 10% grade means, for a 10" track, one end is an inch higher than the other end---very steep. A 5% grade is a one-inch rise over two connected 10" track lengths. Better, but still mighty steep. A 2.5% grade is a 1" rise over 4 lengths of 10" track, or 40 inches of length for every inch of rise. Definitely doable. For 17" of rise with a 2.5% grade, you need 17 x 40" of straight track to go from 0" to 17" with a 2.5% grade, or 680" (56 feet) of track to enable the engine to climb it. (It's early Sunday morning, so if my math is off, someone step in and correct me!) You'll need a similar distance to descend the hill.

There are two alternate ways to attack the problem. One is to do what a real railroad would do, and tunnel through the hill. The other is to use a helix to get your elevation: build a second hill and do multiple circles around it, climbing higher, so you get your elevation without needing a lot of linear feet. Then use a flat or climbing trestle to reach the hilltop in question.

Hope this helps!
I don't think he wants to run the trains up it. He just wants the mountains in the back ground.

I think the 8" looks better.
And then on the wall behind the mountains a forest scene would fit in nicely.
Unless you have an artist in the family to paint a forest scene on the wall?

Edit......................................................,

Look at his last picture Reckers.

Also you got a nice layout coming along.:D
 

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You're probably right, Ed, but I thought he was saying his son wanted to see the train climb the 17" mountain. The 8" is definitely the better choice of the two.
 

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IMHO 7 inches is to close to tracks.
as for height you can make it tall as well, but thats going to be near vertical rock face with only "climber" vegitation, leveling out for a hill with forest. but it will be significantly more complicated to make it look as good as short one

Nice picture that was exactly what I was thinking about adding some so high.:rolleyes:

But,
I would think he could find a spot to add just a little of the taller mountain like in the corner, to get the dramatic effect like the one in your pictures.

Take a drive on the mountain roads in New Hampshire through the white mountains................Just Beautiful!

Any season I might add.

Winter time is the best time to see the beauty of the mountains as there is less color hiding them.
I used to run the high roads through Vermont,NH all the way to the Maine coast. Or from Maine, NH to Vermont:D, Delivering cars.

Just majestic, beeeee u tifull!

A big horse under the hood and a good Jake brake make running through the mountains a pleasure.:D


Wheres that picture taken tank?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
OK, So we went with a 9 inch hill.

So we will continue doing this hill with cardboard and paper towels dipped in plaster of paris.

After that we will glue balls of poly fiber sprayed with hair spray and coated with Woodland Scenics green bushy stuff.

Hopefully this will work.

If not we could use rock sections and make it more vertical and then flatten out the top and put trees.

I'll post again as we get further along.

Thanks,
Peter
 

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