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This was a great reading your progress! Great work and I love the idea of using what you have to make it work. As I am doing the same now.
 

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Discussion Starter #242
Thank you for the suggestion of the door. That would be
bang on perfect: it's light and the bracing is neatly
tucked inside and will strongly resist sagging and warping.
The soft wood veneer will greatly facilitate fastening the track down. Now I can hardly wait to make a trip to a lumber salvage
yard.

I ordered up some 15" Atlas curves, just to make my life
a little simpler. On the trolley layout, with its nine inch radii,
it was a lot of trial and error to get it to set up. Twenty years
later, when setting up for an exhibition, I was horrified that the tension pried up a joined section within the curve, causing the trolley to derail every lap. No amount of bending or pushing or super glue would get it to sit down reliably.

Minutes to spare, I snatched a small truck, and super glued it just to the edge of the rail, so that every time the trolley hit the bad joiner, the little truck ricocheted it back onto the rails in such a manner as to be unnoticeable. I can be brilliant when I have to.

I've acquired a quantity of 12x12" styrofoam packing slabs, about 1.5 inches thick. This would provide the base for scenic elevations. However, if a small timber trestle were to be worked in, then it would be necessary to affix the track upon the styrofoam.

People do this all the time, but a lot of glues, even
Elmer's white glue, dissolves styrofoam rapidly (not my first attempt using styrofoam base, and never got it right). Anyone recommend a suitable fixative?

As to my presumed experience, hah, I have much of that, but
not the rigorous attention to detail that you have. I fail to recollect anyone having done wet rail, either.
Doors are great - they take track nails really well - the only issue is that you can't run wires inside because of the cardboard honeycomb within.

I wonder if coating the styrofoam with thinned joint compound would work. Cheap and easy, and the joint compound veneer would take anything.
 

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Joint compound. Will add that to my shopping list! As to wiring, one something this size a couple of drop wires affixed to the bottom is all that is needed. :smilie_daumenpos:
 

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Discussion Starter #244
Joint compound. Will add that to my shopping list! As to wiring, one something this size a couple of drop wires affixed to the bottom is all that is needed. :smilie_daumenpos:
I have a couple of large, wide-mouthed plastic jars from pickled eggs. Add a dollop of JC and then thin to taste. It keeps well in the jar and you can even have more than one of different consistencies. You can also add some latex paint and fine sand. I did this on the 'high plains' section of my layout, and also on the grassy knoll.
 

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Discussion Starter #245
Wow! I've always found small layouts intriguing, and this is one of the very best I've seen. Amazing what you've done using low end materials. I've been wanting to do a small operational diorama sized layout for a while now, and this one sets the bench mark. The water logged siding is an effect I've not seen before, and you pulled it off perfectly. If you would, please post an updated picture of the entire layout, to date. You did one about midway in all these remarkable posts, and it would be nice to get a step back and see where it is now.
Still do not have a good shot of the overall, but here are some close-ups:

Here is an area where water collects in a low spot where an abandoned track was torn up when the spur was redone. The water collects and undermines some of the newer spur.

The water is straight Modge Podge and the thin Modge Podge cocktail previously described, applied with a spritzer bottle. The meniscus is handled with tiny drops of rubbing alcohol. Some smears of acrylic paint (brown, tan, orange, black) both dry brushed and very wet (water) brush to make it look yucky and stagnant.

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Discussion Starter #247
Tonight I returned to work on some of the rough edges. This particular corner had never been done. I used some styrofoam sheet (from the packaging of the workbench mentioned in another thread) and cut it with scissors and a razor blade. The edges by the tracks were chamfered. I glued it with a few drops of Gorrila glue. As I added layers, I also used short pieces of toothpicks as nails. When done, I painted with the very thin joint compound colored with Ace Hardware Dinosaur latex that was left over from previous work. This seals the styrofoam and hopefully controls the horrible schnubbles that this type of styrofoam produces.

When this coating cures I will do something else, not sure what, will probably include sand.

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Discussion Starter #249
Question for youse guyz:

What do I do about this switch machine? I should have removed it before I laid the track I need to cover it or something but I am not sure how.

20190111_205625.jpg
 

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Love that work car. Mmm, the switch machine...perhaps a coating of your sand mixture, leaving the rounded servo part protuding?

Water effects look very squishy and stagnant. Speaking of stagnant, who in the world eats pickled eggs??? Or that many??? Only time I saw them consumed was on some Paul Newman film where he is a down and out attorney eating them with shots of whiskey... for breakfast.

Thanks for the tip on adding sand to the JC, that will be perfect for what I have in mind. I assume the dilutent is water?
 

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Discussion Starter #251
Love that work car. Mmm, the switch machine...perhaps a coating of your sand mixture, leaving the rounded servo part protuding?

Water effects look very squishy and stagnant. Speaking of stagnant, who in the world eats pickled eggs??? Or that many??? Only time I saw them consumed was on some Paul Newman film where he is a down and out attorney eating them with shots of whiskey... for breakfast.

Thanks for the tip on adding sand to the JC, that will be perfect for what I have in mind. I assume the dilutent is water?
LOL, thanks. Yes, cut the JC with water. You can cut it very slightly all the way through pancake batter down to paint consistency or even a wash. In this thread I previously described how I found a 5 gallon bucket in the dumpster where construction was being done. It had some JC still in it. I added water to that to keep it wet in the bucket, and decanted some into plastic jars. Each jar has a different viscosity and some is colored with latex paint. Coloring helps because if you ever get a little scratch or something the layout does not poke through white.

I keep the jars with my landscaping supplies, err, I mean random stuff I have latched onto.

Technically, the eggs in question are not pickled. They come hard-boiled, de-shelled, and packaged in vinegar. I have been eating keto / Atkins / paleo -- my own version -- for over 15 years and it is not easy to find good quick meals or snacks. These eggs require no refrigeration although I do keep the jar in the refrig. So, they are really hard-boiled with a tinge of vinegar taste that I actually quite enjoy.

Last night before I retired I figured that I would look for trouble by trying something that would ruin things. I grabbed the jar with the thinnest JC mixture - I guess really thin pancake batter viscosity - will almost flow like water. It needs mixing as the JC will settle so I shake the jar well.

I then grabbed a couple of tri-fold paper towels - like in the wash room at work - dipped them in the JC sludge and draped them over the still-not-completely-cured prior, thicker, green JC mixture. Worked with finger tips and then with stabbing motions from a dry chip brush. A nice thing is that I was able to drape the excess paper towel around back where it will hopefully add rigidity to the styrofoam stack. Poor man's fiberglass!

This morning it looks like this.

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Somehow through all this I did not get anything on the previously completed items. I will have to add more ballast on the distal side of the rails to fill the gap to the styrofoam.
 

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Discussion Starter #253
Sounds good. What happened to the rail to the left of the cut?
You mean by the switch machine and stagnant water? The original track plan was different - see earlier in this thread - and one day I ripped it up and swapped the switches around. That is where the original track was cut into the cardboard deck.

Instead of landscaping over it I took a shot at standing water and added the existence of the old roadbed into the narrative.
 

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Your great micro layout is spurring me on to make my own attempt, posted under Layout Design. I got that hollow core door, which took me on an interesting side trip to a location called "Harte's Mill Crossing," in El Paso, which I intend to model for effect.

I don't know why I never thought of using a hollow core door, that has been around a while, and it is the perfect base board: rigid and light.

I examined Joint Compound, and it has a ketone base, which to my understanding is a perfect solute for Styrofoam, so I didn't use it, but you did? A Google search turned up Gorilla Glue, which works fine, but doesn't have the thin property of JC that used to such good advantage to combine "wetness" and soil.

I am unfamiliar with Modge Podge. This is good for water effects?
 

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Discussion Starter #255
Your great micro layout is spurring me on to make my own attempt, posted under Layout Design. I got that hollow core door, which took me on an interesting side trip to a location called "Harte's Mill Crossing," in El Paso, which I intend to model for effect.

I don't know why I never thought of using a hollow core door, that has been around a while, and it is the perfect base board: rigid and light.

I examined Joint Compound, and it has a ketone base, which to my understanding is a perfect solute for Styrofoam, so I didn't use it, but you did? A Google search turned up Gorilla Glue, which works fine, but doesn't have the thin property of JC that used to such good advantage to combine "wetness" and soil.

I am unfamiliar with Modge Podge. This is good for water effects?
Hi my friend:

The styrofoam I used is that horrible, cheap, brittle, white stuff that generates zillions of fine styrofoam pills. The joint compound did not attack it in any way. I also tried a new trick with the paper towels. That also worked, but I guess the important point is that the straight joint compound did not affect the styrofoam at all. I was in a hurry to get all of the styrofoam covered with JC to seal it, which it did and helped the mess.

Modge Podge is a product I learned about on this forum. It seems great for water effects but i am by no means the expert. There are plenty of threads here plus utube videos that cover this stuff. I splurged on a small bottle I found at Walmart in the crafts section.

Glad you like the hollow core door idea. We have been using them for years. We have some that have Lionel track on them - used for Christmas layouts - off season I screw them upside down above the area where the garage door opens, as that is wasted space. I also built a small HO layout for my son, with my son, when he was little. I would imagine you can even cut through the outer skin, scoop out some cardboard scaffolding inside, and be able to use the inner surface if you want to make a water scene or something.
 

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Thank you for the tip, I used Styrofoam packing from some emptied containers that are, also, brittle, and make lots of nasty little pills, as well.

I will splurge on some JC and try it on some scrap to see what happens. It looks like you have achieved substantial result with it. Tomorrow: off to the Rio Grande with shovel in hand. With luck, will not get arrested by the Border Patrol.
 

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Discussion Starter #258
Got me a little bottle of JC tonight. Going to put a dab on some scrap Styrofoam and see what happens...
See my reply in your thread. I believe we might have a confusion regarding the joint compound. What I am using is commonly called spackle, and it is water-based. I believe the JC you have is for cleaning PVC pipes before gluing. That for sure is solvent-based and not surprised that it eats styrofoam.
 

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Discussion Starter #259
Here is the current state of these two 'mountains'. I am experimenting with painting techniques to improve the appearance. I think the smaller one will be more brown/green to align with the infield, and the taller one more gray/black/brown to align with the quarry. But I really don't know much about painting like this and I am not an artist.

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Discussion Starter #260
Needed to reballast the track by the Mounds of Venus and thought I would try something new.

I took some of the fine soil / sand I have been using - the material collected from outside when the property was doing some landscaping. It is very fine and gray in color.

I shoveled it in between the ties using the flat side of my trusty, wide artist's brush, and then swept it along. I added enough such that the soil was flush with the top of the ties.

I then added a homemade mixture of tan touch-up paint (courtesy of my landlord), a little black latex paint (made it gray), some brown latex paint (made it gray-brown), water, modge podge (not too much), rubbing alcohol (a lot), and a drop of dishwashing liquid.

I applied this very wet mixture with a medicine dropper, flooding the area in between the rails, and letting it soak in. As it did the level of the soil in between the ties shrank down a bit.

After it dried for a bit I then used a damp stiff brush to wash much of the paint off the top of the ties. As the brush picked up paint I redeposited it along the outside ends of the ties.

This is how it came out. Maybe suitable for those seldom-used sidings. Of course, it is on my main line, LOL.

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