Layout Construction 4: Finishing touches on the trackage.

•February 9, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Before proceeding to the scenery part of construction I needed to at least pre paint the trackage. I looked at several options and most sources suggested airbrushing or simply spray painting. However this method may be not applicable for a number of reasons. First is the smell. It’s winter time so I cannot do any work outside or with windows wide open. Second is the fact that the track is laid right on the pink foam, which dissolves if thinners contained in paint get on it. This is not something that is confirmed for all the solvent based paints, just something I know from personal experience using selected brands. Hand panting seemed very tedious and something I tried to avoid. After a bib of searching I found a product made by Floquil. Sets of rail weathering markers: rail brown, rust, and I believe tie brown. Rail brown is the only color that seems worth using as rust is way too orange ind may be ok to simulate fresh rust but not something that has been exposed to elements for decades. So unfortunately oh have to buy 1 marker for $8. It is also difficult to get good coverage from this color and it takes 3-4 coats to do the job. I guess it has to be that dilluted to flow well enough to be used in a marker form.


Before starting the painting process I decided to add a bit of detail to the track in the form or fishplates I had laying around made by KBscale. I basically superglued them to the sides of rails that are facing the front of the layout only and then went on to paint the Floquil stuff over them. Here is what it looks like after 2 coats of the stuff.


After this is done I’ll go over the painted surfaces with Bragdon’s powders to really add life to the rail. I already tried it out on a small piece and it works very well.

Next I needed some throwbars for the turnouts, however I do. not know of anyone who produces these. Accordingly I used the O scale ones bought once again from KB scale a while back. Lucky for me I had exactly 6, which is how many I needed. Since these are under scale they do look to be on a smaller side, however it is not that noticeable to me, and that is the only thing I care about.



I gave these a spray of terra cotta followed by a light overspray of flat black straight out of rattle cans. Then I washed them with Raw Umber acrylics and AI solution. Then Brushed with Bragdons dark rust. Then I masked everything but the weights on the throwbars and sprayed them with flat white. Once dry I scuffed these up with some sandpaper and they are done.


These kits can be assembled in 4 styles of throwbar and weight combinations. As you may see I went with the same style to 5 of them and threw in one of upright style to “spice things up”. As with all things made by KB Scale these are great quality and easy to assemble kits.


And finally a pic of ow they look like installed. As you may see I started adding a layer of corrugated cardboard all around to bring the rail more level with the ground level.



Next on to groundwork…………


Chappee water tower. 1/35 scale.

•January 12, 2012 • Leave a Comment

For a challenge on Railroad-line forums I decided to build a wAter tower to go on my French tramway layout that still remains to be named. I have been modeling very little lately and hopefully this will be just the boost I needed. I found pics and plans with added on measurements for this project a while ago online at LePress forums I think so thank you to whoever posted these initially and even more so to whoever added on the measurements.

Theast issue of Voie Libre , a French narrow gauge mag, had some info on these as well. These towers were mass produced by Chapee foundry in LeMans from the 1880s. This mag is available I. English translation in digital format from a website called Zinio. No affiliation with either the mag or the site, just if anyone cares for this info.


I will build this contraption out of plasticard and post my progress here.

Until then….

Layout Construction: part 3. Complete track plan rework.

•January 10, 2012 • Leave a Comment

The initial track plan did not work out. The custom made turnouts that were supposed to go in didn’t prove reliable. Accordingly I decided to simplify things so I went with Walters shinohara #4s dcc ready ones. The plan itself was changed completely as well now being a simpler run through station in a small town outskirts with one industrial siding.

The turnout controls I went with are bullfrogs from Fast Tracks. At 6$ a kit the price is right and they work really smooth and reliably. The kit takes about 20 minutes to assemble. However these things are really strong and put a fair bit of pressure onto the turnout. Accordingly I had to secure all the track work with Gorilla Strength glue.

The running quality of the little decauville however remains below acceptable and something remains to be done.

This is basically how the state of affairs looks like on the layout. Next I need to finalize the track work and start burrying it all in groundwork.

Until next time

Thanks for looking

1/35 Stone House: another insufoam build

•October 21, 2011 • 3 Comments

I am growing more and more fond of insulation foam as a building material for a multitude of modelling purposes. Mainly though: buildings. It is incredibly easy to carve, shape, glue, paint, weather, etc. And no less important, it is dirt cheap!!! In fact, I am so fond of it that I decided to scrap the idea of using MINIART buildings on the layout, and scratchbuild everything from foam.

Over the last month or so I have put together this background flat for my 1/35 tram layout. All in all it did not take too many hours to complete, and is the most satisfactory one I’ve built out of foam to date. Therefore I decided to write up its construction process for anyone to reference if you choose to try this great modeling media.

1) I laid the dimencions of the future structure out on a piece of foam, including all the window and door openings, and carefully cut it out using a #11 xacto blade. I find that the best way to make the cuts is to go multiple times, but light at constant depth with your cut rather than trying to go deeper or zig zaging up and down. This way the cuts turn out fairly  straight and even.

2) Next came the most time consuming part: the actual carving. The stones are more or less random sizes, so no ruler was requires, however if I was to carve a brick structure, the process would easily double in time required. I carved each stone in a way that it was separated from the next by a thin strip of “mortar”. (IE Carved one, shifted over 1-2mm and carved the next instead of carving one on to p of another) This way the mortar lines appear thicker, as opposed to stones being simply piled on top of one another. At this point I also cut out and carved the under roof pieces, as well as the far side of the wall and the smoke stack piece. (the building is not exactly a flat, but will stand at an angle to the viewer)

3)Next I glued the pieces together. I used PVA type glue, and reinforced the joints by inserting toothpick pieces into the joint, also set on glue. (FYI any solvent based glue might melt the foam, therefore I would avoid using these all together)4) Next I started on the painting process. By first applying a basecoat of tan acrylic paint both on the outside and the inside of the walls. I made sure it was a thick and even coat, so that in case I was to add lights inside the building there would be no thin spots that would let the light through.   (FYI, just like the glue, any solvent based paint might melt the foam, therefore, the safe bet is to stay with acrylics only)

From here I went on to apply a number of aclylic washes of black, brown, yellow, etc nature until I felt I have achieved the look I was after. Once all that has dried I dabbed on white paint in a dry brushing manner to capitalize on the weathered effect.

As you may see, I tried to apply cut out rectangles of tape midway through the weathering/washing process to represent the places where signs once used to be, but the washes sipped under the tape anyways and that idea did not really work out.

5) Next came the roofing part. The base was simply cut out from cardstock, covered with 2 sided tape, followed by a layer of shingles, made of strips of black poster board with grey, white, etc streaks of acrylic painted on. I will not go into the details of the method, since it is not of my own invention, and was actually described by Troels Kirk on RRLine forums here: . The author’s shingles turned out way better than mine, but this was my first attempt, and I know what to improve on.


6) Windows came next. They were scratchbuilt from stripwood, finished with AI mix and dry brushed with white acrylic paint. I used no jigs, to put these together, but simply put them together piece by piece on top of a pre-cut to size piece of acetate.

7) Some detailing to bring the structure to life includes scratch built mailbox, door handle, flag pole support base, smoke stack pipes and the centerpiece of the building, old-style lamp. The lamp is a etched brass kit acquired off eBay by a company named “ET-Etch” I believe, and is designed to be used to improve the bulky appearance of Miniart lamps that are included in their building kits, and does a good job at it for that matter. The base and roof of the lamp are still plastic pieces from the original kit, but the “ironwork” is brass etchings. I inserted a light bulb into it with the intent of lighting it up one day :), whenever that comes with my snail’s pace of progress.

8)Next I printed up some graphics on an color inkjet printer to finish off the appearance, and here is what the house looks like in the end.

Thanks for looking

Happy modeling


Layout Construction: Part 2 (setting up track)

•August 28, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Since the last post I have collected all the track and cut it out and laid it out. The turnouts as you can see are Kato #4’s (some are cut down shorter), the flextrack is Peco I believe. All code 83.I hooked it all up to an NCE DCC starter system, and tried running the loco on it (the Decauville built on a bachmann side rod frame). At first it ran extremely crappy if at all. After adjusting and tweaking and oiling and breaking in it is doing slightly better, but still is jerky and stalls a lot on low speeds and on turnouts, since the frogs are plastic–didnt think this would be a problem when buying, crap.(any suggestions as to this matter are appreciated). I thought these are supposed to be smooth runners, I’m surprised. My second unmodified siderod loco runs equally crappy :(. I am thinking maybe to solder all the rail together, etc—might help.Other than that Im out of options.

Thanks for Looking


Layout Construction: Part 1 (Building the shadowbox)

•July 25, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Finally, after much thought and procrastination, this week I’ve put together a simple box that’ll house the future 1/35n2 mini. The box is made of 1.5″ x .75″ boards and measures 50″x20″x24″ overall. It is assembled with 2 types of braces: corner and straight, and came out pretty sturdy, although I might still reinforce the ceiling and floor parts. Then the base of 1/2″ pink foam was inserted, which will be glued to the framework with carpenter’s glue.

Furthermore, the trackplan is currently being reworked to accomodate commercial #4 turnouts, and will be posted soon…hopefully.

Until then, happy RRing


1/35 (If) Open Wagon Finished

•July 15, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Havent posted anything for a while not for the lack of progress (there has been some), but for the lack of pictures of the progress. Camera got lost once again and I found it just today. This project has been going in stages and about a month ago, I finished off the final stage: the hardware. Everything is scratchbuilt from stripwood, plastruct shapes and Grandt line NBW’s. (the construction of the frame is described in the 1st post on this project) Overall it was an easy build nd I think it turned out well, for the time that I’ve put into it. The corned bracing irons, came out poorly, but by the time I realized that they are crap, it was too late, and I figured….Ill make it work. The boards are treated with AI solution, and drybrushed with acrylic paint. The hardware is sprayed with testors flat black, washed with acrylic washes and dusted with Bragdon’s powders.

Here are some photos of the final product.

PS: As you can see on the shot with the Decauville, the coupling height is way off, and its a problem I havent come up with a solution for yet. I initially planned to use the loco strictly with Koppel dump cars and made the couplers to match their height. Lated I decided to build a common carrier…..(any suggestions on how prototypes might have solved this issue without moving the actual couplers around?)

Thanks for looking, happy RR’ing