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Author Previous Topic: HTRR - Chapter 2 Topic Next Topic: NMRA AP Civil Eng.Certificate  Support Thread
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Premium Member

Posted - 02/14/2016 :  3:54:33 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks guys! I painted them up today using 'soft black' acrylic (which came out more of a very dark brown color, followed by a wash of black. They came out pretty well! I'm in the process of installing them now and will post an update once that is done.


Country: USA | Posts: 13674 Go to Top of Page

Tabooma County Rwy

Posted - 02/15/2016 :  1:19:07 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Mark, the Chooch abutments are looking good - looking forward to more pictures from you.

I talked to Mike O'Connell, owner of Chooch, last August at the NMRA Convention and he mentioned one "trick" is to make sure they are applied to a smooth surface, i.e., foamcore like you used, or masonite or similar. A couple of years ago I tried applying some directly to the raw edges of cut pink foam, and as you can expect, they didn't stick very well. So they were pulled up and reapplied, laminated to a thin styrene base, which was then "caulked" to the pink foam.

Another trick I learned is, if the Chooch product has curled edges, maybe from being packed wrong or whatever, you can get them to flatten out to their normal state by heating with a heat gun.

Mike said he plans to introduce some sea-walls, hopefully soon (I tried, but couldn't pin him down to a release date).

If you don't know, Mike spent a lot of years down at Disneyland and was the producer of that hilarious video from the 1970s, "Fun With Model Railroading" (or some such title).

Al Carter

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Premium Member

Posted - 02/15/2016 :  9:37:15 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hey Al! Thanks for checking in. Thanks for the input. I guess I was lucky in that I used foamcore as the base. It stuck pretty well, although there were some areas I had to tack down with Goo, such as the corners. I am in the process of creating the landform around them and will then post some more pics of the finished area once that is complete.


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Posted - 02/16/2016 :  04:38:28 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I like it.

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Premium Member

Posted - 02/16/2016 :  10:09:35 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks Ralph!


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Premium Member

Posted - 02/17/2016 :  11:46:43 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Mark nice looking abutments. Guess I'll have to go back and read up on this thread.


"And in the end, itís not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." A. Lincoln

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Section Hand

Posted - 02/18/2016 :  01:15:09 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Looks great Mark, way back when I was first building the Buffalo line I was using the cast stone panels from Chooch. They had the look of the Brown era of the PRR when they used that stone all over the system. I discovered back then that if you cut the packaging very carefully you could use the vacuum formed package as a mold !! You could get 6-8 hydrocal sections out of the packaging before it gave up the ghost. Chooch must have discovered people were doing this as they later added a weathered sticker to the packaging ruining the packaging as a mold !! The color of the stonework depends on where it has been used. Yours as abutments on a bridge with a RR track underneath would be much darker than one with a highway underneath.
---- Ken

Country: USA | Posts: 66 Go to Top of Page


Premium Member

Posted - 02/18/2016 :  01:34:27 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks Jerry. I'm finally getting into scenery, something I've been anxious to start for a few years now. Of course it's been about 10 years since I did scenery on my old layout so I have to re-learn some of the techniques I developed back then, but it will be fun!

Hey Ken! Thanks for checking in. Yes, I have one of those cast cut stone walls and they are fairly accurate replicas of what the PRR used throughout their system. And yes, not only had I heard that, but I tried it way back when and it works! In fact the cast wall I have now is still in it's packaging and I was thinking of doing it again, but did not know that the 'mold' would deteriorate after only about 6-8 castings, but thinking about it, it makes sense. Since I need about 8' feet of wall on the lower track, I may need a different approach. I'm thinking of making the walls from pressed foam board. I tried it years ago and was happy with the results. Its a lot of work but may be worth the effort. Stay tuned!


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Premium Member

Posted - 02/18/2016 :  08:24:09 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Looking very good sir. You can tell in your replies you are enjoying this very much.


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Posted - 02/18/2016 :  1:22:51 PM  Show Profile  Visit nhguy's Homepage  Send nhguy a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
Going to look real good when installed Mark. I have several packages of the Choch flex walls myself. I haven't
had the opportunity to use mine yet but I have them if I need them. Good tips from the owner for applications. I wonder how long the glue backing lasts as I have had mine since they came out.

Ken, there's always Micro Mark casting kits. You can make a mold of just about anything. They are great for making repeats of masters you make so you don't have to spend a lot of time making each one by hand. I use mostly plaster/hydrocal casts but I haven't tried the cast resin yet. The resin should come in handy for making EP/EF3 electric loco sides and ends I need.

Bill Shanaman
New Haven RR
Hartford Division
in Colorado.

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Premium Member

Posted - 03/20/2016 :  1:51:32 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

Itís been a month since my last update and I have accomplished a lot around the layout, but sometimes I feel like Iím suffering from modelís ADD! I start one project and while looking for something around the room, I come across something that sparks interest in another project. Next thing you know, I have several projects going on at the same time, but making little real progress on any one project! I guess weíre all guilty of that to some extent. Never the less, here is an update.

One project Iíve resumed is installing decoders in more locomotives that I have yet to put into service, and update other locomotives to sound decoders. Some of the newer locomotives, specifically E units, will be for two passenger trains that I plan to add to the schedule in the very near future. Of course, this meant pulling out the associated cars for those trains which also require some work. The decoders have all been installed, but the cars remain on the service track awaiting upgrades needed before they can be put into service.

I have also continued populating the layout with rolling stock. This has been an ongoing project. I know the layout needs roughly 590 cars according to my worksheet, and I currently now have about 550 on the layout. So Iíve also been assembling kits that I have collected over the past few years and as a result, have added about a dozen more cars over the past few weeks.

But there has been progress on scenery! There isnít a lot yet, but there is finally green on the railroad!

First, the Vulcon Iron Bridge project that I started a few weeks ago. I painted the abutments with artists acrylics with Ďsoft blackí to try to achieve that aged dirty cut stone look typical in the northeast. This picture makes the stones look shiny, but they are not. The sheen in the picture is from the lighting from the lower deck. The bridge is only sitting in place in this picture and is yet to be permanently installed. I still have to install bridge shoes on the bridge.

With the abutments installed, I applied the hard shell to define the landform in the area. In this picture you can also see white foam core Ďwallsí on either side of the track. As this track is descending downgrade into staging, there will be stone walls on either side of the track. I still have to finish the hard shell behind the bridge and will then begin work on the stone walls. I am still deciding whether to cast my own walls or I may attempt to make them out of foam board.

More on that later as I got distracted from this project!

Distracted? Well, as I mentioned earlier, I appear to have been stricken with a severe case of Ďmodelers ADDí! A couple of weeks ago, friend John Rahenkamp began making some trees for me. Knowing I will needs hundreds, perhaps thousands of trees, who am I to turn down such a generous offer! So I turned my attention to a scenickly less complicated area where I could reacquaint myself with my scenery techniques. The most logical place seemed to be South Danville on the upper level. You may recall that a few months ago, I installed the scenic divider in this area and was anxious to create a Ďtunnel of treesí to disguise the hole in the backdrop that led to the helix. A perfect place for me to start!

Here is a before picture of the area, this one looking west, or towards the backdrop that hides the entrance to the helix. I had already installed the hardshell in this area last fall. You can see where the track goes through the backdrop and enters the helix. The South Danville team track is in the foreground.

Looking in the other direction, now facing eastbound, this view shows the rest of South Danville. The buildings here are only place holders, so I will not scenic the area against the wall until final structures are selected.

At this point, I have painted the track and applied an initial application of textures, including real dirt. It is starting to bring the scene to life! Itís been about 10 years since I did any scenery work so I feel like Iím starting all over again, re-learning the techniques I developed years ago, but itís coming back to me.

And finally a closeup of the track where it disappears into the backdrop. The hillsides here will be populated with more trees creating a tunnel effect, but as you can see, the hole in the backdrop is hidden at this point and the effect is just what I was looking for!

Iím really beginning to enjoy working on the scenery. I plan to keep working in this area and fill the area with the trees that I have for now, and then move around the layout and work on areas that are between towns to create the scene breaks. Stay tuned!


Country: USA | Posts: 13674 Go to Top of Page

Engine Wiper

Posted - 03/20/2016 :  2:19:22 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Looking great Mark!

In those 10yrs you have taken off from major scenery work the products available have come light years along! Now dont forget to put some mud fouled ballast in there someplace. This is Pennsy towards the end right?

"the sleep of a laboring man is sweet"

Country: USA | Posts: 132 Go to Top of Page


Premium Member

Posted - 03/20/2016 :  3:19:52 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Oh yes Bob, you are correct. That will be the fun part, recreating those effects. I was just talking to Harsco about helping me get started on Glen Burn (yes, another distraction) and needless to say, a lot of the track there will be near buried.


Country: USA | Posts: 13674 Go to Top of Page


Posted - 03/20/2016 :  3:37:03 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Best part of the layout building process...turning imagination into reality! Of course, it's possible to become too vapor-locked on find the "perfect" solution, but that's what they make utility knives for. Looking good, Mark....

Country: USA | Posts: 1320 Go to Top of Page


Premium Member

Posted - 03/20/2016 :  6:16:02 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Boy, your scenery efforts have sure made a big difference in those areas, Mark. Very nice.


Modeling the railroads of the Jersey Highlands in HO and the logging railroads of Pennsylvania in HOn3

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