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  • Topic: The Path Valley Railway

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    • November 6, 2016 1:16 PM EST
      • Shut up Rooster
         
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      Looks good so far.  On30 is the way to go if you cant d 1:20.  They have nice track for this scale and cars.  I always liked the Bachmann line just wish they would produce them in 1:20.

    • November 6, 2016 2:58 PM EST
      • Milpitas, California
         
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      Kevin, who makes that foam and where did you buy it?  Does it deaden the train noise pretty good and is it a good alternative to Homasote?

    • November 6, 2016 4:55 PM EST
      • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
         
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      Its insulation foam available at your local home improvement center (Home Depot, Lowe's). Its supposed to deaden the noise, but a single sheet, unsupported, can act like a drum head, amplifying the noise. But properly supported, it does dampen the noise. Its extruded Styrofoam, so it does not hold nails anything like Homasote does.

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      Shannon car Shops
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      I.A.R.R.R. Member #12

      and King Butt Modeler

    • November 6, 2016 6:35 PM EST
      • The Villages, FL
         
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      Hi Kevin,

           I saw Clem at the Syracuse train show today and told him you thanked him publicly for the track shipment.  He was pleased to know of your progress.  There were some vendors with buildings and scenery, little On30 rolling stock. 
      I'm leaning,

      Tom

    • November 7, 2016 2:52 AM EST

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      I had a rare Sunday with nothing planned, so I headed to the workshop to see how much progress I could make. I wanted to play with some spray foam I had bought for the mountains. Layering up multiple layers of 1/2" foam seemed like a lot of work for a mountain. I used the foam to form bulkheads to guide the rough shape, then sprayed foam into the openings and let it do its thing.

       

       

      I would suggest to anyone looking to try this method, take your time and spray the foam in multiple layers. Spray some, let it cure, then spray some more. I didn't. As you can see in the above photo, I did everything in one fell swoop. All well and good, but--like a cake--sometimes the middle doesn't get done.

       

       

      When I went to cut away the rather bulbous mountain that had formed (I underestimated how much this stuff expands), I discovered that the middle hadn't cured. It set up once exposed to the air, but was a lot less dense than the outer layers. I'll patch that with more foam or Sculptamold when I get to that part.

       

      While the foam was curing, I got to working on the track on the second shelf.

       

       

      The diamond crossing is the key to the track layout here, and this photo shows how I laid things out to get the final alignment before I laid the switches.

       

      Here's the finished shelf. The two tracks on the upper left are storage and interchange tracks. The passing siding has two tails; one is the runaround for the locomotive (right-most track). The next track in will go to a freight depot, not that folks will be able to see it. The track leading to the lower left goes to the creamery.

       

      Next task, the lift-out bridge that will connect the two shelves. If luck holds out, I'll get to working on that tomorrow.

       

      Later,

       

      K

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    • November 7, 2016 5:16 PM EST
      • Southern Illinois
         
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      Kevin, you said - 'take your time and spray the foam in multiple layers. Spray some, let it cure, then spray some more. I didn't. As you can see in the above photo, I did everything in one fell swoop."

      Yep, everybody does that. ;- 0

      You said - "I underestimated how much this stuff expands"

      Yep, everybody does that. ;- 0

      Question - How'd ya keep it off your camera?

      We"ve got a guy in the camping area of the Ridge Live Steamers" using it to seal up a place on his travel trailer where bees have made/are making a nest.  The stuff is everywhere.  And has started growing as the bees carry it around 

       

       

    • November 7, 2016 7:18 PM EST
      • Rooster Works "Area 69" ,
         
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      You purchased the heavy duty stuff. There are several grades of Great Stuff foam. Look into the minimal expanding for around windows and doors.

    • November 8, 2016 12:43 AM EST

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      Michael Kirrene said:

      Kevin, who makes that foam and where did you buy it?  Does it deaden the train noise pretty good and is it a good alternative to Homasote?

      Michael, the pink foam is 1/2" foam insulation. Lowe's sells the pink stuff (Owens Corning, I think) and Home Depot sells the blue stuff (Dow). They sell it in multiple thicknesses. Most folks use the 2" thick stuff. Since I'm using hollow-core doors as my base, I didn't need to worry about strength.

       

      The white inclines are made by Woodland Scenics. They sell them in 2%, 3%, and 4%. They work very well. The only catch is that they're zig-zagged so they can go around curves, and you've got to fill in the openings before you ballast. The nice thing about the 3% ones are that they're all fairly shallow.

       

      Later,

       

      K

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    • December 3, 2016 7:28 AM EST
      • Shut up Rooster
         
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      Kevin your slacking.  Waiting for some updates

    • December 12, 2016 3:56 AM EST

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      Alright, already!!! ;)

       

      Actually, I've been quite busy over the past month (I guess it has been a while since I updated...)

       

      First thing, the lift-out section.

       

       

      A pair of cabinet hinges hold the one end to the shelf under the stairs. The key with this is making sure the hinge point is even with (or above) the rails, so they don't catch as the lift-out section lifts out. The gap is about 3/16", which the trains seem to navigate without issue. I was hoping to have the hinges fit on the bottom of the lift-out section, as that's probably a stronger arrangement, but I'm using very coarse wood screws to hold them in place, so I think I'm good. It's On30. If it were large scale, I'd have made sure the hinges were at the bottom, or used nuts and bolts instead.

       

       

      Here's the lift-out section raised up.

       

       

      On the other end, small pins line the lift-out section up with the static extension.

       

       

      The other end, lowered into position. I glued the track to the foam, but also drilled and pinned the ties in position on either side of the gap just as an extra precaution against movement. Once everything is ballasted and scenery in place, I don't think anything's going to move on me, but until that happens (which, who knows when that will happen), this is a bit of extra support.

       

       

      I'm using Caboose Industries sprung ground throws to control my Micro Engineering switches. This being O scale as opposed to HO, I had to bend new throw rods to go between the switch machine and the throw bar on the switch. Otherwise, the machine would be too close to the track and the trains would hit it.

       

       

      There's one switch at the back end of the runaround that is hard to reach, so I rigged a remote throw for it.

       

       

      Here's the bell crank arrangement at the switch. I managed to break the original throw bar on the switch through this process, so I had to repair the switch. Suffice to say I'm not ready to make a habit out of handlaying On30 switches. This stuff is small compared to large scale.

       

       

      The track at Little Whinging, ready for service.

       

       

      Godrick's Hollow is coming along as well. The track is now glued in place, and I'm beginning to install the switch machines here, too. Can't wait for the new Caboose Hobbies to open, so I can go to a local hobby shop that actually stocks more than a token amount of train stuff. I cleaned them out of all 3 (!) ground throws.

       

       

       

       

      Now, this has not been "all work and no play." In fact, I've been doing quite a bit of playing. (I'll write up my Tsunami2 installation into my BLI C-16 later; suffice to say I can't wait for Soundtraxx to release the large scale version. It's SWEET!!!) Anyway, I've been playing around with different operational schemes for the railroad. With only 12 cars, it's not difficult to keep track of things, but there still needs to be a logical, prototypical flow of traffic. I thought about building a spreadsheet kind of thing like I have for my big stuff, or maybe doing random tabs on cars. In the end, I've settled on using a 6-sided die to determine car movements. Every car gets a roll of the die for each operating session. That will determine whether the car moves or not. The probability of movement is based on location. Once it's determined if the car will move, the car will either go someplace specific because of the nature of the traffic (hoppers and tank cars go between two locations), or another roll of the die will determine to which of multiple destinations the car will go. Again, this is based on probability, so a car has a larger chance of going to one place versus the other. I've been playing with this scheme for a few days now, and I like it. It gives a great deal of variety.

       

      Next, it's time to play around with some ideas for scenery. I bought some Sculptamold, so I'll play around with that a bit, and also buy a rock mold or two so I can contemplate how I'm going to work the mountain and tunnel. Then it'll be time to paint the scenery base, add some ballast, then start thinking about real scenery, buildings, and things of that nature.

       

      Later,

       

      K

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    • December 12, 2016 9:25 AM EST
      • West Grove, Pennsylvania
         
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      Interesting operating scheme. Took me awhile to figure it out, but it looks like a lot of fun.................

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      "Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --Martin Luther King Jr

    • December 12, 2016 8:17 PM EST
      • Rooster Works "Area 69" ,
         
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      Are you planning on welding the rail for highspeed operations?

    • December 12, 2016 8:19 PM EST
      • Rooster Works "Area 69" ,
         
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      The discussion on the Frog can come later

       

    • December 13, 2016 12:02 AM EST

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      Technically, the rails are welded (soldered), so high speed operation is always a possibility. Alas, the railroad consists of a whopping 21' of mainline end to end (a scale 1008'), so the physics don't lend themselves to high speed transit. If the sudden start doesn't get you, the sudden stop most certainly will--and it's awfully hard on the equipment to boot. ;)

       

      Later,

       

      K

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    • December 13, 2016 6:19 PM EST
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      Looking good.  Should be fun during those cold winter days.  

    • January 4, 2017 2:18 AM EST

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      More progress on the Path Valley. I've begun to play around with what will ultimately be the depots and industries on the railroad. I'm driven by making sure things have a proper sense of proportion, so mock-ups are an important part of playing around with things to get that right "look" for the scene.

       

       

      This is left end of the Godrick's Hollow part of the railroad. Dark Forrest Lumber's siding will likely be pikes of cut timber. I haven't decided if it's going to be cut dimensional lumber or cut logs or both. The blocks sitting there now resemble stacks of cut timber, but I don't have suitable O-scale logs to try out in the space as well. They may even ship both.

       

      On the right side of the photo is Flemmel's stoneworks. I'm not committing to what kind of ore is being mined, but it's some kind of ore. The ore tipple is an HO scale tipple from Life-Like, which I picked up for $2. I'm doubtful it will actually end up being used on the railroad, but it's a great place-holder for now.

       

      The tunnel portal in the middle is beginning to take shape as well. I've got to get some wood to do the individual boards; that's a 1/8" plywood core which will form the back of it. Drat--that means I've got to go to the hobby shop again. I hate it when that happens.

       

      The trees are from Michael's, something of a joke my wife played on me, but it gives me a sense of the space the vegetation might take up when it's in place.

       

       

      Godrick's Hollow depot will be a small-ish affair, but certainly in line with prototypical narrow gauge depots.

       

       

      On the right end of Godrick's Hollow, you'll find Hooch's Millworks and Slughorn Oil.

       

      The galvanized metal plate is representative of a surface-reflect mirror, which I may or may not ultimately use to make it look like the mainline continues on I've got to come up with a good way to blend it into the background.

       

       

      By the time I got to Little Whinging, I had run out of small boxes. I'll have to play a bit more with the exact size and proportion of these structures before I commit to anything.

       

       

      The first of three grade crossings on the railroad.

       

      Next up, I'm casting a bunch of rocks so I can flesh out the tunnel area. Also, I've got to do some prep-work so the backdrop can fit once it's completed.

       

      Later,

       

      K

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    • January 4, 2017 5:50 AM EST
      • high desert California
         
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      Nice . . .  

    • January 24, 2017 2:57 AM EST

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      More progress. Starting to play with the early stages of "real" scenery.

       

       

      I went to a local hobby shop that specializes in buying/selling collections. Not much worthwhile in terms of the trains themselves, but I did find some Woodland Scenics rock molds. I picked two of them up for $1.50. Rotating them this way or that gives you a lot of visual variation, so two molds can go a long way. The first three castings from the left are all the same mold. I don't need a lot, as the railroad is mostly flat-ish, but at the mountain end, it will be a pretty impressive rock cut.

       

       

      And a 3-pound bag of Sculptamold later, this is where we're at. I've got to get some wood to finish out the tunnel portal, stain the rocks, then paint the ground in preparation for some groundcover, ballast, etc. I've also got to work on the ore tipple and mine entrance, but want to get my backdrop in place first, as that's going to be pretty delicate work with the wood framing.

       

      I also finished the fascia boards along the edge of the railroad, but neglected to get a good photo of them. I'll get to that tomorrow, and probably lay in the foundation of the dirt road, which I'll do with spackling compound.

       

      Later,

       

      K

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    • January 24, 2017 3:52 AM EST
      • West Grove, Pennsylvania
         
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      I don't know what you have in mind for building kits, but Bart

      Salmon's turned me on to this site. 

      http://clevermodels.squarespace.com/models-gallery/

      They're card stock model buildings you can download and print out. 

      I've done about 5 of them for my little switching layout. Most of them as facades along the back edge of the layout. 

      ____________________________________

      "Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --Martin Luther King Jr

    • February 6, 2017 1:41 AM EST

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      The train carrying the scenery has arrived on the Path Valley Railway!

       

       

      Okay, we've still got a long way to go, but it arrived. I'm fleshing out the area around the rocks so I can begin to get a sense of how things are going to look from an artistic/aesthetic sense, and to try some techniques I've been learning about on YouTube.

       

       

      The first is coloring plaster rocks. Yeah, the videos make this look sooooooooo simple. Just place 'em, wash 'em with dilute paint, and voila! Instant Yosemite National Park right in your basement.

       

      Hogwash!

       

      First off, for whatever reason, my hydrocal rocks did not absorb the dilute paint evenly at all. I started with some warm yellowish tones, and ended up with one rock that looked like Big Bird crashed into it. I had other area where the paint just didn't absorb at all. The overall effect was far more "splotchy" than I was expecting. It still didn't look too bad, though, which is what prompted me to start playing with some greenery, ballast, and other things, in hopes that they would ultimately look natural.

       

       

      I also had a hard time with the ballast. I honestly didn't know what kind of ballast I wanted, if I even wanted ballast at all. I thought about sand and dirt, I thought about different colors, maybe different colors mixed together. Nothing had the look I was after. The EBT used cinders, slag, and boney for their ballast, but this isn't the EBT. Ultimately, I settled on Woodland Scenics' Light Grey coarse ballast. Which is to say, I found two bags of it at the hobby shop and brought it back to see how it looked in person, as opposed to trying to judge what to use by looking on YouTube and Google Images. It actually played well with the rock castings, so I figured I'd run with that. Still, it stood out as being a bit too light--reminiscent of the white granite chicken grit dad and I used to use outside on the railroad before we found a source for crusher fines. I decided to wash the ballast with a wash of diluted brown paint to try to tone it down just a bit and give it a slightly warmer feel. That worked, but it still didn't sit right with me. Next, I took some dilute black paint, and washed it down the middle of the tracks, to simulate grease and oil dripping from the locomotives. That was the magic bullet for me. It toned things down, and "weathered" the track ever so slightly.

       

       

      Next on the agenda, the tunnel portal. I knew I wanted a wood portal, as I wanted the contrast in color and texture for the scene. A natural stone or cut stone portal would have been too monolithic. I made the portal from 1/4" x 1/4" strips of pine on top of 1/4" x 1/32" strips of mahogany. Why mahogany? Because it was what was on hand. It turned out to be quite the happy surprise.

       

       

      When you scrape mahogany with a wire brush, it really brings out the natural grain of the wood! Compare the planks of mahogany to the beams of pine. Totally different texture! Happy accident to be sure, but I think I'll be using a lot more mahogany in my building in the future where I need something with deep wood grain.

       

      The tunnel was stained with dilute brown paint, then washed with black paint. Then I weathered the top of the portal with black paint to simulate the soot from the locos running through the tunnel. It also has the effect of combining with the angled braces to make the tunnel look taller than it really is. When I laid out the tunnel, I didn't give myself quite as much vertical clearance as I should have. Everything fit okay, but aesthetically it was too squat for a proper tunnel, so I had to dig out about another 1/2" clearance from inside.

       

       

      The road to the depot is also now in place. When I first laid this out, I had it in mind that this would be a 2-lane road, but then decided that was too wide for a driveway going to a depot. I'll "narrow" the road a bit when I start laying in the grass and other roadside vegetation.

       

       

      Vegetation and ground cover comes next. This particular siding is a lumber siding, so there would be lots of sawdust and tree debris lying around. So, I used sawdust and tree debris (loosely-sifted potting soil). Other areas of the railroad are going to have a bit more dirt/sand base, but here in the forest end, I want a lush, organic feel to the landscape.

       

       

      I found some moss at Michaels which had a very fine texture to it, and a pretty natural color. On the ground, I "plant" a sprig or three here or there. On the mountain, I use that as the primary base of the low bushes and other flora which make up the edge vegetation. I've got lots of trees to build yet, but the forest floor will be visible through the trees, so between the trees, the bushes, and the organic groundcover, I should be able to recreate the look of a lush woods environment.

       

       

      Another view of the organic forest floor, with the track for a sense of scale.

       

       

      In addition to the scenery, I've finished trimming off the fascia of the railroad. I used pine tongue-in-groove panels, cut to short 3" - 4" lengths to form the edge, then stained them dark brown.

       

       

      The trim edges out the top shelf which holds my 1:20 shelf railroad as well. Next up, get the backdrop in place (thanks John!) I've also got to get working on the depot, or at least the platform for it so I can continue the landscaping around it.

       

       

      Also, I'm playing around with ideas on how to finish out the lumber spur. There will be stacks of cut lumber and logs where the wood blocks are now, and I want some kind of small building which would serve as a shipping agent's office. I cut this mock-up out of cardboard.

       

      That's where we're at right now. Further bulletins as events warrant.

       

      Later,

       

      K

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