Alex...this looks just fantastic! I dabbled around with my subway about a year ago but stopped working on it and have been busy with other projects. Your wonderful effort is going to get me started again!
Wow! What a great idea. The subway mall is an awesome addition.
WoW. I actually did a double take when I glanced at the Sears and JcPenny storefronts. The realism is outstanding!
It truly looks like you are looking through arches toward the fronts of the stores.
As always, great work!
Zett, Luvtrains, Brian –
Thank you for your nice comments and approval!
Alan – Remember, you were the one who got me started using the pink foam boards for rock walls and arches. In addition to the arches in front of the subway mall as I posted two days ago, I have used that method many times already.
One thing I really like about this method is being able to build the walls off site and then installing them and make them removable.
Here are more examples. (Click on the pictures to enlarge them)
Early on, and as inspired by Patrick H.'s use of the pink foam for his marvelous rock walls, I used pink foam for the walls around the graded track on my layout, such as around the turntable area. I used the method Patrick described to prepare the foam: beat it with a crow bar, make horizontal cuts with a saw (I later used a hot knife), and scratch it with a steel brush.
And around the refinery:
Then I started using the pink foam wonder other places, as Alan had suggested, such as here:
I made that wall, as well as all the others, off site. Here is a picture of the back of the wall:
And the front:
Some buildings in place, ready to add the road, ballast and other ground cover.
Another shot of the subway mall, from the side.
Another example of a simulated poured concrete wall, which also is easily removable and there is an access hatch in front of it.
Thank you for looking!
How did you make the joint lines?
Alex, I'm always waiting for new posts of your progress, they are wonderful!
Sorry I did not reply sooner, but I was at the “Mid-America 3-Railers” meet and at then at the wonderful picnic for the group at Alan’s (leavingtracks) house this weekend.
I use 1/2" thick pink insulation board for the walls that resemble cut rocks, as the ones with arches around the subway mall, and also for several tunnel portals. I use 1" thick for walls that resemble poured concrete walls.
I tried many different methods for cutting and 'scribing' the pink foam board, and have settled on mainly two methods. For straight cuts of the 1/2" thick board, I use an X-Acto No. 26 blade and a straight edge. For cutting the 1" thick board, I use my band saw. The 1" thick board can be cut with the knife as well, but it is a bit tricky to maintain the cut at right angle throughout; but it can be done.
For cutting curves I use a hot wire and a template made of 1/4" masonite, but plywood or any other hard material would work fine for the template.
After the foam is cut to size, I paint it with latex wall paint that I buy at Home Depot in sample-size containers (about 8 oz) for under $3, and they will mix any color you want. (The foam can't be sprayed because enamels will dissolve it.)
After the wall is painted, I use a pencil to scribe the rock and poured form lines. For rocks, I use a slightly blunt pencil; and for poured concrete forms a slightly sharper pencil. I make my rocks 1/2" x 1" (2' x 4' full scale), and the concrete forms 1" x 2" to simulate a 4' x 8' sheet of plywood as may be used in real.
The poured walls also have an upper ledge and vertical reinforcements that are strips of foam 1/4" to 1/2" thick and 1" wide. I glue these to the wall with hot melt glue.
Here is an example of a tunnel entrance I am about ready to install. (click to enlarge)
Thank you - I'll continue to post as I progress.
PS. I forgot: For the tunnel portals - before painting them, I hit (softly) the wall surfaces with the ball end of a ball peen hammer.
Thanks for sharing! So many techniques to try when I get to that phase. Your layout is really coming along, look forward to seeing more in the future
Alex, Your layout is really looking GREAT. Thank you for taking the time to post all the info and pictures. Keep ,e posted on your "POLE BUILDING SOLUTION"
a ball peen hammer! Never would have guessed that trick. Your portal looks terrific. I think I've got to try your method when I get to build my "real" layout.
Ron, the newbie.
Hi Alex beautiful work as always and really
Alex, you should write a book. Great work.
I agree with Lou. You should write a book. This thread is an incredible education. Keep 'em coming. Thanks.
Ron, the newbie.
Ah...this is a case where the student does better than the teacher!! Alex, the portals look great.... I just finished cutting out another 8 feet of portals which are going on the south side of the city (you know where that is). I have still decided to leave out the blocks in this case because I want that poured concrete look. I will be scribing blocks with keystones over the openings and capping the tops of the walls then dry brushing vertical streaks on the flat "poured" surfaces.
Keep those pictures coming!
Nice work with the foam. I like your walls and portals. I may be copying your techniques for a similar subterranean project I have coming up. Take that as a compliment as intended. Thanks for sharing.
Your post 4/20 10:03,
You used plastic "H" and "I" channels on the foam wall. Where do you purchase the plastic channels?
Enjoy each and every post, your layout looks fantastic. Thank you for your time to take pictures and posting them. They have provided much inspiration to all of us following your progress.
I buy the I, H and other structural shapes at the hobby shop and at train shows. My "LHS", 25 miles away (Mark Twain Hobby Center) normally has a good assortment and they discount it 10% or so. I also buy similar supplies from T and K Hobbies, and from Tower Hobbies.
As luck would have it, there was a vendor at the train show to which we went in Springfield, MO a couple of weeks ago (as part of the Mid-America 3-Railers meet activities) who was selling these and a lot more at 50%, 60% and 75% off! Evidently, the gentleman had bought the inventory of a store that had been hit by a tornado, and paid a minimal price for everything. I bought quite a bit of building supplies
BTW, the structural shapes that I use are the Plastruct ABS, dark grey in color, and are stiff; they are not the white, styrene variety, which is more flexible.
Hope this helps.
And thank you guys for your nice comments!
Alex, this is looking great, very nice foam work!
Alex, smart move on making the top hatch removable on your tunnel. I would imagine this will make track cleaning much easier in the future.
Rich, Bruce -
Thanks! I try to make access hatches, etc. whenever possible, even if the need does not manifest itself initially. So far, every hatch has come in handy.
Even though I have a bit of it to do yet with portals and mountains, I decided to take a short break from the 'foam work' so I could work on the fascia.
You may remember that I had built two carts to store and move the dywall and 2x4's around when I was finishing the basement (Aug 2010 through Jan 2011). I decided to keep them to store the train stuff under the layout, and they served me well. After a while I was able to disassemble one of the carts, and it became the base for the Subway Shopping Center as I described a few days ago.
Here is what the carts looked like about a year ago: (Click on the images to enlarge)
Carts under the layout . . .
And wheeled out for easy access to the supplies. . .
I have seen so many of you guys so wonderful things with MDF that I decided to give it a try for the fascia for the front of the East side of the layout.
Starting with a 2' x 4' sheet of 1/4" thick MDF, a slotted 2x4, and some pieces cut out of 1/2" MDF . . .
Add some glue and clamps . . .
And voila! Some doors for the fascia. The hinges are of the loose-pin type, so it is easy to remove the doors if necessary.
And they open up easily as well, for access to supplies and to pull the remianing cart out.
The doors interlock with small home-made tabs, and I used magnetic latches to keep them shut. I will be painting the front in a couple of days.
(What appears to be a cage in front of the layout is one of several viewing platforms.)
I will make two more doors for the angled corners, but the rest of the layout will have curtains around it.
Next, I have a few new pictures to share with you that I just took of the area denoted by the red rectangle shown below.
Thank you for looking!
Nice job on the doors! I have become a huge fan of MDF as of late.
Hi Alex that look's awesome what a professional job
I love it.That's all I use is MDF and masonite on my layout
Alex...I just saw your posts above on the door....WOW....so this is what you were telling me about when you were here a couple weekends ago! Very nice work for sure....boy am I envious with you having that great workshop a few feet away from the layout area....really comes in handy for a talented guy like you! The doors look wonderful...makes me feel I am looking at roundhouse doors..
Alex - Everything you do looks FANTASTIC! I always look forward to your updates
Beautiful work Alex. Your layout is an inspiration to all of us "wannabee" high rail modelers like myself.
My first thought when I saw the doors was that they resembled a "Tunnel Portal". They look great as they are, but did the thought ever cross your mind to finish them to look like a stone portal. With your talents I think they would be a real conversation piece finished that way.
Thank you for your nice comments – very much appreciated.
You may not believe this, but I was ready to post this, and when I opened the thread to do so, I read your nice comment and suggestion.
Yes, I indeed had portals in mind. The question now is one of colors if I do want the arches to resemble tunnel portals. I sketched the image, below, to solicit opinions, and since colors are simply a question of taste, there can be no absolute correct or incorrect answers – just honest opinions.
“A Question Of Colors”
(In the image I colored the raised features of the doors a different color so they would show up better, but when I paint the doors, all will be the same sandy-beige color, with a fine textured finish that resembles sand.)
What color would you paint the area under the arches? Flat black, dark grey, or the same as the rest of the doors? (Click to enlarge)
The top two may better represent tunnel portals, and the third more or less just doors, as perhaps for a roundhouse, as Alan suggested.
Thank you for looking (and contributing!)
They look pretty good as is. I thought they were already finished. I would go with a concrete gray. I liked Floquil Reefer Gray for a richer gray base on a recent project that had cut stone details, then weather it down with chalks for your deal I think. Just a bit, because you have so much area that you want to give it texture, but that's enough. The concrete and aged concrete are too yellow. Doesn't work for me.
I have a similar subterranean station project coming up. I thank you for your blazing the trail. Great to see you having fun.
I guess it's a case of "great minds think alike", or some sort of "carma" I guess.
I kinda like the black, or possibly some darker shade of grey, that would more resemble the inside of the tunnel. I would also add some angled raised pieces above the portal arch, that would sort of "fan" out, further adding to the "stone arch" effect.
My first thought when looking at the design was that the portals were actually highway tunnels rather then train tunnels. Either way, I would add either tracks or a center dividing line starting at the bottom and "fading" out as if to create a sort of perception of depth inside the tunnel, as the line, or tracks appeared to get further away. It would be pretty easy to just paint over the lines if the effect didn't look right.
Whatever you decide Alex, it's going to look great.
William, Rom -
I will start with a dak grey; the same paint I used for the edge of the raised floor of the shopping center (see below) and see how that works out.
"...I would add either tracks or a center dividing line starting at the bottom and 'fading' out as if to create a sort of perception of depth inside the tunnel..."
Now, that is a cool idea. I'll sketch it first and see how well I may be able to create that perspective. I have been able to paint the buidlings on the walls somewhat in perspective, and they look OK (at a distance). A couple of weeks ago or so, I also painted a runway on the wall to go along with two airplanes I had just hung from the ceiling. That worked OK as well - I think . . .
Thank you, guys!
Alex......both look great to me. The runway sure gives the appearance of depth that I had in mind. I'm sure you'll have no problem with the perspective issue. As I said, even if you don't like the look, it will be easy enough fix.
I should have the doors done in a day or so, and will post some pictures for your critique.
In the meantime, I more or less finished the section that I started with my post of April 29, above. I will add a few more trees, but you should get the idea.
The stiff wire brush does a nice job on the foam, don't you agree?
Oh, and I will also add a few deer in this 'forest'
I will have a few more pictures of the area - soon.
Thanks for looking.
(Edited to add):
Oops! Forgot this picture. It shows where the Hidden Pass Mountain will be located (red line) behind the stairwell. It will have two tunnel entrances on the west side (this side) and a wide tunnel entrance (four tracks) on the east side. Will start working on this very soon.
Very nice my friend!!! I'll bet that wire brush makes short work of putting in the "layers" of rock which creates a sedimentary effect.
Alex that's coming out so beautiful.
Great work your a true pro.
Thank you, Alex!
Doors are now painted and the top stained and varnished. As you can see, the area under the arches is a darker grey, and we (Judy and I) are still wondering whether they would look better the lighter grey as the rest, but I am going to leave them as they are for a while, as they look OK.
As was mentioned before, another option is to paint something that would simulate depth, as perhaps a road into a tunnel (last picture, below). I can try this by painting a foam core board and cutting it to fit under the arches. However, the objective of the fascia is to hide the framework and not to get too fancy
But now I want to work on something else (the Hidden Pass Mountain) so the fascia for this section will stay as it is. Judy is looking for material to make the curtains for the rest of the layout.
And the doors still open
The texture is like sand paper. I added an anti-skid compound to the paint to achieve the finer texture, and I like how it turned out.
This may be something to try later on.
Thanks for looking!
Alex it looks beautiful, I really like the dark color or even the last
picture. Alex paint it with railroad tracks and then paint a headlight
of a steam engine so it looks like a train is coming.
It can of course just stay the way it is its simply beautiful
Just professional work. I'm always looking forward to your
projects. Thanks for posting
When you were installing the elevated sections of your track I saw that you were cutting support's graduated about 1/8" each 6". How did you attach the supports to the track supporting bed and to the decking on top of your benchwork? Did you predrill pilot holes from the top down? Thanks!!!
Those are good suggestions and definitely things to be considered. Thanks!
I just glued (Carpenter's Glue) the spacers to the 5/8" plywood top, and the QuietBrace to the spacers - at the same time. There was no need to add additional weight to keep everything in place and make the excess glue ooze out; the track and QB weight were sufficient. To add the glue, I just lifted the QB and track slightly, slid the spacers out, added the glue, and slid them back in place - one at a time.
However, I did not glue anything until AFTER I had the trestle bridge finished in case I had to make any adjustments to the track. But no adjustments were necessary. In the meantime, before gluing, the spacers just cooperated nicely and stayed in place .
That sure brings back memories . . .
March 26, 2011 - Spacers for one of the two grades.
April 16, 2011 - Track at trestle site on temporary supports.
July 17, 2011 - The trestle and grade at Etieca Valley complete (at top of picture), and the grade at Villa de Rocas ready to have its spacers glued.
I would leave the painted doors as they are.
How steep was your grade in terms of %?