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I recently expanded my layout by adding a table (about 76 inches long and 40 inches wide). As a result, there is now an aisle about 20 inches wide to the right of the new table and to the left of the original layout. See photo below:

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There is also a gap about 1 foot wide behind the new train table and in front of the old table on the far side of the layout. I now have a bascule bridge and conventional bridge over that gap, shown below:

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One of my goals is to make new scenery showing a river with boats in the above aisle and gap, and to have the river in the aisle be removable. The portion of the river in the aisle must be removable so I can get access to the original layout to clean track, deal with derailments and otherwise maintain that portion of the original layout.

Do you think this is doable? If so, how would you do it?

Later on I will share some ideas I have had about this project. Arnold

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Last edited by Arnold D. Cribari
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@Arnold D. Cribari I'm also planning for the aisles of my layout to be a winding "river".  Presently, the plan is to finish what would normally be a fascia, to resemble a river bank.  The actual river water would be left to the imagination, rather than something removable.  I will say that your idea is intriguing and I'll be following this thread to see what ideas may surface....   As usual another good thread.

That’s scary Arnold because just this week that idea entered my thoughts. I have an aisle that is 15” wide and 5’ in length; it will bridge two peninsulas. Along the river banks is four inch fasciae which can easily become rock walls. My initial thought was to mount 2” foam onto luan so I can carve out areas. There would be hinges on one side and a window lock on the other. My hope would be to create something as outstanding as Farmer John. At least that would be my model.

@SteveH posted:

@Arnold D. Cribari I'm also planning for the aisles of my layout to be a winding "river".  Presently, the plan is to finish what would normally be a fascia, to resemble a river bank.  The actual river water would be left to the imagination, rather than something removable.  I will say that your idea is intriguing and I'll be following this thread to see what ideas may surface....   As usual another good thread.

I intend to do something similar as Steve plans on his layout.  I have the two lift up bridges over a aisle, which need sceniced after I get some other scenery done.  Yes indeed, it is another good thread, Arnold.

I had not thought of using foam, but think it might work well as the base of a removable river because it's light weight, can be easily cut and shaped, and can also be painted. After making it's surface the correct color(s), adding layers of Mod Podge could provide a glistening, watery effect.

I have used Mod Podge before and like it a lot. I found it pleasant to work with.

The water in the photo below was simply plywood painted with acrylic paint (I painted it over and over several times until satisfied with the blue gray shade in the middle, and blue green shade on the sides [shallower water], in the stream). Then, I added several layers of Mod Podge. I am pleased with the end result.

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The river in the photos below was made by starting with blue paper, crumpling it a little, painting it with acrylic paint and adding layers of Mod Podge. I think the end result is OK, not great. I have not tried to improve it because this river is in the background, hidden in part by model trees, and not a focal point of the layout.

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As usual Arnold your post is generating a brain storming session. Upon further consideration it could be possible to create a skid on either side so the foam can slide easily into and out of position. My 5’ length might have to be in two sections. Seams could be hidden by placing some kayakers over the spot. Or create a wave swell with the exposed seam facing the rear.                                   Your waterway looks very good and I would employ your process.

@Arnold D. Cribari  You have given me an idea for my layout.  I am leaning toward luan plywood covered with 1 inch foam and then layer as needed. Depending on the room available, I am thinking about being able to slide it out when necessary and set it aside. That's where the luan comes in, the foam would not slide very well, but the luan would provide enough support. I do not have room to have a drop down on hinges at one side. You could be creative at the joint line with overlapping vegetation or just rock overhangs.

I thought modge podge would provide some thickness to water, Nope just dries with a shine but no thickness regardless of layers applied.  A 1/4 inch of the stuff in a pool evaporated into nothing.

Dennis Brennan in his book uses "textured" glass - the stuff used for shower doors and table tops (Aquatex). He paints the textured side and leaves the smooth side up. Looks nice in his photos. He used glass due to the size of his harbor. roughly 3 feet by 8.    (Realistic Modeling for Toy Trains - A High Rail Guide)  Probably too heavy for moving, but a good idea.

I'd go to Hobby Lobby of Joann's and find some shiny dark blue fabric.  Add some painted touches to make it look more like water and put some "eyes" along the edges to match the contours of the opening. Hang it from cup hooks about a foot apart under the edges just back far enough to be out of sight.

A bonus could be some movement in the fabric that might just add to the water effect.

Have done a couple of these which I recently posted. I'll repost here:

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Foam was fashioned for the river bank and glued to the bottom of the upper deck.

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The 3' X 11' drop down body of water has a 3/4" X 1 1/4" frame work covered with 5.5mm Luan top and bottom.  The plywood skins were staggered for strength to overcome the excess of 8' length.  Like a Luan hollow door it is extremely rigid and light weight.

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Plus, awhile ago someone posted a photo of a river he made from a rippled privacy shower door.  Was excellent IMO.

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Last edited by Tom Tee

Great ideas all around. I like a drop down like Tom describes. Yours would not need to be as structurally substantial Arnold, since it's a smaller area. I think a piece of 1/4" ply with 2" of rigid foam applied would give enough rigidity to work. I like 2" foam because it would give you enough depth for the water feature.
Two weeks ago, in Alan's Sunday Scenic Showcase, Pete from Virginia posted some pix of his excellent harbor scene.

He wrote that he used toilet paper, blue paint, and several coats of Mod Podge with a clear gloss on top. Great idea and probably a lot easier that using the pour-able waters. Once you figure out the structure, then the fun can begin.

Bob

Another great thread here on the forum.   I need to build a "removable" or hinge down panel for access on the last section of my layout and have toyed with the idea of an industrial water scene.  Lot's of good ideas written up here.  As far as the "textured" wavy glass,  I know an almost identical texture is available in acrylic (clear plastics) in sheets as thin as 1/8 inch which addresses the weight issue.   After  a little research this morning apparently it's referred to as DP-32 Pattern Colorless.   I am going to reach out to J. Freeman Inc. here in Dorchester, MA to get a quote when they re-open after the holiday.   A customer of mine referred me to this company this past summer.  Their prices are by far the best I have seen on acrylic sheet products. 

@RSJB18 posted:

Great ideas all around. I like a drop down like Tom describes. Yours would not need to be as structurally substantial Arnold, since it's a smaller area. I think a piece of 1/4" ply with 2" of rigid foam applied would give enough rigidity to work. I like 2" foam because it would give you enough depth for the water feature.
Two weeks ago, in Alan's Sunday Scenic Showcase, Pete from Virginia posted some pix of his excellent harbor scene.

He wrote that he used toilet paper, blue paint, and several coats of Mod Podge with a clear gloss on top. Great idea and probably a lot easier that using the pour-able waters. Once you figure out the structure, then the fun can begin.

Bob

Outstanding, Bob, what you say makes perfect sense, and Pete's harbor scene is excellent IMO.

Mod Podge may have a drawback in that it doesn't create a depth of water effect, but it smells good, is non-toxic, does not give off harmful fumes, and is relatively safe to work with in a basement near the furnace. I found that several layers of glossy Mod Podge creates a nice glistening water effect.

Last edited by Arnold D. Cribari

Alan, lots of good ideas here.  Lee Willis, who used to post here much more often than he does now, faced the same dilemma several years ago.  I believe he came up with a hinged drop down like Tom Tee has posted.  I believe I remember Lee posting details of his solution.  Do a search and you may get some more ideas from his posts.

As for using foam, while it is light weight, rigidity and load bearing capacity may lead to thicker foam and if you pursue a hinged drop down you will need some wood substrate to fasten hardware to, negating some of the weight savings.  I made a sandwich of 3mm underlayment and 2in foam for my tabletop.  While it is definitely lighter than 3/4in plywood it is heavier than expected.

There are many ways to make good looking water here on the forum, everything from commercially available products to ModPodge, acrylic caulk, various epoxies and resins and shower door glass.  Your final construction method could dictate the proper choice for aisle, shower door glass probably wouldn't be a good choice for any removable or drop down because of weight.

@Mannyrock posted:

Wait'a minute Arnold.

You never showed us what you did about that low drain pipe across the back of your layout.

First things first!  :-)

Mannyrock

Mannyrock,that issue is still pending, but I have made progress to the extent of eliminating the leak in that pipe, thanks to the good work of a plumber, and replacing the washing machine with a better one.

I may just leave the pipe, as it currently is, as is. That is because I kinda like how the pipe shows that my trains go to different places throughout the nooks and crannies of my basement and that I've overcome various obstacles in my basement.

@Mark Boyce posted:

The drop down arrangement is what I would do if I was going to finish the aisle beyond sceniced river banks along the fascia.  On the other hand, maybe I will just paint the floor a river-like color and paint on some fish. 

Based on what I saw at the cabin fever expo, you could just build a tub and flood the aisle!  Then drain it down when you need the access. 🤪

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gunrunnerjohn -  a good idea for the layout.  A dock for a barge or larger vessel for grain or coal? Looks too tight for an intermodal scene. Funny how looking at what our fellow modelers do gives us ideas for ours.  I assume the dropdown will hinge from under the layout and not the sides. Still have to noodle out a possible water drop down for my layout.

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