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Jay - I keep thinking I do not want or need a huge layout, but when I start planning - 072s and larger take up an awful lot of real estate.  I'll have to lay it out on scarm, but passenger platforms should be at least 8 feet wide (~2 inches scale) . So each track platform combination should need 6 or 7 inches. 8 tracks would be about 4 feet wide. Then for the crazy stuff. That would give me an area 4 x 10 to layout a town/city. An elevated track (common in Chicago) for my Subway set could then run around the city. At street level it might be fun to install a 2 Rail street car line.  Now I have to put on Supertramp's "Dreamer" song.

Seth - the buildings are looking good. I assume you will tone down the mortar lines around the windows?  I've posted this photo before - I tried adding several brick colors to this building and am reasonably happy with how it turned out. Noticed some of that on one of your buildings.

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@Seth Thomas

Seth:

The brick work is great. I am about to try this for the first time. I have the following rookie questions?

  • I assume you used acrylic paint for the mortar?
  • What was your ratio of water to paint?
  • Do you apply the watered-down paint with a brush and then wipe it off?
  • If so, what did you use to wipe the mortar paint so that it only came off of the surface of the bricks and not off of the spaces between them?

Thanks for any help you can offer.

@Randy Harrison

I am about to get out in the yard to mow right now Randy.  It’s in the mid 70’s. I’ll begin with a few suggestions and get back with you.

I practice washing with soapy water the plastic kit pieces I paint. This important step for anything for which you add paint.

I use the flat rattle can paints, the red primer is my first selection.  The Rustoleum brand appears to work for me.

Two sprays, one was my first try and I found the second time I do better. And two light applications. Never add the paint too thick onto your subject an don’t be in a hurry 🤨. I always allow 24 hours to dry.  
No outside spray while there’s a breeze.

I will answer your specific questions later. I appreciate you asking My opinion Randy😊

Randy I have tried several different ways to apply "mortar" to my buildings. As Seth does, rattle can spray paint the building walls with whatever base brick color you want - light coats - flat finish. I have not had any issues with the paint filling mortar lines. (Why spray paint? - you can wash off the acrylic top coats easier without damaging the base. I also provides a better surface for the acrylics to stick to. I have never run an airbrush so cannot comment.)

Regarding the mortar appearance - if you want the look where some of the mortar has discolored the brick, washes of acrylic and water and surfactant will work ok. Make sure you wipe the brick while somewhat wet. This is going to be trial and error to produce the effect you want. When dry the brick will retain some of the mortar color and show up stronger than when wet. I've washed everything off buildings and started over several times - a useful characteristic of acrylics.

I do not prefer this approach because I want to see the brick color I chose, not something which looks washed out to my eye. If I am going to lay in mortar I prefer to use a wash with an alcohol base. It tends to flow really well into the mortar lines and stay there. There is some bleed over, but it is manageable.  WoodLand Scenics suggests this mix - 1 part acrylic paint, 12 parts rubbing alcohol, 8 parts water, 1 part dish soap. There are a number of videos out there on how to apply mortar detail to buildings. Be a little careful with using HO finishing techniques on O size. Things sometimes show up differently. 

Following is an example of diluted acrylic on brick. I scrubbed like crazy in an attempt to remove the mortar on the brick. Since this is the side of an old theater - this is OK - not something I would take the time to redo. I think this is the original plastic color. Spray with a clear flat sealer to give the acrylic something to attach to. Respray when finished to seal everything. I am finding the cheap acrylics do not stick really well and can flake off - a top seal coat helps prevent the flaking.

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This building has an alcohol based wash. I think its much easier to control the depth of the mortar with this blend. The following 2 photos are from the same building side, but the first with additional photo lighting from the side. Clearly visible on the first photo, almost not there on the second. With normal layout lighting I see the building in the second photo, darker richer color. 

Of course you get to do what you prefer.

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@Seth Thomas

Seth:

The brick work is great. I am about to try this for the first time. I have the following rookie questions?

  • I assume you used acrylic paint for the mortar?
  • What was your ratio of water to paint?
  • Do you apply the watered-down paint with a brush and then wipe it off?
  • If so, what did you use to wipe the mortar paint so that it only came off of the surface of the bricks and not off of the spaces between them?

Thanks for any help you can offer.

Randy,

For my first Ameritown building I used an acrylic wash. I started with a light tan and added some white. I made the mix on the thicker side so it didn't run all over. I applied with a wide brush and blotted off the surface with a damp rag. After I was satisfied I sprayed the walls with DulKote to seal it in. I didn't change the coloring of the brick.

I'll post some pix when I'm not typing with my thumbs 👍👍 😂😂

Bob

Last edited by RSJB18

Randy I will attempt to answer your questions:

  • I assume you used acrylic paint for the mortar?
  • What was your ratio of water to paint?
  • Do you apply the watered-down paint with a brush and then wipe it off?
  • If so, what did you use to wipe the mortar paint so that it only came off of the surface of the bricks and not off of the spaces between them?

yes, acrylic works well for me. I find the structure kits have the best depth of the mortar joints. So stay with the popular kits and you will have good success.

Using the kits I after the walls are painted an dry, I usually mix a small amount in a medical pill container. I do one wall at a time.  Mix one blob of acrylic, I stay with Antique white, an stir using the paint brush while adding small amounts of plain water.  When the water an paint is the consistency of milk, I’m done.  Use this mix on your one wall. When you apply the brush to the brick, begin at the bottom an work up, the paint should travel east, west, north, south running an filling the joints. This is your correct consistency.😀

fill in the complete wall and there is no set time.  I would watch the clock an I would say between 5-10 minutes is best drying time, with this mix. Begin wiping on the bottom where you began application to the brick.  I found after many tries, a used white damp t- shirt works.  Dip in water, wring out, begin rubbing hard, but easy.😆

I find in my experience with the kits, the acrylic paint with stay in the joints as you wipe off the antique white using the damp, not wet, t-shirt.

So Randy, buy a kit. Mix the paint, apply, allow to dry, not too long. Wipe off with cotton t-shirt.  Practice and develop your own method for your pleasing results.

assemble your structure. When you are pleased, spray lightly with the Matte finish to preserve your work.

You will be pleased with your work.

if you are not please with first attempt, repaint. Start over. I have, several times 😅

I believe I have addressed all your questions tonight.

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Been raining here on LI so I've been able to work on the layout without getting dirty looks from SWMBO

I painted the platform for the passenger station- started with gray and white acrylic and then hit it lightly with a textured black spray. I sealed the whole thing with matte spray. I also ballasted track 1. The platform is set in place and the ballast is done. I decided to make the curved part look a bit damaged and will add more detail to  it later.

I wanted to add more lighting to the station so I made up a string of WW LED's that I will glue into the underside of the roof today. The led's are from a dead string of Christmas lights that I scrounged after last season.

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Bob

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Last edited by RSJB18

Bob, your brick/mortar work is looking great! When i did mine (long before this forum and back when Vane Jones still published OGR), i simply diluted the cheapest white craft paint i could buy, smeared it over the brickwork with a paper towel. If the paint was too thin, i thickened it; too thick and i thinned it; wiped it off with a damp paper towel; maybe even a dry one. If it didn't look right, i washed it off and started over. No percentage ratios or extra ingredients. When i was happy with it it got sprayed with rattle can Dullcote. IMO we overthink these things way too much. My overthinking consists of really looking at the buildings, roads, etc. around me.



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Very nice detail on that theatre and platform. While not on the layout yet, I spent a few hours extracting insulated flex wires from a couple of discarded flat cables. We have a passenger elevator in our house. Last year both control cables were damaged. They have about 16 conductors in a mounded ribbon cable. Each cable was about 40 feet long. Initially I was slicing the molded part of the cable. This was very difficult. I found that there was a series of nylon or similar strings mounded into the cable and by pulling on these one at a time (with leather work gloves), they would open a slot in the mounded jacket and each individual wire could then be pulled out. I now have (I think) all the wire I need for the layout. Even the smallest wires have over 9 strands of copper so they should be plenty big for signal and lighting circuits. There were enough larger gage wires for the track power bus and feeders. With the price of copper these days, it was well worth the efforts to do the extraction.

Very nice detail on that theatre and platform. While not on the layout yet, I spent a few hours extracting insulated flex wires from a couple of discarded flat cables. We have a passenger elevator in our house. Last year both control cables were damaged. They have about 16 conductors in a mounded ribbon cable. Each cable was about 40 feet long. Initially I was slicing the molded part of the cable. This was very difficult. I found that there was a series of nylon or similar strings mounded into the cable and by pulling on these one at a time (with leather work gloves), they would open a slot in the mounded jacket and each individual wire could then be pulled out. I now have (I think) all the wire I need for the layout. Even the smallest wires have over 9 strands of copper so they should be plenty big for signal and lighting circuits. There were enough larger gage wires for the track power bus and feeders. With the price of copper these days, it was well worth the efforts to do the extraction.

Victor- I worked on a few residential elevators when I was an electrical contractor. Very neat additions to a home. The traveler cables are a great source of wire for modeling. The copper is a very high quality since it has to withstand constant flexing, not to mention gravity pulling on it for years.

Good idea to wear gloves when pulling it apart. Ask me how I know what happens when one doesn't wear them.

Last edited by RSJB18

So I'm happy to report that the yard rebuild is substantially complete. I put all three buildings back yesterday, and started ballasting the main. Still lot's of details to add but I'm pleased with the results so far. I've got passengers and towns-folk on the way to start populating the area with as well.

Time to clean the track and run trains. Been a while since I just sat back and watched 'em run.

Now...where did I put that bottle of single-malt

Happy 4th to all!

Bob

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This afternoon, I found a small piece of granite in the back yard, it was terraced but very small.
I couldn't resist cutting a hole for it in an embankment near a turntable and putting it in. I then placed some foliage around it and I really like how it turned out. I doubt a visitor to the layout would even notice it, though...

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Last edited by p51
@Mike Wyatt posted:

I ended up with a nice 1/43 Franklin Mint 1959 Cadillac convertible.   A 1/43 Cadillac really LOOKS HUGE on a 1/48th layout.  The real problem is- I have a 1950-themed layout.

SO I added a rotating "car of the future" 1959 Cadillac next to my Lionel Grand Central Terminal with added -on, kit bashed Plasticville Union Terminal public transit terminal.

Car of the Future



Mike

It rotates using a Micro Mark 110v  AC motor,

https://www.micromark.com/Animation-Gearmotor-110V

Bob, looks great! It must be that I am closer in North Dakota that makes it easy for me to see all the great work you have done! I have to say I would not mind waiting there for the train!

Lee, the rock looks right in place. Your right about the trees, I know when I get back at it I am going to need alot more trees. Your layout is so realistic that its like watching a documentry on your RR!

Well nothng from me today, right now just sitting in the motorhome listening to it pour here in north western ND.

But  have been thinking about the extra 072 curves I need to get and a couple left hand 072 switches! LOL And here I thought I had enough of everything!

I hope you all had a safe 4th and had a great time with your family and friends! Now that it is past you can get back to having fun with your layout and trains!

Posted a layout update in the TPRR link and also photos of new purchases off Trainz and the bay.  buy anything cool lately

Was in a K-Line type of mood looking for reasonably priced rolling stock. I still am amazed at the amount of used cars I pick up that have never been out of the box. Several of the die cast coal cars still had the overwrap on the real coal loads.  The Milwaukee Road caboose is the "coolest" of the purchases. Too bad K-Line bit the dust - I am really impressed with the products they put out at the time.

Mike g -  Trainz has a pack of track including 6 072 curves on their site and on ebay along with other curves and straights. Also on the bay from France [  gijoe6711  ]   . Hope this helps

I often wonder what people consider reasonable or good prices on "used" stuff. 1/2 the original retail price or somewhere around there?  I have a hard time pulling the trigger on a single item for 20 to 30 bucks and then adding in 15 for shipping. One five car set was 30 each including free shipping. The other was 25 to 30 each except for the caboose which was higher with $4 per car for shipping.  So in order to keep total costs in line I tend to order multiple cars from the same seller. 

Last edited by ScoutingDad

RSJB18, Bob, your newly created yard, buildings, station platform and scenery for the yard tracks looks fantastic, a really cool scenic view, Wow, Mike g., good luck in locating the track you need for your fine rebuild, your layout is a great educational perspective for us older modelers and the newbies just beginning their layouts. P51, Wow, those trees look great as does your model railroader, the pictures are bright, clear, and fun to view, Modeltrainparts, Wow, beautiful modeling weathering your buildings and the movie “Giant” sure brings back fond memories, I’ve been working in the yard, also having  our concrete sidewalk ready for visitors that have difficulty coming down steps, new ramps are now installed. If your ever in Tennessee, come see me. Happy Railroading Everyone

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Mike G - Flex track is really not that hard to bend. Some 1/4" plywood, a homemade compass (length of string cut to the radius you want, a pencil or marker tied to one end, and a nail to the other), and a sabre saw - mine is about a 50 year old B&D) On part of the ply using the compass draw a (72") semi circle and cut it out, then take your half circle of ply and attach (short wood screws) it on top of the rest of the ply with the bottom sheet 6" away from the edge of the lower sheet all around the curve. Now you have a jig into which you can bend the flex track against.

Leapinlarry -Amazing videos and scenery. The sound effects really add to the operation.

I installed the 2315 coal loader (80's version of the 497) tonight. I bought this a while back and after cleaning, lubrication and adding a couple of missing washers, it works as advertised. Not bad for something from 1983.  The hopper cars are just for show, it uses a side dump car.2315 Installed on SidingHopper cars at 2315Side Dump car at 2315

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Beautiful Layout Tommy. As for me, Yesterday,  I made some headway placing a blinking red warning light on the construction crane and reinstalling  my scratch built station.  It took a while to position the roadbed so that it would face the front of the layout and not twirl while held by the crane but I think I got it just right.  Now its time to build the car ramp on the left side of the station.





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Larry great video, I always love to sit back and watch trains run around your amazing layout!

Modeltrainsparta, I have some O-80 curves I will try in place of the O-72, the rest I think will have to be flex track. If I can find some from MTH.

Tommy, wonderful looking layout! Very nice first run.

Strap Hanger, looking great! If you plan on the crane being a static display you can always add guide ropes to the bridge as they would be there in real life anyways.

Tom, I look forward to see what you have going in your tight areas!

For me nothing new, might go to Menards today.

Everyone have a great day and please find time for your layout and trains!

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