Total Pageviews

Timboy Town

I have started the vista that features Timboy Town on the upper elevation.  Obviously there is a lot of detail work that remains, but I must push on.  The detail work will be put off till later and done as an upgrade.  This must be familiar to you guys who are in model RR clubs that have a permanent, not modular, layout.  The club gets the construction, track laying and some basic scenery let in with the thrust being to get the trains running for operating sessions.  Refinements and upgrades can then begin and that is usually a never-ending effort.  So, while I could put in illumination, windows, a backdrop and custom paint job on all the Plasticville structures so they don't look so much like, well - plastic; that will have to wait.  Notice that I cut my Union Station in half lengthwise, as I did with all the Plasticville buildings.  That "Clinic" is actually the rear of the Hospital.

I have finished - for now - the Timboy Town West vista, or section.  It's a four-tiered segment.  It's time to move on to Twin Lakes West.  Here are three pics that show the "completed" section.

This may be as good a time as any to try to give a pictorial overview of what has been completed so far.  Moving counter-clockwise from the west-end dog bone to Timboy Town West...

As an aside, some folks have commented on how neatly I work.  I wish to say that the reports of my neatness have been greatly exaggerated.  LOL  Here is a pic that shows the whole rest of my layout, under construction.

As I complete a section, I use up materials on hand and I just push everything else down into the remaining "empty" space.

Rolling Hills

Time to get this thing going again!  I'm changing the geography from high dessert to gently rolling hills.

The first pic shows wadded-up paper on top of a plywood platform.  I spritzed the paper with water to help form it.

The second pic shows wet burlap draped over the paper to make it smoother.

The third pic shows plaster hard-shell covering the area.  I kinda like the burlap look, but I need to make this a more permanent landscape.  There will be more vegetation than the other areas I've built so far as well.  I'm figuring on placing a Whistling Billboard in this area.

I am also in the process of building a strip town on the upper elevation track against the wall.  To that end, I cut my Union Train Station exactly in half lengthwise.  I need to put the window inserts back in, but I think it looks cute.  I can also use the back now as a factory, warehouse or even a high school.  Two for one special today!  LOL

Changing geography now.  I had to lift the clouds up! LOL

More progress made.  This part is going a little faster.  I discovered that I can contour the cut hills with wads of newspaper, spritzed with my spray bottle to hold their shape.  After the plaster hard-shell dries, I can reach up under it and remove all that newspaper, which allows air to get up under there and help to dry my "oatmeal" topping a little faster as well.  Goes faster than cardboard webbing, it does.  Adding more vegetation, I am.  Yoda helping me, he is. LOL

A mini-control panel.  There will be one the same size at the other end and one twice as large in the middle.  Each 15B controls a block.  The pre-war Flyer transformer controls a Log Loader and air chime whistle.  The camera shows that I need to do a little more touch-up painting .

I am finished with this section for the time-being.  Later, I can come back and do some upgrades, but I have to push onward if I am ever going to get my trains running again!

Next up is to build Timboy Town - a strip town along the right-of-way.  However, there is a speed bump.  I have used up all the wooden ties I've made over the years.  So I have to rip and plane down some cedar and stain more wooden ties (sigh).

How I Hand-Lay Track

There are plenty of kinds of track to use and plenty of ways to use it!  Here is how I use old vintage toy train track on my hi-rail layout.

First, obtain the track.  Here you see a typical section of "crapped-out" track that I pick up for cheap.

Strip off the ties.  I use a small flat-blade screwdriver to pry open the metal tabs.

Some of the ties and insulators removed.

Straighten out any warps or unwanted bends.  Here the rail is bent vertically instead of laterally, so I apply pressure on the area with the end on a hard surface.

I remove debris with a wire wheel on my bench grinder.  I'm not too interested in getting all the rust off down to shiny metal.  Rust doesn't adversely effect voltage conductivity, I think.

Sometimes some unwanted solder needs to be removed.  The soldering iron is at the end of this rail section.

I melt the solder with the iron, then quickly whisk it off with an old toothbrush.

Okay, here you have to pretend there are two hands at work, gently coaxing a bend in one end of the track.  The vintage Flyer track is hollow, so care must be taken not to get too aggressive, but to rather work it or coax it into the shape you desire.

There is most of the bend at one end done.  But the very end still needs bent to form what I call an "easement".

That is done by pressing the end down on a hard surface and applying hand pressure at just the right spot.  Practice makes perfect!

Pretty good.

Wooden ties cut out of planed-down and ripped cedar lumber, then stained with ebony wood stain.

Sometimes one rail is longer than the other.  A cut on my bandsaw with a metal-cutting blade fixes that.

I remove the burrs on the end after cutting.

I drill a hole in both ends of the wooden tie on one side only of the track.

I use long, ringed panel nails to spike down one end.  I'm going through glued-up homosote subroadbed.  As I lay the track, I'll use the insulators as shims to level the track under the ties and additional nails if necessary to hold the track true to level.

G-gauge spikes hold the rails to the ties.  I spike at the ends and two other places; about 1/3 of the way in from each side.

There's one of the little devils.

Can you make out that this is one jaw of my needle-nosed pliers?  I file two slots; one across and one intersecting.  They hold the spikes and keep them from flying off to Mexico.  LOL

Good old trusty NASG track gauge.

Okay, ignore the ballast for now.  It comes later.  What I'm showing here is soldering one rail to another as I go.

A small file section to file down any humps at the track joint.  Contrary to popular belief, vintage Flyer track is not "tin-plated".  It's solid steel, so you don't have to worry about filing through to the base metal.  There is no base metal.  But you CAN file down through the hollow rail.  You don't want to do that, obviously.  But if you do, all is not lost.  Just clean, flux and solder.  Then reshape it with a file and sandpaper.  Creases in the rail tops can be fixed the same way and as careful as I usually am, there are some I've found that I will want to fix.

Sand joints down smooth to remove file marks.

Paint sides of rail.  I use Engine Black.  It's Floquil that I buy from Testors.  You may want to use a rust-colored paint.

Wipe wet paint off the tops of the rails.

Sand rails smooth again to remove paint residue.

NOW apply ballast.  I harvest gravel locally, then wash and screen it down.  It comes out to about G gauge.  I know it's way large, but so are the wooden ties and rails!  Works for me.

Finished section.  I don't glue down ballast, as a rule.  It's stones.  They're heavy and the way I construct my landscaping, there really isn't any place for them to go, unless they are on top of a deck bridge or something.  In that event, I will glue down the edges.  Not gluing my ballast down makes changes to track so much easier.  What changes?  Maybe I might want to place a track trip or something.

Here is how I rebend curved sections:

I have found that by putting a curved rail section upside down into my vice and by tightening the jaws and releasing them and working the rail down that way - it comes out at about a perfect 54" diameter!  Obviously, you don't want to over-tighten the vice to where it mashes the rail. LOL

There it is!

Another way is to lay it down on a hard surface and flatten it down.  I'm showing using my finger tips to get a good shot.  Actually, I use the palms of my hands to force it down flat, let it spring back up; force it down flat again and repeat process 3-4 times to coax the spring out of the metal.

But, it will also over-bend at a weak spot!  Not to worry.  Gentle pressure by hand forces it back to a better curve.

And there it is.

That's about it.  Questions?