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February 1, 2014 Finishing the East side of my Layout

Scroll Down to final update of this post #4, May 5th

This will be an on-going Post of the finish work for the East side or what I call the Red Mountain area of my layout.  My layout is mounted on 3½" metal casters so that I can easily move it.  For easier access to the East side I have rotated my layout 90° so the East side is actually on the North, that saves steps and it's closer to my cleanup source and workbench as well as better lighting.

I have five two lamp 8 ft fluorescent fixtures on the ceiling of which three are on north end of my garage arranged in U shape to virtually eliminate shadows.

This picture shows the East side as I begin the final scenery and detailing.

This is a right corner shot of Red Mountain.
This is the left corner of Red Mountain showing the 135 ft Tower Module.  As you can see I need to finish the bottom of the module with plywood.  This module needs to be easily removable, the tower won't clear the garage door when I move my layout out of the garage to clean the floor.
As you can see in the picture above I need to correct the plywood side to conform to the scenery.  Over the years several scenery modifications have changed the ground levels and the plywood no longer matches.

This pictures shows Red Mountain from the rear.

This is a view of Red Mountain showing the two adjoining modules with my scratch built Catalog Homes.

The picture above and the close up below show the Winter's Mansion renamed Susie's House after our youngest daughter.  She wanted to be an Attorney so she has her office in her home.  The Mansion is quite large, it has 18 rooms with a bath on each floor.  The kitchen and dining room are in the first level or basement.

Susie's Mansion is located just to the right of the Silver Spur Mine.

Susan can look out a window in the rear of the house and see her downtown business, Susie's Café.

One of my best purchases was the Topside Creeper, it gets me over to the center of my layout without dinging stuff with my belly and elbows.

This is our Perry home on my layout.  This 1912 Chalet resembles the summer home that my father and his brothers owned in the Wasatch Mountains at the top of the loop in Big Cottonwood Canyon, Brighton Utah in the 1950s and 60s.  At that time there wasn't very many homes in the area so they named it Perrydice.

I decided to have a two story garage at my Chalet, I scratch built a garage earlier for a different house but it didn't fit in with the existing buildings so I shelved it.  The original garage had clapboard siding so I rebuilt it with board & batten siding to match the Chalet.  I will stain to to match Chalet.  The room above the garage is my train room complete with a layout.

My father and uncles didn't put up a sign like I have here, they painted Perrydice on a huge rock located at at the paved road where the driveway to the home began.  You couldn't see the house from the paved road because of the tall pines so the rock was the marker to find the house. 

Update #1, March 8th

Here I've covered the new tower module base with Plastic Wrap to prevent the Paper Maché from warping the plywood and foam as it dries.  The Paper Maché only shrinks about 5% but that is enough to really warp the base of the module.  This time I'm going to apply the Woodland Scenery Flocking to the Paper Maché with thinned Elmer's white glue before I attach it to the foam to prevent warping.  Next I'll attach the well dried Paper Maché to the carved foam base section with the 3M Spray Adhesive.

Here I have covered the plywood/sculptured foam with plastic wrap and a ¼" layer of Paper Maché.

It will take the Paper Maché close to 48 hours to completely dry even though it is a very dry mix.  The Plastic Wrap slows down the drying process.

The picture above shows the Paper Maché after patching the ⅛" gap around the edge caused by the shrinkage. When the Paper Maché is thoroughly dry I will apply the base coat of Woodland Scenic Fine Turf Flocking. 

The Paper Maché shell is dry, the picture above is the shell upside down with the Plastic Wrap removed ready to be glued down to the foam base.

The picture above shows the Paper Maché base with the plastic wrap removed and the flocking added.  I have also put pins at the guy points and installed the tower base.  You can see the lower level Paper Maché added to fill and mate the two levels.

Here the tower is installed and ready for finishing. 

Update # 2April

I have been working at filling in the area below my 2' x 4' module shown in the picture below, this is what it looked like before I started.

The next few pictures show the construction process.

I had made the rock casting back in November so they were ready to go.

I like working with Paper Mache but it sure is messy.

The line in the picture above shows where the joint gap was between the module and the layout before I covered it with the ground cover.

Here I have stained only a portion of the new rock to make sure it is going to match the existing rocks, it does so I will continue the stain.

The next portion will be removing the Paper Maché below the track and replacing it with rocks. 

Here I have removed the 25 year old foam/Paper Maché leaving a large hole to be filled in with more rocks. I will have to make the castings to fit the opening this time. This will be a moment it time for me as the double crossover was the first track laid down in 1989 and this the new rock section will finally allow me to finish this portion of my layout. 

This double crossover is not the original that I installed in 1989.  Over the years I tried several different manufacturers turnouts and all had problems of one kind or another.  I finally built my own double crossover from Atlas Code 83 #6 Custom Line turnouts that have worked flawlessly.  Click here to view my post on building a double crossover.

Update #3 May 1st

I'm still plugging away on the rock portion of this section.  The following pictures show my progress on building a large rock to fill the void shown in the last picture above.

The picture above shows a slightly different type of construction for me.  I have glued six rock castings together with Plaster of Paris on the back, I poured a sloppy mix on wax paper then I placed 2" wide strips of fiberglass joint tape in the runny plaster and dropped the casting into the "plaster glue". The large rock measures 8½" high and 22" wide.

The opening is 10" high so I needed some 2½" base or foundation rocks to set the large rock on to bring it to the proper height.  Cutting a Plaster of Paris rock with a saw isn't my favorite thing to do.  I got an idea for placing a partition in the mold to make a Half Rock.

The rock above is the end result of my idea. The rock is actually two pieces as shown below.

I made a rough cut divider for this casting shown below.

After I split the rock in half I made a new divider that fits the mold very nice by tracing the casting.

The picture below shows the large rock in place and stained, notice it closely matches the rocks above the tracks.

I have moved on to the detail work of the tunnel portals.  The following pictures show the tunnel interior walls also Plaster of Paris castings.

Because the tunnel portal is on the edge of my layout it is easy to view deep into the interior so I have used two wall castings.

Next I glued the tunnel face plate to the walls then proceeded to fill around it to seal it into the rocks.

I'll stain the filled area after the plaster has fully dried.

Placement of a tunnel portal on a curve is critical.  Placed too far to the outside of the curved track can cause a 85' passenger overhang hit the portal.  Placed too far to the inside of the curve and a Cab Forward cab overhang will hit the portal.  I made several passes with a Cab Forward pulling my longest passenger car.  The portal clearance was was adjusted equally to ⅛" on both sides. 

The rock is stained, I have filled the area above the rock with crushed newspaper and covered it with a ¼" of Paper Maché.  While I'm waiting for the Paper Maché to dry I'll do the detail work around the upper tunnel.

Update #4 May 5th

I finished the scenery in this portion and now I'm going to attempt to put down some ballast starting with my double crossover.  I have two MLR Ballast Spreaders, they are the best way to lay ballast that I have found but nothing works very good.

The picture below shows my double crossover after 6 hours of very tedious work, it took three  hours to spread and glue the ballast.  I let it dry overnight and put in another three hours cleaning it up.

The picture below shows a closeup of two of the moving rails.  I put a thin piece of clear plastic under the points, I painted the bottom black and took of the gloss with 500 grit wet or dry sandpaper.  That gave a smooth surface under the moving tie.

The amazing thing is that it worked perfectly after the ballasting.

I installed the ballast 8" inside the tunnel.