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130' Tower Module rebuild Project

This Project is a rebuild of my 130' Tower Module.  It is an HO scale model of a 130' Rohn #6G communications tower from the 1950s.

My buddy Garth has been working on the top of the tower for over a year now so he must be really tired and I'll bet his feet are hurting pretty bad from standing on the ¾" tower rungs.

The original Rohn #6 tower sections were only made for a few years in the mid 1950s.  It was a light duty 12" wide tower, the legs were made from 1" thin wall conduit and the cross members were ¾" conduit with welded construction.  You could actually see "EMT" embossed in the tubing.  My VHF radio site was located in the Lincoln National Forest near the Wofford Fire Lookout Site at 8752' AMSL six miles north of Cloudcroft New Mexico.  My antenna was on top of a 130' Rohn #6G tower and my HO scale model is very close to accurate.

My tower module is located on the highest point of my layout on Red Mountain.  The radio building houses the local railroad's VHF radio repeater.  The building is a GClaser Kit #1901, West End Shack.  The tower is made out of N gauge brass ladder stock and the guy wires and power lines are .015" music wire. 

I soldered three ladder sections together to form a triangle.

The finished tower measures 0.145" x 17⅞" HO scale or 12⅜" wide by 129' 9" tall so it's very close to accurate.

My Tower Module will be rebuilt as a removable section from 1½" thick foam board glued to half inch plywood then covered with Paper Maché.

Original Tower Module

This module must be removable as the tower in place on my layout with it's antenna is 6" taller than my garage door opening.  I designed and built my layout on casters so that it can be rolled out of the garage onto the driveway.  With it moveable I can clean the floor under it easily.

The tower has a flashing 1mm 1½ volt Grain of Sand lamp as a beacon and the building has a 12 volt Grain of Wheat lamp inside operating at 8½ volts for realism.  The Grain of Sand lamp was clear, I dipped it in red Delta Transparent Glass Paint. 

I retired after putting in 49 years and 10 months working in Two-Way Radio Communications.  After almost 50 years working in Communications I just had to build a Radio Repeater Site on my layout.

The Paper Maché on my original module has warped badly and after several attempts trying to salvage it I decided it would be easier to just rebuild it.

I began by cutting out the module footprint from ¾" plywood and gluing it in place on top of the foam mountain in the corner of my layout.

I used a different way to attach the plywood to the foam this time, I used 3M Super 77 Spray Adhesive.  It worked very good and dried quickly, definitely better than Elmer's White or Carpenters Glue.

Next I cutout a couple of module base pieces from ¼" plywood that I'll sandwich together also with 3M 77.

After the two sections are glued together I'll use the 3M 77 to glue the 1½" thick foam board to the plywood module base.

I covered the 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.

In this closeup you can see that the Paper Maché hasn't warped and the ground is flat and level.

Moving the tower wasn't as easy as I had planned.  As normal it fought me with all it's might.  I won but by only a slim margin.

The tower did turn out very nice after the fight.  It took me 4 hours to remove the tower and radio building from the old module and reinstall the tower on the new module.  I repainted the building and stained the shingles.

In the picture below you can see the radio cabinets inside the building.

Scenery is next then this module is finished. 

The blending is coming along very good.  The Woodland Secenic Earth Undercoat applied direct to the Paper Maché first helps fill in the voids where the grass is thin and looks like dirt or soil.