layout for the "Santa Fe" room

arbomambo Oct 28, 2011

  1. arbomambo

    arbomambo TrainBoard Member

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    Hello all,
    wanted to post progress of the small layout I'm building for one of the upstairs bedroom...
    initial posts can be viewed here
    http://www.trainboard.com/grapevine/group.php?discussionid=1255&do=discuss

    I've had a little time to start to rough in some scenery elements, namely the 'above trackside' scenery on the most visible outside curve-apart from the central Mesa/Butte, this will be the only scenery above the rail.
    Like I've posted before, the scenery is formed entirely from blue/pink insulating foam...the only plaster-sculptamold-celluclay that will be used at all will only be used to fill any gaps in the foam and, perhaps, smooth some areas on the foam that may be a little rough. Other than that, any and all ground material used will be applied directly to the foam and all sandstone-rock features will be carved and etched from the foam.

    Here are a couple of scrap pieces I used to carve and etch for practice...just to make sure I'd be able to replicate the eroded sandstone features that are exposed at the top of the Mesa.
    I stacked a few pieces together to illustrate the different types of layers of sedimentary rock that is exposed on these Mesas in this area of the country. As you can see in the 'roughed in' scenery forms, using layers of foam actually contributes to the type of scenery I'm re-creating on this layout....

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    While working on the scenery, I'll continue to use this sample as a 'stand-in' for the lower edges of the central Mesa...
    Continued....
    Bruce
     
  2. arbomambo

    arbomambo TrainBoard Member

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    Here are some pics of the roughed in scenery so far...using a combination of knives and hotwire tool, I've formed the basic shapes that I want...
    the road is in 'place'...but there is much more to do in smoothing the road's grade....there will also be a small highway bridge carrying the road over a small arroyo that runs between it and the roadbed, and 'up' to and 'through the rock cut seen on the corner.
    I placed a few Atlas telephone/utilty poles in temprary position to get an idea of how I want these placed...they help me visualize the flow of the scenery.
    Thanks for looking,
    Bruce

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  3. arbomambo

    arbomambo TrainBoard Member

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    ...and a few more....
    Here you can see thew sample rock work placed inside of the curve...it also helps visualize the mesa that will dominate the layout...

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    I'll be grading the road and roughing the arroyo next....
     
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  4. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    It will be very interesting to see more of the scenery. I can already get a very good feel for the setting.
     
  5. arbomambo

    arbomambo TrainBoard Member

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    Let the 'rasping' begin!....
    roughing in the hwy.....improving the grade down to the lower level.
    The only 'good' way to shape the foam for the grade is by using a Stanley 'surform' rasp....very effective but MESSY!...rasping is the only 'chink' in the foam scenery armor, in that it can get very messy if you're not prepared. the small foam particles generated from the process become 'static-y' and stick to everything.
    DEFINITELY have your shopvac handy for this step...makes cleaning as you go a breeze, and much lass painful for the 'neat freak' in me!

    pics of the road grading on the rock cut through this corner

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  6. arbomambo

    arbomambo TrainBoard Member

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    just a couple more ...
    the next step...working on the grade for the other exposed corner, then adding a 'new' feature (just to illustrate that this layout plan is 'evolving'...!

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  7. arbomambo

    arbomambo TrainBoard Member

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    The last installments of the day/weekend...football, friends, and cooking time!

    some more grading done, on the other corner as well...now the layout is beginning to take shape, and having things 'roughed' in allows me to make better decisions on the finer details I want to add to each part of this door layout...
    The most important thing that I consider when planning a scenery project, whether it be a small diorama or something larger like this layout (I just think of this a s a 'larger' diorama), IS that I want the performers (in this case the trains, right of way, Highway, and everything associated with these 'man-made' items, to appear as if they were built AFTER the scenery ( nature) was formed...after all, this is how it's done in the real world...a highway, or railroad right-of-way is constructed on, or through the already existing topography; I want to create that 'illusion' on this layout, so I have to think and plan the scenery I install...just because I want to have the track bend around a pretty scenic curve, elevated above some 'lower' scenery doesn't mean i can just 'plop' it in the scene.
    to make the scenery convincing, there has to be a reason the track and elevation are oriented the way that they are...a natural barrier that the surveyors and engineers (of the construction variety) chose the path that they did...AND why the track is 'curved' or 'elevated' alongside a 'ridge'....
    To my mind, the foreground Highway would help frame the nice little inside curve on the main side of the layout, the curve of the mesa to be built behind the tracks would define the curve of the right-of-way, but, of course, the mesa didn't just form that way...ages and ages of water and wind erosion carved these features from the layers of sedimentary rock to make them appear the way they appear to us today...
    ...so...the dry wash/arroyo HAD to find it's way onto the front of the layout. Even though I hadn't allowed for it when adding the lengthways extension to the layout (I didn't support the added layers of foam with a wood 'floor') I realized it would be easy enough to add some model airplane-style plywood between the short stringers, providing a dry wash 'floor'.
    The Hot wire tool (round bladed knife) REALLY comes into it's own when carving features such as this....simply 'plunge' the edge into the foam and start 'jigsawing' the blade through the foam.
    I want to replicate the eroded sides of an arroyo that sees spring snow melt runoff, the type throughout the modelled area of New Mexico...the one's I've seen..from Scholle, just east of Abo canyon, to the Rio Puerco and beyond, along Route 66, all have a jagged-edge bank, and are characterized by the rich red soil that is peculiar to this layer of sandstone (someone here with much more geological expertise than I can probably tell us what makes this soil so red).


    Here's a pic that illustrates this feature...note that the wash isn't very deep at this point...that truss bridge seems like overkill...but it makes one wonder what this looks like during the spring runoff!

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    So...with this vision in my mind, I took the plunge with the hot knife and ended up with this...


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    Again, one can see that I'll have to add some plywood underneath this layer of foam to form the floor of the wash....but you can get the idea of the general depth at this point...
    continued....
    Bruce
     
  8. arbomambo

    arbomambo TrainBoard Member

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    some pics of the other corner....

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    I'm pretty satisfied and excited about the direction this layout and scenery is taking...but, as in the real world, I've created a 'natural' feature-obstacle that needs to be overcome i.e that highway and the arroyo!
    anyone have any ideas on how i can bridge that arroyo?

    and one last pic...
    for those who may want more of an idea of what's going to fill the entire center of this layout, here's a hint....


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    Thanks for looking,
    Bruce
     
  9. arbomambo

    arbomambo TrainBoard Member

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    spent a few moments looking for future 'railfan' spots on the door layout...
    here are a few angles from a spot across the highway on a rock out cropping...

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    and this one from a little bit below trackside (I had to trespass on ATSF property to get this one)

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    Happy Sunday and thanks for looking,
    Bruce
     
  10. OC Engineer JD

    OC Engineer JD Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Nice!!! Going to look awesome when you get that scenery done! Keep the updates coming. :)
     
  11. arbomambo

    arbomambo TrainBoard Member

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    Happy Halloween all!

    a quick update...
    I'm intending to represent a small stretch of "The Mother Road" on the front of this layout, so I want a bridge that helps 'mark' the era...I-40 in this area has relegated existing stretches of old Route 66 to a lot of 'hike-in' field trips...
    I'm at a point in the scenery stage where I'm going to have to 'cool it' for a bit....I'm on a roll with inspiration but I can't get too far ahead...I want to get the code 55 track down, wired, and 'bulletproof' tested before 'scenic-ing' myself into a proverbial corner.
    This is going to be my main divergence from trying to model this little stretch of railroad in natural order ( natural features first, cutting, grading, laying track, then ballasting, and finally, weathering the ballast).
    I'll lay the track, paint, weather, and test it...then cover with masking tape to protect it from the rest of the scenery process. The only thing to do now is wait for the track to arrive! I realize that I haven't introduce a track plan yet...I promise to post one soon.
    However, there's still much to do apart from the track, and bridgeing the dry wash for the highway can proceed.
    When it comes to bridges, there are many examples from which to choose in the 'real world', and even a cursory web search for Route 66 bridges yields a wealth of photos; I'm thankful for those that have gone before me in documenting and photographing these pieces of American history...who knew there are bridge finders out there!
    I found a gentleman's post of some bridges on an abandoned stretch of route 66 in Cibola county, NM...forgive me for forgetting his name, but these pics are reproduced here from his website and he deserves full credit. It just so happens that this stretch of route 66 is within a few miles of the area of ATSF's main line through New Mexico that inspires this door layout-the eastern end of the Gallup sub, as it winds west from Dalies, along the Rio Puerco...through the Laguna, then Acoma reservations, and to the abandoned 'station' of McCartys...
    within a few miles of each other are these three route 66 bridges...each one a different style.
    AHA!....here is the link to the bridge site!
    http://bridgehunter.com/nm/cibola/
    First, a short span bridge that could EASILY be modelled with the 'period' Rix highway overpass sections...

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  12. arbomambo

    arbomambo TrainBoard Member

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    ...next...a similar style concrete bridge, with a leittle less 'ornate' guardrail style, but still fairly easily modelled with Rix overpass road sections and strip styrene...

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  13. arbomambo

    arbomambo TrainBoard Member

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    and finally...
    my favorite...a ponytruss style with a really neat 'lattice-work' guard rail...

    this would be the most difficult of the three to model...the Rix road sections will work, but the Pony Trusses would have to be scratchbuilt...
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  14. arbomambo

    arbomambo TrainBoard Member

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    I estimate that I need about 10-12 inches of actual bridge span to carry the road over the wash and flood area, so I'll have to figure all the dimensions before I make my final decision...but I'm DEFINITELY leaning toward the pony truss style..for nostalgic reasons as much as aesthetic ones...
    During my many childhood trips from New Orleans to Pass Christian, MS, with my cousin, Aunt, and Uncle, helping them clear brush from their new lot and assisting my Uncle in the building of their new home, I remember a stretch of Hwy 90 through the Rigolets, the waterway pass that drains Lake Ponchatrain into the Gulf of Mexico. Along this stretch of Hwy 90, there is a series of three pony truss bridges, 3 of them to be exact, with 3 spans each...passing over these brisges helped me mark the time of our arrival to and from New Orleans...( at about the halfway point if I remember correctly-it was a 35-40 minute journey from the Lakefront of New Orleans to Pass Christian along Hwy 90- today I-10 reduces that trip by about 20 minutes, spanning the lower southeastern portion of Lake Ponchatrain, from Irish Bayou to Slidell-BTW, parrelling the Southern's 'Crescent' route and HWY 11)
    The Highway 90 route roughly parralled the Louisville and Nashville main (now CSX), from the Gentilly yard, east through the bayous of The Rigolets, crossing the waterways over a series of swing and lift bridges...I always looked forward to catching a glimpse of a train crossing the waterways when the hwy 'met up' with the railroad at these bayous...
    so the pony truss has a nice little familiarity to itthe eras are certainly the same...
    What do you think?
    Thanks for looking,
    Bruce
     
  15. arbomambo

    arbomambo TrainBoard Member

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    Good morning,
    I quickly sketched the trackplan for this layout with the basic scenery forms indicated as such...
    As you can see, it's a very simple double-track loop, with double crossovers and a junction at the top 'right hand ' corner....this junction is inspired by the junction at Dalies...where the Glorieta sub line from Albuquerque meets with the Belen cutoff, to continue weat across NM, AZ, and CA. Perhaps there will be an extension to this door layout (staging, turning, etc)...I don't know but this will allow for that possibility.
    I've also drawn 'in' another junction-spur line coming off one of the mains at the front of the layout as well...but I'm not sure that I'm going to go ahead with this one, though the cork roadbed is laid for this. A spur would increase the operation possibilities, with the addition of a small extension, but I'm just not sure about the 'visible impact' of a junction here...somehow it just doesn't seem 'railroad-y'...I am open for suggestions...as well as what I should do with the small open spaces on these corners (I've drawn question marks at these locations)
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    I've also added a small spur off the inside main...this could be a stock car spur with cattle pen and loading ramp (a la the existing corral at Quirk), or just a small spur to set out and store a few cars. I'll definitely use code 40 track here (may even attempt to handlay this)
    Thanks for looking,
    Bruce
     
  16. arbomambo

    arbomambo TrainBoard Member

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    I've decided to build a pony truss style highway bridge featuring three camelback trusses...true, it definitely WILL give me something to do when not working on scenery or trackwork...the bridge and highway at the point where it crosses the arroyo are well below track level, so a superdetailed bridge will work on a few levels, working 'with' a basic diorama principle-foreground objects at a lower level, letting the eye wander 'up' to background objects on a higher plane...also, as there are no real structures on this layout (I'd still like to put some adobe ruins somewhere on the layout), the bridges will be the obvious 'man made' items that help define the scale in relation to the trains and the scenery.
    I had not planned on scratchbuilding a bridge, so the process starts in researching plans and items...I believe that Evergreen H beams, plastic sheet, and a few photo-etched items will do the trick...would love to try out the Micro-mark or Archer rivet decals...and just saw an article with the use of a NWSL 'riveter'..(didn't know something like this existed!)...the track won't be here for a week or so...so hobby time, now, will be devoted to these types of things.
    I did have a 'DOH' moment when considering how I was going to 'floor' the arroyo ( I had thought that I might just glue some RC aircraft plywood to the bottom)...when I realized the silliness of not using the foam!
    ...didn't take but a few minutes to measure, cut, fit, and glue!
    here's the results...
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    Thanks for looking,
    Bruce
     
  17. Cajonpassfan

    Cajonpassfan TrainBoard Supporter

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    Bruce,
    Including a piece of the "mother road" along the graceful rr curve with an arroyo inbetween will set the time and place .. It already feels like "Radiator Springs" is just around the next bend...:) Nice work, have fun with it!
    Regards, Otto
     
  18. arbomambo

    arbomambo TrainBoard Member

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    Hello all...
    photobucket is having issues today...so I'm trying to link photos from this site...
    a little progress, in planning at least...
    after a bit of research and 'figuring'...it appears that a single larger 'Through-Truss' bridge is going to bridge my arroyo; the shallow angle where the highway crosses dictates a long single span (no room for piers)...
    No worries, as this kind of bridge is found on old route 66 through NM as well...in fact, an existing bridge stands today not far at all from the previous bridges I've shown...and the State of New Mexico has decided to keep this one on the historic registry....
    Here are a few pics of this bridge...

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    This bridge is on old route 66 west of Albuquerque, about halfway between I-25 and old Hwy 6...this section of route 66 parrallels I-40 at this point...
    Bruce
     
  19. arbomambo

    arbomambo TrainBoard Member

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    Here are some pics and measurements of the area to be bridged....as the ruler shows, about 10-11 inches of through-truss span should do the trick....I built 'up' the approach roadway with a layer of foam to allow a little leeway in forming the bridge approach now that this portion of the plan has changed a little...Using foam as the scenery base REALLY helps when changes, such as this, work their way into the layout!

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  20. arbomambo

    arbomambo TrainBoard Member

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    I'd like to 'personalize' this bridge as much as possible...so after much internet 'shopping'...it appears that 'bashing' two kits together will fill the bill...
    The Atlas bridge kit will give me the outline and basic dimensions that I want; the Central Valley bridge with walways will give me the nice detail trusses and braces....I'll basically be grafting parts of these two bridges together to produce a reasonable and well detailed facsimile of the above bridge...

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    I sized a 'profile' pic of the Atlas bridge to within a few millimeters of the published length of 10 inches...then printed it on cardstock so i could make a quick mock-up to see if this was going to 'fit' into the scene ( to me, it has to 'look right'...the road and bridge are foreground scenery and 'props' for the railroad)

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    after quickly cutting out the bridge span, I posed it in the location to get an idea of how it would impact the scene...
    It takes only a few minutes to mock-up a bridge or building like this...I believe it goes a long way to helping plan the layout...!

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