Mountain Modules One More Go Around

Loren Sep 29, 2011

  1. Loren

    Loren TrainBoard Supporter

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    I've never really chronicled and shown pictures of any of my modules from start to finish....until now. I feel it is time to share from day one thru basic completion the steps and progress of how I make my modules that represent some of Southern Oregon's and Northern California's finest mountain scenery.

    I have a noble goal in mind and that is to finish by February two brand new modules in time for February's WGH show in Portland.

    The first module is simply a 2'x4' straight thru module that will help alleviate some congestion near my moving highway on the Castle Crags module that many have seen at NTS and other shows in the Northwest. Jerry Craig suggested a new module to help keep people from congregating too much near the working highway where in the past we have had our DC controls set up. Makes it hard to access the throttle when folks are crowding around to 'see' it all happen. Maybe DCC would solve all those issues, suppose?

    I don't have to build this module, since I can easily move the throttles to less confined areas.....but don't tell Jerry that.

    So, these first pictures are very dull and nothing to get excited about. My construction methods seem to change with each module I construct, hopefully getting better with each endeavor. You will notice in these pictures that the legs fit snugly into 3/4 pockets I have 'over built' to hold them. One bolt keeps them very snug in their little homes.

    Also you will notice leg extensions of 13" that we at SOZME bolt on to match ZBT module heights when showing with other ZBT modules. Otherwise at our local Thanksgiving show we show at 39" to give the little folks better access and viewing for all. So far, no disasters.

    So if you have any questions about any of my basic construction techniques, ask away and I'll try in less than a thousand words to explain 'how and why'

    More pictures as things progress.....
     

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  2. HOexplorer

    HOexplorer TrainBoard Supporter

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    Loren, I'm excited. I enjoy seeing how these things are constructed. I repaired a ZoCal module but this one looks like different construction. I'm assuming one bolt is enough for a sturdy leg? I will look forward to more. Jim
     
  3. Loren

    Loren TrainBoard Supporter

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    Yes Jim, I custom built the leg assembly around the legs so they fit tightly to begin with and with one blind nut on the back of the leg pocket the one bolt makes the leg fit very tightly. I admit to having some legs on my earlier modules that had a sort of 'drunken' wobble to them because of poor design. While I admit that this technique may not be the easiest or most practical, the legs are as firm as you will ever find. As a side note, when I attach the 13" leg extension as shown in the last picture, they are very adequate.

    Up next is the cork roadbed and track laying. Again, my construction techniques may be a bit odd compared to some, but I only have one person to please and he is very particular... :eek:)

    One last note, and that is the realization that straight modules are somewhat difficult to plan scenery and track work due to very limited track arrangement. You can't put much curve in the track when you are so close to the edge and parallel tracks near the edge are boring at best. I'll have to think on this a bit before I cut cork. If I put curves in it, there needs to be a logical reason for track going around something.

    I wanted to do a 6' straight, which would have been minimum length for a over and under, but there is no room in my trailer to hold that long of a module.......that is until I'm forced to buy a truck to haul these things around........and that sure isn't happening this weekend.
     
  4. Fred Ladd

    Fred Ladd TrainBoard Member

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    Loren- Put that six footer on the roof!! :) I assume you test all your modules with your hurricane strength leaf blower- so it should be able to withstand a mere 70 mph!
    Signed- nope- not gunna do it
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 29, 2011
  5. Loren

    Loren TrainBoard Supporter

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    Dear Not,

    I have to ask Joe for that picture of me 'test' blowing my modules. Some folks don't believe I really do that......just ask Joe.

    I have been seriously thinking of making a 2-3' module to join with the existing one in order to have a nice over and under. The two would be hooked together like any module with extension tracks to join them. I'd have to do a nicer job of camouflaging the extension tracks and the extra length would allow more scenery options. Maybe even make the module a 45 degree so I could add that to my existing 45 and make a right turn......or maybe a left turn, which ever gets me to Taco Bell the fastest. :eek:)

    Gotta go do some measuring to see if I can squeeze it into my trailer. That Peter Built is looking more and more like a 'must have'. Can I borrow $80,000?
     
  6. Pat T.

    Pat T. TrainBoard Member

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    Loren,

    I really like your legs (the ones on your modules). I have two set of legs for my show modules, so I can also set them at the lower height that I prefer at home, but I think I like your method better.

    Regarding the crossover module, they are very rewarding as they draw many onlookers and are crowd pleasers, as are all your modules, from what I have seen. A couple of years ago, I created a 6 foot crossover module and documented the building process and issues in a 2 part series on ZTrack. Please note that if you are using the standard ZBend Track wiring system, a crossover module requires an adjacent specially wired end module, as the inside rail inside track on one end of the module becomes the outside rail outside track at the other end. This was called to my attention after I created the module. The DC ZBend group also discovered at a recent show that these two modules need to be adjacent. I have some pix in the photo album titled "Crossover Module" in the photos section of the Yahoo Z Scale Group. If I had to do it over, I would have changed the water color, but it was a rewarding experience, and probably should not have been the first module I built.

    Pat

    BridgesWithTrains.jpg
     
  7. RSmidt

    RSmidt TrainBoard Member

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    Hey Pat, I was just reading this on Metro on the way home and was wondering if you could cut in two different sets of terminal blocks for regular and cross over power routing between the power input and track feeds with a switch to select either toting as needed.

    Randy
     
  8. markm

    markm TrainBoard Supporter

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    Pat,
    I like the looks of your crossover. I've been thinking about doing 2, but just not sure how to make the electrical right.
    Mark
     
  9. Fred Ladd

    Fred Ladd TrainBoard Member

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    Another shot of Pat's crossover taken at Rockville train show 2010
     

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  10. Loren

    Loren TrainBoard Supporter

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    Pat,
    I am just crossing the inner track over itself so I won't need special wiring. Crossing both inner and outer would require a bit more work.

    In the last 24 hours, I've decided against a cross over. More on my plans later.
     
  11. Mr. White

    Mr. White TrainBoard Member

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    How would you cross the inside track over itself on a module? Would you have to increase the witdth at all?

    Zac
     
  12. Loren

    Loren TrainBoard Supporter

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    You would need at least a 6' long module, and longer would be better to keep the grade as low as possible. Jerry Craig did it once and he could show a picture of his module. Jerry.....you're up to bat.

    BTW, Jerry has almost 5 months to finish his cross over module completely. Now get to it Jerry. No excuses for WGH in February.
     
  13. Loren

    Loren TrainBoard Supporter

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    Well, here goes hopefully. I don't do so well in learning how to post photos.........

    What I've tried to say twice before this attempt is that I ended up making a new wider module similar to the first only this one is 30 1/2" wide instead of the first one with 24" width.
    I need the width for a river bed. The other module will be used later so my labor is not wasted, (I hope)

    These pictures show the cut out river bed surface, and as I have a tendency to over build, I added support pieces along the river bank. I'd hate to bump the bottom of the module and cause the river damage. If you look closely you will notice the river bed is cut deeper as it travels along from the right edge to the left side. Makes it easier to simulate rapids with an actual slope to the river bed. Might be interesting when pouring my water.....hmmmmmm

    I"ll use Bragdon Enterprises expanding foam on window screen as the underlayment material which is leak proof when pouring the water. Not sure what I'll use for water yet, but I'm ahead of the game at this point.

    Hopefully I'll get new legs and mounting pockets built today.

    CAM_0808.JPG CAM_0812.JPG CAM_0809.JPG CAM_0813.JPG
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 13, 2011
  14. rvn2001

    rvn2001 TrainBoard Member

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    You can pour the water with the module at an angle to get a slope.
     
  15. Svein-Martin Holt

    Svein-Martin Holt TrainBoard Member

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    May be deleted..................... wrong posting
     
  16. Svein-Martin Holt

    Svein-Martin Holt TrainBoard Member

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    One Idea that can be used is to fake the levelchange on the river like the image below, showing the section along the river. It looks like the river has different levels, but it is at the same level between each part. I have used this technique on my Saguaro River MOdules.

    [​IMG]

    An image from the Saguaro River showing the effect:
    [​IMG]
     
  17. rvn2001

    rvn2001 TrainBoard Member

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    Tilting my module is how I poured this part of the river on my trestle module. river1a.jpg
     
  18. up mike

    up mike E-Mail Bounces

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    Lookin' Good Loren
    The question is what will you be using for water and how deep is that River?
    I have some Envirotex showing up here in the next few days I will start doing some small river samples before using it on Donner.
    My thinking it's better to use Envirotex if you plan on going deep my river is about 1/2 deep in most spots.
    Now just for the record I have never used Envirotex before so only time will tell......
     
  19. Loren

    Loren TrainBoard Supporter

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    Mike, Thomas, Sevin,

    I agree, tilting is an easy way to get some of the effect. I also like very much what Sevin did with his water. That scene is absolutely beautiful. I can only hope to do as well. My river won't actually be very deep because I really have no way of knowing how deep the real one is due to the picture I am copying does not show the water. So I guess I can take advantage of the unknown and show some artistic license in interpretation of what I 'think' it should look like.

    Since I am attempting to duplicate a scene as closely as possible, the absence of water in the picture is a blessing in disguise and I can do with it as I think best. Water is not my strong point at all so I'll be crossing my fingers and toes, but now while I pour the water.

    When I get a little further along with the scenery and river bed foundation, I'll actually share the prototype picture so you can see the impossible I'm attempting.

    Mike, I will very likely use some Envirotex for added detail. John Cubbin does about the best water I believe so I'll be checking the archives for a refresher in water 101.

    Be sure to ask some experienced water dogs before you pour too much Envirotex. Coloring the bottom can give good results if done carefully, but I like to think of pure mountain water being almost clear to the bottom so careful tinting may be the way to go also. Ask the more experienced.

    Funny but true story gleaned from a former train show in Portland. A show attendee once asked me how come I couldn't use real water.........Well, we all know the answer, but it was rather difficult to convince the person as he was sure real water would somehow 'look better'. I guess that is just one of those moments when you politely say 'thanks for the idea' as you walk away rolling your eyes where he can't see you snickering. Be nice Loren

    Svein, the more I look at your Saguaro River, the more I fall in love with it. Can you tell us more about what material you used for the water and how you kept it from doing the 'creepy creepy thing' up the sides of your rocks. I really think your river construction deserve a whole thread by itself. Or did you do it once and I'm simply behind the times?

    I did accomplish my goal today. Got the new legs and pockets made and am now ready to drill the holes in the interface ends and then lay some cork roadbed. Come to think of it, I need to contact Joel Bragdon and order more expanding foam since my old bottle is long dried out. Curses.......
     
  20. up mike

    up mike E-Mail Bounces

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    I hear you Loren.........
    I built to small rivers for my test with this stuff as I know it likes to creep
    on one of the rivers that I built I painted the bottom a dark green on one side and left the others side unpainted so that I can see the difference between a painted bottom and a unpainted.
    The other thing I will be playing with is the Green & Blue dyes and what levels will get the dyes.
    My first test will be with a clear bottom and the rest of the layers colored vs All layers colored.
     

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