Thunder Ridge: A Freelanced Focus on Scenery

Mark Watson Apr 12, 2010

  1. MC Fujiwara

    MC Fujiwara TrainBoard Member

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    Was that a screaming eagle I heard?
     
  2. Mark Watson

    Mark Watson TrainBoard Member

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    Yeah, its one of the draw backs for the improved pick-up ability and smoothness of that little thing. The front axle was shaved down in diameter so that the wheels can follow the contour of the rails more appropriately. It gets a spring-loaded action from the wipers. The front axle is also non-geared, which eliminates an extreme amount of friction from the the other two drivers, making it run much much more smooth. Being spring loaded, it takes the most slight amount of weight away from axle 2 & 3, and since it's un-geared, so goes much of its traction. One of these days, I'll get some BFS for the middle driver and see what happens. Until then, this little "Ultimate Saddle Tank" as I like to call it, is still a great lil' worker! :p

    [video=youtube;4sKTU8_e8uo]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sKTU8_e8uo[/video]
     
  3. Mark Watson

    Mark Watson TrainBoard Member

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    Probably. Eagles are a common sight on Thunder Ridge. ;) ;)

    [​IMG]
     
  4. Mark Watson

    Mark Watson TrainBoard Member

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    Well, I picked up some wire mesh to try the idea you suggested, but as good as it was in theory, it was a nightmare in practice. :(

    I think the mesh was just too stiff to be molded into a useable contour of the foam wall, yet if I had chosen a more flexible mesh, the weight of the mold + hydro-cal would have flattened it back out.

    I ended up using the recommended technique of just plopping the half-cured hydro-cal filled mold right on the foam wall! :p
    There was a lot of cracking and breaking around the ends (you can see a lot of the chunks that did not stick in this photo, just sitting in place), but ultimately, it worked just fine. :)
     
  5. Mark Watson

    Mark Watson TrainBoard Member

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    2 Mikados, 1 GS-4, an SD70Ace and some techno!

    Heavy Traffic on the Ridge today! :D :D
    [video=youtube;QFNm3paIb_c]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFNm3paIb_c[/video]
     
  6. Mike C

    Mike C TrainBoard Member

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    Back when I used Hydrocal .if I remember correctly, If you are going to apply the mold to a curved wall, pick up the mold just after it starts to harden. The softer the mix is in the mold the eaiser it is to get it to conform to the base. Also I found it VERY difficult to try to do more than 1 at a time. I never used a mesh ( never thought of it either lol ) HTH.....Mike
     
  7. Mark Watson

    Mark Watson TrainBoard Member

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    Yeah, that is the technique I ended up using. When planning with Rick, I was worried that since the rocks need to be applied to a near vertical wall, gravity would be my worst enemy. Rick's mesh idea would have allowed casting horizontally, then fixing the hardened product to the wall. Sounds great in theory, but the difficulty of shaping the mesh to conform to the wall and then the weight of the mold flattening the mesh back out just caused more trouble than before. Plus, hydrocal becomes very thick just before it finally hardens and therefore gravity cant interfere (as much). :)
     
  8. Mark Watson

    Mark Watson TrainBoard Member

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    Well, first week of October I plan to order the last batch of track materials to finally finish the yard! I'm going back to the original plan to use C40 flex for the siding and yard tracks.

    I'm also going to correct a noticeable dip in the yard area. Using foam core art board is cheap and light weight, but when you apply paint/scenery, they warp quite severely. All of the mainline is supported by more art boards (as seen here), so there is no warping there, and the town was built up with a layer of gator board to make the curb on the streets, so there's really no warping there either. But that yard sags about a quarter inch. Not much, but just enough to require attention.
     
  9. subwayaz

    subwayaz TrainBoard Member

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    Wow, Bravo nice layout and some neat Consist of trains on your layout Mark. Nice to look in on this thread to catch up on the latest updates. Nice work thanks for sharing
    Glen
     
  10. stevi456

    stevi456 TrainBoard Member

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    Mark, this looks great!
     
  11. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Just back from vaction. Nice video, Mark! And, love the Daylight on the Ridge!
     
  12. Mark Watson

    Mark Watson TrainBoard Member

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    It's Time, Bad News for Thunder Ridge

    Well my dear friends, I'm sorry to say that the end of Thunder Ridge has come.

    It's construction and operation has been a great pleasure, aggravation, and incredible learning experience. I would love to continue progress, however the project is simply too great for the circumstances.

    As I have recently earned my BFA, I am now seeking employment and am willing to relocated to wherever the job may be available. For Thunder Ridge, that means continuing to invest more time/money/work will ultimately be a waste at times when money/time/work can not be spared so freely.

    For now, Thunder Ridge will remain in operation until the next project is outlined and given a green light. I would like to explore theme based modular layout systems which will enable me to focus on smaller portions of real estate as well as allow easy storage/transportation. For instance, Wolfgang's Silver Valley RR has made a huge impression upon me in recent weeks.

    I will likely begin a new thread in the LDD Forum when ideas begin to come together.

    Thank you to all who have followed progress, added input, and expressed compliments on Thunder Ridge. It would not be close to what it is today without your encouragement.
     
  13. HOexplorer

    HOexplorer TrainBoard Supporter

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    Mark, Sorry to hear the news. We've missed you around here lately. Good luck on your adventures down the road. Jim:tb-biggrin:
     
  14. TwinDad

    TwinDad TrainBoard Member

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    Mark, it's been great fun (and quite educational) watching you build Thunder Ridge... it's a wonderful layout.

    Best of luck in your job search, and I hope you're able to land a very good position quickly!
     
  15. Mark Watson

    Mark Watson TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks guys.

    Well, some good news and some bad news. Bad news, Thunder Ridge has begun deconstruction. Trees, buildings, and everything else that can be scavenged will be.

    The good news, I've begun construction of two test sections of a modular layout following designs similar to the Silver Valley RR. I'll post progress when I figure out exactly how I want to post progress. It seems progress threads are dying out in favor of personal blogs, so I may go that route. Either way, I'll be sure to let anyone who is interested know.
     
  16. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Very sad, Mark. But, looking forward to your new modules
     
  17. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member

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    Been there, done that several times. Good to hear you are planning to rebuild. I think your layout is the only foam based one on TB (not a room sized one) that has more foam elevation than mine! :D
     
  18. Mark Watson

    Mark Watson TrainBoard Member

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    Well, its 4:30 am and Thunder Ridge is fully disassembled...kinda.

    Rick, you may be pleased to know that I took your suggestion from your last visit and instead of actually trashing the Ridge, I chopped it out and preserved it. :) Actually I left all the terrain intact.

    I removed all trees, structures, track, and sub roadbed. If anyone remembers, had I continued Thunder Ridge, replacing the entire sub roadbed which was originally made from foam core art board was the next planned step. The art board was cheap, light weight, and sturdy... at first. But once painted, it warped quite severely which began to cause more and more problems as time went on. So essentially, by ripping all of that out for deconstruction, I have continued progress on Thunder Ridge by making way for better sub roadbed. But, that does officially mark the last step of progress (if you can call destruction progress) that Thunder Ridge will see for several months, if not years, and still possibly ever.

    And now, Thunder Ridge sits on end in the back of my closet.

    WOW!! LOOK AT ALL THIS SPACE I've discovered in my apartment!!!!! ;)
     
  19. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    That will really clear out your living/bed room, for sure! Enjoy it for a while!
     
  20. MC Fujiwara

    MC Fujiwara TrainBoard Member

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    Sorry to hear the Thunder cease, but understand completely.
    Great opportunity to put all the experience into a new project!

    Groovy that you're considering modules.
    Are you staying in N or trying HOn30 or HOn3?
    If staying in N, think about making some of the modules as Free-moN modules.
    The great thing about Free-moN is that only the endplate and first 4" of straight are standardized: everything in between is up to you!
    And you can have as many sections as you want between the endplates to great one gianormous module, if you want.
    Wolfgang Dudler has some sections and some Free-mo sections, so he can use certain sections to participate in meets.
    You can also just have your sections of home stuff, and then attach a short "adaptor" section that ends in Free-moN standard endplates.
    Check out the nifty slide show by our local Silicon Valley Free-moN group.

    The modular bug has bitten me, and I've been playing around with some designs:

    [​IMG]

    A short "Shoofly" module based off of Armstrong's drawing in Track Planning for Realistic Operations (page 123).

    And a "Feather River Routish" loop and quarry module:

    [​IMG]

    Notice there's four sections, but only two surfaces have to be Free-moN compliant.

    I'm probably going to do the Shoofly first, as I'd like to participate in a show at the Hiller Aviation Museum Easter weekend.
    Then I'll tackle the mountainous loop!
    (As that's really 6'x6', I'm going to need to clean out more of the garage for that one ;) ).

    Anyway, hope all goes well with the job search and you find one here in the Bay Area that appreciates your talents.
    I'll be bringing the "Alameda-Belt-in-a-Box" layout to show & tell at the NMRA Coast Division meet on Sunday, March 11.
    I'd be happy to swing by and pick you up if you want to go, or it'd be groovy to see you there.

    Looking forward to seeing your module-magic soon!
     

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