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Monday, March 31, 2014

A Most Perfect Traction Layout

Mark's Model Traction Railroad:
Rheinberger Streetcar Companies

This layout from the Netherlands is essentially 100% operational, 100% sceniced,  100% detailed, 100% automated, and 100% fascinating to watch!

Here is the layout in action:

I just love the constant flow of traffic. Mark's website doesn't specify, but I believe the layout to be HO/OO scale. There are two parts to the layout, the modules and staging. The "show" part of the layout is currently comprised of three modules:

Each module is 110 x 90 cm (approx. 3.6' x 2.95'). Track is Roco code 100.

Here the modules are displayed together at a show.

Wow! Its 100% lit too!

Behind the Scenes:

The second part of the layout is the staging yard (Shadow Station), and its every bit as interesting to watch as the modules are! This video shows it in action:

The layout is digitally controlled with a Peco system and software called "Koploper" allows for complete automation of the layout. Fascinating stuff. More on that here.

Did I mention the layout is fully detailed?
For a lot more information and photos, visit Marks website:
The site is written in Dutch, but your better web browsers will offer translation. Otherwise translate it with Google Translate. Just enter the web address.

Masterfully done trolley layout. I'm a fan. This layout demonstrates the level of detail and operation that I have been striving for with my own layout.
I'll get there one day. Yes sir! I'll get there one day!


Monday, March 24, 2014

Dirty Poles

Painting and Weathering Line Poles

I didn't get anything done on the layout this week :-( . So since I frequently come across photos I took but never shared, I thought I would share one with you.

 I take photos like these so I can remember how I did things. In this case the poles were painted with Floquil Light Green and weathered with Bragdon Rust and Weathering powders. So should I ever lengthen the boulevard and need to match to poles, well, here you go.

I was afraid I might have overdone the weathering on the poles, but recently I came across this picture of Broadway in San Diego and just look how dirty those line poles are!

 Looks like I nailed it after all! Yes sir! I nailed it after all!


Monday, March 17, 2014

Light Cast

Looking for an easier way to cast these lamps.

Carving the lamp globes beforehand is tedious, time consuming, boring, wasteful, not fun, dull, waste of energy and time, not my favorite thing, noisy, dusty, etc...

And the shape of the globe is cast into the rubber mold, so why not cast it along with the rest of the pole? Seems like a no brainer to me.

I noticed that the last casting was glowing around the bottom of the globes. So I suspect that the Smooth-Cast casting resin is translucent. So I'm gonna do another cast, but this time fill the entire mold with the casting resin and forego the carved globes (after all the trouble I went through to get the correct size clear acrylic tubes!). And see how much light is emitted through the casting resin.

Wow! It glows just as brightly as clear acrylic tubing! Whew! So much easier than carving those globes. Yes sir! So much easier!


Monday, March 03, 2014

Moment of Truth

Pouring the Resin Around the Lighting and Overhead Support Armature. And Hopefully End Up With A Reasonable Looking Streetlamp!

Here it is! From a virtual model and crazy idea to something I can actually hold in my hand! The freakin' thing actually turned out right.

Here is how it went:

Last post I had just finished building the support armature.

First the rubber mold needs a couple coats of mold release and allowed to dry. Then the armature is placed into the rubber mold into its precise position. That means bending and wiggling as needed to get it just right. (Note: I took this photo before I added the lamp globes).

Now its ready for the resin pour. I used Smooth-Cast resin from Smooth-on from the kit as described in this post. Just like the silicon rubber used for the mold, its mixing equal parts of resin and catalyst.

The top part of the mold (left) was poured first and allowed to set a bit while the resin was poured carefully around the armature in the bottom half of the mold (right). I'm not too concerned about using too much resin as I want to be sure it gets everywhere.

The resin in the top half has set enough (2 or 3 minutes) where I can flip the mold over. The two mold parts are keyed so that they almost lock together for perfect registration. I clicked the top parts of the molds together and then squished them together from top to bottom so that the excess resin is forced out the bottom (where the puddle is). 
The resin only takes about an hour to set fully. The thicker parts set first and the thinner parts take a little longer (the thicker part has more heat from the catalyst than the thinner sections would and so sets first). I knew it was ready to handle when the thin parts of the puddle had solidified.

The mold release allowed the mold to be pulled apart with no problem. And this is my first look at the lamp. And it looks like it worked!
The lamp peeled out of the mold with no problem. Most of the flash snapped right off. The rest required a little filing to get looking just right. Now the question is: Will it light?

It works! It actually works! I think this project is going to work out as intended! I mean some questions remain. How will it hold up to long term use as a linepole? How will the resin casting hold up with a brass armature inside of it over the long term? How long are those bulbs going to light for (I can't change burnt out ones!)? How is paint going to take to it? What am I going to use for power supply? 
But as it stands now, this crazy project is actually working out. I don't why I'm so surprised. But I am just giddy that this worked out. And its just a streetlamp. Not an Electroliner or something fancy like that. Just a streetlamp. But there it is all the same. A one of a kind model streetlamp.

Well then, one down and 11 to go. Yes sir! 1 down and 11 to go!