Correcting a design flaw in the layout.

John Moore May 20, 2022

  1. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

    Back when I built the Turtle Creek Central I thought I had done fairly well. But operations revealed that I had a switching area I could not see from the control station. View of the Macie Moly Mine yard could not be observed. Thoughts went to a walk around throttle but research showed the equipment needed was way out of budget to convert the throttle and power pack to a walk around.

    Back behind the cliff and the free standing mesa is the Macie Moly Mine.

    The solution I came up with was remove the mesa and install a separate power pack controlling the mine. Cost was simply one new Kato power pack. While at it I would install a small mine yard for car repair and storage and an engine repair and car shop. I already had a box of surplus Kato unitrack and turnouts by Atlas, Peco, and Kato.

    I just needed to get an engine house and decided on a 2 stall by Pike Stuff (Rix) with one stall serving as engine repair and the other as car repair. Enough room for four tracks with two serving as car storage for about 10-12 short ore cars. Directly under this is a support cabinet with drawers where the new controller will go and easy sight to the mine.

    While at it I have never seen a cliff that did not have a water seep at the base. So I installed that and to take water from the mine since most mines need ground water pumped out. Establishing the drainage ditch and then running it through culverts under the car storage tracks. And my ample parts boxes had some concrete culverts laying in them.

    This shot shows the culverts installed. Since I am doing a water pour here a good seal is needed.

    Installing some ground cover before the water pour.

    The water pour is done and this stuff tends to seep up a bit but some ground cover takes care of that issue.

    And the material used for the water pour from Home Depot at $25. Very low odor if any and sets rock hard in less than 24 hours.

    I used two of these kits for my large harbor and waterfall and stream. Been in place now for 5 years and cleans easily with a damp rag.

    Stay tuned a part 2 is coming.
    badlandnp, Pfunk, MK and 8 others like this.
  2. DFW Bill

    DFW Bill TrainBoard Member

    Very nice, great solution for your situation.
  3. Shortround

    Shortround TrainBoard Member

    Over the years there's been several way's to ad control to a section. I like yours the best. Affordable and easy. I've kind of wondered how that water flowage would work with real water. Many years ago I did so on a flower arrangement for appearance.
  4. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

    Most of the model water stuff will wick up and into things. My solution for that is to do landscaping after with the exception of the pond and stream bottoms that it will cover. Reeds and things like that are installed by drilling out the water and inserting with a glue that dries transparent

    In all my initial outlay for this was about $70. Kato power pack came direst from Japan. Versus an out lay of about $350-$400 for a walk around system. And no assurances that I could get the components for it. My main power pack throttle is located between the harbor section and the town and mainline.
    The layout is 15 feet long by 3 feet deep with the harbor section which is about 6 feet long offset by a foot and a half. Macie Moly Mines extends 16 inches deeper that the rest of the layout and together with the cliffs extends in by about a foot and a half. The mine is built into the cliff. That area contains two tracks and three turnouts. The line extends into a cliff face tunnel which by use of a mirror extends the line to another mine.

    The cliffs eat up the back 6 inches of width making my reach to the track only 26 inches because a highway is in front of the cliff. The same is with the harbor section, the back 6 inches are taken up by structures and piers. All the track is at the front.

    My max radius is 9 inches and my min radius is 6 inches in the port area. The largest loco on the layout is the 70 tonners and 45 tonners. The rest are all Japanese locos that have been Americanized. Passenger power is all self propelled except for trailer cars. Freight cars range from 28 feet to 40 feet.

    My harbor is unique in that all the docks extend out from the main at about a 35 degree angle and are served by Kato turnouts of 6 inch rad.

    This is the Macie Moly Mine extension following the structural shape of the room.

    And this is what I mean by an offset, again following the structural shape of the room.

    I live in what used to be a church rectory that is over a hundred years old. Back in 1920 they built a church pastor's office small annex off the living room and this is the man cave and layout location.
    badlandnp, Pfunk, Tad and 1 other person like this.
  5. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

    Well part two of the corrections thread.

    Well I had arrived at the need for a car repair and engine house and because of the foot print that used to be occupied by the now removed mesa it needed to be small. Looked at quite a few and either too big or too pricey. Then I came across Pike Stuff (Rix) I could make it any size I needed. Most of their kits are designed to be shortened if needed. I decided on the 60 foot wide by 80 foot long two stall version. One side engine service and repair the other a car shop. Since the storage tracks would be installed at a slight angle so would the shop and its tracks.

    Also decided I needed a crane for repairs. Went with an HO Jib crane from Tichy Trains. Why HO because I needed a heavy duty crane and it is not the first time I have used HO with N.

    And if you look at the first photo you will see that the crane is positioned to service three tracks.

    Because of space restrictions and to reach the storage tracks and the service tracks I dug out and older Atlas turnout and two of my old Peco ST series short Rad turnouts. These turnouts have a very small footprint, the Peco being a 6 inch Radius.

    And here you also can see how the crane services all three tracks.

    The Ballast I am using is Arizona Rock and Mineral much finer and nicer than Woodland Scenics and made out of real rock. In my scenic work I use layers applying overlapping layers to get what I want. The first area I worked on was the drainage ditches working on the effect of those being in place for 40 or 50 years.

    The culverts under the tracks are cut down plaster castings that were aged and then a green wash applied for algae growth.

    Once these were in place I poured water. This water material and most others will eat foam like crazy and you will end up with your water vanishing only to appear on the floor. Don't ask me how I know, lets just say long time ago experience. Therefore I made a slurry out of some spackle mixed with a little water and sealed well everything. Once dry a really laid on a heavy black coat of paint and the water channels. Once the base coat dried I started applying various shades of greens and browns using Vallejo paints. This is what shows through the water.

    Notice I carried the paint over onto the flat surfaces and even applied a little soil. This helps if a little scrape occurs, you dont get foam or plaster showing through. And now once the water had been poured time to work on vegetation. Reeds are the most common water plant growing to 6 to 15 feet tall. For these I turn to a Woodland Scenics product and they come in 3 shades of green and a light tan. I clamp a bunch between the jaws of a hemostat and glue the middle. When dry and cut it gives me two bundles. I often cut between the glued ends to give me smaller bundles.

    Trimming occurs after they are set in place and the glue dried. Holes are drilled and clumps planted using Elmers white glue which dries clear. I could also and do use sometimes Mod Podge high gloss.

    I have used these same clumps to make cattails. Using thick Vallejo brown or Hull Red paint I applying several layers to a few fibers creating the cattail drum head. A much earlier version of a cattail in a beaver pond using the Woodland Scenics product.

    The reeds set in and before trimming to length. Other vegetation goes around them.

    For some of my other vegetation I turned to a product from England.

    And I turned to Noch for waterlilies and cattails.

    I decided that downstream and off layout there would be a beaver dam backing the water up. For my beavers I use HO scale rats. Beat their little metal tails flat and round and cut off their pointy noses. Bought a package of HO metal rats years ago at a show.

    Beavers just installed with Mod Podge Gloss and drying. Scene has the reeds in it, the cattails and waterlilies. some shrubbery from Woodland Scenics and the clumps of the reeds from England plus my Woodland Scenics reeds.

    And the Mini scene is slowly starting to come together.

    Stay tuned for part three.
    Last edited: May 21, 2022
    badlandnp, Mike C, Pfunk and 3 others like this.
  6. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

    Lots of work and looks great John...(y)(y)
  7. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

    Thanks and I am about 3 almost 4 weeks into the project with time out to cut grass on 2 and a half acres and get the big garden almost in. Now with decent weather just a rainy day project.
    Hytec and mtntrainman like this.

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