NP Lester WA T-Trak Z Module Set Project

rray Feb 11, 2020

  1. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    I have so many structures I need to start mounting on my second Lester Module, that I have to get the base scenery in place first. This morning I moved all the structures to the left module for now, taped off the area and applied Great Stuff minimal expanding foam. I will carve it and plaster cloth it when the foam is hard, maybe tomorrow:
    Lester Modules.jpg


    So, I decided to draw up a Fire Car today, which was sitting adjacent the Sand House in the photo.
    [​IMG]

    I determined this car must have been rebuild from a 36' Fishbelly Underframe Radial Roof Boxcar, because of the similarity to a common turn of the century boxcar that NP had built hundreds of. So I pulled up my old drawings and went to work:
    Drawing 1.JPG

    And I did not get real far before I decided to snoop through some old incomplete project boxes, and see if I can skip some laser cutting. I might have one I can modify. Much to my surprise, I dug out a little box full of incomplete cars.

    There were 10 that were assembled, but they still need the grab irons and brake wheels applied, then paint and decals. There were also 14 more cars worth of parts already cut. Well, I'm not usually one to go off on a tangent, but now that I'm retired, I should at least complete the 10 cars this far along. After all, they fit my modules perfectly.

    I'll find the old thread from about 16 years ago when I was working on these cars, and play with that one for a while. Lester can wait... :D
    Image3.jpg
     
  2. Zscaleplanet

    Zscaleplanet TrainBoard Supporter

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    WOW, WOW, WOW!!! Excellent work all the way around. Love it when someone can bring an historic structure to life and incorporate it into a layout or scene.
     
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  3. CNE1899

    CNE1899 TrainBoard Member

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    Rob,
    Fantastic sand house build!
    Can't wait for the boxcar build!

    Scott
     
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  4. JoeS

    JoeS TrainBoard Member

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    It’s getting close! Really pumped to see them all put together. And I’ll really enjoy it if you get those old MP steamers you converted years ago lurking in the model as well!
     
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  5. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    I cut the foam on the Coal Dock module today, then staged the first 4 of those 36' wood boxcars on the depot module.
    Modules1.jpg

    But for now i am going to work on another batch of 4 wood boxcars:
    [​IMG]
     
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  6. CNE1899

    CNE1899 TrainBoard Member

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    Rob,
    The boxcars on the and the module look fantastic!

    Scott
     
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  7. JoeS

    JoeS TrainBoard Member

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    I just like seeing the layout myself. Box cars are just a cherry on top
     
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  8. gmorider

    gmorider TrainBoard Member

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    All complements much deserved.
     
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  9. tiestvangool

    tiestvangool TrainBoard Member

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    [mention]rray [/mention] ,

    As mentioned before love to see all the detailed stuff you do with your custom designed/lasered/build models - awesome. I have two questions (yet again) for you:

    1) What material did you use for the roof of the Roadmaster's Office depicted? And did you cut individual roof tiles or leveraged strips?
    2) Any recommendations/suggestions on how to “attach” a laser cut model to its wooden/polystyrene base?

    Thanks in advance (as always) for your time!
    -Tiest
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2022
  10. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    I use brown paper grocery bag material for simulating cedar shake roofing. I just laser cut strips like in this Corel drawing of parts to make the Lester Depot. The roof parts are cut from .015" Laserboard (Polybak) material with 3M MP367 transfer adhesive on it. Transfer adhesive is the glue that is on Scotch Tape, so it holds strips of shingles down easily. You can use 400 grit sandpaper for shingles too.
    [​IMG]

    I use wood glue for everything except gluing on people and light fixtures where superglue is used. The model base has slots that the wall tabs fit it to hold them in alignment, and wood glue dries enough after holding a wall in place for 10-15 seconds, that you can move on to applying glue to the next wall or part. The window frames sheet also has transfer adhesive on it, so you can just peel the wax paper backing off and stick the window over the opening.
     
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  11. tiestvangool

    tiestvangool TrainBoard Member

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    [mention]rray [/mention],

    Good morning! Thank you for your candid answers, very helpful and definitely will be utilizing this to fine tune the Southern Farmhouse I am practicing with. I like the 400 grid sandpaper, very creative and a great addition compared to the regular paper. Also awesome to see the Corel Draw example you include, very interesting and educational!

    I am not yet in possession of a laser cutter but starting to see more and more the benefits, particularly as i would like to design my own buildings.

    What laser cutter do you utilize and any suggestions to look for when considering purchasing one?

    As for the base, you got me reconsidering the utilization of Polystyrene. What type of wood and typical height do you leverage for your foundation? Trying to determine what would be easier to work with when embedding the power connectors and magnets.

    Thanks for your continued coaching!
    -Tiest


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
  12. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    My laser is a commercial duty metal tube 30W Laserpro C180, and is I just ordered a 50W JPT Fiber laser to see if I can cut sheet brass. For hobby use probably the Xtool D1 is the most useful. It cost as much as 4 AZL locomotives, but you will be able to build all kinds of railcars, structures, and details.

    For foundations I like 1/32" plywood because it don't flex and is very stable. However, you need a higher power laser to cut it, and it's very difficult to drill or cut with hobby knifes. Probably 1/32" cardstock is the next best choice, because after cutting it, you can paint it with water based spar varnish and when dried it will be very hard and stiff.
     
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  13. tiestvangool

    tiestvangool TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks [mention]rray [/mention] , you got me all my answers (for now)
    As stated before, appreciate your willingness and time to share your knowledge.

    If you don’t watch out I start calling you the Z Scale Sensei or “ZSS” for short.

    Thanks!!
    -Tiest


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
     
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  14. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    So I finally got my Sand House mounted, hidden behind the coaling dock, as well as the water tower:
    Lester Yard 1.jpg


    In this shot you can see the sand house behind the coal dock. I used modelers license to turn it 180 degrees so you can see the business side of it, but the prototype actually had one more track behind thee structure that I could not fit on the module. Everything was submitted for NMRA AP point judging.
    Lester Yard 2.jpg
     
  15. JoeS

    JoeS TrainBoard Member

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    Looks great Rob. Really like the steamer you just finished by coal dock and water tower. To me it shows a loco that fits right is just as important as the structures themselves. Kinda connects them. And I forgot how cool the turntable looks!
     
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  16. CNE1899

    CNE1899 TrainBoard Member

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    Rob,
    I agree with Joe, the Mikado looks great in it's environment, and bring the whole scene together. Great modules and structures as well!

    Scott
     
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  17. Kurt Moose

    Kurt Moose TrainBoard Member

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    @rray

    Congratulations Sir!

    Well earned for sure!(y)
     
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  18. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    So here I am back at it after a year and a half hiatus. I am starting on the Lester Hotel and Cafe module just to the LEFT of the depot/roundhouse module. Here is an eastward looking shot of town, with the hotel at the left. This angle shows some roof, dormer, and window detail on the left side of the hotel. The dormers were not there in the 1940's photos below:
    [​IMG]

    This is a section house on the left, a fire box up close to the track, and the hotel on the right, which will be the main focus of this left-most module of the set. The structure visible at the far right edge is the shop extension of the roundhouse, which I selectively compressed on the depot/roundhouse module, so as you can see we are moving to the left side of the yard with this module. The hotel is seen here painted in the NP's diesel era Sand and Brown scheme:
    Hotel Cafe Lester.jpg

    Here is a Tax picture taken in 1940 by the King County Assessors Office showing the hotel in it's original brown scheme, which is good for window and chimney layout, as well as the bump out boiler room on the right side of the hotel:
    Lester Hotel 1940.jpg

    And here is the 1940 Tax photo showing the section house and the left side of the hotel. You can also see the writing on that small Fire Box between the 2 structures as being Fire Box 5, which is how I know what this little shed by the tracks is. As far as the Section House, it was an NP owned structure built to small section house diagrams of which I have a set, but I suspect it served as the hotel cook/staff's home:
    Residence Next to Hotel Lester1940.jpg

    So today I revised the module set plans to more closely match a 1954 Ariel View of Lester. I traced over structures to get placement that would best match the constraints of the module set:
    Aerial View Lester 1954 c.jpg

    And here are the revised drawings. I started tracing the hotel in Corel Draw, and I changed all the structure footprints to actual size for the modules. The far right module will only have 2 NP railroad structures, and north of the tracks will be the residences, as I sized and placed from the 1923 Platt, so when I get to that module I will have some references:
    01 Lester Module Set Plan.JPG


    Here is the 1923 Platt. It's hard to tell but the residence lot sizes as well as structure measurements were included, although the track plan is significantly different. The track layout seemed to change dramatically every decade. So I extrapolated the houses as well as the Diesel Fuel tank placement for the right module:
    04 1923 Platt Map.JPG

    Now that I have the basic scale plan completed, I started on wiring up the modules, with the 12V accessory power and the illuminated skyboard backdrop relief. The next part of the project is to work on the track.
    02 Lester Hotel Module Wiring.jpg

    03 Lester Hotel Module Skyboard.jpg
     
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  19. Zscaleplanet

    Zscaleplanet TrainBoard Supporter

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    Hmmmm, although the entire project has always been fascinating to follow and I love the era you’ve chosen, this illuminated skyboard backdrop relief has me intrigued…..
     
  20. CNE1899

    CNE1899 TrainBoard Member

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    Rob,
    Good to have you and Lester back! :D
    Nice research work so far. Drawing look good.(y)
    Will be following.

    Scott
     
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