the Making of a
reverse loop module for the North Coast Narrow Gaugers in 2 months
April 23rd 2006 we started a new module for the
We had 7 weeks to get it built, landscaped and running.
And we did it, so
We started with a basic sized loop made of a 4' x 8' sheet of 2 inch rigid
poly foam. The radius will be 22 inches and most turnouts will be #6. All
turnouts plus the custom built curved #6 to the wharf were built by Hatch at
Engineering, who is a member of the club and built the first reverse
loop for us 2 years ago for the 2004 Narrow Gauge Convention. We mapped out
everything with 22 inch radius onto the thinnest Luan ply you can get, used
the width of the metal ruler we had for the road bed width and cut it out.
Then we glue it down with PL adhesive.
At this point, after a few coffees and lunch, which by
the way was great Spaghetti, we came back, attached a birch 1/4 plywood
siding to match the club standards and at the end where it will mate with
the club, we attached the standard 3/4 plywood profile board. Below you can
see the module at this point. The high sides will be cut down to match the
Today we built the leg
mounting points using the club standard legs, which sit flush to the outer
edge. We use permanently mounted bolts, washers, wing nuts and a locking nut
to hold everything on. No need to worry if anyone brought the wing nuts to
the show. After mounting the legs, we start to strengthen the sides with
Now we bring the pig into the house and cut the first course of the bluffs
out of the foam at an angle and glue it on with the PL
Today we glued the ties to
the roadbed for the turnouts and cut and glued 2 more courses for the
terrain. Then we cut out the river bed and cut the sides to match the
terrain. The green box cutter in the pics below is in the area where the
wharf will be built and placed. The leftovers from a Campbell's Wharf kit
will be used.
By now the main terra is formed by the foam. So now we can start to shape
the foam and add in areas with spray insulating foam. At this point we have
carved in the foundations for the town that will crawl up the hill above the
wharf. Little did we know where we would go with this module in the next
We also start installing the turnouts
at this point and have painted the luan/roadbed earth brown.
Once you have the foam shaped, you need to smooth it out and fill in the
small voids and bubbles. Here we use lightweight spackle. Works wonders and
is easily filed later.
We have picked out a color for the earth that
will be painted on the foam. It is just a cheap earth colored latex from Wal-Mart.
$4.44 a quart, can't go wrong with that. Then while the color is wet, we
sprinkle on earth and then a grass texture. The earth is a combo of Arizona
Mineral and Rock Co. "earth" and local dirt.
The track is in and working at this point. We are using a PSRev reversing
unit from Tony's Trains.
A nice view of the town site and the wharf. Starting to look good.
Well here is where we departed
from the California Coast idea....
We also own the Las Pulgas
because we need to clean it up for our upcoming Symposium, we have it set up
in the living room along with the new module. While spending a lot of time
with a beautiful module like Las Pulgas, we decided to go with a more
traditional Colorado module and changed the module over to the Leadville - California gulch mine. So here we are, the track works, it is wired up and
runs great with the other modules in the club, so now we can just
concentrate on scenery and what a doosey we choose. That crazy little
trestle from the mine to the mill took 3 hours today..
Here we are planning the town, which is a good "before" pic for a couple
of "after" shots on the next page.
Those ridges are the earth for the vegetable stand there. That was added
as a request from my Daughter who is building the veggie stand. She wants to
build a SS Ltd Veggie truck but I had her settle on the Woodland Scenics
"Ernie's Fruit Stand". After all, this will be her first model.
Here is a good shot of the underside. A better view to
understand the inverted wedding cake idea I mentioned. Basically you cut the
layer at an angle efficient enough to lay on top of the master board after
the cut. Glue it down, and start again. If you are using a slow setting
glue, this will take a while. Again, the best glue for this kind of
construction is PL adhesive for foam.