DIMENSIONS   65cm x 45cm (25,6" x 17,7"')  

TRACK   Rokuhan  
TYPE   Double track 180 degrees corner module  
SETTING   tbd  
BUILT   2018  
Corner Module #1 is a 180 degrees double track segment measuring 450mm x 650mm. It uses Rokuhan super elevated curved track with 270mm (R074) and 245mm (R073) radius respectively.

  Attached to the curved track is a standard 110mm straight track at both ends in order to ease the travel of trains into them.

The module is built with 10mm poplar plywood and has a frame height of 10cm; cross-bracing provides added strength, and the baseboard top screwed down onto the frame provides the necessary rigidity.

Dark green acrylic paint sets the fascia tone, while a coat of brown acrylic paint acts as a protective sealant for the plywood (with a view to all the scenic work to come which will also involve diluted white glue).

The next step is to weather the sectional Rokuhan track, a job best done "off layout", i.e. before the track is fixed in place, allowing you to move the track piece around and thus get better access to the side of the rails. Having previously used a very fine paintbrush for years, the tedious side to this form of applying "rust" to the rails made me look for an easier way which would be just as effective. Using Woodland Scenics track painter pens in "rusty rail" and "steel rail" colours turned out to be quicker and thus far less of a chore while at the same time providing smoother and overall better looking results.
Once weathered, the Rokuhan track is permanently fixed to the baseboard, following a long standing and proven routine of using Märklin track nails to pin the individual track pieces down securely and reliabily.

Scenery - in this case a hillside which will act as a viewblocker and add some visual interest to the module - is built up from polystyrene foam board. Various types of this material are readily available at DIY centers, but those most commonly used for railroad modelling are XPS (extruded polystyrene, Styrofoam) and EPS (expanded polystyrene, Styropor). XPS has a higher density (28–45 kg/m3) and therefore higher stiffness in comparison to EPS (15-30 kg/m3), but the latter is a lot lighter in weight (effectively made up of 98% air) and easier to cut (preferably with a hot wire, avoiding an electrostatic devil of a mess).

Once the basic contour of the hillside has been built up in layers, the slopes are covered and filled up and smoothed out using a modelling mass which is sold as a powder and then mixed with water. Very similar to papermaché, this mixture however contains wood fibres rather than just cellulose, resulting in a much thicker and ultimately sculptable mass which is just as solid but a lot lighter than the classic plaster of paris. According to the instructions the mass should have been dry after 48 hours, but I left it untouched for a week before giving it a liberal and overall coating of mixed green acrylic paint to seal the surface and provide an appropriate underground for the foliage to be modelled.

Ballasting is next, with Woodland Scenics gray ballast in "fine" grade (B74) applied first to the space in between the two tracks; the ballast is gently dumped from a small spoon and then carefully spread using my index finger. Any excess ballast is removed with a fine grade paintbrush, and once all is where it should be, the ballast is fixed in place using the time honoured method of applying a 1:2 mix of white glue and water with a few drops of washing up liquid to help break surface tension and prevent the ballast from rolling up into clumps. This can further be avoided by applying the glue, water and washing up liquid mix close to the edge of the ballast shoulder where it will be drawn in by its capillary force, i.e. its ability (thanks to its lower surface tension) to flow into narrow spaces without the assistance of, or even in opposition to, external forces such as gravity. The effect is ultimately similar to blotting or household paper sucking up liquids, and it leaves the carefully prepared ballast undisturbed.

under construction - more to come




page created 5 December 2017
last updated 19 August 2018