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  • Topic: Saddled with Mountain of a Project

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    • September 24, 2018 2:22 AM EDT
      • Kailua, HI
         
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      Forrest, thanks! 

      That, more than anything, is my near- to mid-term goal!  I've almost lost Oldest Son to the Silicon Succubus, but there is time...Projects like this seem to pique his interest the most, and that played a role in my project prioritization this summer.

      As for the project, CINCHOUSE took the girls for a weekend out in Waikiki.  This left me with the boys.  I've gotten a bit spoiled by Oldest Daughter's sense of how rocks fit together, so we focused on painting the core with brown paint.  Most of this should be covered, but history has taught that if you don't paint it, it will both show and be virtually impossible to cover.

      Despite Kid-zilla's unique paint-like-you-are-hammering techniques (might use safety goggles for him and nearby personnel next time)...

          

      ...some paint actually got onto the concrete:

      After showers, it was off to a local burger joint for "Man Night!"

      This week should see some dry fitting of our rocks.  I also found some metal screen with "holes" about 1/4" x 1/4" that I think I will bend over that overhang and fasten in place.  This will serve as a form for that coat of concrete.  I was just not confident expanding foam would adhere upside down like that over the long-haul, especially given that this mountain will be scaled by PLAYMOBIL, Cannis familiarias, and Homo sapiens.  Curious what others might have tried.

      That is it for now!  Have a great week!

      Eric

       

    • October 1, 2018 3:15 AM EDT
      • Kailua, HI
         
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      Aloha All!

      Progress was underwhelming due to a BBQ at a friend's house and a beach call.  I'll consider those good excuses!  

      Excuses - good or not - aside, Oldest Daughter and I did do some dry fitting of our rocks.  We wanted to ensure the troopers and gunners of Fort Union could access the plateau, and we found our biggest problem again was fitting the rocks around the existing track.  The easy answer would be to "close" our inner loop, but that would mean fewer trains running and thus less fun overall.  Instead, we decided to sacrifice a space formerly occupied by a little (read:  never) used siding to build a military road up to the plateau.  A brave surveyor snow the slope:

      Said surveyor would get away from us as we tinkered with the rocks:

      Sorry, I just liked her expression!  As an upshot, having the road on this side will sort of separate the fort from the town below (off stage to Oldest Daughter's right) and offer and excuse to detail up the back side of the railroad a bit.  

      I am debating how to fill the space between the rocks and "Hell's Mountain:" 

      I was thinking a slurry of concrete bits and quick setting concrete like you'd use for a fence post, hoping the concrete bits would help hold the slope as the concrete bound mountain to new bits to rocks.  In private conversations with Bill Barnwell, he recommended expanding foam for gaps in the rocks, but I was thinking this might be a material that could serve as a filler and bindeing agent here and allow for some really simple shaping after the fact.  Any thoughts?

      The "front" required a little chisel work and some rock stacking.  We will use "Liquid Nails" to hold things in place.  I am going to try foam as the filler and binding agent in the gaps on this side unless there is a large void.  Then its concrete slurry time.  Probably.

      Anyway, after a bit of chisel work:

      She came up with this:

      The surveyor seems happy, and so am I!  This will get the "Liquid Nails" treatment, hopefully early this week.

      I am still trying to figure out how to incorporate the overhanging concrete capstones into the scene.  We all like the effect.  We all agree the square edges have to go.  After mentally toying with the concrete-on-metal-mesh method, I am leaning back towards the glue some chunks of stuff under the overhang, chisel away, and paint method.  

      Next week, we are hosting Oktoberfest (Nothing says German like brats, kimchee, chow-fun, and poke!  Aloha na Hawaii nei!), so other than efforts to stabilize the rockwork, I anticipate little forward progress.  It'll be all hands to the rails with fresh greenie-weenies to ensure the ""Festzug" can pull its cargo of refreshing beverage!

      Have a great week!

      Aloha,

      Eric

       

    • October 5, 2018 2:37 AM EDT
      • Kailua, HI
         
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      OK, the boys and I puttered around with the rocks that will be part of that proposed road to get a batter shape and slope.  The tentative plan  following discussion with a far handier friend over the coffee mess at work, is to fill that gap, is to cover it with wire mesh to hold the fill in place, and concrete over the top.  That should it!  

      After actual work degenerated into lava rock "Jenga," it dawned on me how to get the overhang to look right...packing foam.  I can glue it in place, shape it with the hot knife, seal it in latex, and then concrete over it for texture!  

      Hopefully, photos of actual progress will follow after this weekend.

      Enjoy Columbus Day!

      Eric

    • October 5, 2018 11:38 AM EDT
      • Fort Washington, Pennsylvania
         
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      Good to see she is wearing eye protection.  As an aside, nail hammers have a tempered face, whereas ball-peen and small demo hammers do not.  Striking a harden surface with a nail hammer could shatter the head, sending shrapnel in the wrong direction.  

      ____________________________________

      "In the course of my life I have had to eat my words, and I must confess it was a wholsome diet"

                                                                             Winston Churchill

    • October 5, 2018 11:53 AM EDT
      • Portland, Oregon
         
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      We really admire and enjoy your family oriented development of a fun / yet realistic railroad. I’ve been building outdoor scenery for decades now. Styrofoam of different densities can be a great base material for very realistic mountains, inexpensive and easy to sculpt as well as modify.  For a “ton” of help go to HotWireFoamFactory.com.  They have everything you can imagine.  Try Exterior Foam Coat.  it will amaze you.  Much much better than concrete.  Mixes and spread easily. Dries rock hard. Paintable. Easy to work with.  Probably expensive to ship to Hawaii but I guarantee you will love it. Also use a glue that is right for the kind of styrofoam. They have all sorts of supplies & carving shaping tools.  Great folks. 

    • October 5, 2018 5:57 PM EDT
      • Saint Johns, Florida
         
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      Warner,

      How about a progress video of the Bearpaw Southern. This one is over 4 years old!

      ____________________________________

       

       

    • October 5, 2018 6:58 PM EDT
      • Portland, Oregon
         
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      Oh my.  weve done so much since then.  That was just the very start.  The layout has grown to over 1400’ of track outdoor and indoor.  I would love to post an update gallery.  Could anybody tell me how to post photos.  I don’t seem to know how anymore.  

    • October 5, 2018 7:33 PM EDT
      • Kailua, HI
         
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      Dan and Warner,

       

      Thanks for the advice and encouragement.  I especially appreciated the safety tip about the hammer.  I had no idea, Dan, thanks!  Warner, HotWire won't ship foam by air, unfortunately, but I do have their foam coat.  We'd been using it for craft projects.  Now we can put it to its intended use!

       

      Eric

    • October 5, 2018 10:07 PM EDT
      • Portland, Oregon
         
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      Yes, it is awesome outdoors as a coat over styrofoam.  Then a couple of layers of exterior latex paint and your rocks, mountain, tunnel portal, road or station platform will last for years. I use a polyurethane construction adhesive.  It comes in caulking tubes. Messy. Holds styrene insulation boards without attacking it.  Takes a while to set but gives a firm adhesion that will hold even in Oregon weather. Cut to shape first, as hot knife or hot wire has trouble going through the urethane glue.  Foam coat is great stuff As a surface.

      I’m coming to Oahu in November to see my step daughter.  Maybe I could put some in my baggage.  Son in law is promoting to officer in Navy.

    • October 8, 2018 2:52 AM EDT
      • Kailua, HI
         
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      Warner,

       

      Cool!  Your son-in-law's commissioning is a HUGE event, though, so please don't prioritize luggage space on my account!   Please do pass along my congratulations and hearty welcome to the wardroom!

       

      Aloha,

      Eric

    • October 8, 2018 11:43 AM EDT
      • Vail, Az
         
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      edited

       

       

      This post was edited by John Caughey at October 9, 2018 11:21 AM EDT
      ____________________________________

      John

       

      The older I get, the less I know, please don't make me prove it.

       

       

    • October 8, 2018 9:11 PM EDT
      • Saint Johns, Florida
         
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      Warner

      I sent you a PM a couple of days ago on how to post pictures here. Read your messages!

      ____________________________________

       

       

    • October 16, 2018 4:01 AM EDT
      • Kailua, HI
         
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      Aloha All,

       

      The project limps along at, appropriately, geological speed.  Oldest Daughter and I managed to shape the road into something good looking.  We formed a "sock" out of mesh, stuffed it with gravel, shaped it, and placed it.  The rest of the void we filled with debris:

       

       

      At this point, it was rail shining time to ensure the Festzug would operate.  As our 0-6-2T Gustav is, again, giving us fits, duty fell to a 0-4-0T Princess, making her...wait for it...the Oktoberfest Beer Stainz!

      At any rate, I spent a week hemming and hawing how to fill this thing.  I bought a bag of quick setting concrete mix, then used bad weather as an excuse to hem and haw some more.  Saturday, I played the what-the-heck-it's-a-hobby card, crammed newspaper into gaps in the rockwork to hold in the mix (leaving plenty of pukas as hideouts for bandits, pirates, whatever at the behest of the crew and recommendation of LSC member Bill Barnwell!), wetted the lot down, dumped in the mix, and kept the water running.   I owe a finished picture, but you can see Oldest Son using some of our leftover mix to add a brown topcoat over the road:

      Weather, washes, and real dirt will tone it down in time.

      Next. we attack the front wall.  I have foam and hard coat ready to hand!

      Have a great week!

       

      Eric

    • October 16, 2018 5:13 AM EDT
      • Missouri
         
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      Progress keeps happening

      Well, dang, that's a bummer about the 0-6-2T being glitchy.

      Hey, there's his new nickname, Glitchy Gustav

      (and now I can see a new household phrase, for example, "My, aren't you just a glitchy Gustav this morning")

    • October 29, 2018 2:42 AM EDT
      • Kailua, HI
         
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      Aloha All!

       

      OK, I had to stand down from this project for the last week or so as I troubleshot a curve - now named Deadmans Curve - that was causing my "heavies" to seize up.  Turned out the curve was under compression due to all the landscaping, which, of course, necessitated resetting the landscape to accommodate the curve after it "relaxed."  Live and learn...

      Anyway, we worked sporadically over the weekend to prepare the visible face for texturing.  This included monkeying with rocks on top (upper body workout) and test-fitting Fort Union.  The latter, which sits on a 25"x25" piece of Hardiebacker dictated what would top the tunnel core, and we decided to leave it as a "mesa."   Oldest Daughter has decided that a few raised, hollow areas should also go up there to add interest when the fort is not present, which is most of the time.  As an aside, by taking time to fix that curve, we learned the value of being able to reach into the new, expanded tunnel to reach trains, rocks, leaves, toys, etc.   We will not be capping the tunnel the whole way as a consequence of this happenstantial lesson learned!  By Saturday, after gluing some foam under that ledge, the work looked like this:

      Actually, this picture is from today.   You can see Oldest Daughter prepping  the hot knife before she and Oldest Son took to sculpting the foam:

       

      I did have to intervene a bit to prevent over or under aggressive hot knifer work.

      Shortly thereafter, Neighbor Girl Who Thinks She Lives Here showed up, so that left Oldest Son and I to apply the last of our foam coat per Warner's suggestion.   We ceased work and cleaned things up, and called it a day.  This was fortuitous, as Kid-Zilla had arisen from his diurnal slumber.  He was most excited to find all the caves I'd left in the rockwork.

      OK, I put that one in simply because I thought it was funny.

      This week, I should get the mortar mix to plug the holes and cover the face of the wall facing the track.  I think I am going to chisel (using my new ball peen hammer! Thanks Dan Padova for that safety tip!) rather than shape the edge of the exposed concrete horizontal surface.  I need to remove the hard edges, but I don't want to overweight the foam, held to the concrete with construction glue.  I have the textured composite fence planks I plan to use to  make the visible portal (same stuff we used to test the road angle earlier in this thread) on hand, and the plan is to cut it, scribe it, India ink it, and glue it to the face.  We tested it out elsewhere this summer when we needed a crude "bridge" following other landscaping endeavors.  Should work here, too.  

      Progress will now be in small steps as we continue to craft this into landscape, but progress there shall be!  I'll probably slow the updates unless a.) something big happens, b.) we get stuck, or c.) I need to put myself on report for not pushing along.  In the meantime, we are looking ahead to new projects with the leftover lava rocks, replacing Grandpa's truss - which is reaching end of service life - with a trestle,  as well as something to do during the rainy season (ho'oilo),  Been working with "Rooster" and Bill Barnwell on that latter project at least conceptually, and I am going to get something up to sort of shop around for ideas.

       

      Have a great week!

       

      Eric

       

       

    • October 29, 2018 9:55 AM EDT
      • Ormond Beach, Fl. 32174
         
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      Looks good Eric

    • October 29, 2018 12:30 PM EDT
      • Ottawa/Nepean, Ontario, Canada
         
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      Well done...…

        Fred Mills

    • November 8, 2018 2:21 AM EST
      • Kailua, HI
         
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      I ended up on Kid-zilla watch last weekend, so I accidentally made some progress.

      First, the foam worked so well (Thanks again, Warner!) I used it to address some other issues, such as the backside which will be more or less out of view to all but the bored and curious.  Since I was at it, I decided to use foam on the front face in lie of chiseling the concrete. I figured the hot knife is easier to control, and I am less likely to break the concrete caps with foam than with a chisel.  This pretty much dictated I also decided to build up the edge of the "plateau" so that this can serve as a planter. Because it still needs to hold Fort Union, I broke up a piece of concrete and spaced them to support the corners of the HardieBacker the fort sits on.  I have some ceremonial functions for Veterans Day this weekend, but all that foam should get some carving and hopefully the concrete covering!

      Since I had the time, I broke out my little table saw and that picket fence material to cut the portal (The mystery of the straight cut eludes me....).  I started scribing in some lines with my Dremel, when I noticed Oldest Son was merging into the sofa.  I let him choose a brush to paint in the scribed lines with India ink. He really took his time, using a damp cloth to mop of overflow.  He even noticed that this left some ink in the other low spots, at which point he proclaimed he added to the realism.  He has not been a frequent helper, so I forgive me if I document his efforts below:

       

      With the portals unexpectedly done, we grabbed our LGB 2018 Nuernberg to make sure we set the vertical clearances correctly, then scrambled for glue after noticing my glue gun had broken.  While he looked for our back-up glue - a construction cement that comes in a toothpaste tube - I fended off a reawakened Kid-zilla by offering a sacrifice of a broken (but soon to undergo rebuilding) LGB 2075 Little Thomas and some Hartland minis.

      By the time Kid-zilla pushed Little Thomas around the inner loop, his brother and I had glued the tunnel in place.  It required some shims due to my shoddy masonry, but it has held, and beverage laden trains passed with ease later that afternoon in its first operational test!  

      Oldest Son is very proud of "his" tunnel, and I hope it will reenergize his interest in the overall project. We will blend the vertical beams into the retaining wall and scenery a bit when we start the concrete work, but, while I am open to adding details or cross braces and the like, I think the simplicity suits where we are in our family's life right now.  Besides, it looks a LOT better than the painted concrete!

      Aloha!

      Eric

       

       

    • November 8, 2018 8:51 AM EST
      • Ormond Beach, Fl. 32174
         
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      Looks great Eric, the kids got the knack, Bill

    • November 8, 2018 10:16 AM EST
      • Denver, Colorado
         
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         Love the goggles!

       

        

       

       

      ____________________________________

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