Steve's SOCAL BNSF layout

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#41
Scott,

I read about stucko but wasn't sure if that was the part and I couldn't find any sticky's. I'll go back over those pages or go through the full thread. I'm sure I'll learn some great tips in the process.

Thanks
Steve
 
#42
Hope I don't put my foot in mouth ... But just about any other scenery material is better than plaster of Paris.

You have done an amazing amount of work in a short period of time. Going to look really good.
Check out Jim's thread .. Building the Pinnacle Creek and his scenery methods. It's a "sticky" by hoexplorer.
I just noticed you're right down the road from me.

Just curious, what is wrong with using plaster of paris? Does it have a history of failing or is it just there are better choices/materials out there?
What would you recommend in place of it, I've read Ultracal 30 and Hydrocal are both good but difficult to find. Doesn't seem like Lowe's or Home Depot carry either.

Thanks
Steve
 
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#43
Steve, Can hardly wait to see your finished landscape. There are a bunch of guys on youtube doing the landscape the same way you are.

Great Job, lasm
 

Sirfoldalot

Plucked Tailfeathers
Staff member
#44
I just noticed you're right down the road from me.

Just curious, what is wrong with using plaster of paris? Does it have a history of failing or is it just there are better choices/materials out there?
What would you recommend in place of it, I've read Ultracal 30 and Hydrocal are both good but difficult to find. Doesn't seem like Lowe's or Home Depot carry either.

Thanks
Steve
Rather than edit your post .. I'll just add my thoughts. I am old school, so take my comments lightly, please.
On my former layouts, I used Hydrocal, paper towels, and newspaper. Hydrocal is much stronger than Paris .. And a 1/8 inch thick, or even less, shell is all you need. Paris will break or crack with lot less stress.

On the thread I mentioned, Jim uses a plaster cloth. I have no experience with this, but he seems to do wonders with it.
Check evil bay for plaster cloth .. You can get it in almost any quantity. On his first layout, he used stucco patch for most of his rock work. On the layout he is building as we speak .. He is using ? Sculptamold, I believe. Check out his thread.

Yes, we are close .. I am near Anza Rd on 79. Maybe I can visit you one day when you are working on your layout?
I have zero experience with N scale .. I just like all trains!
 
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#45
Rather than edit your post .. I'll just add my thoughts. I am old school, so take my comments lightly, please.
On my former layouts, I used Hydrocal, paper towels, and newspaper. Hydrocal is much stronger than Paris .. And a 1/8 inch thick, or even less, shell is all you need. Paris will break or crack with lot less stress.

On the thread I mentioned, Jim uses a plaster cloth. I have no experience with this, but he seems to do wonders with it.
Check evil bay for plaster cloth .. You can get it in almost any quantity. On his first layout, he used stucco patch for most of his rock work. On the layout he is building as we speak .. He is using ? Sculptamold, I believe. Check out his thread.

Yes, we are close .. I am near Anza Rd on 79. Maybe I can visit you one day when you are working on your layout?
I have zero experience with N scale .. I just like all trains!
Thanks I truly appreciate the recommendations and feedback. I've never done any molding/sculpting like this before so it's uncharted territory.

I went back through his thread (it's 200+ pages not 111 like I first mentioned) great info though, I've still got a lot to read on his build. It looks like he did start using stucco patch, I've played around with it and it can be difficult to work with at times and is a pretty think consistency. I'm definitely going to be reading up on the hydrocal and ultracal, looks like he is using the plaster cloth now and covering with sculptamold. Seems to be a pretty common material in the hobby for this purpose, I guess I'll have to shop around at the hobby store (if they offer it) and compare to online prices. I will need a lot so I will also have to compare that option to the hydrocal/paper towel method vs plaster cloth/sculptamold. Obviously it will be cheaper in bulk.

Thanks again for the help and feedback, you'll have to stop by some time and check out the layout.

Steve
 
#48
So I dabbled in the world of plaster today. I still was undecided on which kind to use over the cardboard support work so I tried both.

Plaster of Paris with paper towels and some "buff" concrete color added to try and get a natural base....









Woodland scenics plaster cloth...











So far the pros and cons...

Paster of Paris.....
Price $30 for bucket, gloves, plaster, paper towels, dye and masking tape
Pros:
- light weight
- easy to mix a batch
- cheaper in the long run or for large areas
- can color when mixing

Cons:
- very messy and difficult to work with
- drys too fast, I wasted half of my 2 pounds mixed as it dried in the bucket
- gets heavier as it drys and will tear paper towels during dipping process
- doesn't look as good when dry (IMO)

Woodland scenics plaster cloth....
Price $9.99 for a 10 ft roll and $5 for tape

Pros:
- cut to size roll
- easy to work with
- less mess
- just add water
- drys and hardens fast
- fairly inexpensive for small areas/small layouts
- no gloves needed

Cons:
- sometimes folds over on itself and hard to unfold
- probably still need to cover with a natural or carved looking earth (scultpamold etc)
- could be costly for a large layout

So I think for the rest of my layout I am going to work with the woodland scenics and then coat with scultpamold instead of the plaster of Paris. Have to at least try them both and I think I'll go with the one that's easier to use and less mess. Unless I dislike the cure results tomorrow.

Paris mess and removed portion that dried before I could use....



Hope this helps.
Steve


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DairyStateDad

Mumbling in the corner
#49
I have to agree, even uncolored the plaster cloth looks better to me. (BTW, I have read that putting coloring in plaster weakens it, or at least can.) As for the cost, there may be cheaper sources of plaster cloth than the WS branded material. But looks like you are making great progress!

From the DairyStatePhone
 
#50
I have to agree, even uncolored the plaster cloth looks better to me. (BTW, I have read that putting coloring in plaster weakens it, or at least can.) As for the cost, there may be cheaper sources of plaster cloth than the WS branded material. But looks like you are making great progress!

From the DairyStatePhone
Agreed, I don't think I'll be using anymore plaster. It's way too messy for me and some of the way the final product looks is a result of that. As you dip and remove the excess plaster that excess starts to dry up on the gloves and then crumble, which starts to fall off at any given time. I had a few chunks that fell off into the plaster I had already laid down. I tried to remove most but I think the pieces left behind will have to be painted to look like a few boulders in the terrain.

I'll have to shop around for some of the other brands of plaster cloth, any recommendations or other stores that sell it?

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#51
Hey Steve,
Keep up the good work, looks like you are headed in the right direction. I think the paster cloth does look better. I am sure you can get it cheaper than the WS stuff. I thought I saw it at home depot on line, also at art supply store maybe as well. Layout looks great, keep the updates coming.

Scott
 
#53
I've used both methods and a couple other but I haven't found anything that works as easy and bullet proof as plaster cloth. It is also easy to repair if you needed to in the future.
 
#54
Ran out of plaster cloth last night and I'm not mixing anymore plaster of Paris. Since I didn't pick up any cloth today I worked on finishing the track on one end of the layout.

Soldered in another curved turnout and spur and soldered in the second mainline. Still deciding on what to add to that spur.







Also worked on cleaning up some connections that was causing one of my locomotives to jump certain spots.

Steve


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Rico

BN Modeller
#55
Really coming along Steve!
That diamond will become a railfan hotspot in no time!
As for plaster, I went to a medical supply house and bought a case of plaster cloth cheap cheap cheap!
 

Cjcrescent

Master Mechanic
#56
You can also get what are called splints, plaster cloth cut to a specific length, ex, 15" or 30". This is used to apply bracing to certain areas of a cast. I used to get left over rolls from the hospital I worked for. I found my stash a couple of months ago, still wrapped up in a large plastic bag and securely taped. Still feels fresh after almost 20 years. IIRC, I have a good 20-30 rolls.
 
#59
While I wait for the rolls of plaster to come in I have pondered over what else I can do to work on the layout in the meantime. One thing I was going to work on was wiring in the second DC cab but then I started reading up on it and I think I want to make some changes before continuing with wiring. Now I started this project a long time ago and it stalled over time for various reasons. When I started wiring I went with the DC method and intended on wiring up the dual cab method with insulated joiners at each block on both rails. I know that DC is probably unheard of these days with the technology out there and now I really want to convert to DCC. Currently on my layout all the wiring is done for Cab A between all switches (A poles) and then to all the rails, I only had wiring Cab B to all switches (B poles) left to wire.

Reading up on DCC it seems like many have converted DC to DCC by replacing the power packs with a Digital Command Center and either getting rid of the "cab" switches in the framework or leaving them all on the same selection. As for locomotives if not DCC equipped you would need to install a decoder per locomotive. I hope I am going in the right direction with the DCC and please let me know if I'm wrong.

I guess my questions would be...
1. If I switch from DC to DCC do I need to remove all the insulated rail joiners?
2. Are only DCC equipped locomotives able to run on DCC track, example I couldn't run a DCC locomotive and have another loco without a decoder hooked up to each other right?
3. How do I tell or know if my locomotive is DCC equipped or DCC ready? Are all locomotives able to be made to run DCC?
4. What would a good starter setup/brand for DCC and what required components would I need?
5. Do I need to make any other changes to my track or wiring to convert from DC to DCC?

I'll upload some pictures of my wiring underneath shortly if it helps identify any possible issues later when converting.

Any help is appreciated.
Steve
 
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#60
Photos of wiring...

So I have black wiring for all the blocks (inner rails) going from cab A to terminal boards, to cab switches and then to the inner rails of track.









Same goes for the white wire used in the common rail. This only goes from the cab to the terminal board to outer rails of track. I used insulated wire joiners on both the common and block rails for each block.



I had the same planned for the second cab running red wire from cab B to wire terminals to the B poles of the cab switches.

Couldn't I just use the white and black wires already wired as the bus and feeder wires in DCC and remove my cab switches?

Steve


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