Plexiglass and More


The latest addition is the fascia panels, sheets of painted hardboard that hide the edge of the table and foam. I’d previously done these for the River Crossing scene, but only clamped them in place. With the structure of the Urban Station scene largely settled, it was time to do them here too, and to make a permanent attachment. But with one change: instead of using a raised lip on the fascia to keep a runaway train from leaving the table and plummeting to the concrete floor, I wanted something that wouldn’t interfere with the view under the elevated station, at the Subway platforms and other elements (including a bus terminal) planned for underneath it.

Sparked by a comment in a recent magazine I decided to use sheet plexiglass. My idea, shown in the diagram above, was to offset the fascia using a couple of blocks of the same hardboard, and create a slot into which a rectangle of plexiglass could be dropped. This was complicated a bit by the fact that my hardboard is 3/16” of an inch thick, and my options for plexiglass were 1/8” or 1/4”, so I have to use washers to make the slot large enough. I went with the 1/4” sheet for rigidity, and had the local home store cut a 2’ x 4’ sheet into four 4.75” strips (two for the Urban Station scene, and two for the Riverside Station scene). In the Urban Station scene, these will extend up to about the base of the elevated station. In the Riverside Station scene they’ll be behind the fascia below “ground” level, but prevent a train from slipping out through the windows cut in the fascia to reveal the subway tracks and station there.

So far, a test fitting looks good, but final assembly awaits paint drying, and past experience is that I need to give that a week or two (I damaged the finish on the fascia panels on the River Crossing scene by trying to use them when the paint was dry, but not fully cured; the rubber-tipped clamps I used actually removed some of the paint and I had to repaint them this time around). So for now, I don’t have much in the way of interesting photos (there are a few in the Construction album, and more will be added once I do assemble things).

My “permanent” attachment method is to use the same 1/4” bolts I’ve used in other places, to allow the hardboard fascia to be removed for changes (like adding a control panel, or whatever I want to do). The plexiglass will just drop in, and be hand-removable for access.

In other website changes:
- In addition to painting the fascia panels, I also painted the pink foam of the Urban Station scene with gray latex primer. This will all eventually be hidden under scenery, but for now it serves as the viewable “road” surface. In addition I painted the remaining portions of the “subway” cork with gray artist’s acrylic paint (I’d thought I’d mentioned this previously, but apparently not: I’ve been painting the cork with gray acrylic which is a close match to Unitrack ballast and yet remains flexible, allowing the cork to help reduce noise from running trains; I’ll write this up separately eventually). More details of the recent work are available on the “phase 2d” Construction page.
- I’ve been working on compiling information about current freight trains and stations in the Tōkyō area. This is still very much a work in progress, and I haven’t finished chasing down all the leads I have yet, or confirming things, so the current page may contain errors or be lacking some information. More will be done on this in upcoming weeks, but you can see the current info on the Freight Lines page, under the Freight sub-section of the Prototype page.
- I added my two Tomix track-cleaning cars to the main Roster page, and also updated a couple of photos of other trains. The associated photo album was also updated.
- Various photos were added to the Construction photo album.
- I think I finally replaced all of the 12-point type on the older pages with 14-point, which should make it more legible. A few “reference” sections and photo captions still use smaller type, but that’s intentional.

== Comments copied from old system
Monday, March 15, 2010 - 09:12 AM
Any problems getting the plexiglass cut? Last time I had Home Depot do that for me, the cut edge was riddled with chips, and would have made a poor display piece.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010 - 10:25 PM
I had it done at Lowes, and the guy doing it clearly knew his stuff. He scored it at least six times, then took it to one of the cash register tables where he could support the entire 4-foot length and snapped it with a hard blow from both hands. Each of the four cuts was perfectly clean.