May 2010 Status - Carving Foam

Temp Expressway 2062

Time marches on, but it seems to be crawling on the banks of the Sumida. The hillside covering the subway has made little apparent progress over the last month, going from squarish blocks of pink foam to carved, but still pink, sections, which only just received a first coat of primer (and have yet to be glued in place). As previously mentioned, a mistake in measurement created a delay while ways to correct the height of the subway roof were considered.

After much thought, 2mm sheet styrene was selected for the roof (replacing planned use of 5mm sheets of gatorboard), and a sheet of the now-redundant gatorboard was placed under the foam, to raise the top to the originally-planned two-inch height. The foam was shaped (with knife and Surform rasp) to the desired contours for the two road sections (up from the bridge to the right, and down from the left rear to the Urban Scene), and that had to be modified after the foam was raised higher.

The pieces have now all been cut and shaped (see the “phase 2f” construction page for details), including adding and sanding Woodland Scenics Foam Putty to smooth the roadway surface. And the resulting foam checked once again for clearance (I’m taking no chances), and given a coat of gray primer. Some more paint will be added (green grass) and some interim roadway detailing done before the foam gets glued down. The subway roof sections also need painting. The walls facing the subway tunnel are also painted gray, but may get a “concrete” color before the foam is glued down. This won’t be visible typically, and if I ever get a train-mounted camera I plan to install real tunnel walls, but it still feels wrong to leave them in primer gray.

I’m hopeful that by the end of the week I’ll have the hillside installed and with a basic coat of paint (matching the other bank of the river). After that, I really need to do a bit on the two embankments of the large river (some window screen along the walls facing the water to simulate stone blocks, and perhaps a surface made of sheet styrene). Then, maybe, I’ll be able to turn my attention to getting the topography of the Riverside Station scene done.

In parallel with all this, the final supports for the expressway were constructed. These consist of quarter-inch threaded rod with nuts and washers for structural strength, with a section of one-inch PVC pipe surrounding it to simulate the concrete columns used on the prototype. These are described, and illustrated, on the “phase 2f” page also. So far, the columns have been sanded clean of markings and primed with an off-white spray paint, but remain yet to be painted in a “concrete” color.

And finally, I’ve begun cleaning and final installation of the Subway track itself. It’s been in and out several times over the past six months, and has gotten quite dusty with all the construction. Cotton pads with Isopropyl Alcohol are picking up quite a bit of gunk from the track. I expect the section on the Riverside Station scene will get pulled up at least once more, when I glue down the foam walls there.

But in the interim I plan to have all the track feeders and insulators in place to divide it into power districts and detection blocks as described on my DCC Systems page, and be able to use the subway tracks for breaking in trains and some actual running of them for fun. It won’t yet have detectors, as it’s still going to be DC, not DCC. But the wiring will be ready for the later conversion to DCC.

Other website changes:
  • In addition to the above-noted changes to the “phase 2f” page, I also updated the Subway Scene page with a new photo showing the hilltop with the new subway cover.

  • Added some photos to the Construction photo album (it now has two pages).

  • I added a link to the Expressway page to the Structures index page, and also added some related photos to the Structures photo album.

  • I cleaned up a few typos and minor errors on other pages, but nothing significant.