Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Caverns

909 views
10 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    November, 2011
  • 26 posts
Caverns
Posted by iwander on Sunday, January 07, 2018 4:21 PM

Has anybody built the inside of a cavern such as Kartchner caverns in AZ or Carlsbad in NM? I plan on having a "window" to look inside. How did you build and what materials did you use?

  • Member since
    January, 2015
  • From: Southern California
  • 1,051 posts
Posted by Lone Wolf and Santa Fe on Sunday, January 07, 2018 5:54 PM

There is a model of Carlsbad Caverns in the visitor center. I’m not sure what it is made out of. I have never heard of any model railroader building the interior of a cavern on their layout but I have seen several silver or coal mine interiors. They just use standard techniques like plaster, etc.

Modeling a fictional version of California set in the 1990s Lone Wolf and Santa Fe Railroad
  • Member since
    September, 2003
  • 9,423 posts
Posted by mlehman on Tuesday, January 09, 2018 6:10 AM

iwander
...what materials did you use?

I've not built a cavern, but I use a lot of Sculptamold and a cavern would be something it would work well with. It's easy and forgiving to mix and shape and doesn't crack or shrink when drying.  It's also fairly strong on it's own when dry, if you need narrow section items like stalactites or stalagmites, or you can form it around an armature, like a bamboo skewer, to make it even stronger. It also takes paint, stain or washes well.

Mike Lehman

Urbana, IL

  • Member since
    September, 2014
  • From: 10,578’ (3,224 m)
  • 724 posts
Posted by jjdamnit on Wednesday, January 10, 2018 1:01 PM

Hello all,

I remember seeing an article on how to detail the interior of a tunnel.

The author used heavy duty aluminum foil. They crinkled the foil and then painted it to replicate the interior of the tunnel.

I believe that the same technique could be used to replicate the interior of a cavern.

Hope this helps.

"Uhh...I didn’t know it was 'impossible' I just made it work...sorry"

  • Member since
    February, 2017
  • 36 posts
Posted by originaldirtguy on Wednesday, January 10, 2018 2:27 PM

I ust expanded one of the tunnels on my layout and I was thinking of leaving the side off so you can see inside. I was just wondering if that would add any interest to my layout. I'm kind of on the fence.

If I do detail the inside, I was going to use Sculptamold but I may try the foil idea. It's a cramped little space that already has rail going through it. 

Thanks for bring up the subject. I look forward to various thoughts...

On YouTube at It's My Railroad

  • Member since
    September, 2010
  • 510 posts
Posted by eaglescout on Saturday, January 13, 2018 7:24 AM

Awesome idea.  I imagine shaping foam concave would be fairly easy.  Adding stalagtites and stalagmites might be a challenge but would be a new contrast to traditional train scenery.  I wonder if you could affix a small led to a spelunkers hardhat to provide lighting within the cavern?

  • Member since
    January, 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
  • 1,344 posts
Posted by SeeYou190 on Sunday, January 14, 2018 7:27 PM

I am not familiar with Carlsbad Cavern, but a model of Ruby Falls in Lookout Mountain, Tennessee would be interesting.

.

Lots of undergound streams and rock formations inside of it to add interest. It could be lit like the prototype.

.

My guess is that the same techniques used to build rock outcroppings on layout surfaces could be employed underground. Access would be harder. It would probably be easier to build it at the workbench and install it on the layout when completed.

.

-Kevin

.

Happily modeling the STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD located in a world of plausible nonsense set in August, 1954.

  • Member since
    January, 2015
  • From: Southern California
  • 1,051 posts
Posted by Lone Wolf and Santa Fe on Sunday, January 14, 2018 8:59 PM

    Carlsbad Caverns is a nation park in New Mexico. It is pretty amazing. It was originally discovered by a cowboy who discovered the massive bat cave that turned into a huge business of mining guano (bat poop), which turns out to be the best fertilizer since the bats eat tiny insects, mostly fruit flies. It takes all day to walk through it. The Big Room is the largest chamber in the world. At the end of the day you take an elevator back up because the hike out is too much for people but in the old days you had to walk out. Now you have to take the elevator.
    Anyway I saw on the Woodland Scenics website they suggest using plaster to form the interior of the cave and rolling up plaster cloth to form stalactites and stalagmites and then gluing them in place.

Modeling a fictional version of California set in the 1990s Lone Wolf and Santa Fe Railroad
  • Member since
    September, 2002
  • 6,748 posts
Posted by ndbprr on Monday, January 15, 2018 5:02 PM

If I were going to model a cavern I would cheat rather then build one.  They may still make those little viewers you get at a tourist stop that are a fixed picture viewmaster you hold up to the light.  They have a small lens in one end and a picture in the other that you see when you hold it up to the light.  Should be fairly simple to mount one in the facia with a bulb or led behind it.  Wouldn't be surprised if they sold them at Carlsbad Caverns.

  • Member since
    January, 2015
  • From: Southern California
  • 1,051 posts
Posted by Lone Wolf and Santa Fe on Tuesday, January 16, 2018 12:01 AM

ndbprr
If I were going to model a cavern I would cheat rather then build one. They may still make those little viewers you get at a tourist stop that are a fixed picture viewmaster you hold up to the light. They have a small lens in one end and a picture in the other that you see when you hold it up to the light. Should be fairly simple to mount one in the facia with a bulb or led behind it. Wouldn't be surprised if they sold them at Carlsbad Caverns.

Somewhere from my childhood I have the viewmaster slides of Carlsbad Caverns which were purchased there in the 1960s or 70s.

Modeling a fictional version of California set in the 1990s Lone Wolf and Santa Fe Railroad
  • Member since
    January, 2018
  • 3 posts
Posted by airtrain on Wednesday, January 17, 2018 12:10 AM

If you live anywhere near Pennsylvania visit Roadside America. They have a cavern built on the side of their layout that you can actually walk thru. It's pretty amazing

Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!
Popular on ModelRailroader.com
Model Railroader Newsletter See all
Sign up for our FREE e-newsletter and get model railroad news in your inbox!
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Search the Community

ADVERTISEMENT
Find us on Facebook