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Raised waterfront, material?

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  • Member since
    February 2019
  • 56 posts
Raised waterfront, material?
Posted by L. Zhou on Friday, October 2, 2020 11:56 PM

Hi all,

I'm planning on building a switching layout on top of a 4ft wide, 2ft tall plywood board that is going to be a waterfront with nearby industries. Freight cars will roll off a car float and be switched into sidings.

However, there's a dilemma. Everything will have to be above the plywood board as the surface will be water, and to accomodate the car float's height. I'm not sure what sort of material would be best suited for the purpose, can anyone help me out?

Thanks in advance. 

A mind forever wandering from the East to the West, and then back again. Two worlds, miles apart, so different but yet alike. 

  • Member since
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  • From: Bradford, Ontario
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Posted by hon30critter on Saturday, October 3, 2020 12:53 AM

Hi L. Zhou,

I see two possible options:

One is to use a layer of solid foam insulation to raise the land above the water. Foam comes in 1/2", 1", 1 1/2" and 2" thicknesses and it is easy to work with. However, depending where you live, it might be hard to find, i.e. in the southern US.

The second is to cut the water portion away from the plywood and mount it at a suitable height below the level of the land. That will require some cross framing to hold the lower piece of plywood in place, and you will need a method for cutting the framing and the plywood. A 1x4 would have enough depth to allow you to cut away the area where the water will be. 

Just suggestions.

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by doctorwayne on Saturday, October 3, 2020 1:15 AM

I'm with Dave's second suggestion:  cut the plywood, make it into two levels appropriate for your carfloat, and don't bother with foam at all - it offers no advantages for an industrial area where it's mostly structures and pavement.

Wayne

  • Member since
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  • From: Vancouver Island, BC
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Posted by selector on Saturday, October 3, 2020 3:02 AM

Hmmm...

If you have a given size of plywood, or even extruded foam, you could simply glue another layer atop the base, and then glue wooden dowel pylons at the edge to make a waterfront dock.  Paint the lower surface, into which the pylons could be inset slightly to give the impression of their entering deep water, with feathered lighter colours toward the shore line elsewhere to give the impression of reduced depth, and then apply one topcoat of gloss medium, something like Mod Podge. This way, you won't require more elaborate underpinning to support the two staggered, overset, layers.

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Posted by RR_Mel on Saturday, October 3, 2020 8:28 AM

You left out a couple of things, scale and is the section your building a standalone or part of a larger layout.

If it is a standalone as in a diorama weight could be a factor and foam board would help reduce the weight.

I’m building a standalone HO scale 18” x 4’ diorama and using foam board for elevation differences to keep the weight down.  I started with ⅛” plywood on a 1” x 2” frame to keep the weight to a minimum.

I started using a diorama that I built to try and get my grandson Ely into model railroading but it couldn’t compete with the Android goodies.



I stripped it and this is the plan for my diorama.



I bought ¾” x 14½” x 48” sheet foam 6 pk from Home Depot.  I went with ¾” so I can randomly change elevation easily in ¾” increments.  

https://www.homedepot.com/p/3-4-in-x-1-25-ft-x-4-ft-R-2-65-Polystyrene-Panel-Insulation-Sheathing-6-Pack-150705/202090272

It’s slowly coming along but not at the top of my to-do list.  I have two layers in place with the roadbed and track, a partial road and creek under the roadbed and some rock scenery along the front of the roadbed.

Too much junk sitting on the project to remove for a picture.

Mel


 
My Model Railroad   
http://melvineperry.blogspot.com/
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.

  • Member since
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  • From: 4610 Metre's North of the Fortyninth on the left coast of Canada
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Posted by BATMAN on Saturday, October 3, 2020 11:53 PM

Using foam allows you to easily carve a shoreline and is lightweight. You can make the layer of foam whatever thickness you need to accommodate what you want to do.

Brent

It's not the age honey, it's the mileage.

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Posted by L. Zhou on Sunday, October 4, 2020 1:27 PM

Mel,

The planned switching layout is going to be in HO scale and will be standalone. I plan to power the tracks and attempt to run operations. The layout might be moved to new places in the future.

With those factors in mind, after reading everyone's helpful responses, I will go with foam. Thanks everyone. 

A mind forever wandering from the East to the West, and then back again. Two worlds, miles apart, so different but yet alike. 

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    January 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
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Posted by SeeYou190 on Sunday, October 4, 2020 10:42 PM

I would suggest to cut out the water portion, and mount the track portion spaced up vertically by a 2 by 2 or something. That would be the easiest way, if you have a saber saw.

-Kevin

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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  • From: Bedford, MA, USA
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Posted by MisterBeasley on Tuesday, October 6, 2020 10:57 AM

I built my carfloat as a casette, using a foam base with a hardboard outer frame, filling the top with Envirotex for water.  The whole casette sits on a fold-down shelf which gives me access to the space behind it.  I used the Walters carfloat kit, full sized, and the Walthers carfloat apron.

I powered all the track on land.  My plan was always to follow the rules of not allowing engines on the float or apron, using idler flat cars to accomplish this.  So, there's no power to the float tracks themselves.  The kit comes with plastic rail, but I replaced that with metal rail.  With three idler flats and 5-6 cars per string, I needed to use metal only to reduce rolling friction since the intended engine is an 0-6-0 tank engine with not a lot of pulling power.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

  • Member since
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Posted by MisterBeasley on Thursday, October 8, 2020 1:00 PM

These pictures may help some.  The waterfront carfloat terminal occupies a small corner on the right side of my layout.  The track comes around to the right side, and thhe carfloat arrives there.  This is an early picture showing a step down to where the carfloat will sit.

Here, the raised platform for the carfloat is in place.  You can see the carfloat apron reaching out from the "mainland" on the right side.

The carfloat is on its casette base, and connected to the apron.  It looks like there's no Envirotex yet.  The base is flat black.

I did not surround the harbor with "water," instead ending the fascia there.  The water is only in the carfloat casette, with a small amount under the apron which is only visible when the carfloat is not "in port"

This is the carfloat with Envirotex around it.  I painted the base black and also tinted each pour of Envirotex to make the water look deep.

This is a better picture of the carfloat at the apron.  You can see the wye tracks splitting out to the three tracks of the carfloat.  I added a light inside the headhouse, and used Tortoise machines to drive the turnouts.

 

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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