Friday, December 30, 2016

Painting of the CVMW Pratt Truss Bridge

With the bridge built it was time to paint it.  I painted the Deck bridge black, but was unsure what color to paint the truss bridge.  First thought was to paint it silver, or should I paint it black as well?

After doing a lot of snooping on Google images I came across a lot of bridges that were an overall rusty color.  I'm assuming these were painted black and had oxidized over time to a rusty color.

I also did some searches on how to weather bridges and came across a couple of forums where a guy had painted his which looked really good.  He painted them to look like they had oxidized over time.  He didn't give exact formula's but I managed to get mine close to what he had.

The coat of paint was a rust color that was mixed using Floquil boxcar red, with oxide red and some orange.  Because I started with boxcar red this time, it was much darker than just the oxide red that I used on the deck bridge.

The second coat of paint was a mix of  Floquil black, primer gray and brown.  This gave the look of a faded black.  I sprayed this on sparingly so as not to cover the rust coat completely.

Unfortunately it came out a bit too brown because I used too much brown.  I needed to go back and remix the black so it was more "black" and respray it. Another option I thought about trying was to use a cosmetic sponge and "dab" the darker mix on.  But was afraid it would be too stark, besides that, trying to get the sponge worked into the inside of the bridge might be a little too difficult.

So I opted to use some black and brighter rust colored Pan Pastels.  This gave a nice mottled pattern.

With this done, I sealed it with a thin coat of Dullcoat.  But as I was afraid of, the Dullcoat did make the Pan Pastels disappear slightly as it does when applied over chalks and weathering powders.  So I went back and touched up the bridge with a heavier dose of Pastels so that when I sprayed another thin coat of Dullcoat they would still show up. 

I still need to go back and randomly apply some gray primer to a few of the gussets like they did on this bridge.

Next up, the abutments and piers...

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Paint on the bridge track

Merry Christmas from The Little Rock Line!

With the truss bridge complete, I turned my sights to the bridge track.  After getting the rails and guard rails installed it was time to paint them.  I started out spraying them with some Rustoleum satin London Grey as a base coat.  

Once it was dry I decided to try out some Pan Pastels.  I started out with a black that I brushed down the middle and followed that with a Dark Brown on the outside of the rails and ties.

Was very pleased with how they turned out.  I might go back and touch them up with a couple of different shades of brown for a bit of variation to the colors of the ties and planks.  Then I'll spray a sealer coat on them.

I also received some HO scale Micro Engineering Bridge Shoes the other day to use on the CV bridge.  I read on a forum where someone tried them out and was happy with the size.  They had tried the N scale versions and said the same thing I did, that they were too small. 

Next I'm working on a color for the CV bridge.  Been doing a little snooping and found some nice bridge pictures that have an overall rust or oxidized color similar to this.

Like Steven mentioned to me, I also like the sections that are painted with grey.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

The Construction of the CVMW Pratt Truss Bridge part 2

Made more progress on the Pratt Truss bridge today. It's just about about ready to paint.

When I went to glue the end portals on, I ran into a small snag. After getting them glued, the bridge had a bit of bow in the floor. I had to pull the portal tops to the upper frame and in doing so, it pulled the bottom joint up causing the ends to flex upwards.  It was an easy fix though, I added another drop of MEK to the bottom joint of the end portal until they released. Then I taped the ends down to the work surface and applied another drop of glue and pressed the bottom of the portals back towards the center of the bridge and held them until the glue dried. Bingo! It's flat once again.

Next came the "X" lattice bracing on the top, this wasn't too bad.

The part that about had my goat now is the 16 vertical angled bracings. These need to poke into a slot at the top and bottom of the bridge, then they recommend to leave them loose as atmospheric conditions may cause them to bow or flex and actually pull the bridge out of square! I can't see this happening seeing how flimsy they are. So after getting them installed and centered, I'm only gluing them on the top so they don't drop out.

Trying to get these little devils inserted into the corresponding slots is worse than threading a needle! Some of them drop in, others are a little thicker or the slots are smaller. So I've been dragging the ends placed under my fingertips across some fine sandpaper that I have glued to piece of 1/4" MDF. This seems to work good but man is it time consuming.

The next step was to thread the black thread they supplied into the upright supports and then down to the lower railing. The first problem I seen was I didn't see a hole in the upper end of the support. I thought about drilling a hole, but then the lightbulb went on! 

When I was reading through a thread on NSN, Michael Whiteman suggested using a brass rod instead of the thread because it wouldn't attract dust like thread will over time. Well this was the checker! I was able to slip the rod through the bottom of the bottom railing, between the two angled vertical bracings and was able to poke it into the upper support column. Once I had them measured and cut, I placed a small drop of CA to secure them in place! 
Viola! Done! 
Thanks Michael!

Now all I have left to do is to get the rails and guardrails installed and then I can get it painted.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

The Construction of the CVMW Pratt Truss Bridge

Tonight I got started on the Central Valley Pratt Truss bridge.

I gotta say the kit seems to be a nice kit, the parts are fitting together very well albeit they're a bit on the delicate side, and kind of soft.  So far the worst part of the kit is the instructions, they leave a bit to desired, and the pics are a little lacking.

So far I think I've spent 2-3 hours on it and have it maybe half built?

The next assembly on order will be to get the end portals attached, then the laced "X" bracings assembled and installed along the top.
I know one thing, if it wasn't for my PBL sprue nips, my Touch "N" Flow glue applicator and my bottle of MEK, I'd be pulling my hair about now!

With the bad weather that's closing in this weekend, it'll be a good time to stay indoors and work on this project.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Calion Lumber regains rail access

After a little bit of work this evening I was able to get the spurs relaid into Calion Lumber.  With the cork glued down I was able to sand it to a slight slope to get the tracks back down to ground level.

I also repositioned the warehouse with a slight angle so I could spread out the tracks a bit and keep it from being parallel to the layout edge.

A few hours later I caught the Haskell turn with #675 and friends as it was setting out a couple of cars on the new spurs.

Even after I thoroughly cleaned the new track and turnouts, I wasn't getting power through the points of the first turnout.  I scrubbed a little bit more, but no change.  So I decided to try something different.

Recently Quin and I spilt a 2oz bottle of the magic stuff to color the rails with.  I've always heard about the wonders of Neolube but never had any to try.  So I grabbed the bottle and added a just a tiny bit to the surfaces on the point rails and stock rails, let it dry a bit and BAM!  I had power through the points!    

I still plan to drop feeders to the two spurs, but until then I now have power to them thanks to Neolube.

All Hail Neolube!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Pratt Truss Bridge

The deck bridge is all but done, I just need to get the bridge track painted and assembled to the bridge.  I also need to finish the spurs into Calion Lumber, but I'm waiting for the glue to dry on the short section of cork so I can sand it to a slope before laying the track.

I also need to get the feeder wires dropped and soldered on the mainline as well, but I probably won't do this until I get the bridges installed.  So I guess I'm at a point where I can probably start on the second bridge that will be used to support the drill track (what is actually a lead off to an abandoned branchline).

For the second bridge I'm going to try my hand at building one of the Central Valley 150' Pratt Truss bridges.  

I'm not sure if  I'll use just this bridge or if I'll add a small deck bridge on one end. I really haven't laid out the river for a width other than just a few scribbles on the ceiling tile, so I'm working by the seat of my pants here. 

Once I get it built and collect some abutments I'll have a better idea of the size that I want to make the river.

This section of the overall re-alignment project to the layout has really slowed to a crawl compared to the work I redid in Ruston and DuBuch.  It was just simple trackwork.

Here, I need to build kits and then install bridges, which it's been a long time since I installed any bridges.  I think it was back around 1995 or so when I installed these bridges on my Bend Track T module.

I used two of the KATO truss bridges and two of the Micro Engineering 40' open deck bridges to span this river.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Realignment at Calion complete!

With the tracks installed and the trains running again, I can now focus on finishing the Deck Bridge and get it installed.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Realignment at Calion begins

With the deck bridge about done I starting messing with the mainline between North El Dorado and Calion this evening.

Forgive the clutter, but if you look closely you can see the centerline of the old tangent just above the turnout in the lower left.  You can see a short tangent just after the mainline curves, this is where the deck bridge will be installed.  The picture doesn't do this track justice because the radius is over 20" on both ends of the bridge.

The track to the bottom right is the Drill Track for El Dorado and is just temporarily tacked in place for now.  Once it straightens up, it too will have a bridge crossing the Ouachita River.

I still need to realign the tracks as they run into "MQ siding" and also rework the spurs that service Calion Lumber.  

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

PCB Ties

Well another first for me.

In the process of building the first bridge, I wanted to have some nice looking guard rails but was unsure the best way to install them.  I've read where some guys have glued them with CA, others have used an epoxy while others have used Plio-Bond.

Somewhere along the line the idea of using PCB ties to attach them entered my mind.  After a bit of research and asking questions, I decided to give it a try.  It seemed fairly simple and straightforward. I've done my share of soldering wires (but not track) over the years so I had a decent of idea of what to do.

After getting things ready I cut and filed the groove in the first tie and attempted to solder it to the rail.  
First problem; The PCB ties were a tad bit thinner than the ME bridge ties, so I just made a thin spacer and laid the PCB ties on that so they sat tight to the bottom of the rails.

Second problem: The solder didn't flow like I thought it should, then the light went on!  Tin the ties first dumba$$! D'oh!  That worked like a champ. At first I added just enough to cover the surface, a few ties later I decided to add a decent pillow to each end of the ties, then the rails sat right down into the solder pillows when they melted.

Once I got past these two problems, things went pretty good after that.  Then came placing the guard rails, the ME ties have little spike heads sticking up that helped position the C55 rail.  I laid the first end in place and touched the iron and bam!  It was stuck.  Then I just worked my way down the track and in a few minutes I had both guard rails soldered in place.

Looks like I need to go back and adjust that first tie?

I want to thank "pbender" from NSN for his insight on the PCB ties and Doug Midkiff for donating a couple of the Clover House PCB strips so I could give this a try.

Thanks guys!

BTW, seeing today is December 7th, let us not forget the tragedy at Pearl Harbor 75 years ago today by clicking on the flag.

"Honoring the Past, Inspiring the Future"

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Initial weathering tests for the Deck Bridge

Now that the deck bridge is assembled, I want to get it painted and weathered before getting the track assembled to it.  At first I wasn't sure of what color I wanted it to be: Silver, Red Oxide or black?

While scouting the net looking for examples I stumbled upon a blog where the owner was building a similar deck bridge and he also covered how he weathered it, Bingo!  It was just what I wanted.

He painted his black and then showed a decent step by step method of weathering it fairly heavy.  He used a product from AK Interactive called "Heavy Chipping Effects"  I've heard of the product, but never looked into it.  After a few hours of surfing I found out it was basically nothing more than using the Hairspray method to resemble chipped and worn paint.

I set about to recreate this using a couple of El Cheapo Atlas plate girder bridges I had on hand.  The first thing I did was to paint them with Floquil Oxide Red, then went back over the ribs with the same Oxide Red but added a bit of Floquil Roof Brown to make a shadow rust color for a little variance of color.

Then I added some Bragdon Rust powders to vary the rust color further, then sealed it with a lacquer Gloss coat.

Next I sprayed on a good heavy coat of some El Cheapo hair spray for a the "Chipping Effect" later.
The next step was to add the salt for the "Salt Weathering technique.

Now I've done both sides of these two bridges, but I was a lot happier with Side "B" so that is what I'm showing, both side "B"'s. I had too much salt on the "A" side.

Once the salt dried, I knocked off the excess that was loose and I brought out the Flat Black acrylic paint and shot a decent coat over the remaining salt and let it dry (I'm showing side "A" because I failed to a shot of side "B" with the paint).

After the black paint dried I used a stiff brush to remove the remaining salt.

With the paint dry I grabbed a medium stiff brush and some water.  Now to see if the Hairspray technique was going to work?  I dipped the brush in the water and brushed it on the areas of the black paint and started lightly scrubbing.  Within a few seconds the black paint started to chip right off!
Look at the previous picture and you can see how much I "chipped off".

YES!  I was heading in the right directions with this!  But it was a little to stark of a contrast so I drug out my new Pan Pastel powders to work them over a bit to see if I could blend things together for a better contrast.

I used three colors, Black, Rust and Dark Brown.  This is what I ended up with.

I think this is what I'm looking for!  I might try to go back and touch up the black on the test bridges with a bit more black powder, or I'll use less brown on the actual bridge.

I got the actual bridge painted and ready for the weathering steps I listed above.

Wish me luck...

Thursday, November 24, 2016

The Deck bridge

Happy Thanksgiving All!

Getting each bridge assembled was a PIA compared to getting them joined!  Don't remember them being that hard to assemble years ago?

Last night I was able to get the three bridges assembled into one 240' span.
I made a simple jig at work that would help me keep the bridge as level and square as possible.  I just cut a chunk of MDF and glued a piece of solid wood even with one edge.

Another piece was used to sandwich the bridges against the first piece.

Once I had all three bridges assembled, I sanded all of them on one side to flatten the top edge of the girders. I also sanded the mating ends with a "True Sander". After testing them for a good fit, I applied liquid cement to both ends and place them in the jig, two at a time. 

I was pretty happy with the results.  Then after letting them sit a bit, I went back and added four little strips of 1/8" x  0.020" styrene over the joints on the inside of the bridge and glued them into place to strengthen the joints.

I started working with the supplied bridge shoes but wasn't real happy with them. There was a lot of flash on them.  It wasn't the easiest to file them so I started looking for a replacement.  I found some on Shapeways, but wasn't going to spend $20 for a small batch of them. Thought about using some C55 rail snipped into 1/8" sections, but wound up finding some tiny Evergreen "H" channels.

While these don't really resemble bridge feet, once I get them painted and weathered, I think they'll look OK.

I think they'll pass?
I still need to work on the girder joints some more, clean things up and get the bridge painted.  Then I can work on the bridge flex and guard rails and finally the piers and abutments.

The last picture will be about the right height of the bridge.  I have a layer of 5/8" ceiling tile then a layer of 1-1/2" white foam to cut out for the river.  I'll need to make some slight adjustments to the piers and abutments so things line up properly.