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Viaduct Module


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I've been posting in the summer project party thread, but felt that this really belongs here.


station project party is here  http://www.jnsforum.com/index.php/topic,3274.0.html


I'm building a small exhibition layout on 4'x11" boards and this is the first one, a viaduct over a valley filled with Rice Paddies.


The pink foam is the 50mm insulation stuff we have in Canada, not beadboard, but the denser stuff (pic 1)


I've used pink foam for the valley sides, cut with an old bread knife (the only tool for this!) (pic 2)


Boards roughly cut and viaduct placed (pic 3)


Slopes cut in foam (pic 4)


Viaduct supports marked (pic 5)


Rice paddies marked out in Pen (pic 6)







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I used a product called model-magic to form the embankments and road, its an air-drying foam, very moldable and takes paint well.  I'm not sure how it will be long term this is an experiment but it is nice to work with.


Foamcore supports for trackbed at viaduct ends (pic 1)


model magic (pic 2)


Embankments and roads built up with model magic (pic 3)


Close up of rice paddies (pic 4)


First rough undercoat of paint (pic 5)


close up of rough undercoat (pic 6)


As you can see at this point its far less than perfect, I'm just attempting roughly colour to get  a sense of what it will look like, the paints are all cheap dollar store acrylics







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Some more progress..


I'm currently waiting for the varathane to drying the fields (don't know if it'll work, I may need something thicker to give more depth)


still, here are some of preliminary flocking and the viaduct put back in place to give a sense of things



Next up is painting and flocking the embankments, and significant tree placement, next are some of the foliage details in the valley



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hey great you decided to go all the way with this concept. im really interested to see how it works for you as we noodled a lot on this idea before doing the slightly deeper modules on the new jrm layout. you have a nice system for the viaduct. i am starting to think along these lines for the home layout as well, keep going back and forth between that and a regular layout that can come apart in movable sizes if we ever move, but then you end up needing a similar sized/shaped space in the new diggs!


for your fields you might try good old white glue. makes for a good water and you can even mix in some acrylic paint to it if you want it muddier. gives a nice semigloss sheen to it. dries pretty quickly. seen it used a lot in japanese scenery for rice paddies and even rivers and oceans.


for transport you might think about a simple rack system you could slide the modules into. just a simple frame work (ie like made of 1"x2" stock) screwed together with some small brackets to hold the modules stacked up. a could of screws or a bolt or pin could then hold each module firmly to the framework.


keep up the great work!





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Graham - Really nice start! I never heard of the product "model-magic", does it expand?

I've used insulation spray foam in the past with mixed results, it expanded too much.

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As a beginner to the actual modeling and building (yet to start) aspect of the hobby, its great that your giving step by step info photos on what your doing. It would be great if there was more info like this. Well done!

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Thanks for the comments guys


Jeff, I hadn't thought of using white glue and the varathane doesn't seem to be working well.  It's not glossy enough so maybe I'll try that this weekend


Bernard, model magic I think is used in kids crafts mostly, it's made by crayola the crayon people.  It doesn't expand at all, it's light and easy to mold. We discovered it when we were looking for materials to make stop motion puppets with


Boisefish, thanks for the comments there'll be more to come soon. This weekend I hope to sneak 1/2hr and flock the valley sides and maybe start to add the rougher foliage


I'm liking this small module thing, I have no time but I find I can do little bits with this and make enough progress to stop me from getting demoralized



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That's a great concept for a scene, and the execution is looking good so far.  I want to see more updates.


I used a serated steak knife for most of my foam cutting, until I discovered the Stanley Mini-hacksaw, which is basically a handle that holds one end of a hacksaw blade. Used with a fine-toothed metal-cutting blade, it cuts foam very well.  For finer shaping I'd still use a knife or a rasp, but for large cuts, this is a great tool.

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thats whats nice about doing sectional like this you can work on a bit at a time and not feel overwhelmed by a large partially built layout!


on the white glue, as it starts to set up you can go at it with a wet paint brush and do some small waves and the like. i saw a series of photos of a japanese shoreline that the modeler did this and built it up slowly to give very nice little shore waves.


have fun!





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Do you mix the white glue with anything to do this? I assume this only works for a fairly thin layer.


The module's looking good, Graham--I'm looking forward to seeing more.

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all the articles i have seen have used it straight up. usually putting a fairly thin layer on top of the painted surface, allows you to move it around and build up small waves or currents that are hard to do with epoxies as they want to set up dead flat. i have been meaning to play with this some to see how it works and let it sit around to see how well it holds with time. just about every japanese diorama scene with water i have see with construction details show using good old white glue on top of an appropriately painted surface.


another trick is to then use gloss medium over the top to give it a good water sparkle. futura floor polish is also another trick as a acrylic clear coat that will give that water surface look easily and cheaply!


water is tough as its one of those things that visually changes with distance. get a bit away and you dont see it as transparent any longer in most natural bodies. you might see things down in the water but the water itself does not look like a clear glass of water or poured thicker plastic water does on a layout at a few feet (which in scale is actually quite a distance). so its one of those things that you are in a little battle with you rmind's eye that expects to see something at scale that it might not be seeing in the model and thus muck up the final picture some. these little battles with what the mind expects and what the model does is always fascinating to me.





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first off, apologies for the absence, why is it that students have to come back to college after the summer ?? :) :)


that said I have made some progress on the viaduct module, in fact its almost complete (ish.. minus final details and I'm waiting for a farmhouse from plazajapan)


Jeff, took your advice with the white glue, I think I was a little heavy with it (took 2 days to dry clear! I was getting worried!) but finally it did and I quite like the look.



I made a dam from masking tape to keep the white glue from falling off the edge of the module.. it seems to have worked.  I also too the opportunity to lay down the first layer of flock.  I now just have to ballast the approaches, fix the viaduct and plant about 30 trees on the inclines.  oh yeah plue the little details as I think of them, just made a nice order from plaza too, so that should help (and I weakened and ordered a series 381 kuroshio.. such a pretty colour!)










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I'm almost done.  I'm waiting for a farmhouse from Japan, and there are a myriad other tiny details I'd like to add, but I think its ready for the show in October (I hope I can get the other stuff ready enough by then too!!)


I also haven't decided what colour to paint the front and wood, brown, green or black I think.. any suggestions?







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What is this "done" you speak of?  :grin


It's looking really good. Maybe a touch of weathering on the viaduct?


FWIW, I'm using black on the edges of our layout; it pretty much disappears from view.

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I used black on my old layout, and it's a good color since it doesn't conflict with the scenery. I use a dark green on my current layout, and I actually like the look better, but I have a lot of green scenery along the front of most of it, so it's almost an extension of the scenery.


A dark brown would likely also work. Just avoid light or bright colors that would call attention to themselves.

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I am really enjoying this build.. It has made me realize that I should build my layout in sections like this, and just ad the rest later!



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