How I construct modules...

Discussion in 'Modular Layout Forum' started by ulf999, Sep 25, 2007.

  1. ulf999

    ulf999 Member

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    I'm a member of a modular club that uses a standard similar to Fremo, (rail cut at the edges of the modules), but more free in how they look.

    The critical parts are the location of holes at the ends, and the height of the rail tops.


    I construct modules that can be used for either Märklin (3-rail that uses a pickup shoe, AC) and regular 2-rail (DC).

    Below is an example of my recent 16degree curves, 1meter radius:

    The result:
    [​IMG]


    The journey:

    First the frame. Plywood 9mm
    [​IMG]

    Then I add some foam (good as a base to plant trees in)
    [​IMG]

    Next I add some newspaper and then some plastercloth
    [​IMG]

    then I paint with a brown latex paint to remove the snowy look, and put some Woodland Scenics "Blended Turf, Earth blend". I then salt-n-pepar other turfs (burnt grass, soil, etc)
    [​IMG]


    My wiring to be able to run either 3-rail or 2-rail. (I use a DPST)
    [​IMG]

    Instead of using Märklins own rail, I use Peco code 83 (more US prototypical...)
    The Peco code 83 was easy to solder, but the Herei thingy was quite hard. Hopefully it'll stick...
    [​IMG]

    I use latex to glue things
    [​IMG]

    Rail mounted (and painted: Polly Scale tie brown, grimy black and a light gray):
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Low vegetation and ballast glued. soon to be weathered...
    [​IMG]

    Also test assembled, just to make sure it works [:)]
    [​IMG]

    Rail weathered: I first add a wash of Polly Scale 'Earth' to the inside/outside of the rails, then a wash of grimy black on top of the ties.
    After this I tried some 'dark rust' powder by Bragdon Enterprises. It came on to weird looking, so adding water with a thick brush, I 'watered' it down
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    /Ulf
  2. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

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    Nice work!

    I belong to a modular group here in Ottawa (Canada). You can visit the club web site at Welcome to the HOTRAK website

    We use a freemo-type single mainline module, as well as a "traditional" double mainline module. Over the course of the past year, the single line "branches" have become extremely popular... :)

    Are your club modules designed for running only, or are there switching opportunities as well?

    Andrew
  3. ulf999

    ulf999 Member

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    Our club is loosely connected. We don't have a 'club house'.
    Whenever we have a meeting (be it in a gymnasium, a museum, a rented space etc) it depends on what modules show up at a meeting. If enough industry modules /stations are present. There'd be some switching opportunities :).

    Seems you have a great Club there!!!
  4. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

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    We also meet at a hall - once a year upstairs in the banquet hall, other times, the dart room in the basement... ;)

    The yearly "rally" (January) is upstairs, and opne to the public. In 2005, we had about 14 scale miles of mainline run (double and single combined). We run a full yard, and have regularly had a passenger yard for the past year or so. Members can run a "though freight" or passenger train using their own equipment (no switching, just clearance from the dispatcher required). Or they can take any of the jobs available from the yard - way freights, unit trains, or any other locals. We use car cards and way bills to operate.

    Andrew
  5. jbaakko

    jbaakko Active Member

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    WOW that looks awesome! Keep up the SUPER work!
  6. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

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    RE: but the Herei thingy was quite hard

    What exactly is the "Herei" thing? It acts like the third rail? The loco has a "shoe" that touches the top of the Herei thing? I don't know anything about Marklin....

    On another note, it looks to me like you would need to use silver-solder to attach the wires to the Herei thingy.
  7. ulf999

    ulf999 Member

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  8. funwithtrains

    funwithtrains New Member

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    I'm a 3-rail fan who has now been bitten by the 2-rail bug as well, so this set up is very interesting to me. I'm assuming then that the Peco rail gives enough clearance for the Marklin wheels?

    One more question: I'm not that skilled at modeling, is there any rail that comes with this kind of set-up (usable for 2 or 3 rail) right out of the box?

    Thanks,
    Rob
  9. ulf999

    ulf999 Member

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    Hi!
    The Peco Code 83 is about as low as you can go with the Marklin wheel flanges. I friend tried code 75 (I think it was) but on those one can hear the bouncing on the ties :)

    If you want 2/3 rail 'almost out of the box', I guess you can use Marklin k-track and cut of the metal parts that connect the rails
    , thus separating them. But I think it's easier to use 2R flex track + the 'punktkontakt system'

    /Ulf
  10. railwaybob

    railwaybob Member

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    Ulf, rather than using plaster, which adds weight to the module, try sculpting hills/mountains out of styrofoam and fill in the contours/ gaps between the deck with spackling compound. This is similar to plaster but has a texture like "Dream-Whip" dessert topping. And you have a lot more time to work with it. In scuplting the styrofoam hills, I can take my time, visualizing what the next piece of styrofoam I should cut off to make my hill. The best tool to use is a "hot-wire" but even if you don't have that, some butcher's knives will do the trick.

    Bob M.
  11. railwaybob

    railwaybob Member

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    Ulf, if you are looking to bring more organization to your module railroad club, you might want to consider the following processes/procedures.

    Set up a mailing list at a discussion forum such as YahooGroups (Does The Gauge have mailing lists for discussion forums?). Have each of your club members join the discussion forum. An e-mail addressed to the discussion-forum e-mail address will reach all of your members. This is the start of good communications in your club. It's a process we use at Ottawa Valley HOTRAK, only we have our own unique e-mail address maintained by one of our members.

    When you have your meets, put out a call to all of your members for modules - who will be showing up. Assign a member to draw up a layout plan for those modules that will be showing up. Circulate it for feed-back until it becomes a "final". When your members arrive, they will know what the layout will look like, where their modules will go. It will also help the "section foremen" who will be responsible for seeing that the layout gets built according to plan.

    We use a "drag-and-drop" software called XTrCad to do our layout planning. The layout of each of our modules is on the XTrCad software. It's a simple matter for the planner to drag-and-drop each module into place to design the layout.

    We set up our modules in our rented hall late Friday afternoon. Modules arrive between 16:30 and 19:30. We try to find out what the ETA will be for each module owner as this helps us determine where we will start assembling the modules.

    You need a "road master" who will be the straw boss to tell people where they can help in putting the layout together.

    Lots of other tips, but that's probably enough for now.

    Bob M.
  12. ulf999

    ulf999 Member

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  13. ulf999

    ulf999 Member

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    I'll try without the plaster cloth next time :)
  14. funwithtrains

    funwithtrains New Member

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    Ulf,

    Thanks for the info, I think I will use the same system you used when I set up my HO layout.

    Rob
  15. hickstmj

    hickstmj Marcie

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    Very nice modular layout ulf999. Very realistic, except for the dinosaur of course, neat touch though.
  16. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

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    You don't need silver solder to make a good strong connection. Just use stranded wire for flexibility when soldering to the center pins, and use regular 40/60 electrical solder. I'm not sure silver solder can even be done with an iron. I've never used anything but an oxy/acetylene torch with silver solder, even a propane torch is not hot enough to get silver to flow.