Author Topic: Fun with <gasp> Unitrack!  (Read 9928 times)

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Dave V

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Fun with <gasp> Unitrack!
« on: January 01, 2014, 02:38:14 PM »
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If you followed along in my layout engineering thread, you saw that I replaced a kinked section of code 80 track (visible in the first two photos) with Kato Unitrack.





I painted the Unitrack with Floquil paint pens.  Painted track above, plain track below:



I added shims to match the original superelevation in the curve:



Removed the old track and roadbed:



Screwed up trying to shove a code 55 joiner onto the code 80 rail:



Removed more track:



The final result, ballasted and weathered:



Frankly, I'm impressed at how well Unitrack can be made to blend with traditional code 80.  As I've said on my Facebook page, it's not code 55 or code 40, and neither does it pretend to be.  It's funny how people assume that because I've shown marginal skill at one thing (scenery), I'm good at all aspects.  Well, I've never been good with track. 

I really do see the appeal of Unitrack.  It's crazy easy and fun to work with, and it's idiot proof (i.e., Dave-proof).  I'm well aware of the downsides of appearance, but those are more obvious under high-res photography than it is to the naked eye.  Probably the biggest downside is the rigid geometry, but that can be worked around by mixing in some code 80 flex or using different curve radii to simulate easements.

Here's a shot from my seldom-photographed Apex, NC layout I've been tinkering with.  We used Unitrack because my son Jacob helped me lay the track.  This is what I'd consider a more "traditional" application of Unitrack where little has been done to hide its origins.  I used a Floquil paint pen on the rails and buried the shoulder in Woodland Scenics ballast.  The track with the Railbox car is covered with Highball cinder.

« Last Edit: January 01, 2014, 02:41:24 PM by Dave Vollmer »
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wcfn100

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Re: Fun with <gasp> Unitrack!
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2014, 02:42:22 PM »
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If you want any Unitrack cheap, I have a bunch of it.

Jason

Dave V

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Re: Fun with <gasp> Unitrack!
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2014, 02:45:02 PM »
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If you want any Unitrack cheap, I have a bunch of it.

Jason

I may take you up on that.  I may also have to turn in my Railwire card by turning my back on finescale trackage...!
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Bob Bufkin

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Re: Fun with <gasp> Unitrack!
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2014, 02:48:17 PM »
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Not gonna catch any crap from me.  Most of my mainline is Unitrack. Mixture of Atlas, Peco and others on some sidings and yards.  Also have extra track that I don't need at the moment.

eric220

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Re: Fun with <gasp> Unitrack!
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2014, 02:52:41 PM »
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Not too shabby! I've actually looked into using unitrack on my helix. Unfortunately it's not available in anything close to the needed radii, and the quantity that I need would likely bankrupt me.
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OldEastRR

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Re: Fun with <gasp> Unitrack!
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2014, 03:38:14 PM »
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Dave you use Code 80 for the rest of the layout? I have noted here before that the Code 80 rail can be pulled (with a little effort) out of the plastic roadbed and Code 55 rail  -- even weathered -- slid into place instead and fastened with some ACC. As a bonus, with the rails out, any painting of the plastic roadbed/ties is much easier. Spray it all a gray ballast color, then broad brush strokes of whatever tie color you want over the plastic ties. Insert and glue rail and you're set to go.

mu26aeh

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Re: Fun with <gasp> Unitrack!
« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2014, 03:40:54 PM »
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I may take you up on that.  I may also have to turn in my Railwire card by turning my back on finescale trackage...!

If that's the case, I'd never get a Railwire card.  Unless someone hands me a ton of C55, I have no intentions of changing over

Scottl

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Re: Fun with <gasp> Unitrack!
« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2014, 03:58:25 PM »
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How do I get this Railwire card?  :D 

I'll buy Kato locos and cars galore- they are my favorite, but code 80 is HO track. :trollface:.

Kisatchie

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Re: Fun with <gasp> Unitrack!
« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2014, 04:11:33 PM »
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How do I get this Railwire card?  :D 


Hmm... I'll print you one.
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rsn48

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Re: Fun with <gasp> Unitrack!
« Reply #9 on: January 01, 2014, 04:11:48 PM »
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The Nicholson solution to kinked - in my case - code 55 Peco track when laid on plywood.  I have had a bunch of kinked track on my layout and was at wit's end as to how to solve it. What I do now is get a very narrow short nail, too lazy to go upstairs to identify it exactly, short being maybe half an inch.

Then with regular wood working hammer, not the small track jobbies, I bang the nail in on the outside of the kink about a 1/4 of an inch or more from the kink.  The nail is ideally touching the rail as it goes in.  Then when it is about 2/3'rd's in I get large wire cutters and snap off the remaining rail at the top of the rail.

Then with a nail punch I drive it in and down until it is still touching track.  Once the nail (without its head) has reached the desirable level, again with the nail punch I drive it sideways moving the track and evening out the kink.  Then with paint I match the very small amount of visible nail the colour of the ballast, and the nail becomes almost invisible.
Hind sight is always better than foresight, except for lost opportunity costs.

Chris1274

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Re: Fun with <gasp> Unitrack!
« Reply #10 on: January 01, 2014, 04:21:22 PM »
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Maybe it's just me, but I think the code 80 rail looks OK :|

Kisatchie

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Re: Fun with <gasp> Unitrack!
« Reply #11 on: January 01, 2014, 04:42:05 PM »
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Maybe it's just me, but I think the code 80 rail looks OK :|

Hmm... it looks okay, but
to my discerning Great
Ape eye, code 55 looks
much better...


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Dave V

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Re: Fun with <gasp> Unitrack!
« Reply #12 on: January 01, 2014, 04:57:41 PM »
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The Nicholson solution to kinked - in my case - code 55 Peco track when laid on plywood.  I have had a bunch of kinked track on my layout and was at wit's end as to how to solve it. What I do now is get a very narrow short nail, too lazy to go upstairs to identify it exactly, short being maybe half an inch.

Then with regular wood working hammer, not the small track jobbies, I bang the nail in on the outside of the kink about a 1/4 of an inch or more from the kink.  The nail is ideally touching the rail as it goes in.  Then when it is about 2/3'rd's in I get large wire cutters and snap off the remaining rail at the top of the rail.

Then with a nail punch I drive it in and down until it is still touching track.  Once the nail (without its head) has reached the desirable level, again with the nail punch I drive it sideways moving the track and evening out the kink.  Then with paint I match the very small amount of visible nail the colour of the ballast, and the nail becomes almost invisible.

Excellent technique, but when your track sits on foam roadbed glued into 2" extruded Styrofoam, there's not much for a nail to bite into and hold on.
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Dave V

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Re: Fun with <gasp> Unitrack!
« Reply #13 on: January 01, 2014, 05:04:00 PM »
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Hmm... it looks okay, but
to my discerning Great
Ape eye, code 55 looks
much better...



I would never suggest anything code 80 can be made to look good as code 55 (see above).  Usually I can spot makeup on a pig as a pig; I'm just sharing my own incredulity at how much less pig-like this looks to me than I expected.  Your mileage may vary.

I will probably never be to the Dave Foxx/Chris333/DKS level of tracklaying.
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Bob Bufkin

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Re: Fun with <gasp> Unitrack!
« Reply #14 on: January 01, 2014, 05:14:35 PM »
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Dave you got any use for a Unitrack double crossover?  Got one you can have.