Author Topic: The Thompson T-trak module  (Read 2775 times)

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randgust

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Re: The Thompson T-trak module
« Reply #15 on: July 27, 2022, 08:36:38 AM »
0
What's in the first views is just a quick shot mockup to establish the scenery supports   I trim all the sky off with an xacto knife, mount it to the blue skyboard with rubber cement.   All that's left is the distant trees.  I edge-line in color with markers the final better high grade paper at the joints, that works for me.   I'm getting pretty close though, I've got a layer of ground foam to put on the front then I can print the final backdrop sheets here.   I have a color laser at work and a print shop next door, as well as a full E-size HP roll plotter if I wanted to do that.   HOWEVER, I may take you up on that for reprinting some of my ATSF backdrops where the overlap lines are more noticeable.   The color laser doesn't run with any moisture, that's the big advantage, very stable color over time.

Somewhat OT, you know, my 'back to back' single track T-track thing here would work just fine for your Ma & Pa concepts, step one is to build adapters like I did for Trunkeyville and Jamison.   While it's not a standard (yet) the horizontal and vertical dimensions are standard T-track, as well as the offsets.   On a double, you can get enough offset with standard switches and curves to pull it off.

Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: The Thompson T-trak module
« Reply #16 on: July 27, 2022, 09:43:05 AM »
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Somewhat OT, you know, my 'back to back' single track T-track thing here would work just fine for your Ma & Pa concepts, step one is to build adapters like I did for Trunkeyville and Jamison.   While it's not a standard (yet) the horizontal and vertical dimensions are standard T-track, as well as the offsets.   On a double, you can get enough offset with standard switches and curves to pull it off.

That was actually one of the original inspirations. However, I came up with another idea for Single track TTRAK.

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This gives you the full module to play with.

randgust

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Re: The Thompson T-trak module
« Reply #17 on: July 29, 2022, 08:55:08 AM »
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Yeah, that will work.   

If I just got you thinking 'out of the box', that's a good thing.   

I'll be curious on your exact dimensions because I need to come up with a single-track 90-degree curved module to tie the Hickory Bridge into the Hickory Valley logging railroad modules.  That's next on my build list and it has to be single track.   I need one like your 'right hand' one, need curve radius, overall dimensions, offsets, etc.   I'd probably use the exact same geometry, may as well.   Who knew you might set a standard?

Meanwhile, at Thompson, all the dirt and leaves are done.   I started on the first turf and foam layers last night.   But the satisfying part was finding my trusty 'bag of rocks' in my scenery materials, and finding a couple perfect "fishing rocks" for the riverbank that actually fit.    I could see these three rocks from my house, and they were part of the geologic oddity there; the southern edge of the ice age that dumped all manner of huge boulders in the river in front of my house, and up the hill behind me, but not on the opposite side - except for the ones on the riverbank in that exact spot.  I fished over there a lot myself.  So adding the riverbank rocks is a personal touch, and Woodland scenics has a canoe and family fishing that's perfect there.   It's almost an inside joke, but that spot is so distinctive on the river that locals will be able to tag the location just by the rocks.   Even today, that's a prime campsite on the river.

If you go on Google Earth, find 'Youngsville, PA", go downriver to Thompson Island, on the west side just south of it, and you'll see the rocks from space.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2022, 09:05:37 AM by randgust »

randgust

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Re: The Thompson T-trak module
« Reply #18 on: August 01, 2022, 06:18:57 PM »
+3
OK, so here's the updates:

1)  leaves finished, dirt layer in progress (just on the embankment area)


Link:  http://www.randgust.com/THOMMOD17.jpg

2)  Ground foam layers done, and the front edge blackened to match my modules.   I only 'foam up' what can be seen through the tree trunks on the lead edges; once you get into the forest you can only see treetops anyway.



link:  http://www.randgust.com/THOMMOD18.jpg

Track ballast next, and I printed out the 'permanent' backdrop sheets today.

No matter what you are doing, you always wish you had more space.   Today, the original wagon road (dug out of the hillside back in 1861 or so, before the railroad was built in 1864) is still there, and it's one of the most hole-filled rough dirt roads with no guardrails in the county, and narrow to the point where cars have to creep by each other.   It was originally used as an oil haul route for wagon teams, and there was a big, three-story wooden hotel called the Pennsylvania House right at the base of Pennsylvania Hollow, with huge Greecian columns, built just for the oil teamsters.   It was in ruins by the 1880's, but wow, what a building, and for a while, a train stop.   Owner of it owned my property.   It would be just to the left of the concrete bridge.   That spot there is still so 'off the grid' that the camp there has no electricity, runs his own generator and solar panels.   All the land on that hillside back for miles is now State Game Lands, not a soul on it.

So no room for the road, or the Pennsylvania House, but at least I can get in the riverbank wide enough for an N canoe.

Oh, one other little history tidbit:  According to local news stories, the very first use of oil as locomotive fuel was on this exact line, going way back to like 1868, burning crude in a 4-4-0.   You can imagine how that went.   It was NOT, as widely reported, SP, after 1900.   As far as I can tell, although the local newspaper reported it as 'successful', ever repeated.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2022, 11:42:17 AM by randgust »

R L Smith

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Re: The Thompson T-trak module
« Reply #19 on: August 03, 2022, 12:48:28 PM »
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I've been enjoying this great thread.  I also appreciate the history lesson you typed here on July 12th and in other threads. As a resident of the area for the last 5+ years, there is clearly a lot of rr history for me to learn...

For example, I knew the NYC was in Clearfield and points south along the Susquehanna, but did not know they had trackage rights that got them to Brookville.


Ron
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If the women don't find you handsome, make sure they find you handy...

Chris333

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Re: The Thompson T-trak module
« Reply #20 on: August 03, 2022, 12:57:36 PM »
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I just hope you take this momentum and start working on Ross Run  ;)

randgust

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Re: The Thompson T-trak module
« Reply #21 on: August 03, 2022, 01:56:13 PM »
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If you look at the rush to get in the oilfields back in the 1860's and 1870's, NYC was late to the show.   They made an attempt to come up from the Sandy Creek line, got as far as Oil City by drilling a massive tunnel beside Oil Creek that is still right on Rt. 8, and dead-stopped just north of there.  Coming from the north from Buffalo, they sponsored the Dunkirk, Allegheny Valley & Pittsburgh, that came down from Dunkirk, condemned their way through the streets of Warren when the sheriff was out of town, and made it as far as Titusville...and dead stopped.   PRR had two right-of-ways between Titusville and Oil City, and managed to legally control them both so that there was no Buffalo-Pittsburgh competitive route through Titusville.   PRR starved both NYC lines out, they didn't survive PC.
https://www.titusvilleherald.com/news/article_debc4120-28a6-11e7-b99c-8358bac535b9.html
The oil boom in this area was pretty much over by 1880, and the lines were pretty bleak, until the Lackawanna steel plant opened, my river line was upgraded, and the real fun began.  But the NYC lines were never upgraded and were walking-speed weedy branches in my lifetime.

But yeah, Western Pennsylvania in general was more of a competitive spaghetti bowl fought over by PRR, NYC, Erie, and B&O with parallel and competitive lines about everywhere built in the oil boom, then throw in Shawmut, Buffalo & Susquehanna, LEF&C, and Bessemer that were always coal roads.  The oil boom in particular was our equivalent of the California Gold Rush.

Meanwhile, on Ross Run.... yeah Chris, remind me of that..... I got well into scenery, had to start scratchbuilding some structures, got material, and got distracted.....
« Last Edit: August 03, 2022, 02:04:25 PM by randgust »

randgust

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Re: The Thompson T-trak module
« Reply #22 on: August 06, 2022, 11:02:24 AM »
+6
OK, so the photos I shot right from my own property looking across the river make the backdrop here, cut out the sky and mounted them on the skyboard.



Link:  http://www.randgust.com/THOMMOD19.jpg



Link:  http://www.randgust.com/THOMMOD21.jpg

Now for trees, trees and more trees.... pretty much covering that remaining visible leaf layer.

randgust

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Re: The Thompson T-trak module
« Reply #23 on: August 08, 2022, 10:13:48 AM »
+9
OK, so this weekends project was making a mind-numbing first layer of trees with Woodland Scenics foliage mats, trim, fluff, glue to sticks, lather, rinse, repeat.   The back row and start of a second came in at about 75 little trees.   About a few hundred more to go, and this is really not that big a module, but again, in this part of the world, it's 100% green.


Link:  http://www.randgust.com/THOMMOD22.jpg


link:  http://www.randgust.com/THOMMOD24.jpg

I did this on the Hickory Valley back in '76 and the darn thing still looks good today, so I don't mess with a good thing.   You can see the track is now painted and ballasted (some foam fallout that needs vacuumed), and all the river bottom gravel is in place.   Water is kinda fun, but all these trees is not, I just have to push through it.

Around here, the 'water loving' species lower on the hills are a lighter green than the oaks on the hillsides, and the handful of surviving White Pines are conifer green.   Hemlocks congregate in the creek valleys only, also noticeably darker.  But there is just enough color variation to make it non-homogeneous.

I'm also a fan of the fine leaf foliage, that will be to the front edges of the forest and on the embankment, but that 'green mass' of trees on the hillside is best done with the foam-on-mat foliage; inexpensive, looks good, just darn slow.   You can see on the far left edge of the first shot I did three rows down to meet the foam layer, that's how it 'should look' across the entire module when done.

« Last Edit: August 08, 2022, 10:30:39 AM by randgust »

Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: The Thompson T-trak module
« Reply #24 on: August 08, 2022, 12:35:52 PM »
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With as buried as they are, I'm surprised you even bothered with trunks.

One thing I was reminded of last night while planting trees was that beyond the first row or two, it really doesn't matter so much.

And remember: the bigger you make your trees, the fewer you have to make. :D

randgust

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Re: The Thompson T-trak module
« Reply #25 on: August 08, 2022, 05:03:49 PM »
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Oh, I assure you, I'm all about easy.   Twigs with puffballs on them.   No branches, no detail.    As I get into more 'foreground' trees, they get progressively bigger, it's about the illusion of distance and density here.   You need that density to pull it off.   But this is still more 'square inches of solid trees' than I've had to do before on a module.

And that west hillside is STEEP, really too steep to climb.  When went over there as a kid you still went up the side slopes out of the drainage, not straight up, unless you had four legs instead of two.   And it's not really hills, if you look at the topo, it's a plateau with a river cut through it, and all the streams and drainage cut through it.   It only looks like 'hills' from the bottom, and the trees layer each other to cover it.   It's about a 300' vertical distance on average from the river up to the top of the plateau, and on my (east) side I still climb it regularly to hunt. 

We had an F1 tornado come up the valley in 1975, and it fatally crushed a guy under his camp with tree falls just a mile below this.  The tree damage on the east side was unbelievable as the wind hit this narrow and steep spot in the valley, and it lifted trees vertically off of the island into the sky while I watched.   The windfalls are still up there today, it's way too steep to log with anything other than a helicopter or a horse.

randgust

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Re: The Thompson T-trak module
« Reply #26 on: August 23, 2022, 01:39:54 PM »
+5
OK, well, I've got at least the left side fully forested.   If I had water poured here it would pretty much be finished in terms of what I'm trying to achieve, but right now I'm only about 30% done on the trees, and the Altoona show is coming up fast here.



Link:  http://www.randgust.com/THOMMOD25.jpg

Ed, I'll have to show you just how bad I cheat on these trees. 

For reasons I can't entirely explain, the backdrop looks a lot lighter in the camera than it does in person, and I proved that when I photographed the Trunkeyville one outside.


MK

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Re: The Thompson T-trak module
« Reply #27 on: August 24, 2022, 08:06:46 AM »
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Randy, the majority of your picture is taken up by the foreground trees, which are darker.  Your camera "sees" this and opens up the aperture for the proper exposure of the foreground trees.

But, your background is brighter so it gets slightly over exposed making it brighter in the picture than in real life.  If your camera has a HDR (high dynamic range) mode, try using that.

EJN

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Re: The Thompson T-trak module
« Reply #28 on: August 25, 2022, 10:45:48 AM »
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Randy, the majority of your picture is taken up by the foreground trees, which are darker.  Your camera "sees" this and opens up the aperture for the proper exposure of the foreground trees.

But, your background is brighter so it gets slightly over exposed making it brighter in the picture than in real life.  If your camera has a HDR (high dynamic range) mode, try using that.

Photoshop can fix that.

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randgust

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Re: The Thompson T-trak module
« Reply #29 on: August 29, 2022, 10:37:19 AM »
+3
I actually got the trees done.    I hate making trees.



link:  http://www.randgust.com/THOMMOD26.jpg

I'd love to get the water in, but I suspect that with my work schedule, I'm about out of time and I have to get the rest of the modules cleaned up and prepped for Altoona.    This one no longer looks like the Plywood Pacific anymore, which was my primary goal.