BIG VISUAL IMPACT! I started working on the pavement this week. I am using a process that I found on the web over at the Model Railroad Hobbyist Magazine forums. It is a thread called “Modeling Asphalt Roads” started by a gentleman named Steve S. https://model-railroad-hobbyist.com/node/17438 I really like the effect Steve achieved.
This technique is based on two types of foam materials. The first type of foam is used for the base or road bed to build up to tie height. It is simple foam core with the paper backing removed from both sides leaving just the white open cell foam. Removing the paper backing prevents the foam from warping when painted, and allows the foam to be sanded in order to shape the road surface. The second type of foam is foam-rubber “craft foam”. It is readily available at most craft stores in several thicknesses and colors. I use 1mm thick black sheets, approximately 18 by 10 inch.
This craft foam has a special feature that I am counting on to make this scene work; it’s squishy! A big part of this scene composition is the street running trackage. There is quite a bit of rail “buried” in the street. This raises a big concern in regard to flange way clearances need for high quality and reliability of operations. With the paved tracks being at the very front of the scene I want to find the tightest balance I can between the visual and operational aspects. I think craft foam is the answer. With a little testing I observed that I can have very tight clearances, even tighter than NMRA recommendations, without compromising the rail to flange relation due to the “squishiness” of craft foam. Basically an O scale freight car or locomotive has enough heft to push the thin craft foam out of the way!
Over the next few weeks, I’ll further refine the clearances, color, and texture. There is still a ton of work in Mount Union, but I think this is the biggest visual game changer so far!