Building the Pinnacle Creek Mining & Timber Co. RR


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This is my opening thread on the PCM&T. It is a small mining layout in SE Alaska up one of the fjords. It is October 1931. Shown is the woodworking being done over my old N scale layout. This layout will have three levels. The highest level will be reached by a switchback. There will be two mines, a logging camp and a 'Dolley Varden-type' ore tipple. Comments are appreciated. Jim:)


Folks during the life of this thread many pictures where lost do to mismanagement at Photobucket. I got most of them back and the first third of this site seems to have smaller photos. CLICK on them to enlarge. Learn and enjoy, Jim June 1, 2019 photobucket is at it again trying gouge ever dime they can from us. Now you will see a photobucket watermark on photos they say they own. DON'T EVER USE THEIR SERVICE. It is in no way a service.
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Nice that you were able to reuse a lot of the existing benchwork. Backdrop is cool. Looking forward to pics of the screen...
Looking good, already has that backwoods feel to it!
We'll look forward to seeing the progress....
I like the benchwork...Looks like what I need to do.
Tim, Yes, I have use WS Foam on all of my layouts. I only used it on this one because it was left over from my N scale layout. I didn't want the subroadbed nice and smooth like the foam gives you. I used risers and plywood this time. I actually want ups and downs and crooked roadbed this time because that models a mining railroad build mostly by hand and mule teams. It is not perfect, but I like the look. HO trains, my Shay, Climax, and Heisler, will run fine on this layout.

Now, if I was building a more modern diesel type layout I would certainly use WS Foam Risers. The system is a great way to go. Thanks, Jim
Rico and Devin, Thanks for the comments. Devin this benchwork is the "L-Girder" type of construction. I like it. Large layouts are probably best done this way. They are other methods but I like this one the best. Jim:)
Here is the idea I came up with while walking through Lowe's garden department. It is half inch square netting material. It is in the wire fencing section. If you notice on the previous photo the cardboard hills where folded in slightly. This gives me and anchor point for the top of the netting.

I use hot wax to hold everything together. I will post a photo of that tomorrow. This netting feels as strong as carboard lattice and certainly paper rolls. Next I will cover this with Woodland Scenic Plaster Cloth. If you look closely you can see the wax on the cardboard and the track route. Jim

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I may hit you up for some advice on that bench work. The backdrop looks amazing in that last photo. I think that product you purchased from Lowes should do just fine!
Devin, Thanks. I painted the backdrop myself. I used my left hand although most folks think I'm a righty. Ambidextrous actually.

As for the benchwork. A few years ago when I started model railroading I purchased the Kalmbach mag about Benchwork. I knew nothing before, I just did what they said in the book. You can find this benchwork book at your LHS or I believe you can buy it direct from Kalmbach the publisher. Let me know if I can help. Jim
looks like its going to be great. I like the foresight to cut the raised track woodwork all jagged and crooked to look like carved out of the mountainside. Anxious to see more puctures of the mountain backdrop build.
The next step is to simply apply plaster cloth. I did nothing to shape or form the hillsides. After this dries will come a new and different, (I think), way to do rocks. Stay tuned. Jim

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Very cool! Looks like you are onto something there.
I was able to get a bit of work done the last couple of days. The picture shows what will be a different way to do your rock work. For years I used Woodlands Scenic's light weight hydrocol to fill molds and place them on the layouts. I was at my local home center one day and they were doing a stucco patching clinic. Lightbulb!!! Maybe I should give this stuff a try for easy rocks? I bought a gallon and after a small test to see what it would look like, I decided this was the way to go on the Pinnacle Creek layout. I want a lot of rock this time around and I think I found my answer.

I simply slapped in on the hillsides with a 1 1/2 inch putty knife. Easy! I let dry awhile and used the edge of the putty knife for all the striations and gullies. This stucco come out of the pail a light tan color so your rocks are already tinted. I wanted a 'granite gray' so after it dried a couple of days I put a gray wash on the rocks.

Some things I found: First, I recommend opening the pail and let it sit uncovered overnight. I like the stucco a bit dry as it is heavier than hydrocol and will succumb to gravity. Less falling with drier stucco.Simply push it up hill it will dry and stay. Pinnacle Creek has some vertical cliffs. Second, you can work with this product for a couple of days, maybe three or four in wetter climes. Three, after it completely dries it is hard as a rock, in fact my neighbor asked where I got the rock from.

So here's the photo of the product and the first application of stucco patch. Jim


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Man those mountains sure do look great. That is a neat way to make them. You just might be onto something. Can't wait to see the finished product and see trains running. Great job.