Trip, trap, trip, trap

Painting 'Road Bridge 1'

Who’s that painting over my bridge?

No Trolls under this bridge, unless you count grumpy old me. Nothing to be grumpy about though. In fact, I quite enjoyed bringing ‘Road Bridge 1’ to life with a bit of colour. Much more colour and weathering to add yet, of course.

I’m feeling my way into the painting of this stone work, because it will probably set the method and tones for all the other stone work to follow. I just don’t want any billy goats messing thing up.


Clad all over #2

Cladding the northern viaduct arch

Cladding the northern viaduct arch

I have started gluing the laser etched stone detail to the first viaduct abutment. Other low relief details are then added, etched onto a thicker card. I will add the texture to the stonework at the next stage.

On a plate

Cross girders fitted to the bridge and a test fitting

Scratch building a plate girder bridge

Hmmm… it’s been a while. I’ve been up to my neck in work. Which is a good thing, but it hasn’t left me much time for railway modelling.

Not that nothing has happened at all. I have been able to get the odd bit done here and there. Some planning; some organising of the shed and equipment; even a small amount of modelling.

To that end, I have been working on a second through plate girder bridge. This spans the road, which loops around one end of the layout. For this bridge I have started completely from scratch, cutting all the parts from plasticard.

Creating the main plate girder

It was quite a simple job to do and I didn’t even use the laser cutter. After I had created the I-beams the hardest part was fitting the web stiffeners along each side of the girders. Cross girders were cut from plastruct and glued into place to join both sides into the basic bridge. Just need to add the deck now.

fitting the web stiffeners to the plate girder

Just about coping

Adding coping stones to  ‘Road Bridge 1’

Building Bridges… #7

Modelling ‘Road Bridge 1’ – Adding coping stones

Adding the coping stones to the top of the walls on the bridge now. The bridge is in the last throws of construction at last. Only taken me 6 months! Could probably have built a real bridge in the same time.

The coping stones were liberated from a Wills three arch viaduct kit, which I’m not planning on using now. I think they look the part. Just going to be some filling and fettling to do now before I can start the fun bit. Painting and weathering.

Building Bridges… #6

Gluing the stone detail to  ‘Road Bridge 1’

Modelling ‘Road Bridge 1’ – Adding stone detail

Added another bit of stone detail to ‘Road Bridge 1’ today. This time I’ve turned to the laser cutter again to create the detail.

Using the laser cutter to score cut lines

The trouble with laser cutting HIPS plastic is that as it melts its way through the plastic it can create a lip on the surface of the cut. The thicker the material the more pronounced this can become. So, on this 1mm thick plastic I am just using the laser to score the cut lines. They don’t go all the way through, but give a score line that I can finish off with a scalpel.

The score line can be finished off with a scalpel

The Chinese K40 laser cutters vary so much in performance that it is very much down to the operator to figure out the best settings, of power and speed, for any given material. So, the settings I am recording below are a reminder to me, and are possibly of no use to anyone else.


I set the stone mortar lines to a 2pt thickness in CorelDraw and then rasterised them for engraving. The 1mm thick HIPS plastic was then engraved at 320mm/s @ 50% power. The cut line (which was set to hairline) was cut at 70mm/s @ 20% power.

Building Bridges… #5

Adding a buttress to 'Road Bridge 1'

Modelling ‘Road Bridge 1’ – Adding buttress detail

‘Road Bridge 1’ is one of those projects that I pick up, and put down, when the mood takes me, and time allows.

The other day I was in the mood and added this buttress detail to the centre of the bridge. It was easy to put together with some plastikard and some stone embossed plastic.

Buttress glued in place on 'Road Bridge 1'

Building Bridges… #4

Laser cut arch details for 'Road Bridge 1'

Modelling ‘Road Bridge 1’ – Laser cut detail

The first practical use of the laser cutter has been to cut these arch details for the road bridge. The stone arches have been cut from 1mm thick HIPS (High Impact Polystyrene) plastic.

adding the laser cut arch details to 'Road Bridge 1'

At the moment the stones are joined together to make it easy to keep the spacing and position them. Once they are firmly fixed in place I will clean them up and blend everything together with filler.

Laser cut arch details on 'Road Bridge 1' ready for tidying up