Milan Branch of the Iowa Interstate RR

Month: January 2018 (page 1 of 2)

This blog going forward

I was blogging about the Milan branch at the Model Railroad Hobbyist site before I started this WordPress theme. I don’t plan to move those MRH posts over to this blog, so below is a list of topics covered at MRH and a link to get there if you’re interested.

Going forward I’ll only be blogging from this site.

• Homasote curved roadbed
• Superelevation for a branch line (cheap and easy method)
• In search of the perfect ties
• IAIS 250 sounds off
• Ambient and triggered sound for the Milan branch
• Continuous running on a point-to-point branch line!
• Ballasting approach
• In praise of Proto87 spikes!
• First time experience with Shapeways
• Soldering solution for turnout points
• Realistic power pole wire?
• Cheap but effective turnout throws
• IAIS MOW #52 resurrected
• Backdrop development and LED lights
• Inspiration fosters a plan – using a conductor in operation
• Corn, anyone?

Click on the GP10 below to go to my MRH blog:


Layout room amenities

In addition to working on the layout, I like to think creatively and develop amenities that add to the flavor and comfort of the layout room. Below are some Iowa Interstate-themed items that I’ve custom created.

I rendered the IAIS logo in Adobe Illustrator and had a local sign company cut vinyl that I carefully applied and burnished onto the ceiling light.

Next, I decided to design and fabricate a neon IAIS logo for the layout room. I drew the logo up and had the black base CNC’d out of plexi, added reflective yellow type, and had a local custom neon artist create the red accent line out of neon. It hangs above one of my work surfaces.

Finally, I decided to fabricate stools for when operators come for a session. I purchased two, 30-inch stools in a weatherworn red color, and had black leather embroidered and then upholstered to fit.

Roadbed and trackwork

I milled homasote strips for roadbed, both straight sections and kerfed for curves. I glued both the roadbed and ties down with Mod Podge, textured each individual tie with a razor saw and dental pick, and stained and ballasted. Finally, I used Pan Pastels to vary the gray color of each tie and then followed with additional Pan Pastels of black, dark earth, mud, and rust to further texture the ties.

I’ve started to lay rail and hope to have all the track down and operating by the end of winter 2018.

The undulating quality of homasote makes it the perfect subroadbed and roadbed because it looks prototypical at eye level.

Texturing each tie individually is possible on a small branch line layout. It creates the run down character of a somewhat neglected branch.

Move cursor over image above to see tie detail. Proto87 spikes used.


Copyright © 2018 Milan Branch of the Iowa Interstate RR

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑