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Progress update on The Hills Line, as the creeks, rivers, and other waterways have been carved, along with the bridges, piers, and abutments being painted and installed. First up is the multi-span crossing of the Iowa River, south of Iowa City.
The prototype features two spans, a Lattice Truss and a Warren Truss, and two approach trestles. For space limitations I’ve chosen to model the Lattice Truss on the north side of the river along with its trestle. The deck was constructed first, then painted with various spray paints. With the deck positioned track can be installed and wired without needing the rest of the bridge. Eventually the truss will be kit bashed from a Central Valley kit.
The abutments are modified from AIM/Monroe Products to best match the prototype and were painted and weathered with numerous acrylic paint washes. I won’t permanently secure the bridge deck until after the river is painted and poured and the track is installed.
A small wooden trestle crosses the flood plain between the Iowa River and US Highway 6 in Iowa City. Again, space limitations prevented me from modeling it anywhere near the prototype length, but it still does a good job of representing what’s actually there.
The trestle was from a Walthers kit, painted and weathered to (hopefully) look like wood. The foam for this and the rest of the watercourses were carved with a variety of tools, including a hot knife, surform rasp, and a few serrated knifes.
Unlike the rest of the waterways, there won’t be water at this location. Rather the trestle will be surrounded by large old-growth trees and low scrub, per the prototype.
Also planned to be hidden amongst the foliage is the steel stringer bridge over Ralston Creek in Iowa City.
Again, the piers and abutments are from AIM/Monroe and the I-Beams are from the same Walthers kit as the trestle. Bridge track and a safety walkway will be installed during track laying. What’s unique from a modeling perspective is that the Ralston Creek bridge is the only one with guardrails on the line.
We finish at the north end of the modeled section and what’s planned to be the signature scene on the layout, the Iowa Interstate’s deck-girder bridge over the CIC Hills Spur. The abutments and piers were heavily altered to best match the prototype, including the notch on the south side of the first pier and the stair-step edges on the eastern abutment.
A fascia extension has been added to the aisle-side pier, both to protect it and to prevent the “bridge to nowhere” look common on a lot of model railroads. Luckily the IAIS main is shrouded in a tree tunnel just beyond the bridge, so the intersection with the backdrop will be covered.
Up next is filling all the gaps in the foam and the fascia with spackle and wood filler, then slathering on a coat of CTC Green to eliminate the pink monstrosity in our basement.
This article first appeared on model-railroad-hobbyist.com
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