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The Tiny Tyers Targa Saga


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#1 Ember

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Posted 13 September 2009 - 05:14 AM

Ok. Figured it was time to bite the bullet and let the rest of the world see what's being worked on in country Victoria.

The track is simple Scaley Sport. No plans to go digital at this time, I don't think the size warrants it. The table size is 3.5m x 1.5m. It takes up a quarter of the bungalow (converted from a single bay garage). The table is supposed to fold up against the back wall, but I have my doubts. The majority of the work has been done on the cheap. Even the supplies for the table were scrounged.

Here's the layout.


And here it is in progress....

(Sorry about the badly cobbled together image, but constraints of the room make it impossible to get a decent shot of the whole track)

This will never be a serious, all out race track. The cars that drive it tend toward classics, road cars and the odd rally car. So landscaping is/will be more in keeping with a targa style road race. That way it suits all the cars that will venture on to it. Lane length is 14m and both lanes are so close to even it makes no difference.

Scenically (hmmm.... must check that one in the dictionary) this track is inspired by two near by and favourite places of mine. The cliffs that will be along the back straights are somewhat inspired by The Great Ocean Road, and amazing bit of coastal engineering and a stunning drive which runs along the Victorian Coastline (offical tourism website for those who want to know more) and The Grampians/Gariwerd which make up the tail end of the Great Dividing Range (see here for more stuff)

Anyway. That's the basic plan. Construction is well and truly underway. But I'll continue the saga later...

Cheers
Embs
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TINY TYERS TARGA: The saga continues An old shed for my new cars: An old wooden garage under construction

#2 munter

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Posted 13 September 2009 - 06:49 AM

I can see a nice flow there...yes a nice flow!
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#3 Ember

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Posted 13 September 2009 - 09:19 AM

First step from this point was blocking in the scenery. Again with doing things a little bit (ok a lot) on the cheap I used polystyrene, the dreaded white bead stuff. I got it for free from a local purveyor of electronics and white goods. All the bits are solid blocks or sheets, none of the moulded stuff. But unfortunately it's all different grades, some dense and quite easy to carve, some of it quite light, beady and difficult.


Right end of table blocked in. This end is difficult to work at because the table is in the corner of the room. This end is against a wall. Polystyrene is glued together with polystyrene friendly construction adhesive (liquid nails) in blocks.

Once blocked in the landscape features have been carved to rough landforms.

The clean up isn't necessarily easy, but there's something satisfying in having polystyrene snow flying everywhere.

Trying to keep monetary outlay to a minimum I wasn't keen on outlaying lots of money for Scaley track borders. I tried 6mm MDF packed up to the 9mm height of the Scaley track, but this was too much like hard work. Instead I've used corflute, a plastic form of corrugated cardboard frequently used in the sign industry. As I work in the sign industry this was a resource that was plentiful. Whilst corflute is available in 8mm thickness, the majority of what I have access to is 5mm thickness and therefore requires some packing. To make the borders look better I have covered the corflute with a vinyl print of gravel.

The print has been laminated to protect it and allow for easy cleaning. I, perhaps mistakenly, chose a gloss laminate because I figured there was more slip available for smoother drifts. I may, at a later date, give the edges a light spray of dullcote because the shine can be quite distracting at times.

Enough for now. Will add the next chapter of the saga later.

Thanks for joining the journey.
Embs


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TINY TYERS TARGA: The saga continues An old shed for my new cars: An old wooden garage under construction

#4 dangermouse

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Posted 13 September 2009 - 09:46 AM

nice flow enough turns to make it interesting and a couple of places to open the throttle on the XK120 smile.gif

cheers
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#5 Ember

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Posted 13 September 2009 - 12:54 PM

Beginnings of the scenery building....

Along the back of the table and down both sides are cliffs. And undercut cliffs between the first and second straight along the back. I've decided to use FRocks, or Foam Rocks, for this. I got the basics from here. There's basically two reasons for this. The back and one side of the table is hard to get to and its cheap. I got a bunch of old upholstery foam for nix. A combination of old foam from a couple of big sofa cushions and off cuts from the local hardware store. Different foams definitely handle and tear differently.


Bits of foam torn and assembled for the back cliff. For the back cliff, which I did first, I made the frocks off the table and then glued them in place.



This worked ok here as the backing area is flat. But I'm not totally satisfied with the results.

For other areas, particularly areas with curved backings, I decided the better option was to glue the upholstery foam to the polystyrene before coating it in jointing compound (drywall mud?) This allowed for better fit of the cliff to the support styrofoam.

FRock cliffs pinned in place to test fit along side wall. These were then glued in place, repinned and allowed to dry.

A day or so later they received the first coat of Joint compound.


Since doing these ones I have again adjusted my method for doing them a little. But that's probably enough waffle for now. It's Sunday night here and probably time to hit the hay.

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday.
Embs




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TINY TYERS TARGA: The saga continues An old shed for my new cars: An old wooden garage under construction

#6 Slotcarmann

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Posted 13 September 2009 - 10:39 PM

Hi Embs

That's a nice, challenging track making good use of the space available.

My current track's "long" straight is about the same length as the one on your track.

Interesting to see how you are doing the budget scenery, I'll be at that stage shortly when my stuff moves up the the attic. And then I may have a dining room again! rolleyes.gif

How are you going to work that beer bottle into the F rock scenario?

Cheers
Dave

#7 Ember

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Posted 14 September 2009 - 03:21 AM

Thanks fellas.
Slotcarmann, I could claim it was a measuring device used to make sure I had the cliffs high enough, but I don't think you'd believe me.

Something I have discovered with FRocks. Patience is, as always, a virtue. The thicker the foam is the more coating it requires. The more coating, the more drying time, etc. etc.

Since doing the first FRorck cliff along the back straight I've adjusted my methodology a bit to suit my needs. As I mentioned, I now glue them in place before I they get any coating of joint compound. Because the areas where they'll be used are long cliffs, I've also tried to keep the foam in fairly long strips. These are to be sandstone cliffs, weathered but with little or no strata breaks. I also tend to trim the back of the foam with a sharp knife once I've torn the piece, to get rid of much of the excess before gluing in place.


This is the foam glued in place for the right end cliff. Not sure if it's clear from the photo, but in some places the foam is actually quite thin. Another benefit of polystyrene backing, the cliffs can be easily pinned in place. That way someone can run a few laps with a car to make sure there's enough clearance from the track. Any excuse to cut a few laps... right?


Once glue has had 24hours to dry its' time to apply 'frocking' compound. As you can see, I've taken to tinting it. Just used cheap hobby acrylics for this. I found pre-tinting the joint compound is beneficial when it comes to painting later. First coat is mixed with a little water to make it about the consistancy of good pouring cream. Important to get the first coat to soak into the foam, so use a cheap strong-bristled brush to scrub plenty of coating into the foam. Depending on weather this may take a couple of days to dry.


Second and third coats can be applied with the joint compound at a thicker consistancy. These coats have been fairly well slapped on. Just make sure its not too thick, as the texture of the foam still needs to come through. Another wait for drying abbreviated by the application of fan heater. And its on to painting. Yay!


For painting I'd suggest at least "student quality" acrylics (not the cheap hobby tubes). Most of what I've used for painting these are "Artist quality". The pigments in these are stronger, brighter and truer. Therefore you'll need to use less. A good quality soft brush is also a must. At least a soft nylon, not bristle. I had planned on taking a few 'in progress' photos of the painting progress, but I tend to zone out with a paint brush in hand. This cliff is painted with colour washes blending each colour into the next as it goes. Sort of wet in wet for anyone with watercolour experience. I tend to keep the darker, stronger colours in the deep recesses. The colour mixing is all really done on the rock face. Red and yellow ochres, siennas and gold oxide used here for Grampians sandstone which goes from pale cream to strong rich red. A strongish mix of colour is applied, then a wet brush is used to blend the colour out toward the edge of the next colour. At this point the undertinting comes into play. I've let it show through to give some cream colours to the stone. I've yet to decide whether or not to progress to the next stage of a darker wash over the top of these. I'm pretty happy with the way they are at the moment. So much so that I'm working on a way to redo the ones glued to the back wall of the table (they're too dark for Grampians sandstone).

That's about it for now. I'd better get back to work. Thanks for reading.

Cheers
Embs
Anorak. Not just a fashion statement. It's a state of mind


TINY TYERS TARGA: The saga continues An old shed for my new cars: An old wooden garage under construction

#8 Slotcarmann

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Posted 14 September 2009 - 06:17 AM

Morning Embs

More good progress and it seems to be working for you:some good tips in there. thumbsup.gif

I like the sandstone effect. It's true the colour of it can vary quite a lot, we have some here and it tends to be various shades of pink, in fact we have a castle built mostly with it, although that's nicely weathered now. (That's "we" as in the people of the Isle of Man, not "we" as in my family...!)

With the aid of your improvised measuring bottle, you seem to have got the height about right and you're spot on, checking the track clearance every now and again is good policy. Especially as you put the additional layers of paint on, you wouldn't want to narrow things too much, would you...? rolleyes.gif

Cheers
Dave

#9 Ember

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Posted 14 September 2009 - 08:26 AM

Dave: Alas I can't claim its all been done in the last few days. It's been a work in progress for a few months now. Probably started putting the table together around Easter. The track layout itself started its evolution shortly after Christmas. As can be seen by some of the corners it started its life as the Top Gear track. That soon got fairly boring so started evolving into more challenging circuits. Add another box set of track, a heap of extra straights, a bunch more corners (R1s, R3s and R4s mainly) and the better part of whats now on the table was created. A few weeks running that on the floor to decide if it was challenging enough to be worth keeping. It got recorded in SlotMan before being dismantled ready for table construction. Layout was tweaked a little further while the table was being built. I had the track laid out on the table almost before His Lordship had finished tightening the screws on the table hinges.

The track is a bit further along than the thread so far, but probably not by a huge amount.

On the sandstone side of things: An old quarry in the Grampians was re-opened specifically to furnish the new Parliament House with both white and pink sandstone when that was built. The white where it is found is almost pure white. The pink is a very deep rich pink. The colour range on view, whether from stones, plants and wildflowers, or native birdlife, is just one of the reasons why I love the Gramps. Its not just the deep heart of Australia that has amazing colour to offer. If anyone's planning on visiting the country the outer edge is well worth a look.
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TINY TYERS TARGA: The saga continues An old shed for my new cars: An old wooden garage under construction

#10 Savage

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Posted 14 September 2009 - 12:29 PM

QUOTE (Ember @ 14 Sep 2009, 09:26) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Alas I can't claim its all been done in the last few days. It's been a work in progress for a few months now. Probably started putting the table together around Easter. The track layout itself started its evolution shortly after Christmas.


Phew, I looked at the first post date and thought "thats some work rate!" until I got to here !
All looking good, but I agree you should matt down the borders smile.gif
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#11 Ember

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Posted 14 September 2009 - 12:36 PM

On the cheapskate tally.... so far we're looking at:
Chipboard for table = AUD 0.00 (scrounged from packing boards from local kitchen manufacturer)
Pine for frame and legs = AUD 0.00 (leftovers from previous jobs)
Paint to seal chipboard = AUD 0.00 (leftovers found in garden shed from previous owner)
3mm MDF support for track = AUD 0.00 (scrounged from packing boards from local kitchen manufacturer)
Polystyrene for track fill = AUD 0.00 (scrounged from local electrical store)
Upholstery foam for FRocks = AUD 0.00 (scrounged from local upholsterer and hardware store)

Actual purchases tally:
2 tubes Liquid Nails @ AUD 16.00 each
1 large bucket Plasterers Joint Compound @ AUD 25.00
2 tubes cheap hobby acrylic paint @ AUD 2.00 each
So far so good.

Once getting to this stage things stagnated for a little while. My supply of useable polystyrene dried up when the electrical store I was scrounging it from moved premises. They needed all the polystyrene for packing to move. Since then they've been disposing of the packing more frequently. So when I've gone to get more they've had none available.

So after a while I decided I'd have to spend some money and bought 3 cans of expanding foam. The first can was a cheap brand which didn't work very well. I should have known better than to buy the cheapest available. So the next 2 cans were of a recognized brand and worked much better, expanding well as promised.
To the above tally we therefore add:
1 cheap can of expander foam @ AUD 11.00
2 brand name cans of expander foam @ AUD 17.00 each

Expansion foam used on the left end as fill...

Boulders carved from expander foam between tracks. Expander foam has also been used to fill between middle and bottom layer of track, this area will be later cut back to a gentle slope (probably) and either finished as a small erosion slip of scree and gravel or planted with low shrubs.

And expander foam applied at right end of table to create hill...

Not heater in place to dry FRocks.

As mentioned before the table, and perhaps more importantly my lack of verticality, has made some areas less than easy to work on. This area in the back left corner between the upper and lower straight is just one such area.

I can't reach it from the front of the track. And from the side of the table its sheltered from view by the top later of track. How to resolve the problem?

Of course.... It's all done with mirrors

The mirror is actually very handy for checking areas that have been missed with the FRocking mix. The expander foam boulders have also been coated with the tinted jointing compound to help blend them into the FRocks.

Until now most of the polystyrene has been carved into a rough shape but otherwise left bare. Areas that weren't FRocked were still free to give off their little beads. Therefore any time the track is to be used it needs vaccuuming. It also meant that any car leaving the track would usually be covered in polystyrene 'snow.' I did eventually get sick of that scenario. So the polystyrene in the areas where I was happy with the 'blocking in' of the scenic forms were iscolated with 'poor man's plaster cloth' (disposable dishcloth soaked in plaster).

Add to the spending tally:
1 5kg bag of plaster = AUD 9.00
1 roll of disposable dish cloth = AUD 4.00

Once dried the plaster areas received a float coat of jointing compound to finish the construction phase for these areas.

Thats almost got the build saga up to date. Probably one more chapter of prologue will bring us to current time. Thanks for your time.
Embs
Anorak. Not just a fashion statement. It's a state of mind


TINY TYERS TARGA: The saga continues An old shed for my new cars: An old wooden garage under construction

#12 Ember

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Posted 14 September 2009 - 12:54 PM

QUOTE (Savage @ 14 Sep 2009, 22:29) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Phew, I looked at the first post date and thought "thats some work rate!" until I got to here !
All looking good, but I agree you should matt down the borders smile.gif

Even with heavy duty application of the fan heater each coat of joint compound takes at least 24 hours to dry, longer still where its thick. Even His Lordship's not full of enough hot air to get that lot dry in a few hours. smile.gif

Most of the work's been done on weekends. By the time I get home from work during the week if I get out to the track at all it's usually for a few laps to unwind before going inside to cook dinner. After dinner there's the fun stuff like book keeping and quotes for my limo business, housework or just veging in front of an open fire with telly, a dvd and a few glasses of domestic red with His Lordship. It's amazing how real life can be rude enough to interrupt fun things like a track build. dry.gif

I've been working hard over the last few weeks to get things rolling along on the track build though. School holidays start next week and the quiet household of two adults and a cat will be blessed (?) with a visit from His Lordship's teenage sons (13 and 15) for two weeks. yikes.gif The folding aspect of the track will have to be tested as the bungalow is the only room we have available for excess bodies. We live in a tiny 100 year old 4 room cottage. There's barely room here for the regular tennants without adding a pair of teens.

The borders may finish up being completely replaced yet. When I read the success that some have had with the texture of smooth sanded and painted joint compound/drywall mud. The whole thing I suppose depends on whether or not I decide to paint the plastic track. That's something that's still under consideration.
Anorak. Not just a fashion statement. It's a state of mind


TINY TYERS TARGA: The saga continues An old shed for my new cars: An old wooden garage under construction

#13 masmojo

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Posted 14 September 2009 - 03:18 PM

Ember, I am speechless, well almost! But Blown away; maybe Convey's my feelings a bit, First of all the the layout of the track is inspired, definately different in a way that I think many people will copy and then! The rocks!! Those are come of the best rocks on a layout I have ever seen and the way you've gona about that is inspired!! It's alway good to find a low cost way of doing something! I love using scrap lumber as well!! rolleyes.gif

I could gush all day, but I wiil just say GOOD JOB!!! thumbsup.gif

Blast O Racing By Masmojo

#14 Brad Korando

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Posted 14 September 2009 - 10:15 PM

Excellent work Ember - both on the scenery and the well written description of the work at hand. The color and texture of the rockwork is fantastic. Even more impressive is your material list: you're proving quite well that good scenery work does not require the use of expesive materials. Looking forward to your next update.

Brad

#15 Ember

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 03:49 AM

Gosh. Thanks for the praise guys. Always nice to know the work's appreciated.

Maestro Korando, I figure I'll probably have to start outlaying some money when it comes to top dressing, grass etc. But, the less money I spend on the base build the more money I'll have available to spend on those important things and cars smile.gif

I do have a little evil plan in mind with this track. I'm hoping to convert a couple of the model railway guys in town to something a little faster and more risky. The ones that aren't too scary that is (sorry to any train folks reading... but seriously some of the local guys here a just a bit too intense)

Time for the nest installment of the prologue I think. Let's try to bring the Tiny Tyers Targa up to how it looks today...

So far the back right corner of the table hasn't been touched other than roughing in of landscape. There will be a tunnel/bridge built here, but I'm still trying to decide on the best way to go about that. This back corner is the hardest area to get to, so I can't really work on it much without assistance from His Lordship. Being a little bit limited on verticality, I can't actually climb over the frame that is behind/below to which the table is hinged. This frame will eventually become shelves. Anwyay, for that reason I'll have to get clever with that back corner.

Another area that I haven't quite resolved to my satisfaction on the landscaping plan is the flyover section where the middle straight swings around and bridges over the diagonal straight before swinging back. I've always had a bit of a design problem with this section. There's been a conscious effort made to have the scenery make sense, and it's been fun trying to work out the landforms to explain why the track takes the shape it does.

So we move to the only section that has been completed to my satisfaction at the moment. A little bit of it can be seen in a couple of the other photos. The area is on the mid left of the table separating two distinct levels of track. There's a slight overlap between the two road levels so it took me a little while to work out some scenic explanation for it. Then suddenly inspiration struck. The solution was quite a simple one in reality, inspired by a little detail I noticed in Psrrfh's Well Mountain. He mentioned I-beam gurders somewhere in his build. That was the Eureka moment for me and so I came up with this...


The concrete curb edging on the top deck is made from mounting board (heavy paste board) left over from framing photos and artworks over the years. The outer edge which covers the naked edge of the corflute and the supporting mdf is a 10mm strip. Laminated to this with trusty PVA glue is two 5mm strips of the same card. These narrower strips form an angle that can be glued to the edge with hot glue. Once glued to the track edge the whole lot was coated with the ever trusty joint compound, this time tinted concrete grey (a bit of olive green and a tiny hint of black). The concrete wall below the track was also done with mount board. A single layer for the main wall and sections glued to the top of it to make the profile. This was again coated with concrete coloured compound.

View from the top deck to the lower.

The edge of the cardboard concrete curb has been disguised with some brown gravel, a Heki product that happened to be a perfect colour match for my printed gravel. This is the first purchase to the top dressing, but should go a long way. Applied into a bead of PVA glue. The posts are balsa wood at the moment, but they'll be replaced with something stronger when I find it. The 'cable' is twisted and plied from a large role of fuse wire.

More to come soon.
Anorak. Not just a fashion statement. It's a state of mind


TINY TYERS TARGA: The saga continues An old shed for my new cars: An old wooden garage under construction




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