The In-ko-pah Railroad


My plate girder bridges were all made from 1/8” thick sheets of G10 fiberglass. This is a high strength composite material that has good dimensional stability. You can usually get it from industrial plastics suppliers. I get mine from Ridout Plastics of San Diego.

The braces are made from styrene angles and strips. To simulate rivets, I sanded the point of a nail to round it I then dipped the tip of the nail into some thick acrylic craft paint and applied it to the bridge. This leaves a round blob of paint that dries to a small raised bump.

The bridge was painted with red primer, followed by satin black spray paints. I weathered it with Rust-all and washes of acrylic paints thinned way down with alcohol.

The ties are western red cedar, stained with Min-Wax stains. I used a guide cut from a piece of foam core art board to space them properly on the bridge. The tie plates and spikes are from Micro Engineering.

I made my own molds for the “feet” of the bridge and cast them in plastic resin. However, on some bridges I skipped this detail.

I added a catwalk to the deck of one bridge. The grid for the walk is aluminum window screen. In the future I may try gluing thin strips of styrene or brass around the edges of each piece to prevent sagging and give a more prototypical appearance.

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