The In-ko-pah Railroad


When I originally built my tunnels, I applied a stone-like texture to the interiors, but only near the portals. That seemed reasonable, since these were the only parts of the tunnel that were readily visible from the outside. However, once I started shooting onboard video, I found the untreated portions of the tunnel interiors detracted from the view.

Another problem was the long double tunnel in the middle of the layout, which had openings between the parallel tunnels. These openings created an unrealistic effect both on video and when viewed from the outside.

So... in early 2011 I began upgrading some of the tunnels. I made removable panels to fill the openings between the parallel tunnels, and also added more texture to the interiors.

Here’s a shot of the parallel tunnels, showing the two openings between the tunnels. These were necessary for access -- only one tunnel has a removable cover.

To fill the openings, I cut slabs of high-density, rigid urethane foam (aka “Precision Board”). These slabs are approximately the same thickness as the bricks supporting the tunnel roof.

I then applied a thin layer of colored mortar to the urethane slabs, using crinkled aluminum foil coated with non-stick cooking spray. This gives the mortar a rocky texture. After the mortar sets, the foil is peeled off. This is the same technique I use to texture the walls of the tunnel.

This next photo shows one of the urethane slabs after having the texture applied.

Below is a view through one of the parallel tunnels, with the new, removable slabs in place on the left side. I have also added texturing to the walls of the tunnel wherever possible. Unfortunately, on this tunnel the limited access made it almost impossible to texture the complete interior, but at least most of the concrete blocks have been covered.

As time permits, I will be gradually adding more texture to the interiors of my other tunnels.

Updated June10, 2011

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