John Allen Viaduct Liner

Discussion in 'Photos & Videos' started by XavierJ123, Apr 14, 2005.

  1. XavierJ123

    XavierJ123 Member

    I want to build some John Allen viaducts and can't figure out how he made the liner underneath the viaduct. Some are stone and some are brick. They look very real in the pictures. I have mastered the art of carving tunnel portals and viaducts in plaster of paris but---for the life of me---cannot imagine how to go about carving the liner underneath. Maybe it's too early in the morning. I don't know. I guess a fellow could pour the needed curved liner using plaster of paris like the portals and viaducts and then turn them upside down and carve the bricks and stone. Anyway, I thought there might be some other ideas floating around out there somewhere----hopefully. Did I read somewhere that he used linoleum?
  2. yellowlynn

    yellowlynn Member


    I hope someone answers this. I am in the process of doing exactly the same thing. I have just finished pouring the sides, and readu to start cutting the arches. Since I have my own mold for the stones, is there an easier way than trying to get the exact arc on the mold from the bottom.

    We're waiting

    Lynn :confused:
  3. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    I don't know if this will help, but I was at a train shop yesterday and did notice they had molds for tunnel liners. I didn't pay too much attention to them, but they were grouped with the Woodland Scenic stuff, so you might check that out.
  4. cobra

    cobra Member

    I don't know the answer but if you join Yahoo Groups - John Allen , I'll bet someone knows there . I could search for some info on the viaducts and report back to you , but it may be easier to join and search yourself .

  5. CBCNSfan

    CBCNSfan Member

    Yes the liners are from Woodland Scenics, and I have used them. However the surface has a sort of a stippled effect like it was chipped out of rock. They work quite well but I have no idea of how you would get a brick and mortar effect without carving one. Using a liner mold to make the liner then when it was cured, add a layer of P of P to the surface, then carve the brick and mortar lines. just a suggestion, all I can think of.
    Cheers Willis
    hmmm! I need a spell checker :oops:
  6. XavierJ123

    XavierJ123 Member

    Hey, check out "Ya'll Come Along" thread just above this one. First pics are of a gorgeous viaduct. And there's that elusive liner/arch underneath. Somebody write that guy.
  7. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    What about styrene brick sheet fitted to the inside?

  8. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    John Allen often built his in place, using coffee and soda cans as formers. Look close enough and you'll see that only the ones up front or easily seen have stone detail underneath. :thumb:
  9. XavierJ123

    XavierJ123 Member

    Hmmm, coffee and soft drink cans; that's interesting. Styrene brick or stone sheets seem pausible. I am about ready to just make the whole viaduct, barrel and all. Bob, where did you find that interesting tidbit of information about John Allen. I am reading Lynn Wescott's book, "Model Railroading with John Allen. I love Mr. Allen's sense of humor.
  10. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    I have about 500+ Model Railroader and 50+ RMC magazines from the 60s thru the early 80s including the MR issue announcing his passing. In the early 80s RMC did an eight part article on him and his building, operating and modeling practices that is just first rate, I wonder if they ever bound it together into one volume. My "Impact and Momentum Detection Car" was inspired by his, made all the more special when I recently picked up a copy of the original MR it was outlined in.
  11. XavierJ123

    XavierJ123 Member

    Thanks Bob. I guess you know what I will be looking for in the future when I am out and about. I too have the April, 1973 issue of Model Railroader with John Allen on the cover. I think I would be intimidated if I ever was invited to view his layout. Good thing I can stay in my own little world of "whatever."
  12. yellowlynn

    yellowlynn Member


    I think I may have come up with a solution. After cutting the arch out, I glued card around the arch, maybe 1/8" inside. It's for 2 tracks so it is about 4" wide. I cast another stone wall, but before it set up I curved it into the arch, stone side out. I think it would have worked good but it got a bit kattywhompus and wouldn't straighten out. I dug it off fast before it set, but I have to let the card dry before I try it again. From what I saw, I think it will work. 'Course I gotta get it in straight. I'm not really awkward, just clumsy. I'll let you know if it works.

  13. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    Do :thumb:

    Yeah, Xavier, I would've loved the opportunity myself. From what I gather from his interviews, I think he would've appreciated anyone's work, no matter how amateur it was, so long as it was an honest effort. I also believe he would have appreciated the innovations we enjoy now i.e; DCC, sound, LEDs and micro motors. Wonder what he'd o' thought of my Partridge Family Railbus or Saturn V Railcar ;) ?
  14. XavierJ123

    XavierJ123 Member

    Keep praying. Maybe someone will come up with an easy solution. I think perhaps the easiest ( so far) would be to determine the size you need and just cast the whole thing and carve it before it hardens. I have had success carving the stones and bricks and it would seem there is plenty of time to carve the barrel (bottom) and even the back if need be. Of course, on John Allen's pictures we only see the front so I don't know if the man did front and back. I know he was "primarily" interested in the photographic aspect.
  15. yellowlynn

    yellowlynn Member


    I have seen a lot of rock carvings on walls and such, and it looks fantastic. Considering the fact that artistically I have trouble drawing water out of a faucet, I make do with what I have. I got the viaduct all cast an put together. Now all I have to do is carve on the side parts of the bottom and try to make the side joints invisible, (hah) then cut it down to the right height. If and when I get it in place I'll picture it then. This is as far as I've got .


    Attached Files:

  16. LIRR

    LIRR Member

    Imagine what Mr Allen could do with all the products available now.

    Just think, a sound equiped steamer grinding away up to great divide.
  17. XavierJ123

    XavierJ123 Member

    Thanks for the progress report. I poured and carved another stone viaduct a couple days ago. This one was a little more elaborate than the previous. I started to build a mold for one "solid" viaduct by gluing two pieces of foam together. I made the mistake of using contact cement and it immediately melted the foam. Ha,ha,ha---that's not funny. I felted like an idiot. So I pitched it and glued a new one with Liquid Nails. But the more I think about it, "solid" is not the way to go. I think I will just make a mold for underneath and then carved the plaster. This is driving me nuts.
  18. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    Xavier, I think if you're going to carve the inside of the tunnel, you should do a solid casting. Fitting pieces of plaster together just sounds like more trouble than it's worth.

    Here's a method you could try. Build a mold out of styrene following my handy-dandy diagram below. Alternatively, you could build the whole thing out of styrene sheets that already have the rock texture.

    Maybe I'm just stating the obvious here, but this is how I would do it.


    Attached Files:

  19. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    Mantra---"It's only a hobby, it's only a hobby... ;)"

    I have an MR mag from the late 70s where they built a two track one over three feet long and one foot place...using over 40 pounds of plaster :thumb: Git 'er done! :D
  20. XavierJ123

    XavierJ123 Member

    [​IMG] Git 'er done! [​IMG] Hare's yer sign! I'm sure the Blue Collar Comedy guys could have a ball watching me try to figure this one out. On the drive to work this morning, I was thinking it really wouldn't be that hard to pour a solid viaduct and turn it upside down to carve the stone facing. I am tempted to start a thread asking if anyone knows how John Allen did it. All his viaducts are a little different. It's hard to find two that are the same so I don't think he used a mold. He put so much interest into one scene; no space was wasted.
    Thanks Val for the mold design; that's about what I had in mind except I was going to use wood lined with wax paper for side support and styrofoam for the arch support. I don't know if the styrene would hold up against the weight of the heavy plaster-of-paris. I'm afraid it might deform. Also I am not adept to working with styrene or even what glue to use to ensure a solid bond. I will check the LHS to see if they stock styrene stone molds of some description. At any rate, I really want to carve my old stone pattern. That way I will never have two alike--like John Allen.

Share This Page