Sunday, March 9, 2014

Japanese style retaining walls

During the times I have been in Japan I have noticed two common types of retaining walls along side the railroad tracks.  On the Hot Springs Junction Ntrak module, the Ntrak lines will be passing through the module through a cut in the hills and I wanted to model both types of retaining walls on this part of the module.

I have never gotten any good first hand photos of these walls but searching on the internet I did find a couple that illustrate both types.

On the right had side of this photo is an example of a retaining wall that appears to be made up of square tiles stacked in a diagonal orientation.  There is often vegetation growing between the tiles or over over the top partially covering the wall.

To make walls like this, I cut 1/8 inch square tile Evergreen polystyrene sheet material at a diagonal.  These sheets normally snap easily along the tile seams so after scribing with an X-acto blade, I snaps these along the scribe line while aligning the it on the edge of a block of wood.

Some of these walls can be quite high.  In this photo, I am making a wall 30 feet tall.  To get a good 45 degree angle I first use a sharp pencil to mark the path of the cut on the existing tile seams as shown in this photo.  For long sections, these cut tile sheets are spliced together by laminating them with plain .020 sheets.

This photo shows an example of the second type of retaining wall I have often seen in Japan.  This type appears to be square concrete columns arranged in a vertical / horizontal pattern.  There is normally bare earth or vegetation between the columns.  Sometimes these walls are really bent like the one in this photo and sometimes they are straight.

The method I came up with to model this type of wall was to use .020 polystyrene sheet as a base cut to the desired shape.  Then I use .080 square polystyrene rod to make the actual columns.  The horizontals are solid pieces and the verticals are cut into lengths 5 scale feet long.  They are placed every with 5 scale feet in between using a wood spacer as a guide.  This gives the square pattern.  As this type of wall is a bit tedious to make, most of my retaining walls with be the first type.

The plan is to build these in large sections that will fit into a particular spot on the module and then paint with with the airbrush before actually installing them.

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