Monday, May 23, 2011

Tunnel Portals from Scratch

To be a bit thriftier, I decided to build my own tunnel portals of the 2 mountain tunnels. I built them out of styrene plastic and to my own custom size and specification so they fit my track and tunnels perfectly. I started out by measuring the sizes that they needed to be, then made a scale drawing on paper to show how I wanted them to look. I then traced templates which I transferred to foam board, and cut mock-ups of each tunnel portal. I used these foam mock-ups to ensure each portal fit the track correctly.

Tunnel portal templatesFoam tunnel portal mock-ups

Once I verified how the portals looked with the foam mock-ups, I used the same traced templates to cut the main portal shape out of styrene. To give the portals their 3-D shape, I used a scrap piece of square wood doweling to ensure each side was glued at a perfect angle.

Wood bracing for portal constructionWood bracing for portal construction


Styrene tunnel portals under constructionFace of half completed tunnel portals

I then used a thicker piece of styrene for the top of each portal, which each had a slight overhang. You can notice one of the large portals is flush on its right hand side. This is because it will but directly up to the backdrop.

Tunnel portals with topsCompleted single and dual tunnel portals

I then added the final details, which included an extending arch over the portal entrance, which wrapped around the portal itself. Wide footings were added to the base of each portal, and a curved inner arch for the roof was also put in. The last thing will be to paint them, however I’m not sure what colour they will be until I get further into my scenery.

Completed single and dual tunnel portalsCompleted single and dual tunnel portals

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