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Roller Coaster Models Materials?

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Well, to begin I want to tell you it is a very rewarding project when complete but can take a lot of time, money and supplies to complete. I myself have built three models so far from scratch, no knex, coasterdyamix or anything of the like. The models I have made are of SheiKra, Top Thrill and Tele2 Insane, or 1 B&M and 2 Intamins.


To start the project-

Research research research, plan plan plan. You can never do enough. To build SheiKra I used google earth to get an above view and then used the angle of the lift hill, the height of the hill and some trig to determine lengths of pieces on the screen. For the Intamins I used every single picture I could find as well as help from the TPR community to get designs and more. Just ask, someone has got to help.


Before building-

For the B&M I used a lot of supplies, and based on what you would like to do you will likely too. I went to Hobby Lobby and bought sheets of balsa wood and lots of dowels. The thin sheets of balsa wood would bend pretty well in one direction and you use that to your advantage to create the box style track. For the "how to" of build the track, PM me and I will write exactly how I did it. I used the sheets of balsa wood as well to create the ties which I then glued copper electrical wiring too (found at home depot) So overall, Sheikra took about 80 feet of wiring, 2 sheets of wood and a lot of dowels. Intamins are similar but different. I use 2 more additional rails and then balsa sticks to create the ties. I found Intamins to be easier because the wiring was a million times easier to bend than the sheet wood.


During construction-

I always went piece by piece in place for the B&Ms similar to real coasters which would allow me to build them to be more accurate. Start with supports, then tweak the box of the track as you see fit, then put the ties in and do that all the way for the entire coaster. The FINAL step was to put the actual rail on the track and decorate.


I hope this helps and if you need any help at all please feel free to message me, I too am considering building Led Zep, but this time instead of creating a static (just for looks) model, I will be making a working model. I plan to start that model in the upcoming days!


Pictures of the three models I have made, and soon to be the fourth, can be found at this link!


On that thread, you will find completed pictures of Sheikra (Sorry, I didn't take pictures during construction), semi completed pictures of TTD and then a thorough storyline of the construction of Insane. There are also links to plastic manufacturers, of which I will be using to build my next model.

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Lots of balsa wood, some wood glue, and an infinite amount of patience.


I once used tiny white cylinder plastic beads as footers, glued the balsa "timbers" to them, and they worked out perfectly.


Never did finish the coaster, I got the lift hill complete and part of the second hill. I just didn't have the meticulous patience.

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themeparkman25, your models are amazing. I hope someday I can make one as great as yours but because this is my first and a learning experience it will be quite simple. I just needed a little project for over spring break and I'm only 12 and making this by myself so what can you expect. I do have plans for making the time machine that sits next to the ride and the lake most of the ride is over. Don't know about other theming, maybe just a simple station. Soon I have to get to a hobby store and get the stuff and I'll post construction pics so you can see how I do on my first model. Any little tips and tricks any one has would be great.

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^^^Cool, I am glad you are doing that. I don't know if you have started buying stuff yet or planning anything but I agree with mcjaco, check out styrene as well. I cannot wait to start using the material and it should make for a promising final product. Plan away though!


^Something about the structural integrity of a pretzel makes me not want to use it. One bump and don't goes the model.

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  • 2 weeks later...
^ The time machine/zepplin and the supports. My main problem is I can't find a good board to build it on.

I know this sounds a little harsh, but building a scratch built roller coaster model requires a lot of skill and some modelling experience. If you can't find a board to build it on (easiest part), how do you expect to build the actual model? Man, I wish you all the luck in the world and hope it happens, but seriously.....

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^^^Is that how you are going to build yours though? I have looked at his steel models before and if I remember right he takes a different approach than I do. If I recall, he doesn't have the B&M box at all and utilizes a thick piece of cardboard or some other flat material as the spine and then just glues the rails on the end. I still don't really know what you are doing, but I am willing to help.


^^ haha, lets just call it a creative road block.

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^Just saying Jack, MDF Plywood is both incorrect and redundant. MDF stands for Medium Density Fiberboard


But either way, I would recommend a foam base over MDF, Plywood, or Masonite. Its easier to sculpt, and easier to insert the supports and other scenery items into. Also, modeling styrene would probably be a good material to use. It comes in strips, sheets, dowels, tubes, U/C channels, box channels, and many other forms in thicknesses from 1/100th of an inch to 1/4 inch.


Two major vendors would be Plastruct and Evergreen Scale Models inc.


Jake "Is a model railroader!" S.

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