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The Model Cyclone Racer

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Hi Everyone.


I am so happy and thrilled to report that last night I obtained my crowdfund through AIM/Hatchfund minimum goal of $3000. As of this writing I have $3037.25 guaranteed! Soon I will be able to go all out on building a 1/54 scale model of the Cyclone Racer.


This campaign has proven that my work is not in vein. It has also demonstrated my strong will to want to build this thing that I have the drive to do what it takes to get there. 52 people made contributions, none of them came from TPR naturally, but I suppose more people would be interested if I did point-and-click art.


With my success comes a 30 day extension to try and reach my stretch goal $5000. There is no pressure for me to do this and the outcome has no ill effect on the current status of my grant.


After filling out some paper work, I should start getting something soon! Anyone who selected a perk will receive them shortly thereafter.


Watch for updates!


I'm 101% funded with one day left! My campaign gets to be open for another 30 days so I can reach my stretch goal of $5000. Wit that amount of money, I can make the pier and have the Cyclone Racer model light up and maybe even operate so some extent.

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Hi everyone. I already got my Christmas present as far as I'm concerned! I couldn't be more happy that I can continue with building the Model Cyclone Racer in earnest.


The campaign is not over! While I will be the successful recipient of at least $3137, I still have the opportunity to raise enough to meet my maximum of $5000 (63% there) by the end of the year. There are no repercussions if I don't make it and I will still receive all money donated until the end of the month. I love that I don't have to be so aggressive in trying to raise the rest of it.


So! I've updated the sign in the back of my car and now parking in prime high-traffic parking spots.


These past few nights I've been trying to develop an efficient routine for making 20 trellis for the station house. I'll probably make 30 of these and pick the best ones.


I also threw in some photos of my mechanical drawings for building a new and improved working brake release system.


I qualify for my Grant and can keep adding to it until the end of the year.


Strategically parked - got to work early to snap up the most prime exposed parking space. Later this afternoon this area will be jammed with cars and people.


In case you didn't notice, I am starting this project off by first building the classic station house. Pieces that require multiple copies will need a template. Roof trusses and the Victorian lattice work that run down each side are examples. Here is the exit deck of the Cyclone Racer...in early years from the look of it.


To make the lattice work, I figured out the proper spacing between the slats.


Template offers guides to keep the slats aligned properly.


Add on the top and bottom frame, the sides too, although not added yet.


Finished trellis. 19 more to go!


Mechanical drawing of release brakes


Top view


Side view of brake release section (not complete)

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Hi everyone.


I was waiting for one of those inspiring moments that sort of fill in this puzzle I'm putting together...not in so much this roller coaster model per se, but in my head - the reason, the purpose, all kinds of questions have to be answered before I could feel like I had a good excuse to forge forward with this project.


For example, I've been busting my ass trying to make a workable station house. One the trains can actually roll through and a brake system that works. On paper, I have a design that will allow the transfer tables to shift trains.


One mistake I made, is I pre-cut too many carefully measured pieces that, when all connected together, don't fit the way I planned. So I have a new way of approaching that and I'm still working getting the skid brakes to operate - basically don't get too ahead of myself.


Last night I think I figured something out. In the back of my mind I know this model will not actually operate. So I’ve been struggling with trying so hard to make it so that station house works, I mean, if the coaster might not operate, than why work so hard on the station?


Then I realized I could at least make a working SECTION of the model that I can use to help Larry Osterhoudt rebuild the actual coaster. I think it might be fun to have the trains race out of the station to the lift hill (don’t ask me yet if they will climb partially, I don’t know.) The rest will come later.


So the promo piece will be the station, the 180 degree horseshoe turn above and half of each of the two lift hills.

Read the descriptions in the photos below. LOOK FOR THE HIDDEN TRIVIA QUESTION. The first person to answer the question will get a free Cyclone Racer pen!


Having so many precut pieces did not end as well as I hoped.


Plans I drew for the exit stairs between Side A and B


Supports for the exit stairs


The walls for the exit hallway that runs between A and B. I carefully scored a sheet of styrene with an exacto knife. That can cause the styrene to curl a little bit.


Artistic license enables me to add a door…just for an extra realistic bonus…the front


And the back along with wall stiffners to cure the unwanted curve in the wall caused by scoring. The reverse facing wall has stiffeners glued and clamped above.


During adding the steps I took this random shot. I like it!


The finished exit stairs. Best stair I ever made, always hated making them. I hope this will survive the transplant to the NEW train release frame I just built (for the third time since the prototype).


The fourth version - new bents for the train release.


The skid brakes fins being glued on.


Here is an example of what I meant about getting too ahead of myself. I’m test fitting how the brakes lay in between the two rails before I start building up the track on the left. Turns how these brakes ran a little wide affecting my track guage so…I had to make them again. Note the laminated track! Trivia Question: Somewhere on this blog I described Fred Church’s style track construction enables the track to act like a…..what?


Brakes off the track, top


Brakes on the tracks


New mechanisms that will allow the brake skids to rise and drop…unencumbered which is the problem I keep having.


Also, countersinking the pin hinges to eliminate interference.


A drawing of the proposed promotional section.

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FINALLY! A new entry! I believe you said the track acts like a sponge due to the layering and seams in the wood, which unfortunately causes the rails to rot from the inside.


Is the entire project planned to stop with the station/lift/curve section or were you planning to actually complete the entire coaster in the end? I had always assumed you would construct the entire ride.

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FINALLY! A new entry! I believe you said the track acts like a sponge due to the layering and seams in the wood, which unfortunately causes the rails to rot from the inside.


Is the entire project planned to stop with the station/lift/curve section or were you planning to actually complete the entire coaster in the end? I had always assumed you would construct the entire ride.


Still working it out, but bottom line, I hope to make the whole thing. The piece pictured above I want to showcase while I build the rest of it.


I was going to enter the Airplane in the County Fair in June, but I'd have to build a case and cover for it and that would be SOOOOOO cost prohibitive.


Just right now, you gave me the idea to possibly enter this proposed "Cyclone Racer" section in the fair instead. It'd be MUCH cheaper to make a case for a 4' rectangle. Also I had planned for that part to be done by July 1 so if I step it up a little bit.


Oops, and your answer was incorrect.


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Hi fans,

I just love to bounce back and forth between the drafting board and the coffee shop.


I am SO fortunate I have a job that affords me a little time to work on drawings during slow times.


The following series of pictures is dedicated to the now-closed Hillcrest version of the Filter coffee house where I’ve spent many hundreds of hours working on the Airplane model.


It all started in 1994 at the Euphoria Coffee Shop. My best friend at the time, Bryan Linger, and I would spend hours playing Gin Rummy here. When I worked for the Yellow Brick Road video arcade in 1995, I drew plans for a remodel design for my store. I liked the atmosphere here, it fed me creatively.


Unfortunately it was right next door to a popular night club bringing along with it all kinds of problems, including a shooting. Euphoria closed in 1999 or 2000. The historical building it was located in was left basically abandoned for years as it needed hundreds of thousands of dollars of work in order to pass any inspection codes.


The owners of Euphoria moved about 2 miles away to a North Park location and called it “The Other Side”. Bryan and I continued to play cards at this location.


December of 2000, I was here at the Other Side working on a photo album for my parents as a Christmas gift. Again, I got that warm feeling of creativity


I was just starting my model of Traver’s Cyclone at the time. I learned I could work on little pieces at a time outside the home. It would also be the birthing place for many many many friendships I would have over the years.


It was also in December of 2000 that I found the cottage where I currently live! Only a third of a block down from the coffee shop.


About 9 years ago, a new owner took over the store, changed the name to “Filter”.


A couple of years later, he would open up another Filter about a block and a half away from where Euphoria used to be.


I continued to go to the one closest to me and work on various things until I started the Airplane in the fall of 2012. I then darted back and forth to one Filter or the other, whatever mood I was in.


In the Summer of 2013 the Filter near me changed hands and became Young Hickory.


Before it was bought, the interior of Filter was much more accommodating.


The interior for Young Hickory was changed to much more sterile arrangement – tall metal stools, counter tops, picnic tables…boring. But I still go there.


The Hillcrest Filter closed last month because….The building Euphoria was located in was renovated. The space became a failed Sushi bar before recently becoming LeStat’s coffee shop. The new LeStats helped put Filter..out of business. Bye Bye Filter.


The last day of Filter – unceremoniously closing its doors.

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Picking up a little steam. I'm taking a week vacation next week, I plan to get much done.


Train chassis sitting on the brake release side b.


One last look of the bare brake release side b.


Brake skids added. The move slightly up and down when I slide the bar on the right.


The exit stairway left over from the last version slid right in to its new home. Train chassis sitting crooked on side a.


Scaling track guage. 38" inside to inside of sub track.


Under side of brake skids


Added bar on the under side, this will help control the up and down.


Brakes and track pieces about to be assembled.


Adding sub track to side a.


Next up... Fun with wheels!

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I went to our local train store, Frank the Train Man. It's one of those small old dusty places with a little old lady behind the counter who still writes out sales slips. Last time I was in there was in June when I dropped a few hundred donated dollars on landscaping supplies.


This time I asked to look at train wheels. The ones she showed me looked darn close to my track guage. I hesitatingly bought a few and crossed my fingers.


It felt like winning a $100 scratch off when I placed the wheels on my track... And it rolled. It was perfect!


I did not plan on matching my guage to any particular existing model train guage. I expected to change the axel width.


I had also planned to employ the wheels to make a working transfer table. Photo is of the rollers for shifting the t-table and the running track.


Installed the transfer table rolling track.


Transfer track rollers installed...


... And secured.


Squaring the back end of the station is crucial to a functioning table. Plus, both halves have to be exact identical opposites.


All wheels on position. Almost ready to glue on the table.


Bumper wall.


One table


It even sounds like a real t-table!

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Another installment of the Cyclone Racer Drama.


Spent the last week on vacation and got a lot done on my coaster model. The photos explain all but find a way to watch the video at the end of the VERY FIRST TEST RUN!!


I thought it was best to add some weight to the moving transfer tables so they hold to their tracks better. This is the underside


The flip side, you dig.


I thought an excellent way to do long stretches of flat track, like the lift hill, brake run and even the horseshoe turns would be to arrange the bents in a compressed fashion as pictured. What shown has the bents at three feet apart when in reality it would be ten. Then I determine the ledger height for the first and last bent, connect the two with a straight line and then add all the ledgers up to that point!


Made bents for the final brake run at the end of the ride, after side A and B split before sliding into the station house. Note the sticker and heed to it. It's just two out of three of my primary energy resources that keeps me making.


The other thing I love about straight-straight track is I can build it off-structure which makes it easier for both building and painting.


This section shows the brake run, transfer table, and the initial drop point at the start of the ride. It’s about 3 feet long and in two sections. Were I to take this whole part out to go work on somewhere, I’ll bet someone would ask if I was making a battleship.


Another view of the squiggly track.


I suck suck suck at painting. I never used an airbrush because I’m not confident enough. However, my intent was to make a model that looks like an operating coaster that’s about 10 or 20 years old so my painting skills will determine which, LOL.


Referencing a photo of the near-restored San Diego Giant Dipper as a guide to help me figure out the Cyclone. Since both are Church coasters, I doubt there is little difference. The Airplane was just like this also.


The squiggly track I always see on transfer tables


The video of the first test run~


Now before I start hearing from the haters about the color, remember that it was I who designed the pink/teal color scheme for San Diego’s Giant Dipper! Pictured is called Winter Lake. I like the nautical tone of the color – plus it’s left over paint from when I did my trim 8 years ago lol.


And I did make an accidental discovery. If I mix a little gold paint in with the blue/gray, it really looks like a painted floor with years to dirt pressed into it!

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Shocking news to learn last night. The producer of this, and some other funny roller coaster funny films died this week after suffering from a blood disorder. More films of his will follow....He and I were a lot alike in our love for roller coasters, film making, and models. RIP Mr. Kim Pederson and condolences to his wife, Carol, and family.





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Working on installing brake mechanisms. Also playing around with blemishing the surface of the 'wood' with chipped paint and dirt using paint. I've found a natural resin I will soon use for great looking oil and grease stains.


How does it look?



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  • 2 weeks later...

A photo essay of where I am at this point. With the prototypes and do overs, I’m going to estimate my actual start time at January 1 – thinking it would take about 1 month to build this in one straight shot.




Styrofoam base


Cover with the schematic of what’s to be built.


Station loading and departing side B.


Add station loading and departing side A.


The exit stairway and hall just slide right in between A and B.


The basic back end frame for the station installed.


Add the transfer tables.


Train storage track side B and some flooring added.


Flipped the back end frame of the station house to install transfer table under rails – and I thought this was a neat view.


Track and rollers installed for transfer tables.


Bents for the brakes section just outside the back of the station house. Detail photo test of what my weathering skills look like. I’m trying to eliminate some of the extreme white so I smeared with a watered down light gray for inconsistency.


The underside of the brakes section. Note the track laminations, true to Fred Church’s design.


I thought I’d paint the track German Gray first, before painting it the blue/gray. That way I won’t have any white showing through.


Getting ready to join these two sides together.


Main joists that will support the exit deck were installed to unite both the side a and b brakes.


If it looks crooked, it probably is because I didn’t catch it before taking the photo.

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  • 3 weeks later...

The station house is finally beginning to look like something.


Frame for the station house eaves trellis before popping out of the template


Popping the frames out of their template.


Then I added the lattice. Rather than do a big mass production I did each one individually.


I am pleased that the criss-crosses each seem to line up near perfect. Here is a stack of four or five trellis.


Random shot of my neighborhood corner. My inspiration.


Adding the completed trelli to the eaves.


Making slats that will be part of the exit stair handrailing


There it is.


Made a wall as part of some room that is part of the station (up against a photo of the real McCoy.


Save for the center decking and the stairs leading up to the side room, the transfer table area is done.


Starting floor joists for center decking.



Painted and test fitted. I'm actually doing individual planks for the floor as you can see over on the right as I start installing them. Because of my being so meticulous my scale, it will have the exact same amount of planks across.


Unpainted floor sits temporarily in place. I painted the insides of each plank dark gray. The bleed through will give the floor a good texture/contrast when I paint it over.


Art shot.


Over time there were a few structural changes to the station house. I decided to make it in later years when they really had to beef up the structure, hence the extra lumber used to support the end lattice of the roof.


Once I got a pattern going, of took me about 45 minutes to make each trellis. Note that some of them have thicker criss crosses. Those support the roof directly under the horseshoe turn.


The office, storage area, paint room, whatever.


Trellis work being temporarily fitted. Note that hand railing is installed too.


Looking down the exit stairs.

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I’m not pleased. I keep going back and forth over whether to start over on the main frame of the station house. Not starting over from scratch, just….taking apart and realigning. Something went wrong somewhere and I have to try to figure it out.

In the mean time…


When we last left, we were about here on the station house progress…I decided I’m going to do the center portion of the floor (shown in white) I’m going to do individual planks for the loading deck, instead of using a scored sheet of styrene. Doing the individual planks for the back was not that hard, so I’m going to do all the planking that way. The loading deck also fell short of what it should be.


I did finish this portion of the braking area, however. After living with this color on the tracks for a while….


I decided to go with natural wood with (that same) blue trim.




One area that I can keep continuing to work on are the J turns out of the station.

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This week I'll be working on the very front end of the station house which involves the two hook-shaped turns that take the trains to the lift hill. I put on the ledgers yesterday, and now I'm making templates for the track gauge.


Soon I'll be adding track!!


The trains will depart the station and split before joining again at the top of the lift hill.


Side a


Side b


I was able to pull this AWESOME screen grab from "Abbot and Costello go to Hollywood". This is where the trains switch sides. A VERY rare angle and very helpful.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Tim here with the latest breaking news:


It’s been a busy couple of weeks. You’re all probably going to roll your eyes when you find out I’ve had to go back and REDO the entire front half of the station house.


The easiest way I can explain it, what was originally going to be built in two sections should have been built as one unit. When I was trying to splice the two pieces together, it really fuc..d things up. Plus I was going back and looking at some previous photos and was not really happy with what I was seeing. And this is an important model so I want it to be perfect.


Good news is I’m thrilled with how it’s all coming together now.


Someone asked me how I made my track:


I am going to duplicate Fred Church’s track style (for the most part). There are eight layers of 2x lumber in his track. Here is layer one – eight sticks of 2x2 (for each rail). Photo shows four rail’s worth. The evenly spaced marks help keep the laminations consistent.


I clip off a section thusly


And move it over to the other side,


and attach.


That’s just the beginning – For the rest of the way I repeat the process one stick at a time. Clip


Move to the other side


Now we have a nice long stretch of authentically replicated Fred Church sub-track.


Working some handmade crimps from one end to the other gives me a nice curve. I just curve it close enough, and it’s amazingly pliable and easy to get a perfect curve.


Two sub track runs in place


Leap ahead: Added ties, another layer of laminates (crossing in the opposite direction as the bottom) and boards that the original Cyclone Racer had between the rails. I’m waiting for a shipment of more materials before I can stack the other 5 layers.


Bents for both departure runs are now installed


Sides of the station house and the lattice work “roughly” in place.


The curved track beds in place.

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