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The Model Cyclone Racer

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April fool's! All is well and good, the pictures above are the old version


Noted is the lack of concern from anybody as the were no expressions of condolences. What's up with that, am I wasting time with this?




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Built into my bents are false horizontal anchors or bottoms. The are for the express purpose of making sure all posts are level.


Problem I had with the Airplane, especially in the spirals, the structure started to push outward and bents started leaning without my catching it.


Note that one bent on the way lower left and how the anchor appears to be tipped off the base.... That crooked anchor is a more immediate way I can tell if a bent is not straight. Also built in it's a way to correct the problem and as of now has been fixed.


Those of you might ask, "Why don't you just glue the bottom to the base?" I like that I can remove sections off the base for better access to detail.


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  • 2 weeks later...

Soon I will be done with the front of the Cyclone Racer station house and will continue final work on the back end. Then I will plug the two together.


I think I might be able to start working on twin lift hill bents tomorrow!


The development of the Cyclone Racer station sign.


After searching unsuccessfully for a font that was identical to the Cyclone Racer’s I simply just opened a photo in Microsoft paint and painted over. I found the best head-on shot of the front sign. The shot was easyyyy to find. First outline


Then color in.


I changed the lower line to blue. Coloring this all in really took a toll on my index finger.


I wasn’t going to, but decided to, make the deck with individual strips of plastic. I was going to score lines into a sheet of plastic but I think this way would look more realistic.


The underside of the deck.


Entrance deck is primed and ready to paint. Also is the sign, and the battens for the eaves can be seen.


What will be the exit.


Coming soon.

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It seems there are a couple of photos that hint there were a set of steps on each side of the station house, probably to the base of the lift hills. Winging it, I designed sets of steps based on the Giant Dipper's old maintenance steps.


They look like ladies heels!



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  • 2 weeks later...

A couple of photos suggest that the motor house for the Cyclone Racer lift hills (at least the north one anyway) was located under the lift structure.

The overhead plan suggests that would be the best place for them to be. So…


This design is based on the San Diego Giant Dipper’s motor house since that is a Church coaster as well. The only thing I know for sure about the Cyclone’s motor house was it had a slanted roof and had at least two windows. Both also traits of the Giant Dipper, so while it might not be EXACTLY like the Racer’s, it’s a good educated guess.


Photo of my new…actually it’s my old apartment, redecorated. I moved the work station over to the front windows, it really feels like a studio!


The construction of the roof will not be so hard after all. The purlins are coming out much straighter than I had anticipated…not that I wouldn’t have redone them if I wasn’t satisfied.


Right now on the drafting board is trying to figure out where this all ties in in the scheme of things. Movie frame from “Beast from 20000 Fathoms”


You can see a roof under the lift hill way in the back of the photo.

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Goal is to have the station house done in one month in time for an upcoming local street fair.


Maintenance steps for side A under construction.


Still have to add the stilts but so far I'll grade myself an A if I may be so bold.


Drilling about 440 holes for the light sockets up under the canopy as pictured below


A little overboard on the lights I think.

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Last night I placed all 5 major components of phase 1 together for the first time. That would be the two sections of station house, the brake run, (which I hope to seal the three together by this long weekend's end) and the first 50' feet of each lift hill. Next week I hope to have some photo worthy shots of this work in progress.


I've been studying this section for MONTHS, trying to piece it all together. It's really like a puzzle looking at a photo like this and trying to make 3-D sense out of it. This is a frame still from an episode of "Leave it to Beaver" (Beaver's Fear)


Another freeze frame from "Beast From 20000 Fathoms". All...those...light bulbs...it must have been blinding to be waiting for your train.


Gluing on close to 530 of the clear plastic hollow beads to proxy for tiny light bulbs on plastic I drilled little holes into. These go up in the rafters inside the station house. If I already had experience in working with fiber optics, I could thread in 530 strings, but I don't want to do risk wrecking what I've done so far.

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I can stare at a photo for months but it isn’t until I start to put it together does everything make sense and things start to appear that I didn’t notice before. In any event, here is my version of the Cyclone Racer’s rear operator’s booth, side B.


Operator's Booth


Operator's Booth


Freeze frame from Leave it to Beaver.


Movie clip from Beast From 20000 FathomsS

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I suppose the reason I skip around working on different parts of the model instead of working on and finishing one part is because I might have ADD or I do it to prevent boredom. The result though, is a pot pourri of photos. So with that being said…


As I mentioned prior, I was going to link all the sections that I have built thus far on one single base. This was the result.


I started trimming tall posts that I don’t need. I left them all tall until I figured out which ones are needed to help support the upper structure. Not nearly as much as I expected survived.


This is a template for the supports for the roof trusses. I used vapor rub to keep the glue from sticking to the template. I could have used Vaseline but I didn’t have any.


I need to make 22 of these…and then put lights on.


Where they would fit.


Speaking of the hundreds of light bulbs under the roof, I discovered certain lighting effects can make the clear beads glow like lights.


The exit.


At some point later in the Cyclone Racer’s life, the storage track for the trains was walled in. For a while I was hemming and hawing over whether to recreate the wall because it so dominated the interior so I thought of making the wall about 1/3 it’s actual length.


Looking down the lift hill


The back of the station house. I have yet to add the operator’s booths and other facilities that hide back here.


Artsy shot of the lead to the lift hill.

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Thanks everyone. To answer a question about LED lighting in the station, I would rather be more experienced with that type of work. So many times I've been adventurous about similar things only to have them ruin my project (non coaster related). I'd rather wait until I'm experienced before dabbling in that although having someone else do it for me is not out of the question.


Fred Church's patented roller coaster track, like the Giant Dipper and Cyclone Racer, was mostly comprised of laminated 2x2s, especially around corners because it's hard to bend a 2x8 laterally. Pictured is an actual 2x2 next to its scaled counterpart.


Pictured is an actual 2x2 next to its scaled counterpart.


Fred Church's patented roller coaster track, like the Giant Dipper and Cyclone Racer, was mostly comprised of laminated 2x2s, especially around corners because it's hard to bend a 2x8 laterally.


Another feature of a lot of Fred Church coasters, was a craftsman style passenger entrance/exit divider that doubled as a shelf to keep valuables. The tapered corners were made of thin tongue and groove wood wedges. Over zealous workmen destroyed the one that used to be on the Giant Dipper.


The Cyclone Racer had a pair of them flanking the exit stairs, but retrieving goods was much simpler given the open ports.


Oh, and my miniature recreation of them.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I’m just about finished with the station house. It’s just the fine railings alongside the entrance ramp, and some touch ups here and there. The roof is built and while it fits on top of the station, for the time being it’s still going to be removable until I add the horseshoe curve over top of it.


As of today I am back to making bents that will add more height to the lift hills.


Last time we saw photos of the dividers that separate the loading and unloading halves of the station. Here they are against a photo of the real shot. This was taken right after my last post and since this picture some improvements were made.



Evergreen Plastics not only make sticks and tubes, but sheet plastic as well. I got some clapboard siding from which I made this wall and window.


The room configuration of side A. I’m not sure what they actually were, I just recreate what I see in the photos of the original.


The incline on the left is the lift hill with the engine and reduction wheel room underneath.


Side A back room configuration, based on what I can barely see in photos.


Probably a little premature to post a photo like this, but I’m afraid I won’t be able to recreate this shot when the station front is actually finished, so here’s a sneak peek during construction. The wayward horizontal beams are helping me keep the part square so the roof will simply slide right on in.


I used what I call the Beaver shot as it was a still from “Leave it to Beaver” that really aided me in figuring out this area.


Station with roof. First trial, I think I’m going to add a second layer of sheet plastic for added sturdiness.


Real Cyclone – of course you can tell the difference, I’m not done yet.


Beaver shot (you can see Wally trying to fade in)

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Time goes so fast. Hope everyone had a nice 4th.


I spent almost the entire day working on this. The perfect way to enjoy a holiday.


When I began to make the more permanent pieces for this model, it was around the beginning of the year. It’s already July!

Stage 1 is VERY near completion and the following are up to date photos of the progress. I’m hoping the hardest part is over as it did take a while to stitch the whole station house together just using photos.


When it is done I’ll dive right in and start building bents and erecting the horseshoe curve that runs over the station house. As for the rest of the structure, outside of some complicated cross-overs, I don’t see why it shouldn’t go relatively quickly. This is far more simplistic than all those spirals on the Airplane!


The next batch of photos, I hope to have added all the miscellaneous station house fixtures. After that the roof will go and the rest of the details around the existing lift hills.


Ready to stitch together some bents.


Test photo of where they’ll go.


The Side B operators booth, outside


Side A is finished with the maintenance steps and railings. What that little white box thing is between the tracks is up for debate. In this shot of the real one, it looks like a wringer for maybe drying out shop rags. In the box could be kept a tub of rags. Another theory is it is a place to keep sand as the crew often had to throw sand on the skids.


This section is 4’ long, 2’ wide. Next phase will be adding all the superstructure in this area.


Who doesn’t love a good twinsy?


Duel lift hills


POV from lift hill to the brakes into the station. Adding catwalks up the lifts are my next step. You can also see the track layering on the right.


Just an areal view.


The real...whatever it is. Any ideas?

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  • 2 weeks later...

One hour to go until things wrap up here tonight at San Diego Pride fest where I had a booth promoting roller coaster history preservation. Here are some recent photos, enjoy. Oh I have a go Fund Me account. Go Fund Me search Model Cyclone Racer


Next step:. Add the horseshoe curve across the top.


Finally added light bulbs on the trim over the moniker.




Bents for the 180 degree horseshoe curve over that sits on the station.




Happy stack o' bents.


Cutting banked ledgers.


Airplane is on display at festival. Cyclone Racer in the background.


Looking down to the brakes from the lift.


Artsy shot

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello MCR fans!


I may have mentioned that I hadn’t planned on permanently affixing the roof to the station house, until I’m ready to place the structure of the horse shoe turn over top.


It’s a good thing. I had a really good conversation this weekend with Larry Osterhoudt, the man trying to have the actual Cyclone Racer rebuilt. He pointed me in the direction of a couple more MOVIES that have a shot of the racer in them, one has really good interior shots of the station that shows all the signs. So here is this of movies:


Strike Me Pink (1936)

Laurel and Hardy – The Dance Masters (1943)

Abbot and Costello in Hollywood (1945)

Beast From 20000 Fathoms (1953)

Gorilla at Large (1954)

Jeanne Eagles (1957)

It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963)

The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed Up Zombies (1964)


I also may have mentioned about theming the model. As the Airplane is supposed to be a replica of a famous coaster in an abandoned state, “The Famous Coaster From Hollywood” may be the Racer’s theme with different parts showing scene reenactments.


This past week I began to raise the bents for the horseshoe curve. I’m going to be doing 1/3 at a time and when all three sections are done, I’ll add them over the station house.


My Binder O’ Bents enables me to safely transport a section of bents around so I can detail each one before erecting wherever I am. They flip just like pages.


This is a new thing. This is my anchor. It’s a map of the layout of this section laid over Styrofoam. The anchor is secured to the base and I will clip the bents on. Note the banked ledgers below…those are actually the mold for building the sub track which gets moved to across the top of the bents. It’s just easier this way, than to build it on the structure. I’m so clumsy.


Another new thing…I put these marked ‘spacers’ on to make everything perfectly upright before I start putting on any ribbon boards.


Friend took this shot.


First third of the turn is near done.




Next third is on its way!

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  • 2 weeks later...

The last few weeks I've been concentrating on the North u-turn, the one over the Station House. I'm encouraged that from building bents to this point only took 1 month and the turns are the hardest. The straight long runs will be much simpler. Right now this turn is in three sections, I'll join them together when it's time to fix them atop the station.


More Bents aligned and ready to rise.


Looks like the track was ripped up.


I didn't realize the drop coming off the lower portion of the U-Turn was so shallow.


Erect but not "strung" together yet. The initial raising of a row of bents is always so dramatic...but filling in all the horizontals and diagonals can be really tedious.


A social media marketer walked by and was super thrilled about this. She took a photo...


Not bad. Still have to add some ledgers and other boards...oh and the track is in progress and will be added soon.

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