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ZM-6 Simple Hipped End Bridge

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Joined: 18 Oct 2004
Posts: 670
Location: Minneapolis, MN, USA

PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 4:32 pm    Post subject: ZM-6 Simple Hipped End Bridge Reply with quote


Kato makes a wonderful single track truss bridge. (Kato’s stock number 20434) It follows standard American prototype design. There’s absolutely no reason not to have one on your layout if it fulfills a requirement for your right-of-way.

The July-August 2005 “N Scale Railroading” had an article titled “Modifying a Kato Unitrack Single Truss Bridge.” It’s a great article. This kind of kitbashing article is all too rare in today’s magazines. So in the spirit of actually following through and doing something from an article, we built the bridge as instructed by author Russell Straw.

It’s an easy kitbash. The article is well written and makes into a unique looking bridge. For more details on the actual process used here, refer to that article. Hats off to Russell Straw!

This bridge project fulfills the Zen Master’s rule #3 “Nothing on a layout should be recognized as a commercial kit (or product),” it can be modified into a different style of bridge.

You can, of course, make the bridge longer by splicing part of another Kato bridge onto one end. If you do this refer carefully to prototype plans and photos so you stay within normal length-to-load restrictions.

I didn’t need to lengthen my bridge, but I did want to give it a different appearance. Many prototype bridges had hipped sections at each end. I really liked the look, and decided that that modification would fulfill the Zen Master’s rule. I used a razor saw to remove the two end sections. I then shortened several guides in the ends to appropriate lengths for the modification. I added .Evergreen Styrene “H” column stock on the ends (Evergreen stock number 283: .100” H-Columns) as well as new styrene gusset plates. For these I used Evergreen styrene .020” sheet (stock number 9103). Everything that you see in the photos that is white is one of the Evergreen styrene additions.

I also added additional cross bracing through the middle, copying prototype practices. Quite often model railroad manufacturers will leave off detail if it complicates production. If they do, we should add it back on! The more detail you can add, the more interest the model has. The horizontal bars are made of 1.1” lengths of Evergreen styrene .070” x .070” strips (Evergreen stock number 153), and the diagonal braces are approx. 1.17” lengths of .030” x .030” (Evergreen stock number 131). The top of each horizontal bar is .5” (1/2”) below the bottom of the top girder. Make sure to glue those horizontal bars in perpendicular to the uprights!

Some roads painted their bridges black, the color of this Kato plastic truss bridge right out of the box. [Kato also makes this bridge in other plastic shades: red; green; gray and silver.] One mistake many beginners would make with Kato’s bridge would be to pull it out of the box and immediately mount it on the layout. More advanced modelers will immediately note that it looks like a plastic bridge – after all, “it is what it is.” A paint job will prevent that “Plasticville” look! I decided to use the other most common paint – aluminum. Using an airbrush, two thin coats of aluminum acrylic paint were applied to the entire model. I then applied a thin ‘rust’ wash, which I permitted to drool down and puddle at the bottom of uprights, just as it would on the prototype. Here are the results (complete with a speeder to give an idea of scale):

Kato did a great job in designing the bridge. With a little cutting, gluing and painting, you can make it a stunning addition to your layout.

As always, thanks for looking. Please share your feedback with us. Did you like this article? Why? Why not? Was there enough detail? Did this inspire you to actually do this project? Did it inspire you to do a different project? We are trying to stress that model railroading is actually a modeling hobby, and that literally anything is possible in N-Scale. Model railroading is also a social hobby. We are sharing some of our projects with you here. Do you have any that you can share? Anyone who is registered for our forum can post, and that includes posting picutres of their own projects. If you aren't registered, then register**. Please share your pictures of your work, ask questions, answer questions...get involved.

Thank you for your support,

** To avoid being bombarded with SPAM, all accounts are screened with human eyes. Please be sure to include something about model railraoding, military models, military history, etc. in the "interests" section of your profile when you register. Because of this there will be a lag time between when you register, and when you can initially post- the lag will be longer on weekends. Once your account has been activated, you can post immediately, whenever you like.
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Joined: 16 Jun 2009
Posts: 9
Location: San Diego CA

PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2009 10:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another great article. Maybe consider some Archer surface decals to improve upon the new beams, by adding the rivet detail.
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Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 4
Location: Portland, OR

PostPosted: Fri Aug 06, 2010 10:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love the how to articles here on this forum. The photos tell the story. Great idea on adding additional detail to already existing kits. I will have to go back for a second look on kits I might have not otherwise have used. The weathering adds so much to this bridge. Thanks again.

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