Casting Shale Rip Rap with Lance Mindheim

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Duration: 6:36

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As modeler of the Chicago, Indianapolis and Louisville model railroad Lance Mindheim reminds us, one common geologic feature of southern Indiana is shale, a thin stratified rock. Lance had to figure out how to install rip rap effectively. He uses plaster of paris mixed very thin and watery. After putting the plaster in a mixing bowl, Lance adds just enough water to make it soupy or thin. Next he pours the mixed plaster onto a sheet of aluminum foil and spreads it out to be very thin and even. This is something he does in the evening to let it dry overnight. The next step in how to install rip rap is to break it up into tiny pieces by hand or with a hammer, making sure there is a variety of shapes and sizes. To paint them, Lance uses a thin tan acrylic paint in a small spray bottle, stirring them up as he goes so every side is covered without making the slate too dark. Lance shows a few locations on the layout where he uses this shale.

Allen Keller asks Lance about the interchange with the Illinois Central. Lance believes it adds an element of interest as it was an interchange that always had a lot of traffic. McDoel Yard had a branch from the Illinois Central that swung down near RCA, so there are interchanges there as well. While Lance built the layout all by himself, he got a lot of ideas from others. He likes to work in five- to ten-hour spurts per week. The work he does in custom building keeps the momentum of modeling going when he is not working on his own layout. For more tips and tricks on casting rock structures, visit the Model Railroad Academy archives.