ERRHSI Model Railroad Update – April 26, 2018

This week, we worked more on the stockyard, Dave put down some track, and the layout got a movie theater!

First, I missed taking photos of Tim’s new trees last week, so here are a couple of pictures. He makes these by twisting wire together, covering it in mold-making latex, then paints the latex, sprays the tree with glue, and dips it in ground foam. I think they look GREAT!

Tim’s amazing scratch-built trees

Tim’s trees, Eastern Avenue

Another of Tim’s Trees, Eastern Avenue

Last week, I applied some gravel-colored ground cover to try to simulate a gravel lot at the end of the stockyard. Well, I think it turned out pretty well, and looks gravel-colored enough.


This week, I added some foilage around it so that it better represented a lot that had been driven on by trucks, and added some hay bails. The foilage should be lighter-colored once the glue dries. I think it’s about time to put the cows back in the stockyard and see how it looks.

Gravel lot at the stockyards

This week, Dave continued replacing turnouts in the yard. I think he’s almost done.

Dave laying turnouts

Tim also scratch-built a loading dock for one of the businesses in the Eagle Rock area. I think it looks great, and better than I could do for sure!

Tim’s new loading dock

Vet continued laying ballast in the yard, and Tim got a chance to try out his new toy – a static grass applicator. The basic idea is that you paint down white glue, then use an applicator to sprinkle the “grass” flock onto the glue. The applicator uses a static charge to make the “grass” stand up. Here’s a quick video of Tim applying some grass.

And here’s the end result (before the glue dried)

Static Grass

My biggest contribution this week was to add the Rio Theater on Broadway. The Rio was a huge (over 600 seat) movie theater that operated into the early 2000’s. I saw Star Wars – Episode I: The Phantom Menace there on opening night! I think the Rio is a great landmark to help visitors to the layout know what they’re looking at. For reference, here’s what the real Rio looked like in about 1980 (based on the movie on the Marquee)

The Rio Theater on Broadway, downtown Idaho Falls. It’s now the ARTitorium on Broadway.

In order to get something close that would fit in the space available on the layout, I went with this old movie theater building from Tyco.

I removed the sign, marquee, roof, etc and made a new front for the 2nd floor. I tried to replicate the “Rio” sign in photoshop, printed it on paper, and glued it to styrene to make the new front. I then created a new marquee in Photoshop, and again glued that to styrene plastic. After a quick paintjob on the building, and a new roof, here’s how it ended up looking on the layout. Realistically, it’s not tall enough, but I think it works. The movie on the marquee, Cattle Queen of Montana, Is my homage to Back to the Future. It’s the movie that’s on the marquee at the theater in Hill Valley on the morning Marty McFly arrives in 1955.

Rio Theater on Broadway, downtown Idaho Falls
Rio Theater on Broadway, downtown Idaho Falls

Well, that’s about it for this week. Stay tuned for more updates!

The Eagle Rock Railroad Historical Society, Inc meets every Thursday night at 7:30pm in the basement of the Idaho Falls Parks & Rec building. Come pay us a visit!



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