Tunnel Portals from Scratch

By Ty’s Model Railroad - 5/23/2011 03:46:00 PM

Tunnel portal templates and specifications drawn out on white copy paper

To be a bit thriftier, I decided to build my own tunnel portals of the 2 mountain tunnels. I built them out of styrene plastic and to my own custom size and specification so they fit my track and tunnels perfectly. I started out by measuring the sizes that they needed to be, then made a scale drawing on paper to show how I wanted them to look. I then traced templates which I transferred to a sheet of foam board. I then cut these out and used the foam mock-ups to ensure each portal fit the track correctly. 

Tunnel portal templates and specifications drawn out on white copy paper with expanded foam mockups

Once I verified how the portals looked with the foam mock-ups, I used the same traced templates to cut the main portal shape out of styrene. To give the portals their 3-D shape, I used a scrap piece of square wood doweling to ensure each side was glued at a perfect angle. 

Square wood dowel being used to support the styrene pieces of a tunnel portal while it is being constructed

I used a thicker piece of styrene for the top of each portal, leaving a slight overhang. You can notice one of the large portals is flush on its right hand side. This is because it will be butted up directly against the backdrop. 

The back sides of 4 styrene tunnel portals as they are being constructed

The front faces of 4 styrene tunnel portals as they are being constructed

I then added the final details. These included a decorative arch over the portal entrance which wrapped around the portal itself. Wide footings were also added to the base of each portal and a curved inner arch for the roof of the portal was also added. The last thing will be to paint them, however I’m not sure what colour they will be until I get further into my scenery.

Styrene caps installed to the top of 4 under construction tunnel portals

2 single and 2 double wide styrene tunnel portals with final arch details installed on the front faces

2 single and 2 double wide styrene tunnel portals with final arch details installed on the front faces

2 single and 2 double wide styrene tunnel portals with final arch details installed on the front faces


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1 comments

  1. Thank you very much for taking the time to share your work. It is very inspiring.

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