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  • Micro Engineering Deck Bridge Build

    Hey, all. I needed to build the second ME open deck bridge for my mine area, and I wanted to get it done as practice before tackling the big Central Valley bridge. While I was at it, of course, I took some pictures, in case anyone wanted to see how these go together.

    It's a very simple bridge. A skilled builder could knock it out in a couple of hours, including time for glue drying at the various steps. I've been taking pictures of some local bridges, and I can attest that the bridge is also quite prototypical in appearance and construction. A nice deal for ten bucks.

    This is the 80 foot open deck girder bridge. The instructions cover all of their deck bridges, both HO and N. The build process is very similar for all of them. In particular the only difference between this bridge and the ballasted deck is that the latter has a deck that is glued down for your roadbed to go over, while on this one the bridge track (included!!) is glued directly to the girders.

    The instructions call for a styrene solvent cement, and it would likely work better, but I had acceptable results using CA for all of it.

    Also, I tried to discipline myself to clean up each part, carving and sanding off parting lines, flash, sprues and so on. Always good general practice with a plastic kit.

    The included instructions were thorough and easy to follow. Points to ME!

    Enough. On with the pictures. I built this on a "TV Tray" in a darkened room with a desk lamp - it's that easy! - so the lighting isn't the best on the photos.

    Step 1: deck assembly

    The deck structure is straightforward. There are two deck girders, two lateral brace assemblies, and a set of cross braces. One of the lateral braces and all of the cross braces go on one girder, while the opposite lateral brace goes on the other girder. Be careful cutting the lateral braces off the sprue. It's easy to break one.


    Step 2: deck assembly

    The two girders fit together like a sandwich. Hold them together with rubber bands while you square them up and get all the pieces in the right place. The directions suggest doing this step while the glue is still "soft" from the previous step, allowing a little bit of adjustability to get it all square.


    Once the glue is dry, you can sand off the parting lines on the top and bottom of the bridge by rubbing the whole thing on a sanding block.

    Sidebar: feeder wires.

    Now is the time to attach the feeder wires to the track, if you need them. It's easier, and you're less likely to accidentally melt the bridge deck with the soldering iron. I'll be posting separately on this operation on my blog (where I already have a running series on soldering), and will link back from here.

    Step 3: Glue down the track.

    Umm.... glue the track to the deck.


    Step 4: Add details.

    There are two details to add (well, three...) these girder plates on the bottom, and the guard timbers along the edges of the ties on top. They just glue in place. The instructions also recommend adding guard rails on the inside, but I don't have any Code 40 rail handy, so that will have to wait...


    The "finished" bridge:

    Here is both of the bridges. Note that the supplied bridge track is an inch or two longer than the bridge. On one bridge I cut it to length, on the other I left it long. Still missing is weathering and guard rails.


    So, that's it. A very simple build, and a nice looking finished product. If I can do it, anybody can!
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Micro Engineering Deck Bridge Build started by TwinDad View original post
    Comments 15 Comments
    1. 16marvigj's Avatar
      16marvigj -
      you want the track longer. It leaves room for guardrails.
    1. TwinDad's Avatar
      TwinDad -
      Quote Originally Posted by 16marvigj View Post
      you want the track longer. It leaves room for guardrails.
      Yup. Shouldn't have cut off the first one. Too late now. I'll have to get creative with the guard rails to keep the bridge removable.
    1. TwinDad's Avatar
      TwinDad -
      Also, I should have painted (and possibly weathered) the bridge and track before assembling it. Would have been easier. Now I'll have to be careful...
    1. BryanC (RIP)'s Avatar
      BryanC (RIP) -
      Quote Originally Posted by TwinDad View Post
      Also, I should have painted (and possibly weathered) the bridge and track before assembling it. Would have been easier. Now I'll have to be careful...
      Live 'n learn! I've had a few of those as well! But they look good.
    1. seanm's Avatar
      seanm -
      Looks real good. I have a place where I may be using one of their large viaduct/trestles.
    1. musicman's Avatar
      musicman -
      Very nice work, TD!
    1. ScottL's Avatar
      ScottL -
      Nice work! I have a 40' version sitting in the box and will be putting it together in the near future. Thanks for sharing.

      You mention the Central Valley bridge, are you referring to the truss bridge? I built one this summer. It was a challenge for me, but it looks fantastic. Painting it after I was finished was also difficult, but I am not sure if I would have the confidence to paint first and then glue. Paint covers my glue excess nicely.

    1. TwinDad's Avatar
      TwinDad -
      Scott - yes, it's the truss bridge. I'll probably give it a base coat of flat black to kill the "plastic" look, and then do touch-ups and weathering when it's built.

      It might be a little bit harder that way but I think I'd have a hard time visualizing how to weather it before building.
    1. Jazzbass01's Avatar
      Jazzbass01 -
      You can always hit it with a shot of dullcoat to cover any glue oops or to kill the shine..

      Great looking bridge BTW..
    1. Michael Whiteman's Avatar
      Michael Whiteman -
      Looks good TD, especially the tie spacing. Can't wait to see it in place.
    1. TwinDad's Avatar
      TwinDad -
      Thanks for the compliments, guys. Right Noe I'm working on scratchbuilding some concrete abutments for the bridges. Drives me nuts that my LHS has an entire aisle full of model car and military colors and not one single railroad color in the store, despite fully a third of the store being devoted to MRR.

      I had to settle for camouflage grey with a bit of burnt sienna added. Came out just a bit tan, but not too bad with a slate grey undercoat and a wash of black. I'll have some pictures tomorrow. It's not quite finished.
    1. Newbie51's Avatar
      Newbie51 -
      Hey TD, the bridge looks great just a thought Michaels Art Supply comes up in so many threads I've read from wire for trees to different colors that can be made from their products etc.
      I wonder if there is one in your area that you might look through for supplies I would be very interested in your thoughts. I believe I am going to get a good bit of material from them.
    1. TwinDad's Avatar
      TwinDad -
      We have Michael's, two locations. One of my wife's regular haunts. I tend to forget about their paint department...

      I'll check it out... Thanks!
    1. ScottL's Avatar
      ScottL -
      Back to bridges... This thread got me thinking and I dug out my ME 40' kit to look at. Both this and the CV bridge come with bridge ties and/or track. For the CV, I had already installed the bridge ties in the middle of a piece of flex track for ultimate installation on my new layout. I figured it would be seamless that way.

      The ME bridge track is more like a piece of solid track, and I can't slide out the ties to put them on a longer piece of flextrack. I want to get this right, as I think I will be laying the mainline this next week and these bridges are both on that line.

      What do people do here to install the bridges? Patch in the bridge track with rail joiners? Or am I being type-A by wanting to move the bridge ties to flex track?
    1. webskipper's Avatar
      webskipper -
      Great article TD!

      Did you install the guard rails? Are they practical or just pretty?

      I'm building the ME tall steel viaducts and going to use code 80 flex track and add extra ties.

      What is the spacing or gauge for code 40 guard rails 5mm or 1/4"? I estimated using Z and it didn't seem like enough gap.