Intro: GeoTrax Radio Tower Model
GeoTrax is a model train system from Fisher-Price is a remote controlled train, plane and truck system that is extremely rugged and fun for a wide range of ages from the very young to the surprisingly old. The problem is that unlike "scale" model systems there are not a lot of models you can add to layouts to make them interesting. In fact the only ones I know of are those provided by Fisher-Price.
This model of a Radio Tower is the first in a set of models for use with your GeoTrax layout.
Step 1: Print and Cut Out the Sides of the Tower
Since the tower is nearly as tall as a sheet of US Letter paper, The attached PDF has two sides of the tower on one page and two more sides, with call letters, on a second sheet.
First print the page with two blank towers twice.
If you would like call letters (WGEO for east of the Mississippi and KGEO for west of the Mississippi), then print out the second page of towers.
Cut each tower out to the black outlines. Make sure the shapes are as identical as possible otherwise the sides will not match well and will not stand straight.
Step 2: ASSEMBLY METHOD 1: Assemble on Card Board
IF you are making this tower out of cardboard, then glue each side of the tower on a piece of cardboard (like poster board) with sides touching in a fan as shown in the picture. You will also place a tab on one side so that finally assembling is easier.
Score each of the fold lines (where the tower sides join) and use the tab you added to close the tower. If the tower is crooked, trim the base to level it.
Step 3: ASSEMBLY METHOD 2: Assemble on Foam Core Board
IF you want to make a sturdier tower (after all little kids will be playing with this), then cut each tower side out and glue them separately to foam core. In case you don't know what foam core is, it is the essentially two pieces of paper laminated on either side of a sheet of 1/8" think foam.
Cut each out along the outlines. BE VERY CAREFUL to make each side as close to the rest as possible with the bases being flat. Otherwise your tower will be very crooked (I speak from experience). Remember, the trick to cutting foam core is to cut three times. The first cut is ONLY to get through the top layer of paper. The second cut goes through the foam and the third cut is for the bottom layer of paper. If you try to cut through all three layers, or use a dull knife you will not end up with a clean cut. Also because the foam can "grab" the knife, I recommend you use a straight edge and not "freehand" the cuts or your cuts will be very "wavy".
You have two choices now. The first is to have two sides "inside" the other two sides (like I did and is show in the picture). This means your tower is not square, but is easier to assemble and doesn't look too bad. If you do this route, I suggest you color the exposed edged of the foam core board black with a marker (like a Sharpie)since the white core is very distracting.
Your other choice is to glue each side to the next in order so that you have an exposed foam core edge on each side. The advantage is that the tower ill be square, but may be harder to assemble. Just as with the previous choice, I suggest you color the exposed edge black so that it is not distracting.
Step 4: All Done and Some Suggestions
Some suggestions for enhancing your model are:
1) Cut out call letters of your choice and attached them to the outside of the mode giving it more of a 3D effect.
2) Add blinking LED lights. Many radio towers feature blinking lights and red LEDS would perfectly fit this bill. You could poke them through the sides or have them just on top. There is plenty of space in the tower to hold the batteries to power the LEDs.
3) Fill the tower with foam. To make you tower even more durable, fill it with some spray expanding foam (sold at places like Home Depot for filling cracks and holes). You will need to watch that the foam does not deform your tower as it expands.
4) Scale the model. As mentioned in the opening, GeoTrax' are not scale models. This means one building is built on one scale and another building is built on another scale. So, feel free to print this model out smaller or larger as you see fit.