|Here's the general concept.|
|Here is the the crossing scene with the far mountain ridgeline installed.|
|Here the backdrop silhouette work is completed and the rock sides of the lake glued in place. The near shore will be a marshy area at the bottom of a steep slope down from the rounded homasote cutout above. I can now remove the .040 styrene sheet, paint my lake on it, detail the shoreline and lake bottom, seal the enclosure with gloss medium, and pour the Magic Water. Then I'll replace the finished lake in a single piece, glue it down, and tie in the marshy part of the near shore line to the adjoining terrain using trees, rocks, foliage, and ground cover etc.|
|Here is the completed scene. As it turns out, the shadow of the bridge on the lake helps to add depth, and so does the juxtaposition of the two fishermen and the small sailboat. If I had it to do over again, I would make the large triangular rock a bit smaller than the one the fishermen are standing on.|
|Here is the mountain with the rock, walls, and track masked off and the texture applied. In this photo the plaster is still wet. It will dry a much lighter color. In this case I got the red earth mix a little on the purple side, but it doesn't matter. I'll go back over it with thinned latex paint color wash using my basic red-earth color to adjust the color once it dries and sets up hard. Once set, you can quickly but lightly over-wash this stuff with thinned paint to correct color and then with thinned glue (either white or matte medium) to attach ground cover. But you must be very careful - just lightly dab the fluids on - don't use forceful brush strokes or you will smooth out the grainy texture, and don't spray because you'll want to leave a few spots uncovered so some earth shows through here and there. It's a great effect..|
|Here is the finished earth texturing, ready for ground cover.|
|And here is the mountain with the basic ground cover applied. I like the Woodland Scenics fine turf and mixed turf products for this: first fine turf in a medium green, then a dusting of green blend (a WS mix of fine turf made from a variety of greens) and then a few spots of burnt grass and yellow colored fine turf for variety. The forest floor sections, covering the dark-brown-earth painted areas, is made using two shades, soil or earth colored WS fine turf, with a sprinkling of fine turf in a burnt green and then a sprinkling of course turf in a light green. I have left the road uncovered allowing the textured red earth to show, and I sprinkled on a little ballast to simulate gravel. Then, liberally using contact cement, I added the tree line where the mountain meets the wall. Notice I use larger clumps on the lower slopes and diminish the size of the clumps as I ascend to the top where I have a thick forest covering the summit. At this point things are beginning to take shape, and the forced perspective effect is clearly beginning to work.|
|Now I add bushes and shrubs and vines to the rock outcroppings, again using plenty of contact cement and Woodland Scenics Clump Foliage in three colors and WS Foliage to simulate creeping vines on the rock faces: large clumps in the foreground and generally smaller clumps of folaige as I go up the slopes. At this point, I will also add a little more color to the rocks using pastels and washes to emulate mosses, and lichens, and dirty spots. Notice the variations in the grass color and bare earth patches I have allowed to show through here and there. I have also added a few loose rocks, thickets, and a few fallen trees to the forest floor areas in perperation for adding my trees.|
|Trees: I like to use a variety of tree types in a variety of
green shades. Here I'll be using trees salvaged from the A&BR1, so
each tree will have to be refurbished with foliage and paint. Before I
add my trees, I like to install a
few strategicially-placed trees to help me execute the
forced perspective. These represent the largest trees and
shrubs in any given area, and I can use them as a guide to size
the surriunding trees and other greenery. Also, although I did
not do it here, I often give the
smallest and most distant trees and shrubs just a hint of gray
over-spray to add to the illusion of distance.
Here's the mountain completed. I placed and lanscaped two structures (N scale for the house in the foreground and Z scale for the more distant house in the upper right on the horizon). Finally, I added a vehicle, a few figures, and some cows
|Looking up this mountain meadow gives a good idea of the effectiveness of my forced perspective.Every thing gets smaller and less distinct as the eye move up the hill. Note the cows in two sizes - the cows in the distance are goats painted to look like cows.|
|Model railroading can be a dusty business. While the the adjacent scenery is under construtction I'll cover my completed work with this very thin plastic sheeting. It is light enough to rest on the tree tops without damage.|
|Two refurbished HP desktops: 64 bit, 4 gig or RAM, 180 gig memory, 3.0gHz, with 8 serial ports, wifi, network port, 17 inch monitors, keyboard and mouse. Total cost delivered: $268!|
|Here is a preliminary sketch of the proposed control desk that will house the monitors and keyboards.|
|Here is the area in question. I plan a
deep water lake along the back wall joining the wall about 1/2 inch up
and resting on the homasote strips I have installed just beneath the
styrene strip with the tree line photo on it. There will be a deep
water inlet (cove) beneath the two crossing bridges and terminating in
rock face around the cork area in the lower right corner of the photo,
and I plan another shallow swampy wetland cove under the wooden tressel
near the edge of the plywood to the left-center of the photo.
The plan is to layout the water feature in place on four sections of .040 styrene, taking care that they join with nice straight edges. Then I'll mark the outline of the lake and the exact joint locations, remove the sections, place them on a flat bench, tape them back in place and then glue them carefully together using plastic cement to form a single piece. Next, I'll glue a .080 styrene barrier along the long back edge where it will join to the wall using thin plastic model cement. And then I'll create the shoreline by molding about 1/4+ inch high Sculptamold barrier all the way around.
When the Sculptamold is dry, I'll seal everything up well (the barrier strip, the homasote shoreline and the sheet styrene joints) using thick gloss medium. Then I'll paint the lake bottom, detail the lake bottom around the shore, and pour my Magic Water. Finally, I'll use a very sharp razor knife to cut the sections apart again. and reinstall them in place on the layout. I have taken care to make sure that the cuts will be masked from the viewer's eye by the bridges and the roadbed causeway, and if I am careful making my cuts they will be pretty much invisible anyway. I tried this last week on a little test lake I made when I first began to experiment with Magic Water. I could detect a fine line where the Magic Water was cut, but it was subtle indeed.
|Here are the four .040 styrene sheets in place. Note: I have left about 1/8" clearance under the tressel pilings.|
|Here the styrene pieces are removed and reassembled on a flat place on the bench top.|
|And here they are glued back together and a .080 square strip of styrene barrier added along the back edge (it does not show up in this photo,) and with the low Sculptamold shoreline molded all around.|
|Now the whole thing is sealed with
gloss medium with extra attention to sealing the sheet styrene joints.
is then painted with flat latex paint in two shades of green: a
for deep water and a lighter, dustier green for the shallows.
(The color gradations do not show up in the photo, and they are indeed
subtle, but still, they are clear
to the eye.) Then the shoreline in-water and
underwater detail (rocks, dead trees, gravel, some in-water plant life
in the swamp etc.) is added and, after careful mixing, the Magic
Water is poured. This
took nearly 48 hrs to fully dry.
I calculated the area of the lake (~308 sq inches) and since I know 18 oz of Magic Water will cover ~244 square inches .125 inch deep. I calculate 12 oz will cover my 308 square inch to a depth of about .074 inches.That's a bit over a 1/16 of an inch. Remember I have a .080 strip styrene barrier in the back, so 12 oz ought to be about right. I just need to make sure the entire thing is super level. Notice I have surrounded the thing with .040 sheets of styrene, which I can use as shims should there be low spots that want to overflow after the pour. This stuff stays liquid for hours, so making these kinds of adjustments, if need, is easy.
|Finished lake and wetland.|
|Here is the completed frame with tunnel
portals and highway roadbed in place and little shelves for rock faces
base and near the rocky summit. In between, there will be a large,
relatively flat, undulating mountain pasture, and two level pads: the
for a z scale barn, silo, and farmhouse; and the smaller closer
pad for an N Scale aluminum grain storage silo - again I'm
force the perspective, and I hope to make the very top of this mountain
appear very distant indeed. Most of the town
of Westridge will be built on the hatch-top, which will cover the void
on the right in this photo.
One of the things I like to do while roughing out a large scene is to place any structures on the surfaces I am preparing for them to see if everything fits and looks in scale and convincing. In this case when I placed the house, barn, and silo on the pad I had prepared for them, they seemed a little crowded, so I added another separate pad for the house a little higher up the slope. You can see it in the following photo.
|Rock faces screwed or glued in place, plastic screen "skin"
installed, highway ssurfaces installed, homasote modeling in process.
Notice the narrow strip of styrene running along the slope from the
highway up to the farm pads. This will supply a level base for a
gravel/dirt farm road and I can model in a little cut and fill as I
apply the Sculptamold. Again the forced perspective is already
|Initial base paint job|
|Plaster/tempera ground texture applied and over-wash earth tone paint applied- ground cover applied, and rocks dry-brushed with light gray and then very lightly with white.|
|Shrubs and trees installed to complete my second mountain scene.|
|Here the hatch cover has been replaced and the town of Westridge as been laid out on the flat surface. I plan to put a low hill in the back left corner by the church to accomodate a cemetery. This will help to break up the uniform flatness of the town terrace. There will be a little grassy space with trees beside the hotel on the left and a near wooded strip behind that beside the road leading up the mountain and in front on the large rock escarpment farther back. This tree line along the left side of the town scene should soften the now-abrupt transition to the mountain scene and break up the expanse of the large rock face.|
|Here .040 styrene strips have been cut from sheets and covered with 220 grid sand paper and spray painted dark k gray with a final spray dusting of black and then a very light gray mist to form streets, which are then glued in place with a thin coat of Liquid Nails. Sidewalks are then installed along the streets. I use Liquid Nails to glue the sand paper covering to the the styrene and to glue down the street strips and sidewalks because it is stronger than white glue and will not warp the styrene like so many other adhesives.|
|The next move was to mark the location of the streets and sidewalks, remove all the structures, and glue the sidewalks to the the streets and then glue the streets in place on the homasote. Then I used dry transfers to make street center lines and other street painted markings like parking spaces etc. Then I laid out the small hill for the church and cemetery, filled in all of the unpaved areas with Sculptamold, texturing, and ground cover, and added shrubs, trees, vehicles, figures and other details. Not much left to do here except to ballast the track, construct two more sections of the depot platform, and install LED lights in all the structures. Remember.his entire town is built on a hatch cover so I will glue all structures and vehicles etc. in place after everything is complete.|
|Here is the underside of the hatch with seven 4 bulb series circuits attached to 12 volt feeder bus terminals.Structure lighting on the A&BR2 is accomplished using warm white LEDs powered by the switchable 12 volt supply circuit. LEDs are wired 4 bulbs in series with a 680 ohm resistor. There are a few remote structures that will be lit with the same LEDs, but with individual bulbs wired in parallel using the switchable 5 volt supply circuit, each of these solo bulbs gets a 1000 ohm resistor.|
|Here is a night photo. The switchable supply circuits are
turned on and off using relays triggered by a DS64 switch machine set
in the slow motion mode, and wired using a zenor diode to convert the
polarity reversing output to an on/off output. Thus, all
structure lighting can be controlled and fully automated by
|Overview of Westridge looking down from the West Rridge across the rooftops of the town and the lake below to East River Mountain in the background|
|Westridge town grid with a view of the exposed rock face of the West Ridge on the left.|
|Here is the topo and street preperation
righthand half of the town of East River including my rough in forms
for the two hillocks, homasote ramps for
major roadway elevation changes and the road and street layout
complete with .040 styrene sheets. I have also roughed the main
walls and the tunnel portals.
Next the streets will be completed and glued down and the street lines added (see the following entry dated 6-18-2018,) The rock face and heavy retaining walls must be installed and painted and detailed, and the screen, sculptamold and ground cover will follow. I also have to install the sidewalks and all the LEDs for the structure lighting and put the structures in place. I must also complete the chruch grounds to the left of the town including the creation of the cemetary.
|Dry transfer problem,|
|Ratty lines repaired with
1/64 inch Art tape. Perhaps 1/32 inch would be even better (that's
about 5 inches or so). The Art Tape coverd up the problem to my
satisfaction. This repair is not perfect, but it is not so bad as
to warrent repainting the streets.
In general, I think the Art Tape is a far better technique. It gives a cleaner result than even my best dry transfer efforts. It is also much less expensive. The only probelm is that it does not readily stick to the sand paper grit road surfaces, and in order to get it to stick, I have to work with a samll brush and some liquid Testors dull coat. As with the dry transfers, the dull coat is necessary to form the final bonding coat anyway, so this is not really much of a a problem. Once I got the hang of it, it went much faster than applying the dry trasnsfers and it was easier to line up and adjust. I plan to keep both 1/64 and 1/32 inch Art Tape on hand in white and yellow.
|Here, the East River main streets with road markings and sidewalks have been completed along with all the retaining walls and rock faces, and all ground cover except track ballast. Now some trees and landscaping, some telephone poles, a few more figures and vehicles and other details to the complete the scene.|
|East River Completed|
Notice I have yet to complete the scenery along the front edge of the bench. I will do that after I have ballasted the track so I don't have to work over the top of finished trees etc when I do the ballasting later on.
|Right - Rough in of a low ridge with cuts extending out from the backdrop. Left- Rough in of house lots with small meadow rough in behiind.|
|East River Valley: Scene near completion,|
|Here is another good example of the forced perspective. The pasture beyond the road in the background is only about 5 inches deep and the most distant part of this grassy hill side just behind the distant cows is a flat photo pasted to the back drop.|
|Here is my rough sketch, Kind of cryptic, I know, but just drawing this helped me to sort out my thoughts and address all the planning issues required. It will make a little more sense when you examine the rough-in photo bleow.|
|LittleRive Curve rough-in with homasote forms, screen, and roughed-in rock walls. The two double-track main lines begin in a single wide cut on the right and then diverge into two cuts in the next mountain on the East bench. The mountain side behind the high rock cut wall is very steep. The placement of the the tree-line will be critical. It will probably be best to place it pretty low on the mountainside. I may experiment with a homosote strip to carry a forest floor photo and to raisxe the height of the trees on the near edge of the forest at this treeline similar to the way I handled the forest floor photos on the back drop.|
|The idea for the pond came from a
natural low spot in the meadow topography about 3/4 of the way up the
slope. I did not plan it, but juat looking at the contour of the
hillside made me think small pond. There is a natural place for a dam,
and a deep revine for the stream to run down the mountain, under the
retainng wall amd the track in a culvert, and spill into a another little revine
between the two sets of mainline tracks. From there, it will empty into
the lake at Little River via a small waterfall.
In the photo on the left, you can see I have spread sculptamold on the screen leaving the pond and stream position open so I can tie it in after I create, pour, and position the pond and the stream. Once these are in place, I can fashion the the dam and tie it all together with sculptamold.
|Here is the pond bed and the stream bed ready for painting, sealing, detailning, and the pour of the Magic Water.|
|Here the pond and stream forms are roughly placed in position to check the fit and the elevations.|
|I like to pour the Magic Water on to a flat form made from
.040 styrene sheeting cut to size. I make banks using sculptamold and I use
1/8 inch square styrene strips to make barriers glued to the styrene to form a resivoir for the Magic
Water pour. This way I can make the pour on a perfectly flat and
level surface. This means that these forms have to be sealed,
painted, and detialed with anything that will be in or below the water
so I can make the pour around or over it. Here, I have painted the
bottom of the pond and the stream and the banks of both as well; and I
have glued in a few rocks in the stream and in the pond and some reed and a fallen trees
in the pond using gloss matte medium as glue. Then I made the pour,
let it dry, and finally I construncted the dam and tied the
water forms into the scene using sculpatmold.
Since I am again forcing the perspctive here, the steram feeding the head of the pond will be quite small, so I can just cut it into the sculptamold and make any water effects I need using gloss medium or my Woodland Scenics' water effects gel.
|Here is the entire Little River Curve ready for the initail paint coat.Notice I have used a sharpy to rough in the location of the distant tree line and the location of the forests (xxx).|
|Here is the completed initial paint coat (dark grey rocks,
red/brown meadow or orchard soil, brown near forest floor, and
black distant forest floor.)
Looking at this photo, I realize I have made a mistake. My plan was to have the mian highway, which one can see on the left in the photo running along the edge of the East bench, come up and around the curve and continue on along the edge on the North bench. I will have to cut a little of the edge of the near hill away and rough this in. The finished bench will have a one foot radius in what is now a right angle corner, so there will be plenty of room for the roadway grade and curve.
|Next I added the gound "zip" texture, a second washy coat of earth colored paint to correct the color, the ground cover, and some shrubs and trees. Here is a view of the high meadow with the pond and stream. Again. I forced the perspective across thje meadow, and as a result, the distant treeline is very convincing indeed.|