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    • February 6, 2017 5:47 AM EST
    • Look'n very good ! .....   

    • February 6, 2017 1:41 AM EST

      The train carrying the scenery has arrived on the Path Valley Railway!



      Okay, we've still got a long way to go, but it arrived. I'm fleshing out the area around the rocks so I can begin to get a sense of how things are going to look from an artistic/aesthetic sense, and to try some techniques I've been learning about on YouTube.



      The first is coloring plaster rocks. Yeah, the videos make this look sooooooooo simple. Just place 'em, wash 'em with dilute paint, and voila! Instant Yosemite National Park right in your basement.




      First off, for whatever reason, my hydrocal rocks did not absorb the dilute paint evenly at all. I started with some warm yellowish tones, and ended up with one rock that looked like Big Bird crashed into it. I had other area where the paint just didn't absorb at all. The overall effect was far more "splotchy" than I was expecting. It still didn't look too bad, though, which is what prompted me to start playing with some greenery, ballast, and other things, in hopes that they would ultimately look natural.



      I also had a hard time with the ballast. I honestly didn't know what kind of ballast I wanted, if I even wanted ballast at all. I thought about sand and dirt, I thought about different colors, maybe different colors mixed together. Nothing had the look I was after. The EBT used cinders, slag, and boney for their ballast, but this isn't the EBT. Ultimately, I settled on Woodland Scenics' Light Grey coarse ballast. Which is to say, I found two bags of it at the hobby shop and brought it back to see how it looked in person, as opposed to trying to judge what to use by looking on YouTube and Google Images. It actually played well with the rock castings, so I figured I'd run with that. Still, it stood out as being a bit too light--reminiscent of the white granite chicken grit dad and I used to use outside on the railroad before we found a source for crusher fines. I decided to wash the ballast with a wash of diluted brown paint to try to tone it down just a bit and give it a slightly warmer feel. That worked, but it still didn't sit right with me. Next, I took some dilute black paint, and washed it down the middle of the tracks, to simulate grease and oil dripping from the locomotives. That was the magic bullet for me. It toned things down, and "weathered" the track ever so slightly.



      Next on the agenda, the tunnel portal. I knew I wanted a wood portal, as I wanted the contrast in color and texture for the scene. A natural stone or cut stone portal would have been too monolithic. I made the portal from 1/4" x 1/4" strips of pine on top of 1/4" x 1/32" strips of mahogany. Why mahogany? Because it was what was on hand. It turned out to be quite the happy surprise.



      When you scrape mahogany with a wire brush, it really brings out the natural grain of the wood! Compare the planks of mahogany to the beams of pine. Totally different texture! Happy accident to be sure, but I think I'll be using a lot more mahogany in my building in the future where I need something with deep wood grain.


      The tunnel was stained with dilute brown paint, then washed with black paint. Then I weathered the top of the portal with black paint to simulate the soot from the locos running through the tunnel. It also has the effect of combining with the angled braces to make the tunnel look taller than it really is. When I laid out the tunnel, I didn't give myself quite as much vertical clearance as I should have. Everything fit okay, but aesthetically it was too squat for a proper tunnel, so I had to dig out about another 1/2" clearance from inside.



      The road to the depot is also now in place. When I first laid this out, I had it in mind that this would be a 2-lane road, but then decided that was too wide for a driveway going to a depot. I'll "narrow" the road a bit when I start laying in the grass and other roadside vegetation.



      Vegetation and ground cover comes next. This particular siding is a lumber siding, so there would be lots of sawdust and tree debris lying around. So, I used sawdust and tree debris (loosely-sifted potting soil). Other areas of the railroad are going to have a bit more dirt/sand base, but here in the forest end, I want a lush, organic feel to the landscape.



      I found some moss at Michaels which had a very fine texture to it, and a pretty natural color. On the ground, I "plant" a sprig or three here or there. On the mountain, I use that as the primary base of the low bushes and other flora which make up the edge vegetation. I've got lots of trees to build yet, but the forest floor will be visible through the trees, so between the trees, the bushes, and the organic groundcover, I should be able to recreate the look of a lush woods environment.



      Another view of the organic forest floor, with the track for a sense of scale.



      In addition to the scenery, I've finished trimming off the fascia of the railroad. I used pine tongue-in-groove panels, cut to short 3" - 4" lengths to form the edge, then stained them dark brown.



      The trim edges out the top shelf which holds my 1:20 shelf railroad as well. Next up, get the backdrop in place (thanks John!) I've also got to get working on the depot, or at least the platform for it so I can continue the landscaping around it.



      Also, I'm playing around with ideas on how to finish out the lumber spur. There will be stacks of cut lumber and logs where the wood blocks are now, and I want some kind of small building which would serve as a shipping agent's office. I cut this mock-up out of cardboard.


      That's where we're at right now. Further bulletins as events warrant.





    • January 24, 2017 3:52 AM EST
    • I don't know what you have in mind for building kits, but Bart

      Salmon's turned me on to this site.

      They're card stock model buildings you can download and print out. 

      I've done about 5 of them for my little switching layout. Most of them as facades along the back edge of the layout. 

    • January 24, 2017 2:57 AM EST
    • More progress. Starting to play with the early stages of "real" scenery.



      I went to a local hobby shop that specializes in buying/selling collections. Not much worthwhile in terms of the trains themselves, but I did find some Woodland Scenics rock molds. I picked two of them up for $1.50. Rotating them this way or that gives you a lot of visual variation, so two molds can go a long way. The first three castings from the left are all the same mold. I don't need a lot, as the railroad is mostly flat-ish, but at the mountain end, it will be a pretty impressive rock cut.



      And a 3-pound bag of Sculptamold later, this is where we're at. I've got to get some wood to finish out the tunnel portal, stain the rocks, then paint the ground in preparation for some groundcover, ballast, etc. I've also got to work on the ore tipple and mine entrance, but want to get my backdrop in place first, as that's going to be pretty delicate work with the wood framing.


      I also finished the fascia boards along the edge of the railroad, but neglected to get a good photo of them. I'll get to that tomorrow, and probably lay in the foundation of the dirt road, which I'll do with spackling compound.





    • January 4, 2017 5:50 AM EST
    • Nice . . .  

    • January 4, 2017 2:18 AM EST
    • More progress on the Path Valley. I've begun to play around with what will ultimately be the depots and industries on the railroad. I'm driven by making sure things have a proper sense of proportion, so mock-ups are an important part of playing around with things to get that right "look" for the scene.



      This is left end of the Godrick's Hollow part of the railroad. Dark Forrest Lumber's siding will likely be pikes of cut timber. I haven't decided if it's going to be cut dimensional lumber or cut logs or both. The blocks sitting there now resemble stacks of cut timber, but I don't have suitable O-scale logs to try out in the space as well. They may even ship both.


      On the right side of the photo is Flemmel's stoneworks. I'm not committing to what kind of ore is being mined, but it's some kind of ore. The ore tipple is an HO scale tipple from Life-Like, which I picked up for $2. I'm doubtful it will actually end up being used on the railroad, but it's a great place-holder for now.


      The tunnel portal in the middle is beginning to take shape as well. I've got to get some wood to do the individual boards; that's a 1/8" plywood core which will form the back of it. Drat--that means I've got to go to the hobby shop again. I hate it when that happens.


      The trees are from Michael's, something of a joke my wife played on me, but it gives me a sense of the space the vegetation might take up when it's in place.



      Godrick's Hollow depot will be a small-ish affair, but certainly in line with prototypical narrow gauge depots.



      On the right end of Godrick's Hollow, you'll find Hooch's Millworks and Slughorn Oil.


      The galvanized metal plate is representative of a surface-reflect mirror, which I may or may not ultimately use to make it look like the mainline continues on I've got to come up with a good way to blend it into the background.



      By the time I got to Little Whinging, I had run out of small boxes. I'll have to play a bit more with the exact size and proportion of these structures before I commit to anything.



      The first of three grade crossings on the railroad.


      Next up, I'm casting a bunch of rocks so I can flesh out the tunnel area. Also, I've got to do some prep-work so the backdrop can fit once it's completed.





    • January 10, 2017 1:37 PM EST
    • Wow, I didn't realize just how much I had missed on this thread. looks great Doc.

    • January 9, 2017 5:42 PM EST
    • Ah, He just was creative enough in the camera angles, so as to not show the blood. I mean, that's what I do.

    • January 9, 2017 3:43 AM EST
    • I don't see any blood so I will say ya dun good!...............

    • January 8, 2017 10:48 PM EST
    • Excellent craftsmanship Tom. As I started reading, I thought, wow, he is really constructing this bridge just as they would have in the early 1900's, right up to the point where you said you used Carpenter's wood glue, lol. I have really enjoyed watching your progress and look forward to more.

    • January 8, 2017 8:20 PM EST
    • " Rooster " said:

      Hi Rooster,

      Why I'll drink to that too.



      Doc Tom

    • January 8, 2017 8:17 PM EST
    • Ron Tremblay said:

      Wow, So awesome. Its all the little things.


      On this little mini layout, 48"X30", you can really concentrate on small areas and go wild with the details.



    • January 8, 2017 8:15 PM EST
    • Tom Bowdler said:

      Super Duper Tom,

            That's going to be one fantastic rustic trestle!  Excellent joinery.


      Thanks Tom. I did have to look up "joinery".....pretty neat word for wooden construction. Thanks for the edumacation.



    • January 8, 2017 8:13 PM EST
    • Shawn Viggiano said:

      Looks so much better using natural material from around the yard.  You cant get much more realistic then that.

      It is a little like bringing a Garden Rail Road indoors.

      Doc Tom

    • January 8, 2017 7:22 PM EST
    • Wow, So awesome. Its all the little things.

    • January 8, 2017 7:17 PM EST
    • Super Duper Tom,

            That's going to be one fantastic rustic trestle!  Excellent joinery.


    • January 8, 2017 6:55 PM EST
    • A primitive logging bridge.

      My Kittom logging outfit Is a simple low budget logging railroad operation. Established at the turn of the 20th Century the railroad was built with saws, axes , mules , horses and human power.

      When confronted with crossing creeks and hollows and gorges the construction crews made use of the materials at hand and their woodworking skills.

      Here are a few pictures of prototype primitive logging bridges. When there was no piledriver to construct bents for bridges a large tree was felled and notched to provide a base for the upright parts of a bent.

      The beams for the track ties were shaped using froes, adzes and draw knives.

      To model this primitive bridge I used natural materials including straight twigs. The twigs were given two flat edges using a #11 Exacto knife very carefully.

      The base log was notched like the prototype to accept the upright logs that would become the bent.

      I fashioned a cardboard jig to build the bent and the individual parts were affixed and glued together with carpenter’s wood glue.

      A log retaining wall was fashioned at the beginning of the bridge

      I placed braces and used NBW castings to secure the upright logs in the bents.

      Everything fit given the irregular shapes of the twigs in use and the bridge was strong enough to carry the weight of a train.

      Thanks for L   KING. Doc Tom

    • January 4, 2017 10:46 AM EST
    • Looks so much better using natural material from around the yard.  You cant get much more realistic then that.