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T O P I C    R E V I E W
Glen Haasdyk Posted - 09/20/2020 : 10:47:38 PM
After working on my layout for 15 years, I'm thinking a tearing it down and starting over. I've started to realize the track plan's limitations and I think I can do better.

15   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
Glen Haasdyk Posted - 04/11/2021 : 4:03:45 PM
Still playing around with the retaining wall castings and the tunnel portal.

I scratchbuilt an abutment for the tunnel out of some 1/8" plywood and 1/8" square stripwood. I painted it with some burnt umber to simulate treated timber. My current plan is to create a narrow slope between the abutment and the cast retaining wall.
Speaking of the retaining wall castings, I've noticed that the ends have a slight curve or bowing to them. I'm going to cast a couple more and then cut the ends flat and square using the saw at work for a better fit.
Michael Hohn Posted - 04/09/2021 : 08:20:29 AM

I was wondering how you would trim the castings. They turned out well.

Glen Haasdyk Posted - 04/09/2021 : 12:10:20 AM
Thanks Mike and Rob.
I've since painted the mountainside and will be adding ground cover in the next couple days. In the meantime, I've started to look at the other end of the layout, where the retaining wall is going up.

I took some of the retaining wall castings to work and cut/trimmed them with our chop saw. I wasn't sure how the cast hydrocal would cut with an aluminum cutting blade. Either it would cut through like butter or the casting would explode. Fortunately it was the former, not the latter but it did create allot of fine dust when cut.

I've also been wondering what to do with the tunnel portal an it's surroundings. I don't want to make things square and awkward looking.

This is what I've come up with. A slope on either side of the portal, but not long enough to block the turnout. I was thinking of tunnel abutments on either side of the portal and the slope running into the retaining wall. Above, the slope would continue to form a hill that the upper track would have a 'cut' through it.
Michael Hohn Posted - 04/05/2021 : 7:45:02 PM

Ok like the retaining wall. It calls to mind the famous Argo Tunnel mine on Harry Brunk’ s layout:

Not exactly, of course. More the atmosphere.

It’ll look terrific!

robert goslin Posted - 04/05/2021 : 6:11:30 PM
Nice progress Glen.
The plastering has come up nice.
I do particularly like the retaining walls. Haven't seen those done in plaster before.
Glen Haasdyk Posted - 04/05/2021 : 4:22:02 PM
Thank you Mike.
I colored the rockwork over the past two days.

I used the Woodland scenics earth color kit and followed their online instructions on diluting the tints and applying them. What you see is their burnt umber and stone gray which was later given a stain of black to bring the shadows out. I worked from a couple photos of a local abandoned RR line.
I was a little concerned whether WS tints would work on comercial grade Hydrocal but they stained just as easily as plaster. Next I'll start working on the color and ground cover of the rest of the mountain.

While I was using the hydrocal I made a few extra castings of surface rocks and outcroppings that I'll use in other places as I go along. I also cast a couple retaining walls.

I like the timber retaining wall casting. I've been casting a couple of them at a time so I can later cut them up to use them in future areas.

The one place I do plan to use them soon is the section between the town of Meadows and the stamp mill. I think the three should do it. I'll stain the rocks between the timbers like the rockwork I just completed and then stain the timbers with a stronger solution of raw umber.
Michael Hohn Posted - 04/02/2021 : 10:26:08 PM
Building scenery is such an iterative and messy process but the end result can be so satisfying. As we’ve probably all discovered, you have to be willing to go back and redo when things don’t look quite right.

Your work is looking good.

Glen Haasdyk Posted - 04/02/2021 : 9:09:04 PM
Since it's been a number of years since I've done any ambitious scenery, I'm finding that I'm going through the same mistakes that I would have made back then, only remembering after I make them!
Case in point.

I started to add the rock castings when I found that I had made the mountainside too close to the track and had to pull half the mountain down to trim it back on one side. Then I re-hardshelled the area before I re-added the rock castings.

During this time I ran out of Hydrocal so I went to a nearby building supply dealer and picked up a 50lb. bag. That should be enough for the entire layout, plus some. I did have a strange thing happen when the first hardshell use of the new bag turned a light gray instead of white, my next application was white. I have no idea why the differences in color but the rock casts all turned out white so I'm happy with that.

And this morning I mixed up some more plaster and blended in the castings to the mountain. Tomorrow I hope to start staining/coloring the rockwork. Any holes/gaps between the casting are going to be filled with bushes and other vegetation.

And these are the rock molds that I used, sorry for the mess. A member of our club passed away about 6 months ago and we inherited his scenery supplies which included almost 20 WS rock molds.
Glen Haasdyk Posted - 03/27/2021 : 10:46:34 PM
I did manage some work on the layout this afternoon.

I did glue and staple the scenery forms in by the future town of meadows. Since I was using 1/8" plywood (also know as door skin) I was able to form it around the curves of the upper decking. now you can see the dimensions that I can work with to plan the townsite.

And I got the hardshell down on my corner mountain. It was a bit of a stretch to lean over and lay down hydrocal-soaked paper towels without making a mess (I failed on the mess part) but I need to get this part done and sceniced before I can proceed with any other scenery. The brown 'goo' around the edges is some mocha colored caulking that I used to seal the gaps between the hardshell and the backdrop. When its all dried I'll paint it in the same base tan before adding adding rock castings and ground cover.

While I was at it, I completed the hardshell on this slope as well. I'm learning these technics all over again since the last scenery of this type that I did was over 10 years ago.
Glen Haasdyk Posted - 03/26/2021 : 12:31:22 AM
Thanks Rob. I do like the looks of the airbrushed ties, even though the cleanup took considerably longer than I thought it was going to.

This week, while I'm waiting for the weekend to try out my hardshell scenery skills, I started to rough in the scenery around the small townsite of Meadows.

Here's the gap between the station and the stamp mill.

And filling in the gap. I used some 1/2 plywood for the straight section and behind the tunnel portal. The tunnel portal was a scratchbuilt piece salvaged from the previous layout. I plan to use wood cribbing/retaining wall along the longer section. I have a plaster mold for that retaining wall panel which will make it considerably easier. I also will be placing my CPR tool shed beside the station as well.

The curvy part of the gap will be initially covered by this thin veneer plywood, glued and tacked into place. below will be the townsite with a road beside the yard the will cross the yard throat, the mainline and passing siding before leaving the layout. the other end of the road will run beside the yard to the oil dealer and future sawmill on the other end of the layout. The thin plywood will be covered by rock castings and or more retaining wall.

One other thing that I did this week was to fill and paint the joint in the backdrop behind the deck bridge. It had been bothering me for a bit and it was a one evening project to make it disappear.
robert goslin Posted - 03/22/2021 : 04:00:13 AM
Glen, Good to see this thread fired up again, and nice progress. Your creosote looks a good colour on the ties.
Glen Haasdyk Posted - 03/21/2021 : 9:51:31 PM
Thanks Bruce. These are mostly rejected parts from projects at work.

I got a bit more progress this weekend. Starting with fitting ties into the bridge approaches.

I notched some ties to clear the rail joiners and glued them in place so I'll be able to remove the two bridges for cleaning and maintenance later.

and with the bridge in place. When that was done, I fired up my airbrush and painted the track. I used Polly-s RR tie brown. Kind of a gross creosote color. I do like how it tones down the ties and sides of the rail.

The only problem was that since I used acrylic paint, it dried within minutes of spraying so today I spent about 2 hours cleaning track. I also had to use a brass wheel on my dremel to clean the contact points on my peco turnouts to they would work properly again. The other thing I managed to do was to slip some ties under the track where sections were joined. I should have done this before I painted but halfway through painting I remembered and taped a bunch of loose ties on a board and painted them separately.
I had planned to add the hydrocal/paper towel layer to the mountain I am working on but all I managed was this:

I mixed a bit of my 20 year-old hydrocal up earlier this week to see if it was still usable. I guess this shows that it is. I'm lucky I live in a mid dry climate so no moisture got into the bag it was stored in. I plan to work on the mountain shortly.

On the plus side, I did run a train today!
Dutchman Posted - 03/15/2021 : 09:17:29 AM
Thank goodness for pink/blue foam boards, Glen. Nice work.

Glen Haasdyk Posted - 03/14/2021 : 11:16:17 PM
After taking a break and building some structures, I thought it would be best to start some scenery work in the harder to reach places.

Particularly the one corner where I can still reach in to the track, but not the very corner. This area will have a mountainside in it so I stacked up some foam and glued it in place with carpenters glue. The numbers are for the number of layers so I could glue the parts back in their proper places.

And it's ready for plaster cloth or plaster soaked paper towel. it would be nice to plaster cloth all of the scenery but that could get expensive.

While I was at it, I also added the slope between the branchline and the yard. I'm leaving space below for a roadway that will go to the future sawmill complex and oil dealer.
robert goslin Posted - 01/02/2021 : 02:37:30 AM
You're still making excellent progress Glen.
Must be nice to actually now have a train running around. Hopefully you don't have any trouble with your track laying or arrangement.

The river should be a nice feature also.
Overall it's looking great.

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