New Beginnings

PapaG Mar 1, 2021

  1. Moose2013

    Moose2013 TrainBoard Member

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    @PapaG

    Your rocks look good! Like the mossy look that you are going after (y) ... ... ... Now, about that Harley that appears to be splattered along the back wall -- it could use some attention... :eek:
     
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  2. PapaG

    PapaG TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks Moose! I think they turned out pretty good too...

    Ha! Those bikes in the bg are the No. 1 reasons I don’t get to work on the trains that often. The weather is warming here along the Wasatch Mountains, and you’ll soon find me in the saddle most weekends.
     
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  3. Moose2013

    Moose2013 TrainBoard Member

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    You're welcome and the weather is getting nice here between the Cascade & Olympic Mountains as well, sooo this moose best get The Beast ('06 Dyna Low Rider) ready for the new season! :)
     
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  4. PapaG

    PapaG TrainBoard Member

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    I love that part of the country. My mom lives in Coeur d’Alene and I had a brother who lived in Seattle. I used to ride between them quite a bit and zig-zagged my way all over Washington state.

    I took to the road during my divorce back in ‘06 for a few weeks in October and, unknowingly, rolled into Leavenworth during Oktoberfest... which was such a blast!

    Below is ‘the family’;

    The first is a group shot, one of the few I have of my 2000 Kawasaki ZRX1100. That’s the one with the white cafe style fairing. That bike was in a wreck and I restored it and gave it to my son.

    Then my ‘78 KZ650. That’s another restoration project.

    Then my ‘06 Screamin’ Eagle Ultra.

    Then my ‘04 Fatboy. That was the only Harley I ever bought new.


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    Last edited: Apr 7, 2021
  5. Shortround

    Shortround TrainBoard Member

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    Nice going with the landscape.
    Nice rides too.
    I've had 3 Hogs, 3 Goldwings, 4 Hondas, 2 Yamahas and a Norton. Only the 883 K5 and 650 Yamaha twin got winterized here in Wisconsin. "Choppers" that needed special attention. That's when I got into Model Trains.
     
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  6. PapaG

    PapaG TrainBoard Member

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    PROGRESS!! Lol!
    It's not always easy to make "progress"... as life has a way of happening whether we like it or not. Family turmoil has occupied much of my time lately, but things seem to have reached a point of equilibrium sufficient to allowing me to do some work on the layout.

    I pilfered some dirt from the vacant lot across the street, and after straining it to separate the rocks from the dirt I was able to get some roadbed laid on the elevated section of track.

    I was also able to get some paint on the terrain in the corners of the layout. It's not a perfect match to the color of the dirt that I used, but I intend on covering all of that with that dirt anyway, so it'll all match in the end. I just didn't want the white plaster to show through should I have any thin spots.

    Also, the bridge supports on these two bridges have been permanently installed. I still have to finish masking all of the raw edges and finish contouring the transitions with plaster cloth and soil, but I have a pretty clear image in my mind how all of that will be done.

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    Experimenting with some rock placements on the near corner. Sometimes less is more... I also have some grade on this side that I need to complete in order to finish the transition of the elevated line.



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    The mountain scene on the other end of the layout also received some color. It's pretty striking how the rocks I painted seem to stand out even more than they did against the white background of the unpainted plaster. Those are going to look pretty good once I get grass/shrubs/trees installed.

    I also like the way the plaster cloth hangs and drapes over the foam creating what looks like folds and contours in the earth. I'll have to remember to use that more to my advantage in the future...



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    I'm pretty pleased with the shape of the creek that will one day flow down the mountain side and into the gorge below. I've been researching how to model water 'on grade' as I'll have at least one section of the creek that will be a challenge due to my having to overcome gravity to get it done.

    The other thing that I haven't yet plotted are my tunnel portals. I bought a pair of portals that were 'double wide', but these weren't wide enough given how much distance there is between the two lines entering/exiting the tunnels. I've never scratch built anything structural before, so this will be another area of worry that I'll have to research the 'HOW TO' of.



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    And finally, I got the supports for these two bridges permanently installed and the bottom of the gorge covered in plaster in preparation for paint and, eventually, water. I have a little more plaster to apply to this in order to seal it good and proper, though. The last time I poured a water feature I had leaks that caused a variety of problems... problems that really compromised the quality of the scene I was attempting to model and created a ton of rework that, no matter how hard I tried to mask it, forever looked like rework.

    That's not going to happen this time! LOL!

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    Last edited: May 7, 2021
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  7. PapaG

    PapaG TrainBoard Member

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    I didn’t make a lot of progress over the weekend... I broke my toe on Saturday and spent most of my time hobbling around pissed off and grimacing! But, I was still able to get a little bit of work done.

    I had quite a bit of soil laid down but messed it all up by doing some vacuuming before things were truly set. Instead of getting just the loose material cleaned up as I'd intended, I inadvertently vacuumed up large chunks of the newly glued terrain materials that hadn’t had time to properly cure.

    After a bit of exasperated sighing and eye rolling over my own impatience, impatience that resulted in extra work and delayed me in continuing the effort, I was able to get it all fixed and made some progress on working this grade a bit.

    I had used colored grout in previous iterations of terrain building, but that media is too homogeneous to give the appearance of realism. Using real soil provides some variety in the coarseness of material mixed throughout, and even some vegetable matter, bits of wood and plant material mixed in with it all, that give the finished product a kind of randomness that looks and feels real. I'm much happier with it than I was with the grout.

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    Also getting some terrain work done on the mountain. This is much slower going given that so much of the surface is vertical, and I have to manicure the placement of soil around the rocks a bit so they look like they're protruding from the ground without losing too much of their shape and size, but so far-so good. I’m really liking the way the soil that I’m applying collects in drifts of talus that slope from a vertical face to a horizontal surface below, and the way it kind of softens all of the 'too flat' horizontal surfaces of the foam I used to construct the mountain. I'm hoping it will look even more realistic when I get vegetation set in the right places.

    I've catalogued some photos of this kind of terrain just to make sure that I get the look and placement of any greenery done in such a way that looks like something you'd see in a real location. So far the look is pretty encouraging and I'm anxious to get some of that work started.


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    Last edited: May 10, 2021
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  8. PapaG

    PapaG TrainBoard Member

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    I was able to complete the rough terrain effort on the mountain scene. I really like the little details and features that, entirely accidentally, the application of the dirt created. It looks so different from the foam form it had before.


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    There will be four waterfalls between the headwaters of Four Falls Creek at the top of the mountain and the river gorge that it empties into at the bottom.

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    I also got some cover installed at the bottom at ground level. I applied it a little heavy and will have to groom that before I commit to it with alcohol and scenic cement, but I’m pretty close to having all of this applied that I need for a while.

    I’m going to have to get some of this material laid in the tunnels and paint the tunnel walls... something that probably should have been done before now. I can still get that done as it is, but it might have been easier if I’d done some of that before the mountain was set in place.

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  9. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Those rocks looked good before, but the blending with dirt really makes them look like they belong there.
     
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  10. Kurt Moose

    Kurt Moose TrainBoard Member

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    Looking awesome so far!(y)
     
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  11. Shortround

    Shortround TrainBoard Member

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    I will be impatiently awaiting to see those water falls. :whistle:
    And of course the rest. (y)
     
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  12. PapaG

    PapaG TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks H, I agree! I think they look pretty organic with the way the dirt is built up and flows around them. I was a bit torn between wanting to expose more of the rocks, especially those that are set on the horizontal surfaces, and wanting to keep things looking less 'picture perfect' and a little more obscured by what I can only assume erosion and the movement of earth might actually look like. At first, I had brushed away some of the dirt to expose more of them, but it wound up looking a little too much like they were being "presented" to the eye in some artificial way.

    But, I'm really pleased with the results so far... and appreciative of your observations ;)
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2021
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  13. PapaG

    PapaG TrainBoard Member

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    Thank you Kurt!
     
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  14. PapaG

    PapaG TrainBoard Member

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    LOL! You and me both!

    I'm not really sure how to model what I'm picturing in my mind, but I've been watching videos and reading literature in preparation for it. I may even mock something up "off layout" in order to see if the techniques I've seen others use are going to produce the results I'm looking for. Then again... I may have gotten myself into something a bit outside of my skill-set. It wouldn't be the first time, lol! Push comes to shove, I'll fill the creek bed in with dirt, cover it with shrubs and trees, and pretend it was planned that way all along ;)
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2021
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  15. PapaG

    PapaG TrainBoard Member

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    RUNNING TRAINS!!!

    I just picked up this little EMD SW7 UP switcher for my yard, it’s been getting some track time to break it in. The layout works pretty well in that I can work in the yard shuffling and staging cars on the inner oval while my SD70ACe runs on the main line. Eventually I intend to run a small 3-4 car AmTrack passenger train on this layout too.

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    Last edited: May 15, 2021
  16. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    I just stumbled onto this thread and it's all very interesting. I'm making a mental note of your use of plaster cloth, as it might be just what I'm looking for on my N Scale road if I ever get it started. On my last railroad, it took me hours to hone the styrofoam to the exact profiles I wanted and more hours to clean up the static-charged mess I'd made. With plaster cloth, I could save a lot of time.

    Say, I like your bikes too. I've never owned a motorcycle, but always enjoy seeing them around.
     
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  17. PapaG

    PapaG TrainBoard Member

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    [/QUOTE]
    Hey HC,
    Glad you stumbled upon my thread here. I too have spent inordinate amounts of time agonizing over every edge and angle while cutting and shaping foam. Then the guys at my local train shop recommended Woodland Scenics “Shaper Cloth”. I used some of that on a previous effort... it wasn’t a bad product, but it can be a little unfriendly to use in some applications. It has a foil backing that you can bend and shape and it will retain that shape. Then you just adhere it where you want and coat it with plaster. Since it retains the shape you mold it to you don’t need anything under it to provide shape or support.

    The plaster cloth was much easier to use and make quick progress with. I’ve found that using foam underneath need only provide a rough approximation of the shape I need, and then draping the plaster cloth other that allows me to fashion the rest of the contours pretty easily.

    But I didn’t use this to my best advantage. I wound up smoothing things too much and only after the fact did I observe that the places where I just let the plaster cloth hang and drape were the more interesting contours.
     
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  18. PapaG

    PapaG TrainBoard Member

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    I’m starting the process of installing these water features. I’m not exactly sure if it makes sense to do this at this stage, but I feel that, since I need to have the bridges removed, I should do this before I secure track to the sub-roadbed.

    I’m painting the bottoms of the water features to represent some graduated depths, and I’m not using the same color palette for both.

    Once I have the plaster completely covered with color I’ll dam off the open ends where they flow ‘off layout’ with plexiglass and pour my water.

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  19. MK

    MK TrainBoard Member

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    Make sure you dam them REALLY GOOD as that stuff will find ANY gaps you have. I would use clear caulking/silicone to adhere the plexi.
     
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  20. PapaG

    PapaG TrainBoard Member

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    Thank you MK! I used a white acrylic caulk, but I wound up disturbing it while it was curing so I don’t trust it now. I’m going to take it off and do it again, then seal all the way around the plexi afterwards.

    Have you ever tried putty tape to seal the dam off?
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2021

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