It's about time I get back to this layout! First, this thread is a continuation of a thread I started back in May 2018 when I started this hobby; you can find all 20 or so pages of that thread Sputtering start to a new layout. I started with planning the track plan, then building the track, etc., ending up with this bent 10 x 3.5 table. I think it's about 34 square feet. Well, after I finished the track, and built up the foam mountains, the layout just lingered there. Instead I was running trains, and working on many small side projects (3d printing locomotives, DCC installs, and fixing up my engines). In fact, I haven't updated that layout in just under a year! My last update was June 24th, 2021 when I finished the passenger station. That thread isn't really about layout design at this point, now being just a build blog, so it's moving here, right into a brand new thread! Works out well, because it's a nice breaking point between building the base and starting the scenery. So first things first, where was I a year ago? Well, I don't have an overall view, but the track was done, and the main forms of foam mountains were complete. Now, after a disaster with a yellow switching engine (now in the mail back to the company for repairs), I decided I was ready to start working on the layout once again. A couple weeks ago, I started with carving out foam for the mountains and hills, to make them more mountain-like and less like blocks of foam. I started with a foam cutting wire tool, but that made so much smoke and fumes, I had to stop. I mean it's fine if you need to cut a few pieces, but after half an hour of cutting and shaping, I took my respirator off and realized the open window wasn't helping at all. I had burnt foam smell in the house for a couple of days. So I continued with a big steak knife and a sureform tool. It's a bit more messy, but works fine. The next step was initially to start covering all of the foam with sculpt-a-mold, a sort of a cross between plaster and papier maché. Here in the above picture you can see that I've started applying it to the hills leading up to the tunnel portals. It's super easy to work with, and creates a nice hard shell, but it can still be easily carved with a steak knife if needed. Now this isn't the final state of these hills, I eventually want to start carving rock formations into them with plaster of paris, but that's for a future post. The problem I got was one of sequencing. I sort of need to know where the roads will go to finish the mountains, and for the roads I need to know where the buildings will be, etc. So for now I've stopped with the hills. As you can see, I've started drawing where the roads will go, something I was dreading for a long time. Stupidly I never really planned for roads, figured I'd make a track plan and the hills and then just sorta put the roads in afterwards where they'd fit. Whew! Almost no space for those roads! Just to reach the yard I need to go through the passenger tracks and then the yard lead. It's a bit ridiculous really, but at this point I'm just gonna lean into that. I never claimed I was making a realistic layout, and that's fine with me. I mean just look at the cliffs! I went with laying the parking lot and base for the passenger station. I'm doing it the Woodland scenic way, without the woodland scenic cost. I'm using 1/16" foam tape I bought off Amazon and using plaster of paris instead of smooth-it. But it's going rather well. Above is the main road and two grade crossings that I completed. Well mostly complete, I still need to carve out some flangeways into the grade crossing. The parking lot at the yard throat will feature a yard office. And I wasn't sure what to do with the little bit of road that ends between the passenger track and the yard, but I think I'll put a tiny building, fenced off with a cell tower. Will look nice in an overgrown field. So that's it for now!