Monday, June 27, 2011

Peninsula Campaign - Part 1 - Planning*

I've been accused on not doing "enough planning" in the past. I'd say I do too much planning, but it tends to take a 3-d form like this.

I spent some time last evening creating and arranging mockups (of structures, and of some of the landforms) on the lobe end of the peninsula.

The peninsula in question is located at the entrance to the layout area of the basement. One side of the peninsula is devoted to the Waterbury, Vermont scene, the key elements of which are the station, the feedmill located directly across the tracks from the station, and the freight house (which is not mocked up in these photos). While there were small industries located trackside in Waterbury, I'm not planning on modeling all of them.

The question of how to handle the "other side" of the peninsula has been a particular sticking point. I've long had an interest in water-powered mills in New England - but modeling one of a narrow shelf is problematic since to accurately portray how they function there has to be an "lower pond" and an upper pond, separated by a dam. Also, some of these mills were massive rambling affairs - what I was looking for was a (preferably) wooden mill - definitely more of a scenic highlight that an major traffic generator for the ole' SNE.

I started with a BEST Trains kit ( for the Berry Machine shop in Wolfeboro, NH. When I got that kit, Dave Emery mentioned to me he had plans for the rest of the mill complex. He kindly lent me the 3-ring binder filled with drawings for each of the mill buildings and detailed information on how the mill operated. Believe it or not, this place was in business into the 1970s - still making rail shipments until that time.

After spending some time sketching out the plan, I figured it was promising enough to move on to the next step - a three dimensional mockup of the entire peninsula.  I don't do this for every scene I model, but with all the elements involved here I felt It was important to see how the water, the mill buildings, and, Waterbury station scene would all fit together. And, perhaps most importantly, see if I could maintain some visual break between the two sides of the peninsula.

The photos show how this has progressed to this point.

The first image shows the Waterbury station scene - note: the structures are obviously unfinished or "stand ins" at this point. In the second photo, there will be an industry (a canning plant) built "into the hill." You can see the end of the canning plant spur in the lower left corner of the picture:

The next photo shows the view looking back from the "mill side" peninsula - NOTE: the roof height on these mockups will actually be lower on the modeled scene since I have to "excavate" the river bed. The red mockup in the background is the Machine Shop - the penstock and boilerhouse (outlined on the paper) are also included in the BEST Trains kit. River will go between the large mill building on the right and the grain mill and woodshed (the two mocked up buildings on the left. River will then widen out to form the lower pond beyond the penstock, with the water flowing "into the hillside" to the right (behind the main mill structure).

Here's a view looking from Waterbury towards the end of the peninsula (NOTE: the looming 1" scale dollhouse is only there for me to finish wiring it . . . it doesn't reside there permanently!)

Initial assessment:
1.  The elements will all "work" and seem to fit the space without looking overly crowded.
2. The hills may have to have an unrealistically steep angle behind the feedmill to help mask the end of the backdrop and still allow the depth for the mill. One possibility would be to shorten the main mill building slightly - the other would be to make the ridge one piece of foam taller. Also, the trees add about 3-4" of height to the ridges.
3. Even if some of the rooftops on Watebury are visible on the mill side - or vice versa - they will look like roofs poking through the trees - so this may not be a big problem.
3. Photoshop backdrops for the sky will be a necessity for overall "pretty pics" of this end of the layout. Close up, low angle shots will work much better in this section.

*The name of this thread is presented with all due deference to the Duke of Wellington, General McClellan, etc . . .

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