Thursday, August 29, 2013

Build Me a River 5: Test fitting foreground trees

Test fitting some Crepe Myrtle tree armatures. Still could use some more foreground trees! 
Managed to get a few foreground tree armatures built up. Testing to make sure their placement doesn't interfere with uncoupling on the yard lead or reaching the crossovers that serve as the approaches to White River Junction yard. 
I think two large trees work well in the positions shown. I do want to add a couple more "medium" trees. 
These trees will be painted and flocked once I'm satisfied with how they look and their placement in the scene. 

Build Me a River - 4: What do 220 Supertrees look like?

Work continues on the White River scene. Will our hero finish in time for the MER Convention tours? Stayed tuned to find out.....
Ever wonder what 200+ Supertrees planted on a hillside look you do. I treed the "background" hills behind the yard lead and main in White River Junction last night. I still need to add some foreground trees and ground texture between the hill and yard lead.
After looking at the photos I think I'm going to carve a sharper angle into the base of the foam panels (luckily the panels aren't glued in place!) to get the hillsides to lean back toward the wall. Their current vertical position give the trees a pronounced forward "lean" and the top of the treeline looks like a crew cut - I'd rather have more variation in height.

The "leaning trees" effect, not really a problem when you're looking at the layout in person, is all too apparent in this photo. Adjusting the angle of the hillside "panels" will address the problem.
Frankly, neither of these are all that visible when viewed in person, but they really leap out in photos - an example of why the camera is an excellent modeling tool!
But the changes I need to make are relatively straightforward "tweaks." Once they're done I can add some additional texture (static grass, weeds, and the like) between the track and the treeline. 

The open areas create a nice visual relief from the solid mass of trees. This will get a static grass treatment to add some additional textures and colors.
And I have to make up a bunch of foreground trees for the riverbanks. But it's starting to look better - and it's already a much better background for the Everett scene than the pink styrofoam hills!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Build Me a River - 3: Making the Sausage

Hey, seeing how sausage, and scenery, is made ain't pretty.  Luckily this morass of colors, textures and somewhat odd shapes eventually gets covered and all that's visible is the top 1/16" of an inch or so....

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Build Me a River - 2

In addition to the work on the Green Mountain Paper Co. I'm also trying to get the first coat of scenery on the White River scene, which has sat untouched since March. For the first post on this scene click here.
I’ve added the basic landforms to the foreground and background. Better still, about 400 Super trees have been completed and are awaiting installation on the hillsides. I opted to use green florist foam for most of the scenery sub base here. Although it’s more expensive than the pink foam board it’s much, much easier to carve and since it’s made for floral arrangements readily accepts the trees without the need to pre-poke or drill holes! Once it's painted basic brown I'll add some forest floor texture material (ground up leaves and some fine brown ground foam) and install the trees.  

Green Mountain Paper Complex - update

A "mockup" of the Green Mountain Paper Co. complex in Everett shows things are slowly coming together.
 I once again find myself with several “almost finished” projects in the works. A natural offshoot of trying to get as much done as possible before the September 15 op session. Then the layout will be open for tours and operating session during the MER Convention in October. Actually work on the layout will cease on September 7 as I go into full fall cleanup and op session prep mode. Between September 7 and the open house dates in mid-October I’ll limit my modeling efforts to things like rolling stock and locomotive decoder installs. In other words, tasks that won’t trash the entire railroad!
City Classics Warehouse walls combined to form the "new"
warehouse at Green Mountain Paper
The two large buildings of the Green Mountain Paper Co. complex are complete enough to show how the scene is shaping up. Over the last week I’ve managed to get the City Classics Smallman Street walls painted and assembled, and gotten the basic building together. Next step is to install the roof bracing and sheet styrene roof as well as some Walthers rooftop details (otherwise the building would look too bare. A planned sign for the roof may have to wait until after the September op session. The "new" warehouse still needs a roof in this photo.
Looks like there's too much of a "gap" in the middle of the complex so I tried adding some mocked up tanks and the like. I've also been playing around with various photo backdrops - I think the prototype mill picture needs to be a little larger.
I'm going to let this simmer for a few days while I work on the Curren Manufacturing Co. (Specialists in Repurposing Parts and Assemblages) - the red brick building barely visible to the right edge of the photo.

Monday, August 19, 2013

New Blogger .... and Blog

Check out Bill Schneider's blog on his HO scale "Old & Weary." Bill Schneider photo
My good friend Bill Schneider has started a blog about his outstanding New York Ontario & Western modeling - a railroad even less relevant to the national rail system than the CV.....although he does refer to his layout as "The Old Woman in the Back Bedroom" - a name sure to attract the attention of law enforcement officials.....

Seriously, check out his efforts at:

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Foreground Trees - Update

I've gotten some questions on my Crepe Myrtle trees lately, including questions on what a Crepe Myrtle plant looks like "in the wild." Rather than create another post I added a photo of a Crepe Myrtle tree in bloom to the original August 2011 post on making trees using Crepe Myrtle tips and Supertree foliage material. See it here:

Since that post appeared I've done some experimenting adding leaves to the Crepe Myrtle foreground trees - a post on that will follow shortly.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

"Sea Trial #2" Test Session Scheduled

I've looked over the calendar and chosen September 15th for the second "Sea Trial" test session. This time we'll try running the passenger trains - and hopefully the timetable, train sheets, and train cards will all match! (something that didn't exactly happen back in May!) 

That same weekend will see the first ever Mid-Atlantic Railroad Prototype Modelers meet in Stafford, Va., which is about 30 miles south of us. Even though Norm Wolf, who's organizing the meet, didn't ask me to present a clinic, I'll go ahead and plug the event here. See http// for more details.

The next model railroad event where I will be presenting a clinic is the Mid-Eastern Region,  NMRA Annual Convention in Rockville, Md., the weekend of October 10-13, 2013. I'll be doing my clinic on Friday, October 11 at 2:30. As clinic chairman for the event I've tried to put together a decent line-up of clinicians - I'll let you decide if that's the case. Schedule, and convention information can found on the convention web site -
We will also be having two open house sessions as part of the self-drive layout tours, one Saturday morning from 9:00-12:00, the other on Sunday October 13, time to be announced. 
We are also hosting an operating session on Saturday afternoon. Attendance at the op session is first-come first serve and you can sign up for the op session when you register for the convention. 
So, it looks like we'll have a busy fall. 
If you're looking for me, I'll be in the basement working the railroad!