Sunday, October 31, 2021

New siding for "Stafford Mills"

The fact that even the "first coat" of the backdrop painting stops
here is a clue that the Stafford Mills area of the layout is unresolved. 

As originally planned, Stafford Mills (essentially my freelanced version of Sheldon Springs) was the location of a major single industry - in this case a paper mill complex located at the end of a dedicated stub peninsula. But as I built the layout I realized there would be room for a siding with one or two very small industries at opposite the junction switch on the passing siding (the junction switch with the mill lead forks off from the mainline). 

In this case I didn't have to remove anything so this wasn't so much a "rework" as it was an addition or an enhancement. I could even make the argument this didn't add any additional track to the layout since I'd removed a turnout and a siding from the junction area as part of the rework of that trackage I described a few months ago. 

I was out of Micro Engineering no. 6 code 70 turnouts - as is everyone else. So I decided to handlay the necessary turnout. Although this added a couple of evenings to the project I'm glad I did - the turnout works perfectly, and cars and locomotives (even brass steam locomotives!) pass through both routes without so much as a click! I'm not wishing any additional work on myself, but if any of the Micro Engineering turnouts on the rest of the railroad fail or prove troublesome I'm simply going to replace them with handlaid ones.  

The buildings shown in the photos are strictly placeholders and may, or may not, end up in these locations permanently. I kind of like the idea of a station in between the mill lead and mainline, so that will likely stay (I may build a different station for the spot. The one shown is a model of the Richmond, Vermont station - although that perhaps the closest to a "standard" CV small depot design as the railroad had. But there are a couple of Grand Trunk (NEL) stations I've always liked and may well scratchbuild one of those for this spot. 

The freighthouse is a Walthers cheapo model that I painted and lettered in "close enough" CV colors. It's not bad .... but the weakest point is the platform - despite my best efforts it's still too bulky. I should have replaced it with a scratchbuilt wood one. I do have a BEST Trains kit that may work better in this spot, if I decide to stick with the freight house. 

The red rectangular building is simply there to fill space and see how a larger industry would look in that spot. I'm not convinced it's going to work there - especially with the freight house. The answer is looking like (1) freight house and something that isn't a large building - a coal yard for example or team track OR (2) a larger building industry with no freight house. Since there's going to be plenty of large buildings in the mill complex I'm leaning towards option #1. 

My ultimate plan for the area with inside the mainline curve (with the yellow building) is to ultimately have a mill river with one or two larger wooden mill structures over a mill stream, complete with mill falls, etc. ... But that sounds like it may take months/years to get completed. This may well simply end up as some open fields and a tree line "for now" to get a large portion of the landscape to look finished with the idea I could revisit it at some future point. 

Monday, October 4, 2021

Modeling the October Scene Clinic Hindsight version Wrap Up

Creamery Curve is getting close to completion. Still planning to add some weeds to the creamery siding and between it and the main. The Branchline creamery kit (with a scratchbuilt boiler room addition) makes for a nice stand in. It may be replaced with a scratchbuilt model at some point, but there's lots more work to do on the layout first!

Happy to report that my Modeling the October Scene clinic was well received. I wanted to record it but we had some sound issues so that didn't really work. I am doing the clinic again on November 6, this time live and in person, at our combined Potomac/James River Division meet. 

Late last week I got so busy finalizing the clinic that I neglected to add a new update on progress around what I'm calling the "Creamery Curve". In many ways, this is another update to the mainline curve realignment. 

After cutting the Martin Wellberg mats to into strips and gluing them in place (let these dry overnight!) it was time to blend them together and create the look of an overgrown pasture. 

I mostly used static grass to fill in the gaps between the mat sections, but I noticed the edge of the mat was still a little too visible. I found it was easier to use the grass and foliage net material, teased out and cut roughly to size, to fill the larger gaps and blend the mats into the rest of the ground. 

The last step was to add a scattering of electrostatic grass. 

I'd like to add some weed grown track and some scattered weeds to the wide gap between the main and creamery siding, but need to experiment on some track samples first.