Sunday, October 29, 2023

Trees, Glorious Trees....

One of the tree "panels" ready for spray painting. 
I took advantage of the beautiful fall weather today to prep some Super Trees that are needed for both the "Charlton Branch" (the former Northern SNE section) as well as some background forests between Stafford Mills and Berkshire. 

So I dug out the Super Tree boxes, picked through to find the best armatures (always disappointed at how few useable trees you get from a box of these things!). I also plucked the useable (ie., not totally dried out) trees off the mountain section from northern SNE - I figured I might be able to use those. A fair number of those trees turned to dust when I tried to pluck them off the hills, but I figure about half of them were worth while. 

Hopefully some trees from the northern SNE may be useable. 

I plucked those annoying leaves off a bunch of trees while watching football, and stuck the trees in Styrofoam panels. 

We went out for a nice early evening dinner with some of our neighbors. I returned before it got dark so I was able to get the trees spray painted (primer gray with Krylon Camo Dark Brown and another Krylon color called "Weathered Wood" - my new favorite base color) before it got dark. 

One of my tree panels after the trees were spray painted a base gray color. 

Now I have six Styrofoam "panels" of trees ready for matte medium and flocking. 

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Great Scale Model Train Show

Just a quick update to let blog readers know I'll be selling some of my model railroad "Junque"* at the Great Scale Model Train Show in Timonium, MD this coming Saturday, October 14. 

I used to do this show once or twice a year but haven't attended as a vendor in a while. I also plan to announce an upcoming project at this show. 

I'll be in the "D" section of the South (large) Hall. 

More details on the show, including times (I'll only be there Saturday, but the show is also on Sunday), admission info, and a list of vendors, can be found on the show website HERE:

I welcome any and all blog readers to stop by my tables and say hello, even if you don't want to "liberate" any of the stuff from my basement! 

* Definition of "Junque" - (1) a fancy name for "Stuff that I no longer plan to use." Also (2) "One person's trash is another's treasure!" 

Thursday, October 5, 2023

Snippets of Progress - Background hills in Stafford Mills

One of the background hills visible behind the green building in Stafford Mills. That building is a Walthers kit leftover from my old layout. I put it here as a placeholder for the MARPM open house ... but I kind of like it! 
From the photos you can tell this is about making background scenery. It started out with cleaning up the workshop - really it did! 

I haven't had much of a chance to work on the layout since the MARPM weekend - fall chores, and a crazy month at work - thanks mostly to the bozos who work in the big dome building down the street from my office - have meant that by the time I get home I'm ready to sit down with Christine and binge watch a few episodes of something on Netflix (current choice is "Suits"). 

When life gets that this I try to come up with a railroad project that's easy to accomplish in spurts - and is something I can leave and quickly come back to. 

Prepping trees is one great project. 

Cleaning up the parts for a resin car is another. 

As I hinted at above, the project started with an attempt to clean up the workshop. I simply couldn't function in the shop any more - every horizontal surface was buried in something. And there was a stack of styrofoam chunks that always seemed to be in the way ... and a box full of Super trees ... You see where this is going? 

Typically I would take the foam, put it in another box and move them and the tree box "out of way" - which really isn't out of the way it's just slightly less under foot. 

So instead of moving that stuff I decided to use it. So over the course of a several short work sessions over a week or so I got some background hills completed. 

The area to the left of the junction with the paper mill peninsula has a spot where the track gets pretty close to the wall - the only real option for scenery there was a tree covered slope. It's also a little hard to reach. So I decided to build the background sloped landforms "off site"  and then add the trees etc... before installing them in place. 

I wanted to get some background scenery in place here before finishing up the area between the track and fascia. The area with the pink foam and unpainted plywood will get an industry of some type...

After cutting the styrofoam hills to size and rasping them to shape I covered them with scatter leaf. It's not terribly obvious here but I use wax paper to avoid gluing the hills to the plywood!

I ended up with three "segments" to create the hillside (Remember, I was starting with scraps!). This is the smallest one after the Supertrees had been added. 

The small hill "section" in place - note how the trees help screen the joint between the layout and the wall. The gravel parking area is tile grout with some fine dirt. 

The other two sections of background hills. Notice how the plywood serves as a palette!!

I have gotten some other cleanup done in the shop. I had been storing the larger sheets of styrene and brick texture sheets in a plastic storage tub on the floor. Problem was that particular tub has a lid that prevented me from stacking other tubs on top of it. So it sat in the middle of the floor (bad) or in front of the shelves on the floor (worse)! I got sick of tripping over the stupid thing.  A couple of additional shelves in one of the Ivar cabinets and all that stuff has a new home. And that tub is going out the door!