Monday, December 26, 2011

2011 River Scene Update

Things slowed down for a little while we all discussed and planned for the new modules on our exhibition layout. But we've now been back at it as we have to complete some work and tidy up the layout very soon otherwise when we pull down the exhibition layout for its work, we'll have nowhere to drive a train!

So Rob, Peter, Dallas, Bobby and Self have been at it again. Rob has been busy till now working on all the bridges for the river scene. You don't know how much effort can be expended until you do a big river scene with enough bridges to cater for six tracks. We thought a month should get it to a runnable position with just some scenicing to be done after that - what a good joke. We've been at it since the beginning of October and still going at it.

We are using 4 of the Central Valley Model Works 150' Truss bridges to handle the bridge at the back of the scene, with enough Micro Engineering Tall Steel Viaduct sections to cater for the next bridge on the river. The next bridge is a doubler track one and is made from 2 of the Kato Truss Bridges with the lead on and off being Kato Plate Girder Bridge segments. The last bridge which is the front one will be a double track one as well. It is a Ratio Plastic Models Stone Arch Viaduct.

So Rob started off with ripping up a good chunk of the old plaster work so that the river could have more perspective built into it and to also cater for all the bridge supports.

Wooden pillars were put in to support the bridge trestles and feet.

The Kato Plate Girder segments which were previously blue have now been painted and weathered to suit our tastes.

So it was now starting to look pretty good. The Kato Truss bridge was also modified to allow the top to come off for easy cleaning of the track.

Some of the bridge trestle supports will be those Fine N Scale Bridge Piers with Footers, while others will be styrene or plaster. The styrene ones are just covers to go over the plywood former, hence they will be nice and strong.

So the foam is now shapped roughly to what we think will do. Note that the bridge that will be the Stone Viaduct has not yet been replaced. We will leave it till last, so the old temporaty plywood one will do for now.

Then Peter got into it and started to put in the plaster cast rocks. He used the Woodland Scenics ones that a member had to cast up a pile of rocks and then selected bits and pieces from the lot. He cut and broke up many to get the shapes wanted.

It sure leaves a lot of gaps when you are laying them out, which will need a lot of time to join together.

Eventually found one neat trick. To join them up, make a really sloppy mix of plaster. Spray water on all the rocks so they wont absorb too much water out of the sloppy mix later, and then very carefully pour on the sloppy mix into the gaps. If the gap is a bit big, it will build up if you wait a few seconds between pours.

Now make sure to not do too much at a time (I did and boy did I pay for it) as it only stays soft for a while. This allows you time to scrape off with a dental pick (or any small tool) any excess plaster that made its way onto the good rock surfaces.

Once the joingin of the plaster rocks was complete, Peter got into it with some water based artists paints and got it all looking like a good hard granite. We will in fact most likely use decomposed granit for our river ed when we get to that stage.

So that's what we've up to on the river scene. When I get a little less slack, I'll update you all on the rest of what's been happening on the layout.