As suggested, today was "D" day for the commencement of the cuttings and tunnel portals for both the mainline and (as yet unnamed) branch. For some reason I had real trouble getting going this morning which maybe explained by spending last night having dinner at the in-laws. By now some people would be conjuring thoughts that I may have had one too many beverages and was suffering the age old symptoms of a hangover...nup not so...I gave up alcohol at the ripe old age of 22 and will soon be turning 53, so no it was not that. It may well have been the company or the food...but the least said on that score, the better.
Anyway, following my second cup of tea I was now ready to hit the layout room. I had over the last few days imagined how I wanted the cuttings and portals to appear when completed and had assembled the raw materials to get the ball rolling. There are probably a hundred different and ultimately correct ways of forming scenery and I have adopted the styrofoam with plaster bandage overlayed to get the desired contours and then revert to a finish coat of plaster with PVA glue added. I have learnt at least one thing over the years and that is to colour the top coat during mixing of the batches so that any finished scenery that ends up with a chip for some reason does not show through as white.
The next stage ( after completion of the base scenery in this location ) will be to add the rocky outcrops, the plethora of vegetation and undergrowth...and of course the plethora of details that tie the whole scene together and hopefully recreate a believable end result.
While on the subject of scenery, there certainly are some modellers who have a natural talent...then there are some that have nurtured and honed this skill over many years and in some cases many layouts. For me, creating scenery does not come very easily and in an attempt to substitute for my lack of ability, I take regular trips to places like the Cullerin Ranges and just sit and examine these locations to observe the topography, variations in vegetation and of course the subtle hues of colour. I have also taken countless photos of these locations and it is these that are referred to constantly for inspiration. One other factor in all of this is that I also draw a fair amount of raw materials from these locations as well and spend countless hours with a mortar and pestle and sieves to maintain a steady supply of "dirt" and groundcovers. At the end of the day if I utilise what is there in nature then it has to have some positive effect...and of course it is free!
And so it was that half way through cup of tea number twelve, late this afternoon, that I had reached my workload limit today and was being summoned to prepare for dinner... While penning this post I was of course pondering my next layout day and realised that I also need to prepare another 3 or 4 dozen trees for this area and the subject of trees does deserve a post all of it's own to discuss methods that I use versus commercially available offerings. Of all of the requirements to build a layout certainly the procurement of trees has to be up there with wagons and locos in terms of outlay if RTP ( ready to plant ) is used extensively. Anyway as said this subject does warrant a post all of it's own and for now I will continue to create trees utilising the present method until someone with green fingers can tune me in to an easier method.
First train traversing the branch following a 24 hour "track possession"
With this train now clear of the work site a clearer view of today's progress can be made.
An example of the trees that are being "handmade" for the layout...