Friday, December 24, 2010

Upper Level Scenery begins

Here I am constructing eps foam boards to fit between the tracks of the upper portion of the layout. There are several removable sections for access to any possible derailments behind the mountain range. The flat area will the location of a coal powered facility.

More views of Western Pacific line

Here I am building an area found on the former Western Pacific lines (Keddie Wye) in California. We are using real soil collected from the location. I have matched the rock colors and painted white plaster castings accordingly. There will be vegetation added much like the backdrop image.

Silverbow Canyon base painting complete

This is yet another view of Silverbow Canyon with the base painting complete. Next, I will add soil and shrubbery. I made notes on the application of the paint so that I can fix any damage occurred when the actual steel viaduct gets built and placed. This is a temporary wood bridge made of plywood for the meantime.

Applying a rocky edge to upper level of layout

Here I have been challenged to apply a rock finish to the edge of the upper portion of the layout. We could not use rock castings on the extreme edges because the walkway is narrow and plaster could damage a locomotive being carried by a user. Instead, I used fiber decor and foam. I did however use rock castings on the inner edge along the soon to be river bank. I sandwiched foam sheet around the plywood to give it thickness and strength, filled in the seams with expanding foam in a can and later carved the excess off. Then I applied the fiber decor and made rock impressions with a putty blade.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

More Static Grass Colors are Added

This scene has four colors of static grass and two lengths of static grass, applied in various stages to create a seamless transition into the backdrop. I really look forward to seeing the river below come to life with water effects.

Color Matching / Silverbow Canyon Rock

Here I am matching colors with the actual rock gathered from Silverbow Canyon. I first applied a heavy stain of umbers and siennas. After drying, I applied a thinner wash of grays over the brown colors. A very light spray of alcohol and india ink helps to bring out the fine details of the rock castings. Dirt and vegetation will be added after the base painting is complete.

Testing Various Static Grasses

Here are areas being tested for various lengths and colors of static grasses.
The shorter fibers were added first, then the longer fibers where applied using a NOCH static grass applicator.

Elevations being added / Scenery to come soon

The elevation is being added from the lower portion of the layout to the upper portion. Scenery will be needed soon over
the woodwork and track in this area.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Keddie Wye Area Of Model Railroad/ Base Scenery Prepared

This area of the O-Gauge model railroad is now prepared for vegetation. The base hydrocal castings were painted in 4 stages.
After one coat of stain was dry, the next layer could be applied. Once all the castings were painted to match the actual rock (the way it appears when the dirt is washed off) The foam and dry fiber decor were painted with an ocre base pallet. The first coat was heavier than a wash. The following coats were thinner washes applied after being sprayed with an india ink wash to bring out detals.
Once the paints and stains were dry, glue was brushed on and then dry sifted soil was applied and let dry in place. After it was dry, the excess dirt was vacuumed off.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Adding Static Grass to the dirt covered hills

After having all the foam and plaster rock castings painted to match the real rock at this location, I applied a mix of three differing static grass colors to match the painted backdrop.

Joshua Trees and Sagebrush Planted

Sanding complete around the On3 roadbed grade

This roadbed grade is for an On3 line. I thought it looked great as a road temporarily and placed this neat truck heading up the hill.

Final Application of dirt from location / ready for static grass

I am finishing up applying dirt collected from the real location in Montana. Once the glue has dried completely (overnight), I will apply static grass to the hills to blend into the background painting.

Matching real rock color and patterns onto plaster and foam

Here I have matched the real stone patterns and colors (on the left) to plaster rock castings (the two smaller pieces to the right) The plaster was white to begin with. I used acrylic paint washes. There are several stages to this replication so I documented the color palette / ratios and instructions as seen in the photograph of my notebook. The procedures for painting foam were a bit different than that of plaster, but very similar.

Mountain base paint complete/ready for field grass/ballast and a river

All the base color is finished and ready for dirt application and static grass.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Dusting real dirt onto scenery to blend into backdrop painting

This area was dusted with real clay dirt collected from Owenyo, California. The color matches well with the backdrop painting and lends to the illusion of depth.

More photos of Rugged Cascade range

I like this area of the layout very much. Here are some more photos of the rocky granite Cascade range I modeled using
a solid foam armature and many hydrocal rock castings applied and blended together with filler.

Skykomish area gets base color treatment

Today I gave the Skykomish area of the layout a base color and some washes to get the effect of the local granite.
Soil will be added to the ground and trees planted later.

More work on the upper tunnels

Here you can see the heavy gauge line used for "tear away" cords. These will be useful when the project is moved to a new location in the future. These cords are hidden in the surface of the scenery and will be used to separate the scenery sections.

Todd and photo of new tunnels

More photos of the Clovis, AZ. area

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

More Views of the Clovis/Owenyo areas

This is a neat area that Dave Hikel (Hikel O-Gauge Trains) designed for the On3.
I really have enjoyed building the scenery on this corner of the layout. Being surrounded by the beautiful
backdrop painting (by Andy Eccleshall). I feel very fortunate that Dave offered me the opportunity to work with him
on the scenery of this 3000 sq.ft. 3-rail / O-gauge model railroad.

Adding some base colors

On the left side of the scene, you will notice more color. I have been applying base washes to the terrain.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Tunnel and interior and base paint / Owenyo, Ca.

I have constructed a blasted rock tunnel portal in this series of images with hydrocal rock castings and fiber decor modeling material. Some of the tunnel interior is made from carved foam so that they can easily be removed if needed. Other photos show the fresh washes of base color applied to the desert hills. I mix a batch of burnt siena, mars black, ocre and titanium white to make this tone. We will eventually sift on some soil gather from the actual location being modeled here.

Adding slopes against desert hills

I'm am building up a slope and grade for a narrow gauge line passing through Owenyo, California to Clovis, New Mexico.
I am building up the terrain with expanding foam from a can. After it is dry and hard, I will shape it with a sharp kitchen knife and slather it with fiber decor modeling material. These mountain sections must be removable so I lay down some cellophane wrap under the area I am working on so the foam will not adhere to the board.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Other side of the tunnel

This side of the tunnel will lead us into the Idaho landscape. Here I have worked the hydrocal rock castings to fit the minimum amount of space in this area of the layout. It is planned to have a short snow shed leading into this tunnel portal.

Tunnel Rockwork

Here the tunnel is a facade to disguise the emergency escape ladder leading out of the basement. Structures and trees will make the final touches when this section is complete.

Steps in Ballasting track

Here is the process in which I ballast track. Make sure to tape off the switches so that ballast does not interfere with moving parts. I use a light tack painters tape. Saturate the dry ballast with water and a couple of drops of dish soap. This pre wetting of the ballast will allow the ballast adhesive to slip right down between all the granules and give a secure hold. The next day, I remove the tape and carefully and lightly ballast around the switches applying glue with an eye dropper.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Ballasting Track in the Railroad Yard

Here I have been ballasting track in the railroad yard. There are five varieties of ballasted track. Plenty of adhesive is needed to completely soak through the ballast and to keep it secure.

More foam building ahead

As I come around the corner of the layout, I will need to build up the scenic base with foam. This image shows how
much foam is used on this layout. My friend, Rob Nelson is assisting Dave Hikel with electrical duties. Rob's brother
is a great friend of mine too, he builds websites. See his work at

Removable scenery sections

These scenery sections are removable from the benchwork in the event access to the upper level is needed.
Foam is great for this because of its strength and light weight.

Finishing up raw scenery in the Cascades

Here are some views of the raw scenery that is basically finished in this area. I am continuing to work around the bend.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Hydrocal Gypsum Rock Castings for Tunnels and Mountains

More tunnels have been added to the portion of the layout passing through the Cascade Mountains near Skykomish, Washington.
I used several rock castings made of hydrocal gypsum, broken with a hammer to fit tight, cemented into place onto foam and then
blended together with a Sculptamold type of product.

A Small Stream is Carved

Here I have added even more terrain around the corner in the Skykomish area of the layout. I have carved a small stream
flowing from a "soon to be" marsh. Many rock castings cobbled together were used to create the tunnels and mountains in
the background.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Skykomish is expanding with terrain

This portion of the Skykomish area of the layout is getting terrain. (O-Gauge).
There will be a double concrete portal and two upper level blasted rock tunnels passing through
rugged cuts of granite.

Friday, August 27, 2010

More Desert Scenes at Prescott

Here are some more scenes from the Prescott area of the train layout.
I've added real dirt from the actual location collected by the director of the
project, Dave Hikel. I am working on the adjoining Owens Valley area now.

Friday, August 20, 2010

A Forest is planted on the narrow gauge section

Here I have planted around 1000 tiny trees on the upper level narrow gauge. It is typical of many rock faces seen in the Western Cascades of Washington. I will place many more tree which are much smaller at the top for the illusion of deep perspective.
In the foreground, taller trees will be planted. I had to drill holes into the plaster and glue each tree in place.

Skykomish area gets texture

I am working on the Skykomish, Washington area of the layout now. I have put a smooth coat of modeling compound onto the surface of the foam to hide the seams and to smooth it out. Hydrocal rock castings have been added to create a cut into
the landscape as well as craggy peaks on one of the mountainous areas. Ground soil and and trees will be added eventually after it is painted.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Final painting on the area near Prescott

Here are some views of the hand-carved rock work that has had its final washes of paint.

Scenes across the deserts

Here are a couple of nice shots of scenery a passenger might see on a trip through the many deserts being modeled on this layout.

Scene across New Mexico

This is a view of an area of New Mexico being modeled. The work is still in progress and more details along the edge of
the terrain will be added.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Base colors get applied to the plateau's

The first application of paint has been completed. A second application of paint is coming soon.
The plateau's, carved from foam, are beginning the match the painted backdrop quite well.

The P&E Junction gets painted

Here the P&E Junction gets washes of acrylic paint to match closely the actual soil samples taken from the actual location.

The P&E Junction area as it is being carved out

This is a section called The P&E Junction on the O-Gauge layout designed by Dave Hikel of Hikel O-Gauge Layouts.
I am doing contract scenery work for him and his client on this 3000 square foot O-Gauge Layout. The P&E Junction area was
quite the challenge to match the unique rock forms found at the actual location. I applied a slip coat of FlexAll patch compound which evened out the carvings quite well.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Matching the color of actual soil

Here is a very good color match for the soil found in Avery, Idaho. I mixed differing ratios of acrylic paints until I found the correct formula. We will need to do repairs to the painted areas when this layout is dismantled some day and moved to a new location.

Before and After/ Cascade granite washes

Here is an image of the rock work prior to painting. Also, are views of the same rock work after two base washes were applied.

Preparing for Cascade granite rock color washes

Here the seams of the scenery sections have been carefully filled in.
A detailed inspection of the mountain has been done and we are ready for some color.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

extending mountain range from the painted backdrop

Here I am extending the mountainous backdrop painting into the model railroad using stacked foam and carved with a Hot Wire Foam Factory router tool. I blended the mountains with the low hills using a model compound much like Sculptamold.

stonework finished and ready for paint

The stonework, carved from foam has been sanded and has had a slip coat. Dry plaster was added to the wetted surface and sanded down after it was dry for just the right texture of rock. Note that I have begun the forced perspective slope to
the background near the base of the painted backdrop.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Prescott, AZ/blending of two geologic forms

Here I am blending two forms of rock in a short distance. Going from Clovis, NM to Prescott, AZ.
I carved extruded foam board with a paring knife and hotwire foam factory router tool and a medium/ coarse rasp file.
After Dave and I were satisfied with the formations, I gave the rockwork a plaster like slip coat to smoothen the surface of
the "rasped" foam. I continued to manipulate the slip coat as it was drying in front of a fan and becoming thicker. I would dip an inexpensive paint brush into water and paint over the slip coat with water to give the surface a smooth appearance.
Painting will be soon to come.