Sunday, March 29, 2015

Grade crossings and weed covered sidings, Oh my!

With March about over and April just around the corner, things are really starting to green up around here! Makes me wonder if the W&OV will have enough in their savings to spray for weeds this year or not.
I'm sure it's really high on their priority list, lol. 


I'm continuing to plod right along with scenery.  Friday night I was able to get the two wooden road crossing installed on the west end of Crushmoore.  One is on the main and other is on the siding where the pulpwood cars set.

This is the first time I've ever installed any wooden crossings.  One thing I wanted to make sure was that I would not be rubbing them every time I cleaned the track so I sanded the thickness a bit so they'd sit well below the rail head.  To my surprise their thickness put them about even with the rail head, and I'm using code 80 rail.  But not to fear, a few passes on a sanding board took care of them right quick.

Once I got them installed I wanted to weathered them a bit.  I started off using an India Ink wash, this gave the gray, faded look.  Then I grabbed some pastel chalks and while the planks were still wet, I rubbed my finger on the brown chalk and then on the crossing, followed by some black chalk on the middle sections. 

The next thing to do with these will be to lay down some of the grout and make the actual road leading into the West end of Crushmoore..

The next step was to get the base coat of ground foam down. I painted on the glue mixture then sifted the foam over everything including the tracks.  This reminded me that I wanted them to look weedy and overgrown with little maintenance.

So after things dried and I sucked up the excess foam, I started playing around with the sidings.  This is the first attempt I made with ground foam using the chip loading siding at Crushmoore as the Guinea pig.

While it doesn't look bad, I didn't like the ballast that was showing through being the same color as the ballast next to it.  Then I tried something I've always wanted to do when I got to this stage.  I grabbed some cheap acrylic dark brown paint, thinned with windshield wiper fluid and added some dark gray and a touch of black so that it looked like liquid mud. Thinned it a bit more, which was still heavier than a typical wash, and painted it right on the track and ballast!  After it had dried a bit I went back with the ground foam and lightly sprinkled several different colors of ground foam starting with an earth color, then a dark green and worked my way toward the lighter colors.  I then finished it off with some coarse ground foam.

Liking the looks of it much better, I grabbed the glue mixture and saturated the entire siding and let it dry.  Then I went about giving the other sidings the same treatment.

This is the siding for the pulpwood unloading at Crushmoore.

This is the siding for Heavy Metal

I really liked the way the wash toned down the ballast on the sidings and along with the earth colored foam made it look like the tracks had settled into the mud.   Once I get the rest of the sidings done with this treatment, I think it'll be time for the static grass.

The first attempts with the grass was a little disappointing to say the least.  I used a mix of Woodland Scenics Light and Medium Green.  It came out looking like the grass was frosted and little to light.  After discussing this with a few friends, I think the main problem was it was too short and too light.  I'm looking at some Noch grass that I and another friend have on order which is a mix of 2, 4 and 6mm lengths.  It's a blend called Medium Green Cattle Pasture and another one is called Summer Field Static Grass.

If this doesn't do the trick I might try some Silfor 4mm summer grass and 6mm late summer grass.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Spring comes to Malvern.

Since today is the furst full day of spring, I thought it would be fitting for this post today.
I've been working pretty steady over the last week trying to get the base coat of green down in Malvern.  My goal is to break out the static grass and try to get some of that applied before I clean things up and take a break.  I plan to start remodeling my kitchen shortly, but we'll see...

After getting the roads and pads poured, I wanted to get some grass and parking lots laid out so I could finally get a chance to break out the static grass.  I know, I know. I've said this so many time before, but I think I'm finally ready.

After getting some of the grout laid out, first next to the shoulders of the road to help hide the fill ballast, I also got it spread around the W&OV engine facility.  Finding out how bad the grout can stain or change color of anything it touches, I laid down some some tape to keep off areas like the ballast and facility pad.

This worked good but it also gave me a very prominent line that looked a little unnatural.  I later went back and sprinkled the grout on with my fingers to mask the line.  Once this was done, I spritzed the whole grout parking lot with water until it was very damp.

In some some places the grout did not want to set up, maybe because I didn't mix it. So what I did was to go back and with alcohol and sprayed down the whole area so it was damp and then coated the whole area with my ballast glue.  This did two things, one it glued it down just like ballast and it also darkened it a bit.  Which turned out to be a good thing as the Polyblend Fawn #156 was a little lighter than I was hoping for.  Now it looks a lot closer to sand or gravel.

I'd post a picture of the Fawn color but it's no where near the color that it turned out to be once applied, it's a lot more red than I hoped for, but nothing that an acrylic wash wouldn't take care of, I hope.

But here's a link to the Polyblend colors [however long it lasts]                              POLYBLEND COLOR CHOICES

Once the grout was down and dried around the W&OV facility, Heavy Metal and on the west end of Crushmoore, I started laying down the first base of green ground foam!

The next thing I want to do is finish blending the edges a bit more and then add a few other colors for a bit of variation.  Once I get this done, I'm gonna start playing with the static grass!!

I've done some scenery before on a few of my Bend Track modules years ago.  But this is the furthest I've made it on this layout.  Things are finally coming together, it's only been 7 years since I first put up the benchwork here in Malvern.

It's come a long way since this...

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Gravel roads and parking lots

Since the last time I've done any major scenery work, I've read about so many new techniques and methods that I've wanted to try, now I'm finally getting a chance to try some. Talk about learning to ride the bike all over again...

One of which is the use of sanded grout for gravel roads and parking lots.  It comes in a wide variety of colors and is very fine, much finer than any material I've used before. It's also dirt cheap [pun intended].   One thing I learned already, was the grout powder will discolor any area it touches and it's hard to remove so I've roughly taped off the ballast, track and roads to prevent any discoloration before I sift it into place.
The way I'm using it is to paint the surface an earth color first.  After it's dry, I spread thinned glue down [about 70% white glue to 30% water].

Then I use a sieve to spread it over the glued areas.

Once I get it sifted into place I let it dry.  Then I wet it down again with a small atomizer of 70% alcohol then apply a 50-50 white glue mix like you would use to glue ballast in place.

Once it's dried, it isn't going anywhere.  It's probably hard to see too well, but there is a good amount of texture with the sanded grout.  

One thing about using the tape, it can and will leave a very defined line so I will probably have to go back over this with a bit more ballast or try and work a line of weeds between the ballast and the parking lot. This might be a good use of static grass?  As you can see, some paint was removed when the tape came up.

Next step is to add some green ground foam...

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Things to do on a nice warm day...

Having no further use of these and not being able to find anyone who wanted them, we decided dispose of them.  Just throwing them in the trash didn't sound like much fun, smashing them didn't sound exciting enough,  neither did some of the other ways we discussed.  But..... giving them a dry Viking funeral did seem interesting.

So when the first warm day came around......

Rest In Peace


Thursday, March 5, 2015

Caution! Sharp Drop Off

After getting the roads poured in Malvern, the one that  lead back to Olin-Chlor was a little thick since I wanted it to be at the same level as the track when it crossed it.  This left a huge drop off  that I was going to have to fill, but how?

My first thought was to use plaster, but the sanding dust, ugh!  I also thought about using ground goop but have never used this stuff before.  Hmmm?

So I grabbed a bag that I had picked up at the recent train show and got after it.  Right from the get go I could see this was going to about as messy as plaster.  I didn't like the results so I quickly scraped it up and cleaned the area the best I could.  I got some smeared on the road [of course I was in too much of a hurry to tape things off] so when I'm done I'll just repaint it.

Later I thought why not just fill it with some sanded grout? It's cheap and I've always wanted to give grout a try since reading about it on the forums and seeing the results. But not having any on hand at this time of night I decided to grab some old ballast and see how that works.

I found a Cool Whip container with some old Woodland Scenics Fine Buff.  I used a spoon and sprinkled it up next to the road and then feathered it out away from the road's edges using a small block of wood like I've done before to tamp my ballast.

Once the ballast was in place and feathered out I sprayed it down with 70% Alcohol and applied the glue mixture just like I would when gluing ballast.

This was a lot easier with a lot less mess than plaster.  Now after it dries I should be able to clean it up and apply whatever type of ground cover I want right up to the road.  

I'll pull up the concrete and finish painting the edge of it and then I'll glue down the front edge so it sits down on the surface without the gap.  But I'll cross that bridge later when I repaint the road.

This was kind of a stumbling block for me as it's been a fair amount of time since I've done any kind of scenery work.  I guess I was overthinking it...D'oh!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Olin-Chlor expansion, part 8

I stopped in Malvern last night to see how things were moving along with the Olin-Chlor plant.  Looks like the building and the new pad was finished and also looks like the new storage tanks are going up.


I finally received my Tomytec upright storage tanks.  Wasn't real happy with their choice of color, but what are you going to do?

The other night after a little debate and a few texts to Steven and Greg, it was decided that they should be painted white. But first I wanted to give them the same treatment as I did for the piping cage and distillation towers.

After gluing the bottom funnels to the tanks I cleaned up the mold lines up and then shot everything with oxide red for a base coat.

Next I misted the white over the oxide red just enough to allow the oxide red to show through. This would give the appearance that the white is fading and rust is setting in.  I even painted the concrete slabs with the oxide.  My hopes are that I can replicate rust that has run down the stands and have stained the concrete slab.
After getting the white sprayed on, it wasn't as opaque as the silver and the oxide red came through enough that the white looked kind of a mauve color, so I sprayed the white a bit heavier.

So far things were going good until I got the walkways.  These I sanded down the thickness a bit, but no use.  These things were just TOO DAMN THICK.!!  After snapping a couple of pics and sending them off to Steven and Greg for approval or rejection, may answer came back  REJECTED! 
I have to say I agree with them. It's too bad too, these are really pretty nice looking kits if it wasn't for the catwalks and railings. 

I did think ahead and ordered some Gold Metal Model industrial walkways just in case, and it looks like I'm going to need them too so, back to the drawing board...

I think I'm going to see about adding a ladder with a safety cage so I can replace the ladders which are almost as think as the railings.  

Another thing that is missing is there is no piping for filling these tanks.  But I think I have plan for that.