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.


  1. That siding has come up a treat Allen. Hmm you've given me a thought.
    I purchased a static grass applicator and various lengths of static grass to use in it about a year ago and it is still in the box.

    1. If your thought comes to fruition, I'd like to see it...
      This was one of the main reasons I wanted a grass applicator. I've seen a lot of Rock Island pictures where the tracks were covered in weeds. I know it might be difficult to get stuff to run on that track given its a model, but I think careful application and keeping it light, should work OK?