Here is the latest. I have to admit that the whole project has been stressing me out. The hard part is not knowing what the goal is. I mean I have figured out the stream bed and the road, but there are infinite choices for landscaping the embankment sides. As there are no rocks I have really only grass and I suppose stones to place. I started working on it earlier this week and then stopped because I didn’t know how to proceed. By yesterday I was ready to start again.
I decided that the embankment was mostly man-made and therefore the railroad engineers dumped a lot of rock and sand on the sides to build up and stabilize the run-up to the bridge. Therefore I went to my supplies of rock and sand and made up a mix that I thought would work. I paid attention to the colors and made sure that contrasts were kept down and the mix was kept within scale – the foreground has to match the background/backdrop.
I spread the mix over front top of the eastern side. My first thought was that it looked like someone had vomited over the diorama but soon after I felt that it looked pretty good with a variety of colors and nice mix of stones and small rocks. This is just the base for the grass so I won’t look like this for long.
Next I added grass. The way to do it is to go slow and add very light colors first. I wanted to avoid a carpet of rich green grass and I wanted to be able to see the ground beneath. It is easier to add dark colors on top of light than the other way around. I made up a mix of dry grass and then once stuck down I added a second layer of slightly greener dry grass. I will eventually add dark patches of grass here and there but for now I want to keep the colors relatively flat and muted.
I experimented with 2mm dry grass on the back and it came out ok – not great. I added a second layer of greener grass and but this intermediate stage things still look a little rough. This work is just a base for additional landscaping. The banks need a lot more work and will eventually have plants, flowers, rocks etc to make them pop a bit.
I’m waiting for materials to finish the creek bed: I want to add reeds and variety of green grasses (and flowers and shrubs). I found this paint online that creates dry mud so I put a little dry mud patch in the river bed. I’m still fiddling around with the grass color. It initially came out too dark green but I added a second layer of lighter green and it started to look much better. I’ll discuss the river bed another time.
Overall I’m trying to use natural materials as much as possible to finish the landscaping. I find that materials such as stones, sand, dust and bits of wood scale really well. They also retain a nice mix of colors and textures at HO scale. I haven’t yet had to use paint yet but I’m not ruling it out for some finishing at the end of the project.