Creek bed water

I went cycling on the Lassen and Fernley railroad near Susanville CA recently. This old logging railroad runs alongside a river I so I was able to take pictures of the wide variety of plants around the water. The challenge will be to figure out how to model some of this plant-life.

The old railway bed has been turned into a cycle path. It runs for about 25 miles through some spectacular scenery.

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Creek bed almost done

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks detailing out the creek bed. It’s a process of layering primarily. I added one class of vegetation (such as grass tufts) each evening and then saw how that looked before continuing with a different class of vegetation (such as flowers). Things are slowly coming together. I’m not sure now if I need to keep working at it. I’m just about ready to add water. While I wait for the Woodland Scenics water to arrive I’ve been working on small details elsewhere – adding a vine to the trestle and flowers here and there. I may still add a fence to the east side to balance things out a little. I’ll do that over the weekend.

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Flowers and plants

So tonight I spent some time adding flowers and plants. Things are coming together slowly. I’m carefully positioning all the elements to try to create nicely composed scene. A rock here, a stone there, some weeds here, some grass there – it should all combine to create a credible picture but one that is nice to look at too. I’m enjoying finding that balance between real life and a pretty picture.

Grass is not one color or texture. There is a gentle variation of color within the strands but a group or area of grass strands can have several ‘sweeps’ of color. By mixing the colors of the static grass you can have a nice variation of color at a ‘granular’ level but by using an airbrush you can capture those colorful sweeps as well.

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The Creek

So I’ve started working on the creek. I ‘sat’ on the project for a few days working up some inspiration and then decided to just start. I’ve been wondering what to do here. I mainly want there to be a mix of colors and textures that change within a very short distance of one another. My materials are static grass of various colors and lengths, sand and stone of various textures and shades, miniature flowers, miniature reeds/rushes and then the usual flock and paint etc. That’s not alot of materials to work with but it’s a start so let’s how I do.

The starting point: strip off the previous materials and get back to a base on which to build the new creek bed. I also keep these photos near me for inspiration and to make sure I don’t go off on some surreal tangent.

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West Side Finished

It is now finished. No doubt I’ll keep tweaking it by adding flowers and colors but for now enough is done for me to really focus on the creek bed.

I wanted to add a scree. A real scree of course will have formed out of broken rocks from a rock face located above the scree. The embankment has no such source of rocks so I created a story of an earth slippage caused by rain that created a scar in the soil. Once that was in place I just added the vegetation around.

By now I actually have bunch of techniques at my service so I had much more control over how this side came together. As such it looks more realistic and there is a clear story being told about the trestle and embankment. I’m very pleased with it and feel ready to move on. My only small complaint is that there is not enough range in color ie too much green but I’ll need to experiment more at a later date with a wider range of colors before applying more color to future models.

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West Side

I continue to plug away at the diorama and spent this week working on the westside embankment. I wanted to add a scree. A real scree of course will have formed out of broken rocks from a rock face located above the scree. The embankment has no such source of rocks so I created a story of an earth slippage caused by rain that created a scar in the soil. I’m not finished, this is just the first treatment to get the scar in place and surround with a variety of grass. I’m ready to add the remaining vegetation plus a small fence similar to the one on the opposite bank. Still lots to do but I’m enjoying taking my time and working on small areas bit by bit.

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Fence finished

I managed to finish the fence tonight and I am very happy with it. I plucked out some some thin strands of wire from some metal bailing wire which I strung between the posts. The final effect is perfect. I also added a small stile gate to break up the fence a little and  provide something interesting to focus the eye on.

The stile gives passersby access to the creek.

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Fence

Started working on the fence tonight. I used code 50 rail which I cut and drilled ready for wire to be strung between each post. My first attempt to thread the wire failed miserably. I used my telegraph wire first but I realized that it is just too thin. I pulled a metal strand from some bailing wire and I think that it will work just fine.

I’m still deciding whether to extend the fence all the way to the front of the diorama. I’ll do that part tomorrow.

The telegraph wire is just too thin so I’ll exchange it for something thicker tomorrow.

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