Once again been super busy with life but have kept on with the diorama in my spare time. As mentioned before progress has been slow but steady. Besides modeling the diorama I continue to experiment with different techniques and materials, and continue to organize the modeling room. I have also started the planning of my new layout which I intend to commence building early next year.
Here is the latest:
It took a little while to decide what to put into the little area alongside the rear path behind the depot. I thought about modeling a garden or some maintenance buildings, but in the end decided upon a corn field. This would hide the backdrop join and blend the diorama with the feed mill in the background.
I’m happy with the corn field area for the time being. Plenty more to do but good enough to keep moving and come back to it at a later date. The diorama is looking a little grey and messy right now but that is about to change. I’m going to start cleaning things up and will add vegetation that will make the overall diorama look brighter and more colorful.
It took three attempts to get the center grass tufts just right. My original modeling rules had stated to not experiment on the model itself but unfortunately I broke by not having a method worked out before attempting it on the model. By breaking that rule paid the price as each time I failed to produce something I was happy with I had to remove the crossing gravel base, remake the paste and wait three days for it to dry before starting the tufts again. As such the crossing area and the grass tufts took nearly four weeks to complete to my satisfaction. I would even go as far as saying that they are still not quite right – they seem a little overscale – but at some point you just have to move on and take your learnings on to the next model.
The goal with the tufts was to model them in a much more realistic way than you generally see. Most model grass tufts splay outwards as result of the electric charge that pushes the strands away from each other. In some circumstances that is realistic and has a place on a model. However I like grass that points straight up, that is sculptured and groomed, and I like grass that has a defined shape and a prototypical height. The method I devised gave me complete control over the creation of tufts and minimized leaving the shape to chance. In the end the method to create tufts ended up being quite simple and I will post the method with photos another time.
Here are some pics:
Landscaping materials and vegetation
One of the reasons to build the diorama was to help me organize my tools and materials in the new model train room. I was about to start working closely on the vegetation and took the opportunity to reorganize all my landscaping, vegetation and terrain materials. Previously they were stored either in the original packaging or in supermarket-purchased plastic containers. I looked online for a better method of storing these materials and discovered bamboo-lid storage jars. here is one supplier I purchased them from: https://www.hobbylobby.com/Crafts-Hobbies/Glass-Crafting/Glass-Containers/Glass-Jar-With-Bamboo-Lid—24-Ounce/p/80846497
They can be bought in bulk and in different sizes. I worked through the packets and containers and kept purchasing jars until I had all my materials ‘decantered’. You can buy the jars for an average of $4-$5 a jar so not super-cheap but not too expensive either. They also look great and make accessing materials easier.
What I really like about these jars is that it is so easy to view the contents. I don’t have to open them to observe the type of material, the color and the texture. I can see at a glance what it is and whether it is appropriate for the task at hand.
I decided to re-ballast the main line as I found the look of it too messy. I felt that either the ties or the ballast needed to be a consistent color. I removed the rails and used a nice clean ballast from Arizona Rock and Mineral. This layer is just a base onto which I will be lightly staining using my spray gun, rusting the rails and adding some invasive vegetation. So far I think it looks much better.
Flowers and Plants.
Here is a quick peek of current work: flowers and vegetation. I’m not finished but it looks pretty good so far and I wanted to share progress. I had to come up with a method to control the placement of plants and I spent several days just figuring that out. I’ll do a full post on plants in a couple of weeks.