Thursday, 30 August 2018

The Mountain / Water Falls Complete !

The Mountain and water falls are now complete.  Let's examine the  technique I employed which seems to be a bit of a hybrid including several different approaches.

The cliff area is comprised mostly of Sculptomold ( SCM) and smaller rock casting along the face. The two ledges near the bottom of the cliff are horizontal hot glued cardboard pieces covered with Sculptomold.  The stream bed is "leak proof" with plaster gauze covering pink foam board, and then  SCM used to build the landscape including the stream bed.

The Steam bed is colored with a green / blue mixture of pigments ( craft store) and then a little black wash to darken the base. Sorry about the tint of the pic...2700K lighting...

Recall that the season is late spring or early summer. The spring snow melt and "run off" are over and  now there is only a minimal gradual snow melt coming from the mountain, so one would not expect heavy water falls this time of year, only a gentle "bathing" of the cliff face with gentle, transparent sheets of soft and slow flowing water.   Further the color of the water during "run off" is more turquoise, but now it is more greenish blue.

Below are the "holding pools" just beneath the melting snow pack.

Note now that there are numerous small rocks sand which have washed into the outflow from the melting snow and from the spring run off.

Lower pool. The water from the upper pool softly flows over the slight rocky drop off into the lower pool, coating the rock face with a sheen of slowly flowing water.   Again note the abundant small rocks.  ( the rocks, and sand like debris were made from old rock castings which were placed in an old towel and beaten to smithereens with a hammer....then dyed with gray pigment ....don't forget to save "everything"..even the smallest bit if debris)

Upper pool.

Top of cliff face with two "drops" above the cliff.

Now pouring Woodland Scenics Realistic Water.  Drizzled down the face of the cliff into the base stream bed, starting to cover some of the stream bed rocks.

Lower part of steam ....

Note the "sheerness"--almost translucent ....nature of the sheets of gently flowing water.  Achieved with WS "Water Effects" paste,-- placed in strips of varying width and length on a glass pane and then " messaged" laterally and length wise to create a very thin, almost transparent sheet of water.   Best to allow the material to dry a lot longer than recommended ( 24 hrs) ..but better after 72 hrs. Dry brush with a light coating of white acrylic and "glue" in place with the Water Effects.

Interesting affect....illusion of very soft and minimal water falls.

Another view.

Lower stream. Note the more turbulent water around the boulder.  Created with Water Effects and brushed  / dabbed gently  on the surface, then white dry brushed.  Cute little "eddy line" downstream from the boulder.....
Ripples are achieved on the glossy hard "water surface" by dabbing GLOSSY Modpodge on the surface and "blowing" it around with an air brush ..empty of course. ...allow to dry....

End result.... quite a challenge but worth all the time invested.  Added lots of greenery to soften the scene....always lots of bushes growing next to water source and smaller trees as well. 

Thank you for viewing. ....blessings...

Saturday, 18 August 2018

Helix Mountain nearing completion.

Hello, friends.

I've been working on scenery on the mountain for the last couple of days and thought I would update some photos.

This pic shows the added base of the mountain with a planned water fall on the Lt, and a catch basin below,  with an egress of small stream from Lt to Rt.  The amount of snow on the mountain would dictate that the water fall actually be small rivulets gently cascading down the face of the mountain, and not an outright "water fall" of high volume.

The Sculptomold was stained with "stone gray" and black leopard spotting technique with a charcoal mix as the last coat.  I thought the end result was a bit too "bright" so the trusty air brush was summoned for acton to tone down the rock faces.   Note that the base of the bench work was painted black. After the stains dried, white brush finish applied to bring out all the intricate rock detail of the Sculptomold.

Another view.  Hard to believe that a 2.5 turn helix lies beneath all this nylon mesh and plaster / Sculptomold.  The small stream exits the layout on the lower rt. Now we need to add greenery.

This is the ledge made initially of hot glued cardboard....finished well. The water fall rivulets will cascade onto these ledges.  Stream bed below.

Train ascending helix to the main part of the layout.  Greenery added.   I also added "moss" type vegetation to the faces.  Technique:  with a small paint brush apply dilute white glue or Mod Podge to a limited section of the mountain wall face, then "blow" a fine mist of WS "blended turf". ...I changed my technique a little. It's easier to place a little of the turf material in a small spoon and gently blow it onto the prepared rock face.  Seems to work well.  It softens the starkness of the rock faces.

Another view.

Added greenery around tunnel entrances....color not ideal...caused by 2800k lighting.

Train descending...

More later as the "water fall" develops. Thanks for viewing.....blessings...alan

Thursday, 26 July 2018

Update Photos of the Helix

Hello all,

I've been working on the helix scenery,  attempting to refine what was previously applied, as well as adding some new aspects to the overall presentation to the viewer.   Hope you enjoy these few pix.

Some "catch up" shots:  The helix under the Sculptomold mountain. Arcade "pass though"  adds appeal.

 Another view.  There are three collecting "pools" of glacier water on the plateau just to the left of the snow capped mountain, which eventually will spill a series of small gentle water falls onto a ledges at the left side of the mountain. --more of a "drizzle of rivulets" .....

Better view of the arcade which partially encloses the ascending lane from the staging yards to the main layout on the Lt.

Added "scree"-- boulders and rocks --at the base of the mountain.  Made the scree using old fashioned hammer with old plaster of paris rocks enclosed in a towel.  Soaked the rocks in gray dilute pigment and dried them on paper towels. The smaller the better!

More scree on this side of the mountain...again..another method to soften the "hard" line borders between rocks, ballast and Schulptomold....

This technique really softens the visual lines between the base of the mountain and the ballast.

Starting to build around the base of the mountain. Goal: to have multiple gentle water fall streams   cover the face of the mountain under the collecting pools on the left side of the mountain plateau, and have the streams collect in a small basin below which then forms a gentle stream running along the base of the mountain from Lt. to Rt. The "base" is now painted green.  ( I had to paint this surface...I made a mess of the white surface while staining the mountain.--spots and drops all over the place ! ) ( BTW.....lots of "drop cloths" on the floor under the working surfaces.)

Just when you think you have a project all "figured out", "uh oh" appears. Problem: the vertical drop from the top edge of mountain will not hit the base well, so I added two ledges ( hot glued cardboard pieces to the wall )  onto which the water streams will hit the surface then fall to the pool below.

Sculptomold on the ledges, forming a small pond and egress stream with two water falls before exiting the layout on the Rt.

First water fall below the collection pond at the mountain base with stream flowing around the mountain.

Further developed.

Steam exit stage Rt!

Completed allow to dry, stain and ponder how to make realistic water with falls!!!

Even applied Sculptomold around the base of the mountain, and "outlined" the viewing windows into the helix itself.

Finished the day with static grass / catenary and other scenery to the left side of the viaducts.

Thanks for's fun sharing the development of this layout with you.

Be well, blessings...alan

PS...I highly recommend the series of YouTube videos by Luke Towan ....excellent !!!! Best I could find...this guy is a real master !


Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Scenic Detail for the Parade Routes.

Hello again....

Interesting scenic nuances discovered today while addressing finishing touches on the Parade Routes.

The Parade Routes cross the front of the layout over a distance of 12', at an elevation of 4" over base level on 4" WS risers shown below.  The tracks are unmounted on foam tracks from WS as well.

Using crushed newspaper type paper taped to the risers, then covered with orthopedic plaster gauze, the rock molds were mounted with Sculptomold against the WS risers.

The Sculptomold requires about a week to "cure" or dry suitably so stains can be applied.  I used the WS Leopard Spot technique again ( actually my variation of such) but increased the pigment concentration to darken the wall comparable to the previously completed corner unit which was achieved by a different process described earlier in this blog.  The two grey colors did not match as well as hoped, so I diluted the acrylic paint used on the corner unit and over sprayed the "new" wall with the airbrush and the colors. Then they matched!  Love that airbrush.

Dry brushing with white acrylic paste brought out lots of beautiful rock details from the rock molds and the Sculptomold.

I like the detail here.

Lovely detail. ;-)

Now how to add green to the wall?  Too often portions of layouts appear "sterile" because they lack strategically placed greenery detail in the landscape.  The most often employed technique is to "spray" a mist of adhesive such as Mod Podge and then gently "blow" a mist of fine turf type material onto the wet surface ......but ....then we have a large area with the adherent material which sometimes does not appear authentic.   So what to do??  When in doubt consult an expert !  So I asked my lovely wife for her advice. ....we have lived in mountains or recreated in mountains most of our my wife knows mountains !  :-)   Her advice:  place moss like growth on the top surfaces of the rocks and sparingly on the sloping sides of the wall.     Easy peasy ! ....brush dilute Mod Podge on the surfaces to be coated with turf material and then go for it!!!

Happy with the result....note also that I added a sparse fringe of the turf material along the edges of the wall where it meets the ballast material....nice touch to diminish the harshness of that edge.

 Now all we have to do to complete this part of the scene is to add the cantanary down the center line.....but....because so much scenic detail is pending on the inside of the wall, and because the overhead wiring could be damaged by leaning over the wall ...I'll delay installing the overheads.

Well, I guess that's all for now....thanks for viewing ....

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Weathering the Mountain Terrain.

Hello friends,

Over the last few days I have been attempting to weather the mountain recently constructed on the layout helix.

From Woodland Scenics I ordered the following pigment containers: Black, Stone Grey, and Yellow Ochre. I followed the WS instructions on this video:

The "Leopard Spot" technique was employed with the following results:


After:...unacceptable to my eye. The Sculptomold did not seem to absorb the dyes well compared to the rock castings, featured in the video. The "granite" rock is much too washed out and not nearly grey enough compared to my other rock terrain features. I increased the pigment concentrations, added black to the grey to make the solution more charcoal, reapplied the solution,  ...yet it didn't seem to work as desired.

Plan B:  I used the airbrush and diluted the Stone Grey pigment by 50% to "over spray" the entire mountain...This shot appears more brown than grey...but it is grey...this technique darkened the stonework and brought out significant rock relief detail.

Frontal view...better color on this shot. This grey tone is consistent with the background mural and also with the completed rock work described earlier in this blog.

Sorry for the color discrepancy...I had adjusted the color in the computer but the true color did not transfer well here.

Below: Dry brushed the rock work with white acrylic tube paste to enhance the textured detail so characteristic with the rock molds and especially the Sculptomold. 

Another view after dry brushing with white.  ....and no vegetation applies as yet. This will be fun to work with as the project progresses.   Trees, ground foliage, "moss dusting" of WS fine blended turf, drainage ponds, and gentle water falls are next.

Thanks for viewing....if you have suggestions for alternative methods, please advise.....alan