Last Friday, we had a short work session on the layout. Just enough to complete terraforming lands surrounding the tracks near D'Estimauville. As usual, it was done using pieces of various foams and the highly workable mix of latex paint and papier-mâché.
A concrete culvert was built using scraps of MDF to hide where the small creek disappear near the fascia. On the propotype, a similar culvert exist. In fact, the river itself is cast in concrete over 1 km thanks to the 60s' peculiar vision of progress!
As you can see, we quickly tried to add vegetation to see how the scenery will work together. Most of them are natural unpainted dead twigs. Nothing great, but looks already good enough for a mockup.
So far, using photobackdrop depicting an early leafless spring was seen as a good idea, however, we are gradually moving toward later spring, when leaves start to appear in their tender light shades of green. What convinced us was the striking impact of the yellowish twigs on contrasting rolling stock. Better, those very light shades bring improve the overall scene by making it apparently brighter.
The reason is simple, the layout isn't very large and photobackdrop are qui costly. Also, blending the photo with the painted sky is tricky at best. Near Maizerets, there isn't no recognizable features n the landscape and not real horizon to define the sight. Only bunch of thick bushes and trees. We also feel leafless trees won't be able to blend effectively with the backdrop. Mike Confalone did, but is backdrops show lots of variety. They aren't a coastal plain. That plays at lot in the end result. It doesn't mean we won't use photoback drop. But we will use them when the scene depicts a landscape with a far reaching horizon and hard to replicate feature (highway overpass, mountains, cityscape, industrial location, etc...).
However, working with a later spring scene makes an interesting backdrop. You have a mix of trees: with and without leaves. Some patch of grass are green others are still straw colored. Also, the light color of greyish trunks and scarce light green foliage make an interesting neutral background on which CN bold corporative colors stand out. And to be honest, making trees with leaves is a little bit easier than doing them without it.
|A new railfan spot is born!|
The following picture, found on Flickr, gives you a good idea of what we are trying to achieve in terms of color and season.
|Early spring trees near Lyna River, Poland (credits: Flickr, Andrzej1000100101)|
Anyway, whatever the final decision, it is great to start thinking about such things as trees, bushes and grass. I didn't do any serious landscaping since I scenicked the peninsula.
It's quite impressive how little vegetation can bring a scene to life. I think recent blog posts by Trevor Marshall (Port Rowan in S Scale) really prooved the point trees can't be overlooked. They are probably a KEY PLAYER in building a credible scene. Look everywhere and you'll see any piece of track in the real world is defined by the vegetation surrounding it. You can add any craftman building you want, if vegetation isn't doing its job right, you'll fool nobody!
By the way, Louis-Marie started experimenting with ambiant sounds. He collected unused old computer CD player and will use them to broadcast various sounds in key scenes. They include the ducks in Maizerets and various industrial noises near the cement plant. He's also trying to device his own crossing signal sounds. So far, his sample exceed what's available on the market. At some moment, I was doing some switching moves at Maizerets while the ducks sound file was playing. Seriously, for a moment, I felt I was really there. I remember last summer and fall when I took several trip there to document the scenery, the bridge and other details. Ducks were completely surrounding me. Once again, I think Louis-Marie is gonna surprise us!