Well, before any work starts on the peninsula,
I decided to try my ideas with a 3D model. Less messy and you can start over
again without problems. SketchUp is a great tool for that purpose. Rendering is
done using the trial version of V-Ray 2 plugin.
Both prototype feedmills previously discussed
were modelled… The results puzzle me but some elements stand out.
Agrivoix (the one located in Clermont) looks surprisingly
good. I think its low profile and long façade works well with the background
mountain. Bizarre enough, it seems there’s enough place behind the building to
have a realistic parking lot to handle road traffic. However, as feared, the team
track is seriously shortened… It barely holds three 50ft cars.
Sainte-Anne’s Coop is also looking good. In
fact, its large side wall toward the parking lot makes a nice focal point to
close the scene. Relation with the mountain relief is also good, the building’s
profile naturally nest itself against the scenery. All in all, this structure
has the advantage of leaving enough empty space to make the scene “larger”. To
be bold; enough space to believe large semi-trailer trucks can work around the
When you start adding cars on the team track,
you start to understand when I talk about a cluttered scene. Sainte-Anne Coop
fare better than Agrivoix in that respect.
I have no final thoughts about the feedmill. I
could try to compress or rearrange Agrivoix buildings to suit the place better.
It could also be a small mash up of Sainte-Anne and Agrivoix. Steel grain bins
could be added to Sainte-Anne feedmill to modernize it a little bit, even a
propane tank or oil tanks. It is really hard to tell. One thing is sure; this
scene works better together when a structure closes the perspective. Maybe I
won’t keep the idea of a feedmill on site, but there will definitely be a
building there. I already have pictures from one of the shed that stood at
Clermont yard back in the early 80s.
I think – when planning a scene – we have to
learn about modelling empty space. Failing to address this important factor is
the main pitfall that makes so many greatly crafted layouts look toyish. Look
around yourself, you’ll find more emptiness than built up space (in the
countryside at least!). Railways are
large endeavours span large areas. Reproducing it in scale is crucial. It means
to sacrifice a lot of things on your “must list”, but you are largely repaid in
term of realism. You really feel your trains need to travel some distances to
perform their tasks. So far, Donohue, Ciment Saint-Laurent and D’Estimauville
proved me I was right to walk this unusual path. Modelled scenes are truly
glimpses of a real network. No need for fancy tricks; any visitors with minimal
knowledge of the place with quickly find himself at home.
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