|A mockup of what we are trying to accomplish, note the subtle terrain shape in the background.|
First of all, the terrain is now almost completely shaped from the furnace room up to Desbiens Street. We haven't yet worked on the yard topography because this is quite a large endeavour in itself and we feel it is better to complete work in Wieland.
|Subtle terrain variations help anchoring the roadbed into topography|
After scrutinizing a few prototype photo, I noticed some topographic elements I missed last time. It included more raised terrain near Desbiens Street that makes the track visually sinks into the scenery. Also, some small bumps of earth could be noticed near the wye right legs. These piles of soil were made to create a visual barrier hiding a semi-trailer parking lot. They are subtle terrain profile variations, but they do have quite an impact on the overall perception.
|Transloading area completed: lower ground creates a sense of distance on a cramped space|
When these things were done, it was time to paint the track. Since we got great results at Ciment Saint-Laurent, we decided to reuse the previous formula: white primer on all track, Krylon Camouflage Brown on the rails and oil paint washes over the ties. If things go smoothly, this task will take about 3 weekends to complete due to drying time and our schedule.
Meanwhile, Louis-Marie did a terrific job at modelling Desbiens Street out of cardboard. I'm always surprised how he can be extremely precise with this kind of stuff. When you had the little barn to the scene, it becomes clear this will be a very nice railfanning spot. Having the road slopping gently toward the track makes for a more dynamic and engaging topography.
|Desbiens street made out of Strathmore cardboard|
|Framing the scene with the barn|
|Desbiens Street: scene composition with the barn and left wye leg|
Finally, Jérôme decided to remove a few extra layers of form from the mountain on the peninsula. I kind of like the work on texture I did back a year or two ago, but the mountain shape wasn't very convincing. By removing about 5 inches, it seems proportions are better. Less verticality makes the layout appear far more horizontal and longer. This kind of optic illusions counts a lot when trying to convey the sense of place. I'm well aware many will be kind of upset about us tearing apart the only "finished" scenery on the layout, but I honestly don't care. There is no point in keeping stuff that doesn't fit the level of quality work we can now do. It was our second attempt at serious scenery, it wasn't bad, but we can do better.
|And after... nobody was hurt!|
At this point, it seems the entire mountain will be remove and new scenery will be done from scratch. Clermont topography is far too different to waste time compromising with half-baked previous efforts. Also, it is more and more evident that some visual key elements of the scene will have to be interpreted quite a bit to be more compelling. An example, I located were the small brook is located on the prototype and it doesn't look good on the layout. Some artistic license will be required to better frame the scene and portrait Clermont in a way that feels right and natural.