Thursday, June 25, 2020

East Angus Paper Mill - Final Thoughts

I've now reached the point where I can confidently say I closed the circle on the East Angus paper mill concept. As often, I could hear Chris Mears' voice asking a myriad of questions and felt if I failed to address them, the design wouldn't be optimal.

Once again, I optimized the footprint to fit perfectly my IKEA cabinets. To make it possible, I bent the track plan over the corner, creating a L-shaped layout not very different from my first draft about this prototype.

Overall, it creates a visually more pleasing scene, articulated between a very industrial part dominated by an old power house and a purely scenic area over the long and photogenic bridge. To be honest, it seems to me the new L-shaped disposition provides for a more balanced layout that wraps itself around you, strengthening the immersive nature of this concept.

For the sake of operation, I also added a narrow shelf running around the room and over the workbench. It could work as an interchange point and be tastefully scenicked. In that regard, Tom Johnson proved us more than once that you can do wonders with only a few inches.

To be honest, I'd love to build that layout, which would be a perfect CP Rail-themed diorama. Unfortunately, I'm not sure building another paper mill layout is a great idea. However, it could provide inspiration to anybody wanting to develop such an industry in tight spaces. It's the proof you don't need a lot of trackage to create an expansive vision.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Rivière Malbaie - Back to Normal

Monday marked our first club meeting in 10 weeks since lock down started back in March. It followed the public recommendations for meeting in a home, which weren't to bad to implement given the way our layout room. As with most first meetings, it was not a very productive one mainly because the layout needed some cleaning to be back in service. However, it was a good occasion to try have a fresh impression on the layout and how it looks.

In fact, it is now a given fact our layout is poorly lighted. Colors aren't rendered correctly, several spots are in the dark and the overall light level is often too low. We have yet to find a solution that is both effective and economically acceptable. If some readers have tried and true suggestions, I'm perfectly open to analyze them given our circumstances.

As for the layout, we set our goals at completing, as much as possible, the basic scenery in Clermont. This has lagged for too long and we have now enough experience to move forward at a sustained speed. As this point, all roads are cut and some will need to be painted and weathered. It shouldn't be to hard thought "Mill Street" is a 10 feet long single piece of illustration board. It will be tricky to paint and detail such a large street. I can't do it on my workbench, but maybe in the garage.

In terms of scenery, I also started adding the rip rap on Rivière Malbaie using real stones sourced directly from the river on that spot. It really brings together the scene and I can't wait completing the embankments vegetation! Also, I installed the custom made plaster bridge pillar in the middle of the river. It was made about 5 or 6 years ago but I waited a long time before setting it on the layout for fear of chipping the plaster. Some paint repairs are to be expected and I'm seriously thinking about giving it a coat or two of dullcote to protect it a little bit better. Incidently, I'm not a fan of painted plaster...

As for the river bed itself, I'll probably smooth it with spackle then paint and varnish it. I'm planning to use Liquitex Modelling Paste to create realistic waves in the river or another similar product. I don't see the need for pouring resin there. Malbaie Rivier is a powerful mountain river, not a plain creek or a canal.

With that said, I hope everyone is doing OK. I still have a few projects I didn't share publicly and hope to discuss about them soon.