Friday, June 24, 2022

Scenery at Donohue - Part 3

Grass helps to blend the backdrop and the modelled scene

Work on the club layout as resumed yesterday after a short hiatus. Yet again, the focus in on the Donohue yard.

In the previous session, we applied ballast and let it dry without looking at the results for a few weeks. It a relief to discover it dried correctly without any discoloration.

Looking at picture from the real yard, it became evident that a lot of vegetation took root into the ballast and between ties. In the 2000s, it was no longer that well maintained. Lots of grass also grew along the building.

I started applying grass by making blobs on diluted white glue on the ballast where I wanted it. Using a straw color short static grass, I pinch the fibers between my fingers and dab it into the glue puddle. I see very little merit using a static grass applicator for this step.

The next step is similar, but this time, using greyish dead grass fibers. They had variety and also some shadows. Another way to add texture is sprinkling my usual olive green grounded foam to create smaller plants brought back to life by spring.

Sprinkling dead leaves and ground foam add texture

At that point, the layout is relatively drab and looks like a desert. Honestly, it looks great, however, it's not how early May looks like in Charlevoix. So I need more greenery!

I generally using a Noch Spring grass blend, mixed with a very toned down green from Woodland Scenics (almost mint) plus some straw colored fibers. Since a few months, under the guidance of Chris Mears, I've been adding jute rope cut in 3 to 4mm fibers. They are move texture and more muted colors. I then, once again dab these fibers into my previous work to build up the effect.

Finally, using the same blend, I fire up the static grass applicator and add a subtle coat of fibers to blend everything together. This is generally followed by a subtle sprinkling of crushed dead oak leaves.

The site of a future grade crossing

I must admit I'm quite satisfied with the ground cover. It makes the yard looks much larger and it also divide the space in two very distinct areas: the warehouse and the unloading bays. Another thing that works well is brushing fine limestone dust over the roads with a large soft brush. It really helps to get that dirt road look and the dust settle in quite a permanent way into the rough texture.

Loose dirt over roads really improve realism

On the negative side, I must admit I went overboard with grass in the warehouse area. In real life, this area was paved and covered in crushed stone so trucks could move there. Looking at my work, it looks like an abandoned warehouse, which wasn't my goal. That said, it will be easy to fix by building up new layers of dirt and gravel up to the rail heads and leaving some grass pocking through the surface. This isn't an easy scene because it must be composed as we go forward with it.

Too much grass toward the warehouse...

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