Stuck again

Discussion in 'Photos & Videos' started by Nomad, Nov 13, 2008.

  1. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    Hello all:wave:
    I am at the point on my layout where I always get stuck. I have scenic 2 small areas and now I don't know what to do next. And if I don't figure out what to do, I will get bored, then frustrated and tear up this layout and start over. Again.
    I know I want to do scenery first and then ballasting. But what do I do? Just sprinkle ground foam all over the place and call that good? Do I put down dirt or something first? I have read every book I can find and it goes right over my head. I know how to glue it all all that, I just don't know what to do next. Help!
    Thanks for any help.


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  2. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    Here's are a couple of comments that may give you some ideas. Have you ever seen all green in an industrial area? If you have access to a trackage area such as the one you have modeled, take some notes on the type of materials on the ground. You may find a variety of colors from black to browns to greys with a small amounts of green weeds, grass and small bushes in obscure corners and around buildings. The industrial spurs may only have the rails showing above a layer of dirt and spilled materials from the railroad cars. A lot of times the ties won't be visible in all areas.
    Piles of dirt may be pushed up here and there.
    Try layering several colors of ground cover to achieve a dull looking bunch of dirt, dead grass and very little bright green. Practice on a small piece of foam or cardboard. I don't see any reason to get frustrated and start over. Looks like a great start.
  3. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    Thanks for the quick reply, Jim. That's the kind of advice I need. Some of the books I read said to paint the base like I did. Will this be a good start? Will it be to obvious through the ground cover?

  4. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    As an added thought, do small areas' at a time. Maybe a coat of flat, earth color latex paint would be desireable before adding ground cover. To cut down costs, you might find some suitable "real dirt" and clean, sift and dry it to be used where appropriate. I'm assuming that you have white glue or something similar that can be diluted and sprayed on the scenery prior to adding ground cover.
  5. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    I can relate a little, i.e. being confused about what to do next.

    I work on sections of my layout at a time and basically end up doing the scenery and ballasting more or less at the same time. I usually finish a section of scenery, and then do the ballasting after. I can't remember if this is the usual order that most books recommend, but it works for me.

    One of the reasons I've done it in this order is because it's easier to tweak and change the track before ballasting. I like to make sure that the track is thoroughly tested and works well before I ballast it.

    So I just forge ahead and do the scenery in the order that seems to be best at the time, figuring that I can always correct things later! :eek::confused:

  6. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    Unfortunately, the dirt around turns a real dark brown when wet, and stays that way when glue is applied. I have tried play box sand, but did not like it. This is part of the wall I am running into. And I have a whole gallon of white glue waiting to be used:mrgreen:

  7. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    Robert, it seems to me that scenery should be done first, then the ballast will be on top like the real thing, not the other way around. That seems logical to me.

  8. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    I do the scenery and ballast at the same time where the terrain dictates, but otherwise the ballast first. Unless you're modelling the time when railroads maintained their right-of-way like a park, with knife edges on the ballast, ballast and scenery tend to run together - depending on the area, there may not be much to distinguish one from the other. ;):-D
    As long as the base is a suitable "earth tone", you should be good to start applying ground cover, as there's very little bare dirt in most areas. I like to use at least two or three colours and textures of foliage, and some fine "earth"-coloured ground foam in a few spots, too. As Jim mentioned, some of you sidings could be more dirt and weeds than ballast, and don't be afraid to use some yellow foam mixed in to show where weeds might have been sprayed. Also, consider using fine "cinders" in place of or mixed in with the ballast and "dirt" on the sidings. I find that in areas like yours, the scenery just sorta tends to spread out from the track. I like to apply everything - ballast, grass, weeds, and bushes, in as many layers as necessary, then wet it and apply the glue mixture in one operation. It may take several days to dry properly, but if you wish, you can still go back over it and add more layers at a later date. This is the kind of work that, once you get started, tends to really draw you in, and can be very enjoyable.

  9. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    Thank you Wayne. I have a feeling that once I start it will be fun.

  10. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    I'm liking the "layering" method of scenery myself. I like to do some and leave it. Then come back to it at a later date. I just painted the whole decking with a brown wash. Some of it diluted with water, or straight up. I figure whatever doesn't get covered by "nature" is going to have structure on it so it doesn't matter really. I provided some nice variation for the base of "soil". I did all my ballasting first. There is a reason for that too as in the near future, I'll be added patches of dried weeds, grass etc. to areas where the yard and siding tracks are.
  11. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    In an area like that, I envision a whole mix of ground covers - bare dirt, weed choked areas, old pavement with crumbling edges being reclaimed by tall grasses, cracked concrete pads with oil stains. Perhaps some broken down fences, scraggly trees, and garbage blowing around. Details could include dumpsters, stacks of pallets, old vehicles, etc, etc.

    In short - all the stuff you see when you're on a train - the "unvarnished" working side of industry that's away from most public view.

    Instead of ripping stuff up if you are unsure or unhappy, why not try a diorama? I have done this several times to try new techniques. I am currently working on one that's 6" wide by 36" long (one piece of flex track ;)). If it turns out nice, it'll make a good place to pose trains for photos, if not, I've only lost a few dollars and a few hours of time. Start with the "oldest" parts first - e.g. in the case of crumbling pavement, put the pavement down first, and then add the weeds (as per doctorwayne's suggestion).

  12. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    Quote " In an area like that, I envision a whole mix of ground covers - bare dirt, weed choked areas, old pavement with crumbling edges being reclaimed by tall grasses, cracked concrete pads with oil stains. Perhaps some broken down fences, scraggly trees, and garbage blowing around. Details could include dumpsters, stacks of pallets, old vehicles, etc, etc. "

    Andrew, that is exactly what I envision but could not put into words!:thumb:
    Thanks Tetters. I want this to be high summer, so I painted a light color to ( hopefully ) make it look dry and dusty.
    Thanks to all the advice, I now have a starting idea of what, and how, to do this.
    Thanks everyone.

  13. chooch.42

    chooch.42 Member

    Hi, Loren ! Not quite sure(my brain's getting tired) what direction/advice you're looking for. With your layout, I'd look to Jon Grant's work for inspiration. Closely spaced, crowded industrial layouts have their own style and parameters for scenery. Don't give it up yet - there appears to be lots of scenic and operational potential - you've got the skills - Show us how to get 'er done ! All the best. Bob C
  14. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    Thanks Bob, I have look at Sweethome many times. Amazing layout.

  15. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    Hey thanks for mentioning John. I remember seeing his Chicago Layout a couple of years ago on Rail Images. Just didn't remember who built it or where I saw it. Those pics are just the inspiration I'm looking for. :thumb:

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