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  • Kumard,

    I like the look you have gotten with the ties. The ground and ballast techniques work well, the ties look like they have been there awhile.
    Nice application of vegetation, not uniform. Thanks for another inspiring modeling session!
    Also, thanks for showing it all to us, whether it works or not.

    Scott

    Comment


    • kumard
      kumard commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks Scott. Colors are a bit flat but there will be a round of recoloring at some point to make things 'pop' a bit more.

  • Kumar, I really learn a lot watching you experiment with different techniques. Much appreciated!
    Bruce

    Comment


    • kumard
      kumard commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks Bruce. Experiments are hit or miss but I enjoy trying things out and learning something.

  • Excellent work on the ties!

    Comment


    • kumard
      kumard commented
      Editing a comment
      Thank you sir!

  • Wish I could get my O scale ties and ballast to look that good.
    I've only done 'so far' a couple of N scale builds, however,
    as I have personally worked in this scale before, you have my sincere admiration.

    Karl. A

    Comment


    • kumard
      kumard commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks Karl. Getting the track 'right' has been a goal of mine since I began modeling. Still a way to go until I am 100% happy with the result, but satisfied with the progress so far.

  • It’s been a while since I last posted as I was away visiting Eastern California. I went with a pal of mine to explore the southern end of the Carson and Colorado Railroad that shut back in 1960. We visited Keeler, Lone Pine, and Laws. It’s nice to see that so much remains to be seen especially at Keeler which retains the original depot building, the talc plant and some of the track layout near the original locomotive service area.

    The talc plant. It is in pretty good condition considering it shut many years ago. There was a narrow gauge locomotive being stored there which I believe is being slated for restoration.


    I have many pictures of the depot which is well known among fans of the Carson and Colorado. We are lucky to still be able to see it and it is a real shame no one has made any effort to restore it beyond what you see here. I’ve seen a few models based on this depot and it is definitely a great modeling subject.


    3D Printing

    I first got into 3D printing a few years ago. At that time I used Sketchup to design railroad features that I wanted to add to my last layout. However instead of printing at home I sent the designs away to Shapeways who printed up the design and sent me back the result a couple of weeks later. Since then printers have dropped in price and are now able to produce very high quality work for a very reasonable initial outlay/cost. It seems to have become a huge part of the hobby in the last few years and the time seemed right to finally invest in one myself. I watched a few YouTube videos on how to choose a printer and which printer would best suit my needs and then settled on the Elegoo Neptune 2. It cost around $200 from Amazon and arrived disassembled a few days later.

    I had to assemble the printer before I could use it. I watched an assemble video, followed the instructions, and after a couple of hours I had a working 3D printer.


    There is a small learning curve involved in getting things working correctly – leveling the bed, understanding filaments and printer settings – but once done I was able to create my first print.


    A pretty good result I thought. As I get to know the process better I should be able to improve the quality of the print. I spray-painted this figure and gave it to my wife as a small gift.


    I’ve been busy with the diorama so I have not had a chance to use the 3D printer for a few weeks but as I start adding details to the diorama I am hoping to start making them by printing them: details such as crossing bucks, telegraph poles, fences, benches etc. I have decided to use Fusion 360 as my design tool and still have to get up to speed with the software. Also, there are various websites online that allow you to download drawings and plans by other modelers – sometimes free and sometimes for a price – which is a huge timesaver if you need something quickly.

    Diorama

    Here is progress on the diorama:

    Grade Crossing

    I used some ties to protect the flangeway gap. I sanded down the ties to match the rail height and lost some of the stain. I will recolor the ties at a later date.


    I used my test roadway that I had completed a while back to fill the gaps. I still need to finish the ends and smooth them down. The difference in width between the roadway and the crossing will be dealt with at some point. I’m doing a lot of rough modeling at the moment but will start fine tuning features and colors once all the main features such as driveway and platform are completed.


    I added some sandy mix to the edges of the crossing and then smoothed it down a little. It is looking a little rough at the moment but will look much better when I go over the area again and improve the ballast and general coloring.


    Drive and parking area

    I cut up a large piece of card taken from my cardboard box. I keep as much cardboard as possible – cereal boxes, Amazon boxes etc – and have created an invaluable supply of card materials. I used this card as a base for all the remaining elements. The goal here is to control the relative heights of all the elements in relation to the track. Track levels in relation to the surrounding ground play a huge role in the atmosphere of a railroad – especially when poorly maintained. I did not want the trackbed to be above the height of the surrounding ground – I wanted the reverse – the track to be level or sunken beneath the surrounding ground. This card base is meant to give me control over the height of the elements.


    I cut the card to fit snugly around the trackbed and meet the roadway.


    I created a small mold for the parking area using soundproofing tape. The tape allowed me to easily create curves where needed.


    I used my formula of Woodland Scenic Foam Putty, water, and various light colored gravel to create the sandy mix. I wanted the parking area to be the same color as the road so I used the same formula as the roadway.


    I poured the mix into the mold. I will be able to easily sand down the surface to get an even height once the mix has dried.


    Two days later the mix had dried. I pulled up the surrounding tape and had a nicely formed parking area. Still plenty to do but a good starting point.


    A view of the overall area after I had stuck down the card base. I’ll fill any outstanding gaps etc with some of the original mix that I have stored.


    Platform

    Before starting on the platform I did a quick study of the prototype. I decided that I wanted an asphalt surface with railroad tie edges similar to these photos. This meant that could finally test out my asphalt technique developed last year.


    The platform is made of two layers: a base to bring the platform up to the level of the parking area and then the platform itself that sits on the base. This ensures that the platform surface and rail tops are at the same height. I used the original planning platform card to create the base and then built a mold around the edges using soundproofing tape.


    I created a second thin base from thin card and dropped it into the mold. I removed the tape where the ties act as a border. This is not a necessary step but things worked out fine.


    And into the mold I poured the asphalt mix made from water, Woodland Scenics Foam Putty, and asphalt powder from Arizona Rocks and Minerals.


    After a couple of days it had dried. I pulled up the platform carefully from the mold and sanded it down.


    One of the reasons I used the foam putty method was that I wanted to create realistic cracks in the asphalt. The putty that sits on a thin card base, when dry, can be bent to create natural cracks. If you run a knife or in this case, pipe cleaners over the cracks while the surface and cracks are bent and then return the surface to a flat profile the cracks can be made permanent. You can then weather the surface further by wiping chalk or dust across it to highlight the slight gap that has been created.


    This is the result after adding some cracks. All weathering is generally done in layers over time (much like the prototype) so I will continue working on this in finer and finer detail. These are just broad strokes to begin with.

    The next step will be to glue down the platform but I am happy with progress so far.
    Last edited by kumard; 04-05-2022, 12:19 PM.
    https://thedepotonline.com/blog

    Comment


    • Neat way of doing the cracks! Very realistic!

      Comment


      • kumard
        kumard commented
        Editing a comment
        Thank you

    • Kumard,
      Again, really nice work, great documentation and good techniques. The road crossing is really coming along.
      Nice pictures from your trip.
      Thanks for sharing.

      Scott

      Comment


      • kumard
        kumard commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks Scott. All is coming together now at a nice pace. Lots of detailing and tidying up still to come.

    • Wow, those cracks look good, Kumar.
      Bruce

      Comment


      • kumard
        kumard commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks Bruce.

    • I’ve been plugging away at the diorama and have made some progress. Although progress has been slow it has also been steady. For me landscaping is done in layers over time. For example I installed the crossing and although it looked rough it will do while I work on other areas. Then I’ll come back to the crossing and tidy it up and then move to work on other areas and so on and so on. Sometimes it’s not clear how a feature should look until other areas start coming together so I don’t like to consider any area ‘finished’ until the end.

      Here’s where I’m at:

      Platform

      I painted the platform edges – made from basswood and meant to represent repurposed ties – in grey paint and then ran my chalky finger over the grain to give it a weathered look. I think it came out great and represents the weather-beaten look of old worn wood. While I’m pleased with the cracks in the asphalt so far, at a later date I will add some potholes, grass and I will darken the cracks to emphasize them more.







      Crossing

      I tidied up the crossing a little and it is starting to look much better. I’m intending to clean up the surface as it still looks messy. I’ll be adding more details at a later date such as grass edges and different shades of dirt and dust.

      The edges where the crossing surface and the ballast are looking more prototypical. I’ll add some vegetation to help blend the transition more.


      Looks better but still plenty to do before I am happy with it. I’ll be adding some vegetation to soften the edges and I’m going to rework the surface as I want to have a cleaner look (not too weathered).



      Ditches

      There are small ditches either side of the entranceway. I like to use a mix of natural materials for these little vignettes. I have store of different grades of rocks and sand and any grades I’m missing I grind up in my pestle and mortar. I’m still not brave enough to use paint to enhance the colors but moving forward I’ll build a few test vignettes and see how best to combine natural materials and paint to create an attractive scene.

      I have a range of natural materials (here being used as weights) which I use for landscaping. Most has been collected from railroad rights-of-way. I always take jars with me on my railroad photography trips and if I see a color or texture that I think I can use then I just fill one of my jars. Natural materials scale very well but sometimes they photograph very flat and boring. I think they need to be enhanced with paint or chalk but have yet to take the plunge myself. I’ll experiment with paint once this diorama is finished.


      I used tacky glue for the rocks and then added a second finer layer of sand and dirt which I glued down with alcohol, and diluted Mod Podge


      Then I added grass tufts which I stuck down with tacky glue.

      then I clipped and blended the grass to crate a more realistic vegetation scene. I will be adding more layers of vegetation at a later date.


      Brick path

      I had some Micro Mark embossed brick paper laying around and decided to use it for the surface of the path at the rear of the depot. This has been the only risky feature I have built so far as I had no idea how it was going to turn out. I built a few tests to practice laying the brick paper down as well as test weathering. The result is ok for the moment and I will come back to it at a later date.

      I downloaded several photos of brick paths to give me an idea of how to weather and add vegetation. I really liked the brick and sand effect in this photo. My version will use less sand.


      The working area. I had my photo book, my test and the diorama at hand while I worked.


      Once the brick paper was stuck down I gently weathered the surface with a dark chalky finger tip. I then started adding grass tufts.


      I added grass tufts over sandy bases. The sand was stuck down using diluted Mod Podge. I have more work to do here: blend the tufts, sand and brick. Reduce and randomize the vegetation: it looks a little too ordered right now and some of the tufts need thinning.


      Thanks all!
      Last edited by kumard; 05-02-2022, 09:12 PM.
      https://thedepotonline.com/blog

      Comment


      • Outstanding job on the road!

        Comment


        • kumard
          kumard commented
          Editing a comment
          TY!

      • Kumar,

        The road, brick path and everything look very real. I particularly like the station platform.

        Mike
        _________________________________________________

        Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced. James Baldwin

        Comment


        • Your brick path looks good at a distance; how is it close up? I have some brick sidewalks to do myself, so I'm curious about how you applied the embossed paper and the surface you applied it to.
          James

          Comment


          • kumard
            kumard commented
            Editing a comment
            James. Close up the bricks look ok but a little too neat. They are also difficult to weather as they cant be easily chopped or marked without breaking the paper. Luckily this is a back and side feature so I'm not too worried about it. Generally though there were a few moments when I wanted to rip it all up and start again. The Micro Mark brick paper is embossed but also has a sticky back so you don't have to glue it down. Before committing to it I did a test to see how to weather and stick it down.

        • Kumard,
          Excellent work! The ties, asphalt, brick and grasses look fantastic! I also like how you multi-purpose your sample jars.

          Scott

          Comment


          • kumard
            kumard commented
            Editing a comment
            Thanks Scott.

        • Parking and Road Surface

          Time flies when you are having fun. I can’t believe my last post was quite so long ago. I’ve been hacking away at the diorama most days early in the morning. Even though I’m working at it each day, I’m working in such fine detail that several days can go by while I put together even smallish scenes. The time is spent mostly waiting for paint and glue to dry and thinking things through and planning during the day. The process is something like:
          1. Set up in the morning – gluing, painting etc
          2. Check work in the afternoon, clean up and then photograph the work so far.
          3. Think things through in the evening, look over the photos of the work and have a plan of action for the work in the morning.


          I applied this process to the parking and delivery area:

          Here is a heavily overgrown parking area with the gravel just peeking through the invasive grass and brush. I wanted a similar effect on my parking area – just a little less overgrown. The picture shows the grass as a blend of green, dry, long, and short grass. I wasn’t sure how best put this together so I did a little test.


          The first layers was a mix of gravel and fine Woodland Scenics flock glued down using the ink drop method. Then I added tufts glued down with Aleene’s Fabric glue (my favorite tacky glue) and then lastly I added a layer of 2mm static grass of green/summer grass. This is how it came out. The order of the method got me a nice blend of grass heights and grass density and allowed some of the gravel below to peek through.


          So starting with a clean parking area I got to work.


          First layer stones and flock.


          ​​Tufts added and then static grass.


          And here is the result. Looked pretty good to me – good enough for the moment. Still work to do such as add a variety of colors/plants and smooth out the parking surface. I’ll get to that during a round of tidying up at a later date.


          Road and crossing

          Using a similar process as above – glue in mornings, tidy up in afternoon, ponder in evening I turned back to the road and crossing. Generally I’m not happy with the crossing – even after trying to improve its look: I didn’t like the surface, the edges are sloppy, and there are gaps here and there due to poor modeling. I’ll do a round a of tidying up and tweaking later but for now I decided to salvage what I could.

          I resurfaced the crossing. I cut out the old surface and added a some of the wet roadway mix that I had saved in a jar. It came out ok: yes there is probably a prototype crossing somewhere in the world that looks like this but I’m not happy with the way it looks. I would have liked to have had a smoother surface and overall cleaner modeling.


          Once dried the surface looks cleaner but still rougher than I would have liked.


          I decided to add some center vegetation. The first layer is a mix of gravel, fine flock and dirt.


          Click image for larger version  Name:	depot207.jpg Views:	0 Size:	163.4 KB ID:	995060
          Then I added tufts and then a layer of 2mm grass. It came out nice but thicker that desired. Below I describe how I chop grass down to fine and very short length – not using scissors.


          After thinning, blending and cutting. It looks like I went too far: the grass looks a little less grown but I need to do a better job of blending it and will spend more time on this at a later date.


          Grass cutting tools

          Some of the issues I have with static grass are that you don’t have fine control over the density, shape and height of the post-glue result. Mixing in different lengths and colors will only get you so far. On the Trestle diorama I found the grass to be too tall and messy and made a mental note to find a way to cut and shape grass. At the time I called it ‘giving the grass a haircut’. That was the clue to finding adequate tools to help me control the use of static grass. The tools I settled on were:
          1. Eyebrow scissors: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08ZDM4L9Z/
          2. Mini hair clippers: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B001S4GMV8
          3. Nose hair clippers: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B003S4XC2I


          Using these tools was able to shape static grass in any way I wanted. The electric tools were especially useful as I they were easily able to cut single hairs down – grass that was sticking out sideways for example. I was able to cut grass down to below 2mm (as can be seen on the parting area)

          Nose hair clippers great for cutting single strands


          Mini hair clippers.




          Road Surface

          I wanted to bring out more texture in the road and decided it was time to add a layer of gravel. It took a couple of attempts. The problem is that my collection of white stones is translucent and this caused an unrealistic glowing effect when I ground the stones down. I eventually found a stone that was flat matte white and that produced a very nice effect on the road once glued down.

          I did a quick test on my test piece to make sure I was heading in the right direction. I also wanted to see what size stones I would need. When I ground down my white stones I filtered the results into four grades. The final two grades worked best and were a realistic and prototypical size.


          My first attempt actually looked pretty good. I needed to remove some of the gravel and generally blend things a little better. What you cannot see however is the translucent effect which eventually led me to try again.


          After gluing down and before removing much of the gravel you can see the translucent effect of the stones. The effect was quite jarring and led me to remove most of the gravel and start again. I eventually found a matte white stone to create my gravel from.


          Looking much better. This gravel was made from a matte white mixed with a touch of dirt and some of the dried mix that I made the road from. It brought out the texture of the road surface. I still need to do a round of tidying up – stones need removing from the grass and the edges of the road need a bit more blending but this is as good a starting point as I am going to get.


          Just a quick view of the diorama as it stand. It looks a little bare right now but that will change once I start adding details such as fencing, crossbucks, etc. I will also have to adjust the color of the grass to match the backdrop (or visa versa) but so far I’m pleased with the way things are turning out.
          Last edited by kumard; 05-23-2022, 09:19 PM.
          https://thedepotonline.com/blog

          Comment


          • Kumard,
            A god on a lotus?
            Your grasses are looking great, very realistic! Thanks for sharing your grass trimming tool line-up. BTW, what is the eye dropper technique?
            Your dirt and parking area is looking fine as well! Your collecting, grinding and sifting are showing results.

            Scott

            Comment


            • kumard
              kumard commented
              Editing a comment
              Thanks Scott.

              The eyedropper technique is:
              1. Wet area with alcohol using a sprayer
              2. Apply a 60% water and 40% Mod Podge mix using an eye dropper over the alcohol-wetted area
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