Back in 2009 I wanted to check my modeling skills after a nasty stroke the year before. The tray size is ideal to work seated and no heavier then 1kg (2 pounds) easy to carry. The power source is not attached, the throttle connected only when in use. I set for a low budget project targeted to a limit of €50.00 (USD72.50). I was familiar with the work of Carl Arendt through his inspiring site. To plan big is relatively easy; it’s the micro the hard one, what to keep and what to leave out. Then by pure chance I stumbled on some Japanese micro-layouts where I found the perfect combination of minimalist track layout with exquisite modeling. Micros take us to an absurd world where the logic of railroad as a mean of mass transport make no sense. But the magic of the scenes makes me forget the simplicity of the narratives. So I built a story around an odd character and his garden layout in the backwoods. Going nowhere in the middle of nowhere. The work base is a self-service tray (new and offered, rest assured) measuring 480 X 360mm/18’’ X 14’’. Turned it upside down, screwed 4 small door knobs as feet and got a workable flat platform measuring 420 X 320mm. Glued a piece of extruded foam 30mm thick and modulated the terrain with more pieces of foam. Never tried to bend rails so tight, I had to make a roadbed with balsa planks to hold the provisory nails I used whilst the glue set. Not the best option as soon I would find out. The rails exerted an enormous force trying to open up. Later I tried to bend rails code 80 and it was a breeze.
I now regret the use of plaster as it is too brittle for so much handling. I’ve noticed some modelers use modeling clay like Das-Pronto, a more expensive material, but definitely much more resilient. My rocks are odd to say the least. Actually there was someone asking me if I used potatoes… I also messed with the colors. They don’t look realistic. The soil is real dirt, sifted and sterilized in an old electric oven. Learned it from a 80s Model Railroader magazine. I apply it the same manner as ballast. Sometimes I airbrush it to enhance tone variations. The scene was supposed to be in that brief moment of fall when the leaves suddenly explode in a variety of yellows and reds, known as ruska in Finland, I don’t know the English expression. Gave up as either I would have to stick to some cheesy moss I had home or would have to buy some packs for more convincing foliage, thus raising the costs. I went for late winter, early spring. The snow has melted, but still noticeable a morning frost on the tree branches. Kept the costs low and the bare trees (Noch boxes with over 100 dried weeds, something I always keep home) allow a screened view of the whole layout, still keeping some depth. The fallen leaves are a concoction of real old tree leaves that I mashed on a dedicated mixer (courtesy of the wife). Added oreganos that here in Portugal we still can buy fresh by the bundle (I was going to say for peanuts, but these cost more). The mix of broken leaves and oreganos gave a diversified texture to the ground cover. The throttle is an old Roco and the structures are free download paper models. The store is from: MODELTRAINSOFTWARE http://www.modeltrainsoftware.com/freebuilding.html The outhouse is from: PAPER CREEK http://www.papercreek.com/ Saddly no longer online
My Lord that is so awesome, and the fact that I lived in Georgetown, Connecticut for 23 years, 50 feet from the Branchville Railroad Station just freaks me out!! Now I know, I lived in "Nowhereville"!! I have experienced that diorama! (insert Twilight Zone music here)
Hi Zathros, if you lived in a place like the one I'm triyng to depict, then you were lucky. The greenest thing I have where I live is a park (it's big allright), but I still see the tall buildings around have to put up with the view of some car traffic. Okay, I had a rooster in the neighborhood that gave sign every 5'o clock in the morning, but must have entered someone's menu years ago as I stopped listening to it.
Except for the noisy train (I like trains, so it did not bother me), it was a 5 acre estate, and it was a blessing and beautiful place (I took care of the owner). Way too many snobby people though, but there were enough good old fashioned New Englanders to balance the snobs out! Now, the biggest building is 4 stories high, and it is 2 acre zoning, so lots of woods. My tiny teeny shack of a home on .6 acres and is grandfathered in!
Have you ever considered using latex to cover the plastar? Just an idea.
I planned slots for the structures, so I could better handle them whilst working and considering the eventuality of store them apart for transportation. I raised the ground around with an extra layer of illustration foam of the same thickness I used for a base in the structures. The flaws would be concealed with bushes growing against the buildings. The store is yet to finish. For more than 1 year that I’m supposed to fix the chimney pipe… Both paper models were very rewarding to build. I cut the windows in the store and replaced them with acetate and scratchbuilt mullions. They are a disaster, but I was eager to try a technique I saw, using sewing yarn to build mullions. The technique makes sense, but I have to improve my performance. The outhouse was also detailed, so I could leave the door opened. Both models use photo-realism, so the impression is quite convincing. They were some of my first paper models. Probably today I would be able to avoid some of the mistakes visible on the photos.
The sign was found on a site with a lot of old adverts. I like the message: next shelter x miles, giving a sesnse of being in the wilderness, you better prepare yourself.
The ubiquous U.S. mail postbox was downloaded from another site ( I believe) with paper models to doll houses. I had to resclae it by error and trial.
I cannot trace the links form both items,
ROLLING STOCK Initially I thought to use N scale material to stage a garden railway with a happy guy sitting on the wagon next to the locomotive. I ordered a N scale GE44tons and a couple of hoppers that turned out to be a blunder. I used a German rail car with 2 axles and long wheel base to check the track geometry during construction. When I finally got the right stuff I discovered that bogies vehicles cannot negotiate the tight curves I designed. And here ends part one of my story. Kato 11-103 comes in to rescue the situation. This is a inexpensive high performance motorized chassis, wheelbase 28mm. Sorry if I’m telling things everybody knew but me. Now I’m designing a speedster loosely based on a model from BVM that in turn seems to be a freelance model. Hope the folks in BVM won’t get crossed. Saw an image on a Japanese micro and much later I understood the origin. We really live on a global village. So far I’m within budget, if I leave out the GE… Today I made some running tests of a simple mockup to check clearances. It is quite tight. Bushes I can move aside, but the rocks are staying. The speedster is 1.44m wide (4.6’), honestly I have no idea how believable it is. It is a cuckoo story anyhow. If there are people out there to give some insights I would appreciate.