Thanks again for the opportunity to share some ideas with everyone and for being able to learn from their helpful comments and suggestions. I want to upload some of my videos in the near future to show trains running on the layout but I have to perfect my video editing skills first!
I thought I’d share a few thoughts on how I solved a problem at my main terminal station. The station is built on a flat plywood base above a series of staging tracks. To say the least it looked boring even with a few buildings scattered around. I decided to spruce it up by creating a medieval style castle town adjacent. So I stuck a castle I’d built 10 years ago (I know – sad it’s taken this long to get my brain in gear to construct this thing) on the right hand side where a large open area lay. Well, sounded like a smart idea until I looked at the castle and saw its drawbridge to nowhere looking into the void!
Bummer I thought, can’t have that, so the old cranial cogs started grinding away for a solution. Now surgeons are considered a slow breed, so it took me a while but I finally conceived a plan: build a platform level with the drawbridge and create a stone paved courtyard to house the town’s stone church and surround it with a stone wall while building the surrounding landscape to simulate a low hill side. The idea came to me as I thought back to a holiday my wife and I took 2 years ago to Provence. We visited the beautiful medieval town of Eze with its hillside castle and cathedral. In building the fantasy layout I have tried to incorporate little vignettes that have been meaningful to me and my wife and this sounded like a perfect solution.
Grubbing around in my plywood off-cuts, I found a suitable piece and mounted it on some pink insulation construction foam buttresses cut with a foam hotknife and glued it all in place with PVA glue. Unfortunately I didnt photograph this stage but as the sequence shows, I then mounted a white plastic cobblestone sheet on top and glued it down to create the courtyard.
I sprayed the courtyard with beige acrylic primer then rubbed weathering powder in to create an aged look (ground artist’s pastels work well or you can buy sets of weathering powder). Once the courtyard was set I mounted the church. It looked pretty decent but really needed a stone wall for realism. So I found some black foam, cut it into narrow strips and saturated it with Elmers PVA glue before pressing fine talus (Woodland Scenics) into it as shown in the photos. Then I simply laid the stone wall onto the edge of the courtyard and let it dry for 48 hours – it set rock hard (pardon the pun) and looked quite realistic even at fairly close quarters.
The mountain side is pretty detailed but was very easy to build. I used the Woodland Scenics shaper sheet to would the steep sides and plastered some rock moulds I’d made onto its side. I used the leopard spotting techniques described in the WS Youtube videos, then sprinkled on a mix of blended turf, light green and medium green turf. Then I added medium and light green clump foliage followed by gluing on pieces of lichen to simulate bushes. I sprinkled some fine talus at the bottom of the rocky side to emulate minor rockfalls and hanging vines adorn the steeper sides. These are made from finely pulled black polyester fiber soaked in PVA mix and sprinkled with fine and coarse turf of different colours. I sprayed the while construct with 50:50 PVA glue:water mix to seal it. The whole thing jutted out over a mainline track heading down to the storage yards and passing tracks so I had to glue a rock tunnel portal in before I laid the shaper sheet and plastered it all.
The net result was the conversion of a boring flat station area to an interesting little feature suggesting the station nestles in the shadow of a medieval castle town and it is now a real focal point of the layout which I had not anticipated at all.It has had many comments and has given me hours of pleasure in the construction. Hope this helps.
A huge thank you to Glyn.
Do you know, this is the fourth year of this blog, and enjoy reading your mails as much as the first day. Please do keep ’em coming. And if they’ve inspired you to make a start, the Beginners Guide is here.