“Good day Alastair,
“This is a follow-up to my previous post. For those who didn’t see the previous, I am building a diorama based on Don Brekon’s wonderful print “Riverside Local”. I am just modelling the right side of the painting- ending at the river bank.
It is OO on a 18”X20” base. My previous post ended at this point- with the basic terrain being laid down in plaster.
After the basic terrain was set, I put down a quick coat of color. The colors aren’t that important- they won’t show in the end, but they are a helpful guide to laying the ground cover. They also prevent any white plaster showing through.
In the pictures, you may notice the Inn and various details, such as trees, come and go. The point is there is a lot of experimentation as you build scenery- it rarely looks right the first time. And the photos are not in exact sequence as I illustrate certain points.
I next turned my attention to the rail bridge and footpath tunnel. I had assumed that I would be able to find a portal and basic girder bridge to match them in my parts bin and, if not, find them on line. I didn’t have any luck finding ones that looked right so I decided to scratch build.
I started by taking various close-up photos and experimenting with printing size. Once I got the size I needed, I just printed out a bunch of copies on card stock. Then it was just a matter of cutting balsa and card and building up the tunnel and bridge in layers. It came out pretty well, but it was a lot more work than I had planned.
I used Alastair’s sheet of brick walls for the inside of the tunnel and bridge. I can see that sheet having many uses.
Once the basic bridge and tunnel were in place, I built up the pathway to the correct height and built up the bank with chicken wire and plaster.
Next I started on the ground cover. There are many ways to install grass etc. and I use a simple method that I have used for many years. I have a few dioramas that have been around a long time and the scenery has held up well. I always work in pretty small areas. I think this allows for accurate details- plus, when I mess up, there is not that much to be removed to start over!
I first put down some Elmer’s glue-all or wood glue (they work equally well- I think they are pretty much the same- with a little coloring in the wood glue!). I just lay down strips and spread the glue with my finger. I then pour some ‘grass’ or other cover onto a folded index card and sprinkle it on.
There are many brands of grass and I have at times made my own, but for this project, I have used all Woodland Scenics. I like the products, and if you look for them on sale or on Ebay, they are not too pricey.
I also am very impressed with their wide range of products and how they are continually coming up with new ones. I figure they are doing a lot for the hobby and I will give them my support when I can.
Fine Turf Burnt Grass looked the closest in color to the painting and it came out pretty well. After doing a few areas and letting them dry, I give it a quick spray of scenic cement. This will change the color and texture a little, but in this case it came out to what I was looking for. Working in small areas takes more time, but I think is worth it.
When I got down to what will be the river bank, I covered it in layers. First an earth, then grass, then a darker coarse turf and then a little bit of lighter coarse turf. Each layer is done the same way- glue and then spray. I fiddled around with mixing a few colors for the road/path because the color in the painting is a little unusual.
I finally just settled on Fine Buff Ballast and I think it has come out looking right.
Before finishing the ground cover, I built up the woods at the back of the scene. I think the placement, type, and size of trees is one thing that can make or break a railway scene. If a tree is in a location that has been planted (a front garden, perhaps), then it can be any size, type or color.
If it is part of a wood, though, all the trees need to work together to create the scene. First size- they won’t be all the same size! And color- they won’t be all the same color!
In this case, I picked the largest tree first. In most cases, we don’t really model the true size of trees. Notice in the painting, the largest tree is almost twice as tall as the Inn. We rarely use trees this tall- but they will look right (the one I used was listed as ‘O’ scale). I then picked out the various other trees that are visible.
Once the trees were in place, I continued with the ground cover. When I got to the bank and tree line, I put down about 4 layers of various colored ground cover. Although it will be in the background, some of this will show. I then added various shapes and colors to complete the bank and wooded area.
The area next to the road (on the right) is out of the picture. I decided to add a flowering hedge – for a little color.
Now I am basically at the point of completing all the details. I will be leaving the track, river and rear of the building semi-complete so that I can eventually fit it into my layout. I have a feeling that the details- mainly the people in the painting, will be difficult.
There are 13 different figures in the painting- all in specific poses. A quick look through my (rather large) box of figures tells me that I am going to have a hard time finding specific ones so I’ll just try to get as close as I can.
Hopefully, I will complete this before the end of the year. Stay tuned.
That’s all for today folks.
Don’t forget The Beginner’s Guide is here if you want to keep yourself busy and have fun too.
That’s all for today, folks.