That’s how many trees I have to build for the apple orchards at Port Rowan.

But first, the ground under the trees needed attention, so I’ve attended to it.

I started by gluing down the Woodland Scenics tree bases in a regular pattern. I then covered the orchard area with a darker brown paint than what I’m using under uncultivated fields. While the paint was still wet, I added ground tea leaves and dilute Weldbond. When dry, I went back and added lines of Weldbond along the three bases and topped these with some scatter material and static grass. This defines the rows of trees.
Under the apple trees photo PtR-Orchard-04.jpg

Orchard ground cover photo PtR-Orchard-05.jpg

I’ve actually started the trees as well – adding Woodland Scenics Fine Leaf Foliage to the company’s bendable armatures. I’ll add Woodland Scenics apples when I get the orchard fully planted, but the first five trees are done:
Five down - 200 to go. photo PtR-Orchard-06.jpg

200 to go.

I will have to add fences around the orchards before I plant the trees at the front of the layout. It’s on the to-do list.

Warts and all

In response to my quandary about cinder driveways, a friend recently wrote offline to say…

I appreciate the honesty of your blog particularly in cases like this where you admit changing direction or having second (or more) thoughts.

I thought that an important enough comment to share (anonymously), because I feel it’s one of the great things about writing a blog. Sharing triumphs is fine, but when I share the struggles – like cinders, or the section house design… well, that’s when I learn interesting things. My modelling tends to improve.

There are no stupid questions. And as long as one is making an effort to do better, there is nothing wrong with sharing failures. Maybe somebody else learns a lesson and avoids a mistake. Or maybe I find the answer I seek.

Yes, I’ll keep doing it.

Last of the grass…

… at least, around the rails in Port Rowan.

Today I airbrushed the rails on the turntable approach, then applied static grass between the ties:
Grass on TT approach photo PtR-TTApproach-Grass.jpg

Yes, a locomotive will run through that grass without any problems. I’ve already tested it.

Along the upper edge of the photo, the apple orchards have received a first pass of ground cover too. But more on that after the glue dries and I can take proper photos…

Lighten up

I was talking to my friend Pierre Oliver yesterday and we agreed that the cinder driveway in Port Rowan was too dark.

After spraying the last of the unpainted rails today in Port Rowan, I loaded the airbrush with some diluted BAR Gray (it was handy) and gave the cinders a weathering job. The effect is much better, I think. But judge for yourself. Here’s a photo of the new, lighter driveway… and a picture showing how it looked before adding the grey.
Lighten Up photo PtR-Driveway-02.jpg

Port Rowan station parking area photo PtR-Driveway-01.jpg

More meadow madness

Work continues on the basic scenery in Port Rowan.

I’ve now added basic ground cover to most of the space between the yard and the backdrop. This includes a most of the driveway that runs behind the station to the team track and coal dealer:
Port Rowan station parking area photo PtR-Driveway-01.jpg

Port Rowan team track ground cover photo PtR-TeamTrack-01.jpg

I’ve also added basic ground cover around the main track where it passes between the orchards to enter Port Rowan. This section of track is now ballasted as well:
Meadow between orchards photo PtR-Meadow-09.jpg

Finally, I’ve started to add some colour to the scene, with flowers from Woodland Scenics and Scenic Express. Here, Woodland Scenics flowers grow in a mass planting in yellow and lavender:
Yellow meadow flowers photo PtR-MeadowFlowers-04.jpg

Purple meadow flowers photo PtR-MeadowFlowers-02.jpg

Meantime, Scenic Express “babys breathe” (sic) adds height and white:
White meadow flowers photo PtR-MeadowFlowers-03.jpg

The overall effect creates a subtle yet welcome addition of colour, I think. There’s still much to do, but every little bit helps and I think I’m headed in the right direction.
Flowers by the turntable photo PtR-Meadow-08.jpg

Put on a happy fascia

My friend Chris Abbott visited this week and we put up the first pieces of fascia.

Before our session, I picked up some Masonite at a local DIY store, and had the store cut the 4′ x 8′ panels into four 8′ long strips. Chris and I installed two of them – so, 16 feet – which was enough to clad the layout through the Lynn Valley:
Put on a happy fascia photo Fascia-01.jpg

This work included adding some additional supports, contouring the top edge of the panels to follow the scenery, and dismounting – then remounting – two of the switch stands in St. Williams. Good progress and already it makes the layout look much more finished.

The next eight-foot section of fascia to mount includes four switch stands so it’ll take two sets of hands and some time.

Meadow madness

I’ve been busy over the past few days, but have found some time to do shape the terrain around Port Rowan and start applying ground cover and static grass.

Here’s the before photo – taken on Friday:
Port Rowan Orchards - a beginning photo PtR-Orchard-03.jpg

Now, here’s a photo taken from roughly the same spot, showing how I’m bringing the scene to life:
Meadow mayhem photo PtR-Meadow-06.jpg

Since we’re looking at overviews, here’s one from the other direction:
Meadow madness photo PtR-Meadow-07.jpg

(Note that I’ve removed the trees in the orchard so I wouldn’t get foam board dust stuck to them while working on the meadow.)

I prepped the foam board surface with rasps and rifflers. I then added lumps of Sculptamold in select spots to provide a bit of a roll to the meadow. I then painted the surface in patches, sprinkling the wet paint with ground up tea leaves and commercial scenery material from Scenic Express and Woodland Scenics. Over this, I flooded dilute Weldbond and while it was still wet I added Noch static grass.

For a first pass, I think it looks pretty good in medium range and close-up photos:
Turning 1532 photo PtR-Meadow-05.jpg

Static grass photo PtR-Meadow-04.jpg

I must still add shrubs and other greenery, plus a few trees – and, of course, details.

Adding lumps of Sculptamold to add relief is important when modelling such a flat area. It’s particularly noticeable in low angle photos, such as this one:
Rolling meadow photo PtR-Meadow-01.jpg

While working on this area, I also ballasted the turntable approach track. I will airbrush the rails, then go back and add static grass between the ties:
Ballasted TT approach photo PtR-Meadow-03.jpg

I also added ground cover to the turntable base. Here are the before and after photos:
Turntable-Installed photo PtR-Turntable-05.jpg

Grassy pit photo PtR-Meadow-02.jpg

I can do a little more – notably, along the back of the scene – but the area near the station and feed mill will have to wait until I build the structures. Still, a good start on scenery in Port Rowan, I think!

S is for Switch Stand

It’s also for “Sorry; Those are no longer available”.

Of all the products no longer available in this hobby, I bet the beautiful switch stands from Alder Models are the products missed most by Canadian model railway enthusiasts. These white metal kits were offered in S, HO, O and large scales, and could be made to operate. Alder even included a mechanism that sat under the head blocks to make this happen.

Throw the switch and the handle and target would rotate through 90 degrees. It was fiddly to get them working right – but when they did? Wow!

I know many Canadian model railway enthusiasts who are furious – and, at the same time, sad – that the company that purchased Alder failed to continue the line. I understand that several people have attempted to buy the moulds, but without success. (Alder also did some really nice resin structures in HO, including this lovely barn, shown on the layout of my friend Bill Meek.)

Fortunately, I have eight of the S scale Alder switch stands in my collection – one for each switch on the layout. This week, I installed them. Here’s an Alder switch stand near the apple orchard in Port Rowan:
Switch stand and orchard photo PtR-Orchard-01.jpg

The photo can’t show it working, of course – but it does.

Now that I have the stands installed and working, I can finish installing terrain and mount the fascia.

It’s really neat to throw a switch using the garden railway stands I’m using, and have the action mirrored, in miniature, on the layout.
Switch stands for turnout control photo SwitchStand-Installed-01.jpg