Copetown: This Sunday

It’s that time of year again…

I’ll be joining my friends Mark Zagrodney and Chris Abbott to spend Sunday afternoon at the Copetown Train Show.

Maybe we’ll see you there?

Going by our previous trips to Copetown it’ll be followed, I’m sure, by a pint, nosh and debriefing at the Black Bull in nearby Burlington.

Copetown is a highlight on the region’s train show circuit, attended by many of the top modellers in southern Ontario. I’m looking forward to it!

“I see England, I see France…”

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Who knows what I see with those things?!?

To find out, tune into the latest episode of The RoadShow on TrainMasters TV. This time around, I show off some of the tools that I use to contour terrain and put them to work on my S scale modules. I also demonstrate the greatest tool I’ve ever used to trim fascia to follow the contour of the land.

Along the way, I make a mess – a huge mess. Shredded foam board gets everywhere

Click on the image below to go straight to the episode’s page – and enjoy if you watch it.

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Re-tree and a use for drywall screws

My friend Chris Abbott visited yesterday after work, and since he hadn’t seen the layout for a little while I showed him my progress on trees in St. Williams.

While discussing the trees, it occurred to us that I could easily improve some of my earlier trees by adding fresh poly-fiber finished with my leaf of choice – the exquisite line from the Nigel Knight at The Selkirk Leaf Company – directly over the top of the old canopies.

Since I had my tree-making materials handy, I gave it a try, adding some new canopy (indicated by the arrow in the photo below) over a tree behind the water tank in the Lynn Valley:

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(That looks much better!)

The old canopy material – Woodland Scenics tree netting – can be seen above the newly applied canopy. It doesn’t catch the light as nicely and doesn’t do as nice a job of suggesting “leaves”, in my opinion. This will be an easy update to make, but I won’t do more of it until I finish my new batch of trees in St. Williams.

While enjoying dinner at our favourite local establishment, Chris and I observed that hobbyists often find one technique to do something, then stick with that for life.

Even those who do experiment (and I count myself in that group) are often reluctant to go back and redo completed areas of a layout, even though they have changed techniques, materials, or both.

It’s hard do do that when there are other, fresh projects to tackle – but as the photo above makes clear to me, making the effort is well worthwhile.

(Thanks Chris – always great to bounce ideas off you!)

I used to use drywall screws to build benchwork, until I learned better. But that means I have a large supply of drywall screws. Is there anything I can do with them? (Besides the obvious use to install drywall, of course…)

Turns out, there is: As I showed Chris last night and as the photo below demonstrates, they make handy place-holders for wire armatures when I remove them from the layout to apply my bark mixture. Kind of like a seat filler at the Oscars…

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Tree progress in St. Williams

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(Looking east from the west end of ST. Williams. With trees in place, this is looking more like Ontario)

For the past couple of months, I’ve had wire tree armatures in place in St. Williams, to give me a chance to test-run some trains to make sure that my planned placements did not interfere with operations. With some very minor adjustments, all is well – so, over the past few days, I’ve been working on turning the armatures into trees.

I’m making great progress on this front. In fact, I now have trees all along the wall behind the St. Williams team track:

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Already, this has made a huge difference to the scene. Compare the photos below with those in this post from early December:

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In the following set of photos, I illustrate the sequence in which I add leaf canopy to finished armatures. I start from the back and work my way forwards. The trees here took about an hour to finish:

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As I’ve added the canopy, I’ve discovered some new views of the layout, too: vignettes that are now framed by trees.

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(West siding switch, St. Williams)

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(Mike’s line of sight)

I’m now about halfway done with the big trees in St. Williams. I’ll need to add bushes and other details, of course. Despite my layout being a fairly modest endeavour, there are always things to do on it…

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