Trees and Thai food :: A visit with Chris

 photo TreeLine-StW-07_zps9ba69f26.jpg
(The foreground trees here will visually separate the St. Williams team track area from the Stone Church Road bridge scene)

Chris Abbott and I spent a most enjoyable afternoon together yesterday, running a few trains, discussing my recent work on trees, plans for gathering all of my various workshop tools and materials in one place, my experiments with couplers, and more.

We ran four trains. In addition to the M233 and M238 (seen in the photos with this post), we also took the new doodlebug and a freight extra for a spin. With the exception of turning the mixed train, there was no switching to do – we were returning a couple of staged trains from Port Rowan to Simcoe and points north. But the switching with the mixed train went smoothly – validating my decision to return to using the Kadee 808 couplers.

I was particularly interested in how trains would look rolling through St. Williams, where I’ve temporarily planted a number of tree armatures in the foreground. And I’m pleased. Trains will look even better when these armatures are coated with bark mixture and topped with leafy canopies.

 photo TreeLine-StW-06_zpsf06dd747.jpg
(The new trees will form a short tunnel between St. Williams and the bridge over Stone Church Road)

In adding trees, I like to start with the bare armatures and leave them in place for a bit, while I conduct some operating sessions. This is useful for confirming that the trees will not get in the way of coupling, uncoupling and other tasks.

I make a point of testing the reach-in access for both left-handed and right-handed people. I don’t need to actually do the work with the off-hand – just make sure I can get my arm in and out of a scene without clocking a tree with an elbow. I know I will do a lot of testing with the foreground trees near the middle of the double-ended siding in St. Williams. They’re low, compact trees – but I want to make sure they don’t interfere with dropping and lifting cars in the siding.

 photo TreeLine-StW-05_zpsf27a7acf.jpg
(The foreground trees to the right of the tracks will frame the railway as it curves around this corner of the room)

Chris and I started the afternoon with a trip to Harbord House for a serving of bacon, cheese and ale dip, stuffed chicken breast, and pints – followed by a stop at Things Japanese and Bakka-Phoenix Books – all located within a few doors of each other. I have a great neighbourhood.

Chris stayed for dinner, too: A Thai beef curry done in a red sauce and finished with snow peas and clementines. It was nice to have a very relaxing afternoon, with plenty of time to do things – railway-related and otherwise.

A great time, as always, Chris – thanks for coming over!

7 thoughts on “Trees and Thai food :: A visit with Chris

  1. It is interesting to see how scale and realistic trees (and forested areas) really dwarf trains. The picture over Stone Church Road shows us how the perspective changed from what it used to be without tree. I’m curious to see how things will evolve, but I think you are really getting the “right of way” feeling… right. The fun thing is that the means you use are quite simplistic: trees and bushes. A nice lesson of modesty again.

    • Thank you Matt – and you’ve given me an idea for a follow-up post, once I finish the trees in this area.
      Realistically-scaled trees have another advantage, too: I’ll need fewer of them to fill the scene.
      Cheers!

  2. I try to keep unsolicited opinions to myself but looking at your lead photo, a thought did occur. From the camera’s position there is a really nice sight line through the center of the foreground grove of trees to the overpass.

    If you were to relocate one, two or three trees in the middle of that grove toward the left, it would enhance that sight line, making a nicely framed composition of the overpass. Just a thought. It is, of course, your decision.

    Regards,
    Mike

    • Hi Mike:
      You have an artist’s eye and your opinions on such things as composition are always welcome. I’ll give your suggestion a try.
      Stay tuned!

  3. Trevor, I’m sure you using trains as an excuse for a meal out!
    By the way, I’ve found out a few things that get in the way when reaching in too, and have some damaged telegraph poles to replace! You don’t think about these sort of things until you start regularly operating, and even then no two sessions can be the same, so something else shows up.

    • I rarely need an excuse for a meal out, Brian. There are lots of great restaurants nearby, and many of them are located halfway between our house and the place where my wife works, so it’s always possible to meet her on the way home and grab something to eat.
      That said, I used to cook a lot more meals for friends when they came over. And I found I spent a lot of time cooking, and then cleaning up – to the point where the visit suffered somewhat. So, by going out, we get to let somebody else do the work.
      But even I draw the line at two restaurant meals in one day – so this time we combined a trip to the pub with a home-cooked meal.
      Whenever I place elements in the foreground, I like to test their placement before committing to them. As this post notes, I’m doing this with the tree armatures. But I’ve also done it with card stock mock-ups of structure and other elements. It’s amazing, sometimes, how even shifting an element as little as two inches to the left or right can made a difference – visually as well as operationally.
      Cheers!

  4. Trevor, as usual your modeling is not only educational but most of all inspiring. I continue to be amazed at how you have taken a very simple layout used it to provide hours of modeling satisfaction, totally within the perspective of an “Acheiveable Layout”.
    Having said that, I still come back time and again to view your progress because of those beautiful little steam locomotives. Your layout would lose a bit of its charm without those 2-6-0s and 4-6-0s.

    Barry

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