Sunday, December 27, 2015

Bean Field Module: Beans and Weeds

This weekend I was able to get some more work done on the bean field module. All of the scenery bits came from a Woodland Scenics Landscape Learning Kit, except the gravel shoulders on the road which were made from Buff Gravel and the weed clumps that are grass sifted out of some Scenic Express Farm Pasture Blend/

The bean field was done by squirting stripes of white glue on the top of the ribs created earlier and then dumping a bag of medium green coarse ground foam on. After the glue setup I knocked all the loose foam off and viola! a bean field (kind of). I'm not totally pleased with it but its ok for now. I'd really like to get a whole bunch of Blueford Shops corn to try, but this is an awful big area and would be quite expensive.

All of the ditch ground cover is blended fine ground foam, with some clump foliage bushes stick on here and there. It was much too uniform so I also dusted on some burnt grass and yellow grass ground foam to break it up. The tufts were made by putting dollops of white glue on a piece of aluminum foil and then sifting the grass out of the pasture mix onto them. It worked pretty well but not great.

I test ran a little, and posed for a few photos. The operation was pretty lame but photos turned out good. By far the most complete railroad I've ever done, and it's only 12" long! Looking forward to getting another single started, hopefully this week.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Bean Field Module: I Hate Ballast

Unitrack is no easier to ballast than anything else. I thought it might be a little easier to do since the road bed has some texture to it. Maybe it would grab the ballast and keep it on the slopes and between the ties better? Nope. Ballasting just sucks. Now that I've ballasted one module, I'll have to do them all. Blech.

I used Arizona Rock and Mineral ballast, Mauve on the main line and Pink Lady on the secondary. No matter how much ballast you put between the rails, it's too much. It takes so very little to get coverage and not over flow onto the ties and get swept up the sides of the rail that you'll 2nd guess yourself. Don't. If you think you have enough ballast between the rails to start spreading and shaping, you have too much.

The entire track area was sprayed with Rustoleum Camo Brown. A random few of the ties were painted with Asphaltum, Black, and Pavement craft paints. It is very hard to tell in the pictures but the effect in person is very nice.

Also this weekend the dirt and earth ground foam went on the bean field. I painted the field black first, then sprayed on some water/glue and sprinkled on the foam with a tea strainer. After I was satisfied with coverage I spritzed on some Windex and hit it with another shot of glue.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Bean Field Module: Terrain

The landscape work is mostly complete on the Bean Field module. The roadbed for the 2nd track was buried in drywall compound to try and give it a secondary look. The ballast will be slightly different, and less of it along with grassy shoulders and weeds. Drywall compound was also used to build up the shoulders of the highway to prepare them for gravel and weeds.

For making the furrows in the field, I used a home made scraper cutout of a for sale sign on my wife's Silhouette cutter. It worked very well. First I smeared a fairly even layer of drywall compound on the foam and then drug the scraper through it as evenly as my shaky hands could. It worked very well I think.

The foreground terrain was done with Celluclay, a paper mache like goop. The pink foam is very very very flat, and even the flattest farmland is not that flat. The goopy mixture was troweled on with a spatula and patted down for a smooth but lumpy finish. I had some difficulty getting it to stick to the pink foam board, next time I will rough the surface to give it some tooth. Once dry it is stuck well, just the smearing and spreading was iffy. Celluclay was also used to give the drainage ditch between the highway and bean field some character.

Also at this point I mixed some black paint and plaster together to "pave" the highway. A very thin layer was used. It is a little light for asphalt, but in my experience (which is limited) it's easier to weather the crap out of stuff and make it darker than it is to make it lighter. This should be a good base for a blackwash, oil stains, and patches.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Bean Field Module: Track and Road

I was able to spend some more time on the Bean Field module this week. I rebuilt the frame with 1/4 sanded plywood instead of the MDF. MDF was to wobbly and didn't take nails or glue very well. It is just as light now but 10x sturdier.

The track sections are attached with clear latex caulk. Since I'm using foam for the base of the scenery there was nothing to pound nails into, and I find nail heads to be pretty ugly anyway. I had some concerns about the caulk being strong enough to withstand connecting modules together but it seems to be pretty solid. Spoiler alert: I'll be ballasting also so the white glue and rocks should also help hold it down, not that it really needs it.

I also used latex caulk to attach the Funky Foam highway. I smeared the caulk on the base foam and shaped it to have a slight crown, then laid the road material over and lightly pressed it in. The road width is 2" which should scale out to 12' lanes, with a little extra on the shoulders. The shoulders will be built up next to the road with spackle before applying some gravel.