Friday, October 14, 2016

Scenic Progress - the Interstate

The route of the Onondaga Cutoff roughly follows Interstate Highway 481 south of Syracuse, through Ram's Gulch, and over towards Fayetteville and Dewitt.  Including a piece of it was a key way to link that part of the layout to a prototype location, increasing the authenticity and sense of place.

Thanks to the skills of a buddy of mine, the Onondaga Cutoff has a new scene that dramatically transforms one of the most visible parts of the layout.  Jason W., a fellow HO scale modeler that has attended a few operating sessions and is skilled at building model roadways, generously offered to construct a scene I had planned in front of Iroquois Paper.

We measured the location and built a scale plan, and Jason then built the scene on his workbench. Once it was constructed, he moved it to the layout space, and we built a support system to mount it on the benchwork.

Jason build the base for this out of thin plywood sheet, then used foam roadbed to build up the height of the road surface, which was constructed from sheet styrene, then painted and decaled to produce a very realistic roadway.  He finished the scene with various details, correct signage, and even painted expansion cracks, suggesting an older highway with concrete underlay, similar to many highways in the Northeast.

One of the best parts of this is the new scene covers the mainline loop east of CP294, where it happened to run alongside the mainline east of CP277.  Since the locations are 13 miles apart, we needed something to provide the illusion that the only mainline track here in this scene is the track adjacent to Iroquois Paper at MP 276.9.

I'm thrilled with how this turned out!  As you can see, it is not finalized - currently it is set in place, pending final installation of photo backdrops and surrounding scenery base.  Once the backdrops are in place later this fall, this scene will be fastened down, and the rest of the surrounding scenery will quickly blend this scene into the layout. This scene will only get better, but it was time to show you how much it has improved already!



  1. Nice work! What type of plywood does he use to avoid warping?


  2. This was a furniture-grade plywood from Home Depot, and the scene was built with a vertical curve in mind. Jason constructed a temporary frame to hold the plywood at the correct curve, and then we (carefully!) slid it on to the columns that I installed prior to its arrival.