Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Take the Highway

We all do it quite a bit:  driving on the interstate is a very 'plain Jane' experience in America.  So, it needed to look right on the layout.  As this scene came together it was important to get some of the accents right.  Here's a few images of the nearly-finished I-481 scene along the Onondaga Cutoff!

Traffic, including my 1989 Dodge Caravan (correct circa 1994) heading north towards Dewitt.

Now that things are stabilized there, I am working to complete some of the background as well to make for a seamless, front-to-back view from this angle.  That means deciding finally on industrial ground cover for the Iroquois Paperboard plant in the background.

Work and usual springtime activity have dominated my thoughts lately, along with family life and even squeezing a trip in to see N&W 611 do its thing on home rails.   As always, though, a few minutes here and there lead to progress on the layout, and every little bit counts!


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Blending Progress Together

One of the reasons there is continuous progress on the Onondaga Cutoff is the generous donation of time and effort from several talented modelers.  While the operating sessions require hours of preparation and then the participation of 12-16 people to make the railroad run, I also have several guys that have been a big help with scenery.

Jason W., who built the I-481 Interstate highway scene for me, is one of those guys.  He's been instrumental in helping with backdrops and he built the highway scene off site and once it was completed, he helped me install it.  The edges were left without ground cover, and now I am working to blend in the edges with the adjacent layout surfaces in order to create a seamless scene.

To the left here we see the double-track main line, with I-481 to the right.  The crescent-shaped gap is what needed to be addressed.   I cut cardboard strip to fit the gap, using trial and error to get it close.  Hot glue is a great way to fasten cardboard strip to the plywood subroadbed.   I worked carefully to minimize damage to the surrounding details.

Using a small hot glue gun helps in tight areas like this.  Jason's work in the foreground is really going to 'pop' to the viewer's eye once the scene is blended in to the surrounding territory.

 Here is a view from the other direction, showing the crescent-shaped embankment formed by the cardboard.  This is the rough fit, with some gaps above that are best covered with plaster gauze.

Once the glue cooled down, I used plaster and gauze to overlay the rougher edges on the cardboard.  This will cure overnight, after which I can paint it black, and add the gravel and stone edges with appropriate weeds and ground cover.

Receiving top-notch help from excellent modelers like Jason is a huge benefit to the Onondaga Cutoff and it is a pleasure to showcase his talent along the route on my main line.  Without Jason's assistance, the railroad wouldn't be anywhere near as far along as it is.  Thanks Jason!   And, thank you to all the viewers that take an interest in progress here.  More scenery progress coming soon!