Summer Evening and the ML401

Summer Evening and the ML401
Conrail ML401 rolls west through Central New York farm country in Onondaga County, September 1994.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Making Decisions

There is no way around it - with layout construction, sometimes you just need to make a decision, and move on.  It's a leap of faith to jump in and move ahead with certain scenic elements.  While some scenes make sense conceptually, others have taken longer to come to vision.  One of those is the long embankment west of CP 277.

After installing the fascia here last year, the vision started to present itself, but still - how should this look?  Should it slope down to a river?  Should the whole thing be a river, with a retaining wall protecting the tracks?  Should it slope up and be in a long cut?

Sometimes, the best answer is to start putting in the bones of the scenery to see where it takes you.

Scenery in this tough curved area begins with cardboard strips cut to about 1" width and long enough to fit with some arc.  These are hot-glued into place.

After those ribs cure, it is time for webbing to be pulled through and hot-glued into place.

The nice part about hot glue is that it cools quickly, and that means that we are ready for plaster gauze landform to be installed almost immediately following the ribs.

I started out at the west end of the fill, leaving the detail at the bridge itself for later but getting started on the easier part to visualize.  With plaster gauze, so long as you wet down the first layer, you can always add more.  Once it was in place, the vision for the bridge area came to focus.  This would be a great spot not for an overgrown former canal, but for a groomed and well-managed NY State Park System canal park.  These are all over the place up in Central New York and it's another element that helps set the time and place.  A tow path, a few benches, mowed grass, and a historical marker on a sign post will help this feel right.

With that now started, it was time to plaster the area behind the tracks as you can see above, allowing smoother surfaces that can be painted and fully covered with scenery.  This will be a forest area with some swampy grass in the lower spots in front of the tracks.

With the operation of the Onondaga Cutoff fairly well-established and with several open-house events this fall, I am making a push to get more scenery done, and this was a big step in that direction.  Now I need to make time to create a few hundred SuperTrees!


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