Trees, Chaparral & Low Ground Cover for Sandstone Canyon

A new section of scenery was created with my new “tough skin” method. It consists of two layers of paper bags with foam in between. This is made tough by a coat of Rock Powder Pigment and diluted glue. For this scene, #1200 Cajon powder was used for representing my Sandstone Canyon. Knowing that trees were to plant in this scenery, I wanted to have a scenery base with foam to make planting trees and chaparral easy. The areas adjacent to this use the foam method.

The area around this Campbell Scale Models “Tall Curved Trestle” (two kits end to end) was done with a single layer of paper bag scenery. Planting the pine trees worked out ok, but if foam were underneath, it would have been better.
Step 1.
The tallest features for this scenery are the pine trees and should be planted last. I decided that it would work out best if their locations are established first, then remove them for installing the low ground cover and underbrush.
The tall pine trunks were temporally planted for knowing were the dead needle litter (#16) should be placed. Some grass flock was glued in place and then a few Tufts of stand up grass. More of this is yet to be installed as it looks too barren for now.
You can see a tree at left with the Air Fern branches that are half-finished.
Step 2.
Adding a small pond
There was a flat area at the base of the canyon so I placed a small pond there. Micro Engineering ties are in place for the track leading to the Saw Mill.
More ground cover and trees
1375 Wood Debris, #2 Dead & Alive Ground Cover, #4 Yellow Grass, #5 Green Grass and a few rocks (#1205 and 1207 Cajon Sandstone).
Clumps of Sage Brush are at the far right and just right of centre are some Utah Junipers made with real Sage armatures.
Rails are laying loose on the scenic roadbed with the Mauve ballasted mainline in the foreground.
Every tree has been done by different techniques to see what looks best. My focus will be on what materials will have the best longevity over the years. Natural foliage materials will fade and become brittle with time. To avoid this, I’ll use Hemp Twine for the branches instead of the Asparagus Fern. You can see a tree with only the Asparagus Fern at far right. To the left of that tree is one done with Hemp branches.
Pine needles are short snips of jute twine I stained dark green.

A Lit Service Station Sign out of Brass

Bob’s Super Service finally got the high highway sign lite so the motorist can easily see where to fuel up at night. While I was at it, a few other lights were installed in the building and around the property. I photographed all the construction steps and will soon submit it to one of the magazines for publication.

Weston train crews

The family of train crews are back together again after a long absents and posed for this picture. Pictured are Engineers, Firemen, Brakemen, Conductors and Dispatcher. I also learned how to make pigeons out of brass with one of them on the Geep cab. Mrs Spumoni and baby Pistachio are now in their new house as she checks out her new clothes lines. The checker players are on the second floor and well into a new game as the old hound dog sleeps. To get a large image like this, the camera lens had to be four inches away. The detail of Weston Figures is hard to believe as the masters were carved from beeswax over sixty years ago according to Leo Campbell.

Posted on 2 Comments

Weathering A Few Freight Cars

The same pigments I use for scenery and used for weathering all the structures you have seen on this web-site have now been applied on these freight cars. Call this “The Art of Model Railroading” as I wanted to make my weathering very obvious. Someone made a statement recently on the internet that Athearn’s rolling stock is not selling anymore and gathering dust on the hobby shop shelves. Consider using them for these extreme weathering techniques and I’m sure they will get as much attention as those highly detailed ones at six times the money.

You can’t believe everything printed by the model press. One of their highly endorsed techniques for weathering was to use dirty thinner. The results on plastic were very bad and the models looked horrible. Floquil’s weathering sets don’t cut it either as their to shiny. What you see here is my pigments applied over the tacky paint. Old paint turns to chalk and therefore not glossy looking.
Floquil’s Grime was applied to all these cars and then different combinations of my powder applied.
In some places, Dull Coat lacquer was applied to further distribute the pigment to make it adhere.
Only Dull Coat and black pigment were used on this car.
Care was taken not to hide the car logo’s so you could still read them. A little orange pigment was used to simulate fresh rust right of the door.
A stock car according to the late John Allen, will have a lot of “white” at the bottom to show the user of disinfectants.
Take a good look at the next freight train rolling by and notice the extreme disrepair of some units. I saw a couple up in Flagstaff a while back that were so bad one could hardly believe they were still in service.

Pistachio Goes Missing

The base is 1221 Yard Mix.

Pistachio heading home
The “Loafer” has just sent a pigeon to “Rosy” with a note that Pistachio is on his way home to Bootjack in uncle Tony’s car. (Rosy is Mrs Spumoni’s identical twin sister). The Pigeon has roosted on the church stoop and is waiting to see what happens next.

The base is 1303 Black Cinder HO Mainline with 1172 Mauve and 110-03Low Desert Soil as the earth on the right.

Cowboy and the so-called train men are sheepishly heading back to Bootjack empty-handed. They got duped by taking the wrong track in search of Pistachio’s train. However, he notices some activity up ahead.

Finally, baby Pistachio is back in the arms of Mama Spumoni. That Grandmother on the train put his diaper on really good, It must be he’s so active it won’t stay on very long.

BootJack Mine and Water Tower

Mountain snow, valley rain. Four to six inch’s above four thousand feet
This is the way the weather forecast is given to us in Arizona. The elevation determines the temperature and thus, rain or snow is forecast Statewide. When moisture moves in, the Desert will get rain and the “high country” snow.
One of my favourite Campbells structures is the Northern Water Tank with the Old Man walking down the tracks. Bootjack is a mountain mining town with occasional long term freezing temperatures so this gave me a good reason to have the model on the layout. We have very cold weather in Arizona today so why not have a permanent snow scene in the mountains.

The out of print Campbell catalogue #eight has many inspiring colour photos like this. Thirty years later, and I finally built the model.

You can’t always have a model turned in the direction for head-on viewing like the photo above. The scene looks much better than this camera shot because the lighting and depth of field just aren’t there.

A light dusting of snow actually makes the dark structures and scenery look more inviting because of the contrast of light and dark.
Why don’t you ask for a bag of #1320 Marble Dust Snow?

So-called railroad men head out

The railroad men decided to head out down the line to catch up with Pistachio’s train as they are reminded of the command by Mrs. Spumoni.
Products used is 1090c Earth around the base area building, 1221 Yard Mix, 1220 ash, and 3000 Kinzua as the base.

“Cowboy” has hopped on the engine that is chasing down baby Pistachio’s train. He claims his ability to read sign will aid in the effort. The train slowly approaches a junction when Cowboy yells “STOP.”

Cowboy notices something on the track up ahead and goes to take a look.
He holds up something for everyone to see and declares, “this must be baby Pistachio’s diaper and it looks dirty to me.” He further exclaims, “If you didn’t have me along, you fellas may have taken the wrong track at the junction.”
The red is 1040 Red Sadona and the ballast is 1303 HO Mainline

Meanwhile
Little Pistachio is having the time of his life. When he got on the train, an old Grandmother spotted him as he seemed cold and bewildered. She quickly wrapped a blanked around him (that came just in time as the Conductor didn’t see him when walking by). Conductors hate little kids anyway.

The grandmother then pulled off his dirty diaper and threw it off the back of the train. She deliberately tossed it on the adjacent track, (she didn’t want to be accused of being a litterbug). Grandmothers always have a couple of spare diapers in their handbag just for such emergencies. Then she had the dining car waiter bring him some hot soup as the little darling seemed dreadfully hungry.

Life for a little guy can’t get better that this, but how long will it last?

Election Day

The folks in Bootjack enjoy going down in person to vote as it’s also a time to socialize and catch up on the latest news.

PROSPECTOR NEWS
November 3rd
BABY PISTACHIO GOES MISSING
A narrative

Everyone was having a good social get-together at the Polling place when Mrs Spumoni decided to go inside to cast her vote. She told her husband to watch Pistatio while she went inside, whispering, (I think he was a dirty diaper) and left him in his care. The men just started talking again and didn’t notice the baby slip away. Someone thought they saw him slip around the backside of the Conductor but didn’t know for sure.

Read what happens next latter.

November 4th
Mrs Spumoni Comes out the door and instantly realizes her baby Pistatio in missing. She screams, Pistachio, Pistachio. The train conductor seems to hear her (as he leans forward trying to listen), but the loud sound of the departing train muffled her screams. The people nearby seem to say in unison, “We think he’s on the train”, as thou trying to reassure her. Her husband said, “well you know how much he loves riding trains?” Mrs Spumoni replies, “I know that Conductor, he’s as dumb as that cow standing over there.” “And furthermore, you so-called train men—You get my baby back to me.”

November 5thThe mad dash to the Western Union Office

Everyone agrees the best thing to do now, is get over to the train station and get a message down the line to stop the train and retrieve little Pistachio. There were two people that didn’t come with the group, “the Loafer and Cowboy.” That is not surprising as they often have other ways of solving problems. Mr. Spumoni and his wife quickly explain, “please get a message down the line, our baby Pistatio in on the train”. The Western Union man (standing by the sign) says, “I did it 15 minuets ago. Mrs. Spumoni ask, “how did you know to do that?” The telegraph man says, ” the Loafer sent his best carrier pigeon with a note telling what happened, see the pigeon on the roof?” Now with that done, everyone will have to wait to see what happens.

The next instalment is 11/8/2010
The purpose of all this to see if a Cartoon like a storyline could be done with my models and people then shot with a camera instead of drawing pictures.

Wood Boxcar Freight House

A few months ago, I got an Ayres Scale Models “Box Car Freight House” on eBay. This kit dates back to the early ’60s and is all wood like much the models from that era. My Winslow engine service area was a perfect location for this kit as it goes well with a Campbell loading dock that was already there. The scene has become quite congested and taken years to get it that way.

What’s an Ayres kit? Thomas J. Ayres was a 50’s kit builder in California and many of the structures were adapted into the Campbell Scale Models line of products when Leo Campbell bought it from Ayres. Ayres continued to work for Leo for a number of years at least in the capacity as a photographer. He is credited for all those sharp pictures used in the Campbell ads and colour catalogues. Looking at this scene, I realized that four other Ayres kits are in it. The Sand House, Coaling Station, Water Tank and Pump House. Kevin Barnett worked for Campbell and designed the Water Treatment Plant at lower right in this photo.

Item used in this sence are 1221 Yard Mix, 3001 Kinzua around the Fuel Tanks, 1020 KAIBAB Earth around the Oil Derricks and Office.

Narrow gauge

Some cars are old-time antiques and other home-made. Everyone will be featured separately as I rebuilt them for better running standards. The engine is a brass 0-6-0 that I bought from an old friend in Tucson AZ. about 14 years ago. The purpose of buying it was for this type of train. It has that John Allen flavour and I’m very pleased with it pulling 10 cars on all my grades. That first gondola has wavy sides to emphasize it’s seen heavy use. Notice the wavy edge of the layout to break up the straight edge of most layouts. There is no point in more scenery in this area until the backdrop is installed. 116 Apache Stone Products used in this scene. I never showed you how to make the three varieties of cactus!

USe 110-003 Low desert for the base

HERE IS AN ART PROJECT FOR YOU TO TACKLE

A diorama with two kits from JL Innovative

The O’Lary’s Garage complex arrived from JL Innovative on Monday and it was combined with their Mc Leod Supper Service kit for this diorama. The module is on a 1/4 ” Masonite base with my #1290 Concrete Paving material applied. The details are now in place. A long stretch of the upper layout has been reserved for a number of roadside attractions along our Route 66 and the Santa Fe. Strips of Masonite (rough side up for adhesion) are precoated with my #1290 Concrete paving material and then moved into place. A tiny screw will hold them down on the ends as they warp as seen in the photo below. Painting some distant hills/mountains on the backdrop dramatically improves the scene. The hardboard base that the structures are mounted on can be removed at any time for working on the scene or painting the backdrop.

Use 1090 earth for your earth around the bare parts in the concrete.

Route 66 is under construction in the foreground and paved like the driveways with our #1290 Concrete paving Material.

Many of the detail castings are visible at this side of the gas station. JL Innovative makes a “Deluxe Gas Station detail set #510 that was used in the service bay side of the building driveway.

O’Lary’s Garage is a diversified operation as you see by the signs. I have a few Packards from National Motor Company and placed a touring model upfront. This building was treated with weathering to represent chipped and peeled paint. I added a sidewalk in front of the structure made from thin cardboard and coated with #1290 Concrete Paving Material.

The truck service garage is part of the O’lary’s kit that allows you to build it as a separate entity such as I did. A lot of detail castings are included so the work area can have clutter like this. The effect of peeling paint is most notable on the red building trim. Chose figures and vehicles to bring life to the scene.