Tote dat barge, smash dat ridge

On today’s episode of “What that crazy guy is doing”, we find him in his basement with a large mallet.

Oh, did I get ahead of you? Sometimes I do tend to skip to the fun bit.

On my last blog post, I was adding a road and a hydrocal base. This I enjoy. Let’s pick up where we left off…

After a day or two of spreading chunks of plaster around the house, I had pretty much all the hydrocal in place except for between the west switch of Nelson and the backdrop. At the same time, I put rock castings on using thicker hydrocal as a sort of glue. If you like sculpting hydrocal (I don’t) you can use it at the same time to make the rocks blend in better by creating more rock face around them. I plan to do this with slower drying sculptamold later. I do not enjoy creating detailed cliffs.

I think that extra inch or two all along helped a lot.

Meanwhile, I decided a high cliff face like there is right beside the Keenleyside dam would be fab. I hope I don’t end up tearing it out. Another thing I’m doing, since hydrocal costs about a fifth as much as sculptamold by weight (probably a twentieth by size) is rough in the various protrusions so only a thin coat of sculptamold is required.

Also put in a few bits up the line past Labarthe.

Now we come to the precursor to the smashy bit…

That steep face on the left that just doesn’t look right? Yep, that’s the one. Several reasons it needed to go:

  1. It was too close to the tracks to put any rock castings on
  2. Didn’t work with the lay of the land
  3. (most importantly) there was no equivalent prototype cliff, just a big ol’ load o’ trees.

That brings us up to speed. If we go back to this post we can see what the base looks like, especially in this picture. I took out the cardboard support and let it slope gently, adding some compression to the hillside which I’ve lately found is nice.

I also winged it with laziness on the lake side of the track, since it was too steep. I wadded up some newspapers, tried taping them down unsuccessfully, and ended up just plastering over them to give a rough shape and then shaping it more as the plaster dried. I’m absolutely shocked something so lazy worked.

Finished avalanche slope – I mean hillside:

In person, it’s miles better. Lumpy, but better.

I also realized that operations and videos would be a lot better if I had somewhere for trains to go once they were past the tunnel, so I added another mile of mainline run by saying “to hell with ideals, I’m building a temporary bridge”

So I cut a wide piece of plywood in the hopes that it would stop derailed rolling stock from falling off, and since I was out of flextrack, patched my 3 longest scraps together and caulked them down right on the plywood.

That gives me some sort of staging…problem is, 81 can trundle right up into it, but staging an eastbound? Have you ever tried to back an N scale train with a mix of body and truck mounts up a steep grade and around curves?

Let’s just say tomorrow’s project is adding some scenery around the bare bits so that my trains have somewhere to fall.

Additionally, I’m in an art show this weekend, so it’s amazing I’m doing anything down here at all. Procrastination? Nope, I’m not using real life as an excuse not to play with trains!


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