I’ve been busy with development work for the company, so just a short update or two this week.

Weeding the yard
Scenery progress along the CSX interchange is shaping up nicely. To refresh your memory, here’s what I started with and then how it looks today.

CSX interchange on I&W


Interchange yard update

Both tracks have been reballasted with cinders and weeds are steadily growing along the back track. Soon it’ll be time to work on the area next to the backdrop. Admittedly, my method of using sisal twine for weeds is labor intensive to the max. My friend Trevor Marshall gets amazing results on his Port Rowan layout in a fraction of the time with a static grass applicator (see the post “Interview With Trevor Marshall” for photos of his layout). Given the expense of these tools and the nearly completed state of the I&W, purchasing one now is impossible to justify.


Small steps add up over time

Small steps add up over time

My routine for using the twine is to do small sections over time. It’s a simple matter to lay down some glue and apply a few weeds in odd moments during the day. The process is easy to start and stop at will and, good progress will be made with persistence. The color of the raw twine is toned down with color washes from Doctor Ben’s Scale Consortium. I use his Realistic Oak (#1081), Natural Pine (#1082) and Aged Driftwood (#1080) stains. 

This area is much improved and now blends in better with the rest of the layout. On page 27 of our book Detailing Track, there is a photo taken on the East Broad Top in 1976, that shows a similar weedy effect.

Tall weeds

I made the weeds between the tracks quite tall to separate them from each other and the foreground of the scene.

New book
The landscape book is also well underway. Chapters one and two are all but complete. I don’t want to say too much at this point because these projects tend to change radically throughout the creative process. I will share this however, most of the existing literature centers on techniques: how to model grass, landforms, and such. Sort of like a recipe book for cooking. Gather these ingredients, mix accordingly, bake and let cool before serving. Techniques are certainly important but not the whole story.

Our book will be more like a set of blueprints for scenery. Like the blueprints for a house, the book will show the big picture along with the individual details and how they all fit together. No date for publication yet, it’s still too early in the process. Just know that things are moving forward. There are other goodies in the pipeline too and word will be coming on those in due time. For now, back to work.