The new track on Mill Road represents an abandoned through line. There is enough track to switch an important customer, but beyond that nature is taking over again. Like the original scene, we’re still in open country and the track is raised above the floodplain on a low fill. Al cluster of mature trees serve as screening at the joint of the modules and at a seam in the backdrop panels. The ancient fill that dates back to the late 1800s is overgrown with grasses and woody vegetation.
In shaping the fill, I made certain the slopes on each side were nice and gentle. Railroad engineering practice suggested the dimensions and slope angles but I treated these as guides rather than hard rules. An older earthwork like this would be softened by time and show a history of maintenance and various materials. I’m fortunate to have many nearby examples of low fills that I can study at length. Like many of you, I thoroughly enjoy this kind of homework.
In modeling an older right-of-way I consider engineering specs as guides rather than hard rules.
I made certain to give this fill a nice gentle slope to reflect its age and lack of maintenance. A cluster of mature trees will hide the dark post like framing near the section joint and the seams of the foam core backdrop panels.
This track is one of the inspirations for the new module. While not on a fill as such, notice the variation in the land contours surrounding the track. This area is anything but flat.
We go to great lengths to detail track, rolling stock and buildings, yet often treat scenery as nothing more filler. Little thought is given to the profiles of cuts and fills. The ground on many layouts is flat as a pool table thanks to the sheet goods underneath. It’s quick and easy to do scenery this way but even ground that looks flat will have natural contours or be artificially pitched for drainage purposes. I’m always amazed at the difference in realism these elements add to a scene.
In a painting, you emphasize certain elements but you want a cohesive look to the entire work. Modeling scenery more accurately is a way to bring the values of P48 that I enjoy into the entire scene. I think of this as giving a gift to viewers who appreciate such things.