From Chapter 1 Of Vol. 6
As with writing, composing a believable model scene is hard. It isn’t that modelers don’t try, it’s more a lack of understanding the landscape. We spend so much time and effort focused on the trains that we can find ourselves at a loss for how to proceed with things like scenery.
Part of the problem with scenery is that we see it everyday. It fades into the background of our conscious mind and we stop paying attention to it. This leads to the assumption that we know what we’re looking at and therefore, we don’t study it like a freight car or structure.
As with many things, the solution is to admit that we don’t know what we think we do about composing a scene. The answer is simple: Study the real thing. Rather than study scenery, a part of the problem is an over-reliance on a select few techniques that reduce landscape modeling to a formula. Along with a reliance on technique comes a dependance on generic materials. Modelers indiscriminately use the same materials for both ground cover and trees without considering the different textures between the two in the full-size world. Along with a monolithic texture from fascia to backdrop, we overcrowd our layouts.There’s simply no other way to say it. We stuff in too much track and everything else under the false impression that we have to have it all.
If that’s your approach then so be it. I’m not going to change your mind. But more is not always better. As with words, a careful editing of our scenes will often yield more satisfying results. Scenery simply doesn’t get the respect it deserves, which is a shame. Learning to see the landscape as it actually is rather than using preconceived ideas about it is a fine way to create a distinctive layout, one that reflects you and not a thousand others.