When I removed the excess track near the mill a few weeks ago, I also removed the section of Mill St. from the crossing to the back drop. My thinking was to alter the shape and direction of the street for a more graceful transition into the backdrop.
Well, as I thought about it while doing other work, I decided to simply introduce a bit more taper as the street approached the back of the layout and look for a suitable photo to mount on the wall (above).
Having made the decision, I formed up outline of the street with strip wood and troweled on some lightweight spackling compound for the pavement. As most of you know, the stuff comes premixed and you simply scoop it out of the container and smooth it out with a putty knife or drywall trowel. I let this dry overnight and checking it the next morning, I found it had cracked due to shrinkage from the drying process.
I expected this and, in fact, the cracks look more realistic than what I could have done with a scribing tool, so nothing to worry over. You may notice a speckled texture in parts of the pavement. This is where I sprinkled in some ballast and worked it into the pIaster. When finished it adds another dimension to the surface.
I will let this section cure for at least a week before painting and weathering. Any residual moisture will lift the paint and I’ll have to redo it. A lesson I learned the hard way a few years ago with Canal Road.
Lot’s of people prefer sheet styrene for roads and streets. I’ve seen some fine examples done this way, but I prefer plaster or spackling compound for my roads. I like to use plaster to represent masonry and reserve styrene for simulating sheet metal. I feel the plaster has a more natural texture and takes staining and weathering effects better than plastic. It’s a matter of personal taste.
When I get around to finishing the street, I will model an asphalt patch repair at the crossing where the turnout to the Mill Track was removed. I’ll also leave the cross buck on the far side of the tracks in its original position, indicating there were multiple tracks here at one time.
To the left of the street, I’ve laid down a bed of gravel for the parking lot and access road to the yard and railroad office. Once the street is finished, I’ll continue work in this area. A line of trees and scrub growth will soften the transition from horizontal to vertical along the back edge. I have a couple of neat mini-scenes inspired by photos of Valley Junction planned for here too.
I’ve also been adding more weeds to further deemphasize the track. My purpose is to have the railroad be a part of the landscape rather than dominate it. On a narrow shelf using a large scale the track will eat up space quickly. Blending the track into the surroundings helps to open a scene up, since there isn’t such a visual clash between the two.
However, some of this will have to wait until I’m finished with work on TMC 06. Priorities you know.