Awkward corner…

It’s an awkward corner indeed. My mainline HAS to curve at this point to reach the Top Deck layout fiddle yard and avoid a direct run through the wall into my neighbours field. In the back ground is the access to four staging yard roads representing the ‘Dover’ end of the run, which should not be seen under normal viewing distances. I have made progress in this area in recent weeks as my desire to deal with this awkward corner has grown (hence the lack of updates here). The picture above was taken last year after track laying of the main line was completed. It’s a large area to fill with scenery and the proper Folkestone East location has a short platform for staff to use at this location, which must be included. On the real location, it is straight. Mine has to be on the  curve…

Progress as of a few weeks ago (above), as reported in my blog. Conductor rail remains to be installed.

The corner as of this morning after application of more Woodland Scenics fine leaf foliage, static grass and bushes made up of coarse turf applied to sea foam stems. All glued in with a mixture of scenic cement and ‘extra firm’ hold hair spray. It’s go to sit for a few days to completely settle before tidying up and installation of the conductor rail, turnout motor boxes and some weathering of the ballast. There’s some brick work around the platform ramp to complete too, and note the bare wall behind the scene. There’s a form of a ‘wooded’ back scene to fit which has texture applied to try and show continuation of line side foliage. This should disguise the entrance to the ‘Dover’ fiddle yard. It’s removable to allow access to the turnouts for repairs and in case of derailments, yet will not be too obvious when this end of the layout is photographed. In reality, the tall trees and shrubbery is more of a modern feature of the line side as tree growth has only been allowed to grow relatively unchecked in recent years. Back dating to my planned early 1980s running theme, which represents the transition era between refurbished and unrefurbished 4-Ceps, means the tree growth is too high. I have to change a few details on the layout for that running theme, but the trees have to stay. They are more appropriate to my 1993 and 2003 running themes (the stock is changed over between running evenings running evening depending on the choice of era for the session).  Those trees, despite what purists might think, are the best scenic break for that end of the layout! I can live with that compromise.

With so much ground to cover to produce, I use a mixture of Woodland Scenics fine leaf foliage and sea foam. The latter is shown above during another session yesterday where I was using the odds and ends left over from tree-making to produce material for shrubs and weedy sapling trees. As much as I would love some specimen trees from The Model Tree Co., line side trees at Folkestone East are all weed trees…

The sea foam pieces are dunked in diluted (5:1) matte medium (A) using a deep plastic jug (B) first to strengthen them before painting. Normally, when making trees like this, they would be hung out to dry with a weight on the end to straighten them whilst the matte medium dries. These pieces, especially the larger but poor pieces (C) are destined to be snipped up into smaller pieces for shrubs or to be piled on top of each other to create banks of close growing weed trees, using cocktail sticks as support. After drying, they will be painted dark brown and then dunked in matte medium once again so coarse turf in medium green can be applied. Smaller pieces can be clumped together to make a thicker bush material (D) instead of being wasted. The remaining diluted matte medium is not returned to the original bottle but is stored in a separate container (E). At the time of writing, the treated pieces are sitting by my paint booth after painting dark brown.

Scenery work like this can take a great deal of time, especially allowing for the modelling of the staff halt platform and I am glad to be finishing off this end of the layout so I can move onto the Folkestone East signal box area.


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