Thursday, October 23, 2014

Yet More Backdrop - and some scenery base (and Middletown Tower?!)

You've no doubt heard of chainsaw layouts - well, lately I feel like Wethersfield has been a chainsaw scene. If you've been following this blog for a while, you know that originally there was a bit of a hillside toward the back of the scene, necessitated by the bottom of the backdrop being too high. That slope was making it very difficult to model Wethersfield as flat as prototypical, so out came the cardboard/plastercloth scenery base and down extended the backdrop. To read more about this process, click here, and/or check out the "Backdrop" topic. The lesson here - other than doing it right the first time, of course - is that you can do things over. So don't be afraid to get started and at least try.

When last we left the backdrop, I had just one more sanding/painting to do. Here's another lesson: make certain that your topping is sanded down as much as you want before you paint it. You can - like me - sand after you paint when you discover you didn't sand enough. But all that paint will clog up your sandpaper and make a mess. But like a lot of things in this hobby, I'm discovering that you can (yup!) Do It Over. See below:

Goff Brook looking "north" - after painting, I wasn't happy with how some of the topping ridges were showing through. Plain sky shouldn't have texture (ahem). So I sanded it down some more.

It wasn't difficult - just added another couple of steps. But in for a penny in for a pound. Heh - the result almost looks like clouds. Um, if you look just right. Ok, maybe not. This view is Wethersfield looking "south."

After sanding, another coat of paint. One thing about doing things over (and over and over again) is that you get better and quicker. This whole process (topping/sanding/painting) which used to take hours now takes minutes. Really. BTW, check out where the road hits the backdrop - that's the original bottom of the backdrop.

Once the paint dried, I decided that the terrain still wasn't flat enough, so I lowered the cardboard strips some more. You can see some places where they had attached. I only dropped them 3/4-1", but I'm much happier with the result and that's what matters.

And I finally figured out how I want to deal with the terrain surrounding Goff Brook. Before the backdrop was dropped, there was no way I would have been able to avoid it looking like a gorge here - and the prototype is actually a pretty flat CT River floodplain. I think this is turning out much better.

I even tried a different method of scenery base support on the south side of Middlesex Tpke - the old tried and true bundled-newspaper-and-masking-tape method. Don't be afraid to try and mix different methods - they all have their pros and cons. In this case, cardboard strips would have been pretty unwieldy.

As you can probably tell, I'm getting happier and happier with how this scene is (finally) turning out. And this area has been a HUGE source of lessons learned, but please let me know if you see anything in the pictures that I should do differently and/or be warned about (that sort of feedback is, frankly, one of the main reasons I post so many pics). I'll certainly do things a bit different as I work my way around the layout and "south" to Rocky Hill and Middletown.

Speaking of Middletown, I even got to do a little bit more on the (no longer quick and dirty) Middletown Tower project. . .

Ever try to piece together a broken-up staircase? Maybe I should have just built a new one from scratch. Heh - that's what some folks have said about the tower itself, that it would have taken less time to scratchbuild than to try and salvage, re-kit and rework a previously-built building.

But my approach seems to be in line with the theme lately: Just Try It (with apologies to Nike). It's a hobby, after all. And I'm learning more and more that most learning in this hobby comes more from trying, not from just reading about it.

Hope you're able to try something new on your layout soon - and if you do, let me know! Even if your experiment doesn't meet your expectations, if my experience is any guide, I guarantee you'll learn something.

No comments:

Post a Comment