Friday, November 24, 2017

Friday Fail - New Scenery Over Old

It's strange how the Model Railroad Muse behaves sometimes. I've gone for months (if not years) avoiding certain aspects of the hobby - scenery and airbrushing in particular - and then, AllOfASudden, The Muse strikes and I can't imagine doing anything else. That explains a bit why I jumped into scenery a bit last Sunday (I'll cover yesterday's airbrushing in another post). But sometimes jumping into the deep end of the pool isn't always the best way to get started.

Case in point: the team/bulk track at Somerset. I'd done the first pass of scenery in this area 8 years ago (almost to the day, as I discovered), but I hadn't ballasted/covered any of the track.

Somerset - 11/27/2009
So - 8 yrs later - I figured I'd start finishing this area by "ballasting" (actually, adding dirt to) the siding/bulk/team track. Unfortunately, it turned out that I didn't have quite enough of the dirt material I needed, but I put down what I had left, soaked the area with 70% alcohol and then added 1:1 white glue:

Tuesday, 11/21/17
Unfortunately, it looks like that may have been a mistake. I should have done all the scenery at the same time 8 years ago, because the previous scenery and "new" scenery ain't matching...

Friday, 11/24/17
I took the photo above this morning, 3 days after soaking/gluing the area. It doesn't look like it, but it's actually all dry. But it obviously doesn't match - it's like I added a great big watermark to the area(!). What did I do wrong??

Lesson learned - do all scenery in an area at the same time, or else risk that it will "weather" differently and you won't be able to match it in the future.

So now the question is - What do I do about it? Any suggestions?

  • If I had more of the dirt (which actually matched the old stuff in color and texture), I'd cover the dark area and just leave it loose without soaking/gluing it.
  • I could try going over the dark area with PanPastels/chalk to try and match the color of the surrounding area (at least the texture is the same), but I think that'd look just as obvious - I won't be able to match the subtle gradations of color of the prior scenery.
  • Alternatively I could go over the entire dirt area around the siding with some pastels/chalk to try and at least blend it all together.
  • Last resort - I could spread some glue over the entire dirt area and add static grass.
That last idea would certainly kickstart my static grass practice, but talk about jumping in the deep end of the pool! I'm afraid that just might make things worse. Problem is - I don't know what I don't know - and certainly don't have the experience to know what to expect from these different options.

So I'm asking for any suggestions/advice on how best to proceed. What would you do?


  1. Hi Chris,
    I've had this happen...I just airbrushed the whole area (not just the "watermark")with paint - in this case maybe a Grimy Black base will do and then add a mottling of medium grey and Roof Brown or Earth here and there for effect. Just like weathering a model.
    Rick (Fillmore)

    1. That's a great idea - and will give me a good opportunity to practice my airbrush with little risk... Thanks much for stopping by and leaving a comment!

  2. If you have any leftover material at all, sprinkle it on the area and rub it into the surface with your fingers. The friction will embed the dry material into the surface, covering the dark stains. I did this on my layout where the glue stained the natural dirt I used and it worked fine. You can vacuum up any obviously loose particles.


    1. Thanks Mike! I wish I *did* have even just a little bit of that material left - it'd certainly soften the edges. Thanks for taking the time to weigh in!

  3. Chris, I'd suggest both approaches but also would comment that "real" railroads do ballast track section at various times. The "different" look is somewhat natural.


    1. Hey Roger and thanks for that reminder - that's pretty much where I'm at at this point. Vacuuming the area softened things a bit - removing the light dust from the old scenery area made the new scenery area a little less obvious. But I may still use the airbrush and/or some powders to even things out a bit more. And if all else fails - static grass! :^) Thanks much for the feedback!