Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Tuesday Tip - You can always REdo it

If at first you don't succeed . . .
Try, try (and try, and try) again.

One of the things I'm learning about scenery is that it's sometimes (often?) necessary to do it over. Especially when you're first starting out, you seldom hit your target the first time (or is that just me?) But that bit of knowledge can be liberating too - if you know "you can always redo it" then you don't get so easily paralyzed and it's easier to get started.

While waiting for the northern end of the Wethersfield scene to dry, I decided to turn my attention a little further south - to the lumber yard area. I did the scenery base (cardboard-strips-&-plaster-cloth) here in the spring of 2014 (almost 5 yrs ago?!), and actually REdid it in the fall, after I decided to lower/extend the backdrop in this area. But now that I'm focusing more on this part of the layout, it became pretty clear pretty quickly that the terrain wasn't at all what I needed.

As you can see in the two photos above, the scenery base drops down quite considerably in the area (click on any photo for a larger view). This was actually by design (it didn't just sag) - I'd originally planned on having a wetlands scene here, replicating an area where John used to ice skate in the winter. But looking more and more at the space that Wethersfield Lumber would need in order to be a LARGE lumber company, I realized I needed a lot more area for lumber stacks and such. Which meant I needed a lot more flat land.

First step to adding some flat land was to get a tracing of the existing topography. That way I'd have a template for cutting some foamcore board to fit.

The photo above shows the result - board cut to fit, and hot glued in place.

Next, I added some scraps of foam board to support the eventual cardboard lattice (scenery base):

I placed these in the lowest areas. I could have used wadded up newspapers as well, but I really don't like using that method - seems WAY too much of a fire hazard to me.

First layer of cardboard strips, hot glued at the back and front.

Second layer of strips, woven under & over the first strips and hot glued in place. Note the strips to the right go under the foamcore board.

Lastly, I added plaster cloth over the web and smoothed everything over with a wet brush and allowed it to dry. From start to finish, it took me just 40 minutes to redo this area. Literally. The first and last photos of this post so far are separated by only 40 minutes. I think I spent WAY longer than that vacillating over what to do here.

The lesson is simple: Just Do It (or, in this case, REdo it...). It often takes longer to redo than to think about redoing it.

Speaking of waiting for things to dry, turns out, despite running a humidifier vaporizer in the basement, it still gets pretty dry down there this time of year. Check out my mockup of John's house...

Yup, I went down in the basement the next morning and the masking tape had dried out and come undone. But that wasn't all I discovered . . .

Turned out, I still didn't have enough large, flat area for what I wanted to do. See the photo above for the relative topography.

So, taking a note from my own book, I decided - yes - to redo this area a THIRD time!

Thankfully, I'm learning that scenery modifications - or at least scenery base modifications - are super easy. I just used an old steak knife to cut out a section of plaster cloth . . .

Then used a pair of scissors to cut away the cardboard web . . .

And pressed the area down a bit to flatten it some more (yup, I removed those scraps of foam board) . . .

Next, since I was adding yet-more foamcore to expand the flat area, I created a template of the area out of some scrap paper . . .

And cut the foamcore to fit. In order to tone down any transitions - and keep any plastercloth from sinking into any cracks/separations, I covered the cracks with painters tape and made a flatter hill toward the back out of masking tape . . .

Here's a closer view:

I sprayed some wet water on the part of the old plaster cloth that would be overlapped by new plaster cloth and then added the new cloth . . .

And here's the final result:

Heh - the improvement may not be readily apparent, even if you compare it to the first photo (I just couldn't bring myself to use a level again on scenery - especially since the plaster was still wet here...). Trust me though - it's a LOT flatter than it was, and flat over a much larger area. So I should have ample room to make Wethersfield Lumber Co. look like the large outfit it's supposed to be.

No comments:

Post a Comment