Thursday, April 23, 2020

Throwback Thursday: Fernwood Street - sidewalks & yards

The blog is still catching up..... thus the "Throwback Thursday." Fortunately, it's only running a few weeks behind "real time" now. Until it's caught up, you can get real time updates on the Valley Local FB group.

Picking up where we left off last time in Wethersfield, I took a break from the static grass and decided to shift my focus to the Fernwood Street "neighborhood." You might not call two houses a neighborhood, but they at least hint at what's off the layout.

And, of course, Fernwood Street is important as the street where John Wallace grew up and got his first taste of the Valley Line. And, thanks to Dave Messer, I even have an HO scale version of John's house.

So, I wanted to try and get this area "right." Certainly no pressure there. . .

Other than the street itself, the next thing to do were the sidewalks & yards.

I used cardboard to build up the yard areas from the street level. I even thought I was being clever adding aprons to the driveways. Unfortunately, those same aprons became a problem when it came time to do the sidewalks. Notice the huge gap.

I measured the lengths of all the parts I needed, and then cut the sidewalks from .020" styrene - 4' wide, and scribed every 4'. Then I painted them primer gray. Here I'm test fitting them in place.

More test fitting. It occurred to me - both from common sense, but especially from prototype photos of the area, that the sidewalks didn't go all the way to the end of the street.

Once I figured out the length and configuration, I marked them on the back with a Sharpie to keep track of where they all went.

Then I took them back to the bench and glued them together using liquid styrene cement and .005" splices/braces underneath the joints.

After the glue cured, I glued them to the layout using Duco cement.

As you can see, there are still pretty large gaps between the sidewalks and aprons. I just planned to fill them in with ground goop - basically recreating the apron between the sidewalk and the street only.

In order to protect the paint/finish of the walks, I covered them with Tamiya 10mm masking tape.

Then I added the ground goop, not only to fill in the gaps between the sidewalks and aprons, but to go ahead and level out the driveway areas out to the fascia. Of course, to keep the goop from falling off the edge of the layout - and to maintain an even edge - I placed a masonite dam over the fascia and applied the goop up to that.

Here's a "before" shot of what I was trying to cover up/correct. Instead of this "fall off"/hillside, I wanted the yard to be level all the way to the edge of the layout.

While leveling out the yards at the fascia's edge, I went ahead and blended them in with the surrounding areas as well.

Back to the sidewalks, you can see where I backfilled the old apron area with goop and created a new apron between the street and the sidewalk.

Of course, I add to do this on both side of the street.

The next morning, I discovered that the goop had dried pretty "lumpy" so I smoothed it out with some joint compound.

Once the joint compound was dry and painted (and dry again), it was time to add some base ground cover. For my early-Autumn look, I use a combination of Woodland Scenics fine foam - Earth Blend, Green Blend, Burnt Grass, and just a smattering of green and soil. This is just the base, representing the "thatch" under the static grass that will come later. Note the cardstock "mask" keeping the foam off the tracks and the masking tape "dam" keeping the foam off the floor.

The process is to brush on full strength white glue wherever I want the foam to stick, then sprinkle on the foams, then mist with 70% isopropyl alcohol, then drizzle on 1:4 glue/water mix with a pipette.
After it all dries, vacuum it up - but you may want to put a nylon over the nozzle in order to salvage the excess foam for use some other time.

I repeated the process for the rest of the yard areas. Note the variation in the colors.

While the yards aren't finished yet, it's nice to "dry fit" the buildings along the way - not only to confirm placement, but to see how nice it's looking!

And that's where things sit until next time. I'm really glad for the distraction from all the current craziness - and it's given me the perfect opportunity to make some progress. At this rate, I daresay that Wethersfield may actually get scenicked and to a level of "done-ness" pretty soon!

Until next time . . .

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