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Apple Springs Canyon


Earwicker
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Hi all, summer has hit New Zealand so I've been using my annual leave to make a start on a new layout. This is a modular affair built to a Freemo standard a group of us developed several years ago. That means I get to have fun at home but also take this to meetings. I've built the basic modules (improving in design a little on the previous modules I built for the group). The set up gives me a layout to run trains at home and something that can function for the group layout. Mostly I just wanted something simple so that I can concentrate on the actual modelling of the scenes which is the bit I enjoy the most. The progress below was made over the space of the last five or six days. These will be set in the California/Arizona desert, but I'm fairly open to making changes. Thanks for looking!

 

 

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Edited by Earwicker
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A lot more work on this in the last few days. The roadbed is Midwest cork roadbed. I'm using chicken wire and plaster for the scenery and working pretty hard to get the basic benchwork and terrain done as quickly as possible. I'm also spending a bit of time researching scenery for these. It will be split into two zones, one a sort of Williams AZ style, the other more along the lines of Needles CA. Next up, plaster cloth and maybe some rock carving.

 

 

Edit. The pictures seem to be reversed.

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Edited by Earwicker
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Lots of progress. The hills plastered and track laid. I just have to tweak the track and run the wiring bus and it is good to go. Then I can concentrate on the scenery, which I'm really looking forward to and which will probably take up most of this year. But this has already been a lot of work. I'm lucky my girlfriend is so patient because I disappeared into the garage for literally days. pinch.png Some pics:

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

More progress. I painted the track and filled, sanded and painted the fascia. I'm almost ready to begin on the scenery proper. The fun part! (Well, it's all been reasonably fun so far). Stay tuned for rock carving and fun with sculptamold.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Small update. The layout got a layer sand glued down, and once this had dried, a thin plaster layer to give the basic desert surface. Next up is rock carving (mostly for the steep banks in this scene) and more plaster work and coarse sand for the details. And then some colour!

 

 

 

 

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Thanks, I'm looking forward to seeing it too!

 

Lots of progress. Finished carving the rocks and colouring them. Pretty happy with the shape and colour. These pictures give a really bad impression of the depth of colour in the rocks because of the poor light and white balance. I had to stick a couple of bits of rolling stock on there to give a glimpse of what is to come. 

 

Next up is the ballast and then the grass and foliage. This is Northern Arizona so there is a bit of grass on the scene rather than sandy desert.

 

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A quick update. I'm now working on this in two halves. The front canyon scene is getting the treatment at the moment. I've ballasted and weathered the track, and started to mess around with some track side detail. The tank is a Walthers kit. The theme for this is late 1970s rust and decay btw so there will be lots of rubbish, rusted cars, etc. The SD40 will receive some serious weathering at some stage, along with the rest of the rolling stock. I'll also set up my photo lights and get some better pics when I have a bit more progress. Lovely weather at the moment too. Time for a beer.  :sungum:

 

 

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More colour. I started with Woodland Scenic blended turf for a base and then some Noch static grass for the tufts. The colour is a mix of the light green and straw colour they do. Next application after this dries I'll do some straw itself for highlights. I'm absolutely going for the Winter look with a bit more vivid green, because I like the contrast with the rocks and sand. Speaking of those, I can see some sports in the photo that need touch ups.

 

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I'm consulting this guy's videos for reference. They are very nicely composed videos.

 

 

 

 

 

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The layout now has a name (at least this part of it). Apple Springs Canyon is a slightly fictionalized location in Northern Arizona. The period is winter 1979. Over all, I'm tempted to call the modular layout "Rust Never Sleeps." There is some musicological/sociological relevance to this title and era, which I might expand on later (or which maybe can be easily guessed). 

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Here's my progress this week. Mostly layers of various kinds of static grass and then some Fine Foliage bushes. I quite like the look of this stuff for bushes. White balance is a bit mucked up on these pics because the light in the garage is inconsistent. I'll st up my photography lights soon.

 

 

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At the beginning of this thread you say it's built to a freemo standard, going by the shape of your modules it would be interesting to know how you will join your modules to others in the group, or i'm I missing something :scratchhead:

 

Ray

 

Hi Ray, the freemo standard we designed is simplified. Basically all that matters is the height from the ground to the rail head (with some adjustability), the track gauge and code, and the mode of electrical connection (banana plugs). Any of these modules will connect to other such modules (though the scenery will not flow obviously) but the intended connection is the stubby siding that runs to the edge of one of the modules that you might be able to see in pictures above. The idea is to have this unit as a four sectioned module at one end of the layout or as an end to a branch line. This is when and if I manage to meet with the group again. 

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Abandoned box car sitting on a siding and some telephone poles. This is an old car I had.

 

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I weathered it up a bit. Half way through that process:

 

 

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Placed on the layout with a little grass and watnot to place it in the scene:

 

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And then I played trains for a bit:

 

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My locos and rolling stock really need weathering because they have the ugly fresh out of the box look, so I might tackle that job next. Happily, painting and weathering is my favorite thing. I'm also an aircraft modeler so I get a bit of practice:

 

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Thanks for looking. :)

 

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Just stumbled upon this layout very impressive in skill and time scale ...very rapid progress indeed. Was very impressed by your very clever use of a sheet of ply board , I presume that that you call it down under. Excellent carpentry skills there and very economical material use . Will follow with interest  

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More progress. I moved on to the grass for the next section. I'm starting to experiment with the process and I think this part came out more naturalistic than the first part I did. I think the key is building up height and variation in the grass. Also more experiments with bushes. I've intentionally made this scene very vibrant just for the aesthetics of the thing. It's winter, and the recent rains have brought the desert to life. 

 

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I made some grass tufts.

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Delicious plate of tufts!

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Applied them and also some more telephone poles.

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And finally I did a little work on the road.

 

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The spur that runs to the edge of the board is where next year's project will connect. 

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I accidentally just bought this Broadway Limited paragon 3 Norfolk and Western locomotive. It's way too big for the layout, and the wrong era and location, but whoa is it beautiful. Next year's extension for the layout might have to be a coal line in the east.

 

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Thanks. I ran the new locomotive today. Nothing ever seems simple in this hobby. :scratchhead: It lurched its way around the circuit (but happily made its way through the tightest bend). But then it stalled on a join. And then it wouldn't go at all. Faffed around for half an hour with no result, and then ended up manually resetting it after which it went again. I guess the stall must have upset the chip or something. It lurched around a bit more so I spent an hour cleaning the track after which it ran fine. 

 

Impressions: it's very loud. So it should be able to be heard if I show this layout later in the year I guess. It is a bit dodgy going though the Peco code 80 switches at higher speeds. It looks very imposing lumbering around the track and should look great with a suitable train behind it.

 

I've been using an NCE digital controller for the last few ears, but it's beginning to become an annoyance. I might move on to a new set up. The local hobby shop stocks Digitrax so I might look at that for convenience. It costs a bit in this part of the world though. 

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