01/31/2007 Progress Report
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Scenery Begins at Pearson Curve

After completing some items to improve operations on the Shenandoah Division (see the 12/31/2006 Progress Report), I decided I wanted to start some scenery on the new portion of the layout. Even though there is still a rather long list of operations-related projects for the Shenandoah Division, I didn't want to wait any longer to start on scenery. I made this decision partly because I was getting a little burned out from operational projects, and partly because I didn't want the 5-year anniversary--January 19, 2002!--of the start of construction to pass without at least adding some scenery to the railroad.

I started the scenery by installing a web of 1" wide cardboard strips which Cherie had previously (and graciously) cut. I space the strips by eye, but they're generally about 4" or so on center, as I knew from previous experience this works well with the Woodland Scenics or Scenic Express plaster cloth that I like for scenery. I used a low-temp hot glue gun to glue the strips to the backdrop, fascia, and plywood subroadbed. I used a small hand-sized stapler to staple the cardboard together where the pieces cross one another. I did most of this work around the end of 2006 (see the 12/31/2006 Progress Report for the previously posted sneak peek) and beginning of 2007.

On the previous version of the Shenandoah Division, I had placed the plaster cloth directly on the cardboard web. However, reading a post on Joe Fugate's Siskiyou Line forum about his scenery techniques led me to try a new approach. According to the post on his forum, Joe uses 2" wide masking tape over the web to help him visualize the finished scenery and to prevent plaster from dropping through the web. A couple of the guys in my operating crew came over for a work session on a Saturday, and we decided to try the masking tape to see how it worked. We did indeed think it helps to visualize the scenery, although we ended up not making any changes in the cardboard web. We then applied plaster cloth on top of the masking tape and cardboard combination, and we definitely noticed less water and plaster dripping through. We will likely continue using this technique.

The location on the layout where I started scenery is based on the Western Maryland's Helmstetter's Curve. The version on the Shenandoah Division is named Pearson Curve, and the scene will continue to be developed as I need breaks from working on operations related projects. I have several of these projects I'd like to complete in 2007, so stay tuned for various progress reports whenever I have anything interesting to report. :-)

(Note: All of the scenery work in this report was done between 01/01/2007 and 01/06/2007. Some of the pictures were taken on 01/06/2007 and the rest on 01/12/2007. The posting of this report has been delayed until 01/31/2007 because of time constraints.)


Photos of Progress as of January 6, 2007

This view looks southward at the north end of the cut between Pearson Curve and Carpenter.


Overall view of the cardboard scenery web in the Pearson Curve area. This view looks north into the cut separating Pearson Curve and Carpenter.


Here's another view of the cardboard scenery web at Pearson Curve. These pictures were taken prior to the work session where the masking tape and plaster cloth was applied. We were making such good progress that I didn't think to stop to take any pictures of the masking tape step of the process. :-)


Photos of Progress as of January 12, 2007

The plaster has been applied to the location of the cut just south of Virginia Eastman at Carpenter.


Overall view of the south end of the cut leading into the Pearson Curve area.


Here's a close-up view of the south end of the cut.


Overall view showing the horseshoe curve at Pearson Curve. The farm scene will be on the inside of the curve.


Another overall view of the Pearson Curve area after the plaster cloth has been applied. I used a mix of Woodland Scenics and Scenic Express plaster cloth in this area.


This page was last updated on 01/01/11.


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