Building the Hitop, Part 10

Today I’ll discuss the last piece of scenery to go in on the railroad, the scenery around Morris Fork, specifically the area around the truck dumps and the hardware and farm supply. This area took a bit longer to plan than actually build, as I had to figure out the dimensions of the hill over the mainline tunnel on which the truck dumps sit on.

As you know from the MR series, they used the Blair Line truck dumps kit to simulate a mine off the layout, as did I. They also used the Grandt Line warehouse for the farm supply, as did I. Both these just fit in the area allotted. I did away with the steps MR used going down the hill from the truck dumps to the farm supply, as in reality, the mine and truck dumps would be off limits to possible public use of stairs leading from a public business, if that makes sense.

The big issue was how high to make the hill upon which the truck dumps would sit. It had to be tall enough to represent a high mountain or hill, yet not over doing it. I also did not have much in the way of horizontal room for the hill. I of course had already decided to use the pink foam for the scenery base, but a bit of trial and error was needed whether to stack these vertically or horizontally.

What I decided was to stack the foam horizontally, in a sort of stair step pattern or stacked pattern as shown here:

You can see above the base for the entire area on the left, while on the right is showing the stacked foam. In the photo on the right, just out of camera view, the foam steps down to ground level where the parking lot of the hardware and farm supply is located.

The foam was stacked, then contoured to match the curvature of the siding going into the truck dumps, the hill was also contoured to make it look natural. All this was done with a hot knife. Btw, I also had to measure the height of the foam pieces so the truck dumps themselves would be high enough to clear any cars going past them or especially under them. The wood supports for the truck dumps actually sit on a foam base I carved out for them.

After finishing with the contours, and checking clearances, I then covered everything with plaster cloth, then did the usual treatment of painting with earth brown paint. Also I might note in the right photo above that I left the one face of the foam uncovered with plaster cloth, as I knew this face or area would be covered by the fascia.

Now for the trickiest part. Along the track side of the hill, I sealed or bonded the foam to the plywood handy panel with Sculptamold. I ran this all the way along the base of the foam/plaster cloth hill to the fascia end by the hardware parking lot. While wet, I then carved rock into this with several types of knives. When this was dry, I then painted this area with battleship gray paint, then weathered it when dry with some black powders.

The parking lot area of the hardware/farm supply was covered with white glue, then several textures of ballast/gravel was applied. While the hardware/farm supply itself sits on bare painted plywood, I squirted white glue all along the edges of the building underneath, then spread or sprinkled the dirt from Scenic Express on top of this, as shown here:

2013-04-27 17.25.26

When this was finished, I then completed most of the scenery around the hardware as shown here:

I then had to simply tackle the rest of the scenery on the hill itself, and place the completed truck dumps in. Btw, of course you have to place the truck dumps accordingly to the length of your hopper cars for when you spot them. The hill was finished with the usual puffball trees. Final touches were some coal spilled around trackside and on top of the truck dumps, and several power poles were placed into the hillside. Completed photos of the area are shown here:

I almost forgot to mention that the top of the truck dumps was covered with the same dirt from Scenic Express, plus a guard rail added from Rix products. That about wraps this part up for now. Next time I’ll discuss the structures I used. Stay tuned!



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