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Sheffie

Spring Story

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Sheffie
Posted (edited)

Planting trees is informed not only by aesthetic but also engineering considerations. 

 

I don’t think that the all-plastic Kato trees look anywhere near as nice as the wire-framed Popopro models, but they seem to be considerably tougher when it comes to withstanding the pressures of being in contact with a dust sheet. 

 

As much as I like seeing cherry blossoms on the grass, then, the Kato trees must form a “front line” that bears the weight and the lateral load, keeping damage off the finer tree models and bushes. 

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Edited by Sheffie
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Sheffie

Having had enough of the messy front and side of my layout...

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... I decided to neaten it up with some pine moulding. 

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For the record, the improvement in appearance was nowhere near worth the effort. I should not have tried a 45 degree mitre joint without a mitre saw. And no matter how much of a woodworker frame of mind you might be in, a hammer and nails are never the right choice for a layout with trains and ballast. 

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Sheffie

This is what JTT’s 60 foliage branches looks like, planted. I can still get more, I suppose. 

 

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cteno4

Those JTT HO branches are great and economical for smaller n scale trees!  I made a little grove quickly on a Ttrak module late one night with them! 

 

Is your local hobby shop still carrying JTT trees? Our local Chain got rid of them a while back and bummed me out as it was always easy to grab a few economical JTT bits. Their high quality trees are expensive but worth it in spots where the tree is at a focal point.

 

jeff

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Sheffie

I’ve been buying from random sellers on eBay. It’s a real shame that the local store doesn’t have them. I particularly liked the ones with white trunks but I can’t seem to find them anywhere 

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Sheffie

Right!

 

landscape banner, first attempt...

 

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Its not flat yet, and it’s taller than the back boards, so I may need to cut it back. But it’s a nice picture. 

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This is Bassenthwaite Lake, the only “Lake” in the Lake District National Park (the others all having names ending in Tarn, Mere, or Water). I couldn’t find a good image of Niigata so I went back to my roots. 

 

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Note that the corner (behind the shrine on the hilltop) is intentionally rounded rather than forming a right angle. This helps not to attract attention. 

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Martijn Meerts

Been wanting to say this before, but keep forgetting.. That cloth looks much better than I'd have expected it to 😄

 

Backdrop looks nice as well, blends in surprisingly good  (I'm not normally a fan of backdrops..)

 

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DanielMackay

Sheffie, nicely done - creative problem solving with readily available materials. An inspiring first layout, well-executed within your constraints!

 

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Keith

The backdrop really compliments the layout.

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Sheffie

Thanks for the comments—very kind of you all. 

 

I think the cloth looks good because of its pattern, and because I’ve either avoided or concealed any visual cues, like creases or folds, that it is cloth. 

 

And yes, I’ve had to work with some odd constraints because of the lack of space, and the need to avoid either noise or toxic fumes while working on this layout. 

 

Today I took receipt of another 83 trees and I think I’m going to ditch my previous philosophy—or rather, reformulate it. You can never have enough trees. 

 

I planted all the conifers on the hilltop, and even though they cover the space, it just doesn’t look like a forest. I’m lucky enough to live on a plot of land with a bit of old growth forest...

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... so I know what I’m talking about when I say that there should be NO empty space between trees. The trees should not only touch; they should overlap. Any piece of ground that receives sunlight is either a lawn, because it is being mowed frequently, or is covered with growth. 

 

Given that it isn’t reasonable in terms of cost or effort to plant a realistically dense forest, then, I am adopting a different strategy, one which takes advantage of the materials I have bought, and which is much more effective in terms of cost and effort. I am calling this approach, “one million bushes.”

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Martijn Meerts

Getting a forest to look good is difficult, but what a lot of people do is use the more expensive detailed trees on the foreground, then some lesser detailed trees after those, and then simulate the rest of the canopy using something like Woodland Scenics lichen (multiple colours), with a little bit of separate leaves added here and there for variation. That's obviously not going to work for a pine forest of course 😉

 

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cteno4

Sheffie,

 

take a look on you tube, there a scad of videos on how to make easy trees. My favorite is to use 14-18g stripped stranded lamp cord (electrical cord). You can either use solder or floral tape or secure a trunk section then start bifurcating strands to make branches. Bend em  up to your tree shape and spray with dark brown. Then use some thick craft paint to bulk up more where necessary and dry brushing for bark texture. Then you can use spray adhesive (or even good old lacquer hair spray) on the branches and sprinkle with foam. With a little practice you can set up quite a production line and make a very dense forest that you want very cheap. Let’s you control the tree shape, foliage, and color a lot more. There are a number of techniques for adhesive and ground foam application (some put a computer fan in a big jar to make a blizzard of ground foam to dip the branches into). Take a look as it can be quite fun and rewarding results! Does take some experimenting and practice.

 

You can always clip up your bushes to smaller understory stiff as well.

 

some folks use a mat technique to make a large canopy. They use batting that’s been teased out into a really bumpy shape and they apply this over a bunch of brown sticks stuck into the scenery then spray adhesive and sprinkle ground foam to make that almost solid layout of canopy you see from  above. Of course you can make some holes and voids as it’s never completely solid with fallen trees, rock areas etc. then just do nicer trees along the perimeter.

 

conifers can be made with clipped up bits of furnace filter teases out and sprayed green or gray and  ground foam applied. You can make them more raggedy and natural than the bottle brush commercial ones as well as a variety of sizes and shapes.

 

dense forest can cost you a fortune in premade trees and problem In that they all end up looking the same. When you roll your own you can reallynadd the natural variety of 2 or 3 species you usually get in a lot of forests.

 

cheers

 

jeff

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Sheffie

Interesting 

 

I will definitely think about making my own trees for my next layout. But for this one, I think it makes more sense to just get a few more trees planted to finish what I’ve started 

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Sheffie

Another 120 saplings planted. I added a little to the existing stand of “birches” as well as populating three new islands between the tracks. 

 

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I also added a few bushes, but I will probably need many more to fill in the gaps, especially around the hilltop piece. 

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Sheffie
Posted (edited)

Today I extended a siding in order to have room for a four car EMU. The Hankyu train I got today didn’t actually need the work because it has such short coaches, but I wanted to do it anyway and this delivery was the perfect excuse.

 

Step one is to pull off the bushes to reveal the seam between sections of card/cloth.

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It isn’t worth re-using the bushes because they’re cheap and they retain little bits of glue that I don’t want to see later on.  

 

Next step: remove the pin and pull up the card/cloth island, carefully since I don’t know exactly what is glued to what. 

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Edited by Sheffie

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Sheffie
Posted (edited)

Removing the glued-down ballast is a job for a flat headed screwdriver, and not a fine one. Lesson learned: cup your other hand over the work, so that random flying bits of ballast don’t leave the area.

 

After sweeping up the detritus (again with one hand guarding against flying debris) it’s time to slot the new rail in place. In my case I also need to trim the end of the buffers too, because their tail would extend under another track otherwise. 

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The new ballast is funnelled into place using a narrow, folded piece of card which is tapped gently to obtain a steady flow to the work area. Then the flat headed paintbrush is used both to clear the sleepers of unwanted ballast and to tamp the remaining ballast into position. It’s important for me to cover the white cotton that is visible due to a very old error of judgement on my part. So the ballast actually slopes upwards slightly from the track edge. 

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With the trains all back in place, it’s easy to see that the four car Hankyu 6300 isn’t much longer than the three Banetsu Monogatari coaches. The important thing is that everything fits with plenty of space. 

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Edited by Sheffie
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gcmr_new_zealand

If the original ballast was glue down with a water based glue such as the white carpentry glue, then soak the ballast before removing it with a screwdriver - it should lift off really easily.   That is what I like about ballasted set-track - it can be reused many times.  Flex tracks do not always salvage well. 

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bill937ca

Hankyu 6300 is 19m long.

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