Patience will reward you if you keep at it in this hobby. My layout is over 20 years old and it began with this part, which was a module I started on before I bought the house to house the layout.
Sort of Before (when it came here, there was no scenery)
My advice is to find your model railroading passion, what you really want, and be certain of it before pursuing a medium-size to larger layout project. Working on a 5x9 is one of the best way to do that. Whether your tear it down and start over to try to find a better way or you learn some great things and move on to a bigger project, perhaps incorporate it into a bigger layout, remember that Rome wasn't built in a day. Treasure what you have and do the best you can with it. That's always what has made this hobby great for me. It's not what we consume, it's what we build.
Menards has a 22% off sale on all lighting so I indulged to scoop up three more Meridian LED line voltage light strips. For a good example of what one of these (12' long, draws 9.6 watts -- yes, the decimal point is in the right place; lighting the whole room takes 12 strings for a total of 115 watts ) will do, take a look at the junction and yard throat at Durango on the left.
115w is still less than two 60w incandescent bulbs or six (?) flouresent bulbs... So your still consuming less energy but you now have more light.
Yes, leaves me feeling green
Another great advantage to running the LED light strips is the absence of heat. Between ~1000 watts of fluorescents and close to 2000 watts worth of halogen track lights, it got pretty steamy in the layout room -- and I don't mean that in a good sense.
The only time I use the overhead fluorescents now is as work lighting. The half dozen or so remaining halogens are mainly there as supplemental lighting for pics.
Here's an interesting pair, showing how Rockwood has developed over the last couple of years. The mill, supply warehouse/office, and "wrong side of the tracks," as well as a new center siding to store MTs and pickups were added.
This entry is all about trees -- bumpy chenille trees for the most part. I'm somewhere between 4000 and 5000 trees on the layout now. About 1,000 are store bought and the rest are BC. I kind of lost track of exact numbers. In addition to being cheap (about 2 cents each once paint and glue are included), the tiny trees also are allowing me to reposition my store-bought trees further forward, with the bumpy chenille trees filling in the background. I use the green and dark brown bumpy chenille, painting them with a combination of Krylon Italian Olive and Rust-Oleum Moss green.
This is Red Mountain Before:
Crossing Missionary Creek, Before:
The Silverton Branch passes by Big @ss Mountain (named for its obvious resemblance) Before:
At Tefft, the Cascade Branch heads further into the mountains, Before:
For starts, here a better Before pic for the last pic above of Tefft After all the new trees.
And we've officially gone over 6,000 trees on they layout, 85% of them tiny bumpy chenille trees made for about 2 cents each. Here are some Before and After pics.
These pics all are centered around Rockwood. Here's a Before pic of the Rockwood area in less timbered times.
Before your reach Rockwood, you pass through a zone that has a climbing 4" grade that is part of the coved area at the end of the asile through the layout. Here's a distant Before scene just before the trees started to thicken on barren Big @ss Mountain.
The climb is along a path that climbs through the National Forest. Here it is Before, followed by a sequence of pics as I worked my way through the left half of the scene. The right half was previously upgraded, but had a few more of the store-bought trees than this to start.
I cleaned off the ground foam bits and recycled the trees elsewhere.
Sorry about the interruption. I'll also try to get the pics larger, but not sure if that'll work, as ImageShack has made some changes I'm still digesting.
Next was the first row of trees, nice and tight against the backdrop.
Here you can see the holes punched for the second row of trees.
Second row in.
The first two rows should block out the backdrop behind them. Then you just keep adding rows in front, carefully keeping things pretty tight most places. The good thing about these trees is that they work well sticking in to near vertical surfaces while giving texture and depth. Here's how things looked when I finished here for now.
This is my tool kit.
Here's the last large area of tress I finished today above Rockwood. Before
Finally, before the big Greening.
Last Edit: Nov 25, 2013 18:14:40 GMT -8 by mlehman
This time around, one of the oldest and barest stretches of scenery left on the layout got some ground cover. One leg of the wye at Silverton leads to Red Mountain via the old Silverton RR. The other, well, goes into a tunnel, representing the not-enough-space-for-it Silverton Gladstone & Northerly. It actually forms a continuous loop by coming back out as one leg of the wye at Red Mtn. There are several removable liftouts that form this area.
The Barren Before
The Forested After
Just to the left side is an area that previously had larger store-bought trees on it as the Silverton Northern curves to cross a trestle. Replacing them with BC trees gave that corner a depth that wasn't there before.
I installed manual under-table turnout controls at Red Mountain this weekend that include a switchable "hot" frog per Mike Evans' article in the Nov. 2013 MR. These are the 9th through 12th installs and did not start off pretty...
The Before shot shows the Caboose Industries hand throws sitting like exotic tropical slugs next to the turnouts they serve.
The After shot shows things looking more natural.
For more on my experience with these and a simple way to "reprogram" the NORMAL turnout position so it is always when the knob is in, see my thread in the MR Layouts forum: cs.trains.com/mrr/f/11/t/224956.aspx?page=1
Rockwood is the site of the Mears Lumber Mill, as well as a small town serving the needs of mill workers. Recent trackwork required ballasting and that needed some touch-up. There was a particularly hazardous gap for passengers around the station platform. There were a few fitment issues leftover from the liftout constructed below it, mostly hidden, but would show up in reverse angle shots.
Still a little more trim work to do, but it's looking a lot better. Maybe no one will break a leg now getting off the train.
There hasn't been any activity in this thread for a couple weeks, so I'll add some photos. This is a scene heavily based on Palisade Canyon, NV, at least right around the truss bridge. The bridge is shorter than its prototype, but the abutments are copied from it full size, and the adjacent tunnel portal is also very close.
Here's a very early beginning to a bridge scene. This was the mockup stage after benchwork was first installed. The bridge and abutments were salvaged from a previous layout.
This is how the same location appeared after track and backdrop went in. Note the smaller girder bridge at far left, which is not on the prototype.
Scenery is underway. The abutments and tunnel portal will be cut into the plaster shell later.
The plaster shell and a temporary backdrop (to test shapes and such) are now in. Note that I didn't complete the fill around the track, as it will be built up from dirt and rock.
The finished backdrop has been painted, so it's now time for ground cover and the river.
Base ground cover, the fills, and river banks are in. I painted the river bed and added a coat of gloss Mod Podge for ripples.
Everything but ballast is done here. I don't have a photo of the truss bridge after ballasting, but do have one of the deck girder.