Starting some Scenery

With all my track laid, and the DCC system now seemingly working, it is time to start thinking about scenery. I decided that a first place to start would be a small corner of the layout where I have some mocked in tracks to fill a corner, and the Canadian Pacific staging in the closet.

In Barrie on the Family Day long weekend with the Toronto Railway Museum display, I was thinking about the supplies I need and what I want to do with that corner. One of the things I was thinking about was a need for fencing, chain link fencing to be specific. In looking at the various supplies the vendors had, nothing jumped out at me, so I went online, and the available fence kits out there get really expensive really fast, as is often the case when you buy kits. So I started searching online for anyone else who had a technique to build their own fence cheaper. I found one on the Model Railroad Craftsman Magazine website here.

Building a wooden jig (important as I’ll be soldering on it), and process shots of building the chain link fence support frame.

I was able to pick up the obvious supplies, brass rod and music wire at the show, but tulle fabric would require another pickup. Using a piece of scrap pine that I’ve saved for just in case purposes, and some scale strip lumber, I prepared a jig for the brass wires. Then I cut brass and music wire to size, and soldered it all together. With a few pieces done, I could start to see how much I would need, and look for places to adjust. I didn’t quite think my jig through right, so it creates pieces that if they are butted together, leave uneven spacing of the longer legs that actually go into the scenery. It’s not a critical issue, but it meant as well that the smaller tube joiners I am adding to align the segments wouldn’t be evenly spaced either. My advice on anyone following me is to think through your spacing. I suspect it will all blend away when its installed and has ground cover, but it vexed me for a bit while I was making frames, and I wound up doing a combination of shortening some frames and building shorter pieces to keep my spacing consistent.

Checking the length of the first batch of frames to see how far I want it to go between the mockup “Parkdale Yard” tracks, staging, and the main layout trackage. The legs are intentionally long for now until I am ready for final installation to have lots of room for adjustments.

I made enough to fence two areas on the east end of my layout. A dividing fence between “Parkdale Yard” and the industries, and between Hinde & Dauche which is on layout, and Inglis which existed where an operator would stand. This will help create some definition in what otherwise risked being a large expanse of nothing along the front of the layout.

Getting tulle glued onto the frame and then looking at the frames with tulle on the layout.

For the chain link itself, the article suggested using nylon tulle, its a fabric material used generally in wedding dresses based on what i read, but its a fine nylon mesh, almost so fine that I can barely see it when I’m working with it. As you can see from the photos it is almost invisible in its bare white colour. This has made it challenging for gluing it to the frames, but as with many things, slow and steady wins the race. I have been using a thick CA glue at the corners where posts/lateral wires meet, then thin CA glue along the posts and wires to hold the mesh on. Starting with getting the corners down using bits of scrap styrene for weight, I then work along the bars to get the mesh glued down as best as possible. Cleanliness with the glue is important to not fill the mesh openings, but it will be painted and hide the worst of the glue when it is.

Painting my test pieces to see if the chain link effect is really created or not. I am really pleased with it.

This was my first time using a Tamiya Acryllic paint in my airbrush. I am really really happy with it. I used XF-56 Metallic Grey, it is a satisfyingly dark colour with a little bit of metallic sparkle. Perfect as a base for fence that in the 1950’s was probably in half decent shape. I can add some more colour and a little bit of rust around the appropriate places once it is planted in the scenery.

Painting my first rail. A mix of light and dark rust, and then a dirty tie brown to hide the plasticy flex track ties. Once the track is ballasted it will get some more paint and weathering to look well worn in.

I also painted my first rail on the layout, because of where it was, I chose to brush paint it, because it’s mostly scenic track, so I wasn’t worried about cleaning the rail heads for electrical connectivity. I applied a coat of a light rust, and then worked in some darker rust in places. Once the track was painted, I brought my compressor and the airbrush up and sprayed the ties rail tie brown to blend them and hide the plastic of the flex track. It looks much more rail like to my eyes, and will continue to get blended as ballast and scenery goes in and gets weathered.

For the first end of the CPR staging, I brush painted the track as well, but more carefully and with a cloth ready to wipe the railhead clean as I went. as I move forward with track out of the closet where there is a bit more room, I am going to airbrush the rail as well, its quicker, but I found working with the airbrush in the constrained space of the closet to be challenging as there isn’t enough room for me to aim where I wanted without fiddling about with the paint cup.

All in all, more forward steps. I’m at a point where I am close to considering ballasting the first track on the layout, though I don’t think I have the ballast I really want to use, as I’ve never had luck with using Woodland Scenics on past projects, and many friends have recommended products that are actual crushed stone that behave better when you glue them down. I may need a shopping trip online before I can actually do the next steps, so back to test running trains for a while then!

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