Base Scenery on the CNR Staging Yard

Because my staging areas where trains are stored are nominally part of the layout, especially the Canadian National Railway one as its out in the room, not hiding in the closet as the CPR is, they needed to have some scenery on them. I want them to look a bit different from the main layout, but not so much so that it is jarring. The easiest way for me to do this was to use a different colour of ballast on the tracks. It still looks like passable real world scenery, but also is a visual tell that the staging yard isn’t really a part of the sceniced layout.

First part of staging scenery, mixing up a batch of Sculptamold to give some texture to the area between the tracks and the fascia.

This is a multi-step process as all things are. First up was mixing up some sculptamold, dyed with acryllic paint to provide some ground texture for the area along the tracks. After this was done, and while it was drying, i got ballast down on the tracks and glued down. After the track and sculptamold was dry, I came back and added ground cover dirt and grass flocking. I will come back in the future and add more detail like a gravel access road and some taller static grass (when I finally buy a static grass applicator) to provide texture and finish the scenery. The first goal was just to hide the pink foam, as with other parts of the layout, I’d gotten tired of the CNR staging being pink! Ground cover is a coat of cheap household latex paint (I get the $5.00 samples at Home Depot, goes a long way, any brownish colour will do!), then sift on soil from Scenic Express and a mix of flock ground cover from Scenic Express and Woodland Scenics to build some variety of colour and mix in some grassy greens into the browns. Its held in place with thinned Weldbond glue, mixed 50/50 with water. Before applying the glue, everything gets wetted down with plain tap water misted on with a sprayer, and then if the glue pools, sprayed some more to get it to break. This is a technique I learned from my friend Trevor Marshall for how he does his scenery. Its far and away the best results I’ve ever gotten out of all the different glues/wet waters/alcohol etc etc that people use and recommend. Its further evidence that you need to keep trying to find what works for you. I have no doubt other things that haven’t worked for me work for others, but now that I’ve found something simple that works for me, I’m sticking with it!

Ballasting the track in progress, and a view of the first layer of ground cover on and drying alongside the track.

With the ground cover done, the last part of staging is the structure that screens some tracks on the layout. I had painted it with PanPastels, and it needed a spray of fixative to hold them in place. The building still needs more PanPastel work to build up colour variation and detail, but I needed to seal the first base coat so I can add colour without removing the base coat.

Painting the staging view block and seeing how the first layer of PanPastels look on the Layout.

I like using PanPastels for buildings, though I am still learning as I go how to best apply them. I was finding that after a certain point, trying to add more was having the opposite effect and I was taking them off. You can see it in the pictures of the building where there are splotchy effects. I don’t think this will matter at the end of the day after I add more contrast colours and grime and weather the building more, but it was starting to make me crazy where I’d see a thin spot and try to add powder, and instead wind up making the thin spot bigger!

Overview of the first pass of scenery and the screen building in place at the end of the weekend.

Still lots to do here, but as with the CPR staging before it, some simple ground cover makes the equipment on the layout in the yard look so much better!

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