I have set myself here in February on a path to get done what I am calling my “base scenery”. Basically, I don’t want to see any more of the foam layer beneath the layout. I don’t necessarily mean having the scenery done, but I mean a layer of dirt material, or pavement as appropriate so everything is semi-presentable. I’m not expecting visitors soon, but I’ve decided that it’s time to advance some things that are easy and probably should have been done a while ago were it not for my being easily distracted by shiny side projects or my health issues through the back half of 2021.
Using crafting foam to create an impression of the track to cut interlocking brick styrene to pave the Toronto Carpet Factory courtyard.
First up, finishing some sidewalks and paved areas. This is pretty straightforward for the most part. Cut styrene to shape, install risers to get to the correct height, and install. The more complicated part was I decided to provide some visual interest by paving the Toronto Carpet Factory with interlocking brick styrene sheet rather than plain pavement. To do this, I used cheap craft foam to create a press impression of the track, so I could cut that out of the foam, and transfer it to the styrene to then trim that to get a good fit to the track. A similar technique was used for the plain white styrene sidewalks to make cutting templates for any areas where the curb wasn’t straight, and to mark locations for hydro poles sticking through the pavement. They are not fully installed yet as I need to paint them before they go down, but the work of creating the pieces is complete.
Moving on, I have started to put down Scenic Express fine sifted soil, my base dirt of choice. I have had great success with this so far on the layout and on the Canyon Road diorama, but I have run into a problem with my latest applications, and I’m not 100% sure of the cause. I was having issues with my sprayer that I use to wet groundcover after it is down to break the surface tension so my thinned glue flows to hold it in place, so I am not entirely sure that glue flowed properly. It is also winter, and the area I am working on is directly beneath an Hvac vent (the ducts in the layout room are in the ceiling). As you can see from the picture below, the soil did not glue all the way through, and it glued and cracked on the surface, easily pulling apart to reveal completely unglued soil. I am not entirely sure what the bigger factor was, other areas I laid last night that were not directly below the vent don’t seem to have cracked the same way, so I think its probably the hot air drying things out too fast, but I’m not sure. This weekend will be used to pull up bad laid ground to work on trying again, and hopefully pull out the airbrush to paint styrene pavement to install.
Toronto Carpet before soil, and the cracked and unglued soil the next day.
This is hardly a terminal setback, and probably one that if I hadn’t pulled apart the worst cracked area I could have left alone, but for my own piece of mind and future projects, I want to try and understand what happened so I can prevent it from happening again.