This, above, was where I was Friday morning. The day after, a Saturday no less, the appearance is markedly different, there’s weed and grass in the early stages of development.
The core operation shakedown of Shelfie 4, Maple River is complete. The electricity is getting where it should, and the points throw every time.
This means I can get into the scenery development quickly. I’ve often mentioned I tend to stick to manufacturer ‘systems’, and with good reason. If you use components from one brand, there’s a pretty good chance their products will work well together. When you go ‘off piste’ there’s always a chance that two different brands products won’t match well, and I have experienced that in the past in particular with paint.
So this last week or so I’ve been using a number of Woodland Scenics products as I’ve fitted the track to Maple River. The underlay (above) I’ve used before, on both Shelfie1 and Shelfie2 and not had any issues with it. The fact I’ve used it on three layouts I guess underlines my satisfaction with it.
For Shelfie 4’s track I’m using Woodland Scenics medium and fine ballast, and as a new thing for me their Scenic Cement . This was suggested by James Hilton after a discussion about how hit and miss the traditional glue/water/IPA/detergent can be. It made sense to try it, it’s obviously formulated to work with the track bed and ballast and importantly James had tried it and got on with it.
Above you can see the final fix of ballast with a couple of toning washes overlaid once dry. I hesitate to say I ballasted the track in the traditional way because using the Woodland products that’s pretty much what you do. However the results are likely to be successful using them as recommended, where the PVA mix techniques aren’t always straightforward. One thing I didn’t get on with was the spray applicator. The Woodland sprayer has no real finesse to it, I changed to a household plant mist spray application, and that was more controllable and much more effective.
The tonal variations were achieved with washes of Tamiya German Grey, and then dry brushing with Farrow & Ball Oxford Stone emulsion paint. Happy with that effect I’ve returned to the Woodland Scenics cement and used that with the static grass. I’m using a Noch grass-master applicator and only adding small amounts each time of 2mm and 4mm grass lengths mixed together.
Over the course of the afternoon I’ve been trying out the static grasses and the cement, and am very pleased with this first fix of grass. The cement’s capillary action allows it to flow through the ballast and not reactivate the original ballast fixing. It’s tacky enough that the static grass holds well in the cement so that within a minute or so running a vacuum cleaner over the top, pulls the blades vertically and most of them stay put on the scenery.
So with a couple of hours spare, the first fix of grass has been completed. Comparing the before and after above, and realising the effectiveness and time saving benefits of using the ‘system’ I’m very pleased. I think the one thing that brings this system together is quite literally, the cement. I’m looking forward to my next fix.
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