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San Luis Valley Shelf Layout

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  • Member since
    August 2014
  • From: NC
  • 238 posts
Posted by pt714 on Wednesday, August 19, 2020 6:02 PM

Can't believe what a difference a backdrop makes, even one designed to be temporary. This was stupid easy-- foamboard taped together, edges smoothed and then rather unevenly spray-painted with a very light matte blue. Already makes me want to set up more shots.

Phil 

 

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  • From: Dearborn Station
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Posted by richhotrain on Wednesday, August 19, 2020 6:10 PM

Phil, I just stumbled onto this thread, and I have enjoyed browsing through it. Nice work! I am surprised that no one has replied as of late.

Rich

Alton Junction

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    August 2014
  • From: NC
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Posted by pt714 on Wednesday, August 19, 2020 8:21 PM

Thanks for looking and commenting, Rich! I don't mind the quiet, I've found it's pretty common for layout-in-progress threads if it's not a big pike with lots of planning involved. This is more of a place to keep a log of my projects, self-educating as I go, hopefully helpful and/or enjoyable to anyone who happens upon it.

Phil

  • Member since
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  • From: NC
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Posted by pt714 on Friday, August 28, 2020 6:58 AM

I've been dissatisfied with the quality of the photos I've been taking for a while, feeling that they're not capturing the level of detail I'm trying to put into my projects. New phone and new camera this week, and already I'm feeling really excited because the photos are actually beginning to look like what I see sitting at the layout. (Of course, that's a double-edged sword, as I can see with much more focus where I still need to put in the work!) Here's some shots just from messing around with it during a recent switching session.

Thanks for looking,

Phil

  • Member since
    April 2019
  • From: Pacific Northwest
  • 780 posts
Posted by SPSOT fan on Monday, August 31, 2020 6:00 AM

Wow! So very nice pictures! I really like the rural, branch line feel the layout has, with lots of yellower grass and not much ballast! Look forward to seeing more!

Regards, Isaac

I model my railroad and you model yours! I model my way and you model yours!

  • Member since
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  • From: NC
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Posted by pt714 on Wednesday, September 16, 2020 8:08 AM

Thank you, Isaac! I started a new job recently, and layout progress has consequently temporarily paused, but I'm hoping to still make regular updates on it (and still playing around with the new camera.)

 

Thanks for looking,

Phil

 

 

  • Member since
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Posted by thomas81z on Saturday, November 21, 2020 8:40 PM

pt714

Thank you, Isaac! I started a new job recently, and layout progress has consequently temporarily paused, but I'm hoping to still make regular updates on it (and still playing around with the new camera.)

 

Thanks for looking,

Phil

i lived on the front range for 5 years and you have the right flavor

i miss those ranges

 

 

 

  • Member since
    January 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
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Posted by SeeYou190 on Saturday, November 21, 2020 10:45 PM

pt714
Thanks for looking, Phil

Phil, that is a great picture.

-Kevin

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

  • Member since
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Posted by Lastspikemike on Sunday, November 22, 2020 10:37 AM

Yes, we're looking and enjoying. Quiet as churchmice and absorbing the good ideas.

Alyth Yard

Canada

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Posted by pt714 on Friday, November 27, 2020 7:02 AM

Thanks for the kind words Thomas, Kevin, and Mike, I appreciate it!

Thomas, I moved from there earlier this year, and already miss them, too.

No new photos to share, but hopefully some updates soon.

 

Phil

  • Member since
    August 2014
  • From: NC
  • 238 posts
Posted by pt714 on Tuesday, December 22, 2020 8:06 AM

An early holiday gift this year: Super Trees!

I have been playing around with building my own tree armatures and enjoying learning through the process, but I have to concede that these things look fantastic to my eye straight out of the box, unpainted, unflocked. The branch structure is gorgeous, and I think it'll be just right for my late autumn setting with some touch-up and very judicious flocking.

Right now I'm just playing around with placement of the bare armatures, using photos I've taken in the valley to figure out what looks right and trying not to overwhelm the overall sense of a high desert (the Super Trees box comes with what is probably, for me, a lifetime supply of armatures.)

My initial test-stuff-out tree on the right, the bare Super Tree on the left:

No contest.

 

Thanks for looking,

Phil

 

  • Member since
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  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
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Posted by SeeYou190 on Saturday, January 2, 2021 12:24 PM

Phil: This has been a magnificent build thread. I think I have read the whole thing three times now.

I would love to see you share some pictures over in Weekend Photo Fun and/or Show Me Something.

Your work is amazing.

-Kevin

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

  • Member since
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  • From: Dearborn Station
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Posted by richhotrain on Saturday, January 2, 2021 4:58 PM

SeeYou190

Phil: This has been a magnificent build thread. I think I have read the whole thing three times now.

I would love to see you share some pictures over in Weekend Photo Fun and/or Show Me Something.

Your work is amazing.

-Kevin

 

Totally agree.

Alton Junction

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Posted by pt714 on Tuesday, January 5, 2021 5:54 PM

You're too kind, both of you. I've contributed regularly to Weekend Photo Fun in the past, I'll try to make a regular habit of it again. Smile, Wink & Grin

 

Phil

  • Member since
    August 2014
  • From: NC
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Posted by pt714 on Sunday, April 11, 2021 6:03 AM

A lot of quiet on the layout front, as sometimes happens, but a long update for today-- the past few weeks I've been diving back into the tree game. A few months ago I ordered some Super Leaf dead litter-- I have used other Super Leaf products before and been happy with their look, and needed to expand my current color palette for my autumn trees (and for littering the ground, as well.)

A few tentatively-placed trees, trying out the colors and spacing. This time, I spray-painted the armatures before flocking (using some cheap tan spray paint), which I think makes them look even better.

I decided the varied brush between the creek and the grain elevator would have to come out, as the trees would take up all the sunlight-- I saved them and can use them to fill out the sparser treeless sections away from the creek.

The two types of trees that really scream "Colorado autumn", to me, are cottonwoods and aspens. Aspens typically grow a tad higher in elevation than the valley, but I'm making an exception because they make such a strong impression of place-- and quaking golden aspen trees are one of my favorite things in nature.

I spent time looking at photos of each, then took my entire Super Tree brush ball out of its box (quite the mess!) in search of the right shapes for armatures. I found an excellent thick, forked trunk for a big creekside cottonwood, and filled out its shape with some additional branches.

Then I sprayed the armature and set to my flocking technique: diluted glue for the "seed" golden yellow flocking at the tips of the branches, then layers of cheap hairspray and additional flocking, with a sprinkle each of dead Super Leaf to the underside and aspen yellow Super Leaf to the top, for dimension.

Aspens are a bit trickier, but in some ways more forgiving. They do not sprawl like cottonwoods, so the straight-growing ends of the Super Tree ball suit them best. Unfortunately these are quite spindly and delicate-- finding straight ones is a challenge, and there's a lot of surgery involved to remove the little twiggy leaves. Patience is key here.

I sprayed the armatures with cheap white spray paint, then hit them with passes of tan and white until I was satisfied with the color and variance. Followed that with the same flocking procedure as the other trees.

The wonderful thing about aspens is that they grow in patches like mushrooms, and often get in one another's way, so any trees that did not come out with the shape I wanted or that have trouble standing straight do not look out of place, and their flaws can be hidden by the crowd. The best-looking ones I planted in the clusters right up front.

There could be more detail on the bark, but the effect is immediate, and there's plenty of time to go back and add things like that. Nothing permanently attached yet, I'm still deciding if there need to be more of them, or a different placement to get the right effect. Once I have decided final placement, I'll add leaf litter to the ground and finish it before affixing the trees.

Thanks for looking,

Phil

 

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Posted by NorthBrit on Sunday, April 11, 2021 6:45 AM

A new thread for me, Phil.   Love the trees.  So realistic.  Thanks for showing.

 

David

To the world you are someone.    To someone you are the world

I cannot afford the luxury of a negative thought

  • Member since
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  • From: NC
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Posted by pt714 on Sunday, April 25, 2021 7:38 AM

NorthBrit

A new thread for me, Phil.   Love the trees.  So realistic.  Thanks for showing.

 

David

 

 

Thanks, David, appreciate you looking. I decided I liked the tree configuration and affixed them in place. On a more permanent layout I might not take that step since it makes it easier to replace them, but with this portable one it's easier to keep them as securely attached as possible (another move is coming up in a few months, this time thankfully not across the country but still a decent distance.)

Before permanently attaching them, though, I scattered dead leaves and debris at their bases to finish this "level of resolution" for the scene (they're never really done, are they? Smile, Wink & Grin)

 

Thanks for looking,

Phil

 

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  • From: A Comfy Cave, New Zealand
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Posted by "JaBear" on Monday, April 26, 2021 12:33 AM
As I look out over the village, I see the trees turning with the season and while there are no cottonwoods or aspens, I think you’ve captured that autumnal look rather well, Phil.Thumbs UpThumbs Up
Right down to the mess that my neighbours’ leaves are making on my lawn!AngrySighLaugh
 
Cheers, the Bear.Smile

"One difference between pessimists and optimists is that while pessimists are more often right, optimists have far more fun."

  • Member since
    September 2004
  • From: Dearborn Station
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Posted by richhotrain on Monday, April 26, 2021 5:36 AM

pt714

An early holiday gift this year: Super Trees!

I have been playing around with building my own tree armatures and enjoying learning through the process, but I have to concede that these things look fantastic to my eye straight out of the box, unpainted, unflocked. The branch structure is gorgeous, and I think it'll be just right for my late autumn setting with some touch-up and very judicious flocking.

Right now I'm just playing around with placement of the bare armatures, using photos I've taken in the valley to figure out what looks right and trying not to overwhelm the overall sense of a high desert (the Super Trees box comes with what is probably, for me, a lifetime supply of armatures.)

My initial test-stuff-out tree on the right, the bare Super Tree on the left:

No contest. 

Phil, this was your post on December 22, 2020, absent the photos. It caught Kevin's attention, and mine, on January 2, 2021. So, when I read your most recent thread and looked at more of your photos, I asked myself, Who is this guy?

Your work is simply excellent, and I am sold on the trees. I only recently started to use Scenic Express products when I bought their real rock ballast for my current layout. But, now, you have me hooked on their Super Trees.

On my past layouts, I used Woodland Scenics trees which do not hold a candle to the Scenic Express product. There is a video on the Scenic Express website that illustrates how to work with Super Trees. It is impressive, and it is extremely informative.

Keep posting more photos of your work.

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by pt714 on Monday, April 26, 2021 8:56 PM

Y'all are going to make me blush! Embarrassed

Thanks so much for the kind words, both of you. Rich, glad to hear you're liking these armatures too, I'm finding them pretty great for what I need, and excellent for learning quickly how to improve with tree-making. I've been impressed with what I've picked up from Scenic Express so far (the Super Leaf products are also theirs.)

Phil

  • Member since
    August 2014
  • From: NC
  • 238 posts
Posted by pt714 on Monday, May 3, 2021 7:57 AM

Well, it's time yet again to hit 'pause'.

I alluded a few posts ago to an upcoming move, and it has come time to fold up and box the layout again. Before doing so, however, I took an opportunity to break out my DRGW heavyweight observation and an old REA for a leaf-peeping excursion for folks in the southern part of the valley to see the new trees.

I removed the three primary buildings-- the grain elevator is too tall to fit with the layout folded, while the storehouse and oil facility cover the hinges. One tree is also still in need of finessing placement, so I removed it for now.

Then everything folded up, just like it has in the past. I was impressed how little scenery came loose. Lights and backdrop came down, too.

I'm really happy with the progress I've made here over the past 12 months. There are no bare spots, all of the industries are built up with pleasing detail (though resolution can always be increased) and the scenery is beginning to form individual scenes on this operational diorama. Hopefully it won't be too long before I can set everything up again and continue.

Until soon,

Phil

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