I can relate to the problem of getting scenery too close to the track. What little scenery exists on my layout is going to have to be ripped out and re-done.
Some for reasons of clearance.
My RR buddies here in Clarksville, Tennessee constantly rib me about too tight clearances on my model railroads. This one will be different because the scenery can be easily moved and adjusted. The hills are feather light.
It is not just model RR which has this problem, the prototype also had clearance. When the 3 Ft gauge Kaslo & Slocan Rly, built by the Great Northern in southern BC.
The line was built for the engines they had, being 2 Baldwin 2-6-0s. In 1897 the K&S acquired a OF 2-8-0 and RGS
Rotary #1. Besides having to remove rock cuts along the line, bridge #21 which was built on a shelf of Payne Bluff,
The bridge had an 700 to 800 Ft drop on one side and the cliff above rose 150 to 200Ft. The answer was to move the rails on the bridge to the outside of the bridge to provide clearance for the rotary to clear.
Hanging over this drop must have been an interesting experience for the Rotary operator.
I have walked this section of roadbed, somewhat like looking down into the Grand Canyon. To model the track would roughly mean it would be 28 to 32 FT above eye level
in O scale.
I am back at work on the layout. I am using some techniques I found on the Internet.
I have carved out channels in the top of the Styrofoam for the electrical wiring. I created an electrical wiring harness and have placed it in the cutout channels. The wire is secured with construction adhesive. The channels will be filled with insulation foam when the wiring is complete.
I soldered ends of the wire harness to the Peco track joiners. This is a nifty way to power the rails. It helps avoid distorting the plastic ties as soldering directly to the rail would do.
The wiring harness was connected to the main power strips and happily the engine lit up and made those wonderful digital sounds.
Constructing the infrastructure. Burying the electrical grid.
This little layout needs electricity to power the little trains. To create the infrastructure for the electrical grid I first carved out channels in the blue Styrofoam panel. Appropriate wires were laid in this channel and secured with construction adhesive.
The next step was to use expanding insulation foam to fill in the channels and cover the wires.
The layout looks like it's being attacked by a fungating sporulating mold.
The excess foam is trimmed back with a serrated knife.
The basic tan/brown latex paint is applied overall and you can see the ends of wire sticking out of “the earth and mud.” Much like a new suburban subdivision.
Next up will be to apply the track and using sculptamold rough in the first layer of scenery texture.
If you have the time & inclination I would like to see some photos of this magic 'Sculptamold' stuff (largely unknown to those outside the U.S. ?) in use as a scenic top coat (?); how it is applied, worked etc.
Presumably it gives a better effect than sculpted styrofoam alone ?
With the wires buried, it was time to lay down the On30 Peco track. This was done using construction adhesive to affix the track to the foam. I let the turnouts “float” to avoid any potential binding of their mechanisms.
On30 Peco "electrofrog" turnouts have some interesting wiring so that DCC Control can be used. Basically, it is placing insulated track connectors at the two sections of rail leaving from the frog.
With the track down it was time for some photos. Engineer Timmy poses with the hard-working Stearns Heisler.
He seems to have forgotten that this is very rural Tennessee/Kentucky and there are some strange creatures lurking about. Hopefully he will turn around soon and get the heck out of there!!
Years ago, I learned that scenery construction was basically color and texture, texture and color. One of the neatest materials to begin scenery with is Sculptamold. This clay-based modeling material comes dry in a large bag. You basically add a little water and mix and you have a nice easy to work material to create your scenery forms. It dries rockhard. It can be carved, drilled, sanded, and painted.
In the past, I would use this material and it would dry a uniform white color. For this project I learned that you can tint sculptamold using simple acrylic craft paints.
I used a disposable drink cup, threw in some sculptamold and added a few squirts of the acrylic craft paints.
A small amount of water is added and the mixture stirred with a craft stick. When it had the consistency of cottage cheese it was ready to be slumped on to the layout.
Here is a before shot with Styrofoam scraps providing additional fill for the contours of the layout.
Here is an after shot with the tinted sculptamold in place. The sculptamold also acts as a great adhesive for the placement of stumps.
This is a wonderful material and I would recommend it for your projects. Dr. Tom.
Throw some very fine sawdust into some dry plaster and you will have something that acts like Sculptamold, at considerably less cost. Even coarser sawdust can be used, at the expense of the surface finish.
____________________ Fix it again, Mr Gates--it still works!"