Anyway, It looks better in the photo than in person.
The scenery off to the left that looks OK is a perfect accident.
I collected the sad looking texture from around the layout and just pile it up here.
Doesn't look to bad here.
There is just a small patch of scenery done as an experiment.
There for the razor blade wrapper in the back ground and the expanse of bare plywood.
And now for the ballast:
I am pleased the result.
Though I do need to get around to getting the handrails back on the GP-35.
It is my intention to cover the bottom of the backdrop, including the gouges and screws, with foliage.
We will see how that works out.
Yes. Even getting a small patch of ground cover down makes a difference.
I learned some lessons. My first thought was to put the ground cover down before ballasting the track thinking that the ground was there before the track. I am reversing that thinking. The rest of the ballast will go down before ground cover. It was difficult shaping the ballast with the ground cover in place.
Before much more ground cover, or ballast, goes down, I need to complete the turntable. That is probably just a few hours work. Then I can go crazy with ballast and ground cover.
I am also changing the "switch machines". I like the clever little springs, but they do present some challenges. One of which is helping "newbies" figure out how to throw a switch. It should be obvious, but it isn't.
So I am going to go with ground throws. I was resisting them because, in order to function, they have to be larger than scale, especially in HO. But I have some nice ones that were originally purchased for an O scale layout years ago. That layout was still born and the ground throws are still in their originally packaging. HO ground throws work great in O scale.
Another change I am probably going to make is to bite the bullet and order the turnout building jigs from FastTracks. I am just not completely happy with the commercial turnouts, but I really want to be able to speed up the turnout fabrication process. I think FastTracks will do that, and it will be a wash in terms of cost.
The PC board construction should stand up OK to the ground throws. If you will recall, the SwitchMaster switch machines tore apart some purchased turnouts built on PC ties on the On30 layout.
Besides, I want to decide on the final track configurations in a somewhat organic fashion. So I might not know if a turnout is going to be left or right hand until I mess with positioning a bit.