Scenery Dilemma (What Would Koester Do?)

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IronBeltKen

Lazy Daydreamer
#1
Hi y'all, I have an industrial switching layout that is supposed to loosely represent the Cleveland, OH metro area. All of the benchwork and trackwork is installed and functional, now I'm ready for the final phase: scenery.

The layout is oriented on a north-south axis - Cleveland on the northern end, the B&O Pittsburgh-Chicago main line [staging] on the southern end. The track at the southernmost end of the layout disappears behind a sky-blue scenic divider:



...and this is where I'm at with it now:



I want to be able to shoot head-on photos of trains coming straight out of staging, but obviously I can't have them coming out of a hole on the horizon!

One option is to put a hill with a tunnel portal over the hole:



Another possibility is to have an elevated highway hiding the hole:



Finally, I could just cover the area around the hole with a dense cluster of trees:



I'd like to do the tunnel portal, but I'm trying to measure up to the standard promoted by Tony Koester that a scene should accurately reflect the region you are modeling - and I've never seen or heard of any tunnels around Cleveland.

The highway overpass would definitely be found in Cleveland as well as any large city, but the spot where it abruptly ends at the divider wall would be very difficult to conceal.

Having a small forest would be easy enough, but prototype Class 1 railroads like the B&O generally kept their right-of-ways clear of surrounding foliage.

...so as you can see, each approach has its "up" side and "down" side. Which one would you choose if you were in my situation?
 

Rico

BN Modeller
#2
Tony would write a book.
I'd go with the overpass and have tree cover behind it!
Nice thing about a bridge is it fits anywhere and is a chance to show off some nice vehicles.

Try a mockup and be sure to post some pics!
 
#3
Ken - I agree with Rico in using a combination of highway and trees. Trees could also go in front of the wall/highway juncture to hide it.

Willie
 

tootnkumin

Active Member
Staff member
#4
If this is an inner city area, or it's outskirts, wouldn't it be appropriate to have a city skyline on the wall? That opening could be from beneath an underpass as you have proposed, with relief buildings/photographic buildings disguising the highway's end. Here's one of the YouTube videos of Vic Smith's "City Edge" layout. Note the entrance from beneath an overpass at the beginning, and at the very end where the upper track disappears under a building across the tracks. Not saying you have to go to the extent he has, but some adaption of the scene/s
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-7QOlWClU7I
 
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montanan

Whiskey Merchant
#5
I also agree with the overpass and trees. Toot, I have seen numerous videos of Vic's layout. Second to none. Just outstanding.
 
#8
Ken, it's unanimous. Use an overpass, with trees and appropriate foliage, as you would find around Baltimore, Cleveland or any other place. Tunnel portals don't work without mountains, and dense foliage screams secondary line on it's last legs. I also agree with Rico, Tony would write a book. :rolleyes:
 

montanan

Whiskey Merchant
#9
When doing the overpass and trees, I would also curve the road. I couldn't find a reason for an overpass, but did curve the road into the town in the backdrop and put a building blocking the road where it went out of sight.

IMAG1155.jpg There is a school bus on the road but pretty well hidden.

The track would go where the road is in this photo.
 
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Graff

Airbrush artist
#10
Try to light up behind the opening and scenic there as well.
Then an overpass will not have a black hole underneath it.
 

IronBeltKen

Lazy Daydreamer
#11
Thank you gents, for all the replies! So it looks like an Interstate freeway overpass project is in my future. I'll have to wait until I get home from work later this evening before I address any of your individual posts...
 

Sirfoldalot

Plucked Tailfeathers
Staff member
#12
When doing the overpass and trees, I would also curve the road. I couldn't find a reason for an overpass, but did curve the road into the town in the backdrop and put a building blocking the road where it went out of sight.

View attachment 61683 There is a school bus on the road but pretty well hidden.

The track would go where the road is in this photo.
Since we are talking scenic ideas, Chet, that is beautifully done (I see the school bus) and cleaver! When you run out of things to do .. add a slighty broken down rail fence to keep those cows off the road - just saying.
 

IronBeltKen

Lazy Daydreamer
#15
Tony would write a book.
I'd go with the overpass and have tree cover behind it!
Nice thing about a bridge is it fits anywhere and is a chance to show off some nice vehicles. ...
Rick, looks like you started a trend LOL

Ken - I agree with Rico in using a combination of highway and trees. Trees could also go in front of the wall/highway juncture to hide it. ...
Willie, I'll definitely plant trees wherever I can fit them - without locating them too close to the track.

If this is an inner city area, or it's outskirts, wouldn't it be appropriate to have a city skyline on the wall? That opening could be from beneath an underpass as you have proposed, with relief buildings/photographic buildings disguising the highway's end. ...
Actually Toot, this space is suppose to represent a slice of the Cleveland metro region, ~7 miles (11 km) from the downtown area. [Although I may, in fact, do a "downtown" viewscape on the backdrop behind my main classification yard...(?)] Regardless, I greatly enjoyed the Vic Smith video, thanks for sharing it!

Overpass!! And a small mirror behind it to extend the scene.
Gene I'll give that a try, not sure what else may appear in the reflection though...

... Gonna miss the salt pile though.
No worries Sherrell, I got plenty of pics - it'll live on in your dreams!:D

Ken, it's unanimous. Use an overpass, ... Tunnel portals don't work without mountains, and dense foliage screams secondary line on it's last legs. ...
Yep, my thoughts exactly Joe - I just wasn't sure how doable an overpass would be. But now that I did a mock-up, I think I can make it work!

When doing the overpass and trees, I would also curve the road. I couldn't find a reason for an overpass, but did curve the road into the town in the backdrop and put a building blocking the road where it went out of sight.
...
Chet, that would be my choice too IF I could make it fit - but because of the bizzarre way this space is shaped, I'm not sure it can accommodate a curved highway bridge. But your scene looks great as always...is the school bus an N scale vehicle?

Try to light up behind the opening and scenic there as well.
Then an overpass will not have a black hole underneath it.
Excellent idea, I think I can do exactly that - since the walls in the staging area were painted from the same batch of sky blue paint that I used on the backdrop panels! [Though I'll probably need to do some trial-and-error experimentation with different lamps before I can get it just right...]
 

IronBeltKen

Lazy Daydreamer
#16
Ok, I did a crude mock-up of the proposed highway overpass using some leftover extruded foam board from my previous layout...and here is what it looks like thru a cheap cell phone camera lens:



This is how it appears to somebody standing beside the layout, working the two lineside industries shown in the diagrams in my opening post. I'm going to have to temporarily remove the backdrop extension and shave ~1/4inch off of the end, in order to make it fit and line up perfectly parallel to the adjoining panel. It actually is painted the same color, but the light is hitting it at the wrong angle.

The following top-down photo shows how much [or how little?] space I will have available for trees and other foliage. I wasn't able to look thru the viewfinder since I had to hold my cell phone high above my head to get this shot:



Here is the best approximation of a trackside view of the track vanishing below the overpass. Obviously when doing "real" photos, I'll be using a manually-focused DSLR with stacked images to render a better depth-of-field.



The underside would sure look a lot better if I'd had some extra lamps available to illuminate the area behind the backdrop, per Graff's suggestion.
 
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tootnkumin

Active Member
Staff member
#19
How about a vertical stone or concrete, curved buttress, following the curve of the track as closely as possible, at the left end of the bypass. That would limit further how much can be seen of the wall the track passes through. Personally I wouldn't light that area beneath the o'pass, you're trying to conceal that area, not highlight it. Lot's of vehicles on the o'pass will draw the viewers attention away as well. Street lights up there will accentuate that scene.
 

IronBeltKen

Lazy Daydreamer
#20
Toot, I agree that having a bunch of vehicles on the overpass will certainly divert attention from whatever is behind it. The ideal plan would be to pack'em on there as close together in one direction as they'll fit, to simulate a rush hour gridlock; then it wouldn't seem so weird that they're not moving. But unfortunately, that's not an option for me because I model the highly unpopular post-C&O/pre-Chessie era, for which very few scale vehicles are available.

I like the idea of the buttress though...
 



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