The BC and F Railway

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I'm not sure how frequently I'll update this post, but figured I might as well start it while the layout is relatively 'young'.
The back story here is that I really only do have this 4' x 11.5' to have a model railroad. My previous layout was all solid (no cut outs as you see here) and while it was progressing very nicely with foliage, terrain, lighting, etc., I had a spot that the loco and/or rolling stock would all of a sudden derail. I couldn't get to it easily, and had several days of a very sore back after reaching/kneeling/arching my body in my attempts to fix it. So....I began pulling track up so I had a place to kneel, which led to more track being taken up, which led to a complete tear down of the entire layout-framing, plywood, everything.

A month or two ago I got back to playing with some designs and ended up with this. While my options are quite limited with the given space, I left myself room to access those hard to reach areas as construction goes on. At some point I will put wood in the cutout area and utilize that space as well...having the option to remove a section if I need to.

So basically I run DCC HO. I'm not following any prototype or specific era-I run steam, older diesels, and eventually will have a loco or two from the modern age. I envision the terrain as a bit hilly, a tunnel under a 'mountain' with a creek or two and lots of trees one end...I enjoy doing the foliage and scenery a lot!
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Much of my rolling stock is your basic low end stuff with several pieces of good quality cars mixed in. For now, the right side will be a city/town.

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while the left side will be mostly nature and an industry or two.



Active Member
Thanks for putting up some photos of your build while it is still young. I often use my posts to go back and look and get a different perspective and perhaps some new fresh ideas.
Haven't done much ON the layout the last few weeks, but did add a bridge. I don't know if I will have the road go under the bridge or a small river/stream that meanders around-by-through the city. I've got plenty of time to decide on that one.

I did recently pick up 3 Walthers modular sets, (did not know they were discontinued!) and even though I don't have all the proper pieces will give it a go with what I have along with some scratch building and improvisational skills. I have some different building designs I am considering, but not sure which I like better. The surrounding structures are not necessarily where they will be. I was just moving stuff around to place the concept. Any 'dock doors' on upper levels are only there by accident.

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Well, with some frigid temps around here I was able to think a few things through and then today, and some yesterday, move forward on a couple things. First, my children decided that this is the building design I should use. So I made a sturdier cardboard so I can move it around and decide where to put it, and also put some retaining walls (even if only temporary) under the bridge. I don't have a picture, but I redirected the lower level track along the back so it has a curve and isn't as close to the upper level track. It forced the tunnel entry to move as well which is not a bad thing. It makes it less linear, without such straight lines, now with the curve in it.
The components for the building have been lightly primed. 20150111_121458.jpg 20150111_114440.jpg 20150104_125550.jpg
Over there in the wilderness I've modified it for a river/stream/gulch to come through the mountains and built up an area between the two levels. For a height reference the rear track at the river crossing is about 1.5"
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I see we use some of the same methods, I am interested to see how it turns out. Thanks for posting----lasm
lasm- working with that plaster cloth sure is tedious. I've used it before but geez it felt like it took forever. Previously I've mostly used it to blend/connect different pieces and layers of carved foam.
Thanks for posting.
So I somewhat hurriedly added some more terrain to this area, built up a flat spot for the lumber company, and laid more plaster cloth. After returning from some sledding early afternoon, I painted the still damp plaster areas, quickly grew grass, a few shrubs, and the trees magically grew right after. I've been getting tired of all the prep work lately without any 'finished' areas so at least this spot is completed. I'm sure some more details will be added. A couple before and after photos. Also cut out an area on the left that will now be a creek bed/lake shore/ something .
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I think you are on the right track with the mortar, thought about tinting down the white so it is a little off and rubbing some of the areas with a cotton cloth?


Well-Known Member
Staff member
Sweet Chuck,

I can tell you that it is a darn site better than what I have done. Maybe, if I may make one suggestion, perhaps tone the mortar color down a bit, to more of a grey as lasm suggested. The white really stands out and, while it looks good, tends to distract from the rest of the building.

As I said, your effort looks much better than what I have managed to achieve so I really can't talk or give advice.
Here's a bit of progress from the last few days. More plaster cloth and rocks on the other side of the stream. and the form of the 'mountain' taking shape. I'm gonna probably let the mountain sit for a while before doing any more work while I decide if it's too high or if I should lower the overall height by an inch or two.
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A retaining wall I've been building. There's enough space between the two walls that I will put some shrubs, weeds, overgrowth that will show the spacing nicely. MOre pics soon (I hope)
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From the pics the retaining wall looks like you are using plain old paper? It looks very much like retaining walls I have seen before, and it came out really well. Are the columns balsa wood or something? Again, I am amazed at how well it looks on the wall.
From the pics the retaining wall looks like you are using plain old paper? It looks very much like retaining walls I have seen before, and it came out really well. Are the columns balsa wood or something? Again, I am amazed at how well it looks on the wall.
I used an image of a wall area and printed it multiple times on sheets of paper. I used various media to give the sections and bricks some detail and shading. I cut and pasted these areas on to standard cardboard previously measured for height and width I needed.The vertical columns and column caps are cut from a cardboard type material that I had already too. I think it will look pretty good once the space between the two walls are filled. The spacing is probably about 3/8 ". Thanks for thee feedback! is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to