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Thread: Freeway Overpass and Corner Camouflage Project on the CL&W Sub

  1. Default Freeway Overpass and Corner Camouflage Project on the CL&W Sub

    Hi gang, this thread is a continuation of an earlier one titled “Scenery Dilemma What Would Tony Koester Do”, where I needed to figure out a way to hide a hole in the backdrop on a semi-urban flat land scene. The consensus was that I should hide it with a freeway overpass, so that’s what I did.

    My last post on the old thread was about how I had finished assembling the kit-kluge of four (4) Rix Products Modern Highway Overpass kits in the angled shape needed for this scenic application, and had it test-fitted on 5 blocks of wood:



    The remaining tasks were to [1] paint the overpass, [2] construct styrene piers and paint them in an aged concrete color, and [3] finish applying all the scenic elements that would make this scene look “natural.”

    Task #’s 1 and 2 were relatively straight forward: I spray-painted the top surface of the overpass with rattle-can Rustoleum from my friendly neighborhood Ace hardware store. Then I applied a coat of flat gray to the Jersey walls to make them look newer-poured concrete. The girders were done in orange, and the piers in Tamiya flat buff. I hand-painted the lane stripes on areas masked with painters’ tape, then rubbed-on various dirty shades of Bragdon powders to simulate the residue of oil and soot from years of vehicles passing over.

    - ken in Maryland

    Never let a Rainy Day go to waste!

  2. Default Hiding the Corner Shadows

    Now came the part I dreaded the most: Trying to make the overall scene look real, rather than something plopped-down from a toy train catalog. [Scenery has always been my mrr Achilles Heel.]

    First I needed to paint some tree silhouettes on the backdrop to match the contours of hills I was putting in. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any natural sea sponges in my possession to make credible-looking treetops; but that didn’t really matter quite as much because I planned to put 3-D trees in front of them anyway. So I just did the best I could with a regular paint brush. Then I covered the extruded foam hills in the same ‘dirty’ brown color as all the other un-scenicked layout surfaces, and sprinkled-on WS ‘earth’ powder while the paint was still wet:



    Next, I needed to put in some trees and other foliage to disguise the fact that the scene dead-ended on the wall directly behind the overpass. The shadows needed to be hidden anywhere that a viewer would otherwise expect to see open sky:



    [1] A mini-forest would be needed to hide the junction of the two converging walls; [2] Trees would need to be simulated in the area beyond the backdrop, to resemble a continuation of the scene; [3] the hill beside the propane facility needed scenery applied, including foliage to hide junction of the overpass with the backdrop; and [4] a cluster of trees was needed to prevent layout visitors from seeing the shadow beneath the overpass along its angular junction with the south wall.

    Since I have not yet mastered acquired the talent for making believable-looking scale trees, I bought some prebuilt Woodland Scenics ones to augment the homemade ones leftover from my previous layout. I’d already spent way more time than I originally planned on this corner, now I just wanted to finish it quickly and move on to the next scenery project.

    The following photo shows my initial placement of tree clusters. The hillside on the left looks somewhat “naked”, it desperately needs some additional vegetation:

    - ken in Maryland

    Never let a Rainy Day go to waste!

  3. Default

    I solved the "bare hillside" problem by inundating the grass-covered surface with tiny trees and clump foliage resembling shrubs. During the preliminary experimental placement, I achieved an effect that I considered perfect. When I removed the pieces to apply the glue, however, I couldn’t remember exactly where each and every random chunk of foliage had originally been positioned…and with the glue drying in place, I had to put something down immediately! So the scene I wound up with was NOT the earlier optimal one I had pieced together!

    Finally, I threw down some lichen on the surfaces visible behind the backdrop to simulate the forest continuing beyond the overpass. I also applied some ballast around the track, and attempted to camouflage the bracket the holds the crossing sensor’s infrared lens. It’s not totally hidden, but at least it’s no longer shiny white.

    The following images show the Southeast Corner as it exists as of this writing, first from the perspective of an operator in a standing-up position, then a “trackside” view:





    The two major eyesores – the seam where the two pieces of backdrop Masonite are joined, and the convergence of the backdrop and the wall – can be easily eliminated via a bit of Photoshopping:



    Now to tackle my next scenery project: the vegetation around the structures in the town of Brook Park…
    - ken in Maryland

    Never let a Rainy Day go to waste!

  4. #4

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    Nice work Ken, looks real good.
    I survived the Penn Central

  5. #5

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    That looks real good! Very well done!
    I don't suffer from insanity; I enjoy every minute of it.
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  6. Default

    Looks good, been contemplating doing something similar on my layout. Seeing yours says I should - I like it! Thanks for sharing

    Steve


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  7. #7
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    Default

    Could name that the "Let there be trees" corner.
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  8. Default

    You might take the viewer's attention from the seam and the corner where the wall and backdrop meet by putting some vehicles on the overpass. An 18-wheeler headed to the left nearly meeting the leftside trees, and perhaps a Grayhound bus going the opposite direction would break up the image a bit. A couple of hobos between the supports of the overpass might also create some interest. Looks good, so far!

  9. #9

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    It is coming along quite nicely. I think you have solved the problem. Really looks great.

  10. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by WJLI26 View Post
    Nice work Ken, looks real good.
    Thanks Joe!

    Quote Originally Posted by flyboy2610 View Post
    That looks real good! Very well done!
    Appreciate it FB!
    Quote Originally Posted by steveparkinson View Post
    Looks good, been contemplating doing something similar on my layout. Seeing yours says I should - I like it! Thanks for sharing
    My pleasure Steve, glad you found it helpful!

    Quote Originally Posted by tootnkumin View Post
    Could name that the "Let there be trees" corner.
    Actually Toot, I think calling it the Let-There-Be-Light corner is more appropos. My cell phone camera compensated for the under-illumination, in real life it is somewhat dark. Light from the overhead fluorescent fixtures is blocked-out by the backdrop. I'm thinking of investing in some string LEDs to cover this entire side of the layout.

    Quote Originally Posted by trailrider View Post
    You might take the viewer's attention from the seam and the corner where the wall and backdrop meet by putting some vehicles on the overpass. An 18-wheeler headed to the left nearly meeting the leftside trees, and perhaps a Grayhound bus going the opposite direction would break up the image a bit. A couple of hobos between the supports of the overpass might also create some interest. Looks good, so far!
    Thanks TR, I plan to use different vehicles for different photo-shoots. There'll definitely be some tractor-trailers on there at various times, maybe a bus or two if I can find any that fit my era (1969-72). But I think I'll skip the hobos...

    Quote Originally Posted by montanan View Post
    It is coming along quite nicely. I think you have solved the problem. Really looks great.
    Thanks Chet! One thing I'm learning is that the making and placement of trees is a skill can cannot be learned overnight - it takes a lot of practice, as well as trial-and-error experimentation.
    - ken in Maryland

    Never let a Rainy Day go to waste!

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