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Sunday 26 April 2015

Cliff Road

More progress on the track layout.

The bit of scenery I have been working on is a rock face. The road goes up in to the mountains along a road cut in to the cliff then descends back in to the valley.

I get some satisfaction from using materials that I find or have lying round. In this case lots of bark. It's mainly elm from some tree surgery last year after the wind brought down some trees.

I spent some time finding reference photos that had a rocky terrain that I liked.  I ended up finding Bealach na Bà. It is a pass through the mountains of Applecross in the Scottish Highlands.

Image from Wikipedia
I was inspired by a photo I saw as a background on Microsoft Windows 10, which looks to be a similar location.

Image from Microsoft Windows 10 backgrounds
The rocks in those areas are craggy like the bark I have.

The construction of the rock face was a bit of a tale of woe!

I am pleased with the end result but using bark was not an easy task. Getting the rough ends to match up to form a long length without unsightly gaps was very fiddly. If I was doing the same again I would probably do it a different way.

I had further problems along the way with the PVA glue mix drying white instead of clear. This is used to hold the grass in place.

Having done some research on the Internet I am fairly sure that it is because the temperature in the shed drops below 5C at night at this time of year.

The test samples I have done since have all dried clear! I had to paint over the effected areas and redo some of the grass. I've now moved the bits in to the house to finish them off and so far the glue has dried clear.

The basic construction went well.  I created a cardboard backing to follow the curves and corners of the track. As with the rest of the scenery it is made in sections so that in theory the layout can be taken apart.

There is a nearly hidden corner section on the middle layer and a corner with a long straight at the top. I have put more greenery where it would get sunlight.

The bark was roughly cut and then shaped with a pair of pincers to avoid anything looking man made. All stuck on using a hot glue gun. Before adding the greenery I test fitted it to the track.

The areas where earth collects and plants start to grow, including the cliff top, were created with plaster filler.

The white plaster being painted brown umber using acrylic artists paint mixed with a little water.

Finished off with Woodland Scenics grass and soil coloured scatter with larger plants added from the more coarse materials.

To hold the grass in place I use a 25:75 mix of  PVA to water with a dash of dishwasher rinse aid to break the surface tension (makes it spread more evenly.) I use undiluted PVA wood glue to secure the bigger plants.

As usual I'm waiting for something to dry. In this case, the glue to hold it in place.


Slightly off topic. While the cliff face was still under construction my brother came round and we drove a few laps of the track. It is fun to drive. He commented on how each corner was different and you can't drive by just holding the trigger down.

The little Slot.It Ford GT40's went faster than I was expecting on such a curvy track. We did manage to break both of them. On one a connection to the braid worked loose and the other gets stiff when it gets hot. A little bit of maintenance is needed.

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