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Running Up That Hill

Pat Pettett

PAT PETTETT shows us how he modified part of our shop layout, converting a hill into a yard.

We are constantly renovating the shop display layout, and one of the areas we’ve been unhappy with for some time is the hill behind the depot. Years ago when the layout was a German outline model, the shed area had a small three stall roundhouse where the modern depot is now. Having updated and anglicised that, it seemed natural to do something about the pointless hill area, and see if we could put the space to better use. It was old in scenic terms, and years of passing rolling stock had gouged out the lower area of the hill by the track.

Scenic Modelling

The structure of this part of the layout is hard building foam, so it would be fairly straightforward to chop it off back to baseboard level and start again. With a couple of razor saws, myself and Martin set about cutting back the foam – at which point we found that the layers of foam had been pinned together with massive panel pins...

Scenic Modelling

This was enormous fun! We weren’t bothered about the mess we were making, this would be easy to vacuum up afterwards.

Scenic Modelling

Ten minutes later, we have hit the baseboard – the foam had been well glued down, but a variety of wrong tools for the job made swift work of getting back to flat, bare boards.

Scenic Modelling

Clearing the muck away, we had a small amount of filing to do – in the bottom right hand corner, a small wooden lip from the baseboard join needed removing.

Scenic Modelling

We then gave the area a basecoat of our favourite Faller roadway paint, and used Wills modern fencing to mark the area out. We didn’t bother going right up to the tip of the former hill, as this area wouldn’t be much use.

Scenic Modelling

Next, we started building up the layers of undergrowth – this is a mix of Gaugemaster GM179 Forest Floor Static Flock and Faller FA171561 Coarse Dark Green Premium Terrain Flock – this gave us a nice mixture of smaller fibres, and slightly lumpy bushy undergrowth.

Scenic Modelling

This carries on right along the fence, and will be a base layer for the rest of the foliage.

Scenic Modelling

Next we move on to the yard area itself – we wanted gravel for this, but it would be overgrown in the low traffic areas as well – a light brown ballast was used here.

Scenic Modelling

The bottom of the fence is usually obscured by plants, as it sees little traffic – we started gluing small amount of foliage around the outside and inside of the fence.

Scenic Modelling

With the basic ground cover drying, we started to make some wiry bushes – for these we used small chunks of GM195 Seafoam Trees. These were given a spray coat of glue, then sprinkled with GM158 Dark Leaves.

Scenic Modelling

The first of these was added to the end of the yard in the area where nobody has been for years, along with a second on the outside of the fence.

Scenic Modelling

We then worked our way across from the back of the yard, adding undergrowth and a second bushy area, and a third by the access gates.

Scenic Modelling

Grass tufts were then added, and very thin coats of brown acrylic paint were washed progressively over the edges of the yard.

Scenic Modelling

Sections of old damaged track were chopped up with a pair of Xuron Track Cutters – these were glued together with superglue, and once dry were given a coat of Railmatch Dark Rust. These haven’t been glued down – we like to be able to move things around. The webbing was cut off the leftover sleepers, and these were glued together in a pile.

Further grassy clumps and wild flowers were added to the outside of the fence to add some variety.

Scenic Modelling

The old Transit van will be given a matt finish to age it, the Land Rover is being left in a more pristine finish. The yard is now looking much nicer than the old pointless hill – we plan to add more railside clutter as we go, and we will next work on the area outside the gates. But that is a story for another time...

Scenic Modelling


Scenic Modelling
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