Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The making of a module (which you can see at the Winnipeg Model Railroad Club's open house)

In case you were wondering , the prairie sky was digitally added by blog editor Paul Ullrich. The original background  has a beige wall with a folding chair.

 By Suzanne Lemon  

   The module represents the rugged prairie and the ghost town of Bents, Saskatchewan. The grain elevator was scratch-built from styrene and the wood siding, air brush painted, decalled and heavily weathered with a variety of acrylic paint colours and other materials.  
    The scene also features an abandoned farmhouse, kit-bashed from a Branchline laser-cut kit which has also been hand painted and heavily weathered with different shades of acrylic craft paint. A floor was also scratch-built from strip wood for the structure and some weathered interior furnishings were placed inside, along with tattered blinds at the windows, made from thin strips of paper carefully cut and shredded with an X-Acto knife.   
    The tack shed, the horse and the rider on the hill comprise a Woodland Scenics white metal kit that was hand painted with a mix of acrylic and enamel paint. The paint was also used to simulate the rust on the tin roof.   
   The rails and ties of the abandoned track were painted with a mix of acrylic paint and Woodland Scenics enamel paint pens to simulate rust and heavy weathering from many years of exposure to the elements.  
   The scenery on the module was made using a Styrofoam board base that was cut to shape and layered to create hills. It was covered with plaster cloth and a layer of Hydrocal plaster. This was painted when dry and coated with a variety of Woodland Scenics turf and bush products to enhance the character of the prairie vegetation.   
   Recent additions to the project have included the long grass tufts to make the areas near the abandoned house and grain elevator appear overgrown. These items are also a Woodland Scenics product that was made from a synthetic material which has to be separated to the right thickness. Depending on your intent, each clump can be trimmed to the length that you desire. I glued them in place using Weldbond, as the thick consistency of this type of glue helps the tufts stay upright as they dry.  
    I will be building and adding on some small internal and external details for the elevator. In the near future you can observe the remnants of the loading door platform, the grain spout, the drive-in shed and the loading ramp. More weathered structures and vehicles will likely be added to the scene in the future as opportunities permit.

   The actual photo that I took of Bents shows a creepy place with an abandoned general store that still contains shelves full of merchandise. There are also abandoned houses that still hold the furnishings. The details on the module are not exact copies, as some creative license was used. I hope to add more structures as a contextual component to the module.

   You can view this module, which will be part of the Kildonan Short Lines modular railway, at the WMRC's open house, will be held on Saturday, March 15 and Sunday, March16 at Westworth United Church, 1750 Grosvenor Avenue.  Times are from 11:00AM to 4:00 PM on Saturday, and from 1:00PM to 5:00 PM on Sunday. Admission is by donation. A portion of the proceeds from the show will go to support  St.Amant.

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