Ballast!

You know you’re making real progress on a layout when you start laying ballast. As I was able to lay about a meter of ballast today this must mean things are progressing well. One meter down, about nine to go! I’m not sure why I spend so much time carefully handlaying track only to half bury it in a layer of dirt. One of the strange mysteries of our hobby I suppose 🙂

The other day I decided to lay out all the scenery materials I had on hand on a table I use to assemble big projects. There wasn’t enough room to fit it all! I’d accumulated a vast array of scenery products over the years and the time had come to do a little culling. Some rather sad and sorry lichen, three colours of ground foam I could never seem to make look like plants and a packet of some material with German writing on it all took a trip to the wheelie bin. I didn’t thin out the ranks all that much, but it was a start.

I’ve found that a quiet revolution has taken place in scenery products in recent years. The materials coming out of Europe in particular are fantastic and produce outstanding results in a relatively short space of time. Gone are the days of zip texturing with powder paints! The biggest change has been in a modellers ability to lay down fibers in a manner that produces something that looks like miniature grass, as opposed to a layer of something that approximates the surface of a pool table.

To this end a friend of mine came over tonight with a Noch Grass Master which we decided to try out. After reading the instructions (they were actually in English!) we hooked the contraption up and gave it a try. Aside from Phil looking like he was in the torch relay for the Olympics, the machine worked as advertised but we feel that a little more experimentation might be in order as the result looked more like teddy bear fur than grass. We’ll keep trying and pull our socks up next time 🙂

I’ve managed to complete one small section of the scenery to my satisfaction and this is a thin segment running along the backdrop. I’ve spent three days fiddling with the shrubs and ground cover on this section and my back started to tell me this morning that it was time to be satisfied. I’ll post a couple of photos to let you see the result. Nothing too spectacular but it provides a shrubby backdrop to the trains and that’s the intention.

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