Welcome back to Grinched, our post-Christmas N scale project layout. See what we did there? Rather than say we’ve run well over schedule we simply changed the description of this layout to a post-Christmas project. Enough of that, let’s not dwell on or get bogged down by calendars! Kidding aside this really does illustrate that, on even a small layout, it’s easy for time to get away once you begin playing with new ideas and trying new things. The good news, we’re liking the way Grinched is shaping up.
We rejoin the project with a very spur of the moment decision I made to add some blacktop to the layout. I originally thought to have a simple dirt road run through the layout, but while applying gypsum for the grade crossings, I just kept going! I poured the gypsum, mixed with a little black acrylic craft paint, the length of the layout and added a bit of a parking lot to the building in front. I’m not too worried about a very symmetrical road; I actually wanted this to have a rough appearance. The road is about ¾” wide, or 10 scale feet.
While waiting for the gypsum to cure before sanding, I took care of some small details like printing out and applying a few water slide decals to the buildings, as well as painting and gluing down our own brick ramp and platform for our team track. We originally designed this ramp for Z scale using N scale 3D brickwork from Monster Modelworks.
On a side note: In an agreement between Raildig and Monster Modelworks, look for more new products in the future!
We also took this time to apply Microscale Industries Micro Krystal Klear to form the “glass” windows in the buildings. As the buildings were already wired for lighting, and there were very short leads on these lights, we ended up using a brush to apply the Micro Krytal Klear instead of a toothpick as suggested by the manufacturer. This relatively heavy application of Krystal Klear actually gave our windows an older look, an unexpected bonus.
Next, it was time to add some additional soil and ballast to add to the worn look of the scene. I used the same technique I’ve used for years, that is to add the ground cover, wet it with alcohol and then apply matte medium using a pipette. Unfortunately, this time the matte medium left a lot of white residue once it dried. This was the first time I ran in to this problem and emailing the manufacturer yielded no results, as I never heard back from them.
Looking online, I read where this white residue may be talc added to the matte medium liquid mix to give the adhesive its matte finish. This was a new sealed bottle and as mentioned, I’ve used this technique for years without this white residue appearing. Seems there’s no great way to hide the residue so I made up a liquid mix of Mod Podge Matte glue and added this to another top coat of soil, effectively hiding the white matte medium residue. Going forward I may use dilute Mod Podge more often as it worked very well.
Now it was time make the branches for all of our pine trees. As we wrote previously we’re going with the furnace filter method for pine branches. As we’ll have a fair number of trees close together, we kept the overall width of the branches small, about 1” wide. Looking at lots of techniques online, I settle in on cutting a basic star pattern from the furnace filter squares. This star shape should give a nice, random branch pattern once flocked.
A tool note: I found using regular scissors kind of a pain when cutting these little star shapes from the filter material. An inexpensive pair of 6” utility shears from Harbor Freight did a great job. The fact that these shears look like they were made 50 years ago was just a plus!
Once lots of these star shapes were cut, I slid them on to thin dowels for painting prior to adding them on to the finished tree trunk dowels. It’s harder than you might think to find flat aerosol brown paint, but I did come across Rust-Oleum Earth Brown Camouflage Spray. Nice stuff as it really has a dead flat finish and I think the color works very well for branches. Flocking is next but you can already see the effect these tall trees, even in their bare state, have on our layout, they really sell the look of a cool little rural scene nestled in the woods.
That’s it for now, be sure to watch for the next Grinched Post-Christmas Layout update!
Raildig Brick Ramp and Platform Set
Camo Brown Flat Paint
Rust-Oleum Earth Brown Camouflage Spray
6″ Utility Shears
Micro Kristal Klear
Category: Raildig Build Projects