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Red Rock Reworked

| June 7, 2013 | 7 Comments More

Red Rock CaveI don’t know what it is about this desktop layout, I just can’t seem to leave it alone! I find myself going back, again and again, reshaping this, adding that, etc. I think I have the basic shape now in place after the most recent changes. Of course, I’ve said this before. I’m still not too concerned with specific coloring or where my vegetation will go, I’m now focused on the rock formations.

These photos look at the layout moving in a counter-clockwise direction.

The biggest issue I had with this scene was the right-front corner. This area didn’t have enough interest for me, initially it did, but after having it on the bench for a few weeks, I realized it needed something more interesting.

With no real plan, I took to the X-Acto knife and the Dremel grinder and what I came up with was a cave with three openings: one opening on the front, one on the right hand side and a much smaller opening trackside. I wanted the front-facing opening to have sort of a menacing, mysterious look to it, sort of like a big set of rock jaws.

Moving to the right-side view, you can see the side cave opening has a view right through to the track opening. I was having some fun at this point! Towards the back of this side view, I added a small rock opening. It almost looks like another cave but it’s just a bridge to the track area. Given there’s so much rock and land where the trains can hide, I like having some of these look-through areas.

Next is the back of the layout where the trains are only visible for a short time when they’re running, sort of like a very small train stage. I do think hiding trains like this can be a lot of fun on a small layout.

On to the left-side view where the trains where the overall angle of the terrain is very clear, high to low, back to front. I’ve cut in some additional crevices for interest. These will also allow for more interesting vegetation. The last photo shows how the trains will be hidden from view once they make the turn towards the rear of the layout.

I almost hate to say it, but now the real work begins. All these fun elements have to be tied together with interesting scenic components such as talus, more color work, vegetation, etc., etc.

Prior to shooting these photos, I did vacuum all loose soil and then shot the remaining loose soil off with compressed air (then vacuumed again!) and did a fastidious track cleaning as I had to run a train! I was very happy with the overall feel of the scene with a locomotive powered up.

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Category: Ztrains Build Corner

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  • James W.

    Seriously, this is a beautiful layout, it just feels so authentic. Great, great work here. It’s hard to believe this is Z scale!

    James W.

  • gregory j. skarulis

    Nice job. All it needs now is a steam loco. Where’s the best source of such mining engines. I can’t seem to find much.

    Greg S.

    • http://www.raildig.com John Cubbin

      Thanks, I’m actually thinking about using a BNSF GP38-2 for this scene.

      At this point there’s not a lot, if any really, of mining engines. You’ll see scratchbuilt pieces here and there but nothing on a mass produced level yet. You might also find some static mining models out there done by rapid prototyping.

      John
      Ztrains

  • vinnyf

    Beautiful layout & article, John! Thanks!

    • http://www.raildig.com John Cubbin

      Thanks Vinny!

      Hopefully the next article and photo spread will be when this piece is finished (or near-finished!).

      John
      Ztrains

  • Denis Poot

    With the caves you not only made it a little mysterious, also dangerous!

    Imaginizing some Indians or train robbers at the scene, will create a new dimension!

    I wish you success to finish that work – at your rhythm – and I’m looking toward

    Zucezz,
    Denis, a Belgian Zettist

    • http://www.raildig.com John Cubbin

      Hi Denis,

      I have to admit I do like the idea of a little mystery with these caves. Trying to expand a 14.5″ x 16.5″ layout in this way is really a lot of fun.

      Thanks!

      John
      Ztrains

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