Dec 2013 3

Adding signals to the snow scene

Continued back story of my snow module...

I also poured the small lake/puddle using epoxy resin, heated slightly in a water bath to get it to flow better and let any bubbles escape. This was finished with some stippled matt varnish to give it a textured icy look. Not perfect, but ok from a few feet away.

Time to make up another batch of trees. My "endless" supply of sisal rope is quickly coming to an end!

Here is the module at the end of the evening:

Time to plant the other signal. I prepared it by gluing on t...

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Sep 2013 20

Making snow

To prepare my module for snow I started the slow process of building up a base for the snow. To start with I wanted the snow nice and level with the tracks, as per the original inspiration photo. I grabbed the nearest caulking gun and squirted out big fat beads along the track, then with a putty knife and some water smoothed it off nice and level.

To simulate piles of plowed snow, I crushed up some dried plaster and embedded it in the caulk while still soft:

To disguise these mounds I mixed up some sloppy plaster and drizzled it over the top. Much sanding, filling, more sanding, painting, smoothing, sanding followed. At the same time, I experimented with snow materials:

Woodland Scen...
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Aug 2013 16

Making trees for the High Line

Modeling anything in the Sierras or Rockies requires a lot of snowy conifers. I had a few 55-packs of Heki conifers on hand, however these are quite short. Nothing jumped out at me on ebay as being worth my money, so I set about making my own. After some more prolific googling I settled on sisal rope trees, rather than the more commonly used furnace filters technique; I just couldn't get the filters to look right.

I started by buying a metre of sisal rope from Mitre10 and some 22 gauge wire; I wanted thinner but that was the best they had. I figured if it was too chunky I'd use some stripped electrical wire.

The first step is to comb out the sisal rope; Rachel very kindly donated one of her many combs for the job.  I warned her it would never be the same again but she said she was willing to make the sacrifice! Oh for understanding partners!

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Aug 2013 15

Building the High Line

While preparing a summary page of all the modules in Utrainia, I realised that I hadn't actually posted anything about the construction of my second module. Let's fix that...

I have a particular fascination with snow, and have spent many weeks in the USA trudging up hills through knee deep snow and chasing blizzards to get the perfect snow photos. I always enjoy it and I love the look of fresh snow on the railroad. So for my second module I decided to model a stretch of the BNSF "hi-line" in Montana, where the BNSF main line crosses Glacier National Park. Full of conifers and representing mountain railroading at its finest this seemed the logical place to model. This module is the transition between double track and single track mainline, and so features signals, a #10 switch, a switch heater (to stop the points icing up), a signal shed, and some assorted railway detritus.

The inspiration for the scene is this wonderful photo of the ...

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Apr 2013 25

The Postal Bureau of the Fraternal Republic of Utraijnia

The Postal Bureau of the Fraternal Republic of Utraijnia is Utrainia's public mail service. The have a long and proud history, stretching back to the founding of the country itself. To celebrate this fine establishment, our roving correspondent was tasked with following the daily mail run.

Post Master Alenski has been making the daily run for many decades and is a familiar face to all in Utrainia. Each day, the mail train stops at his small unassuming mail office and offloads the day's deliveries. His trusty station wagon is almost as old as his velocipede.

After sorting the mail, Alenski pushes out his velocipede and swings it onto the rails. These days he carries a small radio to let Train Control know when he is on his way, however he is so punctual that it is hardly necessary.

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