Saturday, January 27, 2018

A start on some EVRR landscaping

[Current state of landform shapes in the valley end after an initial round of filling and sanding.]

I thought I'd try my hand at a little landscaping on the EVRR. To get started I decided to have a go at defining the landforms in the valley end.
[Before starting...]

Before starting I wrapped the mountain end in a garbage bag and put masking tape over the track where I'd be working.
Voids in the elevations were filled in with scrap foam blocks and gaps were puttied with a non-volatile wood filler. Once dry, the Dremel was carefully used to grind and smooth the foam into a seamless shapes. There's a lot of dust, so I wore a dust mask and used the Shop-Vac to make regular debris cleanups. A few more rounds are going to be needed before the landscape comes into focus.


  1. I look forward to watch your work progress. This trackplan assures you'll not have flat scenery. But the small size of the plan plus the small scale-- it led me to have less-than-prototype-tall trees and I even cut my backdrop shorter. These things usually work against model train layouts, but in real life, it just looked better to my eyes. I encourage you to detail it to your standards and not to 1960's barren-scenery-looks. ELM had great taste, but his EVRR could've used more lush foliage. I think, at least.

  2. Yes, I agree on all fronts. For example, his trees don't look real to modern eyes. Over the Christmas holidays I bought a couple of small bags of trees that I saw on sale. I'll likely use trees from as many sources as I can find, and hopefully have lots for a lush look.
    Your point got me thinking of a painting teacher I had who had some interesting advice on how much influence the source should ultimately have on a painting, which I think is also applicable here. Sometimes a student would start with a photo or 2 of a scene they wanted to paint - painting from a photo has many issues, but later on those - and after a while the student would often see the painting diverging here-and-there from the photos. This would cause concern about what to do. Correct the issues? Apply artistic license and go on? Give up and start again? The teacher mentioned that every painting must stand alone as an object and make sense on its own. The typical viewer was not going to compare the painting to the source - none was available - so the student was encouraged to continue on and take the painting where it was going but at the same time, trying to make it be its own object. I think the same holds true for this layout and others. In the end, viewers, and myself, will see the layout without reference to ELM sources and it needs to stand alone as an interesting object to look at in its own right.

  3. This trackplan has some challenges for you and I know you'll enjoy the work. It's a bit of a spaghetti bowl and in N scale, this becomes more obvious. Being so small, our eyes take in the complete layout at once, so cramming in contrived hill shapes become more noticable.

    Maybe that winding road up the back hill could use forced perspective to make its path more believable. Half the road could be hidden behind trees and just tops of several hillbilly shacks could be seen. Then again, there's not much railroad business on the layout's right side; could a molasses mine fit in? Then the shacks become either mine buildings or company houses. Or his water wheel mill is in keeping with this pike.

    I like the road that leads from the station up front to the lakeside dock. But then the road meanders to the back left and disappears through an awkward tunnel. I'm not sure whether that road could be lifted to cross the tracks. It also swings around to the lakeside house; does it cross the tracks to the mountain area?

    If you found room, some of his other projects would look good on the layout: the handcar shed (you already built that), his barn shaped blacksmith shop or his apple cider mill.

    If E. L. were to rebuild this today, he'd probably make changes. But I know you want to keep the overall look. I look forward to seeing your bridges.

    1. I've been taking a look at some of his photos again to resolve a problem with the road to the lakeside cabin. I'll try and post it in a day or two, but yeah, you're right, the roads are an issue in locating them properly.

      I have a feeling if ELM were to build an EVRR II there would be a little less track, maybe based on a continuous loop that wouldn't require a lot of block switching as this one does.