Category Archives: Scenery

Postcards from Bone Valley: Great Model Railroads 2017

Note that you can see the acrylic glass reflecting the camera in this picture, giving a sense of what the layout is like live in person

Note that you can see the acrylic glass reflecting the camera in this picture, giving a sense of what the layout is like live in person.

I got to see a copy of Great Model Railroads 2017…since my small N scale Bone Valley layout is featured on page 52. Unfortunately, my layout only got four pages in the issue. That resulted in a trimmed up article and a measly three layout photos included in the article (two of which are redundant). So, I’m posting some stuff that wasn’t shown in the article here. There were also a few errors to the article added by the editor. One thing is that it said Atlas is releasing the U36B in N scale; I have not heard anything about that, only HO. As you can see from this layout plan that I made when I wrote the article back in the beginning of 2015 (which at the time I didn’t intend to be in Great Model Railroads), there were a whole lot more pictures (A thru L) that could have been included than just three. Anyway, as the maker and owner of my layout, the photo-scarce article doesn’t quite do it justice. But this is just step one in what is to be a bigger layout, so there will be more in the future.

n-layout 4x7 Bone Valley

6 Ways to Use a Digital Craft Cutter for your Layout

“6 Ways to Use a Digital Craft Cutter for your Layout” is the title of an article I wrote for Model Railroader Magazine; it is in the June 2014 issue. It’s a nice little article so check it out.

However, since the nature of magazines means limited space, the printed version of my article is an edited, paraphrased version of the original article I submitted. And as often happens when things are edited, the information becomes distorted a bit. That happened with this article. Consequently,  I wanted to post here are a few minor clarifications I would have made if I had been consulted prior to publication:

1. I own an older model cutter equivalent to a Silhouette Portrait, but a bit different. 2. The description of the picture of the Washingtonia and sabal palm flipped around which tree is which and calls the Washingtonia palm just a Washington without the “ia” at the end. 3. I wouldn’t venture into any complex cuts smaller than a half an inch only when cutting decal trim film; with other materials (like vinyl) smaller than half an inch is no problem. 4. A more detailed description of the title photo is that it is a picture of loaded dry rock phosphate hoppers crossing the Palm River Bridge in Tampa, FL headed to Rockport Yard on a rainy morning.

Model Slash Pines

Model Slash Pines (HO) Materials List

  • Woodland Scenic Tree Armatures Deciduous 3”-5”
  • Styrene Tube 1/8”
  • Floral Wire
  • Super Trees
  • Hot Glue
  • White Glue or Matte Medium
  • Dried Up Leaves
  • Spray Paint:Nutmeg, Gray, and Flat Black
  • Woodland Scenic Static Grass:Medium Green, Dark Green
  • Dark-Medium Green Pipe-Cleaners/Chenille (They have it in the Wal-Mart craft department)
  • Silflor: Late Summer

Take a styrene tube, insert one or two floral wires (depending on thickness), and then secure the wire(s) in the tube with hot glue.

Cut the tube (12″) approximately in half (one tube makes two full grown trees), cut and bend WS tree armatures, and then hot glue WS armature branches onto the styrene tube.

Utilizing the floral wire in the styrene tube, bend the tree trunk in whatever manner is fit.

Cover the new armature in white glue or matte medium (or whatever adhesive you like) and sprinkle on tiny crumpled up pieces of dried leaves to simulate bark. Let dry.

Hot glue pieces of Super Trees Material to complete the branch structure. (Less Super Tree material is usually better than more.)

Paint the armature. I use a combination of mostly nutmeg spray paint with light sprays of gray and flat black. (Experiment with it.)

Now for the Needles:

You can model the tree needles using late summer Silflor (more expensive) or using chenille (cheaper). After doing a few trees in the chenille, I now recommend doing them in all Silflor if you can afford it.

If using Chenille: Cut up pipe-cleaners/chenille into small balls. (You’ll want to give the give pipe-cleaners a spray of green paint to improve the color.) Attach the balls to the armature one by one with white glue. Wet the outer branches and chenille balls with diluted matte medium. Sprinkle on WS static grass.

If using Silflor: Cut up late summer Silflor (or whatever color Silflor is appropriate for the area you’re modeling) into small balls (Silflor Tufts may also work well, but I’ve never tried them.)

Glue the cut up Silflor in place.

Slash Pine Facts

South Florida Vegetation with Slash Pines

South Florida Vegetation with Slash Pines

Looking up at a Slash Pine

Armatures while Under Construction

Armatures while Under Construction

Scene Under Construction These Slash Pines were modeled using Chenille

These Slash Pines were modeled using Chenille

Hart of South Palm and model Live Oak Shot Outdoors

Hart of South Palm and model Live Oak Shot Outdoors

The Slash Pine in the above photo was made using both chenille and Silflor

The Slash Pine in the above photo was made using both chenille and Silflor

Bark

Other names: Pinus elliottii, Slash Pine, pitch pine, southern pine, South Florida slash pine, swamp pine, yellow pine, Dade County pine