Monday, July 11, 2011

Layout Construction – June 2011

Major Changes in Denton
June has been a busy month. I added dirt as the first layer of scenery to this area. Grass, brush and trees will be added in consecutive layers to complete the scenery.

Creating Wolf Creek
The biggest challenge was to add water to the creek. Time to try a new technique, at least new to me. This began with gathering very small rocks for the creek bed. I then added larger rocks for the sides of the creek along with sand to represent the bank. I then painted the the creek bed with a dark green paint wash to give it some depth and color. Finally came time to pour the water. I used EnviroTex purchased from Michaels.  EnviroTex is a two part epoxy that you mix and pour. After about 72 hours it dries to a hard, smooth, glossy surface. To simulate moving water, I painted the surface with acrylic gloss medium which dries clear and will give you the appearance of ripples. to emphasize the ripples you then use white paint to give it the appearance of frothing water. Overall, I am very happy with my first attempt at this technique.



Static grass
To create a more realistic grass, I built a static grass machine from a battery operated fly swatter and a metal sifter. The “Grass-a-nator” contains an ion generator that creates a static charge between it and wet surface of the layout. To use the “Grass-a-nator” you apply paint or a water/glue mixture to the layout surface. A small metal pin that is connected to the “Grass-a-nator” is pushed into the wet surface. The “Grass-a-nator’s” screen is then loaded with small colored fibers called static grass. You hold the “Grass-a-nator” close to the surface and shake gently. The fibers fall to the wet surface and stand up because of the static created by the “Grass-a-nator”. The effect is very realistic.



New Building Construction
Two new building were built for the Denton area. These are wood craftsman kits. The first is a chicken coop for the farm scene. The other building is a small house that is common for farm communities. On the house, I created curtains on the computer and added them to the windows.



Dirt Roads
I tried a new (again, new to me) technique for making dirt roads. After gluing down a layer dirt for the main scenery layer, you rube the dirt with a stiff brush or as I found out, a finger to smooth the dirt layer. Repeatedly rubbing the dirt changes the color and the surface of the dirt. Wow, just like in real life. Now that really is art imitating life.