Back at the beginning of the year, the woodlands along the rear of the layout were being blocked in. Most of it was acceptable, but in cliche corner with my over bridge scenic break, getting the trees and overhang right was getting awkward.
I did try out a ‘tunnel’ of trees, with no bridge, but due to the short length of the cutting, I couldn’t get a long enough run under cover of the trees to show that canopy effectively before running through the backscene. So it was back to building a see through Autumn feel for the tree diffuser line.
The layout lighting is relatively bright, see above, and could do with a little toning down, to this end I’ve dismantled the rear lighting rig and will raise the rear light bar by about 10-20cm. This will still give adequate flood lighting, rear downwash on the trees and backscene, and not affect the sky density with shadows in the curves at the ends. The final amount will be determined by experimenting with different heights and the light bar held by clamps.
The maximum height of the layout is likely to be around 76inches, track height 56 inches so that the proscenium arch and end pelmets work to give a few forced viewpoints like the image above. There were a couple on Albion Yard and were popular with viewers, I hope to push that a little further with either this project or the next one.
Returning to cliche corner earlier this week I had blocked in the section adjacent to the bridge, and it looked ok, but that was it, just ok.
Whilst the upper limbs of the trees were good the bottom branches and the join close to the bridge just looked wrong, and I couldn’t work out why. It took a good few days to ‘see’ the problem, but the clues were there a good way beforehand!
As you can see here in the initial build the density of the lower foliage next to the bridge was far too great. However I’d put some coverage of leaves and paint across it which masked the problem due to it looking ‘completed’. After a few days it was annoying me so much that I removed all the foliage to have another go leaving a pretty bare look, something like this.
Whilst the tree line was stripped down I decided to remove a smaller sapling at the base of the embankment. This was the key moment. The baseline opened up visually but not so that it looked artificial. Knowing now that the infill needed to be much less dense it was a quick and easy job to remodel the base of the tree branches and replace the scrub and low bushes around the foot of the trees.
Doing this also gave a more natural flow to the base of the tree line, allowing a partial view underneath the furthest arch with more light emphasising the lack of foliage, rather than the previous emphasis of an impenetrable dark mass.
So Shelfie2 has taken another good step forward, the next Woodland tasks will be to rebuild the right hand end coppice, with left and right hand foreground diffuser trees. This will then mean I can attach the backscene in a semi permanent manner, and progress to completion of the ‘customer facing’ fascia. Once the fascia is completed it’s on to final detailing and further stock before it’s first show in September. Are we nearly there yet?..